Tucked away in a corner of the market place in Barton-upon-Humber is a small but well lit door with a strange-font(ed) sign bearing the name ‘Imaginarium’. Open up the door and you’ll discover the wonderful sight and smell of the Imaginarium gastro lounge.
This is quite a new restaurant and seems to be proving very popular if the amount of diners was anything to go by. Time to give it a try.
To be greeted at the door by staff is often a bonus nowadays so it was pleasant to be duly welcomed in and escorted to our table by very friendly member of staff. The first thing we really noticed was the bright and cheery atmosphere of the interior. Great care had obviously been taken here when choosing the decor.
Tip: When booking, ask to be seated through the rear doors into the reclaimed (indoor) courtyard. It’s even nicer.
OK. It looks and feels nice, so, what about the food?
I don’t really like to say this, but perhaps the chef is on a bit of a learning curve , and it was very busy. Maybe the kitchen staff are still finding their feet. I hope so. I really do. What was wrong? I don’t know. It was hard to put a finger on it.
I started with the ‘Aromatic Crispy Duck’. It wasn’t crispy. It was rubbery in texture and took some chewing. Check picture 1. I didn’t enjoy mine though to be fair another member of our party also had duck and she maintained that hers was OK.
Another of the party had the baked Camembert, fig and red onion tart. Check pic 2. Does that look like a ‘tart’? Well, evidently it was OK, but it wasn’t the warm melted Camembert that was suggested (as in baked) that I expected. Someone else had the ham hock and chicken terrine. No complaint with this one.
For a ‘main’ I had rib-eye steak, which I have to say, was excellent, though the chips were only just and just cooked. Someone else had sea bass, which again was judged ‘OK’. Now the sea bass dish consisted of new potatoes and mixed veg, but no sauce or anything to make it a bit special. All well cooked and nothing wrong with anything particularly. The other two guests had Chicken Voldostana, which was described as ‘very nice’, and the halibut from the ‘specials board’, which was described as being OK.
But it was the Chicken Voldostana that was deemed the best dish.
We actually had room, just, for puddings, which again were nice. Chocolate orange Wellington fudge and sticky toffee plum pudding.
The following verdict may sound harsh, but it’s honest.
I’ve described the various dishes purposely as being ‘nice’ or ‘OK’. Not fabulous. Not incredible. Just ‘nice’. There was nothing here that couldn’t be described as nice. However, this was not an amazing culinary experience. Someone in our party did comment that they felt they could go home and cook these same meals. The name of the restaurant conjours up an imaginative, special and possibly exciting experience, but we felt on this occasion, it didn’t deliver for the cost of the meal.
As I have already stated, this is a new restaurant and it’s early days. Do I recommend it? Well, we will go back and give it a second try, perhaps in a month’s time. They do a really inviting TexMex and Burger menu which I look forward to. The staff are super friendly and enthusiastic, so I hope they succeed and I wish them well . With a bit of tinkering with the menu (fish is not part of the standard menu), and having the courage, and dare I say, imagination, to refine their dishes, they will.
Good luck to the Imaginarium.