DINING OUT: The Kingfisher, Kirkham

Tuna steak at the Kingfisher
Tuna steak at the Kingfisher

We’ve lost count of the number of times we have driven past The Kingfisher and not gone in.

It’s on a regular route between home and the motorway but, invariably having either just eaten or on our way to a meal elsewhere, we have so often remarked “We must give it a go sometime”.

Exterior of the Kingfisher, Kirkham

Exterior of the Kingfisher, Kirkham

Last weekend, in search of a mid-afternoon feed and having spotted that The Kingfisher serves all day, we finally got to make our bow there – and the first thing to point out is what a memorable welcome we received.

With 3pm on a Saturday being that uncertain time when some eateries have closed after lunch to reopen later, we had booked via Facebook to ensure a full menu was available, although online searches had given us no definitive advance clue as to what it might contain.

No sooner had we walked up to the welcome point, where diners are asked to wait to be seated, than we were greeted warmly and shown promptly to a reserved table in the dining area beyond the bar.

The friendly waitress quickly took our drinks order and said she would be back shortly to take our selections from the menus she left us to browse.

Halloumi and chips at The Kingfisher

Halloumi and chips at The Kingfisher

One thing that struck us instantly about The Kingfisher is the space inside - it has a massive capacity, with tables outside as well as all round a substantial indoor area.

Being situated as it is between the two main routes into Blackpool – the M55 and the A583 – and offering outdoor seating plus a play area, it clearly has great potential to be a magnet for visitors as well as residents, although tourists not familiar with the area might not be instantly aware that it is there, tucked away as it is at the entrance to St George’s Park off the Kirkham bypass.

It also offers a menu which we thought had something to suit all tastes, as well as daily specials.

All credit to parent company JW Lees for offering some choices which aren’t seen that often among the fare at such establishments, including the dishes for which I opted for starter and main.

To begin, I plumped for the quesadilla (£4.95), a baked tortilla filled with melting cheese and tangy salsa and served sandwich-style on a wooden platter with a pot of garlic mayonnaise on the side.

My wife and daughter decided to share a selection of breads (£3.95), served with pots of oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping, and we all declared ourselves well satisfied with those openers.

I’m a big fan of tuna steak – in fact it’s my speciality among an admittedly miniscule range in our kitchen – and I was delighted to see it making a rare appearance on the menu and at a very reasonable £10.95 for good measure.

As I ordered, the waitress seemed to think I wanted the tuna nicoise salad but once the selection I was so keen on was confirmed, it lived up to expectations, with the generous and perfectly cooked tuna served with saute potatoes – resembling crushed new potatoes – and tomato and cucumber salsa.

One thing about tuna is that, without the right sauce or accompaniment, it can be rather dry, but the salsa balanced out the fish ideally and I eagerly cleared my plate.

Mrs D was happy with her cheese and onion pie, as was our daughter with her battered halloumi (£9.95 each), although in both cases they found some of the accompanying chips far too crispy.

The halloumi in particular, with three pieces on the plate, was a very generous portion.

Sadly, after the warm welcome, very efficient initial order-taking and food delivery, service tailed off rather later, presumably after the lunch staff had gone off shift.

No-one came to ask how our meal was and there was no offer of dessert menus, although we were too full to contemplate them anyway.

But it was an enjoyable Kingfisher debut for us and we pledged to return.

With soft drinks, our bill came to £50.80.