Smoked Haddock Carbonara at Peter Sidwell’s Cafe, Rheged

Heading up to Carlisle a couple of weeks ago I stopped in at Rheged for a spot of lunch. I’ve never quite been able to work out what Rheged is; arts centre? shopping centre? cinema? food hall? Ambitious motorway services? Whatever it is, I rather like it.

I rather like Peter Sidwell’s cafe there too. I’ve visited a handful of times and every plate I’ve been presented with has consistently impressed. I don’t really think of myself as a “fish guy” but the notion of a smoked haddock carbonara was intriguing, so I gave it a go. Fresh pasta, a pleasingly large amount of flaky haddock that was subtly smoked and not overpowering, and a rich creamy sauce. It was pleasant to look at, the portion size was larger than I was expecting (I regard this as a good thing), and at £8.95 I think it was priced just right. Service was quick and friendly, but it was a fairly quiet weekday so they hadn’t had a chance to be harassed by the weekend crowds yet.

As a side-note, my Grandmother (what a good grandson I am taking her out for lunch!) had the Autumn Broth, and whilst I initially thought that £5.95 for soup was a little on the steep side, when it arrived the price was more than justified by both it’s size and quality.

I can’t blame the cafe for this at all, but the previous couple of visits I’ve had have coincided with annoying children being allowed to run around by their parents (who I have silently judged) or crying babies. That’s just the nature of the location though, Rheged is a child-friendly place and it hasn’t ruined the overall experience for me yet, and hasn’t put me off going again.

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