A hot bank holiday weekend brings the crowds out in force to Bakewell, packing the car parks, streets and beer gardens.
People are picnicking by the river or perched on town centre benches eating fish and chips.
My partner and I escape the throng and head indoors to satiate our appetites and slake our thirsts in the cool restaurant that is Arthur’s.
Much to our surprise we are given the choice of where to sit as we’re the only diners in the restaurant, the other lunchtime customers are favouring the areas nearer the bar.
Sitting at the table beside the window gives us the opportunity to watch the world go by, gaze around the restaurant which has dark wood wall panelling, lighter coloured floors, wooden tables and chairs and modern glass globe lights on the ceiling.
Candles in champagne bottles on the window sill and smaller ones on the tables highlight what a cosy and ambient place this must be for a romantic evening meal.
The lunchtime menu caters for all appetites, from open sandwiches topped with pulled pork, haddock goujons or warmed brie and cranberry to sharing platters including seafood or whole baked Camembert. Smoked burger, goulash, salmon fillet or fish and chips feature among the main courses.
Skipping starters such as arancini risotto balls and chorizo and pepper bruschetta, I head straight to mains and go for lamb kofta kebab, served with mint yoghurt, fries, marinated tomatoes, salad and tortiilla. The kebab is plump and zinging with spices, the skinny fries arrive in a quirky little flowerpot and the tomatoes are infused with a delicately flavoured oil.
Across the table, the steak frites are going down a treat. The 6oz slab of prime rump beef is cooked to succulent perfection in garlic butter and accompanied with marinated tomatoes and fries.
Dessert is often my favourite part of the meal and every offering at Arthur’s looks a winner, from the sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice-cream to the cheesecake of the week which, on this occasion, is cherry and almond. I venture into new territory with my first taste of banana mille-feuille. Layers of delicate pastry, sandwiched with jam, almond creme patisserie and accompanied by caramelised bananas and peanut butter ice cream with nutty chunks make this pure heaven.
Our lunch is a very leisurely, relaxed occasion - not once do we feel hurried by the waiting staff who respond to our needs and answer our questions.
We find out that Arthur’s has been open for 15 months and is named after an ancestor of the family which runs it. Arthur grew up in Bakewell more than a century ago and in later life brought his own family back to town from Manchester where he would reminisce about his childhood.
After this memorable lunch, which came in at under £60 for food and drinks, we will definitely be returning to Arthur’s.
tel. 01629 815613