Hām: Coming hām

Let’s first get one thing clear: the accent on the ‘a’ of the restaurant’s name is deliberate and renders pronunciation of the word ‘hame.’ For the unaware, it is old English, for home and a very appropriate choice for this restaurant. Coming here is like coming home/hām, a friendly and welcoming local venue, which cooks a small number of dishes playing strongly to England’s heritage – and does them very well. A quick review of the menu highlights cod and crab from Devon, quail from Norfolk, lamb from Cumbria and beef from Hereford. Yes, we are resolutely in the counties of England, despite the chef hailing from Australia (with an impressive CV to boot, which takes in a stint at the Ledbury). Lest readers think that Hām is about a return to the food of Henry VIII, all the dishes are given a very modern take with emphasis on presentation, taste, texture and combination. Moreover, from a list comprising five starters and five mains, vegetarians do very well, with 40% of the options suitable for them. I often find bread and butter give an indication of what is to come and here, Hām did not disappoint: moist bread and perfectly salted butter. My comrade and I continued to be impressed throughout, including the wines (interestingly a Moroccan Syrah is their best-selling red) and the fitting finale of a superlative chocolate tart with blood orange sorbet. Pricing is reasonable (starters average £9 and mains £16), particularly given the quality but also the service. Nothing seemed too much trouble for the staff here and detailed knowledge of the product range was evident. Hām seems to have hit upon a winning formula as all the tables were packed on our recent visit, with those vacated quickly filled again. Despite this, we never felt rushed and certainly plan to return. An undoubted welcome addition to the neighbourhood.