A couple weekends ago, I went back to The Royal Hen in Balboa Island. I hadn't been since it opened a year ago, so I was excited to see all the new menu items added, especially since they had a limited menu during their soft open.
One year later and their menu has definitely broadened. Chef Tim Goodell (also from A Restaurant and Aubergine) added a ton more "Snacks" from Mini Pork Buns to handmade Pastas. And, "All The Rest" includes shareable dishes from sides like Roasted Veggies to mains, such as Pot Pies.
- crisp, creamy 'n earthy, Tempura Squash Blossoms with three Cheeses and Romesco Sauce $11
- fresh with a hint of spice, Avocados with Dungeness Crab & Chili Vinaigrette $13
- like soft pillowey pork candy, Pork Belly Boa with Hoisin & Pickled Carrots $11
- simply divine, Honeynut Squash Agnolotti pasta special with Sage Brown Butter Sauce, Parmesan & Nutmeg
- loved the Romesco but thought the yogurt was a little thick, BBQ Carrots with Lebni & Romesco $7
- more than generous portions with truffle goodies, Cheese & Charcuterie Board with Grain Mustard & Pickles $21
- you won't miss the hard alcohol from this 'spirited' work of art, Contratto Rooster with Contratto Rosso Vermouth, Gingery Syrup, Lemon Juice & Soda $12
I would honestly order each and every one of these dishes again, so it's hard to choose just one that you MUST try.
The atmosphere is still as warm, intimate and bustling as it was one year ago. The service is friendly and on point. And, the Charcutier has an infectious sense of enthusiasm when it comes to explaining the night's meat and cheese specials.
The Royal Hen has now added Brunch, every Saturday and Sunday from 9:30am-1:30pm.
Expect a third review to come!
311 Marine Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92662. 949-873-5603.