First things first, Mammy would like to apologise. Last night Mr M and I did something reckless, stupid, and TOTALLY against the Hungry Mammy ethos. We… I can hardly say it…We decided to go out, for dinner, with the three Poppets in tow. I know, what were we thinking??? I apologise, whole heartedly, and I blame Mr M entirely, for his silly “let’s all go out for family dinner” idea. Still, it should make for an interesting read…..
So, the location for our stupidity was Novello Lounge in Telfords Southwater development. Novello is a trendy cocktail bar by night, and a relaxed café bar by day, serving a selection of dishes, some healthy (such as their grilled halloumi and falafel salad), some comforting (Tin Pan Louie’s beef chilli anyone?) and some nibbly tapas delights perfect for sharing (eleven tapas dishes, choose three for little under a tenner). Their Little Loungers menu for kids offers proper food, not the usual fish fingers/chicken nuggets/ pizza, chips and beans on offer at most places, although, of course, all the Poppets wanted on this particular night was the usual fish fingers/chicken nuggets/ pizza, chips and beans…
Novello doesn’t encourage you to linger over many, many courses, with a menu devoid of starters, and only a handful of puddings given minimal space on the menu, this gives the impression of a venue that doesn’t want to be distracted from the business of selling coffees and cocktails by having to serve food, but at no point do you feel pressured to eat quickly and leave.
After much negotiating, Poppet 1 chose the buttermilk chicken lollipops with (obviously) chips and beans, and Poppet 2 surprised us all by choosing the mac n cheese with garlic bread (more on this later). Kids meals at Novello come with a carton juice drink and a pot of breadsticks, carrots, peppers and cucumber (which sadly never materialised for us).
Mr M chose the Buttermilk Fried Chicken served with chipotle mayo, house slaw and fries and I plumped for the Hot Smoked Salmon Fishcake served with a poached egg, wild rocket and fries.
After a short wait and eleventy billion trips to the toilet with Poppet 2 (her current favourite place to be) our food arrived. The Poppets meals were as you would expect, juicy, breaded mini chicken fillets, popped on a skewer and served with the obligatory frozen chips and baked beans served in an enamel mug, while the mac n cheese arrived flanked by the biggest kids portion of garlic bread in the world, oozy, gooey and cheesy, exactly as it should be.
Neither of the kids meals were served piping hot, but this is a good thing, as too often restaurants serve kids meals straight from the oven instead of letting them stand for a few minutes, leading to many burnt tongues and tears. After a game of musical plates (Poppet 2 decided she that she suddenly didn’t like cheese or pasta, and Poppet 1 declared she had too much chicken and would like some garlic bread, thank you very much, Poppet 3 just wanted food, any food!) they all tucked in to a good meal and not a scrap was left on their plates.
Have you ever seen a man multi task? No, me neither, until last night, when Mr M tried to eat his dinner whilst shovelling mac n cheese into The Hungriest Baby In The World™. Poor Mr M, by the time he settled down to eat anything from his own plate it was less than hot, but still tasty, with crunchy breadcrumb coating on the chicken, and the chipotle mayo giving a smoky, slightly spicy note to the dish, which could have been bland without it.
My fishcake looked like it had been run over in the kitchen, lacking any sort of height and more resembling one of Poppet 2’s splats made from Play Doh on a Sunday morning than anything that had been lovingly shaped by a chef in a professional kitchen. The taste was fine, smoky fish and not a lot else, but the gooey richness that the dish needed from a perfectly poached egg was missing, as the yolk was completely solid (a pet hate of mine since childhood). The zingy vinaigrette on the rocket salad was the only thing that lifted a quite monotonous dish and cut through the smokiness of the fish.
Overall, the food at Novello was fine. Just fine. We shall return, mostly because it is well located at Southwater, reasonably priced and they do make a cracking breakfast, but we will return with lowered expectations I feel…
Love, Mammy x