nestled between burton on trent high street and the town's cinema and leisure complex is not the obvious place that you'd find a place like the dial. straight through the doors, you're met with a clean and sleek colour palette, contemporary seating and a well stocked bar of sprits, wines and beers from near and far.
don't be mistaken, burton is very close to my heart and was the nearest town to where i grew up. however there was a stylish and modern vibe to the place which felt more city chic than small brewery town in the midlands.
past the glossy bar seating and booths, the restaurant sits at the back of the building. even further back is an extra seating area with skylights, i thought this was a brilliant area to open up the restaurant if needed, yet close off to keep in the atmosphere on less busy nights. there is also a terrace bar, which i will definitely be going back to explore.
although the menu is made up of the usual starters, mains, grills, salads and sides, i was instantly intrigued by the smaller plates on offer. ranging from £3.75 to £4.95, we thought this seemed really reasonable and went ahead with seven of the dishes. i was also pleased to see the vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free dishes labelled, with dietary changes available on request.
with friendly service and a prompt glass of serle rose noir in my hand, it wasn't too long before our table was swiftly filled with miniature plates of foodie goodies. first up for having its picture taken was the olives, feta and sun blush tomatoes. a simple dish and what you would expect from the combination of flavours.
this dish is the garlic wild mushrooms and brioche and i certainly didn't want to share! on crispy french toast-like brioche the garlicky mushroom medley was well textured, perfectly seasoned and very moreish.
the patatas bravas; smokey, spicy and saucy. for me, too spicy, so i let sam delve into this whilst i devoured more than half my share of the mushroom brioche. also, it didn't seem appropriate to get my camera out so i'm afraid iphone photography will have to suffice.
with all the previously mentioned in the £3.75 plate bracket, the deep fried baby mozzarella and honey glazed chorizo were £4.25 per plate section. we both fought over the oozy mozzarella balls with delicious tomato sauce, whilst the chorizo portion was so generous we couldn't finish it. i'm pretty sure you'd be paying about £3 for that amount of chorizo in a shop - a very unsparing amount. as you can imagine, the smokey paprika of the sausage with the sweet honey married really well.
last but not least are the £4.95 dishes of scallops au gratin and thai fishcakes with sweet chilli.
again generous portions were seen with the fishcakes, which were about 3 inches across. these were light and fragrant but definitely benefitted from the zing of a squeeze of lime. i loved the soft scallops with the crunchy, subtle cheese and herb flavours of the gratin - if done well, these were always going to be good.
as if we'd not had enough to eat, there's always room for dessert. in this case, i went for special of baileys crème brûlée whilst sam had the cheese board.
i wouldn't usually go with an alcohol dessert but crème brûlée is one of my favourites. luckily, the alcohol didn't overpower like it might in say a liqueur chocolate, but instead complemented and blended the creaminess of the dessert. the biscuit was buttery and fun for dipping, whilst the fruit made the dessert seem slightly less naughty. i can safetly say it passed the "tapping with a spoon" test.
choosing sage derby, cornish yarg, stilton and somerset brie, the cheese board came in at £7.25 with a selection of biscuits, homemade chutney and sliced apple. nice touch with the branded slate, too.
in all, the dial is the perfect place for a date night, special occasion or family treat. as i mentioned, there is a real modern atmosphere with cool bar seating, open kitchen and airy restaurant area. simultaneously, the menu has a touch of class at affordable prices, with a few elements of local produce thrown in.
174/175 station street,
burton on trent,
note: we paid for own meals and as always all opinions are honest and my own.