Church Street Tavern

3 Church Street, Colchester, United Kingdom, CO1 1NF
Critics Review 4/5
Restaurant info
Opening Information

Opening Hours:

BAR
Wednesday-Thursday 9am-11pm
Friday-Saturday 9am-12am
Sunday 11am-5pm

KITCHEN
Lunch
Wednesday-Friday 12-2.30pm
Saturday-Sunday 12-3pm
Dinner
Wednesday-Thursday 5.30pm-9.30pm
Friday-Saturday 5.30pm-10pm

Facilities
  • Disabled Access
  • Private Dining
  • Families and Children Welcome
  • Gluten Free Available
  • Business Lunch
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Free WiFi

About Church Street Tavern

A great place to meet up, have fun and be well looked after. Ground floor bar serving craft beer, eclectic wine, cocktails, tea and coffee. First flour restaurant serving seasonal food from an ever changing menu. Quick light lunches, rare breed steak, private dining and events.

Cuisine: British, Afternoon Tea, Sunday Lunch
Dress Code: Casual,Smart Casual

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Critics Review
Review by Tracey Macleod for Independent
4/5
When is a pub not a pub? Last week, I had two very different lunch experiences, at opposite ends of the spectrum of modern pubbery. The first was in a new place in London's West End – I won't name it, because I'm a kind person. An ordinary little pub, stripped of any last vestige of comfort or conviviality, and now operating as a kushiyaki bar. You know, a kushiyaki bar? Like in Japan, where they serve skewers of grilled meat to salarymen on the lash. Only this was about as Japanese as pork scratchings; a dismal shell of a room combining the worst aspects of old-man's pub and chilly Japanese café, where I perched on a tall stool to eat nondescript bits of grilled and deep-fried flesh, and – God help me – tempura avocado. In its striving, on-trend way, it was every bit as grim and unforgiving as city-centre pubs used to be, before they invented the gastropub and we could all sit with a fish pie and a glass of merlot. So that's one direction a pub can go in, and good luck to them: A3 licences in the overheated London market are hard to come by, and there are shoals of ambitious young chefs eager to go it alone and do unforgivable things to avocados. Another new direction is to style yourself a 'tavern'; not in the old sense of a roadhouse serving foaming tankards and beef to trenchermen, but in the modern sense, which is basically 'restaurant'. That's how they've done it at the Church Street Tavern in Colchester, an Essex town which has yet to challenge Ludlow in the gastronomic stakes. Now this is a pub to spend some time in. A handsome, big-boned townhouse just off the main shopping drag which combines the warmth and hospitality of the traditional tavern with the serious cooking chops of the Tavern 2.0. Arriving late and discombobulated for a mid-week lunch, after an unfortunate misunderstanding about a disabled parking permit, my mother and I were welcomed, and – in a sun-filled, spacious upstairs dining room beautifully decorated with objets trouvé and groovy – very well fed. Tiny spoonfuls of chicken liver parfait arrived unannounced with springy herb bread. Then a shivery, irresistible pot of parmesan custard, to be scooped up with delicate wands of anchovy toast. Chickpea fritters appeared as a ladies-who-lunch take on falafel, with pomegranate-sprinkled whipped ricotta standing in for hummus, and some kind of grassy oil to be mopped up with the crisp, spinachy puffs. The menu is huge, and apart from the safe haven of various cuts of steak, ambitious. A brace of Norfolk quail get the dirty treatment, exuberantly spiced, spatchcocked and chargrilled, leaving the skin deeply flavoured with salt and smoke, the flesh sweetly pink. With them, nutty, veg-studded pearl barley and a sultry blast of black cabbage and hazelnut pesto. Partnering subtle skate with equally soft and pale gnocchi was brave, but the dish was hot-wired by purple sprouting broccoli humming with tarragon and punchy little brown shrimps. Only my starter of rabbit pie flopped; sweetly spiced like Moroccan pastilla, it was swaddled in an over-dense pastry which temporarily silenced my half of the debate about the missing parking permit. A side of Jansson's temptation, an anchovy-kissed swoon of potato, cream, cheese and garlic, reconciled my mother to a dish she had spurned since the early Sixties, when a Swedish friend's dinner party went horribly wrong. The short selection of puddings includes rhubarb and custard with orange and polenta shortcake, a dish which perfectly reflects the CST's brand of trad comfort with a twist. Bravo to whoever designed this dream of confident good taste, the sober scheme of wood floors, leather banquettes and foxed mirrors quirked up with sculptural driftwood and flurries of vintage china. The lounge bar downstairs, where every seat is a deep armchair or sofa, rather than a bony high stool, is equally beguiling. This is a place put together by someone who knows exactly what they're doing. That someone is Piers Baker, whose Sun Inn in the Essex village of Dedham I enthused about when it opened 11 years ago. "The instinct for hospitality behind the Sun is positively Continental," I wrote then. "Everything's just a little bit better than it needs to be." The same is true, in spades, of the Tavern, which Baker opened a year ago, installing a young team from the Sun, including head chef Ewan Naylon. Despite appearances, the building was converted from an estate agents rather than an existing hostelry. Which goes to show that while it's all too easy to convert a pub into something dreary, it takes time, good taste and talent to make a dreary building into a wonderful pub.
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Visited On Saturday, 22 February 2020

Food was lovely. We couldn’t have our first choice main but this was compensated with cocktails so we can’t really complain. Waitress was so nice the whole evening making us feel special and not just another customer. My only down side was our table was quite close to the one next door meaning their conversations felt very loud.

