Local foodie Dan Fattorini, (and his son Rocco) went along to review the new menu at the Pavilion. Dan, who makes his own sausages, owns a proper pizza oven and likes to smoke meat in his free time, knows good ingredients when he sees them; so getting his approval means something. Luckily, it seems he was 'genuinely very impressed' and we're particularly delighted with his thoughts on our Scotch Eggs.
Here's what he thought:
"Walking around Bedford and looking at so many grand Victorian buildings one can’t help but imagine the glory days of this era. Bedford Park for me provides echoes of this time with its landscaped gardens, bandstand and duck ponds. You just can’t help but think of finely dressed families with hats and parasols, promenading in the open air.
It is within this setting that “Pavilion at the Park” has launched as a new restaurant and café aiming to provide breakfasts and lunches as well as supper clubs for keen foodies. I attended the “soft launch” to sample the food and atmosphere and see what promise it may bring.
Visually, nowhere nearby can boast such a beautiful setting and as you walk up from the bandstand surrounded by the last of the autumn flowers, the Pavilion itself is framed by the symmetry of the hedges. My first thought is that this is the appeal, no cars outside or ugly buildings, but this must also be the challenge to find custom when so off the beaten track.
Stepping inside, the Pavilion has been carefully styled with a clean theme of white and duck egg blue separated by finished wood. The beautiful vaulted ceiling sits at quite a height making the space feel nice and open and yet not at all cold. It is lit simply and is decorated with selected local artwork for sale around the room. It took me some time to realise my table was an up-cycled construction of scaffolding yet it seemed to blend in to its more traditional surroundings very well.
The menu here seems to focus on quality local ingredients with flavour and hearty satisfaction very much a priority. Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch menus each focus on a few good dishes rather than trying offer all things to all people which is so refreshing to see. I opted to try the mushroom and truffle soup but couldn’t help but also try the homemade scotch egg and sausage roll as they were invitingly positioned at the counter.
The sausage roll was generously filled and moist with a beautiful flaky puff pastry casing, however the scotch egg was something quite exceptional. Restaurants can be defined by their dishes and I can see people coming from far and wide for this scotch egg. The exterior was coated in crispy Panko breadcrumbs giving a fantastic crunch without a hint of greasiness. The egg inside was a deep yellow and cooked but not dry with a porky surround that was meaty and tasty yet not salty or over seasoned.
My soup was rich and a filling meal in itself, served with toasted ciabatta drizzled in a quality olive oil. This wasn't a mere light offering and a full dose of truffle was evident while the soup texture was thick and rustic rather than smooth and refined. My dining companion was my two year old son and he selected from a simple range of children’s favourites.
Eating here is a real treat for children, but it's homemade treat food, not deep fried trash; this should sit the pavilion in good stead with local families.
More generally there are pies, Lingers sausages, salads, paninis and fish dishes but the menu will change and evolve with the season and ingredients.
The menu is nicely placed to be able to fulfil a variety of tastes and scenarios while still fitting on one page. Traditional breakfasts progress on to exciting brunch offerings with a range of lunches that could suit a quick stop off and eat, or a more extended meal.
The supper club idea promises to bring something very different and may provide an exciting walk in the dark though the park but will be offered by arrangement in advance rather than a regularly dinner spot. Beers and wines and not currently available but supper clubs will allow a bring your own. Should an alcohol license be granted the opportunity for an afternoon Prosecco may just be the icing on the cake for the local ladies!"
We'd love to hear what you thought if you've tried out the new menu - we want to know what you think! Tweet us @BedfordPavilion or leave a review on our Facebook page here.
Chef Jonny with those sausage rolls...