That's because I'm thinking of exactly two weeks ago when three of us went to lunch at a place none of us had been to before. Charnia Kitchen in the village of Quorn is a relatively new addition in the north of Leicestershire and we were so pleased we found it.
Laura and I always have a lovely time when we meet up, there's nearly always food and wine involved, and the only time there's silence is when we are eating. Our third member of the group was Bam Bam, she doesn't talk much and didn't order any lunch, preferring to eat snacks from a copious selection which came with her. and she made it quite clear that I wasn't going to have any of those thank you very much.
She's Laura's adorable daughter, who has been out to lunch and more press launches than I have in the last year.
So, what was on the menu, and what did we try?
Wine first, and as it was a rather warm day, we ordered a few glasses of Cantina di Negra from Verona which were just right - chilled with peachy undertones and very moreish.
The menu is a mixture of light lunches for those for fancying quick bites such as jacket potatoes, avocado on toast, toasties, eggs benedict and that sort of thing.
There's also a comprehensive list of starters, then mains such as five-spiced duck breast, roast salmon to chateaubriand steaks.
We decided to try the set lunch menu ...eyeing up what seemed a 1970's inspired selection of dishes.
Laura's eyes lit up when she saw her starter, a prawn cocktail with a Marie Rose sauce, and the oohs of delight as she started eating confirmed that it had hit the spot.
A tomato and mozzarella salad with pesto dressing was my choice,...
So, both starters prettily presented, now it was time to test the mains. Laura loved her seared lambs liver, mashed potato, fried onion and red wine gravy. Bam Bam was being fork fed tiny morsels of everything, and relishing every bite too.
I was busily devouring the mushroom fricassee with mashed potatoes which I'd ordered. When was the last time you ate a fricassee? I was in France back in the 1990's in Normandy at a Chambre D' Hote on a cider farm. Happy and delicious memories, but I really enjoyed these mushrooms sauteed with onions, enveloped generously in a cream and brandy sauce.
The mashed potatoes were a perfect foil, alongside the seasonal vegetables. Even so, there was plenty of creamy goodness left, and I was reaching for my dessert spoon to taste every last drop. Yes, I may have been greedy but Martyn Pepper, the General Manager was immediately at the table with a few slices of bread to help mop every last bit of cream. Which I did.
We couldn't manage a pudding too, so decided to go out into the sunshine and finish our drinks. There's a colourful outside space behind the restaurant, full of relaxing chairs and benches and a few groups of people were drifting in for drinks and afternoon teas which have to be booked in advance.
Such a relaxed feel, and none of the *you've had your lunch and now bugger off" attitude which some restaurants have after a long, lazy lunch. Mind you, Charnia Kitchen is open from 8am for breakfast and stays open until 11pm.
The afternoon tea does look inviting, served imaginatively with copious sandwiches, cakes and what not. A brief look flashed between Laura and me and I knew we were both thinking the same ...perhaps, lunch, go for a walk and stay for afternoon tea next time?
There will of course be another visit here, we both agreed on that. Charnia Kitchen serves delicious food, beautifully presented and I like the attention to detail both in the food and service. Gleaming glassware and cutlery, and Martyn Pepper, the General Manager, was friendly and attentive, without being intrusive and looked after all three of us very well.
We paid £12 each for our rather retro set lunch which we both thought was an absolute bargain, plus the wine.
We drove off happily. Bam Bam, who is an absolute delight, was dozing in the back as we discussed the meal and how much we enjoyed it, The only question mark was- did the menu need a few more summery dishes on it? Yes, we decided, and we're both very much looking forward to tasting some on our next visit.