FOOD MONSTER: Alexanders Bar- bursting with flavour and fun
It's all too easy to fall into the trap of settling for fast food when you are looking for a quick and easy lunch.
You don't have to get out of your car either, you simply slip through the drive-thru of said restaurant and voila, a meal for one is shoved through your window.
It's not the healthiest of options and considering my cholesterol level is as high as Joe Pasquale's voice, I don't want to upset the ticker anymore.
For shoppers at the Carlton Centre, north of Lincoln, it might be easy to fall into the trap of settling for a cheap burger because it's convenient and easy.
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But they would be doing themselves a disservice given there is a lovely restaurant tucked around the back.
Alexanders is not perhaps one of the city's well renowned eateries simply because of its location.
But let me tell you that does not detract from the quality of food this superb restaurant has to offer.
In a rare outing for my good lady and I, we decided to give it a try after browsing plenty of the nearby shops.
As any man will tell you, shopping is okay as long as it is for you, but in this case it wasn't and I was hungry.
Costa Coffee was nearby, as too was McDonalds, but I convinced the wife to take a walk and after stumbling on Alexanders menu, it was a no brainer.
We were greeted by one of the friendliest waitresses this foodie has ever had the pleasure of coming across.
With a big smile, she catered for our every whim and nothing was too much trouble.
She delivered two menus and my wife and I were instantly taken in by the two courses for £7.95.
Only the meals with an asterisk were included as part of the deal, but we both decided against it.
Why? Well, there just wasn't enough variety.
The starters were good enough, but it was the main course menu that let itself down.
There were only several meals you could choose from in the deal and nothing immediately leapt from the page.
It was a massive shame, because I have no doubt they would do roaring trade if they improved the number of items on the two-course menu.
Anyway, I digress. Instead we opted to go it alone.
My wife decided against a starter, but I always, always, have to indulge.
It's like not putting socks on with a pair of shoes – it just feels wrong.
The corn dog caught my attention immediately because I had absolutely no clue as to what it was.
I knew it was a hot dog of sorts, but what on earth was it?
I quizzed the waitress who told me that it was a classic hot dog encrusted in a special coating made from corn and spices.
It was presented with a side salad and was delivered rather swiftly.
To be quite honest it looked like a bizarre lollypop.
A battered sausage on a kebab stick is how I would have described its appearance.
Aesthetically, it doesn't look much, but boy did it pack taste.
Accompanied by a delightful minty side salad, it really was a lovely surprise that something so ugly could taste so beautiful.
The casing, which was a recipe from the chef, was outstanding and complemented the hot dog sausage superbly. With a pot of barbecue sauce too, it burst with flavour not to mention spice.
As I made short work of it, the temperature in my mouth was rising rather quickly.
I don't mind a little kick of spice and while it was a little pacy, it certainly wasn't over the top.
After cleaning the entire plate, and taking a sip of my pint of Leffe, which was available on tap, we were ready for the mains.
I opted for the duck breast sandwich which was toasted and absolutely wonderful.
The meat was fresh, packed with taste and cooked to perfection.
The barbecue sauce was not overpowering and certainly was not one that you would get out of a squeezy bottle. A lot of barbecue sauce I have tasted is all a much of a muchness, but this was authentic.
Judging by the fact my chatterbox missus had not said a word throughout the entire meal, I assumed her sandwich was pretty good too.
Having been denied the pork because they had sold out, she just opted for a straightforward cheese and tomato affair.
What came back was a huge, plump, and juicy sandwich, one of the best she had encountered.
Accompanied with a bowl of homemade chips, that were jacket style, we soon polished off the entire lot.
The service was excellent, the staff incredibly friendly and the food absolutely delightful.
We are heading back to sample the evening menu which looks a culinary delight.
They have certainly taught me a lesson. That taking the easy option of settling for fast food, is certainly not the best option.
At a glance
Where: Alexanders, 9 The Carlton Centre, Lincoln
Telephone: 01522 538818
Parking: Take advantage of the huge car park used for shopping at the Carlton Centre
Food hygiene rating: 5/5
The damage: Pint of Leffe £3.95, cranberry juice £1.95, corn dog starter £3.95, toasted duck breast sandwich £8.95, cheese and tomato sandwich £4.95
Total bill: £27.25
Veggie friendly: Yes
Family friendly: Yes
Visit again: Yes
Good for: Lunches and evening meals. Food is all bought locally. Tremendous service. Only downside is lack of variety on the two courses for £7.95 lunch menu.