3:37pm Friday 14th December 2012
IN this season of goodwill and general pell-mell, the chief weapon in most of Worcester’s eating houses seems to be an invitation to take the weight off your feet and enjoy a bite and a drink before heading back out into the shopping ‘experience’.
So here’s an idea. Why not turn the thing on its head and put things out for sale around the corner from the tables where people have come to eat?
That way, when they take a comfort break, they can be tempted to buy the thumb-operated salt and pepper mills or aubergine-shaped serving dish or whatever else caught their eye.
Which is what they’ve done in Fusion Brasserie at the Bird.
Mind you, diners would be better advised not to be too distracted as they would otherwise miss the extraordinary effort put into presentation of Italian food by chef Felice Tocchini.
Perfect little towers or moulds of food arrived all evening, mostly on heavy-looking (and feeling) slate dishes borne by very strong serving staff.
Over a nibble of olive and two rounds of artisan breads served with sun-blush tomato and fusion hummus (the four of us had a hard time making up our minds), we went for spiced herbs fishcake with deep fried calamari and a sweet chilli and tartare sauce; seared scallops; and, more traditionally, carpaccio and a small serving of gnocchi.
They were packed full of taste, except for the gnocchi, which was the one relatively bland dish.
For mains, we all went for meat bar me. I decided to have misto di pesce all’isolana – a selection of market fish – and to pinch the Jenga tower of triple-cooked chips from one of the meat-heads.
My wife chose chicken escalope, fontal cheese, sun blush tomato and rocket encased in bacon, while our friends opted for a perfectly cooked piece of rare fillet of beef with salad, and caramelised belly of pork topped with crackling shells.
The latter seems to be ubiquitous these days, but when made with such elan, it matters not a jot.
Puddings, inevitably for us, involved crème brûlée. My wife’s trio of orange (served in half a scooped-out orange), vanilla, and Pimm’s and strawberry were just the right size, while my chilled creamy mascarpone and brandy sabayon with warm chocolate sounds heavy but didn’t sink me.
Our friends couldn’t decide so did the decent thing and went for the degustatztione dolci – six miniatures giving a taste of most of the dessert menu.
In keeping with the rest of the meal, not a failure among them.
The warm maroon and cream theme for the restaurant was slightly at odds with the cooler blue/silver/white festive lights strung above us on trees but the background music was resolutely non-seasonal.
At about £45 a head including drinks it is definitely not cheap but you get what you pay for – high-quality locally-sourced food presented with flair and imagination. And if you’ve any money left, the chance to spend more on natty kitchenware as you leave.
HOW IT RATED
Value for Money 4
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