Written by Louise Bennett, August 2020.
Fancy freshly cooked brunch sat in an outdoor courtyard on a sunny Sunday in Plymouth? Yes please! Driving to Hutong Café pop up dining space currently residing at The Lord Admiral for brunch today we passed a substantial queue of cars for Ronald’s favourite drive thru local Golden Arches fast food chain.
I remember seeing images on social media of when the said American fast food chains re-opened and thinking the world had gone slightly, if not totally bonkers. Whilst I am the first to outrightly admit that I am an all-out food snob and rarely choose to eat from any national or international chain, I completely get that we all eat and need food for different reasons. I for one have definitely used the promise of over salty deep fat fried potato matchsticks as a bribe or to ease the dreaded Sunday morning hangover but now (aged 41 and scarily approaching adult status) I’d far prefer to be queuing outside The Fig Tree, Rocksalt, Salumi or Hutong Café and make the eating into a full on experience.
Planned or impromptu eating feasts are what make me tick and whilst I was always one for planning and booking ahead I’m now far more spontaneous (hopefully slightly less adult-like trait). Today we booked our brunch at 10.05am from home and were sat devouring food the other side of Plymouth within thirty minutes.
Whilst the booking system was distinctly glitchy I persevered and on the third attempt of entering my email address, we chose from the perfectly sized menu, paid and turned up with our food freshly cooked served to us by the lovely Emma and Jack in the gorgeous outdoor space just off of Union Street. It was my first experience of eating out in five months and I’ve really missed it.
Eating out is right at the top of my list as a hobby, I include in that; take away fish and chips at the Barbican or artisan ice cream in Padstow so not just the fine dining thing. I’m near on obsessed with all element’s foodie; from reading, cooking, eating, talking, shopping – you get the idea. I eat out not for a break from cooking but for inspiration and to feed my curiosity and hunger – not in the literal sense but to come home and re-create what I’ve just eaten.
I kinda missed sitting and seeing what other customers had ordered and perusing the menu as I love being curious (note, definitely not nosey), but the brunch menu online was the perfect length and catered for all dietary likes without making a huge deal out of it. Just for the record, I ordered the plant stack (potato rosti, thickly sliced cooked tomato, asparagus, baby corn and watercress). It was perfectly seasoned, and I really enjoyed it.
I know I’m most definitely not the only one who sits hoping their companions choose different things from the menu just so that you get a glimpse at yet more food, how it’s been presented and if you’re really lucky you get offered a fork-full generously shared over the table to try. Luckily for me banana bread and Pastel de Nata were my teenage daughter’s choice and they were equally delicious – yes, I did get offered a small morsel to try!
Emma and Jack have nailed their alternative location and if you’ve not yet visited them, do. I love the Lord Admiral pub and the courtyard area is quirky, chilled and Jack and Emma’s service and chat make it the perfect recipe for a fab, local eatery. Excuse me while I just sit back in my garden pretending I’m in Portugal while I tuck into my Pastel de Nata that I brought home to elongate the eating experience just a little longer.
Follow Louise’s foodie journey over on Instagram.
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