I have to confess, I had never heard of Bill’s before, despite there being many around the country, so I was looking forward to trying it out on Friday night in the Trafford Centre.

Bill's Summer Salad

Bill's Summer Salad

Bill’s is situated in at the entrance of The Orient (on the shop side) so you don’t have to loop around several times to find it- it’s one of the first eateries you come across.

We had a warm welcome from Maria, the manager and Wednesday who looked after us for the evening. They had kindly reserved a booth for us which I would highly recommend as you are far enough back to have some privacy but are still able to watch the world go by (if you are nosy like me).

It’s difficult to describe the décor. It has a modern flair with exposed pipes and metal chairs but there is also a sense of old with chandeliers twinkling above you on the celling and long candles in chunky holders on the tables.  It is contemporary meets traditional.

We ordered a round of drinks- and my husband sampled a bottle of Bill’s Beer. I should really take this opportunity to tell you that the restaurant also sells and serves its own produce. You can enjoy one of their own drinks with your meal and even take away some of their own products like chocolate, jam, chutneys, coffee, tea or fudge to name a few as a little memento of your visit. They surround you as you eat, high up on shelves that line the walls so you can eye them up while you enjoy your meal and decide what you want to take home. Perfect gift ideas for if you know someone called Bill!

Both Maria and Wednesday were happy to recommend dishes for both of us as I’m veggie and my hubby’s not so we had to be a bother twice (sorry girls!).

We ordered a bowl of Giant Green Gordal Olives to share- but this is where I’m a little naughty because I know my hubby doesn’t like them so I got to eat them all! They were huge and juicy and were ideal to nibble on while we waited for our starters.  

My husband ordered the Golden Fried Park Sesame Dumplings – Sweet and spicy sesame dipping sauce, for his mains which didn’t last long at all. He assured me they were absolutely lovely, which I gathered by the speed they left the plate.

I had the Bill’s Summer Salad which is apparently one of the newest additions to the menu and also their vegan offering from the starters section. It contained baby kale, freekeh grains, super sprouts, pomegranate, asparagus, blueberries, watermelon, red onions and Bill’s House dressing. I have never tried freekeh before so this was a whole new experience for me and the chewy, nuttiness of it went perfectly with the blueberries and pomegranate seeds that popped in your mouth as you ate them, releasing a wonderful sweetness. I have to be honest, I didn’t think it would work as a flavour combination but the fruit in a savoury salad was perfect for summer. I only wish there had been a little more dressing as I couldn’t taste it’s flavour, which was a shame.

For our main course, my partner had the Pan-Fried Sea Bass Fillets- Cherry tomato, avocado, coriander and caper salsa with a potato rosti. In a nutshell, it was a really posh fish and chips! My partner doesn’t normally go for the fish dishes- he’s usually a steak man- but he really enjoyed the dish and said he would happily order it again.

I opted for the Roasted Aubergine, Lentil and Chickpea Dahl- Cherry tomatoes, coriander, chutney, toasted almonds and a grilled flatbread. This is the vegan option from the mains menu. It was good to see that they are keeping up with the growing demand for vegan food. 

I was a little surprised that it didn’t come with rice as that’s what I’m used to when I order a curry. With that said, the flat bread was perfect to dip in and mop up the sauce and made a nice change to a naan bread which can lay heavy on the tummy. The curry reminded me of a very sophisticated korma, it was creamy and nutty and the tomatoes offered a little burst of sweetness against the mild flavours form the spices, while the almonds gave it a satisfying crunch.

For dessert- my partner had the Lemon Meringue Pie Cheesecake- Bill’s lemon curd, frozen yoghurt and poppy seed meringue. He kindly offered me a little and it was beautifully tangy and light- just what you need at the end of a meal to cleanse the palate.

I opted for the Warm Chocolate Brownie- Warm chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream and a chocolate flake. It was sticky, it was gooey, it was rich, it was melt in the mouth- basically everything you want from a brownie but combined with all the makings of an upmarket 99! Gorgeous!

We finished the meal with an Italian coffee and a hot chocolate which had another flake on the side, but I was nice this time and gave it to my hubby as I’d already had one with my pudding.   

The thing that struck us most about Bill’s is that it doesn’t have the feel of a chain restaurant. When you eat there, it has much more of an independent feel to it. Even more so since there is an abundance of homemade things you can buy- there is a cosy, homely atmosphere about the place which was refreshing.

If you are popping to the Trafford Centre, I would heartily recommend Bill’s. It serves excellent food but at a reasonable cost and it offers both lunch and dinner options so whether you want to go there midway through your shopping trip or at the end of your day- it can accommodate both. Thanks to Maria and Wednesday for making our date night so special- a great place for couples to tuck away and for great food and conversation.  

Bill’s Restaurants is launching ‘Summer of Music’, a series of free outdoor gigs hosted at Bill’s restaurants across the UK.

The series will kick-start with an exclusive launch gig on 28th June, 7pm-9pm at Bill’s in Kingston with special riverside performances by Brit award nominated singer NAO and alternative pop singer JONES.

The gigs will continue throughout the summer months with performances from up and coming and local artists and even some of Bill’s talented staff. There’s no need to book tickets; instead customers can simply reserve a table for the evening.

The performances will take place in the outdoor dining areas at Bill’s Reading (29th June), Bill’s Manchester (13th July), Bill’s Cardiff (27th July) and Bill’s Liverpool (10th August). Bill’s Lewes will host the final gig on 24th August, bringing it back to where Bill’s originated as a small greengrocers and café.

Diners will be able to feast on a delicious range of seasonal dishes and refreshing cocktails during the performances from Bill’s new summer menu.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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