My recent feature in the Nottingham Post
When it comes to our lunch preferences, generally in my experience there is a marked difference between men and women.
Men treat lunch a bit like their hair cut; avoiding any planning and going for spontaneity. Lunch; a bit like a haircut is something that you do when you have a few minutes to spare during the day, even if you happen to be somewhere unfamiliar.
Women, on the other hand, either plan it in advance or tend to choose somewhere that they can trust such as a supermarket. Depending on which supermarket is available will determine whether to go for the salad bar or the sandwich counter!
I admit to being a ‘grab a sandwich/haircut’ type of bloke and to take my chances.
I put this to the test recently whilst passing through Daybrook.
Opposite the Home Brewery offices and water tower, there is a row of about six shops. Both retain their 1930’s art-deco style. Historically the shops would have been a grocer, butcher and baker; all serving the residents and workers of the brewery and factories in that part of Arnold.
I noticed that the shop on the end of the row is now a Caribbean café named Tasty Willows.
My last visit here was, without doubt on 13th March 1996. It was a convenience store of some description and I had called in to ‘grab a sandwich’. I had realised it was the last shop on the A60 Mansfield Road as you leave the conurbation. I probably ate a pre-packed cob of some description. Whilst eating in my car the radio news was reporting the Dunblane school murders. That is how I know the date!
Home Brewery has since gone, replaced by a large Sainsburys supermarket and a MacDonalds Restaurant. Whilst I have the utmost respect for both of these fine companies, neither can satisfy my lunchtime ‘spontaneity’ like an independent trader.
And so it was Gary, the proprietor of Tasty Willows (now the last café on the A60), that got my custom on a damp and grey autumn morning.
The menu has a selection of standard Caribbean dishes, jacket potatoes or baguettes. The café is clean and tidy with a well-stocked counter plus seating for about 20 people. Comfort food was what I needed and it came in the form of a chicken stew in a large dumpling with a mug of tea. The chicken had been cooked in a rich mushroom gravy and encased in an oven cooked dumpling that was the biggest I’d ever seen!
A hugely satisfying meal, and prices so reasonable that I could have been back in 1996, but on a good news day this time!