[Douglas, Isle of Man] Gallery Restaurant
With two AA Rosettes, the Gallery is one of the island’s better restaurants. Although, truth be told, that may not be saying a lot, but there’s solid, if hardly creative, cooking going on.
The room is pretty dismal and I doubt you’d ever think you were anywhere other than a hotel restaurant. The sort of hotel restaurant that had its heyday in the first half of the 20th century.
The amuse was just odd. A fruity water ice. Overly sweet, it may have worked as a pre-dessert but, at the beginning of the meal, it was plain wrong.
I was tempted to say that the “spicy” tomato and red pepper soup did exactly what it said on the tin, although it was clearly better made than any tinned product. A little under-seasoned and with no evidence whatsoever of the “spicy”, it was pleasant enough in itself but could have been much better. Twice baked cheese soufflé was good, if a little solid, with a punchy cheesy flavour. An excellent tomato chutney (presumably homemade) was the better of the two accompaniments – the other, a plum sauce, was overly sweet, just as the amuse had been.
For a main, there was a large fillet of grilled halibut which was skilfully cooked. It sat on some wilted spinach and was decorated with a couple of king prawns and a scattering of crayfish tails and broad beans. The garlic veloute was nothing of the sort and was, at best, a spoonful of underflavoured broth.
Beef stroganoff is a very retro dish, for me dating back 40 years or more. I don’t think I’ve seen it on a menu in the last two decades. And to complete the retro styling, it was cooked in a sort of Gueridon service style. Cooked in the restaurant but round a corner, out of sight of most of the tables. With no showmanship, you have to wonder why they bother. The beef was Manx and perfectly fine but, yet again, the sauce was underpowered. Oh, I mustn’t forget the vegetables which came on a half moon plate – all very 1980s, including serving them up all but raw.
Not a thrilling experience.