REVIEW: The Bistro at Cherry Tree Gardens, Orchard Place, Houghton

The Bistro, Cherry Tree Gardens, Houghton le-Spring
The Bistro, Cherry Tree Gardens, Houghton le-Spring
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PASS this charming little bistro and chances are you’ll miss it.

Part of a recently opened Gentoo care complex, many people probably go through the area daily without noticing the place.

But should you choose to pay a visit, you’ll be pleasantly be surprised by the food on offer and the wallet-friendly prices.

We were in a large party which decided to book for Sunday lunch, and despite there being about 20 of us, staff managed to fit us in easily on an extended table.

I opted not to have a starter, but several of our group opted for the prawn cocktail, which in all cases went down a treat.

I plumped for chicken as the meat on my Sunday dinner and when it arrived, there was a hearty portion, piping hot, which was cooked to perfection, not too dry but tender as well.

The meat wasn’t the only part that deserved praise either.

There were heaps of vegetables as well as two huge Yorkshire puddings and a rich gravy. You’d maybe expect portions not to be as big from a bistro, but this was one of the best Sunday lunches I’ve had in a long while.

Not one of our group complained about any aspect of their food as all of our plates were cleaned.

It’s not just the mains that the bistro does well, either.

There’s a dessert fridge situated temptingly close to the counter, packed with cheesecakes, chocolate cakes and other puddings. I indulged my sweet tooth by going for a chocolate fudge cake accompanied by cream.

I was handed a big slab of the cake, which didn’t disappoint at all. The cake was fresh, moist and finished off the visit perfectly.

The restaurant’s sticky toffee pudding is also a firm favourite among regulars, so I’m told.

After such a good meal you’d expect to pay a fair bit, so we were all pleasantly surprised when the bill came it and around just £10 each, with the Sunday lunches costing £5.95.

Although residents of the home eat at the bistro each day, members of the public are able to come in and eat.

British favourites such as fish and chips, healthy salads and beef and chicken burgers are all on the menu, as well as a variety of paninis.

For those who want to treat their mums, the bistro also does afternoon tea for two with a selection of cakes and sandwiches.

Special offers like steak and ale pie, served with homemade chips and mushy peas, followed by jam sponge and custard for just £5.95, are often put on at short notice.

Alcoholic drinks including a variety of lagers, ciders and shorts are also on sale.

Takeaways are available too, while it’s also possible to hire out the bistro for functions.

Because of the growing popularity of the Orchard Place venue – the place was fairly busy on the weekend we visited – booking ahead is advised if possible.