My friends and I have reached a turning point in our lives. We all seem to be flitting to the corners of the UK for our blossoming new careers. Having recently moved to Newcastle (why aye) I realise that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of eating places within 15 minutes of where I sit. However, my friend Nikki was working in Cumbria, and we decided that we would meet in the middle for a meal and a catch up. The middle was Carlisle - a modest hour and a bit from Newcastle.
Being the foodie that I am, it was up to me to find somewhere to eat. I chose Davids, which boasted a tasty menu at really good prices. The restaurant is owned by two Davids, which leads to the simple naming of the restaurant.
We were seated in the front of the restaurant, which had a lovely big fireplace and it felt like sitting in a living room.
After perusing the menu, we had made our choices. They run a mid-week menu which is two courses for £18.95, or three for £22.95; we had both decided on what we wanted, within minutes. The waitress popped over with our drinks, and also some freshly baked bread. There were two different types: cheese & herb, or mixed seed. Both of us wanted the mixed seed:
It was so soft, fluffy and generally amazing. Slather some nice warmed butter over it, and it made the perfect companion for our starter of choice: roasted plum tomato, chilli and red pepper soup, garnished with tortilla strips, basil oil and creme fraiche...
This soup was perfect. A lovely thick consistency, without being gloopy. The tortilla strips, once stirred in, melted slightly and therefore added a bit of texture, should that be what you fancy. The chilli meant that there was a slight kick after every spoonful, without it being overpowering or causing the eyes to water. The creme fraiche took away some of this heat, and added an extra creaminess to the already fabulous soup.
For Nikki's main course, she went for the honey glazed breast of Goosnargh duck, served on a bed of parsnip puree, with mustard grain new potatoes, and a black cherry & cassis reduction...
All of the main courses were served with seasonal vegetables too. The duck was served nice and pink, and cooked to perfection. The vegetables were served al dente, so had a nice crunch, even though they were piping hot. Nikki thoroughly enjoyed her duck, and assured me that I had picked the right place to eat.
For my main, I decided to be somewhat patriotic by ordering the pan fried Scottish salmon fillet, resting on a bed of wilted spinach, with seasonal vegetables and langoustine tails. This was all drizzled with a shellfish bisque:
The langoustine tail was coated in a beautifully sweet batter. The fish inside was light and also sweet, which was a wonderful start to a beautiful dish. The salmon fillet was thick and flaked apart easily, seasoned with black pepper. The wilted spinach was beautiful and brought out the taste of the pan fried salmon. The bisque was packed with flavour, and complimented the salmon perfectly.
We were both full, but couldn't resist the temptation of dessert. You're about to see why...
Say hello to the warm chocolate orange fondant, served with homemade toffee cinder ice cream. The sponge was incredibly moist on the inside, but crisp on the outside. The pudding was bursting with luxurious, rich chocolate orange sauce. Mixed with the lightness of the toffee ice cream, and the hint of chocolate & orange sauces decorating the plate, this was absolutely phenomenal. They do let you know that this takes 15 minutes to prepare, and it is worth the wait!
We were both achingly full, and wanted to curl up in front of the fireplace to snooze. We asked for the bill promptly after we finished; there was a long journey ahead of us both to our respective homes. One thing I will say is that it took forever for us to get our bill, and I also never got a water I ordered before my dessert arrived. The restaurant did fill up towards the end of our meal, however I did feel like we waited a considerable amount of time to get the bill, and also to pay it.
Nevertheless, this was an amazing dining experience and the staff were brilliant, up until the bill was required. Our total for a couple of three course meals and two drinks was just over £52 - about £26 a head.
If you're heading down South (or perhaps even up North from England) I would recommend a visit to Davids. They clearly know their stuff about food, and the prices are wonderful for all budgets.
As they would say in Newcastle, it was a 'canny' dinner and I'll happily visit there again.
62 Warwick Road
Tel: 01228 523578
Wheelchair access: No