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Visited On Saturday, 15 February 2020

As always friendly and professional service and great food

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Visited On Saturday, 08 February 2020

Thank you Evie for making our evening lovely . We had a great time .

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Visited On Saturday, 01 February 2020

We had a lovely evening from start to finish. The food was all delicious and the service even better. The young lady who served us was friendly and very professional.

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Visited On Thursday, 30 January 2020

Best meal I’ve had in Colchester! Food & service was top drawer. Restaurant was quieter as it was a Thursday but service was non-intrusive and the ambience was relaxed and intimate. Love this place.

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Visited On Saturday, 18 January 2020

Another very enjoyable evening at our local fav restaurant. The food was absolutely delicious and served perfectly. They serve proper drinks and the staff are always so lovely. We would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys professionally cooked food at affordable prices!! Lindseyx

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Visited On Sunday, 12 January 2020

We had a super time, and for a large table it went as well as these things can. It is special to be able to facilitate family events. It took a while for the food to come in the first instance but as i say it was a large table, and we wouldn't want to be rushed either. Church Street Tavern also accommodated allergies which is a huge thing and for which we are grateful. We loved it and would come again. :-)

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Visited On Sunday, 19 January 2020

Excellent food as always

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Visited On Friday, 17 January 2020

Always good. No wonder they get the Michelin recommendation.

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Visited On Friday, 10 January 2020

Another fabulous evening! Thank you.

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Visited On Friday, 20 December 2019

We had our staff Christmas lunch here and were very impressed with both the food and service. All dietary requirements were accommodated. There was a good choice of wine and the staff were attentive. Would highly recommend.

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Visited On Sunday, 15 December 2019

Another great visit to one of the best restaurants in Colchester

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Visited On Friday, 06 December 2019

Great thank you to Piers and the staff of Church Street Tavern. Thank you for your warm and lovely atmosphere and for a great and consistent service. All the staff were brilliant and attentive. Also thank you for your lovely and great quality food and drinks . All the meals were served hot with excellent taste and flavour. We certainly recommend this place and rate it as a five star restaurant.

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Visited On Saturday, 14 December 2019

Food quite unexpectedly outstanding. Service, charming, unpretentious and attentive. Lift a great help for my 92 year old mum. Parking only problem for physically challenged.

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Visited On Thursday, 12 December 2019

The service is always great and the food is faultless. I tell everyone I know to come and have your burger. Keep up the amazing work guys!

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Visited On Saturday, 07 December 2019

We really enjoy dining at Church Street Tavern - attentive and friendly staff, wonderful food in a relaxing contemporary setting. We have never been disappointed and we always look forward to dining here. Highly recommended.

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Visited On Saturday, 07 December 2019

Excellent evening, staff very attentive and efficient, food fantastic, would absolutely recommend.

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Visited On Sunday, 08 December 2019

It was a shame that the pre order menu wasn't passed across prior to our visit, admin on that respect definitely needs looking into. But that is our only complaint as the way the staff dealt with that issue and also the quality of the food and overall service was outstanding.

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Visited On Saturday, 07 December 2019

The food and service was outstanding and would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone. The only downfall was in the restaurant I felt there the atmosphere could be a little better.

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Visited On Saturday, 07 December 2019

The food was delicious and the staff all had the knack of suddenly appearing when I wanted their attention, but I didn't feel watched or rushed at all throughout my meal. I had concerns regarding an allergy and my waitress was excellent at confirming that which options were suitable. The bar had a good selection of beer and cocktails (I didn't look at the wine menu so cannot comment but imagine it would also be well rounded at good quality). Overall my new favourite dinner place in Colchester.

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Visited On Saturday, 16 November 2019

What a gem of a place. Beautiful food and a lovely relaxed atmosphere.

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Visited On Friday, 15 November 2019

A stylish atmosphere with gorgeous food served by attentive staff.

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Visited On Saturday, 09 November 2019

Initially we had to wait quite a bit for attention before we went over to ask for someone to take our pre-dinner drinks order, but once that happened service was very good. Fab food and wine as ever!

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Visited On Saturday, 09 November 2019

We were made to feel very welcome as soon as we entered the restaurant. The starters were delicious, particularly the chicken terrine and the steaks for the main course were cooked to perfection. I would recommend the restaurant to anyone visiting Colchester.

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Visited On Saturday, 09 November 2019

Lovely restaurant ambience . Very efficient service. Menu especially starters offered a very diverse range

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