Our best friends Andy and Nicky have been staying in Kendal for a long weekend. We don't see nearly enough of them now that we live 160 miles away, so on Saturday we all met up for a meal out. Nicky said she fancied Italian food and we know there are 2 or 3 Italian restaurants in Bowness, so we braved the rain and trudged down the hill.
The first restaurant we tried was bursting at the seams. The manageress tried so hard to fit us in, but it would have involved either an hour's wait or a table on the roof (in the rain) (I'm joking), so we thanked her and tried elsewhere. The next one, Amore, was just across the road. We'd never tried it before but the place always looked tempting and the menu was standard Italian - no frills, but probably jolly good. By now the rain was coming down in stair rods so we didn't bother looking at menus outside, we just hurtled through the door. And were rather surprised to find it empty, with not a single customer at any of the tables. Ah well, it's early, we thought, and sat ourselves down. And only then began to notice little details. Like the picture of Buddha on the wall above our table... and the fact that the menus the waiter helpfully brought involved all sorts of dishes but very little Italian... and the fact that the name painted on the windows wasn't Amore at all, but 80 Days. Turns out the place changed hands without us even noticing, had a re-fit without us noticing, and only re-opened as a brand new venture specialising in cuisine from around the world about five days ago!
We were a little nervous, but we didn't need to be. The service was impeccable, and the food, although not perfect, was all made from fresh ingredients and cooked or prepared from scratch - a welcome change in this day of pre-packaged ready-meals. There were one or two minor hiccups with our meals (skin not taken off the smoked mackerel bruschetta, Moroccan cous-cous perhaps a tad too highly spiced) but the waiter asked for constructive feedback after each course and for once we had the feeling that they were taking some notice of what we said. And the overall attention to detail and sheer friendliness (not to mention a bottle of the best Prosecco any of us had ever had) made the evening a very pleasant experience. We'll almost certainly be going back.