The restaurant is open every lunchtime and, also, for dinner when there’s a show on at the theatre, as tonight. The short menu appears at both services, offering four or five choices at each course. Dinner is priced at £20 for two courses, £23 for three – lunch is four quid cheaper. Service is as fast as greased lightning – our starters arrived before the drinks. It’s perhaps unsurprising as they know punters have the deadline of “curtain up” time.
We both went with the same starter. A small Lancashire cheese tart, incorporating a disc of Bury black pudding, served warm. Crisp pastry, sharp cheese, salty black pud, A little heap of microsalad on the side, as was a dollop of a crème fraiche/mustard dressing which had been given the ubiquitous “back of the spoon” treatment. Pleasant enough.
My main was decent enough piece of fried salmon, perhaps a tad overdone (except for the skin which was flabby and unpleasant). There was a little squash puree and a mix of rice and lentils. The other main seemed more of an assembly job – gnocchi, cubes of butternut squash and a sage infused cream sauce. Nothing offensive there but nothing of great interest.
There was a very solid, industrial strength, bread and butter pudding. It sat there on the plate daring you to have go at it with the spoon. “Come on if you think yer hard enough”. A scattering of raisins and a drizzle of a ginger syrup prevented this from being the sort of dessert you’d get in the works canteen. But only just.
I hadn’t fancied any of the three desserts on offer and ordered cheese (an additional £2). This was pretty good. For one thing, it wasn’t fridge cold. And, for another, there was a good range – Kidderton Ash goat, Blacksticks Blue, a tangy cheddar and another one unknown to me and entirely forgettable. Home made oat biscuits were lovely. As was the blackberry jam – it would be great on a scone but was entirely wrong with cheese.
Don’t get me wrong, this was an OK meal . And it was better than having had to cook dinner at home and then rush to the theatre. But it made us think that we’d have been better off at the nearby Pizza Express.