Mya Lacarte Restaurant Review
Last week I had the pleasure of indulging in a mid-week dinner date with Darren at one of my favourite local restaurants; Mya Lacarte in Caversham. I first came across this independent culinary establishment as part of my 30th birthday celebrations last year, my friend Lucy (aka The Luxe Life) planned a surprise birthday meal for me having come across the various recommendations on TripAdvisor.
This particular visit was special for two reasons, not only was it making the most of one of the last opportunities Darren and I will have to simply ‘pop out’ for a bite to eat before baby arrives, but we were also reviewing our meal as part of the new Goodman's Guide to Reading; an exciting collaboration between Goodman UK and a team of local bloggers.
Arrival and Atmosphere
Both Darren and I commented on the unusual entrance to the restaurant, located on the corner of the street, the door to enter is set slightly further back from the road and could be easily missed. Having already visited I knew my whereabouts and we quickly headed inside where we were warmly greeted by our host for the evening. ‘Host’ feels like the appropriate word as he fulfilled the role of both barman and waiter, I’m not sure if this is usual or not, but I did feel quite sorry for him at certain points throughout the evening as he was clearly rushed off his feet, although he handled it perfectly well.
The atmosphere is informal and relaxed and the tables are spaced nicely apart, so even when full to capacity you don’t feel like you’re sharing elbow room with strangers. What actually surprised me the most was how busy it was for an uneventful Wednesday evening, they were completely booked and even had to turn away a walk-in couple, clearly this place is very popular.
Menu and Wine
The menu choice isn't vast, but provides you with more than enough variety, Darren and I both selected to order from the Mya Daily menu which offers you a choice of a main for £12.95, two courses for £14.95 or three courses for £18.95. Obviously we went for the three course option!
We ordered some bread to start and Darren ordered a glass of the Fonte do Nico Periquita from Portugal; effectively the house wine and although neither of us are wine experts (despite what I might elude to on my Twitter bio) it went down very well indeed.
First up for me was a starter of lamb meatballs with tomatoes in a red wine sauce. The meatballs were really moist, full of flavour and offset nicely by the tomatoes and onions. It was a generous sized portion without being overkill for a starter and was served really nicely in an off-centre shaped bowl.
Darren opted for the crayfish cocktail, which was similar to a classic prawn cocktail but with a twist. Unlike a traditional prawn cocktail where the prawns sit atop a bed of lettuce with sauce, the crayfish was pleasantly blended alongside the salad and sauce and made for a very enjoyable starter. The toast that accompanied the cocktail would be better described as homemade bread stick fingers gently drizzled in oil, just enough to add substance to the dish, without filling you up before your main course.
My main course was the ‘catch of the day’, which just so happened to be cod on this particular Wednesday. It came served with sautéed potatoes, cabbage, pancetta, garden peas and crème fraiche. The potatoes were absolutely delicious, they may not have been the main focus of the meal, but they certainly stole the show as far as I was concerned. The cod was beautifully cooked and just fell apart, the flavours were quite bold but I felt they worked well together and it was wonderfully presented to boot.
Darren wasn't quite as keen on his choice of main; the chicken fricassee served with mushrooms, peppers and potatoes. He described it as being pleasant but a little bland; although he did point out that his Northern roots might be influencing him to judge a dish being served without gravy, something he considers a necessity regardless if it's appropriate or not!
For dessert I chose the strawberry mousse with crumble and coulis, at the time of ordering I was informed that I was the first person to order this particular dish and that I should keep an eye out for the chef watching me eat. I dutifully obliged and sure enough as soon as it was served to me I saw his head pop up through the kitchen window to see what I thought of it. He needn't have worried, for me this was the highlight of the whole evening, I've always had a sweet tooth, but pregnancy seems to have put it into overdrive. The mousse itself was wonderfully light, but still really flavoursome, the crumble balanced the lightness of the mousse and the whole thing was pulled together brilliantly with the tanginess of the coulis - a total winner!
Darren chose the chocolate and ginger cake served with vanilla ice-cream as his dessert. He commented that there was a good flavour of ginger in the chocolate cake, but nothing too over powering. Not being quite as fond as desserts as me he finished it off pretty quickly, which probably speaks far more positively than any written review.
Helen - definitely worth a visit and make sure you save room for the strawberry mousse!
Darren - overall the meal was really good and although I wouldn't describe it as being ‘wow’, I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this restaurant.