Church Street Tavern

3 Church Street, Colchester, United Kingdom, CO1 1NF
Critics Review 4/5
Restaurant info
Opening Information

Opening Hours:

BAR
Wednesday-Thursday 9am-11pm
Friday-Saturday 9am-12am
Sunday 11am-5pm

KITCHEN
Lunch
Wednesday-Friday 12-2.30pm
Saturday-Sunday 12-3pm
Dinner
Wednesday-Thursday 5.30pm-9.30pm
Friday-Saturday 5.30pm-10pm

Facilities
  • Disabled Access
  • Private Dining
  • Families and Children Welcome
  • Gluten Free Available
  • Business Lunch
  • Outside Seating Area
  • Free WiFi

About Church Street Tavern

A great place to meet up, have fun and be well looked after. Ground floor bar serving craft beer, eclectic wine, cocktails, tea and coffee. First flour restaurant serving seasonal food from an ever changing menu. Quick light lunches, rare breed steak, private dining and events.

Cuisine: British, Afternoon Tea, Sunday Lunch
Dress Code: Casual,Smart Casual

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Critics Review
Review by Tracey Macleod for Independent
4/5
When is a pub not a pub? Last week, I had two very different lunch experiences, at opposite ends of the spectrum of modern pubbery. The first was in a new place in London's West End – I won't name it, because I'm a kind person. An ordinary little pub, stripped of any last vestige of comfort or conviviality, and now operating as a kushiyaki bar. You know, a kushiyaki bar? Like in Japan, where they serve skewers of grilled meat to salarymen on the lash. Only this was about as Japanese as pork scratchings; a dismal shell of a room combining the worst aspects of old-man's pub and chilly Japanese café, where I perched on a tall stool to eat nondescript bits of grilled and deep-fried flesh, and – God help me – tempura avocado. In its striving, on-trend way, it was every bit as grim and unforgiving as city-centre pubs used to be, before they invented the gastropub and we could all sit with a fish pie and a glass of merlot. So that's one direction a pub can go in, and good luck to them: A3 licences in the overheated London market are hard to come by, and there are shoals of ambitious young chefs eager to go it alone and do unforgivable things to avocados. Another new direction is to style yourself a 'tavern'; not in the old sense of a roadhouse serving foaming tankards and beef to trenchermen, but in the modern sense, which is basically 'restaurant'. That's how they've done it at the Church Street Tavern in Colchester, an Essex town which has yet to challenge Ludlow in the gastronomic stakes. Now this is a pub to spend some time in. A handsome, big-boned townhouse just off the main shopping drag which combines the warmth and hospitality of the traditional tavern with the serious cooking chops of the Tavern 2.0. Arriving late and discombobulated for a mid-week lunch, after an unfortunate misunderstanding about a disabled parking permit, my mother and I were welcomed, and – in a sun-filled, spacious upstairs dining room beautifully decorated with objets trouvé and groovy – very well fed. Tiny spoonfuls of chicken liver parfait arrived unannounced with springy herb bread. Then a shivery, irresistible pot of parmesan custard, to be scooped up with delicate wands of anchovy toast. Chickpea fritters appeared as a ladies-who-lunch take on falafel, with pomegranate-sprinkled whipped ricotta standing in for hummus, and some kind of grassy oil to be mopped up with the crisp, spinachy puffs. The menu is huge, and apart from the safe haven of various cuts of steak, ambitious. A brace of Norfolk quail get the dirty treatment, exuberantly spiced, spatchcocked and chargrilled, leaving the skin deeply flavoured with salt and smoke, the flesh sweetly pink. With them, nutty, veg-studded pearl barley and a sultry blast of black cabbage and hazelnut pesto. Partnering subtle skate with equally soft and pale gnocchi was brave, but the dish was hot-wired by purple sprouting broccoli humming with tarragon and punchy little brown shrimps. Only my starter of rabbit pie flopped; sweetly spiced like Moroccan pastilla, it was swaddled in an over-dense pastry which temporarily silenced my half of the debate about the missing parking permit. A side of Jansson's temptation, an anchovy-kissed swoon of potato, cream, cheese and garlic, reconciled my mother to a dish she had spurned since the early Sixties, when a Swedish friend's dinner party went horribly wrong. The short selection of puddings includes rhubarb and custard with orange and polenta shortcake, a dish which perfectly reflects the CST's brand of trad comfort with a twist. Bravo to whoever designed this dream of confident good taste, the sober scheme of wood floors, leather banquettes and foxed mirrors quirked up with sculptural driftwood and flurries of vintage china. The lounge bar downstairs, where every seat is a deep armchair or sofa, rather than a bony high stool, is equally beguiling. This is a place put together by someone who knows exactly what they're doing. That someone is Piers Baker, whose Sun Inn in the Essex village of Dedham I enthused about when it opened 11 years ago. "The instinct for hospitality behind the Sun is positively Continental," I wrote then. "Everything's just a little bit better than it needs to be." The same is true, in spades, of the Tavern, which Baker opened a year ago, installing a young team from the Sun, including head chef Ewan Naylon. Despite appearances, the building was converted from an estate agents rather than an existing hostelry. Which goes to show that while it's all too easy to convert a pub into something dreary, it takes time, good taste and talent to make a dreary building into a wonderful pub.
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Visited On Friday, 20 September 2019

