Why did I go into Denise’s Gingham Kitchen? I have walked past this place quite a few times as I took the side streets through town to avoid the crowds and well I was intrigued, the name was quaint and I imagined that Denise was going to be there to greet me and then bring me a nice hot cup of tea before popping back into the kitchen to rustle me up a plate of something wholesome and homemade.
As you approach the entrance your eyes are drawn to the plethora of chalk boards lining the shop front listing all of their specials and daily deals. You peer in through the Gingham patterned curtains to see an old fashioned kitchen cafe, one that is not just a typical greasy spoon, it looks a little more upmarket, perhaps the sort of place that your grandmother would have taken you for fish fingers and chips when you were a kid. I walked in and was not greeted by Denise but instead by one of the welcoming waitresses who let me sit anywhere and yes then she brought me a nice steaming hot mug of tea. I looked through the menu which had all the breakfast stuff and a list of the homemade specials which included some traditional favorites such as sausage casserole and liver with onions.
I chose the homemade lasagne with chips and peas. When it arrived it was pretty much what I expected. The lasagne was cut out of a big tray pan of lasagne and was really quite tasty if not that traditionally made. The chips sadly were unexciting and the peas were the same, but really I was just concentrating on eating my lasagne. It was pretty much sheets of lasagne with a chunky tomato sauce, a small amount of mince, and bizzarely some green peppers. Not sure that I have ever had pepper in my lasagne before. Despite that it was quite enjoyable, it was what I could only describe as a ‘English’ lasagne, recipe modified from the italian version to suit the palate of the unadventurous so that they would eat it. At least I think that is where it originally came from, these days I think it is just a tried and tested combination that you will find in many English cafes.
Whatever your expectations might be culinary wise of the Gingham kitchen, just take them with a pinch of salt. As I said earlier this is the sort of place my grandmother would have taken me to back in the 70’s and in many ways I loved it just for that. You will get a warm welcome and a decent honest plateful of homemade food prepared without fuss and frills that will leave you feeling warm and happy.
Denise’s kitchen is at 10 Lincoln Street on a side street leading away from the Victoria centre. Nearest tram stops are not that close, probably the ones at the Lace Market, the Old Market Square, and the Royal Centre are all just on the edge of the 5 minute walking radius.