Monday, 9 April 2012

Dispatches from Lincolnshire

I spent six days last month working in Lincolnshire; in Grantham, Boston and Lincoln. It's not a part of the world I know very well but armed with recommendations from helpful twitterers I managed to eat quite well. Here's what I ate in Boston and Lincoln.

Bizzarro, Boston

Bizzarro came recommended as 'the only decent place to eat in Boston'. I've no idea whether that's true or not, but it definitely was decent and a stroll round the streets didn't offer up much in the way of obvious competition.

It's an Italian restaurant with several dining rooms in a very old building in the historic part of town. There was a slightly eccentric air to the place, one the one hand it was fairly formal with starched linen tablecloths and top notch cutlery, on the other it seemed a little ramshackle (half the plaster seemed to have fallen off the wall on the staircase). Either way it was friendly and welcoming and I liked it.

We shared some nibbly bits and pieces with bread to start (these were rare work trips where I wasn't alone, making the dining out bit much more fun); olives, cheese stuffed peppers and balsamic pickled onions. All solid stuff and a cut above basic catering pack standard.

I had stuffed breast of lamb to follow, which was predictably fatty but delicious. The minced lamb, apricot and pine nut stuffing was too sweet for my tastes though, being a little too heavy on the apricots. The meal didn't come plated as pictured by the way, that's after I'd added vegetables from the generous and well cooked selection provided separately. The porchetta across the table was also declared a success.

Service was friendly and efficient and it's good value as well. Mains range from £10 to £18 including more roast potatoes and vegetables than you could eat, and the house wine is just £2.50 a glass. Nothing mindblowing but just the sort of reliable place you could return to again and again for a good meal.


23 Wormgate
PE21 6NR

The Tower Hotel, Lincoln

I'm sure Lincoln probably has plenty to offer food-wise, but this time we didn't make it out of the hotel. That was a least partly intentional, as a bit of advance research suggested the place had a good reputation for food. We ate in the bar but there's also a more formal restaurant.

A few nibbles to kick things off again. Olives, sun-dried tomatoes and some very more-ish cumin roasted nuts.

Roast squash soup was very smooth and sweet, but just a little watery. I'm afraid I can't recall what the red stuff was, but it didn't taste of anything much (extra sweetness maybe?).

My dining companion's starter was better; - a confit chicken, savoy cabbage and chestnut spring roll. I'd have really enjoyed eating this in the depths of winter. The filling was moist and tasty, the skin crisp and greaseless. It was in essence a big, crunchy festive tasting roast dinner pie tube.

Next up was the rather complicated sounding burger (6oz Hand-made Minced Lincolnshire Beef Burger, Toasted Muffin, Rustic Chips, Stilton Mayonnaise, White Onion Marmalade, Sautéed Mushrooms, Celeriac Remoulade) which could have been great, but wasn't.

I'd asked how the burger would be cooked, and was told medium so left it at that. It arrived well done with just a tiny hint of pink remaining in the middle, rendering it a bit dense and rubbery. A shame really as the meat was good quality, with a good beefy flavour discernable above the strong tasting accompaniments. The stilton mayo and onion marmalade were very good though, with very sweet onions and the rich, cheesy mayo adding tanginess and a bit of astringency. The chips were just ok.

Service here was fine and the bar area lively and obviously popular not just with hotel residents. Prices are probably about average for higher end pub type food (the burger was £10.50). Everything we ate was good quality but the execution was a little hit and miss.


38 Westgate

The Tower Hotel, Lincoln on Urbanspoon


Mr Noodles said...

Someone once told me that there are some decent Portuguese/Brazilian places in this part of the world. From what you saw, is there any truth in this?

Dave said...

Hmmm, interesting. It wasn't an obvious rival to Stockwell. I only wandered around for 15 mins or so though, so wasn't looking very hard. The internet seems to suggest there are a couple of places though (a pub and at least one restaurant), but I can't find much detail. I think maybe they're casual places catering to the expat community, possibly good but those sort of places tend to go very under the radar outside London.

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