On a Saturday afternoon, Thyme, a cozy English restaurant with simple decor hidden in the outskirts of downtown Palo Alto, fills up with friends meeting each other, techies pulling out their laptops and families anticipating the new menu of the day. The chef plates a main course while the hostess welcomes the flow of customers into the small restaurant with a cordial smile and a warm English accent. A little boy peers out from behind the counter and stares at the diners as his parents, the head chef and hostess, work in their two person team. Winston and Carol Haddaway, spouses and business partners, offer organic food and a daily-changing menu that sources fresh produce from local farms.
Chicken Soup with Basil [star rating = “4”] $7.00
Looking to kick a cold on a rainy Saturday afternoon, we started the meal with a hot bowl of soup. Infused with spices and topped with basil, the soup was a new take on classic and comforting chicken soup. Inside the broth, tender chicken melted in our mouths, while chopped up carrots and celery gave the soup a stew-like texture. If you’re searching for a light yet fulfilling dish, this soup is a great option.
Note: picture is a half-serving because we split one portion into two bowls.
Mini Lamb Burgers and a Side Salad [star rating = “3”] $10.50
Chef Winston Haddaway added a twist to an American favorite: the burger. While the burger was a bit dry due to lack of sauce, the mushrooms, onions and cabbage added another element to what would have been just lamb meat and bread. The soft Hawaiian bun complemented the lamb by adding a sweetness to the smoky, grilled flavor of the meat. Despite the simplicity of the side salad, the vinaigrette gave a tangy flavor to the bitter spinach.
Penne with Parsley Pesto, Asparagus and Green Beans [star rating = “3”] $10.50
Thyme again takes a creative approach to a classic recipe by creating a parsley pesto, replacing the cliché basil and pine nut pesto. The parsley pesto had a more fresh, earthy flavor than regular pesto, but seemed to lack seasoning; however, the parmesan garnish gave the dish a salt factor. With a perfect sauce-to-pasta ratio, the penne pasta was not dry or overly dressed. The beans and asparagus were still slightly crunchy which, apart from being nutritious, gave the dish another dimension of texture. Overall, we applaud the chef’s imaginative endeavor.
Warm Goat cheese with Honey, Pine nuts and Apricots [star rating = “3”] $7.00
As we perused the dessert section of the menu and noticed this unique English dish, we, after some apprehension, decided to try something new. The components (cheese, honey, nuts and apricots) lacked flavor individually, but worked together to create a creamy, crunchy, sweet and bitter bite. The crackers were crispy and bland, but served as a nice base for the creamy and smoky goat cheese, while the apricots added sweetness. This dessert, while unconventional, was simple and elegant.