Expectations were certainly high, following the success of the restaurant’s murder mystery evening last month.
I came along to the event with two friends, who went above and beyond to dress for the occasion by creating their medieval outfits from scratch. I - less impressively - threw on a formal little black dress - adhering to the event’s ‘dress to impress’ theme as costumes were not mandatory.
This did not stop some guests from going all out, however. There were two women in medieval dresses, two young maids and even Henry VIII turned up with his monk best friend.
We were given a red carpet welcome by the jester upon our arrival - and, when I say ‘red carpet welcome’, I mean he literally tossed a tiny square of red carpet in our direction and bellowed, “Welcome!”
We enjoyed a complimentary goblet of mead in the Chapel bar before being shown to our tables, where we enjoyed a variety of traditional dishes from the time period with modern twists added by the talented chefs at The Church.
The banquet’s first course consisted of pottages and crusty bread. The real winner of that course was - undoubtedly - the cheddar and ale soup. Our table loved it so much, we polished the bowl off and asked for another.
Music was provided by the skillful Dante Ferrara, who performed medieval tunes on the lute, hurdy-gurdy, cittern, English bagpipes and colascoine.
Dante told me he has collected 70 medieval instruments over the years from all over Europe and he knows how to play ten of them. His favourite instrument is the oud.
There were roast turkey legs the size of my head, honey and ginger roasted gammons, salmon, game and ale pies, pearl barley, herb and wildflower salads and more.
It was the gammon that won the show for me. It fell apart on the plate and was nothing short of a melt-in-the-mouth savoury sensation coupled with the sweetness of honey and ginger.
Dante engaged banqueters in an interactive sing-song with comedical lyrics and required us to sing three words whenever he gave pause. Spirits were very high.
Dessert was then brought out, which consisted of rhubarb and vanilla custard tarts, port poached pears with elderflower whipped cream, sauteed oranges with honey, calvados and flaked almonds and - finally - English berry and chocolate croquembouche.
The tarts were the perfect conclusion for a hearty meal - the pastry was light and sweet and the custard balanced out the bitterness of the rhubarb.
The evening was rounded off with the jester asking for volunteers to be taught a three-part medieval dance. I volunteered but not without hastily asking if there was any jumping involved - I did just consume my weight in food.
After a great deal of laughing, jumping and being twirled around backwards by Henry VIII, we said our goodbyes to fellow diners and the restaurant’s staff before leaving in a merry mood.
It was all-in-all, a fantastic experience with delicious food and delightful entertainment.
Themed evenings at The Church Restaurant is certainly one for locals to keep an eye out for.