SOUTH Kesteven District Council recently invited me to a working lunch in the town.
Flies on the wall will have seen a quartet of hungry office-types (I took a couple of Journal foodies along for back-up) march into the Angel and Royal Hotel, and attempt a right turn into the Angel Bar – which was closed.
Undeterred by our stumble at the first hurdle, we cursed the fact that a town centre bar was closed at 1pm on a glorious Friday afternoon, and turned on our heels across the courtyard and into ‘Berties’.
I had been told that I may feel like a spare part at a wedding taking lunch at the hotel, and I can now see what that person was getting at.
Had we been able to dine in the Angel bar, I’d be none-the-wiser, but owing to the fact we were redirected into the main reception of the hotel, past a group in posh frocks and suits – clearly enjoying their special day – I felt like I was intruding a little.
That said, we were quickly into Berties Bistro and all that was forgotten.
Said bistro is relatively small and cosy. I’d respectfully suggest they take a few tables out, as my middle aged spread struggled to negotiate the tightly packed room without embarrassment.
Once at our table, we were presented with a menu apiece and offered drinks very quickly. A good start.
One and all opted for a lunchtime sandwich - a couple of ham orders, a beef and English mustard and a prawn with marie rose sauce. All of the above came with chips and salad.
Now imagine our surprise, bewilderment and amusement at then being offered a bread roll and butter – to accompany our sandwiches.
I suppose we ought to have been more grateful and accepted the offer – none of us did – afterall, you can’t beat a good chip sarnie, can you?
Fairly soon the food began to arrive. I’m not sure from where ‘Bertie’ sources his beef, but I’d like to know because my bovine butty was sublime: the meat was tender and pink and generously carved. Top notch, in fact.
The chips were as good as you could wish for – chunky and hand-cut – and the salad was fresh, crisp and tasty.
And I can’t say there were any complaints from the carved ham or the prawn sandwich brigade, and the fact that every one of our four plates were cleaned down to sparkling spoke volumes to me.
This lunchtime experience – which was excellent, I have to say – is far from enough to judge the Angel properly, but it suggests to me the chef knows his stuff, and I’ll be back to sample the very tempting dinner menu.
by James Mitchinson
Star rating HHHH