Cafe Bleu

Another Saturday evening, another delightful night spent dining at our cafe by the water. Weekly al fresco meals poolside @thelidocafe is becoming something of a routine for the fragrant mrs onionbagblogger and I. We hope to take this tradition all the way through the winter months. Our hearts were warmed to find a log fire poolside on Saturday evening. It will take arctic conditions to keep us away.

Arriving fashionably late (um, blame the ‘excesses‘ of a day at The Oval,) we were warmly greeted and offered a choice poolside seat. It looked like we had walked in on a photo shoot for Mothercare. The early evening was the launch event for the Bellies and Babies photo exhibition. I’m pleased we gave the cricket excesses a calming down period, before socialising with the ankle biters.

With the sun setting across Lake Brockwell, we went straight in with a bottle of bolly. A wise choice, and a fruity flavour to help compliment the bitter taste of the earlier cricket excess.

mrs obb and I were joined by a third dining companion for the evening; there’s talk of a fourth coming along next week. Give us until the end of the year, and our cafe by the water may just become our own private party.

The menu had been extended since the soft launch of the cafe a couple of weeks ago. I settled on a starter of goat’s cheese glazed in honey, served up on a bed of aubergines. The warm cheese was just starting to cream as it was served, with the sweet honey adding a sensation that I last experienced back at the cricket after eights cans of Carling.

The ladies went for the liver option, with a chorizo sausage also served with a side dish of a crisp salad. For a starter priced competitively under a fiver, both generous dishes could easily have been passed as the main meal.

With the Bellies and Babies crowd now safely tucked up in bed, the second sitting of the evening arrived lakeside in SE24. It was lovely to witness the exact same lido ambience that has built up over the past fifteen years at Brockwell, now transferred over to the new cafe.

The lido community are coming out in force to celebrate their new social space. We all love the lido, and asking us to politely leave the pool at 6pm each weekend has become something of a pain.

Bu with the renovated cafe now functioning as a genuine social hub for the lido community, lido life knows no end. I didn’t recognise half of my lido friends with their clothes on though.

Having sung the praises of the meatballs and couscous during my previous visit, the conservative within went with the exact same option for my main dish. My dining companions selected, um, why not let them tell you…

Listen!

And so come the darkening hour around the waters of the lido, we decided to draw to a close what had been a very long, rather demanding but thoroughly enjoyable day. I settled up the bill, which surprisingly offered up some change for three diners out of a £50 note.

Mmm – this didn’t seem quite right. Even factoring in the excess of the cricket, my calculations suggested that we should have been paying something slightly more. Hey hoe. We departed back to Sunny Stockwell, did a few sums, and then realised that the bottle of red wasn’t included in the receipt.

Any other restaurant and I would probably have walked away, had a cheeky wink, and then spent the profit on yet another weekend of excess. But we plan to dine at our cafe by the water on a regular basis. I can’t be doing with all that inner guilt, knowing that we didn’t pay for the booze.

I returned to the waters of Lake Brockwell early on Sunday morning, and mumbled my way through offering some more money. An inner glow, a feeling of self righteousness and a guaranteed poolside seat hopefully for our next visit.

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