As we were nearing the end of a 45 minute taxi ride which probably should’ve taken 30, had it not been for the road closure, backtracking, and detour, I thought, ‘jeez, we go to great lengths for dinner’. The taxi was the final piece of the puzzle too; months before that there was the restaurant reservation, hotel and train bookings, and the actual journey from London to Bristol the day before. When we eventually arrived at the restaurant, the driver was in a state of disbelief because our destination looked like any other country pub, and not the Michelin star restaurant we were describing.
However we know that not all pubs are created equal, and we assured our driver that The Pony and Trap was one of the exceptional ones. It first came onto our radar during last year’s Great British Menu – one of the few tv shows we actually watch and one of my favourites for providing dining out inspiration across the UK. As soon as I saw Josh Eggleton plate up a pie that wasn’t really a pie and a dessert that paid homage to the Calendar Girls, I decided his restaurant was one I wanted to visit. The chef himself was confident (maybe even portrayed as a little cocky through crafty editing?) and his food equally so, which was enough to convince us.
One of my worst character traits is that I am a ‘first impressions’ person. They may not matter to you but for reasons unknown they seem to matter to me, and within the first thirty seconds of meeting someone, arriving somewhere, or trying something new I have decided whether or not I’m a fan. And if I’m not I’ll stick with that view until proven otherwise so it was probably a good thing I decided not to go into legal practice- I’ve got that whole innocent until proven guilty thing all wrong haven’t I?
It’s an awful trait I’m very aware of and now I’m older and wiser, I’m a little less mean girls and a little more forgiving. But once in a while old habits die hard and there comes a time when you’re truly tested, most recently on our visit to Alimentum. Power walking down traffic laden Hills Rd, I checked Google maps several times to make sure we were on the right track, I hoped that once over the rise the landscape would transform to the leafy Cambridge I was expecting, it didn’t. From the outside, Alimentum reminded me of the overpriced but not overly good cafe at the bottom of your apartment block, where you go when you’re too hungover to venture further than your front door; but at this point I’m reminding myself not to judge a book by its cover.