Where do you go when you want some decent grub and you can’t be bothered to cook? I know where I’ll be going from now on, and that is Pop Bellies in Huntingdon. We turned up after work on a Thursday night, with tired minds and rumbling tummies and found a little gem of a place.
Pop Bellies sits at the Godmanchester end of the High Street, which means it doesn't get the passing trade that the centre of town enjoys. Even so, every time I walk past, it seems to be busy. In a town centre that is dominated by chain cafes and restaurants, Pop Bellies stands out as original.
The front of the restaurant is small, with a bar in one corner and simply laid tables. A corridor leads to two rooms at the back, one a cosy nook with space for 10 or so, and another larger room with more tables at the back, it seats about 45 in total.
The staff were friendly and welcoming and within ten minutes we had ordered our food and our wine had arrived.
There are two menus, an a la carte with food from around the globe and a three-course set menu that has a similar style of dishes, but taken from the cheaper end of the menu. The range of food is great, nothing too challenging, but all very tempting, with a reasonably priced wine list as well.
We decided to go for the a la carte selection and started with a plate of nachos to share. We are both big fans of Mexican food and were intrigued to see how these fared in comparison to the gloopy congealed rubbish that is usually served in the UK. They were great, crisp nachos with a nice tomato sauce, topped with gooey cheese and jewelled with tangy and hot jalapeno peppers.
By this point the Chilean Merlot (£12) was slipping down nicely and we'd gone from tired to relaxed in the space of 20 minutes.
The nachos were a big starter but we were still excited for our main courses. I ordered the lamb burger and chips and Paula had the moussaka and Greek salad.
The mains arrived ten minutes after the Nachos departed and very fine they looked too.
My burger was a lamb quarter pounder with a stack of hand cut rustic chips on the side, nothing fancy, but then good burgers should be simple. With the first bite, the soft bun gave way to chargrilled lamb and the juices flowed with a lovely minty flavour. It was all rounded off with a sharp tzatziki and the chips were big and chunky, crisp on the outside and soft in the centre.
The moussaka was a beast of a portion, but it smelled great and tasted just as good. Lamb, oregano, cheese…..what's not to like? The only issue we had was that the Greek salad was enough for a large main course in itself, but then generosity is not to be frowned upon.
By the time I had finished my burger, I was full and Paula only managed half of the moussaka, due to the massive portions, so puddings were out of the question.
The next time we go back, I think it will be for breakfast, which is apparently excellent, but I have no doubt we will return often.
Eating in Pop Bellies was fun, the staff were great, the food was tasty, and best of all, there was no washing up.
Bill: £42 including 10 per cent service.