Dozybean's dapper and slightly elderly man-friend has hit middle age without undue mishap. The big four-oh came about a few days ago and he spent the day at his caravan down in darkest Kernow (repairing the floor, I believe).
To mark the occasion of his passing from relative youth to elder-statesman status in the twinkling of an eye, we took the pair of them to the Artillery Tower in Plymouth last night for a slap-up feeding frenzy. Dozybean was resplendent in a fetching pink sunburn and a very sensible wraparound skirt (easily let-outable). The rest of just looked very smart and elegant having neglected to spend too long on a beach without proper UV protection.
For the uninitiated (which would have included me before yesterday), the Artillery Tower is a restaurant housed in exactly what it says it is. The building dates from the 16th century and is a very atmospheric place in which to tickle the taste buds. There's a set price for three courses, with amuses-bouches and a small soup thrown in. Not the cheap option (not by a long chalk), but all beautifully presented and using only the best of ingredients.
The waiting staff blanched somewhat as I entered waving the old white stick about (the flooring is a bit uneven and the stairs are an adventure in themselves), but I found my seat without incident or accident.
So - was the meal up to the standard for the money? Yes and a little bit no. The quality of the cooking and the ingredients cannot be faulted, but the main courses were not as hot as they should have been and I reckon they'd been plated-up and then left for a bit too long before being brought to table. A minor niggle maybe - but when you're paying top-dollar you want everything to the spot-on.
The starters were fantastic (parfait of chicken liver and foie-gras in my case), the taste of the mains was equally good (just not hot enough) and the puds were to die for. The menu is ever changing as they only use seasonal and/or local produce - so if you were considering a visit, listing the options would be pointless. The coffee with homemade Baileys truffles are worth the extra at the end!
We're all now very very fat. Nicky and I have skipped breakfast as we're due another face-filling for Sunday lunch. I think the diet may be shelved for a day or two.
All together now....."Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday EarMaa-aatt, Happy birthday to you".