This review has been written by my fiancé, in lieu of him having to cook us tea…
When I moved in with Jo and Belle, I was adamant that I wanted to do my fair share around the house.
“You can cook supper,” Jo said, almost before I had finished asking what she’d like me to do, “I’ve always hated having to think about that”.
Sure. What’s so hard about that? I felt I’d got off lightly. I started perusing the internet for wholesome yet tasty recipes, and even started ploughing my way through recipes in a new cook book. What a fool. Cut to a month or so later, and the end of a stressful day at work and I’ve walked home through the rain. I get through the front door, peel off my wet jacket and put my bag down.
“Hello”, I say, wearily.
“What’s for tea?” Belle asks, without raising her eyes from her iPad.
“I’m not quite sure yet. I’ll have a think about it”.
I’m met with a look that could have killed. It tells me how ridiculous it is that I haven’t been planning some culinary masterpiece since the second I finished wrapping up sandwiches for packed lunches that morning.
Jo is smiling. “Welcome to my world” she whispers, and with that, I understand.
It’s not so much the cooking, it’s the thinking. I’m well aware that there are far worse aspects of parenting, that I’ve spectacularly avoided or side-stepped, but I do get why this is something Jo can do without.
Recently, there has been a spurt of new restaurants opening in Taunton and we’ve been lucky enough to try some of them out. It’s popular with everyone in the house. Belle, because the food is prettier, more exciting and nicer than mine, Jo, also because of the above and because it’s an outing, and me – because I don’t have to think about it.
The Italian chain, Ask, has been coming to Taunton for a while, and as the evening of our free meal approached, I wondered how they could possibly have turned Taunton’s Old Post Office into a restaurant. Surely it wasn’t big enough, and how could they have got rid of that rather soulless feeling?
I don’t know quite how to articulate how good a job they’ve done. Firstly, it doesn’t feel like another Italian chain. The design spec and the quality of the finish is superb. We’ve been to a couple of places recently that looked okay, but after a few minutes we started to list the tiny glitches and faults. Not so in Ask. Everything from the flooring to the bar tiles, to the glasses to the cutlery, was stylishly put together, without feeling like a formula that you’d find in every other town in the country. It feels like Mad Men meets Breakfast at Tiffany’s meets glorious Technicolor. In fact, it feels like Jo designed the place, and that’s the highest praise I can give.
The girls are looking at the menu, which is varied and well balanced. I’m so hungry I would be happy with pretty much any dish on the menu. Belle has her serious face on – after all, these decisions are very important. We choose a variety of dishes (and wine) from the menu so that we can say we’ve tried most types of dish – fish, pasta, meats and of course, pizza.
I wish I had this for lunch instead of the old bits of cracker I found in my desk drawer. This was from our trip last week to the new @askitalian in Taunton. I am salivating just thinking about it. A photo posted by Josephine Middleton (@slummysinglemummy) on
Bucket of wine at @askitalian – don’t mind if I do. A photo posted by Josephine Middleton (@slummysinglemummy) on
Belle is my pizza hero. We have the same tastes in what we like on them, and she always leaves me some of hers. Recently, she created a pizza especially for me, and it is in the top five meals I’ve ever eaten. Luckily, Ask didn’t let Belle or the rest of us down. The food was delicious. On any other day of the week there is no way we’d have tackled pudding, but for the sake of research we felt we had to indulge.
*happy sigh* A photo posted by Josephine Middleton (@slummysinglemummy) on
Before our outing, I thought Taunton didn’t need any more Italian restaurants. I left knowing that Taunton did need this Ask. It’s bright and friendly, and the food was delicious. We’ll definitely be going back, perhaps the next time I forget to think about what is for supper at home. Either that, or when the girls can face no more of my cooking.
Thank you to Ask for inviting us as their guests for a meal.