Gracies Café on the High Street in Ruddington (number 14) is one of your old school cafés that is not trying to be a bistro, not trying to get bonus points by using all the ‘local organic produce’ that has been handpicked by a lithe old chap from his allotment or small holding that has been in the family for generations. It is for the want of a better a phrase a ‘salt of the earth’ establishment cooking it’s own food on the premises. It is really good to find that these places still exist.
This is the sort of place where you need to take note of any daily or regular Specials, as it is most likely that whoever is working behind the counter in the kitchen has made those fresh this morning just ready for you to eat at lunch. That is where I was leaning my attention when I walked in this week. It was a toss up between the cottage pie as I haven’t had that for a while and I cannot be bothered to cook that at home for one person, and the lasagne, as in my mind I could envisage a large pan filled with lasagne just like you used to get at school, where each portion was being cut out in small rectangular chunks. The Cottage Pie won.
My first failure of will was when I was asked shortly after I ordered if I wanted chips instead of new potatoes, I knew I should have stuck to the new potatoes, but I gave in to temptation and said ‘ooh…well…um… if there are chips on offer, then, yes that would be nice’. I am so glad that I took that choice!
If this was an article for some fashionable magazine, one might of been reading phrases such as ‘rustic’ when talking about this dish. I am not going to insult anyone’s intelligence with cheap words, what we have here a dish that really is homemade, the cottage pie came in a dish filled with beef mince, chunky onions slices and chunks of carrots, it was topped with mashed potato covered with a thin sprinkling of cheese. It was all perfectly acceptable and most definitely made at home or rather in the café. If I was being picky I would say that it was a bit bland (perhaps a little harsh but honest) and needed some seasoning, but those of you who know me well, know that I still believe that salt and pepper is on the table for a reason, that being to allow the diner to add it according to their own taste. I added what I needed and it was then just as I like it, perhaps not as you like it, but then again this was my lunch so each to their own. Some days I like to add ketchup or ‘Lea and Perrins’ Worcester sauce to my pie, but not always, so I was happy to get a blank canvas to work upon. I mixed my peas into the pie to add a little more variation, and that worked for me.
The best bit though were the chips, hand cut and cooked freshly just for my lunch these were really good. The word frozen was nowhere in sight, pre-cooked and heated up? I don’t think so. These are some of the best chips I have had for a while in a Nottinghamshire café, and I can honestly say that I would come back here just for those chips. Egg and Chips is starting to look good right about now, and I may well end up thinking about such a plateful while pondering my next food hunt and most certainly when walking along the main street through Ruddington.
I was quite happy with this lunch-time food hunt through the village of Ruddington. It was good value for some home cooked food and a drink for just under £6, and the added bonus is that I have really good ‘go-to’ café for a plate of chips when I just really need one. Bliss!