FEBRUARY IS SUCH A SHORT MONTH, SO WE DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO GET OUT TOO OFTEN, BUT WE STILL MANAGED A COUPLE OF EVENINGS AND A VERY FINE LUNCH
Zinco Lounge sits roughly where the main entrance to David Evans, the much loved department store in Swansea was located. I used to trot across the road during my lunch hour from British Home Stores where I worked at the customer service desk, and browse through the haberdashery department – but I digress. Zinco Lounge is part of the Loungers group which was established back in 2002, when three friends wanted to create a bar that they would want to drink in.
Fourteen years on and there are about sixty Lounges around the country – all with the same distinctive style of mismatched furniture and eccentric artwork on the walls. They are open all day with the emphasis on being a neighbourhood cafe – somewhere to drop in and make yourself at home.
We popped in on a Friday night and were greeted with a smiley waitress who showed us to a table on the first floor. Once settled with a restorative glass of wine we studied the menu. It was refreshing to see some different items making an appearance rather than the tired old usual suspects. Tapas make an ideal sharing starter, where you can legitimately sample everything on the table without incurring the wrath of your dining companion’s fork. The honey glazed shredded 5 spice pork was subtly sweet and provided a perfect foil for the halloumi cheese with courgettes and peppers pan fried in a spicy rose harissa. The main dishes were equally interesting with buttermilk fried chicken and mac and cheese with broccoli hitting that ‘end of the week tired and hungry’ spot.
As I have recently been awarded the status of grandmother, I now have a renewed interest in children’s menus, and was amused to see that they have not just specials for ‘little loungers’ but also for ‘little bit bigger loungers’. With offerings like home made fish fingers and a mini mezze platter of falafel, yoghurt with cucumber, hummus and a tossed salad, it is evident that Loungers is looking to attract the more discerning tot – and why not.
Zinco Lounge is open every day from 9:00 to 23:00 Telephone 01792 644812
Unit 4, 30 Princess Way, Swansea SA1 5HE
Lunch at TheBAY HQ is usually a quick sandwich – providing I have remembered to pick up a loaf of bread. However every now and then, a tin of tuna or a pack of plastic ham will not suffice so a trip down to La Parmigiana in Duke Street is called for.
For those not in the know, La Parmigiana is an Italian food lover’s paradise with its outstanding range of dried pastas, risotto rice, almond biscuits and other delicacies. It is also the go-to place for many business people looking for a restorative lunch.
Owner, Francesca is usually to be found behind the counter, serving the take-away food and making the coffee while Louisa is in the kitchen creat-ing the hot dishes and waiting on tables.
Spaghetti Carbonara is a classic dish with a sauce that should only include smoked bacon lardons, eggs and cheese – the addition of cream, chicken, garlic, onions or anything else is not a Carbonara. I have so often been disappointed when ordering it in a restaurant, only to be served some sort of bastardised version. Happily, La Parmigiana’s Carbonara is authentic – and more to the point utterly delicious.
Every day I have to make choices, which is why when I go to Francesca’s deli I leave my decision making at the door. My lunchtime treat is a ciabatta roll filled with – well whatever Fran decides to give me. Sometimes it’s air-dried ham with cheese and pesto, other times it’s cheese with rocket and sun dried tomatoes – but always it is fantastic.
So why not ditch your sandwiches and pop in to see Francesca and Louisa for a robust bowl of pasta or a pot luck ciabatta – you won’t be disappointed.
La Parmigiana takes bookings for dinner at weekends – please call for further information.
7 Duke Street, Swansea SA1 4HS Tel: 01792 540888