If you want knock-out dishes, delicate presentation and friendly service with a dose of Italian charm and atmosphere then stray off the tourist track and seek out The Old Bakery in Lincoln.
Treating ourselves to the seasonal tasting menu, we enjoyed a long evening in the friendly conservatory of The Old Bakery. The owners really give everyone a personal welcome and the quaint, cosy dining rooms make for a relaxed meal. Teamed with attentive service, knowledgeable staff and well-portioned food, the restaurant is a perfect place to spend a chilly winter evening.
Although our complimentary amuse-bouche lacked flavour and was a disappointing start to the meal, the ensuing courses more than made up for this.
A small bowl of celeriac and horseradish soup was full of flavour with the horseradish coming through well and, best of all, it was piping hot! The marmite ciabatta which accompanied it was, of course, a love-it or hate-it addition but we all agreed it looked fun as the marmite was marbled throughout the slices.
There followed an absolutely delicious arancino. Although perhaps a little big to be included as part of a tasting menu, it was perfectly done – with melted blue cheese oozing out as it was cut into. The addition of cold pumpkin puree was surprising but had a great earthy, sweet flavour. Is it possible for a food to taste of a country? If so, then this was definitely France. The next course of lemon sole was beautifully cooked and presented – but again its cold accompaniment of prawns and celery in Marie Rose sauce was surprising.
The stars of the show were the main courses – tender pork, melting beef and meaty stone-bass arrived. We really appreciated that the serving staff took time to tell us about the dishes – it's always impressive when they can tell you the provenance of the ingredients and the suppliers too!
To finish, we were served an assiette of desserts. I personally would rather have one dessert rather than several conflicting flavours on a plate but it allowed us to try new things. Aniseed ice-cream and peanut butter mousse were both interesting but for me the blood orange tart was perfect – refreshing, tart, smooth and very pretty to look at.
I'd go back, for sure!