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Attached to the edge of The Biscuit Factory gallery is Artisan, a restaurant whose food is as delicious as the objects inside the gallery next door are aesthetically pleasing. You know it’s going to be good when they bring you freshly baked, warm bread and creamy salted butter before you’ve even ordered. Don’t be dissuaded by the hefty price tags that sit on their à la carte menu; they offer lunch time and early evening menus that are a total bargain at 2 courses for £15 or 3 courses for £20. It puts the seriously high quality food served in Artisan within a student budget, as long as you sit down before 14:30 or 19:30, for lunch and dinner respectively. When it’s easy to spend £15-20 on your average Wagamamas, you’d be mad not to come here instead for some seriously sophisticated food. The timings also aren’t a problem, as they’re happy for you to arrive just before the cut-off point, so it doesn’t necessitate an unpleasantly early dinner at all.
As a celebration of my final university hand-ins, I went with my dad for lunch the other week. I couldn’t recommend a better way to celebrate finishing university. The staff are all very friendly and accommodating, not resenting us at all for walking in at 14:25 as everyone else inside was onto pudding, and then staying for two leisurely hours.
My dad was a baller and went for the à la carte menu, which is undeniably not very suitable for coming with mates on a student budget, as mains are around £20 each. In order to test the theory that this isn’t necessary for the same full experience, and prove that Artisan could be recommended to friends reading this blog, I stuck to the £20 three-course lunch menu, which offers four choices for each course.
Phwoar, the food was good. The bottle of wine helped too. First up was chicken liver parfait for the old man and a duck scrumpet for myself. I had no idea what the latter was going to be, and half envisaged some sort of duck dish served on a crumpet, but unsurprisingly it was ten times better than that. It turns out that a duck scrumpet is soft, pulled duck encased in a crispy breadcrumb shell with a tart puree on the side. It was utterly divine.
Then for mains we had a chunky, nicely flakey halibut fillet on a creamy mix of mushrooms and samphire, and a pigeon pithivier which was buttery pastry goodness with a strong gamey off-set.
Pud was lemon posset and one of the tastiest chocolate creations I’ve ever had that had all kinds of appendages to it. All the servings were perfect portions that didn’t leave you feeling half-dead, but very definitely made you aware that you’d just gone out for a seriously good lunch. Artisan’s dishes use highly sophisticated and complex flavours without being intimidating, and serve them in a friendly atmosphere and in decent sizes that prohibit the restaurant from becoming the arsey white-tablecloth-place it undoubtedly would be were it to exist in London.
There’s also the lovely Biscuit Factory to wander around afterwards — what more do you want? Eat like a princess on a student’s budget, go on. (Or go there after 19:30 with a parent in tow.)