Today, I managed to fit a quest all the way in Englandshire in to my working day. How does one manage such a feat, I hear you ask? Well, I’d love to say it involved private jets and other glamorous items, but all it involved was a trip to Dumfries, with a short stop in Carlisle to change trains.
I was afforded around an hour, so really had to stick to the area near to the train station. I quickly alighted upon Dempsey’s Bar and Restaurant, which looked smart, so I popped in. I seated myself at a nice window booth, and was swiftly brought the lunchtime menu by the waitress/barmaid.
Soup of the day was roasted red pepper, chilli, tomato and creme fraiche. This set off the usual alarm-bells that what would be produced would be an overly-sweet bowl of red goo, but such concerns were entirely misplaced.
The peppers retained a nicely bitter edge and the liberal amount of chilli handled any other excesses of sweetness, meaning the dish had a good savoury flavour. For me, it could have been a little thicker in texture, but if the point was made that this was a “summer bisque” style dish, I think I would be responsive to the argument.
Some of the main course options were rather more substantial than I had time or inclination to eat, so I opted for the warm chicken and chorizo salad. I’m not really one for ordering salads in restaurants, but it seemed the right way to go, today. My pioneering spirit was rewarded with a lovely dish, with generous amounts of nicely charred chicken and chorizo atop a salad of mixed leaves and peppers, dressed with a light balsamic dressing.
The dish was simple yet accurate, and while it possibly lacked just one more texture (crispness of croutons or perhaps some toasted pine nuts?) to elevate it to a really good dish, it was satisfying, nevertheless.
To sum up, I liked Dempsey’s very much. It’s a stylish little spot for ladies what lunch (that seemed to be their customer demographic) to spend an hour or two. It struck me as a very good place to spend a boozy afternoon, too. Next time I’m in Carlisle, I might just come back and try that.
Blythe scores Dempsey’s
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 14.5/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: roasted red pepper, chilli, tomato and creme fraiche soup; warm chicken and chorizo salad
I drank: sparkly water
I wore: navy three piece suit
Total bill: £14.10
Dempsey’s Bar and Restaurant
11 Warwick Road,