Sunday, 5 June 2011

Lucia's Wine Bar and Grill - York


It was a glorious summers day in York and we were strolling around trying to find somewhere to have dinner that wasn't one of those mass produced chain restaurants, you the know places I don't need to name them. So there we were manoeuvring our way through the cobbled bowing streets just near to the The Shambles and happened to see a small lane deviating away from one of the main streets of shops. Down this charming lane were twinkling lights and bright yellow d├ęcor tucked into a corner. The menu was at the end of the lane and we had a quick glance and immediately knew that we wanted to eat there.

We were greeted just as we approached by a friendly, smiley, pretty waitress who promptly showed us to our seats with no hesitation or that horrid awkwardness which sometimes grabs you when a waiter/waitress fumbles about asking where you would like to seat.. and you stand there for about 2 minutes thinking I have no idea I have never been here before. The best way to handle this situation (in my own opinion) is to show your guests to their seats and ask then if the table is good for them, you have then had the chance to look around whilst been guided to your table and can better assess the ambiance. Babbling again...



We sat down at our table and were handed the menus, we were left for 5 minutes to look over the menu and decide upon drinks. I settled upon a glass of white wine. The cheapest wine on the menu was the house wine which you can buy in half litres for £7-8... I decided to stray away from this one and picked the next cheapest. My dining partner (who doesn't drink) chose a Tropical Island Virgin Cocktail. He was very impressed by the amount of virgin cocktails available to order, as a non-drinker he gets very bored with drinking coke and lemonade all the time, which I'm sure many other non-drinkers can also relate to. Tropical Island is a blend of figs, apple, orange and honey with a huge chunk of orange popped in too.



Just the right amount of time later the waitress returned to take our food order....

About 5-7 minutes later our starters arrived... we shared starters as the decision for which starters to chose was too much as they also sounded divine. We ordered chorizo and chickpea salad, deep fried brie and a pot of olives. All very simple dishes but very tasty, the brie wasn't too sickly which I have found in restaurants previously. The olives at the top were nice and firm but towards the bottom of the pot they grew a little mushy.





Once we finished our starters we didn't need to wait long for our mains. The cutlery and napkins were replaced, I hate it when you have to keep your napkin as clean as possible throughout your starter for fear that it wont be replaced.



For our mains we ordered we both ordered from the grill. I ordered chicken panchetta and mushroom skewer, which came with a side of salad, chips and onion rings. This proved to be a very popular dish as we saw plates and plates of it coming out. The chicken, panchetta and mushroom is char-grilled to perfection full of flavour not grilled and burnt to a crisp so all you get is that charcoal flavour. I was surprised by the amount of chips, which was far more than I could devour but would definitely satisfy those with a bigger appetite. The onions rings were cooked just right, none of that biting into one and the grease literally running down your chin. They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, no struggle trying to bite through the onion so you pull it all out of the batter and are just left with.. the batter either.



My dining partner ordered lemon and thyme chicken supreme, which comes with a creamy sunblush tomato risotto.  The flavour of the lemon and thyme came through lusciously and the meat was tender. It can be quite hard to get risotto perfect but this was pretty close! I tried a forkful myself and it wasn't too heavy or creamy it made an amazing accompaniment.



When our mains were delivered they also gave us a trio of sauces (tomato, mayo and sweet chilli) which came in a really cute and convenient pot.



Our mains were very filling, but we decided to to look at the dessert menu anyway... The desserts sounded so  heavenly that we couldn't resist trying at least one. So sticking to tradition we chose a cheesecake to share, which came with fresh berries and a strawberry sauce. Actual little piece of heaven in my mouth. So rich and velvety with flavoursome berries, and the biggest blackberries I have ever seen!



I finished off the meal with a Strawberry Daiquiri, with a cocktail list longer than my arm who could resist! It was powerful and the first sip almost had me on the floor. It was freshly made and slid down my throat with incredible ease, almost too much ease. ( I was slightly tipsy after a large glass of wine and this alluring cocktail).



During each course we were asked at appropriate intervals whether everything was OK with our food. It was felt that a watchful eye was kept on us at all times but not so that it was intrusive but reassuring, and we never struggled to get more drinks or anything else we may have needed.

The bill came to less than £50 and we left a generous tip. To some up the prices all starters are £3.95, both our mains were £9.95, the virgin cocktail was £3 and the sinful cocktail was £4.42 with a glass of wine ranging from £4.25-5.50 (excluding the house wine mentioned previously). All the desserts were £3.50. Cheap and scrumptious.

Another point to add is that whilst we were here we noticed that there was a wide variety of people, ranging from young to old, couples to families, and friends to mother and daughter post shopping wind downs. The music was varied, we heard a little Spanish influenced music, Louis Bega's Mambo number 5 to R'n'B and hip hop... a great mix and a fantastic atmosphere. There were plenty of seating outside but inside was just as charming. There were patio heaters dotted around but were not needed whilst we were there, and a nice touch was the fleece blankets draped over the backs of chairs just in case you needed some extra insulation.



For a further look into what Lucia has to offer visit their website... http://luciawinebar.co.uk/

Lucia York is located in Swinegate Court, there is a map of their location on the website. They also have another restaurant in Beverley.

Stars

Food *****
Value *****
Service ****
Atmosphere ****
Cleanliness *****


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