“I’m so sorry,” I yelled at the bewildered girl I’d just walloped. If she’d been older, I reckon I’d have at least cracked a rib.
We’d just been shopping. Rain had been forecast and I left my coat at home, refusing to believe summer may be over. The missus, herself wrapped up, chastised me but I’d looked smug as she peeled her top layer off in the middle of Primark, moaning it was too hot.
Now though, an hour or two later, the joke was on me. It was pelting it sideways as we marched towards the Promenade. I’d taken shelter behind a flowery umbrella, clutching it at 90 degrees and hiding behind it like a riot shield.
If she uttered a word of warning or alarm, I never heard it as I forced my accidental weapon forward through the strong headwind.
It all happened so fast but I definitely slammed into something. The fabric bent and the slim metal skeleton rattled. A lamppost? A pensioner? Oh God. I’m going to prison. “What’re you in for, mate?” “I didn’t listen to the missus, grabbed a brolly, and committed manslaughter.”
Half a second later, as I rattled off more apologies than a politician caught with his pants down, the girl laughed and said it was all okay. Drama over.
Minutes later, as my heart rate settled, we arrived at the restaurant - and the shutter was down. Closed for a “private function,” apparently.
Then, a little further on, a figure appeared over us. Not Jesus, but an actual cow. A cow on top of The Eating Inn, on the Prom at South Shore.
We took it as a sign and, as wet and weary travellers (it is really hard to park around there, isn’t it?!), we ushered ourselves inside, as the grey clouds cleared and the bright blue sky shone through once again.
The Eating Inn is an intimate, family-run restaurant. Traditional with its wooden beams and dark brown tables, and modern with its plush new carpet and chrome light fittings. It was originally built as a fisherman’s cottage more than 200 years ago. It opened as the restaurant after being bought by Michael Shorrock in 1980, and is now in the hands of his son Ben, according to the eatery’s website.
Instantly seated, we sat by the window, drying off as we ordered drinks: A San Miguel (draught, £3.95); and a Diet Coke, lemonade, and Fruit Shoot (all £1.75).
The staff were attentive and friendly and quickly took our food order: 8oz Sirloin steak, requested medium rare with no sauce and served with homemade chips, mushrooms, peas, and half a tomato (£14.95); fish and homemade chips, made with fresh Fleetwood haddock and served with mushy peas (£6.95); a children’s burger with homemade chips and, by the nipper’s own choice, no baked beans (£3.25); and two pork sausages, homemade chips, and baked beans (£2.95).
Served in just the right amount of time that wasn’t too quick – true story: I once ordered dinner at a resort pub, nipped to the loo and was beaten to my table by my curry – nor too long.
The chips were lovely and served piping hot, the fish was crispy and fresh and flavoursome, and the burger was well cooked. The sausages were nice and the beans, well, they were beans – when have they ever tasted bad?!
The steak however, though cooked to my liking, lacked enough seasoning, and was average, although that was the only disappointment during a lovely family meal in a clean, homely eatery.
We declined a dessert, mainly because we were full but also because 10 rounds with Tyson would be easier than keeping the youngest one sat still for any length of time. The bill came to £38 which, when split down in four people, is an average of £9.50 each and good value for a meal and drink, especially in a prime South Shore location.
The ultimate acid test is this: With all the amazing restaurants on the Fylde coast, would we go again?
And I think, for the personal service, for the ‘popping round to mum’s for a bite to eat’ vibe, for the price, and for most of the food, the answer is yes. Only maybe next time I will enjoy a sauce (the menu has a choice of pepper, Diane and Bernaise) with my steak too!