By Stephen Bywater
The airy restaurant, named after its location in the building, is high-end forest minimalist with a splash of the industrial. Outside, in the dead of winter, there’s a hint of Scandi-noir, but on a summer’s evening the lake’s enchanting. The mood is mellow and the service glides unobtrusively on.
For drinks we order a coke and a glass of Argentinian Malbec; a smooth choice, the most popular by the glass and to quote Eva (my 17 y.o. daughter), allowed the smallest of sips: ‘I could drink that and I don’t even like wine.’
For starters she plumps for the nacho macaroni cheese croquettes, and I have the soup of the day, cream of sweet potato and carrot. The macaroni croquette has more than enough of a smokey mature cheddar cheese punch to satisfy the most particular of cheese connoisseurs, and the sun blushed tomato and basil dipping sauce is hereby recorded as ‘peng’.
For the main someone’s having the Moroccan tagine of winter root vegetables and fragrant spices. The omnivore has gone for free-range chicken burger: brioche bun, bacon, cheese, crispy chips, beer-battered onion rings, and rocket and tomato salad. Both dishes deserve superlatives, the tagine is as fragrant and filling as one could wish, and the cheese and bacon give the chicken the requisite salty zing.
We glance at the desserts but we’re defeated. No to the delightful-sounding tiramisu; maybe next time, chocolate tart.
So, in summary, it’s the ideal location for First Dates, and there are a lot of couples in the restaurant, as well as a family table. Sarah, this evening’s supervisor and font of all knowledge, is certainly as effusive and as welcoming as Fred, and if they ever decide – after Brexit – to skip the sunny climes of Italy, then I know the perfect corner in Bedfordshire where the wine flows freely and the steaks are home grown. So get in the old hybrid Volvo, or find a cycle-path in the summer, and head over to Corner 5.
Box End Park, Box End Road, Kempston, MK43 8RG boxendpark.com