Excuse my absence; I’ve had an eight-day stint at work over which I have completed 81 hours of very hard and high-pressure service. I have also undergone a small bout of minor alcohol poisoning, which has turned my appetite somewhat sour over the past couple of days. And to top everything off, I had to say goodbye to one of my best and dearest friends as he returned to his home country of Lithuania on Monday. Luckily it won’t be for long, as I intend to visit for a long weekend in October as a present to myself for a summer of very hard work.
Speaking of presents, tonight’s issue concerns a lunch I had last Monday as a 21st birthday present to my dear friend Miss Ellie Wicks. Our first port of call had been the Greek restaurant Romanzo but that did not serve lunch on Mondays, so our consolation prize was the Mediterranean café and brasserie known as Coffee Club. I had been attracted to the place owing to its selling pitchers of White Sangria (see pictured). Most, if not all, of you will know Sangria to be a typically red wine-based drink (usually formed of Merlot) combined with fruit (in the usual case oranges or other citrus fruits and apples), a sweetener such as orange juice, and a little brandy. White Sangria, as you may have gathered, is made with white whine, and in this case contained sliced lemons, limes, strawberries and mint. After walking most of the way to Westbourne, it was a greatly refreshing start to the meal.
After great deliberation, I decided upon a Steak and Tiger Prawn Oriental Stir-Fry (see pictured), which is, if anything, a very unusual choice for me. The menu at Coffee Club is quite eclectic in terms of cuisine, but not what one would call adventurous. It’s pizza, burgers and pasta dishes, along with the classics such as scampi and chips, for the most part. So I suppose I chose this dish for want of an interesting review.
And indeed, Ellie’s choice of dish took a spicy spin on a typical Italian pasta dish, simply titled Thai Chicken Pasta (see pictured). According to the menu, the sauce in which the chicken and pasta is served consists mainly of limes, cream, coriander and coconut, creating a quite mild Thai flavour.
For art lovers, particularly fans of surrealism such as myself, the décor in this café is up the right street, with the walls emblazoned with images based on the works of the legendary Salvador Dalí, including melted clocks on the wall. The service, on the other hand, was a two-edged sword on this occasion. – one waitress who Ellie and I decided must be new to the game took orders very abruptly and unsmilingly but who also seemed unable to remember who she had served and up to what point her customers were in their meal, whereas the other was polite, attentive and pleasant in demeanour.
Upon receiving my dish, I was a bit daunted by its size – I suppose I never expected a little establishment like Coffee Club to present such large portions. The Oriental flavours, provided in the soy sauce amongst the sugar-snap peas, bean sprouts and baby sweetcorn, were mild and pleasant, all the more appealing to one who is not the biggest fan of Asian cuisine. The steak strips were not too bad (albeit nothing special), whereas the tiger prawns were fat and succulent. Nevertheless, I was defeated only halfway through the dish – it only happens on rare occasions and thus I am ashamed to say it, but no, I did not finish my main course.
Ellie and I did however leave enough room for a small dessert, in the form of Banoffee Waffles (see pictured). If I know frozen food, which I do given that half of what we serve at the hotel is cooked from frozen, I can say that these waffles were definitely not freshly baked. The dessert was nonetheless very well presented; generously portioned with bananas and toffee sauce, as well as a scoop of ice cream and a classic wafer “straw”.
Our meal concluded with Ellie purchasing a piece of Lemon and Lime Cheesecake, one of the many options on offer to take with you from the display cabinet at the front of the restaurant. If another visit should occur, I think I may take dessert from there instead; at least they appear to be home-made!