It is fair to say that it has taken a while for me to get to Mitchell’s. Opening when it did meant that a certain D word got in the way, and on the first couple of attempts it was full and I’ve been too hungry to wait. That situation has now been remedied.
I’ve been excited about the prospect of something opening up on Market St for a while; I’ve been here long enough to remember the ‘old’ Mitchell’s – the butcher, complete with carcasses hanging in the window and sawdust on the floor – and it has been a large and ominous hole of nothing-ness for far too long. That excitement intensified when rumours of what it was going to be started to filter into the St A grapevine: ‘a deli’, ‘a new restaurant serving quality, local, seasonal produce’, ‘both!’ . Finally, they had a stall at the farmers’ market, and it was here we got a first glimpse of what it would be like. To say I was ‘keen‘ would be selling it a little short. If you so desire you can read all about this (and other farmers’ market goodness) here.
Slight caveat time: I am not a professional taster/reviewer/food person and so my opinion counts for little; I only know what I like and – arguably as important – what I don’t. If you want to read something more professional here’s their website, I’m sure it has lots of nice things about it!
We had a quick look at the deli before being seated, and what I saw looked good. I think I will have to pay it another visit in the not too distant future.
The first thing that hits you is the relaxed atmosphere. The slightly mis-matched furniture (normally one of my pet hates) works marvellously and the tweed-clad bench seats in the window give the place a sense of fun – somewhere you come for a casual lunch with friends, but could also dine more seriously (if you so desired). The big tables at the back with their lights hidden away in a collection of old green bottles and the cutlery piled into old golden syrup tins, could have spectacularly backfired and made the place very kitch-y and cobbled together, but I’m happy to say that they add to, not detract from, ‘the dining experience’. They also have something I believe should be in all shops/restaurants claiming to be ‘local’ – the notice board for advertising local events. All in all this place has a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere, one which puts a smile on your face – and that’s before you’ve even considered the food.
This is where I have my one criticism of Mitchell’s. My impression of the menu was that it was a little basic – perfect for lunch, but lacking for dinner. That is probably a little unfair, as surely this place is surely all about those daily/seasonal specials, but these were not pointed out to us, and if we hadn’t noticed them attached to the wall we wouldn’t have known they existed.
My moans, I am pleased to say, did very little to reduce the pleasure of lunch. Kat had a roast beef sandwich (left), with soup of the day (can’t remember for the life of me what it was), which smelt, simply incredible. I feel a lot of the superlatives used to describe lunch are possibly down to the rather scrumptious, and particularly drinkable ‘Really Good Red’ (Right). House reds (in my experience) can sometimes be a little harsh and a little jarring; but this one – for want of a better expression – went down really easily, with a distinctly fruity note, and is definitely something to be repeated.
Mel and I opted to be very boring and have exactly the same thing (below). Pork and apple pie, served with chutneys, a chunk of apple, bread and a chunk of the Island Cheese Company‘s herb cheddar (again, I am fan from the Farmers’ Market). I was slightly concerned when ordering that I was going to get a plate with a tiny little bit of everything on it, one which wouldn’t feed a mouse, however, I left well and truly full. More accurately, stuffed. It was SO good. My mouth is watering at the very thought of it. Who ever their chef is, they are VERY good at what they do!
So, I may have had a couple of reservations, but overall the atmosphere, the decor, and – above all – the food and drink were simply amazing. Fantastic. Devine. I don’t think I’ve had a lunch out this good in a very long time. Perhaps my question of it perhaps being more for lunch than dinner is totally unfounded? I guess the only way to find out is to go back and try it out! And obviously, being the wonderful scientist that I am (I wish), I will have to do it multiple times, just to make sure. I am very much looking forward to my next visit!