Westmorland Tebay Services – Penrith
And so our food tour of Britain begins. The first part of today’s journey led us to Westmorland Tebay services – a completely different type of service station. Tebay has a charming little farm shop alongside its cafe and made to go food section. After a wander round the farm shop, we headed to the cafe to refuel. Dad was hooked by the Fish and Chips (more like whale and chips!) while I plumped for the Feta, Onion and Olive Tapenade Flatbread. Dad’s fish was meaty and coated in a light, crispy batter which wasn’t in the least bit greasy. My flatbread was freshly warmed and topped with rocket and dressing. The olive tapenade wasn’t necessarily strong enough to handle the flavour of the feta, but it was tasty all the same. I also managed to snaffle some of the chunky, fluffy chips that accompanied both mum and dad’s dishes. Speaking of mum, she definitely won when it comes to tastiest dish. Her Smoked Haddock Macaroni Cheese was smokey and creamy which chunks of haddock throughout. The pasta had gone a little past perfection, but the delicious sauce more than made up for that.
Later on we took a toilet break, and I made the mistake of looking at the Krispy Kreme cabinet in the service station. The Lotus Biscoff Doughnut sat proudly in the cabinet, and I couldn’t resist buying one, as I have wanted to try it for a while. The doughnut is filled with Biscoff enhanced Kreme and topped with Biscoff spread, pieces of Lotus biscuits and flakes of white chocolate. The first two bites were sheer delight. The next two were good, but not as great. As I ate the doughnut I knew that I should stop – it was as sickly as it was delicious. I couldn’t stop myself though, and I made my way through the whole thing (minus a bite each from mum and dad). I’d probably never think about eating it again, but I am very glad I was able to try one.
Frankie and Benny’s – Kidderminster
Due to heavy traffic, it was later than we had anticipated when we reached the hotel. Between this and the horrible weather, we decided just to eat at the Frankie and Benny’s next door. Before we were even completely thorough the door of the restaurant, we noticed a sign stating that, due to a problem with their ovens, they were unable to serve pizzas or calzones. We went ahead anyway, all fairly happy to order something else from the vast menu.
I started with the calamari – one of my all time favourite dishes. The squid itself was perfectly cooked and not at all chewy, although the coating had gone a little too far and was bordering on burnt. Unusually for calamari, it was served with a tomato based sauce. Though this was nice, I think I prefer a creamy mayonnaise or aioli with my squid. Mums three potato skins were filled with tasty looking pulled pork and cheese, and dad was very pleased with his choice of Meatballs Italiano. The chunky meatballs were coated in a spicy sauce which was perfectly mopped up by the accompanying garlic bread.
For my main course I was swayed by another of my favourite ingredients – chorizo. The Chicken and Chorizo pasta was served in a spicy sauce complete with slices of red chilli, and included a generous amount of chorizo. Mum enjoyed a subtle tasting Pasta Verde – broccoli, peas and pasta served in a creamy pesto sauce – while dad went for the Carbonara. The traditional creamy pasta dish was served with crispy pancetta and mushrooms, and dad seemed to enjoy what he had – although he did mention that he probably couldn’t eat a bigger portion.
All in all, day one of the holiday has gone pretty well food wise – we can only hope it continues!