When the lovely team at Bill’s Restaurant invited me to their summer party a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been a fan of Bill’s since I discovered their epic breakfast menu a few years back so it was great to go along try some samples from their new summer menu.
They served up a selection of their new starters and main courses in canapé style, including watermelon cubes with paprika and sesame crusted feta, mini heirloom tomato bruschetta, crab and sweet chilli falafels and scallops wrapped in bacon with cauliflower puree. My favourite was always going to be the scallops but the watermelon and feta combo came a close second makes the perfect summer starter.
I also got to try a few of their new cocktails including the Hedgerow Fizz – Prosecco, elderflower with a frozen blackberry (reasonably priced at £4.95 for a fizz based cocktail), their Summer Rum Punch – with rum, jasmine, orange and hibiscus tea and watermelon juice and The Bees Knees – made with Bill’s brand new own brand gin, honey, lemon juice and Bill’s pink lemonade. A great gin cocktail wins it hands down for me but the punch with the watermelon came a close second and makes a really refreshing summer drink.
Finally, a summer party wouldn’t be a party without some cake. I didn’t realise, but Bill’s do afternoon teas! They bake their own scones and cakes including their own gluten free Victoria sponge, all served with tea or a glass of their Hedgerow fizz. The Victoria sponge was so light and fluffy – which I hear is no easy feat with a gluten free recipe. I wouldn’t normally choose gluten free options as I don’t have any issues with gluten but it’s great that Bill’s offer plenty of choice for a whole range of dietary requirements and they have a lots of allergy and dietary advice on their menu on their website.
Over the course of the evening I also had the opportunity to meet the staff and quiz them on the menu, including their healthier options and by complete surprise I got to meet Bill – the founder who sat with me and chatted about how Bill’s all started. It opened as a tiny green grocer in Lewes in 2000; it had its ups and downs but eventually moved on to add a café serving up the fresh produce to locals. The café became an instant hit and things grew rapidly. Even though they now have over 70 restaurants across the country and more in the pipeline, they’re still very much a family business and Bill remains involved in the menus and interior design of the restaurants. Their passion is fresh, seasonal British produce which forms the foundation of everything on their menus, all served up in their recognisable shabby chic style.
As I quizzed them on their healthier menu options they invited me back to have a look at their full menu. I’ve already tried their amazing Bill’s Burgers, Fish Pie and BBQ Ribs but I hear that they have some fantastic healthy options like a Superfood Kale Salad, Naked Burgers (steak burger without the bun) and chargrilled chicken, cous cous and baby kale. I’ll report back soon…