I don’t like surprises.
So when the first choice for my dinner date had an ‘issue’ with their kitchen, which meant they weren’t able to serve food, it set the evening off on the wrong note.
Stuffed from too many chocolates in the office and wanting a nice and relaxing evening in comfy surroundings, we decided a trip to the pub was in order.
But, as this was a restaurant review, we had to make it a good one.
That’s how we found ourselves at the Broughton Inn at the crossroads in Broughton, Preston.
I had been there once in the past and reckoned it would be cosy enough to warm up my chilly mood.
We walked in the door half expecting it to be packed with festive revellers and loud music but were pleasantly surprised to find it calm, relaxed and welcoming.
Our waitress must have sensed the slightly frosty atmosphere and asked if we wanted some nibbles while we perused the menu. We went for a selection of warm breads, olive oil and balsamic vinegar (£2.25) to whet the appetite.
It was polished off within minutes. Maybe we hadn’t eaten too much chocolate, after all.
I opted for the mushroom focaccia to start (£5.25). It came with a mixture of button and portabello mushrooms in a white wine cream, served on focaccia with crispy sweetcure bacon.
The portion was a good size and the bacon added a nice, salty touch.
My dinner date also opted for mushrooms, but they were coated in breadcrumbs and with a garlic dip (£3.99).
I am reliably informed they were also tasty, but the portion looked a little sorry-for-itself next to my mammoth Portabellos. We sat back to let our starters go down and noticed the beautiful decor in the pub.
It might be a chain, as past of the Vintage Inns group, but the restaurant feels very much individual, with a range of mix-and-match chairs, soft leathers, and quirky art on the walls.
Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and we were no exception, as we sunk into our chairs and let the festive feelings flow.
For the main course I opted for handmade haddock and wholegrain mustard fishcakes, served with salad, chips, and lemon and herb creme fraiche (8.95).
The serving was huge, with an overflowing bowl of delicious chunky chips, a generous salad and the fishcakes which were, surprisingly, hand made. These are the sorts of surprises I don’t mind.
The dinner date chose the grilled seabass, which was butter-filled and served with piedmont pepper, crispy baby potatoes, and a basil and tomato gazpacho (£13.95).
It looked deliciously fresh and light, but hearty enough that I managed to get through dinner without a cheeky pinch of my chips. We both devoured our food, stopping for a good gossip over mouthfuls, and agreed we had made a good last-minute choice.
Washed down with a few soft drinks, our bill came to £38.54. Easy on my stressed purse, and worth every penny.