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The Living Room

When you arrive at The Living Room it can seem a bit imposing. It’s a large, glass-fronted building and, when we went, two smart looking doormen stood like sentries at a command post at the doors, but as we went inside the somewhat formal exterior seemed to soften a little.

The layout is a slightly unusual, the large downstairs bar was a hive of activity with a live music area set up in one corner with a baby grand piano, and plenty of comfortable looking ‘Living Room’ style seating and a few more formal tables. We were shown upstairs to the chic and stylish restaurant. The décor is a wild mix of big patterns and subtle colours, and a few of the pictures were not quite what we were expecting.

The staff were attentive but not overbearing, and after showing us to our table, we were presented with the extensive menu.  Now when I say extensive, I do mean extensive; so much so we ordered some warm bread and olives just to keep us going while we chose. We were dining in the evening but the menu also offers lighter snacks, sandwiches or sharing plates perfect for lunchtimes. If I had to define the menu type I would say ‘modern British’. It mixes some great classics with European and Asian inspired dishes.

After labouring over the menu for sometime trying to decide, we finally managed to choose our starters; Thai fishcakes with marinated cucumber, lime and sweet chilli sauce and Quarter Peking duck with pancakes with all the usual trimmings. Both starters were good-sized portions and were absolutely delicious; bring on the mains. We were very tempted by the Living room Chef’s Plate; a single dish created by one of the Living Room’s head chefs each month using local produce and showing off how truly great British food can be. The dish changes each month and when we went it was Pan-fried calves liver served on garden pea houmous  with pancetta crisp, garnished with Lea & Perrins infused baby onions; but alas other dishes caught our eye.

We plumped for the most wonderful smoked haddock and garden pea risotto with asparagus topped off with a runny poached egg. The freshness of the flavours really came through and the perfectly cooked poached egg oozed into the rice making it even more creamy and delicious. The other main was lamb cutlets served with creamed sweet potato, roasted bell peppers and basil butter. The lamb was cooked to perfection and the sweet taste of the potato will linger for a long time.

After all that we need a break before tackling the pudding; but tackle them we did. The opportunity to try the Living Room ‘Banoffee in a Bag’ was too good to miss and when it arrived it didn’t disappoint.  I won’t spoil the surprise or excitement by telling you exactly what you get but suffice to say you will not forget either the presentation or the taste. A wonderfully delicious sticky toffee pudding with farmhouse ice cream was our other choice and after a swift coffee we were truly fit to burst.

You certainly cannot fault the Living Room on choice or quality – I’m always impressed when a menu leaves you agonising over what you choose for each course. Children are not left out either, up to 10 years old and you can choose from three starters, two mains and two puddings for just £6.00 (2 courses) or £7.50 (3 courses). Generally the menu prices are maybe slightly more than you average meal but I definitely believe you get what you pay for.

Summary:
I’m dying to go back to the Living Room to sample more of what it has to offer and with the menus updated each month, this restaurant opening in Milton Keynes could damage my bank balance but to hell with it, some things are just worth the money. Go with friends, go with family or enjoy a romantic meal for two – you will not be disappointed (especially if you like Banoffee!).

Facilities:

Children’s menu
There is a children's menu for under 10s, a choice of starters, main and puddings at £6.00 for 2 courses or £7.50 for 3 courses.

Disabled facilities
Lift available to the mezzanine floor restaurant or you can dine downstairs as well. Disabled toilets are available on the ground floor.

Parking
Weekday daytime parking can be difficult and costly (pay and display). Evenings, after 7.00pm, but all day at the weekend there is plenty of parking available.

Other amenities
Lively bar area to enjoy a drink with friends. Live music programme available - see website for details. Two wind-protected, outdoor terraces for drinks or dining. Areas can be reserved for private dining or special occasions.