We turned a corner and found ourselves outside a venue with bouncers on the door (very friendly) and a bar packed full of the bright young things from the local area. The bar area was full and before taking our seats in the dining area upstairs we were left to choose a drink (read cocktail) to take with us.
Still convinced that the best cocktails contain rum I chose one that combined it with a liquor I've only just discovered and love, Chambord. A rich blackcurrant liquor that comes in the most ostentatious bottle. Try it mixed with Prosecco, it's absolutely delicious. I digress. It was time to taste it in another combination. This time it was going to be a Rum Weasley for £7.50 a mix of Old J Rum, Chambord, lime, sugar, pineapple juice and fresh raspberries. My Welsh One chose his favourite, a Mojito.
With drinks skillfully made by our Mixologist we were soon taken upstairs to a table in the corner by the window, dimly lit to create a more sophisticated setting. To my right was another bar area and impressive chandelier. Around us were black painted partitions creating a sense of privacy for each table, with black tables and red crushed velvet seats.
A table of friends sat down nearby and at other tables were couples of all ages. We started to sip our cocktails. Amazing! In fact from the first sip to the last, every time I slurped up a little more I'd nod smiling at my drink and point at it, to make the point, yep it's still delicious. I've found my drink, the Rum Weasley. It's delicious, please try and feedback.
The menu was quite large so it was a bit bewildering to work out what to try. Luckily at the back we found the perfect option, a set menu of four courses for £30 a head. This option allowed us to try a broad range of tastes from House of the Rising Sun's Asian fusion offering.
Welcome to modern Australian dining brought to us by Chef Liam Watton and team. Divided into Waves (not sure about that idea), we began with my favourite, which didn't disappoint, the salmon nigiri along with tasty sushi rolls. Our Asian tapas adventures had begun with a strong start.
Wave 2 brought another selection of Asian tapas that included a surprising stand out of squid tempura. It was surprising because I'm normally turned off calamari by its chewiness. This version had a deftly light batter and the squid was melt-in-the-mouth. Quite a revelation. The pork Hirata bun tasted a sweet second and the Thai fishcakes and chicken gyoza worked well too.
Wave 3 and we were beginning to feel very full. There were also a few disappointments with this course, the duck seemed a little soggy and lacking in flavour, there was nowhere to make the pancakes as we had used our dishes for the katsu curry and the spring onion could have done with cutting more finely. The katsu curry didn't shine although the seared teriyaki beef was full of flavour.
Wave 4 brought a collection of desserts, we were so full by this stage, a sign of how much we had enjoyed the meal that we had little room for sweets. On one large plate we were presented with a selection of mini brownies, panna cotta, ice cream and a little tart. It was too much and nothing seemed to make a big impression.
What I loved about HOTRS was their adventurous attitude towards cooking. One option on the menu was called Chefs Weekly Experiment. The staff, mostly young men, which I couldn't help but notice were incredibly friendly and the choice on the menu was immense.
I'd 100% recommend going for the Rum Weasley cocktail, the Mojito was very good too and then stay for some stand-out squid tempura and other Asian tapas delights. You'll thank me for the tip off, if you do.
House of the Rising Sun, 18 Butcher Row, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 1UW Tel: 01743 588040
With thanks to Original Shrewsbury for arranging the press trip. To find out more about Shrewsbury, click here to read A Visit to Shrewsbury and click here for somewhere great to Stay in Shrewsbury.
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