Christmas lights switch-on. The streets of Lancaster are packed and the city is buzzing.
So finding somewhere for a family of four to eat on a Sunday night isn’t as straightforward as normal.
‘Italian’ is the consensus. The first place we come to is Paolo Gianni’s, but there’s not a seat to be found.
Just down the road on Church Street is Molinari’s, which is bustling too. But to our relief, because it’s getting later than normal for the kids’ tea, there is a spare table for four.
We are ushered in and take our seats. Sadly on this night we were not in time for the Happy Hour menu.
A quick check of the Molinaris website reveals, however, that this is now available on any pizza and pasta dish all day Sundays and Mondays, Tuesday to Friday until 6pm and Saturdays until 4pm.
Soft Italian music plays in the background. I notice our fellow diners on this night include members of Morecambe’s Brucciani family.
The Molinari’s menu is rich and varied. Appetisers and garlic bread to munch on while waiting, starters, pasta and gnocchi, stonebaked pizzas, deli planks, signature dishes, desserts and a selection of ‘char’ dishes – three cuts of meat cooked on a red hot grill.
I can’t fault the food at Molinari’s. The pizzas are crispy and full of flavour, the pasta dishes plentiful and filling.
My only gripe on this night is the service. We have to wait half an hour for our garlic bread and olives and finally our starters arrive 45 minutes after sitting down.
This has never happened before at Molinari’s though, so may be simply because they understimated demand on lights switch-on night. So we’ll give the benefit of the doubt.
Service aside, we thoroughly enjoyed it.