Review: Fives restaurant, Preston
I've always liked the thought of working in a city centre and being able to push the boat out now and then with a fancy lunch.
LP Towers’ location in Fulwood doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to attractive nearby lunch options (Asda salad, anyone?), which is probably good for my bank balance as I usually end up bringing in an unexciting home-made butty.
A few days off over Easter afforded me the opportunity to enjoy lunch out at an old favourite in town which has undergone a fairly recent revamp.
Preston entrepreneur Simon Rigby can count Fives on Guild Hall Street among his raft of restaurants in the city centre – and this beautiful old building may be the jewel in the crown.
The Grade II listed former Conservative club on Guild Hall Street has wonderful corniced ceilings, striking tiled floors and eye-catching stained glass windows, making it a lovely spot to take a guest to impress them.
The guests in question on this visit were my mum and stepdad who had spent several days doing mundane DIY jobs in my house, and had definitely earned a treat after hours of installing curtain poles, hand rails and light fittings.
When we visited on a Wednesday afternoon, it was fairly quiet, with four other tables sitting down to lunch (and the odd glass of wine from the well-stocked bar).
I hadn’t been in since Fives had been a cocktail bar (circa 2010 I think) and then a Chinese restaurant called Face.
Mr Rigby called the site a “fantastic building” when he snapped it up late 2016 and I heartily agree.
I was pleased to see its fine old character was still intact in its latest guise as a bar-restaurant.
The two waitresses were very friendly and attentive, offering a decanter of table water as soon as we sat down without having to be asked, taking our orders promptly and checking several times if we needed any extras.
The lunch-time menu is slimmer than the evening’s choices, but with generous portions on offer, there was no need for a starter anyway. And there is still an ample range fo choices.
The mainstay items are a wrap, sourdough melt or jacket potato with more than a dozen varied fillings to pick from, and prices range from £5.95 to £7.50 (with the option to add fries for a very reasonable £1).
There are also salads, burgers and heartier options from pastas and risottos to a half rack of ribs for the hungrier diners.
My sourdough melt with Cajun chicken was a great choice.
Essentially it was a posh toastie, but the lightly grilled bread came filled out with moist hunks of spicy chicken and melted cheese, alongside a crispy rocket salad sprinkled with parmesan.
I probably didn’t need the side order of fries as the sandwich was filling enough, but they were very more-ish and came just as I like them – thin-cut with a little bit of skin left on, and the whole dish was well presented on the large white plates.
My stepdad went for another substantial lunch, the jacket potato with steak and blue cheese filling.
The steak was tender and well-cooked (though he’d have liked a tiny bit more of it among the filling) and the blue cheese was creamy and gave a lovely contrasting flavour.
My mum’s gourmet burger was probably the most heavy-going lunch option (no dinner required in the evening!)
The burger was super-thick and had to be hacked in two to eat it with any kind of decorum.
She felt it looked a tinge pink in the centre but it tasted good, with bacon, tomato and lettuce topping off the juicy beef in a brioche bun.
It came with chips and was definitely an option for a big appetite (along with a club sandwich the size of a Christmas dinner, which we spotted en route to another table. One to try next time.)
There didn’t appear to be puddings on the lunch menu but we certainly didn’t need one as we were stuffed,so we didn’t check if any were available.
A perfect round of cappuccinos rounded off a satisfying lunch in very pleasant surroundings.
Fives is a fine spot if you want to impress a visitor and good value too at £35 for three main meals, two soft drinks, a glass of white wine and three coffees.