We reached a site visitors island a few miles west of Lichfield. Left for Walsall, immediately on for Shrewsbury. My partner had a moment of the idea. “If we turn left, we’ll reach The Boat Inn,” she stated, pointing in a route that could take us miles away from our path.
And 15 minutes later we have been sitting in the location’s high-quality fine eating place-bar, smiling for the primary time in a morose and unrewarding evening.
We ordered a starter and dessert – a mini dinner for 2, if you want – enjoyed appropriate carrier, the quality of local, seasonal produce and relaxed in convivial surrounds.
This isn’t always, of the path, a review about The Boat Inn.
We’ve ticked that field earlier this yr.
And we stand with the aid of a recommendation that billed it because the high-quality this facet of Birmingham.
Nights like Tuesday, however, did remind us of the gulf in elegance between that and others.
It’s the primary time in this corpulent lifestyles that I’ve visited eating places in a single night time.
Three gigs in the night time, yes. Multiple international locations in a day, that too. But restaurants? Don’t be silly. Stomachs weren’t made for that.
Nor, however, have been humans designed to be underwhelmed or to be glad when things aren’t as much as a scratch.
And that brings us smartly to this week’s eating place: McKenzie’s in the City.
We’d selected it because of a first-rate on-line profile, which advised high standards and gastronomic experience.
I wager we ought by no means to judge an e-book with the aid of its cowl, or an eating place by using its on line profile.
For McKenzie’s become mired in mediocrity.
Service turned into negative and the food changed into so-so, even though the room became exceptional.
It’s no longer a place we’d select to revisit.
Lichfield has a burgeoning reputation for decent food. In addition to the wonderful Boat Inn, there’s the fabulous Larder, which has made an exquisite effect.
Nearby Swinfen Hall is continually reliable while there are various first-rate independent eating places, which includes the ever-generous little gem that is Pizza By Goli. McKenzie’s hasn’t stored up with the Joneses. Ours was a worn-out and unloved night characterized with the aid of errors and indifference.
The restaurant is positioned in Lichfield’s stunning former Corn Exchange building and the form of the building is its greatest characteristic.
Oh, and it’s properly branded.
A stag’s head sits underneath a delightful, elegant font that suggests something considered and stylish.
Our food became whatever but.
We’d booked a desk for two early inside the night and have been simplest the second one desk to arrive.
A waitress confirmed us to our desk, although she changed into disengaged and supplied no reassurance that we’d revel in our evening.
First impressions count and while she back quickly after with our drinks, we mentioned they had been the wrong ones – she’d really no longer been listening whilst we located our order.
A unique waitress returned with the right order and apologized for her colleague’s mistakes.
The liquids, in truth – placing to one side the delightful architecture – had been the best part of the evening as my accomplice enjoyed a lemony gin cocktail; an exciting manner to begin.
And that changed into the highpoint – earlier than the meals had arrived.
Aside from boasting a grasp of first-rate eating places, Lichfield is surrounded with the aid of productive countryside.
There are numerous manufacturers in the vicinity who harvest excellent meat, fruit, and greens – and plenty of that finds its manner onto the menu of places like The Boat Inn.
If you’ve not yet eaten their Lichfield Raspberry tart with elderflower custard, then get thee there.
Whether or no longer McKenzie’s has a comparable sourcing coverage is past my comprehension.
It’s on-line proclamation studiously avoids readability and reads like so: “The merchandise that we supply are from associate suppliers which have an interest in generating the best nice and then caring for it in a manner that allows us to deliver the first-class merchandise in your desk.”