Verdict of a secret restaurant on the legendary tapas of the Dial
The Dial in downtown Burton has been one of the city’s go-to restaurants for 20 years now. Providing a mix of daily and evening specials and a wide range of drinks, including cocktails, the Station Street restaurant is a place the majority of East Staffordshire diners have sampled.
We sent our Secret Service Restaurant to check out the popular restaurant and review the food, drink, and ambiance. As soon as you enter you are greeted by dim lighting and a range of different dining areas near the front of the restaurant and towards the back.
This is an indication of the size of the dining room. It has all the look and feel of an upscale restaurant you’ll find in London. Our dinner had a table for two reserved for 7pm on a Thursday.
TOP STORY: Live updates as 2022 Staffordshire local election results come in
The table already had its drinks menu laid out – so big it was a booklet. There are drinks for every taste – from soft drinks, including coke and bottled water, to different mocktails and exotic cocktails.
There are also stronger things, including rum, whiskeys and wine. Also on the table was the food menu – including The Dial’s famous tapas menu.
Without hesitation, our secret diner ordered and prepared to feast. That’s what they thought of The Dial.
To the rear is what is often considered the main dining area, which accommodates the most tables. However, the restaurant uses all of its space and has several different enclosed spaces.
Some restaurants leave tables squashed, leaving you with no space to move around easily. However, The Dial has always preserved the privacy of its guests and ensured that they are at a comfortable distance from others.
How did the food and drink measure up?
Five minutes after ordering, the drinks arrived. The passionate punch mocktail could have been served to us on a beach in its pineapple-shaped glass. It’s a deliciously tangy orange and passion fruit juice, topped off with lemon and crushed ice.
The dipping buns arrived about five minutes later. We had three little rustic cobs between us, both piping hot and crunchy, served with a bowl of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
The tapas arrived about 10 minutes after we polished the bread. You can choose from a wide range of tapas specialties.
We chose patatas bravas – large potatoes in a rich tomato sauce; Asian pork belly with pak choi; spicy meatballs topped with parmesan shavings; lamb kofkas with Greek salad and tzatziki; sesame seed chicken; and a plate of ribs. We also opted for a side order of fries to complete the meal.
The tapas plates were brought out very quickly together so we could wait until we had everything together to try. My favorite was the Asian pork belly – cooked to perfection, succulent, flavorful and almost dissolves in your mouth.
My guest preferred the sesame seed chicken, which came with a side salad and his own sweet chilli dip. The sticky ribs also came with a bowl to wash your fingers to avoid any mess.
The meat almost slipped off the bone and into the barbecue sauce. The spicy pork meatballs had a spicy side to them, but not so extreme that we needed an emergency glass of water afterwards.
For dessert, it was a tricky decision. Did I try the three different flavored scoops of ice cream that came, with popcorn and marshmallows, or try the intriguing tonka bean panna cotta? It was panna cotta.
Dial’s staff are expert in presentation and this one was no exception. Arriving in a bowl, the panna cotta looked smooth and flavorful, surrounded by walnuts, poached strawberries and strawberry syrup.
It reminded me of a deliciously extravagant breakfast you have outdoors on a summer day. For those who haven’t tried The Dial’s Maltesters cheesecake, you’re missing a trick. It’s white chocolate and crushed Maltesers with vanilla ice cream – what’s not to love?
Would we go back to The Dial?
Absolutely. If you want a super casual yet elegant dining experience, this is the place. It’s an awesome first date idea, but it’s also popular with friends and family who want a classy night out at an affordable price.
Food quality has ensured The Dial’s 20-year success, along with its long list of five-star hygiene reports. It is also excellent value for money for a great evening.
The law project:
Glass of Coke Zero X 2 – £2.95
Passionate Punch Mocktail – £4.95
Patatas Bravas – £4.95
Hot Buns – £4.25
Asian Pork Belly – £5.95
Spicy Pork Meatballs – £5.95
Ribs – £6.95
Lamb Kefta – £7.25
Sesame Seed Chicken – £6.25
Chips – £2.95
White Chocolate and Malteser Cheesecake – £7.25
Tonka bean panna cotta – €7.25
Total – £73.10
* The tour was on a Thursday, arrived around 7pm.
*Staffordshire Live make secret visits to restaurants, takeaways and cafes with a view to providing a fair, balanced and accurate report on customer service and the food on offer. Our hope is that, for the good of the business owner and the customer, we can report positively on the places we visit. However, if our experience is not 100% positive, we are required to report exactly what we find.
NEWSLETTER: Sign up to receive StaffordshireLive email alerts straight to your inbox here
READ MORE: What our secret restaurant thought of Burton Market’s Summerhouse Bakery
READ MORE: We tried the dog and the partridge and here’s what our secret restaurant found