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  • Camille

Why you should make time for lunch at Bedern Hall

As I was stepping in to Bedern Hall for "Your Local Lunch", I was not quite sure what to expect.

Always on the hunt for new flavours and undiscovered food venues in York (with links to history preferred), happening onto the list of food-related events on at Bedern Hall struck my curiosity. And so I went, an oversized book in hand, which is always a handy prop to have while eating out alone. But read I did not do, for the seating arrangement was such that we sat in groups of 5-6 which allowed space to meet + chat with others.

Your Local Lunch is an initiative by Roger Lee, director of the Hall who, in hopes of inspiring a bit of a slow-food culture in our fast-paced world, created a monthly occasion for those working in the city to treat themselves to a beautiful though simple lunch with great food and good company. Once per month, Bedern Hall comes alive with the wonderful smell of Roger cooking away in the Hall’s wee kitchen, the sound of cutlery clinking against plates and plenty of enthusiastic chatter. The ingredients for the Local Lunches are locally sourced, most actually coming straight from Roger’s (two) allotments!

I did not walk into the event with any particular expectation, more craving to satisfy my curiosity than my appetite. I however left content and so very pleased I had gone. Your Local Lunch blew me away.

I sat down at a table set in the beautiful 14th-Century Hall, got chatting with those who were to be tablemates for the next two hours and ordered the slow-cooked belly pork. As I took my first bites,everything in me quietened with delight. It was delicious and perhaps even more than that; This was good food. There is indeed a difference between the kind of ‘delicious’ that you get from restaurants and the kind of delicious you get in a home kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I love restaurants, I love their skill and their creative genius and I love their style but lunch prepared by Roger was homely and heart-warming and so much more, really, than just delicious.

The portions were generous, the belly pork was ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ perfection while grilled courgettes added a welcome bit of green to the plate. The whole sufficed itself beautifully and the freshness of the lot was sauce and seasoning of its own. It was simple and it was good. After hesitating longly at getting a pudding (the main had satisfied me so), I let myself be talked into trying the cheesecake. I do not regret I did. Light and fresh, it was topped by strawberries, a gentle coulis and a few sprigs of mint. Again, simplicity.

I will definitely be going back time and time again to Bedern Hall’s Local Lunches. Even more than the food perhaps, the treat in this lunchtime event was to share a meal with people I did not know, engage in discussions, have a chat and some good laughs.

We all have busy lives, work and duties always call on us but I’m a firm believer that, at least once every month, we should do as they do in France or Italy and take an hour or two for a sit-down meal made-up of real food and good company. I promise, it beats the cold and the rain right out of you!

So, see you ‘round at the next Local Lunch?

Please note that most pictures were supplied by Bedern Hall themselves as I, for once, did not have my camera with me and was, in any case, much too involved in the act of eating to take any picture.

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