Retro cheese with Jack and Alice
The prospect of a fondue night at Jack and Alice, the new wine bar on Tring High Street, had me and a good few of my friends all in a tizzy. Retro? Yup. Cheesy? Yup. Delicious? Oh yeah…
Determined to re-live the delicious fondues of my 70s childhood – only this time without my siblings threatening to throw me in the lake if the bread fell off my fork, and with the addition of a decent bottle of wine – I grabbed two of my best lovelies and we headed off, fondue-wards, into the night.
Jack and Alice is really settling into its stride now. I’ve been there a few times – research, honestly, for research – and it’s getting the hang of itself properly now. The staff are unfailingly friendly and learning fast – our service at the fondue night was the best it’s been. The atmosphere is warming up. And the cheese and the charcuterie and the wine are all properly delicious. Oh, and the cake too. And the coffee and tea. It’s all good.
Admittedly, I’ve had the same wine every time I go there – I’m so adventurous – but when you find a cheekily reasonable red that goes down quite that smoothly, why change? I’m sure I’ll venture beyond the Monetpulciano d’Abruzzo at some point, but I’m quite happy where I am for now.
The fondue was a perfect size for the 3 of us to share. And the platter of different breads and vegetables was deliciously supplemented by the addition of a couple of contrasting choices from their charcuterie menu. We’d just about had enough when we reached the bottom and started scraping the crispy bits off with the ends of our forks. I will say, I didn’t manage terribly elegantly with the asparagus. It was delicious dipped in the cheese, but could I get the bugger to stay on my fork? No. And once it was in, there was no fishing it out. But that’s almost certainly just me. I’m sure you would have managed it beautifully.
We were upstairs in the ‘pantry’ section – the glass-roofed conservatory-style bit at the back – and it suited the whole fondue thing perfectly. I’m a big fan of the ‘cellar’ downstairs for wine and nibbles, and the ‘parlour’ up front for coffee and cake. Not that I’m fussy, mind you.
I’m definitely going back – not least because of the number of different friends who’ve said they want to try it out. And, well, it would rude to go with one and not the others, right? I love the retro vibe that fondue has, and the whole sharing board – fondue pot? – feel that Jack and Alice is going for. Food to pick at? Perfect. A bubbling vat of cheese with delicious bits to dip in it? Even better.