Eating Out Hidden jem stands the test of time
It’s been four years – but people are saying it is still as good as it has always has been. No I’m not talking about the World Cup, but Jim’s Yard in stamford.
It was 2006 when Jim’s culinary skills first came onto my radar when he opened his first restaurant in Stamford. Tucked away behind the historic stone buildings in Ironmonger Street, the restaurant needed no fanfare to attract customers – the fine food spoke for itself and Jim’s reputation grew fast.
The Michelin Red Guide has awarded Jim’s Yard with a coveted Bib Gourmand. But rather than just trusting the professionals, on a quiet Tuesday night, I decided to see for myself if Jim was still in the Premier League of local cuisine.
At 7.45pm there were already a good many tables occupied and we were delighted to be seated by the French doors overlooking the patio area.
Choosing a starter proved to be quite difficult, with tempting dishes including crispy fried prawns with sweet chilli and basil dressing (£7.50), mushroom and tarragon risotto (£5.50) and chicken liver and garlic pate with toasted brioche and homemade chutney (£5.95). In the end I opted for oak smoked salmon with capers, onion rings and brown bread (£6.95) and my wife chose the grilled Stilton and onion tart (£4.95).
The piquant capers were a perfect partner to the generous portion of succulent salmon. If I was going to be picky I would have liked at least a few leaves of rocket or watercress to finish off the dish, but this is a minor point. My wife’s puff pastry tart
Jim’s Yard, tucked away behind histroic stone buildings in Ironmonger street, stamford, does not need to shout about its quality. It is distinctly premier league. was filled with sweet caramelised onion and topped with lashings of melted crumbly Stilton. We decided that both were equally good choices.
For main course I opted for the poached fillet of halibut with Norfolk samphire, dauphine potatoes and a white wine sauce (£14) and my wife choose the seared fillet of seabream with potato puree, fine beans and shellfish butter sauce (£13.95).
I admit I read the menu wrong because I thought my dish came with the creamy Dauphinoise potatoes, and was surprised when my plate arrived with four fried potato puffs. However my wife pointed out the error of my ways (no change there!) and I must say the potatoes were delicious. The meaty halibut flaked beautifully and the salty samphire had me dreaming of the seaside. My wife was equally impressed with the seared fillet of seabream and buttery shellfish sauce.
You see Jim’s Yard scores where so many other restaurants fail. Many of their dishes could be described as classic dishes – but they are classic dishes executed simply but with finesse. The best and freshest ingredients are really allowed to shine.
The dessert menu included the extremely tempting apple and blackberry crumble with vanilla icecream (£5.50), hot chocolate fondant with pistachio icecream (£5.95) and apple tart tatin with clotted cream icecream (£5.50) but sadly neither of us could manage even a spoonful.
However our fellow diners who did opt for pudding all appeared to be just as impressed with their finale as we had been with our first two courses.
I’m delighted to say that four years on and Jim’s Yard is still as good as it has always been. Attentive staff and consistently good food.
And with an equally good restaurant in Peterborough – Jim’s Bistro – I personally can’t wait until Jim works his magic on the former Beehive pub in Rivergate which is due to open this year. I wish him every success.