As the dark days draw in, it’s hard not to crave hearty, warm food for every meal to get through the thought of winter looming.
I’m someone who would be happiest hibernating in a box until March if I had any real say in the matter.
However, filling up on comfort food is perhaps an easier option than sleeping through an entire season, and a hot lunch is a good place to start.
I’ve often driven past Lillybetts and thought it looked like a smart little cafe, on the corner of Lea Road and Blackpool Road.
I decided to phone through an order one lunchtime from work, to save time when going to collect the food - and while roping in some colleagues as my eating buddies.
The woman at the other end of the phone was polite and friendly, and the order was ready to pick up within the requested 20 minutes, helpfully with the contents written on the takeaway boxes.
There is a range of items on the menu: nothing too unusual, but good lunchtime fayre of sandwiches, soup, paninis and jacket potatoes.
And jacket potatoes (£3-£4.50) seemed to be the winning option, judging by our food.
I could barely see my jacket potato beneath the enormous layer of chunky veggie chilli across the top. This was a hearty lunch indeed, with a sturdy mix of peas, carrots, various beans and sweetcorn. It wasn’t the spiciest chilli but the veg added plenty of flavour and the spud was soft and well-cooked. I’m pretty sure I got my five-a-day from this one meal!
My colleague’s baked potato with cheese and coleslaw was also a hit. The potato was perfectly cooked with a crispy skin underneath and the contents were plentiful.
The cheese had been melted to form a delicious goo which complemented the homemade coleslaw. That was made with red onions which added a piquant flavour to the dish.
As an added extra, there was a small side salad, with lettuce and tomatoes.
Our two paninis met with more mixed reviews. The first, a cheese and pesto offering, was a generously filled sandwich, with plenty of hot melted cheese and a thick layer of tasty green pesto, making a very satisfying lunch. It comes with a green salad, although was quite expensive at £4. However, another colleague found his mozzarella and salami panini a bit disappointing, as it was lacking in salami and a bit thin.
Not to worry - we finished on a high with a lovely slab of carrot cake from a great selection in the shop.
- Lillybetts, Blackpool Road, Lea, Preston