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Eat My Words: We review Gooch’s in Castle Street, Stamford

Whether it’s that most of the town has a reliance on caffeine or that the bus loads of tourists conclude their sightseeing much quicker than expected, there’s no denying cafes truly thrive in Stamford.

But in a town renowned locally for its abundance of coffee shops, how do you know which one to choose?

I’ve had many conversations with indecisive friends where we have gone back and forth about where to grab a coffee.

Reporter Maddy Baillie enjoyed a lunch at Gooch's
Reporter Maddy Baillie enjoyed a lunch at Gooch's

‘We ought to support an independent business’. ‘Do they have soya milk?’ ‘Is the owner nice?’ ‘Do they have gluten free food?’.

We feign politeness insisting ‘we really don’t mind where we go’ until one of us is bold enough to make the decision.

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But with my mum coming to meet me for a bite to eat in my hour-long lunch break there was no time to faff around. We decided beforehand we would try somewhere neither of us had been before and, after a quick check of ratings on TripAdvisor and Google, settled on Gooch’s in Castle Street.

A bacon, brie and cranberry panini at Gooch's in Stamford
A bacon, brie and cranberry panini at Gooch's in Stamford

We received a friendly welcome as we came through the door before being handed menus and told we could sit wherever we fancied. We opted for a table downstairs which, from my seat, looked onto an outside seating area - an idyllic spot in the summer months - and the Stamford Meadows beyond.

Inside the cafe was bigger than I expected and decorated in a way that felt like it was trying to be ‘Instagrammable’ with a neon sign and a strip of fake foliage. The average looking table and dark red chairs detracted from the wannabe boujee vibe.

More Eat My Words reviews here

Light flooded in from the bi-fold doors making the room feel bright despite the torrential downpour which was going on outside.

The inside felt fresh and bright
The inside felt fresh and bright

On the menu were main meals such as scampi and chips, pie and curry as well as a good choice of traditional lunch favourites. Think jacket potatoes, baguettes, sandwiches and paninis.

For me, one of the joys of going out for lunch is that you eat something you wouldn’t have at home. In all honesty I would rather go hungry than buy a meal deal from a shop if I could have made a similar lunch at home for a fraction of the cost.

A bacon, brie and cranberry grilled panini was therefore my meal of choice (I don’t own a panini press and bacon feels slightly extravagant for an average lunch) accompanied by a vanilla latte with oat milk.

My mum opted for an americano as a drink and the same panini as me but just without the bacon, and suggested I also order a portion of chips to share.

The menu at Gooch's
The menu at Gooch's

As I placed my order at the counter there was some debate about whether there were any paninis left.

I had been hankering for a hot sandwich all day so asked whether they could use normal bread instead. A voice from the table behind, clearly belonging to another member of staff perhaps on a break or a day off, helpfully suggested they could use baguettes instead of a panini. Crisis averted. Although as our drinks - which were both delightful - were brought over we were told there was indeed a pair of paninis left.

About 15 minutes after we placed our order the paninis arrived on a rectangular plate which also had on it a serving of a side salad and a pot of creamy coleslaw.

The chips were golden
The chips were golden

The panini itself was filled to the brim, oozing with hot melted brie.

The cranberry sauce perfectly complemented the saltiness from the bacon and the creaminess of the brie.

I was thankful the cutlery came with a napkin as it proved a surprisingly messy dish to eat. I left the meal with cranberry sauce over my trousers and no makeup left around my mouth due to cheese dripping down my chin - a lovely sight I’m sure!

The side salad, which was drizzled in a balsamic dressing, provided a perfect dose of balance but the coleslaw, although tasty, was too much for me to finish.

Eat My Words, a review
Eat My Words, a review

A portion of chips cooked to golden perfection arrived when we were halfway through our paninis.

These took it from a bite to eat to a hearty meal and left us feeling sufficiently stuffed for the rest of the afternoon. A large portion was definitely plenty for the two of us.

There was a nice selection of tray bakes and cakes which, if we had more time to let our lunch settle, we would have indulged in.

Gooch’s certainly is a gem with top-notch grub and excellent service.

Out of five:

Food: A delicious panini which didn’t skimp on the fillings. I would definitely return and have the same again. *****

Drink: The vanilla latte had the perfect amount of sweetness and was the perfect choice of drink for a cold day. My mum, who can be fussy when it comes to coffee, confirmed her americano was up to scratch *****

Decor: The decor wasn’t my cup of tea and felt like it was trying to be something it wasn’t. ***

Staff: Service with a smile. Staff were friendly and were keen to be accommodating when they thought there weren’t any paninis left. *****

Price: The total came to £38.65 which is on the more pricey side of what I would be prepared to spend on a lunch. Paninis cost £12.75 regardless of what filling you choose and are more expensive than many of the other lunch items. These might not be in everyone’s budget for lunch but the portions were a good size and I was left quite full for the rest of the day.***

Have you had a great meal? Share your own Eat My Words reviews or tell us where to try by emailing: news@lincsonline.co.uk

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