Allotment, 25-29 Liverpool Road, Birkdale, Southport, PR8 4AR.
As readers of this blog will know, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day; Sunday my favourite day of the week; Dr J and Miss J my favourite two people. When you bring those three things together you have a recipe for a perfect time. The question is, whether Allotment – the new-ish restaurant in Birkdale – could play its part alongside my three favourites? The answer; mmmmmn.
It wasn’t bad – by any means. But it wasn’t great either. It was middling, good in places, disappointing in places. Middling. Let me take you through it.
We had booked – the planner in me – but were greeted with surprise when we mentioned our booking. Perplexing, but then the penny dropped when I looked around and found we were the only people in the place. That solitude continued until we left 75 minutes later. On the upside, that meant we weren’t interrupted, had our pick of the tables and don’t have to wait for the toilet – but it also meant there was very little atmosphere, except for the pleasant music – a reasonably cool middle of the road eclectic playlist.
Call me old-fashioned but when I arrive at a restaurant, or frankly any retail outlet from corner shop to department store, I like a warm welcome, smiles on faces, “really good to see you” being conveyed in the early rxchanges. ERR ERRRR. The service overall was OK – not rude but not friendly; no warm welcome; more tepid, perhaps lukewarm. Perhaps a little drafty. Certainly not toasty.
The surroundings were pleasing on the eye – the whole place done out carefully in the Allotment theme; like being inside a huge potting shed – that line sounded so Alan Partridge to me as I wrote it – which again for me is a bonus! The shed style works brilliantly and has been finished superbly – including nice touches like shed doors for bench seats, plants everywhere and stones in the sink in the bathroom. Full marks on the decor. As Aoife described it perfectly, it was like being in Mr MacGregor’s shed – and who doesn’t like that?!
The food was great. Simple stuff, done well. Perfect breakfast fayre. I had scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on sourdough – great big chunks of tasty fish with perfectly seasoned eggs. Enough toast. Good tea – real leaves, served in those fancy tea pots that mean there’s no need for a strainer. Nice. Dr J had avocados and poached eggs – again, delicious and beautifully presented. Miss J went for the toast and babychino – she is a connoisseur of both in eateries around these islands and further afield. She left with a full tummy and a thumbs up for the offering.
It took no time to get the bill – which I like. Put it this way, I hate very few things more in life than asking twice for the bill. I have a great friend whose Dad would leave without paying if he had to ask twice – I wish I had that front. I suppose I shouldn’t be too impressed since there was no great clamour for invoices from our other non-existent fellow diners but I enjoyed the prompt response. Sadly, no smiles and thanks you when we left. The chilly draft continued. Shame.
Several hours after leaving I got a call asking where we were – there was a booking in my name/number for 5pm for ten. No; that would be 10am for 5! Overall, I left a little underwhelmed but still tasting the delicious eggs and salmon. I’m going to give Allotment a second chance; I just hope others join us next time and someone who works there cracks a smile.