Laurel House (Charcoal Grill) – St Albans
Laurel House is a charming little local eatery situated on the main road of a quiet residential part of St Albans.
While a lick of paint on the outside wouldn’t go amiss in improving first impressions, the inside is clean, spacious with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get feel to it.
The menu too is a no-nonsense affair with 34 items in total.
Most impressively, it has to be said, is the claim that this restaurant serves “Gourmet Burgers”!
An impressively presented Calamari Salad with wonderfully battered calamaris that, while being chewy in texture, had a nice tangy, citrusy dressing to ’em.
These were well charred and succulent wings, albeit a tad on the small side.
A note also on the small detail diligently maintained by the chef, Abdul Ghani, who, in order to impart extra flavour to the dishes, used a herb-infused oil to coat his charcoal grilled food.
You won’t find that at many places of a similar or even, dare we say, better calibre!
Taste-wise though, this was better than some far more expensive and ambitious-sounding burgers we’ve had at higher-end London restaurants.
With a soft, well cooked Brioche bun and an assortment of extra ingredients including a fried egg, cheese, a large mushroom, and Turkey Rasher, this kept our interest right till the end.
Not only did the thick beef patty, cooked well done, turn out succulent with just the right chewiness to it, but was well supported by the earthiness of the soft mushroom, and well complemented by the smokiness of the crispy Turkey rasher.
And while the well cooked egg didn’t really bring much to the burger (does it ever?), the thick layer of cheese along with the onions and tomatoes provided that much needed sweetness.
And a word has to be said of the Hand-Cut Chips too.
Superb! Fluffy on the inside and nice and crunchy on the out, these rustic chips were well seasoned and were, again, far better than the majority of places you might visit and be served a vapid kind.
Says a lot about how far the chef is willing to go in providing his customers with as unique an experience as possible. Kudos!
This is especially true in regards to their presentation where the two kebab skewers were made to attractively hang from a bespoke contraption specifically made, it seems, for this dish and this dish alone.
Although the lamb was lightly marinated with a solid char to it, the poor kebabs turned out far too chewy indicating either a cheap cut, poor cooking, or both.
The rice on the other hand was flavourous, albeit reheated.
A word too on the inhouse sauces.
The vibrantly deep orange chilli sauce, served as it was in a charming cork-screwed bottle, was, despite its watery consistency, a fantastic fruity flavour.
Similarly, the mayo, though far thicker, was just as rich in flavour with a light zingy edge to it.
- NO/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED FACILITIES
Whilst we were there, we witnessed the good rapport he had with them - some of whom he knew and others, like us, who were made to feel special and welcomed.
He definitely knows how to make a mean burger too. As such, if we were to visit again, we'd consider "The Special" double beef patty 'Hunger Buster' burger for £10.95.
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69 Hatfield Rd, St Albans AL1 4JL.
T: +44 (0)727 844 481 | W: www.laurelhouse-charcoalgrill.co.uk
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 12:00-22:30