There’s nothing quite like a good girly gossip with a friend over some lovely food, so to say I’d been looking forward to my Saturday lunchtime catch-up at Delilah’s new deli is probably something of an understatement.
Like many foodies in Nottingham I was very excited to hear that the High Pavement store was opening an even bigger shop, with larger cafe, right in the centre of town. The huge new building in Victoria Street is probably about five times the size of the old shop, and just look how fancy it is! All high ceilings and ornate archways, it must surely be one of the most swanky venues for a cafe in the whole city.
So, plans were made to pay the new store a visit, and try out its newly expanded home.
We arrived at about 1.30pm on a Saturday, arguably the busiest time of the week, so it was no surprise that we were told there was a 15 minute wait for tables in the mezzanine cafe area. Not really a problem at all when there are so many intriguing looking jars and bottles to inspect in the ground floor shop… but worth noting if you are looking for somewhere to eat in a hurry.
Appetites whetted, we were eventually led upstairs to our table, looking forward to our meal. Which is sort of where it all started to go wrong…
I wanted to love this place, I really did, but sometimes it doesn’t matter how good the food is on your plate, if the service is all wrong. and that seems to be Delilah’s big downfall at the moment.
Before we’d even taken our coats off our waitress was asking about drinks orders. When we asked for a few minutes to decide, she returned about a minute later and seemed put out when we still hadn’t decided.
She then gave us about another two minutes to decide on our food which, when there is so much delicious-sounding stuff on offer, really isn’t enough.
The menu itself can not be faulted. It is jam-packed with breakfast options, sandwiches, bread, dips, olives and all manner of other lovely things. There is also a specials board which had some more substantial meals on it, as well as a hot sandwich selection.
Eventually, I made my mind up, somewhat under pressure from the waitress hovering nearby, but I opted for a pan-fried ‘saltimbocca’ sandwich with Beaufort cheese and prosciutto, with a sweet plum sauce.
Here it is……
My friend Claire chose the sobrasada, a kind of chorizo pate, served with a selection of breads..
The trouble is, after all the desperation to get us to place our order, this food took more than 45 minutes to arrive. And not once did anyone come over to explain or apologise for the wait. The waitress who had been so keen to serve us initially literally disappeared.
I appreciate that it was a busy time to visit, but really, how does it take almost an hour to knock up a sandwich and put some pate in a bowl?!
That said, it was pretty amazing pate… When it arrived we were a bit unsure what it was, as it didn’t really look like a typical pate, more of a salsa. But any doubts were silenced when we tasted it. Claire described it as ‘a bit like a melted sausage’, and I really couldn’t sum it up any better than that – a really tasty ‘melted’ chorizo sausage with tomato and herbs, and lots of lovely fresh bread. It didn’t look like a particularly filling meal, but was actually more than enough for a lunchtime bite.
My sandwich, on the other hand, left me with a slight case of food envy. The prosciutto and the cheese were delicious, the delicate flavour of the meat contrasting perfectly with the tangy cheese. The plum sauce was also a great addition, but it was the pan-fried element that, for me, let it down slightly.
It tasted as though it had been pan-fried in a LOT of butter. Not a bad thing for the first few bites, but by the time I was on to the third sandwich the richness was just too much. I do think my choice of bread didn’t help, I could have had it on foccacia or something slightly less porous, but opted for white bread so, perhaps, it was partly down to not choosing very well.
Sadly, the richness of that left me unable to find room for any of the delicious sounding cakes I spotted advertised on a board in the corner of the room and, to be honest, we’d been there for so long by that point we couldn’t face having to wait again.
The final nail in the service coffin came when the waitress cleared our plates, taking half a glass of an undrunk drink from under Claire’s nose.
All in all, the food here is pretty special, and quite different to what’s on other in other city centre cafes. It is exactly the kind of place Nottingham needs and I’d love to see it thrive.
Despite the disappointing service this time I will return – there are too many delicious dishes left to try on the menu to rule out going back. I just hope the experience we had there was down to it still being relatively new and perhaps slightly unprepared for the demand.