A brief taste of sunshine and higher-than-average temperatures set us thinking of holidays in Spain - so where better to go for our evening meal than a tapas restaurant?
Vida on Lytham’s Church Road has quickly established itself as a family favourite after a memorable trip there on Mother’s Day last month.
The food, service, and value for money all impressed us on that occasion, while we noticed some very attractive regular special offers of which we were keen to take advantage.
All tapas for £5 on Wednesdays is one, while on Thursdays and Sundays, a free bottle of house wine is available if £40 is spent on food.
As the sun beamed down last Thursday, we decided to leave the car at home and make the most of the latter offer.
With the teenage daughter in our party of three – and happy to accompany her food with a Diet Coke – we calculated, based on our previous visit, that we would be spending £40 or more on food anyway so the opportunity of a bottle of tempranillo gratis for mum and dad to celebrate the rare taste of warm sunshine seemed far too good to miss.
The Vida menu isn’t massive, as we have found can be the case in some tapas restaurants, but it offers something for everyone, including non-meat eaters such as my wife and daughter, and items are clearly cooked fresh.
We started with a mezze board (£9.95), which featured olives, pitta bread, feta cheese, hummus and black olive tapanade – ideal for sharing and a delightful appetiser.
The joy of tapas restaurants for us is that you can order as much or as little as you like, while everyone gets to try a little of each dish.
That can also be a challenge in some venues, depending on portion size, but our previous visit had given us the lowdown on how much to expect on each plate and we had already established some favourites we were eager to try again.
Among my highlights were pork and beef meatballs, which were served in a tomato sauce, very tasty indeed and great value at £5.95.
We shared the rest of the dishes that made up our main course, including grilled halloumi (£4.95), grilled goats cheese (£5.95) and mini fish and chips (£6.75), although there was a slight hitch with the latter.
As we ordered, our waitress told us there were no chips available and asked whether we would be happy with potatoes from the patatas bravas dish as an alternative to accompany the mini fish fillets.
We said we were and it was very tasty, accompanied by a pot of delicious mushy pea puree.
Side dishes of patatas bravas (£4.75), with a delightful spicy sauce, and a feta and olive salad (£3.95) completed our feast and we felt we had ordered just the right amount.
There was still room for desserts for a couple of us, with the teen opting for a Jaffa Cake torte, while I gave the apple crumble and ice cream a try. They were £5.95 each and absolutely lovely.
But then followed my only disappointment of the evening – something I had never previously experienced in 30-odd years of dining out.
After I had ordered an espresso, which I have long felt is the perfect finale to a good meal, the waitress came back to say there was no coffee available - not a problem with the machine it seemed, which can of course happen at any time, but apparently no beans available.
So we finished off the wine and I made a point of brewing up when we arrived home.
But despite that late disappointment, it was still a memorable evening and we shall return.
We were pleased to see other families dining, while Vida is also ideal for a couple’s romantic night out and a gathering of a group of adults.
Even when the sun isn’t shining, it is good to be reminded so authentically of the delights of Spanish food culture, while the offers are of course a bonus.
With our very tasty bottle of house red knocked off the total under the Thursday evening offer, our bill came to £59.30.