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Sunday, February 05, 2012

It's my pregnant wife on Valentine's Day!

Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Somewhere over The Rainbow, way up high, there was a snow cloud heading for Sussex, but fortunately it hadn't arrived when we got there yesterday. It certainly put in an appearance overnight though. This was Amelie in St Leonards this morning...

Snow Angel
So I'm not sure how I'm going to get her home today. But I'll cross that ice bridge when I come to it.

As for yesterday's romantic lunch at The Rainbow Inn, it was very nice indeed. The place has only been open for six weeks, and when Lisa phoned them in mid-January, she was half expecting them to say they're booked up until April, but as it turned out, we needn't have worried. We were the only ones there for the first half hour. Well, I say we were the only ones there. We were the only diners. Before being transformed into a fancy restaurant by Marco Pierre White, The Rainbow Inn was a village pub, and bizarrely, a few of the locals still insist on drinking there, despite the fact that the bar is only about three feet long, situated in a posh dining room, and staffed by a man in a suit.

So we had the slightly surreal experience of being doted on by smartly dressed staff who took our coats, pulled out our chairs and laid napkins on our knees, while a couple of blokes in jeans drank beer in the corner. But other than that, the surroundings were very nice. And the food even nicer.

They do a set lunch menu with two courses for £16.50 and three courses for £19.50, which on the surface is excellent value. Unfortunately they then add a 'cover charge' of £2 per person, tell you that service is not included, and make you pay through the nose for drinks. A glass of Coke is three quid, so I was tempted to ask for tap water, but in the end I ordered an orange juice & lemonade, which came in a half pint glass, and would cost less than two pounds in a pub. Here's our final bill...

The Rainbow Inn, Cooksbridge£5.60 for a small soft drink. I was going to complain, but I was worried they might notice that they hadn't charged us for pudding. We actually had three courses, not two. So I see that as a bit of karma. It's where we get the phrase 'just desserts'. I'm an honest chap, but if you've just charged me more than five quid for a small glass of squash, I ain't saying a word. It's just a shame they remembered the four pound cover charge.

Anyhoo, liquor and merchandise aside, the experience was all good. Angelo was an angel, and the food was to die for. I started with some Kipper Pâté with Whisky, as created by Michel Bourdin, head chef of The Connaught in London for 26 years, and followed that up with the finest Shepherd's Pie I've ever eaten. Apart from my Mum's, obviously. It made me want to go out and buy a Knorr Stock Pot immediately. For dessert, I had Mr White's Rice Pudding with Prunes d'Agen à l'Armagnac, which quite honestly was exquisite. Forget Ambrosia, this was the food of the gods.

As for Lisa, she chose the Baked Saint-Marcellin Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes followed by Cumberland Sausages in a Red Wine Sauce with Creamy Mash, which was actually even better than my Shepherd's Pie. I know, because I stole some. The Triple-Cooked Chips (which seems a bit excessive) were great too. Her only disappointment was the dessert, which was a Bread & Butter Pudding so small in size and light in texture that it was like eating a fun-size blancmange. The taste was fine, but it wasn't the warming stodgy pudding she was expecting. So it's just as well it was free.

As it happens, I think we were their easiest customers of the day. After half an hour, we were joined by an elderly couple who sat down at a table, ordered some drinks, and then promptly sent back the first one for not tasting right. I thought they were a little awkward, until another couple arrived and asked if they could have risotto for their main course. Despite the fact that it didn't appear anywhere on the menu.

But despite being the most working class people there (even the waitress told us that she lives in Surrey), we blended in seamlessly with the cream of society, poured it liberally over our stolen desserts, and left there as satisfied customers. I'd rather lap water from the sinks in the toilet than pay £5.60 for a soft drink, but we'll definitely go back for the food.


Phil's Mum said...

Meanwhile, we're snowed in and hungry - but I'm sure we'll manage!

Jp Cheshire said...

Triple Cooked Chips?
Three times in the chip pan?
Do you have to put a wet dish cloth over the flames while you call the fire brigade

Phil said...

I'll admit they're probably not the healthiest way to get your five-a-day, and you wouldn't want to eat them near a naked flame, but they were very nice.