Wednesday, 1 July 2009
The Lock Inn Cafe, 48 Frome Road, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, BA15 1LE
Crowded space, people shouting, elbows in face, lots of yelling, and that’s even before you get off the bus.
When you’ve had enough of all that in the city, and just want to try out the novelty that is country air, where better than to go to Bradford on Avon. Not technically ‘country’, not in the sense of Kenny Rogers and Ms Parton anyway, but country enough for us. These days, just seeing cows from where I’m sat inside a train counts as being in the countryside. Sometimes, even posters of cows count.
One sunny weekend (funny how most of my posts seem to begin with that phrase, despite this being England and all), some friends and us decided to head over to Bradford on Avon for a spot of lunch. The place we suggested is one of those rare places which is pleasant in the summer and even in the winter, as the layout of the place has a lovely outside area perfect for those sunny days, and a warm, cosy inside area, ideal for cold winter dinners.
With the warm sunshine comes some other not so desirable things, ie men without shirts on. There’s something in the British air that makes some men (more fishcakes than beefcakes) feel the need to take off their t-shirts and walk around with a bit of a swagger.
Beer can in one hand, t-shirt in the other, they John Wayne it around the place for about 10 minutes until they realise that the sun’s gone in and it’s cold again, so back on comes that t-shirt. Much to the relief of the public.
However, give or take a few hair chests, the sunshine also means that meals can be eaten outside! In the warmth! With the novelty, all food suddenly tastes better.
And once that cynicism dries out, and it has, we return to the point of this post, which was really about the wonderful (and I mean it), really lovely, really cute, riverside (or canal) pub that is The Lock Inn at Bradford on Avon.
With such a great location, you’d almost expect sub-standard food because the setting is enough to make you accept mediocre food and yet still find it wonderful. Thing is, the food here is exceptionally creative for pub food, and is to a standard that is better than a lot of restaurants in London. With portions that first please the eye, and then go on to please the tummy, the prices here definitely are friends with my wallet too.
The menu even lists the things you could do in Bradford on Avon, and although I usually don’t like menus which are too big (you’d never have guessed), this one had quite a substantial amount of interesting info in it so that was OK.
When we first got here, the outside tables were full of happy happy people. Thing is, this pub/restaurant has lots of little nooks in which more tables are hidden, like the little shed in the corner which fits at least 5 diners, the barge in the river with a few more tables, the little tables by the side of the canal, and if you’re still struggling for space, there are always those benches by the canal for you to perch and have your lunch on.
Whenever I go to pubs for lunch, I expect generous portions. The quality and taste matter of course, but not as much as the quantity does. This is where The Lock Inn excels, as the portions are not only generous, but of high quality, very tasty, and the choices are plentiful.
Smoked mackerel salad with chips £5-ish
(prices are approximates as I scribbled them down on a piece of receipt, and don’t know where that piece of receipt is)
How do you make a salad reaaaally good? By putting lots of non-salad items on it. This salad was more mackerel than it was vegetables, which made this salad reaaaallly good. With 2 succulent pieces of deliciously flaky, smoked fish on top of the salad, and a lovely sweet honey mustard dressing on the salad, this dish was more than sufficient as a main meal on a hot summer’s day. By the time I was done with the fish and the vegetables, I was already feeling quite full, and still had the chips to finish. Lovely.The ‘Gert Lush’ burger, about £6.50
From the picture, you can’t quite tell just how big this burger is. The huge plate makes the burger look quite small, but actually, take a look at the picture below, and compare the burger to the size of the thumb.
It is THAT big a burger. Ciabatta bread sandwiching a tower consisting of:
cheese (very nice cheese too)
This is a burger to defeat all other burgers, and then munch on them. With such a big burger, it was surprisingly more-ish and every bite made me want another. The burger patties were cooked perfectly, retaining enough bite and not being too dry. The other bits such as the cheese and egg complemented it well, making an already big burger even more extravagant.
Belgian waffle with strawberries and ice-cream, about £4
I have never seen such beautifully presented pub grub. For that price, we weren’t expecting much on the plate, but this was beautiful not only in presentation but in taste also. Little chocolate beans were sprinkled all over the plate, with thick and sweet chocolate sauce liberally drizzled on the waffle. The waffle itself was nothing too special, in that it tasted very similar to other Belgian waffles I’d had before, but the toppings and ice-cream made this dessert far better than the others I’d tasted.
After that most enjoyable lunch, we took a stroll down the canal.
Lots of barges were going up and down at the time, everyone taking advantage of the lovely sunny day to laze around.
Would I recommend this place? I would! If you’re in Bradford on Avon, and fancy some great food at decent prices, in a beautiful setting whether it’s warm or it’s cold, come to The Lock Inn.
Even the graffitists here are cheery.
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