Couples out for a romantic evening, large groups, teenagers, families and those more mature in years were all present on a freezing cold Saturday night in late January.
This I take to be a healthy sign for any establishment, especially one that charges higher than average prices.
So what attracts such a wide range of folk to the Falcon Square restaurant?
The quality of the food is the most obvious, but not the only answer.
A warm welcome and top class service from more than accommodating staff certainly adds to the experience.
But the price of the food, on further inspection, is actually quite reasonable if you’re looking for a special treat.
When you consider how much you pay for a run of the mill burger in any generic American restaurant chain, is £29.95 really that much to spend on a four-course meal at The Venus?
My wife ordered from the table d’hôte menu carrying that particular price.
She began with the chef’s homemade pate, which was every bit as smooth as the menu promised.
For her main she had the sirloin steak au poivre, which was lean, tender and cooked to perfection and came in a phenomenal cracked peppercorn and cream sauce.
Before the coffee and cream she plumped for the chocolate profiteroles.
They were huge, but the pastry was light.
Deciding to eat from the a la carte menu, I chose one of my all-time favourite starters, the deep fried crispy brie, served in a redcurrant and port jus.
It did not disappoint, and was potentially the best version I’ve ever tasted.
My main course was the Venus house special steak, served in a spicy pepper, mushroom, tomatoes and garlic sauce – with a hint of curry.
The sauce was everything I had hoped for, but the steak itself was a little on the fatty side and not quite as good as the one my wife enjoyed.
A chocolate mousse to finish more than made up for any grievance, if you could call it that, I had with the main.
The dessert was light and rich and I couldn’t actually finish it – thanks in chief to the portion sizes at The Venus.
The word generous doesn’t do them justice, and although that was fine by me, it won’t sit well with everyone.
But I doubt anyone could fault the full silver service and performance of the staff, who happily moved us to a table in a warmer part of the dining room at our request.
They could not have been more helpful, gracious or polite and were a credit to what is a fantastic local restaurant.
by Graham Smyth