Best Part: The magical wonderfulness!


To celebrate the end of term and a recover from particularly tricksy week we decided to push the boat out and treat ourselves to a set lunch at Thompson’s (or for those who still refuse to call Snickers anything but Marathons, Darcy’s). This goes against our usual criteria of finding local venues that could lunch within a working lunch hour slot. This time we had to accept we would go over that hour. At Thompson’s service is not slow but you are treated gently and with respect. The serving team treated everyone there as important people celebrating an important occasion rather than rushing you through their system.


Having said that, according to the website they offer an express lunch whereby they will turn you around in 45 minutes if you request it. We were not aware of this and so did not request it, but all in all it wasn’t much more than an hour. We maybe spent longer than needed in the bar considering the menu, considering the lunch options were limited to two per course, but it was a nice little moment of calm.

The set lunch is not stupidly expensive, at £18.50 for two courses. We opted as we usually do for starters over desserts. The bread basket arrived first and was delightful as was the butter. I am a self confessed butter monster. My starter was a delicately presented tomato infused cous cous cake with flavoursome roasted vegetable and creamy goats cheese. It tasted exquisite especially the cous cous which can sometimes end up soggy.


My husband went for some sort of terrine, it was a while ago so he couldn’t say with absolute certainty what had been terrined, probably some form of game. It was lovely, anyway, and accompanied by a broad bean salad that seemed to encapsulate the very essence of summer more even than a repetitive and ubiquitous Eurodance track.

If Mr Midweek Lunch won the starter war I won the main course. I think it was sea bream in any case it was a perfectly cooked piece of white fish with sweet sea vegetables that set my taste buds a tingle. Wow. I haven’t had such a delicious and expertly presented and delivered meal for a long time.


Much like the starter situation, with the mains my Husband was faced with the choice of duplicating my meal or going for the other meat-based option, and because we care deeply about getting the most varied and far-reaching review for you, dear reader, and because he is a gluttonous carnivore, he went for the pork belly. It was very nice, and expertly produced, but it was maybe a trifle heavy for the time of day and time of year. Still, a cut above most every other meal ever.


The atmosphere was of the high class variety. We ate in the “conservatory” which unlike the one we used to have was a perfect temperature. The decor was smart (rather than trendy) grey with red tones in the entrance. Our fellow diners were older than us which was great because it made us feel affluent and cool young things. The waiting staff seemed to all be there because they love food and the gourmet industry rather than just wanting to earn money. I expect they appreciate getting paid though. We were happy to pay upper end prices because the food, service and atmosphere at Thompson’s is exemplary.


To conclude we proclaim that it has given us the best St. Albans midweek lunch since our reviews began.




Best Part: The Value!


It was probably for the best when Karl Howman decided not to follow in his father’s footsteps in ushering souls from this world onto the next after failing to kill Geraldine McEwan and instead opened up a modest but cheerful café on the London Road. He was always too cheerful a chap to be a grim reaper and serving out breakfasts and large sandwiches seems much more up his street.

(Apologies to anyone confused by the preceding paragraph, read here for more information).


Mulberry’s screams local, the staff are very welcoming and seem to know most of the people (and there were a lot in the time we were there). I can understand why people would keep coming back, as you know what you’re getting here. A lot of food for not very much money. It took us a long time to decide what we would order given the extensive all day breakfast and light bites menu. Then we noticed the very long take away sandwich menu, which is allowable for people who refuse to leave. As we were beginning to digest all the possible choices we noticed there was also a specials board and a panini board. You are not short of choices at Mulberry’s, though luckily for the indecisive a lot of them seem to involve bacon.


I went for the confusingly titled BBB sandwich, featuring Bacon (naturally), Sausage and Egg (BSE probably wouldn’t be a good thing to name a sandwich). It came sandwiched between two very hefty slices of bread and whilst the sausages were not of the gourmet artisanal persuasion the whole think collated well into a fatty gooey mess. Being both a gourmet and a sophisticate I washed it down with a can of Vimto. Mrs Midweek lunch is more mainstream and ordered tea which she was pleased to have served in a dear little pot.


Wife #1 had a craving for brie that she tackled with a panini that wasn’t a panini. Well it depends how you define a panini of course. When she did GCSE Italian she was taught the word “panini” to mean “sandwich.” Now of course it has come to mean a particular type of toasted sandwich in a particular plasticky type of roll. We are keen on them we’ll admit. Mulberry’s panini was made in the accepted way but with a ciabatta roll which always pleases my wife as she believes it provides more crunch and flavour. If she has one criticism of this particular one it was simply that it could have done with a little more Brie. The cranberry serving was spot on. It was a very good panini, not the best but not the worst and the filling was not one frequently offered on cafe menus for which we applaud it.


We also shared some cheesy chips, of which I ate the cheesy level and my wife dug below for standard chips like an inverse Mr & Mrs Jack Spratt. They tasted probably exactly as you would (and maybe are now) imagine chips from a café that specialises in breakfasts would taste.


The food came quickly, and we were well within our allotted midweek lunch time. Most pleasing of all was the bill, with all the above (and it was enough to make me feel sleepily full for most of the afternoon) coming to but £13.50. If you are on London Road and want a superbly good value meal then head to Mulberry’s. It will probably not be challenging Thompson’s for the fine dining crown, but you can eat like an unhealthy and weirdly low rent king for less than the cost of a Boudin of Norfolk Quail.