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In the centre of Stoke-on-Trent (Hanley, to be precise), there’s a vibrant cultural scene boasting theatre, music and eating-out venues.
One of those venues in particular is offering something a little bit different and refreshingly more personal...
The Quarter, which opened a little over two years ago, is a cafe by day and a bistro with a quirky home-style menu by night. Situated just yards from the Regent Theatre, it provides a wide and mouthwatering variety of food & drink options, regular themed evenings, and function facilities for special events.
The venue is open Monday to Saturday from 8am till late. With its chilled ambience and friendly, welcoming atmosphere - good service is clearly a top priority - it provides some much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day living.
I paid a visit with my teenage daughter on a cold and wintry Thursday evening, to experience the venue’s jazz & tapas night. We were warmly greeted by the owner’s father, Alan Bailey, who explained that since retiring he’s been helping his son in the business, meeting & greeting the customers. I have to say, I think he’s doing a sterling job, providing a personal touch that sadly is often missing from the modern-day dining-out experience.
We were directed to our table and presented with a drinks menu and a notably extensive tapas menu. As resident jazz duo The Quarter Beat serenaded us, we ordered our drinks - a glass of chilled extra-dry Italian prosecco for me, served with a fresh raspberry to complement the apple & pear notes, and a rose lemonade for my daughter.
From the tapas menu, I chose prawns in a spicy peri peri sauce, which were succulent and moreish, Spanish omelette with peppers and courgettes, which tasted beautifully authentic, and apple & walnut salad with lemon and balsamic dressing - crunchy and refreshing.
My daughter ordered the paella with chicken & chorizo - hearty and flavoursome - the herby potato wedges - a nice alternative to chips - and the bruschetta, which came piled high with tomatoes, garlic, onions and seasoning. Enormous in size, it was also incredibly tasty - something which could equally be said of every dish we sampled.
All the food offered at The Quarter is prepared in-house, a fact that’s clearly evident when sampling the menu. The cakes on display looked delicious, and we were told by Alan that the commis chef was busy on the evening we visited baking a huge batch of scones for an afternoon tea event. They obviously take food quality very seriously at The Quarter, and seem passionate about providing a good selection of dishes and an altogether enjoyable dining-out experience.
As our waitress cleared away the tapas plates, she asked if we wanted anything else. It was an offer we had no choice but to decline, as we simply had no room for pudding. It was just a real treat to spend some quality time eating delicious food in a venue boasting gorgeous décor - a mix of vintage, shabby chic and stylish artisan - in the company of my lovely daughter whilst listening to some beautiful jazz.
The Quarter is a real gem in the heart of The Potteries and well worth a visit, not only to sample the imaginative food & drink menu but also to revel in a truly delightful ambience.
***** Carol Lovatt
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