Last night the team at Napoleons on Ecclesall Road invited Dan and myself to sample and review their menu and casino experience. I’d been once before – although it was a few years ago and I can’t remember what I ate, I do remember the food being delicous, and the whole thing being a really enjoyable experience.
When I think of casinos in the UK, it doesn’t generally conjure thoughts of delicious food. Quite the opposite, I find the thought of a casino environment intimidating and even a little bit tacky. At Napoleons, they’ve done a really good job of making sure that the dining experience and casino are kept separate – whether you chose to visit the casino after your meal is up to you. I like this.
Having been to Napoleons before, I remembered the restaurant being furnished and finished to a really high standard. Everything from the attention to detail with the table layout and napkins (I’m a sucker for a nice napkin), through to the lighting, has been designed to create a luxury dining experience – it was an excuse to dress up. LBD and red lipstick at the ready – I was genuinely excited about our evening.
We arrived a little early to be greeted by a dedicated front of house member of staff who gave us the option to have a drink in the bar area, or order one from our table. Opting for the latter, we were seated by the window and ordered drinks – Dan went for beer and I went for a delicious Zinfandel.
The menu was totally drool-worthy, due to their chef Richard crafting a bespoke menu each month to keep the relevant. From August’s menu I ordered a pulled pork terrine to start, a goats cheese and walnut wellington for my main and to finish I had peaches roasted with vanilla with clotted cream. Dan had a goats cheese brulee to start, sirloin steak for his main and sticky toffee to finish.
I’m not a fan of pork – however something about the combination of a hot roast pork sandwich without the bread drew me in. The pulled pork terrine was succulent and fell apart under my fork. When dipped into the warm apple puree it was so tasty – it was delicate yet filling. Thanks to this, I’m now reconsidering my relationship with pork.
Straight up – the main course was so tasty I asked the waiter to keep them coming, and I was only half joking. The pasty was light, and the combination of walnut and goats cheese in the center was sensational – delicious and creamy. It came with some pesto and roasted pepper with coriander. Alone, I’m not a fan of coriander – but teamed with a mouthful of the wellington, it made it even better. My only criticism of whole the night was the veg and potatoes that came with our meals as it didn’t think it matched the roast pepper and pesto combo on my plate. That said, I was so full I didn’t have room for it anyway – and I wouldn’t let that put you off as they went perfectly with Dan’s sirloin steak.
The dessert was a treat – soft peaches with vanilla and cream. By our final course it was getting dark outside, there was a buzz about the restaurant and I was enjoying every mouthful of my last dish. Dan’s sticky toffee pudding was tasty too – not stodgy pub-lunch cake – it was much lighter. We washed this down with a long island iced-tea each and headed down to the casino – nervously.
In the casino we literally had no idea what to do. We had a £5 chip and, after wandering around the roulette tables trying to figure it out, gave it a whirl. We agreed to only spend our chips then quit if we were ahead. 32-red proved to be both lucky and unlucky – we won once, moved our chip thinking it wouldn’t land on there again… and it did. Doh! It was a good laugh and we came away £17.50 richer – WIN. We’re defiantly going to head down there with friends.
So, the question is, would I recommend Napoleons on Ecclesall Road? Yes! For £28 you get a drink on arrival, a three-course dinner and a £5 gaming chip. It’s a really lovely experience, a good excuse to get dressed up and a great laugh.
It totally exceeded my expectations food wise – we’ll be visiting again.
Have you been? What did you think?
Hayley Jayne xx