I recently had the time of my life travelling down the west coast of France in a campervan, stopping off at numerous harbours, beach towns and cities to try the cuisine.
My partner and I are self-confessed foodies, so a road trip pretty much centred around eating cheese and drinking wine was perfect for us.
It should come as no surprise then that, as much as I love Leyland, I wasn’t particular enthusiastic about having to come back to my hometown after only two weeks of living the dream.
I missed the barbecued prawns, seafood soups, juicy steaks and sparkling wine.
So when my cousin Nicola and I were arranging a night out in Leyland on my return, I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to try out the Original Bistro French on Chapel Brow.
It was a Friday night and we arrived at about 9pm - a little late for us, but we’d been to Coppers Tea Rooms for Cocktails in Teapots first – and were surprised to find we were the only two in there!
Our waitress – who ended up doubling up as our chef – asked us which table we wanted, and lit a candle for us. Very romantic (sorry Jack, maybe next time).
We ordered a bottle of house red to share, and it really hit the spot.
We were also given really large wine glasses, which I love, and it immediately took me back to Bordeaux.
There’s an extensive wine list of reds, whites and rosés, although not all are from France, with choices from Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand too.
We browsed the menu and both opted for choices from the a la carte menu.
(The table d’hote menu is available Sunday to Thursday, and is £10.95 for two courses or £12.95 for three).
For our starters, we both had smoked salmon.
Mine was served with cracked black pepper, lemon and fresh bread (£5.20), and Nicola’s was a smoked salmon and feta cheese salad drizzled with a French vinaigrette dressing (£6.20).
Both came with a colourful, beautifully presented salad of peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and leaves, and were very refreshing and tasty.
They weren’t too filling either, leaving plenty of room for our main courses. Nicola went for “creol pan fried – freshwater king prawns (shell off) and jumbo peeled scampi, pan fried with onions, peppers and rice cooked in a rich and spicy tomato based sauce with added chillies” (£13.50).
As it turns out, they had run out of scampi, so made sure to give her extra prawns, which she was happy with.
My choice was beef stroganoff – “thin slices of fillet steak cooked with onions, mushrooms and paprika, flambéed with brandy and cream, served with rice” (£14.95).
We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals, which were delicious and filling.
The service was excellent, as you’d expect from a near-empty restaurant – it turns out the rest of the staff had been sent home after they’d finished with a large party earlier that evening.
And while the experience didn’t quite compare to sitting outside in the sunshine next to a marina in France, the food actually came pretty close to that I’d eaten on my holiday.
Jack and I have already started talking about returning to the country, but for now, I think regular trips to the Original Bistro French will whet our appetite.