Situated on the lovely Wilton Road, About Thyme competes with numerous other eateries and drinking holes. Still, the bright purple facade should be enough to attract the attention of passing trade and the menu will certainly be sufficient to lure them inside.
Although appearing small from the outside About Thyme has two floors, the upper of which is surprisingly spacious. Inside the purple theme is reiterated in the flowers but tempered by neutral decor, exposed brick and wooden floors.
Early on in the evening the restaurant can be quiet and as a result feel a little sterile but as the evening wears on the place starts to fill up and become cosier. The majority of customers seem to be locals in the know, mostly small groups or couples. Service is respectful and unobtrusive allowing for free flowing conversation but perhaps posing a problem for those looking to make a quick getaway.
About Thyme has one of those great menus from which it is almost impossible to pick what you want to eat. The cuisine is billed as modern European and draws on French, Spanish and British influences making use of fresh produce from local markets. For a decadent starter try the scallops with black pudding (£10.50). This dish is an excellent example of allowing high quality produce to speak for itself. The soft plump scallops are complemented by a rough textured black pudding, perfectly crisped at the edges. If that’s not rich enough for your tastes then the pan fried foie gras, served with a fried egg (£12.50), is well worth a try. The foie gras has a melt in the mouth quality and is delicious when dipped in the egg yolk and balsamic dressing.
The generous main courses are equally varied and just as well executed as the starters. The seafood risotto (£16.50) overflows with mussels, cockles and prawns. The seafood is of a high standard and the risotto base is tasty, if more akin to paella. The duck with braised cabbage is tender and pink in the middle. The sauce makes this dish, a redcurrant jus with fresh blueberries that perfectly complements the rich meat of the duck breast.
Desserts are the only real let down at About Thyme, lacking the creativity of the rest of the menu. The creme brulee is quite heavy and dense as a result of being laced with alcohol and whilst the poached pear is tasty the accompanying vanilla ice cream is a little on the bland side.
There is a good wine list to balance the varied menu, with French and Spanish wines making up the majority. Most bottles fall in the £20 to £30 range with three whites and reds available by the glass. The crisp and light Sauvignon Blanc works well with the seafood dishes and the Rioja is full bodied enough to accompany the strong flavours of the duck.
The Last Word
An excellent local bistro, About Thyme is perfect for an informal romantic dinner.