Those who have the self-confidence to go about opening a restaurant have to be admired.
Never mind the investment it takes real blood, sweat and tears, never mind living and breathing work – weekends, holidays, special occasions, Christmas, New Year, working.
Yet it has been good to see a real flurry in new dining and drinking outlets in and around Preston this last 12 months.
Getting customers to the doors is itself a full time job, it’s then about enticing those who do come to return.
The Ginger Bistro in Fulwood first opened its doors late last year.
Located in the former site of the former Slice of Sicily eatery in Garstang Road, it has undergone a major refurbishment with dining for 60 guests in a modern setting.
A family-run business, their offering – gastro pub style food.
Their mission: “To bring fresh, fine dining to the people of Preston and to compliment the surrounding businesses by providing delicious food, fine wines and cocktails.
“We want to be in the heart of the community.”
It’s a bold statement much like the interior with dark tones and the reclaimed wood finish. There are a mixture of intimate booth seating areas with smaller table dining.
It is cosy without feeling cramped.
The installation of a lower ceiling has helped create a better atmosphere and ambience - something which was distinctly lacking in this space previously.
However, while the decor is certainly warm and inviting the actual venue is not.
There were other guests the evening of our visit that sat in their coats whilst dining and even sat in a booth at the back, we all felt the chill.
The menu offers a balance of unique dishes and old favourites. It is also separated distinctly with vegan and vegetarian offerings, which is a nice and helpful touch.
It’s also a good way to intrigue customers with new takes on food.
After being seated at the table we were given time to peruse the menus before ordering drinks.
There is a soup and fish of the day, the waiting staff on the evening did not explain this when they handed over the menu, something the head waitress did apologise for on taking the order.
There are always going to be a few teething problems when staff are finding their feet but a couple of waiting staff came across rather uninterested, if not uncomfortable and it really did show.
It’s amazing how far a smile for starters can reach.
There was no great wait on the food but when it arrived the burger was served with skinny fries rather than the chunky chips ordered.
Instead of taking back the whole plate to the kitchen, the waiter simply removed the side bowl.
It’s not a major complaint but a no-no when selling guests a ‘fine dining’ experience.
The king prawn and chilli linguine and lamb shank which made up the order were nicely presented.
There was plenty of pasta, which was beautifully cooked and the tomato based sauce extremely tasty but in honesty there was no real kick, I wondered if there had been any chillies added at all and a few extra prawns would not have gone amiss.
I’d enjoyed a vegetable and homemade hummus starter, picked from the vegan menu.
All the meats and produce are locally sourced and the lamb dish looked lovely and fell away nicely as it was cut from the bone.
The accompanying gravy was full of flavour but whilst my dad very much enjoyed the dinner he said he left hungry with the side portion of vegetables and potatoes just not enough.
There are side order variations available but should you really have to pay for extra vegetables to make up a meal?
We all agreed the chunky chips were a real winner, with a lovely crisp coating and fluffy centres. I’d definitely have these again.
It was early evening 6pm when we made our visit and the restaurant was reasonably busy when we left around an hour and 15 minutes later.
There was a nice selection of desserts but we all decided against, instead opting for coffee.
With drinks including a draught beer and a medium red wine and two cappuccinos the final bill came to £63.
For a nice evening out or lunch with friends or a couple’s meal – I’d definitely give Ginger Bistro another go. It really is up to the community to embrace it.