Secretly, we’re all after a bargain. I mean even not-secretly, we’re all after a bargain, aren’t we? And even for those of them who dine frivolously and swipe their black Amex with the same ferocious frequency with which I swipe my Boots Advantage card, trust me, they’re also secretly after a bargain.
Well, I make no secret of it. From Toptable discounts to TasteLondon specials and the mild fact that I am Chinese (the thrifters that we are), any bargain is better than none, and when I find a good one, far be it for me to withhold the precious information from you!
And so with that, I give you The Little Bay, where a full sized, full quality three-course lunch rings up at just under £12 per head.
It’s Friday and the girls at my office have organised lunch. Normally all over venue ideas, I was flattened by my workload last week and the responsibility of venue choice was relinquished and somewhere along the line, someone booked a table at The Little Bay in Farringdon.
I’d never even heard of the The Little Bay before, but a brief perusal of their menu on Friday morning sent the pink haired troll in my belly into rapturous tumbles, celebrating the impending deliciousness that was going to set me back the cost of a normal wrap+fruit+drink from Pret. Excitement plus. Plus. PLUS.
[It occurred to me that the teensy weensy price could mean either low quality products or minuscule portions, but I'm happy to report that it is neither. Good food, large portions - win ]
So we arrived at The Little Bay and check out the menu (even though of course I’d already picked what I wanted). It’s an interesting menu, dabbled with European cuisine by Yoguslav chef Peter Ilic. I couldn’t really place the feel of the place either, with the interior decor ranging from Greek to Turkish and uh, they serve a Sunday roast. Let’s just call them pan-European.
Onto the food. We ordered our starters – Parsons pastry, goats cheese & beetroot tart and pig’s cheek for me, recommended by the wisdom that is the Twitterati – which at only £2.55 each, left us waiting in anticipation for what could potentially be the smallest or crappest or smallest and crappest meal we’ve ever had.
But as each starter was brought out, our fears were slowly put to rest. The Parsons pastry, smoked chicken, mushrooms and herbs encased in a light filo pastry was delightful in its clean and tasty flavour and for the price, two portions of filo pastry is honestly a bargain.
The goats cheese & beetroot tart also proved to be a fantastic deal – a full sized tart, complete with baked beetroot and topped with a generous slice of goats cheese.
But it was the pig’s cheek that won it for me. Two fat, juicy (and perfectly pinkly cooked) pieces of cheek served over garlic mash and topped with a slice of crispy smoked bacon. Tell me that doesn’t make you drool.
Starters didn’t disappoint, and the bar had just shot up for our mains. Not surprisingly, we all adored our mains too but you know what was shocking? My workmates, they said their mains were actually too big. Too big. At £6.45 each, having a meal which not only tastes good but is “too big” actually confuddles my little brain.
Anyway here’s a snapshot and first up, the culprit. The chicken surpreme, stuffed with minted mince lamb and served with lentils and a port wine jus. Again, not just one but two full portions of solid chicken breast, sinfully stuffed to the brink with mince lamb. The taste was good, but not my personal choice as I’m not into chicken breast nor lentils and not lamb when it’s all minced up.
Another main was the chicken breast with grilled vegetables (not on the online menu) which was delicious in all its simplicity and again, two large serves of chicken breast.
I, of course, was a little more luxurious (and really, to be able to be luxurious at £6.45 is a luxury in itself) and ordered the breast of duck, with steamed bok choi and a honey & ginger jus. A little nervous about the breast (I’m a leg girl, and always opt for the confit of duck leg) I have to say it was spectacular – moist, cooked to a dark pink with an ever-so-thin layer of fat. Oh and that little parcel next to the duck? No idea what that was. A little filo parcel of happiness is what I’ll call it.
At this point, we were sufficiently full but never one to let down the foodie team that is me and I and catty, I ordered dessert – white chocolate and pistachio parfait. I have to say my dessert looked the lamest out of all the others that we saw (the apple cake and profiteroles were massive servings and looked amazing) but really at £2.55, I need to just stop my whining.
My white chocolate and pistachio parfait was ok, and really more like ice cream, which I’m not complaining about. The pistachio flavour was a little synthetic so maybe don’t order this one. Go for the apple cake, it really did look incredible!
And there you have it. £2.55 + £6.45 + £2.55 totals something along the lines of £11.55 and yes I used a calculator because my math is like way worser than my English.
The Little Bay
171 Farringdon Road
Farringdon, EC1R 3AL
0207 278 1234