Eat My Words: We review Cosy Club in Lincoln
If you arrive at the Cosy Club just before midday on a Sunday you find yourself surrounded by two very contrasting sets of customers.
Couples, old friends and gossiping students, awake and up from their long lie-ins, get their days off to a start as the final pancake stacks of the breakfast menus are hurried from the kitchen hatch at the rear of room while – in a far more upbeat mood and eager to squeeze every drop from the day – the larger groups take their seats in the bar, waiting for the tables to be cleared, cocktails to be mixed and their bottomless brunches to begin.
Mirroring the clientele, the decor itself offers a feel of two worlds colliding; a blurred crossover where the twilight years of the Edwardian era meets the birth of art deco.
Giant, bold light fixtures and an avenue of domineering plant pots loom over walls of neatly regimented wallpaper, covered with stone-faced portraits desperate to maintain the stiffness of those upper lips for as long as possible before submitting to the inevitable generational shift.
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Soon it’ll be the roaring twenties and novels about Jay Gatsby’s wild Hampton parties. But right now it’s drawing room meets jazz. Baden-Powell meets Hemingway. Pancake stack meets pitcher.
There wasn’t always this sense of grandeur in Lincoln’s Cornhill Quarter, the Corn Exchange building where the Cosy Club sits undergoing a £12 million gentrification in 2018.
Since the mid-19th century merchants traded on this site. In my teens this part of town was market stalls hawking Spliffy Jeans and Giorgio Jeans turtlenecks.
Today, giant adverts for Royal Exchange Assurance and Gilstraps Compound Feeding Stuffs remain painted on high-arch walls but thankfully, a quick glance around the room confirmed, the cheap white stitching on baggy black denim is long gone.
The Cosy Club is a chain – with a branch in Stamford too – but it’s one of those chains where the food is just leftfield enough. The layout individual enough and the staff hip enough for the place to not feel stale. Think Bill’s, but round Elgar’s.
So what does one order from the menu which boasts camembert and mushroom wellington, halloumi and warm harissa baked squash salad and masaman cauliflower? On this occasion the Cosy Christmas Pie.
Before you judge, some of us had just spent two hours battling all the other Christmas shoppers and those ridiculously long queues caused by stores allowing you to begin stockpiling your purchases half an hour before the tills are turned on.
Some of us were determined to find a way to enjoy something Christmassy from all the trudging and drudgery.
The restaurant promised great things but did it deliver?
The Cosy Christmas Pie was a crisp pastry encasing roast turkey smoked ham hock, not too dry but enough meat to ensure it wasn’t a watery mess.
The mash was spot on, the maple roast carrots and parsnips an advert for vegetarianism and the buttered sprouts with exactly the right crunch.
Less impressive, the pig in blanket tiny and overcooked and the cranberry and sage stuffing was tough and dry, but those minor frustrations certainly didn’t overshadow a very good meal.
Out of five:
Food: A Overall a fun, enjoyable, comforting meal. The portions were just right and the pie well worth a try. 3/5
Drink: A Not ready to get on it like the bottomless brunch crews, it was a non-alcoholic Birra Moretti, arguably the best zero booze offering out there. But don’t expect much change from a tenner for two small bottles. 3/5
Decor: Stoicism meets opulence. The Cosy Club blends the Britain we believe once existed with the world we actually want to live in. Quirky unabashed fun. 4/5
Staff: Busy but happy, smiling and helpful. 3/5
Price: Two Cosy Christmas Pies and two 0% Morettis came to £45.80, which was reasonable. 3/5
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