Lunching after lockdown

We are the ‘ladies who lunch’ that was until lockdown put paid to our monthly excursions.

Our favourite is the MPW restaurant at Cadbury House, the four-star North Somerset hotel 10 minutes down the A370 from Nailsea.

With restrictions easing, the introduction of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme plus forming a social bubble we decided it was time to venture out again.

The cackle at our table resounded throughout the dining room as we behaved as it we had been locked up for a lifetime but that was a reflection on how the past six months socially distancing from family and friends felt for our senior quintet.

It was such fun, fabulous food and great service.

The hotel was brimming with people who deprived of a foreign summer holiday have descended on the Congresbury establishment as their stayaction choice.

On Tuesday evening, August 18, we were told it was fully booked.

Welcoming us back we were treated like royalty and sat on a roomy round table with upholstered straight back chairs with all anti-coronavirus precautions in place.

The staff wore face masks but obviously we didn’t because we were eating (joke).

There were four choices of starters, six main courses, several side dishes (at an extra cost) and four desserts on the special £20 menu with the government paying half.

We paid by card as no cash was acceptable and the only query was, we couldn’t find an option to leave a tip because our serving staff certainly deserved our gratitude.

Lynda ordered a beetroot and hens’ egg salad with candied walnuts and a mustard dressing followed by the vegan option of gnocchi in fresh tomato sauce.

She said: “Starter was lovely, not too much.

“Main was different as I don't cook that at home, it also was lovely.

“The sorbet was delicious.

“I intend to return with husband John as everyone was praising the steak which he likes.”

Jo and I twinned with a Welsh rarebit and escalope of chicken Milanese choice.

Clare joined us for the posh cheese on toast and then joined Jan to order steak and chips.

I had to ‘steal’ a chip or two as the chicken needed a side order!

Jan said: “Such a welcoming atmosphere with good layout and lighting.

“The smiling waitress was attentive, answering queries carefully.

FOREVER FRIENDS: From left Jo Hopkinson, Clare Hunt, Lynda Dicks and Jan Barber - Carol took the photo and assembled the review

“The steak and chips were perfectly cooked with a tasty Bearnaise sauce.

“Portions are just the right size.”

Clare said: "If you want to meet up with those you've missed for a fine dining experience, I recommend Cadbury House.

“You'll be served beautifully and everything on tonight's menu was tasty and well presented.

“My steak was a perfect accompaniment to being in the company of friends again, a real culinary treat after months of isolation."

None of us were drinking alcohol as we were all driving so it was tap water all round although I did indulge in two spirited alcohol-free cocktails called not-so-cosmo, a punchy mix of cranberry, orange, lime and lemon juice.

Our total bill which included coffees was approximately £80 for nearly three hours of superb cuisine and animated conversation, unbelievable bargain.

Apologises for no photos of the food - we were all too busy eating and talking not necessarily in that order.

Carol Deacon

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