The Fleetville Larder

Best Part: The Cheese!
The Fleetville Larder is in a slightly awkward location, a bit out of town along the Hatfield Road, but not quite as far as Morrisons, opposite the graveyard. You know, just past the Tesco Metro but before Papa John’s. Got it? Good!
Anyway, you should totally go there, even if it is a bit out of the way, because the Fleetville Larder is one of the greatest larders I have had the pleasure of visiting. They are effectively a classy deli that you can dine-in in. It reminded me a bit of Replete Café and Store in Taupo, New Zealand, if you’ve been there.

Fleetville Larder’s special move is its cheese. It has a superb selection, which you can sample through their cheese boards, or even a cheese and meat board, our chosen option. For the large sharing platter we got 3 different cheeses, two different salamis, two types of cracker, two different types of chutney and a basket of nice fresh bread. Because we are important reviewing types, or more likely because the lady serving us was very nice, she gave us an extra bonus cheese, a creamy affair with a central vein of charcoal where the two halves of the cheese had been squashed together. It was exceptionally pleasant but it speaks to the high quality of cheesy offerings that this was probably my least favourite of the selection.

The aforementioned very nice cheese lady took the time to talk to us and discover our cheesy preferences. We ended up with one of the best Stiltons I’ve ever had, a very mature and very powerful cheddar and our favourite, a super creamy sheep’s (or possibly goat’s) cheese with an orange rind that tasted like Zeus’s own Primula. In fact this cheese was so good that we had to buy some to take home. In fact, it’s so good that I need to go and eat some right now.
Update, my wife has obviously been feeling the same as the cheese levels have gone down considerably since I last checked.

The chutneys were of a high quality two, a figgy concoction reminiscent of Turkey and a sticky caramelised Brandy affair. I don’t really dig chutney with my cheeses, feeling it detracts rather than compliments the main event, but they made a jolly little pudding once I was done. The salamis were equally excellent and went very well with the cheese, the salty fat of the meat offsetting well the salty fat of the cheese.
The larder itself has a pleasing vibe, wood and condiments filling any space not taken up by cheese, and you might need to make friends with people on one of the long(ish) middle tables, but we were there early and got a window seat so luckily did not have to talk to strangers. There was also a good selection of boozy and sensible drinks, I had an artisanal cream soda that was enough to make me put aside my long held animosity to this most ice creamy of drinks.

We are now pledged whole-heartedly to the defence and promotion of the Fleetville Larder. It is just our kind of place. There was clearly love for the whole endeavour from our cheesy lady, and this shines through at every level. We unfortunately had to miss their recent cheese and craft beer night but if they ever repeat it we will be first in the queue for tickets. And some more of that orange sheep’s cheese whilst we’re there.


Street Cafe

Best Part: the Fresh Vibe!
It is currently a rare treat that Mr midweek lunch is able to join me in St Albans during the day. Over the last couple of months all sorts of exciting new eateries have been popping up or refurbishing themselves. We just didn’t know where to begin! We were great fans of Paprika on Catherine street. It was sad to see it depart. However after a bit of internal reconfiguration and an exciting new window “Street Café” has opened in its place.
As a brief aside we were slightly confused by the choice of name. Most cafes are situated on a street. Indeed on Catherine Street alone there are quite a few cafes so the choice of name seemed oven odder. Street food itself is defined by its being served outside in the street. So we wondered if we might expect a sort of takeaway is style food eaten by people standing up whilst looking out onto the street.
The reality was in fact gorgeously refurbished and opened up space. It was peaceful and airy, Decorated in a light restful green. We love the small details such as the mirror disguised as an internal window. We were surprised by how much space there was, it seems to have doubled in size since the Paprika era. Maybe there was a secret back room before that we were never cool enough to be admitted to.
The menu was widely appealing full of good breakfast brunch and lunch options. They even had the kids section.
Not feeling particularly hungry on this occasion I opted for a mixed leaf halloumi salad with croutons. It was beautifully presented. However Mr Midweek Lunch was not very happy watching me eat it as apparently I looked like a deranged guinea pig foraging through the many leaves for cheese and croutons. This is my fault for not liking salad that much I suppose.
My husband lunch companion opted for a special jacket potato (you could tell it was special because it was on the specials board). It’s inherent specialness was apparent from the chili that covered it, and the rocket that then covered that like lunchtime sub-strata. It was a fine potato, crispy skin and fluffy innards. The chili was warming and tasty, just what was needed as the bitter winds begin to stalk the streets of St Albans.
But where, where was the dairy? My husband is not vegan and whilst he respects the rights of those that make that life choice he demands with his jacket potato at the very least butter,  and ideally cheese or joy of joy sour cream. These would have added a bit of decadent fattiness to the ensemble. The coleslaw, whilst very good as coleslaw goes was no adequate replacement.
We were most happy with the service. The right balance of attentiveness and respectful distance. Although we perhaps didn’t choose the right meals for us on this occasion we will certainly be returning as there were so many other yummy looking options. It really is a super use of space and make an ideal venue for lunch with friends or children.
StreetCafé we are still confused by your name but you are most welcome in St Albans.