7 months ago

The Willows winter menu has arrived

And it’s arrived in style. Cheeses, spices, charcuterie, roasted bits… this is a menu that will get your festive feels flowing.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Willows, because they have launched their new menu and it’s as festive as you could hope for. Though the flavours might have changed, the Old Town restaurant is still sticking to their small plates and board concept which it is known and loved for. If you’re yet to visit (what have you been doing?) you might not know the novel way you order your food here. When you are seated you’ll be presented with your individual menu and a dinky pencil- all the bits on there are small plates and are split up into handy sections snacks, boards, hot, cold, green and sweet. The recommend 2-3 small plates per person and all you need to do is tick next to the dishes you want and presto! your bespoke meal will be served in no time. The only issue with this style is that it’s so hard to choose from their delicious menu; every dish has it’s part to play in the feast so it’s great if you’re with a few others so you can try a bit of everything.

The decor inside is cosy and a little quirky. There are loads of unique -and very beautiful- chopping boards displayed on the wall and cool bits of art here and there. The deli section is tucked away in the corner and it was fun to browse all the artisanal goodies before our meal. Crackers, spreads, cheeses, meats… there’s loads stocked there so if you want to impress this festive season, pay them a visit.

But onto our meal! Nocellara olives and the seeded sourdough with sage butter was a simple, savoury way to start whilst we browsed the rest of the menu. We needed it because, oh boy, it was hard to choose. But, because we were at Willows, we had to get their staples; the cheese board and the charcuterie board. Each comes with 4 cheeses or meats respectively and you’ll get a combo of pickles, chutneys and crackers or pickles, butter and bread to go with them. We love a sharing board all year round but there’s something extra special about them at Christmas, it really brings a table together and the ones here never ever disappoint.

Our small plate selection was a celebration of wintery flavours. The pappardelle with a zingy kale pesto, crispy roasted potatoes with a luxurious parsnip thyme cream, a tomatoey butterbean stew with carrot top gremolata was gorgeous when scooped up with hunks of bread and the garlicky seasonal greens were a yummy hit of goodness to scare away any winter lurgy. The beetroot with labneh and sour cherry molasses was a real treat too- sweet and tart from the cherry; it’ll get any beetroot sceptic into a fan in no time for good reason. But our real standout from the small plates were the roast carrots with garlic white bean puree. Prettily displayed with striking multicoloured carrots (orange, purple, yellow) that were as tasty as they were beautiful. They came glazed in a punchy mustard and maple vinaigrette atop of a creamy bed of garlicky beans. Wintery perfection.

The two deserts we got were also standouts. If you’ve had the banana bread at Willows then you’ll know they can do sweet very, very well. The hibiscus poached pear was perfectly pink and cooked to just the right softness to easily cut through. It came generously drizzled in cream and chocolate shavings and was a sneaky favourite for us. If you want to keep it classic then we recommend indulging in their rum and raisin sticky toffee pudding. Soul warming food that sticks to your ribs in all the best ways. Gorgeous.

There’s something for everyone on the menu; golden roasties, butterbean stew, pasta. It’s very vegetarian-friendly and will satisfy any dietary requirement easily. In our opinion there’s never been a better time to visit Willows. Bring the gang, hunker down and get loads of their small plates to love.

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