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Review: The Penwortham restaurant encouraging customers to get crafty

Posted on - 3rd June, 2023 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Business, Food & Drink, Opinion, Penwortham, Preston News, Restaurants in Preston, South Ribble News, What's On in Preston
Puccini lasagne and garlic bread
Look at this beast. The lasagne, not me

In recent years, more pubs, cafes and restaurants have started offering opportunities to meet and socialise with other people beyond the more traditional quizzes, football, darts and pool.

Book clubs are a favourite, and have now been joined by regular events such as Knit and Natter at BonBons Coffee Bar in Penwortham, and Paint and Sip at Revolution on Fishergate in Preston City Centre.

There’s a cliché about men entering middle age and suddenly donning head to toe Spandex and cycling all over the shop in a panic.

But what cliche am I, and other fifty-plus year old women, supposed to embrace?

I’m allergic to cats, so they’re literally and metaphorically off the table. Gardening is a no-no because I currently have an uneasy truce with the local slugs; if they catch me in their hood they’ll start trying to ride into my house on my chihuahua, which is how our last turf war kicked off, and I’ll die of boredom before I’ll risk finding one humping my toothbrush again.

Fortunately, I found another option, as Puccini Restaurant and Bar on Cop Lane in Penwortham holds a crafting evening on a Wednesday, and the idea of combining craft with wine and Italian food made it far more appealing.

I had some of my daughter’s felting paraphernalia still knocking around my house, so I created a completely unnecessary back story about why I was there, and then sidled into Puccini to carry out some low risk investigative journalism.

I was the first to arrive, and was greeted warmly and directed to some tables at the far end of the restaurant with assurances that the others “would be along soon”.

That gave me the opportunity to have a look at the menu and decide on a lasagne for £9, a garlic bread for £4.50 and a small glass of the house white wine for £4.25.

I’d just unpacked my felting box when the other crafters arrived and immediately invited me to sit with them. They brought out their individual projects; Margaret was making a Fair Isle jumper that I’d have killed for, Lisa was knitting a sock, her young son was doing some top notch colouring in, and Suzanne was crocheting a baby blanket.

Puccini crafter Margaret
I want Margaret’s jumper. And her wine

Meanwhile Shona was crocheting a crystal bracelet. I didn’t look at it or ask what that entailed in case it was code for taking a new street drug and I was in over my head. They all gave me support about my felt parrot and kindly avoided mentioning that it looked like a tropical thumb.

Puccini’s displays saleable artwork by local artists

My lasagne arrived after a short wait, and it was apparent that I was going to need a doggy bag. It was brick sized, with far more herby tomato sauce, minced beef and cheese than shop bought or chain restaurant versions, and had attained that wonderful chewiness on top that is the hallmark of a perfectly baked lasagne.

Puccini lasagne, salad and garlic bread
A crafty excuse to drink wine and eat a pile of carbs

It came with a crisp and crunchy salad liberally sprinkled in a vinaigrette dressing. It didn’t take the spotlight from the lasagne, but was there more to provide an extra flourish to it; like a bunch of backing dancers doing Jazz Hands behind Madonna, but less vulnerable.

The garlic bread wasn’t skinny on the garlic, and had the right ratio of crunch to softness that made it the go-to side for all pasta dishes as long as you can block out the horrified inner voice telling you that you’ve eaten yet another meal that’s 85 per cent flour.

Puccini garlic bread
Get your coat, you’ve pulled

The vibe in the crafting corner was one that’s missing in most modern activities. A group of people doing repetitive tasks that don’t need too much attention, allowing them to talk or be silent if they need to concentrate, making the craft night at Puccini a lovely, easy way to meet new people without the expense of joining clubs and classes, or the horror of joining a gym in order to find out just how shiny and red you can get without exploding.

There’s no pressure on crafters to order food. However, I’d highly recommend that crafters and non-crafters try some of the fabulous food on offer at this friendly little independent eatery.

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