Sometimes in life you want to skip your main course and go straight for dessert. My ladies-who-lunch date at Bill’s with girlfriends Susie and Sarah was one of these occasions. This was in part because I was in the mood for something sweet but equally because the savoury vegetarian options at Bill’s are a little uninspired (the choices pretty much consisting of risotto or various things with humous and halloumi- yawn!).
In order to maintain public pretence that we are actually grown-ups, we decided to order some fries and a house salad as a pre-pudding starter; a decision which took us so long to come to between chatting and scouring the menu that our waitress was visibly irritated by us- possibly because it was Sunday brunch time, really busy and proper people who were planning to eat more than just cake were waiting for a table.
When the sweet potato fries did arrive, they looked very pretty stood up like soldiers in a little enamel cup but sadly tasted less appealing. Soggy and under-seasoned without so much as a hint of crispyness it definitely felt that more care and attention had been placed on how they looked than how they tasted. Although simple, the salad was better and tasted fresh with a good dressing although it was small and contained just one solitary cherry tomato which did seem a bit stingy.
High hopes remained intact for the main event – dessert-and we all opted for different choices so we could sample one another’s: An Eaton mess, chocolate brownie with ice-cream and for me, the upside down blueberry cheesecake. All of the dishes looked beautiful -presentation being one thing that Bill’s does extremely well-and we were excited to tuck in.
My cheesecake was served in a little glass jar (Bill’s is apparently a fan of putting food and drink into recycled containers) and tasted decent. The crunchy topping and cream cheese was actually delicious but the blueberry layer was tasteless and let the overall taste down. The chocolate brownie was good but it’s hard to go too wrong with one of those so the real winner was the Eton mess which was light, creamy and had a distinct strawberry flavour without being overly sweet.
Bill’s is obviously hugely popular and was heaving when we visited but I have to say the appeal is a little bit lost on me. I like elements of the décor although even this it is a little generic and overwhelmingly it struck me as a corporate restaurant chain trying (and in my opinion failing) to present itself as a local, farm-store kitchen. The food was unmemorable and expensive for what it was and although I would probably return to give it one more try if somebody else suggested it, I am not in any particular rush to return.