Joyce Bishop was rewarded with exclusive personal service during a relaxing Sunday lunch.
Large lunches are not normally an option for me.
I’m more likely to snatch a bowl of soup or a sandwich than sit down to something involving anything other than a toaster or a single ring on the cooker.
But maybe that’s because I don’t have somebody cooking for me full time.
Even on a Sunday I’d prefer to go for a walk or dig the garden than linger over lunch.
But last Sunday was an exception. With a wedding anniversay the next day it was a good opportunity to spend some quality time with my husband of 31 years.
It certainly was a quality couple of hours - no teenagers, no pets, no phone ... and nobody else in the restaurant.
Why? Truffles Brasserie and Champagne Bar is smart, comfortable and welcoming, so what’s not to like?
Well it seems that we’d chosen to dine on the same day as the monthly Salsa night, when up to 100 people crowd into the venue for lessons, a late night party and a buffet.
Owner and head chef James Ford was keen to make us feel welcome, and his passion for providing his customers with the very best was soon apparent.
We opted for the three-course meal with a set price of £16.95 and while my husband chose a traditional tomato and basil soup I opted for the mouthwatering half a baked red pepper stuffed with cherry tomatoes and topped with mozzarella and breadcrumbs.
I despair at the lack of imagination that some restaurants use when it comes to non-meat options, so this was a real find, with the pepper cooked through but not collapsing, the tomatoes bursting with a summery sweetness and the light topping adding a cruch to each mouthful.
Another traditional choice, this time sirloin steak (£3.00 supplement), was first choice for my husband - but when chef James was unhappy with result he replaced it with three juicy steak medallions and came out to explain personally.
It was accompanied by a teeting pile of handcut chips, mushrooms, peas and tomatoes.
I opted for salmon, which came on a bed of mashed potatoes lightly flavoured with lemon. It was topped with leeks and served with broccoli.
All good so far, except I should have asked for my salmon to be slightly undercooked. This is purely a personal preference, despite the fact that the idea of eating sushi does not appeal to me at all!
I would not normally be able to manage three courses but I had chosen carefully so that I could manage a dessert. Had I tackled what my husband had on his plate I wouldn’t have had space for anything sweet, but my passion for puddings ensured I left just a little room for a rather fabulous fresh fruit pavlova.
This gorgeous little confection sat on my plate like a work of art ... begging to be eaten. I’ve never quite mastered the technique for cooking meringues so that they are crunchy on the outside and chewy within. This was an example of how it should be done.
A banoffee pie, complete with fresh slices of banana displayed on a pastry case with banoffee sauce ensured that my husband left a happy man.
Although I’d like to think that he was also reflecting on the past three decades and thinking what a lucky man he was ...
NAME: Truffles Brasserie and Champagne Bar
ADDRESS: Preston Road, Whittle-le-Woods
CONTACT: 01257 261881