Barry Pearson makes the most of his free bus pass this week, and ventures to Nottingham.
OWING, I guess, to having written recently of both France and travel, I extended my wanderlust all the way to Nottingham, travelling by the both efficient and quick bus service, via Derby.
This, to those of us who are not as young as, at times, we pretend to be, is free.
I had not been to Nottingham for years and many changes were noticeable. I had read of "the beach" on Old Market Square so, with the scepticism of a "grumpy", went to have a look.
I was very pleasantly surprised. Children were building sand castles and paddling, parents were settled in deck chairs and grandparents were dozing.
With food outlets and a small number of traditional fairground-type rides, there was a great atmosphere.
I was with two friends and, as recommended by one of them, we decided to have lunch at French Living in King Street.
This is an unpretentious but atmospheric true French restaurant whose owners and staff (friendly and efficient) are indeed French. As an aside, they are celebrating their 20th anniversary.
The brasserie is on two floors and incorporates a deli and cheese counter.
As we were there for lunch, we opted for the plats du jour, which offered three appetizers, a choice of five main courses and two desserts.
We chose soup, terrine, beef steak with blue cheese sauce, fillet of hake, chocolate mousse and apple and pear cake, all both tasty and delightful, and incredible value at £8.95 for one course, £11.95 for two and £13.95 for three.
We had house wines which were of good flavour and value.
However, let me tell you that the range of food available at both lunch and for dinner is impressive and just amazingly tempting in addition to which are seasonal three course menus "de Saison" and "Gastronomique" at £21.90 and £25.90 – they are mouthwatering.
Whilst this was my first visit, both Ian and Graham are comparative regulars. I can well understand why. We all so enjoyed our lunch.
I feel I can do no better than to quote the ethos of French Living: "Our dishes are typical of a French bistro; simple, classic recipes, all home-made from fresh ingredients. We serve meals that make the French feel at home, and the British remember their holidays"
French Living lives up to its ethos. Outside traditional meal and theatre supper times, French Living offers a café and crêperie menu.
We re-boarded our comfortable buses for the journey home, well satisfied with our visit to Nottingham.
Whilst writing of French food, there will be a French three-day weekend from September 4 to 6 at Whites in Ashbourne.
Whilst booking for a party of eight, I had a preview of the carte of four appetisers, six mains, four desserts and for cheese lovers, that lovely brie de Meaux.
I have to say that, as I write, a little before lunch, my mouth is watering and admit to having already made my choices!
Being a special menu, you are asked to book. I have a feeling we are going to enjoy it!