I’ve visited Pond tapas restaurant in central Preston a few times since it re-opened and can say it is up there as one of my favourite place to eat locally. It really is a shining star on the culinary map of Preston.
Pond, an off-shoot of Duk which was born in a deserted basement Preston in 2006, is an electric mix of tapas from chef Andrea Mellone. It is very welcoming to vegetarians and vegans as well as meat eaters. If you go you will notice that before taking your order the waiters ask if you have any allergies. Not something you normally get asked at restaurants. They take account of anyone with any intolerances.
The interior decor is plush with warm rouge coloured walls and dark brown wooden tables and large staircase to the upper floor (it has two levels), with a distinct Mediterranean feel. Very inviting.
Lunch is a good time to sample what the restaurant has to offer. They have a Tapas deal menu allowing you try a selection of dishes from the main menu for only £4 each.
I popped in with a friend. We ordered a selection of items from the menu and when they arrived, quite quickly I should add, arranged them in true tapas style in the centre of the table.
I had to have Andrea’s famous ‘Peruvian’ stew made with fruit and vegetables (chicken £1 extra). Andrea has been on BBC Radio Lancashire with Ted Robbins recently talking about this spicy and HOT dish. ‘Stew’ is a bit misleading as it’s really a delightful concoction of highly flavoured rustic roasting veg such as peppers, red onions, tomatoes, courgettes, garlic, plus lots of chillies and black pepper in a dark fruity sauce. It really carries a kick. I love this dish, really tasty and satisfying. And guaranteed to give you a warm glow on a foggy January afternoon in Preston.
The Catalan Broth, a ‘new recipe with chorizo’ according to the menu, was also a spicy treat. A kind of chilli but with diced chorizo. Beautiful. Be warned though this like the stew is SPICY.
We also tried the sweet chilli chicken which you would assume would be mild but had a fair amount of heat, the ‘dukpond’ salad, garlic bread selection (four slices of bread with toppings of chill, cheese, tomato) and the garlic and rosemary potatoes with salt and cracked black pepper & garlic mayo (the mayo was extremely garlicky – don’t try before a date!). All dishes very well cooked and satisfying.
For me the star of the show this afternoon, although the ‘Peruvian’ stew takes some beating, was the lemon & garlic chicken. Delicate, well cooked little strips of chicken in a mouth watering delicious sauce. If they could bottle this and sell it at their deli I would be in every day. Moped every last bit up with my garlic bread.
Service was attentive, polite and efficient. No complaints at all. We were even given little complimentary cakey things with our bill. Nice touch.
The main menu offers a wider selection including fish and shellfish as well as intriguing Strawberry steak and Raspberry pepper chicken dishes.
Pond is a wonderful place with truly unusual delightful great tasting food and a wonderful atmosphere..
There is nothing like it in the area outside Liverpool and Manchester.
The restaurant occupies the building on Cross Street in Preston that once housed the popular Alpenhof. Winning awards including Top tables gold award 2 years running and with Taste Lancashire accreditation, it has also been mentioned by Gordon Ramsay in his best Local restaurant TV programmes of 2009 and 2010.
At weekends I would suggest you book in advance as it gets very popular. I know from experience.
Tapas deal menu: All dishes £4 each. Available Mon to Thurs noon till 7pm. Fri, Sat, Sun till 6pm.
Address: 9-10 Cross St, Preston, PR1 3LT.
Have you had a dip in Pond? What did you think? let us know in the comments below