The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has continued throughout August and seems to have been a roaring success, with most places fully booked until it ends tomorrow (Monday 31 August).Advertisement
My mother Yvonne, my father Dry Tony and I went for a meal at 1842 Restaurant and Bar in Lune Street to see how they were coping with the extra Covid-19 precautions.
We’d booked for 5.30pm as it was the only time available, and when we walked in there weren’t many people around. We were approached by a young man in a mask who politely asked us to sanitise our hands at a little station that had been set up and follow him to our table.
We ordered drinks and then passed my phone around to use the magnifying app because none of us had brought glasses and the writing on the menu was quite small and faint; maybe to weed out the over 45s. There was a selection of small plates on offer, as well as bigger plates, sides and nibbles. I’d been to 1842 once before and had some memorable soup that I’d bigged up to my parents, but when we looked at the menu it wasn’t there.
I asked the friendly waiter if they’d stopped selling it and she said yes, but she’d ask the chef if he’d make some for us. Chef agreed so all three of us ordered a bowl each, plus a selection of other dishes as it was a tapas style affair.
Read more: The best Preston and Penwortham ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ cafes according to Tripadvisor
The soup was served in a sturdy bowl, and was so thick that when I took a spoonful it stayed spooned. I won’t try to guess what went into it, but there was definitely a strong peanut presence, and spice gave it warmth and flavour.
As we were eating our soup, the other items arrived one by one. A rigatoni pasta with cream, ground coriander, red onions and cheese was an unusual but successful combination. A basket of hot, crispy skinny fries with Cajun salt, a garlic flatbread and a Russian flatbread pizza soon followed. The garlic flatbread was very similar in texture and flavour to a toasted pitta bread which went perfectly with the spicy peanut soup, as did the Cajun fries.
I managed to snap some photos of the soup as it was served, but Yvonne got to the pasta before me and smashed it about with her spoon like she’d dropped her car keys in it and the alarm was going off.
Dry Tony enjoyed the soup and the Russian flatbread, which was generously topped with cheese, mushrooms, beef, sriracha, red onions and olives.
For dessert I ordered a passionfruit and berry cheesecake. Yvonne once again said she was too full for a dessert and then as soon as mine arrived told me to cut it in half so she could share it. Unbelievable. The waiter also lobbed a well-meaning hand grenade onto the table by bringing an extra spoon for my mum “so you can share”. People were watching so I had to give her a bit. It was a very nice cheesecake but I couldn’t really taste the passionfruit; maybe Yvonne had scarfed it while I was getting out my camera.
It was rich and I couldn’t finish it all so I offered the rest to Yvonne who said she didn’t want it. I think she was still holding a grudge about the unequal distribution of MY dessert. As soon as I turned away I saw her out of the corner of my eye take a big scoop of it. It would have been just like the scene in Dances With Wolves when Kevin Costner is befriending the wolf, if the wolf had a spoon and hid the rest of the cheesecake under a napkin.
We asked for the bill which, after the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was taken into account, was just under £30.
We felt safe eating out in 1842 as it’s a huge venue so groups were well spaced out and all the staff were wearing face masks. The sanitiser at the entrance was helpful, as was the friendly request by the waiter to sanitise our hands before we went to the table.
Review: Trying Eat Out to Help Out at Preston’s Bistrot Pierre
In addition to the careful adherence to the Covid rules for restaurants, the staff were polite, welcoming, attentive and went out of their way to make our visit an enjoyable one. I was also impressed with the strength of the waiter, as all the dishes came on individual, heavy wooden boards which she cleared in one trip like they didn’t collectively weigh the same as a washing machine.
All in all, we enjoyed every aspect of our meal at 1842 and would happily return, especially for the spicy peanut soup.
Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines
Have you eaten at 1842? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.