FOOD MONSTER: Dogma Bar & Kitchen in Lincoln
Having returned to its rightful place, it's safe to say we all rejoiced at the sight of the sun this week.
But aside from sunglasses, sunburn and shorts, it is the Great British beer garden that goes hand-in-hand with a blindingly good summer.
While fighting for a good table might be a seasonal dilemma, finding a good beer garden in our fair city is not such a problem.
So, joining the SPF laden crowds, a friend and I headed to one of the city's favourite cocktail hotspots, Dogma, to try out its summer menu.
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While the popular bar and kitchen may well be better known for its achingly extensive drinks menu as well as its half price days and two-for-one offers, it does have a lot to offer in terms of food.
Contact details and location map for Dogma in Lincoln...
Having recently introduced a new menu featuring summer classics as well as house favourites and 'tapas' style sharers and mini bites, Dogma has something for all kinds of diners; whether you're popping in for a quick lunch or grabbing a casual bite over a lazy weekend.
Opting to go for a working lunch out, my friend and I chose to arrive a bit early to avoid the lunch time rush.
With no queues at the bar we ordered our drinks, a pint of coke for her and a real lemonade for me, while perusing the fantastic range of items on the menu.
While the devil on my shoulder was urging me to go for one of Dogma's prized burgers, I resisted temptation and instead went for one of the fresh salads, the chicken Italiano salad, and some olives.
Following suit, the fishcake salad was the wise choice made by my lunching companion.
To make the most of what was a glorious sunny day, we took our drinks outside where the expected battle for prime sunning position, surprisingly, did not present itself.
Settling down at a table half in the light and half in the shade we drank in the atmosphere and did a spot of people watching, while we waited for our light lunches.
A mecca for students and city living locals, the crowd gathering in the back garden was an equal mix of young sun chasers enjoying a drink or two as well as others, like my friend and I, who were catching some quick rays and a bite before heading back to the office.
The atmosphere too was cool and calm; the low ripple of constant chatter only being interrupted by bursts of laughter and the soothing sounds of 'Zero 7' that were floating out from the bar area.
While my lunch buddy had moved on to her second coke, I was still savouring my sharp yet deliciously moreish real lemonade which was hand squeezed at the bar, when our salads and olives promptly arrived.
Crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes and fresh cucumber formed the basis of both salads, and while there could have been a little more tomato and cucumber in the mix, the toppings more than surpassed expectations.
Two huge fish cakes drizzled with sweet chilli sauce sat atop my friend's salad base, while my Italian-inspired bounty was scattered with tender chicken strips, torn mozzarella and lashings of pesto.
Silence inadvertently fell as we tucked into our first summer lunch of the year, the odd word exchanged while knives and forks were abandoned to pop in a quick and unexpectedly spicy olive.
Two clean plates later we were satisfied and perfectly full.
While my only criticism was that the basic salad lacked a bit of variety, it was all in all an ideal light lunch stop.
Although, the next time I pop in for a bite I will have to succumb and sample one of the succulent and juicy burgers that were being tucked into left, right and centre.
THE FOOD: Two pints of coke £4.20, Real Lemonade £3.80, Two portions of olives £5, one Chicken Italiano Salad £7.50, one Fishcake Salad £7.50.
FINAL VERDICT: A great spot to enjoy a quick and casual bite to eat in the city, especially when the sun is shining – the beer garden has extensive seating whether you want to soak up the sun or relax in the shade.
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