Everyone loves an early bird tea special right?
Straightforward, concise and digestible menus with the added bonus of not having to talk yourself into having a starter and dessert because quite simply for the price, there is no reason not to.
It also makes for a cheap and easy date and in our house the chance to enjoy a glass of wine straight from work because the grandparents are left with the bedtime adventures – happy days.
So where to venture on a rare night off, somewhere my husband and I could exchange more than a speedy set of instructions as to whether the cat has been fed, where ‘the blankets’ are and reminders of brushing teeth.
We took a quick trip not too far from the nest to The Sparling at Barton to take advantage of their menu special available Monday to Friday from noon till 6pm and Saturday noon till 5.30pm
On this occasion it was dinner for two but it should be mentioned The Sparling does sell itself as family friendly and has the additional bonus of offering one free childs meal anytime Monday to Saturday before 6.30pm.
We had called ahead to reserve a table and the staff member was happy to accommodate but added usually for early dining we would be ok to simply drive up.
She was right – it was quiet on arrival and with such a huge dining space, it did look very sparse but the restaurant is inviting and the limited atmosphere did little to hinder our precious ‘night out.’ In fact it probably made it slightly more relaxing.
The venue underwent a refurb in March and the new setting and colour does add a bit more warmth to the Sparling of old, definitely a plus for the team.
The dining room has more of fine dining appeal, the fixtures are lovely and the seats are really comfortable.
The outside area looks great too and would be lovely on a summers evening.
And then there are the new menus and an array of enticing offers for customers new and old.
We know all too well, whilst enjoyable, eating out can be an expensive affair.
I hold my hand up to searching out the best deals, collecting coupons and now even downloading apps to secure a discount or a free drink.
A more simple way to go about it and dine without money on your mind is to do so ever so slightly earlier or at The Sparling try the Monday chippy tea, three courses £14.95
Wednesday is grill night two main courses and a bottle of wine less than £30 or catching the ‘early bird’ as we did willl cost you £10.95 for two courses and £13.95 for three.
You really can’t argue with that.
The set menu I think offers a nice selection of dishes to suit all tastes.The starters include a soup of the day, homemade chicken liver pate, meatballs and smoked mackeral.
It could appear limited to some but I classed all as ‘favourites’ so felt spoilt for choice
The mains were a little more restrictive, my husband wasn’t over enamoured but the wider menu offers plenty if you wish to order outside the offer.
Again I was left pondering between the confit of duck with truffle flavoured mash potato, celeriac puree and savoy cabbage and the fish of the day, which on this occasion was salmon.
Puddings should you desire consisted of chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, classic creme brulee with fruit compote and biscotti and meringue nest with ice cream and strawberries or ice cream.
The mackeral salad starter was really good, lots of flavours and served with extra crunch of a large crouton
For mains the duck was very tender, the mash was excellent, subtlety flavoured and perfectly cooked cabbage.
The salmon was also a surprise with a much larger portion than expected for a set menu and again served with fresh vegetables which were nice, firm not hard or too soft.
We shared a dessert of meringue, ice cream and strawberries really
just to give it a go as we were plenty full.
It was nice but maybe could have been better with a couple more strawberries, it came served with just one cut in half.
Overall it was a really nice treat - the food was well presented, decent-sized portions, excellent value for the price and would definitely go again.
For anyone who wants to avoid the gourmet/gastro pub then this is a welcome change.
The Sparling in Barton
807 Garstang Rd, Barton,
Value for money: 4/5