I wrote an article on the joy of solitude a few years ago.
You know, don’t give a second thought to go to the cinema, go to the pub or see a show at the theater alone.
Since then I got engaged and moved in with my partner, which means my needs have evolved and naturally I have less alone time or opportunities for solo adventures.
So when he had to go away for a few days this week, my mind changed to “but who will come with me for the exam?” to a cheerful “wait, I can go there ALONE, just like the good old days”.
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I did just that and headed to Whalley near Clitheroe to try King Street Kitchen, which opened in 2019, replacing an Italian restaurant.
It’s quaint and neat, nestled inside a beautiful Tudor-fronted terraced building, is classic in decor, with old-fashioned framed maps, antique mirrors and neatly hung French wine box panels. olive green walls. Simply lovely.
Furniture is chic and modern, with comfy leather armchairs and chunky wooden table tops, it’s intricately lit, and the attractive bar is small and understated enough not to dominate the space.
As it was early evening in January I was the only diner when I arrived which might have made me feel awkward but chose to see it instead as the staff had come to work just for me. Who do I take myself for, will you tell me? Just a girl from Salford, grateful to be here.
Don’t worry I’m no diva and it was only for half an hour until other bookings started coming in and the place was filled with familiar chatter and laughter – as I love it.
I struck up a small chat with my server, who was warm and just the right level of attention before settling down to read a few pages of my book and sending the odd text message.
There’s another liberating thing about eating alone – there are no rules or etiquette and even if there are, who’s going to scold me or give me a side eye?
After all, no one bats an eyelid when a lone businessman in a suit and boots sits alone in a restaurant downing a pint of Stella, downing a medium-rare steak while playing Wordle on his phone; or a person who eats alone in a fast food restaurant.
I went for two courses to start, although I checked out the desserts in case I had space after the main course.
In a real bistro style, the menu is not overloaded with dishes but there are still many possibilities to try different styles of cuisine, fish, meat and flavors.
It’s topped off with classic French dishes such as steak frites (£17.50) and pork escalopes (£17.95) and seafood options including baked salmon (£16.50) , plus some unexpected twists including chicken piri piri (£17.50), hake tandoori (£19.50) and duck leg confit starter (£9).
Because it’s the season for hot soups and indulgences, I opted for the Bone Marrow French Onion Soup (£9) to start, which was cooked with a hint of Lancashire in the form of a giant Lancs cheese crouton.
I can confirm it was piping hot, and I heeded my friendly waiter’s warning to hold out for a second before tasting it.
I like how the French onion soup is a bit sweet and this one was also very buttery, with the onion clearly the captain but still well integrated with the rest of the ingredient team.
The crouton was big and gooey, like mini cheese on toast, floating in the broth before finally succumbing to its fate.
Classy comfort food, if you will.
Nine times out of 10 I’ll go for the seafood option, but I had a fondness for poultry, so I ordered the grilled chicken with cultured mushrooms, pearl barley and bacon and leek cream (£16.50).
The meat was succulent and a bit juicy, with the skin crispy and charred but, crucially, not burnt.
I love all mushrooms and compliment the chef on the way they cooked them, especially the shiitake, which was soft and almost creamy.
The pearl barley pairs beautifully with the leek and bacon and I enjoyed how the dish was a variety of textures and depths, much like the hills of nearby Ribble Valley.
My only minor complaint with my main course is that the side of the fries was overcooked.
If the soup was winter, then my dessert (luckily I still had room) was summer in a bowl.
I had the passion fruit pavlova (£7.25) served with Cointreau cream, cinnamon and toasted almonds and it was divinely refreshing.
The cream was fluffy, light and thick and perfectly complimented the flavor of the passion fruit and the dramatic crunch of the pavlova, with the almonds as the ultimate finishing touch.
The best cold dessert I’ve had in a very long time. Well done!
As I walked back to my car on the main street of the postcard village, admiring the buildings and architecture and reflecting on my experience at King Street Kitchen, I concluded that I wouldn’t be surprised to see and taste these Michelin-starred Northcote menu items just down the road.
And while I’d have no qualms about going solo again, I’d rather bring someone with me so they can share my appreciation.
re foodviews of Denise Evans are published every Sunday morning. The restaurant didn’t know we were coming and our review is anonymous.
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