Fabulous jazz evening. Great trio. Superb value for money. I wish that the lighting could have stayed more subdued throughout the evening as it improved the event. The wait for our third platter ,40 minutes, a little excessive. The same plates, for us BUT new plates produced for the next table by the same waiter, unusual. However the glass of English sparkling wine a very pleasant touch for our anniversary, a delight. Many thanks Charlotte, who was the only person who told us what we were about to sample.

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Visited On Sunday, 15 September 2019

Absolutely wonderful surprise. Went for Sunday roast with my family and it was brilliant from start to finish. We were served by a Gabriella Boorn and she was wonderful, making sure we were happy and explaining everything on the menu. Cannot suggest this restaurant enough, genuinely lovely experience x

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Visited On Sunday, 08 September 2019

The four of us had a fantastic Sunday lunch. Great staff and food was fab. I have allergies, and so long as some advance notice is given the chef is fantastically accommodating.

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Visited On Friday, 13 September 2019

Great food and attentive friendly service as always, thank you!

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Visited On Thursday, 12 September 2019

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Visited On Thursday, 05 September 2019

Lovely meal hosting a client and colleagues. Service was excellent from start to finish. Ambience is perfect and I love the chill out area by the bar with the eclectic mix of furnishings. I would highly recommend this place both on a business and personal basis.

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Visited On Saturday, 07 September 2019

Excellent food and service in a lovely place. Highly recommended.

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Visited On Friday, 30 August 2019

Another lovely dining experience.....thanks to all who look after us so well each time we visit.

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Visited On Saturday, 24 August 2019

Fantastic food, drinks, staff & atmosphere - would thoroughly recommend!

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Visited On Thursday, 22 August 2019

A unique and beautiful place to have dinner. I’m so glad we found you. Quirky decor, delicious food and welcoming atmosphere. Will definitely come back!

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Visited On Friday, 16 August 2019

Food was excellent and waiting staff were great

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Visited On Friday, 16 August 2019

Always a great experience, atmosphere, taste and friendliness.

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Visited On Saturday, 17 August 2019

Great food and service

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Visited On Saturday, 17 August 2019

We have eaten several times with yourselves, but to be honest we were very disappointed. We thought the menu very limited and upon receiving the food, not as good as it was. We paid £180.00 for 4 people, which was a lot of money for what was served up.

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Visited On Friday, 16 August 2019

Great restaurant. My go to when coming into town. Good range of gins! Lovely food. Good service & friendly staff. A winner all round!

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Visited On Friday, 09 August 2019

Always a great experience. Food on new menu was delicious .... the cod loin and the mullet were our choices. Our server was attentive, friendly and professional.

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Visited On Wednesday, 31 July 2019

had a really lovely evening. Our waiter was excellent.

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Visited On Thursday, 25 July 2019

We had a lovely evening. Gorgeous food and great service. And the air-con was the icing on the cake with it being the hottest day ever!! Thank you.

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Visited On Thursday, 25 July 2019

Good food. Friendly and helpful staff. Air conditioning was very welcome on the hottest day of the year.

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Visited On Saturday, 20 July 2019

Delicious meal served by super friendly staff in a lovely environment!

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Visited On Saturday, 20 July 2019

Just lovely thank you

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Visited On Thursday, 18 July 2019

I ordered a cup of coffee along with my course but it was not provided. The staff was grouped (gathered) at a corner of dining room which was far away and hidden area from my table and it was bothersome to call to remind them I was expecting an ordered coffee. Though there was a short of services, a staff looked at me strangely when I expected changes upon settling my bill

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Visited On Saturday, 06 July 2019

Very noisy in the Resturant we could not hear ourselves talk

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Visited On Saturday, 06 July 2019

Hello, i just want to say thank you to all the staff who worked that evening. I really enjoyed my birthday meal.

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Visited On Thursday, 20 June 2019

Disappointed that we couldn't have the table I pre-booked well in advance of my visit. The table was downstairs. We were asked to go upstairs instead. The menu was more extensive. I wanted to be downstairs so we had a lighter lunch but my guests were presented with the upstairs menu so I was committed to that. Food wise the food was good but please can you ease off the seasoning of salt as this dominated the dishes and particularly the fried food including chips. Thank you I have been may times before but this was the 1st time I have been disappointed. The upstairs waitress was very good. I hope I can be persuaded to come back again.

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