The busy and hectic part was at work so it was a relief to finish early and pick my daughter Louisa up from school, have some lunch then chill out until our appointment on the ski slopes at Hillend for some snow-tubing.
A trip along the bypass then took us to Ikea before returning to Charwood where I had booked us a table, proof that I’m getting better at this multi-tasking business and planning ahead.
First impressions were positive. The dining area is spacious, very modern, clean and bright with nice furnishings and a solid wood floor throughout.
It was quite busy with a mixture of couples and old and young families who looked they were enjoying what they were eating.
There’s two levels in the restaurant and we were seated in the smaller, lower section next to the large windows which looked out onto a water feature that’s surrounded by a well maintained decking area.
The upper part is bright and tastefully decorated with a bar on the east wall and a dessert bar on the north side with a centrepiece featuring comfortable sofa-like seating around the bottom and suspended glass with spot lighting at the top.
The starters were all appealing and I agonised over prosciutto wrapped chicken terrine and bruschetta with the latter just shading it. And it was a good choice.
The bread was deliciously warm and rustic with a large crust and every flavour from the cherry vine tomatoes and red onion to the roasted garlic and fresh basil oozed through it.
It didn’t last long on my plate.
Karen had the salmon and haddock fish cakes with panka bread crumbs and tartare sauce that were soft and crispy, accompanied by some nice leaves.
Louisa had the garlic bread, which was lovely and soft inside the crust. For my main the braised lamb shank with puy lentil and chorizo broth looked too good to ignore and it certainly proved so once I started tucking in.
It is a superb, well presented and beautifully rich dish. The luscious lamb literally fell off the bone and the chorizo was tasty and tender in amongst the lentils, herbs, pearl onions, celery and jus. Absolutely exquisite.
I hate wasting good food but had to leave some because I was full – not a frequent occurrence for me I can assure. I also ordered a side of chunky chips with thick and crispy skins with a fluffy inside. Perfect chips.
Karen had the haggis and jalapeno pizza, an unusual combination but it works as the Scottish delicacy seems to go with everything these days it’s so versatile.
Louisa chose the kids pasta that was rich in flavour, especially garlic which she loves and there was plenty in the bowl.
For desserts Karen and I shared the cheesecake of the day which was coconut, rum and lime with fresh raspberries and a thick raspberry coulis on the side while Louisa had her favourite of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
You could really taste each individual ingredient in the soft cheesecake which was something that was consistent in each and every dish.
Charwood’s chef definitely knows how to make the food shine through.