>SideDoor — a mighty fine gastropub

>I meet up with my blogger friend Holly many times a month for a bite to eat here and there. I know she’s visited SideDoor on many occasions and I’ve heard her rave about it. I was excited then on this particular get-together that she suggested we go there. SideDoor is attached to Five Crowns and is reminiscent of an English-style pub in so many ways. The quaint exterior is equally matched by its interior of dark hues and heavy wood furniture.

We were greeted by everyone as we entered and were given the choice to sit anywhere. We opted for a table by the window which was still letting in some natural light. Our server Jenny provided us with menus and gave us a moment to look through it before returning to take our drink orders. Holly opted for a beer flight while I chose two red wine 2oz tastings.

Several items on the menu stood out, but both of us were enticed by the charcuterie station by the entrance the minute we walked in. There are three ways to enjoy charcuterie at SideDoor, individually at $4/plate, a Chef’s Plate of three items for $10 and the SideDoor Sampler of five items at $16. We chose three cheeses: Cave-Aged Marisa, a sheep’s milk cheese from Wisconsin, a goat cheese from Italy called Fiorito, and a bleu cheese from Piedmont called Basajo. From the charcuterie: Bresaola from New Jersey and a Salame Toscano from San Francico.

Basajo was my favorite of the cheeses. This soft bleu melted in my mouth and had layers of flavors which revealed themselves one by one, surprising my palate over and over again. The salt crystals gave another dimension to the experience. Fiorito was also exquitsite when paired with lavender honey. If you have questions be sure to ask your server, they are very knowledgeable and will be able to help you select items that suit your palate.

We were utterly blown away by the strawberry fig bruschetta with Stilton, topped with a crispy piece of goose prosciuttoand drizzled with a port reduction. A bite from this little morsel encompassed everything one would want from a culinary orgasmic experience — crispy, crunchy, soft, sweet, salty, tart — just heavenly when brought together in one mouthful.

After all that food, we were still not ready to call it a night. The menu was calling our name and soon, we found ourselves ordering the fish and chips with the beef fat fries to finish off the evening. Two pieces of halibut, battered and fried were served on a ‘newspaper’ with a house-made tartar sauce. The fish was flaky, tasty and definitely fresh. I liked how they gave you cider vinegar with your fish and chips — like they do in England — and the fries fried in beef fat definitely added a richer flavor to otherwise, regular fries, but the thought of them being so decadent made me wish I hadn’t eaten as many as I did.

Service is very attentive, I loved how Jenny kept coming back to see if we needed anything and was genuinely interested in our feedback. Will definitely be back!

SideDoor, 3801 E Coast Hwy, Corona del Mar, CA 92625. Tel: 949-717-4322

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