WITH the growing popularity of Hub Box and the arrival of the third in the chain of award-winning Sam's restaurants, it is fair to say competition has suddenly grown fiercer on the Truro restaurant scene.
With that in mind, I headed down to another new boy on the block, Mustard and Rye, to suss out the American-style menu which received a massive amount of hype prior to opening.
Tonight it was all the more special as it was my man's birthday.
Luckily he's a nice chap who loves me and has got quite good at throwing most things down his throat alongside a polite smile. But I do like to make his birthdays memorable for the right reasons where possible, it is his birthday after all…
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I immediately got a good feeling as I entered the eatery. The décor is designed to feel like you've been transported to an awesome bistro somewhere in the States. Bright yellow booths, tiles, real jalapeno pepper plants, I was getting more and more excited to eat.
We were greeted by a friendly waitress who seated us at a table for two. Ideally I'd have loved for us to share a booth but that would have been far too greedy for two people during peak feeding time.
We ordered a couple of beers (well we are in America after all) – a Brooklyn lager and a Snake Dog real ale – and our food.
Up to now I couldn't complain. Speedy service and considering it was a Tuesday night, the restaurant was as lively as I've known others in Truro on a weekend.
Supping our beers and imagining we'd run away to New York, it wasn't long before our starters arrived.
Crab cakes with sweetcorn relish for me and popcorn chicken for Toby – with a huge dollop of food envy on the side.
The cakes were lovely; a good sized portion dressed with a pretty little side salad – £7 was a fair price. Toby's popcorn chicken tasted great but there just wasn't enough of it and it was made to look worse because it was served in a tiny black dish. For £7 you expect a touch of finesse – a leaf or two on a larger plate would do it.
But both were nice and we were more excited about the main course to be honest.
By now it was pretty busy in the restaurant. Our waitress had turned into a waiter who was becoming flustered in the hubbub. This didn't stop him serving us with a smile though.
We didn't have to wait too long after the starters were taken for the main to arrive.
A wooden board that housed a rather tall heap of Pulled Pork, a rack of Pork Belly Rib, sliced Low 'n' Slow Beef Brisket and half a Smokin Beer Can Chicken served with a jug of Devil Dip Gravy was laid down in front of us.
For the meat-loving boy, it was like all his birthdays had come at once. I was equally excited albeit somewhat overwhelmed at the sheer size of it. Already I was content at the £26 we were to pay for it. We also ordered chilli cheese fries and house salad for kicks.
"Where do we start?" I asked the boy. Too late, he was already in.
The pork belly rib was very tasty and the chicken was moist and flavoursome. The pulled pork is smoked for 17 hours and that was evident in the taste, albeit a very strong and rich flavour which I personally couldn't eat too much of in one go.
The beef brisket though really lacked the wow factor and for me let the whole dish down. I found it to be bland and slightly chewy and it was the only thing we left.
But the most disappointing of all was that the meat was far too cold having just come out of the kitchen – I like my food piping hot, not lukewarm.
No qualms with our sides which tasted great, were hot in temperature and are fairly priced at £3 each. Main plates were cleared and two more beers arrive. Dessert? Why not, we don't get out much. We met half way and decided to share the Snickers mess. And it was by far one of the best desserts I've had in a long time.
A creamy, chocolatey, peanuty glass of heaven was placed right under my nose. It didn't take long to find the melted Snickers bar which hung from the sides of the glass and was swirled throughout. I was in heaven and I'm not usually a sweet lover. At £6 I was chuffed to bits and the perfect light finish to a hearty meal.
So, what's the verdict you ask?
It was always going to be a challenge for Mustard and Rye to meet the bar of expectation which had been placed so highly on it. But to survive in the evolving American diner-style hype that is hitting Truro fast, each eatery will have to provide a different and special experience.
Albeit a few teething problems, considering we visited within weeks of it opening, we both enjoyed our evening and wish the restaurant every success.
See you for a Brooklyn lager soon Mustard and Rye. Visit www.mustardandrye.co.uk