Lunch at The Carpenters Arms, Ascot

I’m not sure I’ve ever been so excited to eat lunch.
I’ve been to The Carpenters Arms once before with Frankie, her dad and a few of their friends for dinner, and I can honestly say it was one of my favourite meals. In such an unsuspecting building, with such a common pub name, I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I first arrived, but once I’d left my life had changed for the better. No, I’m not being a drama queen. Okay, maybe a little. What I’m trying to say is it’s bloody good French food.

It was Frankie’s Dad’s birthday so I hopped on what felt like the world’s earliest train after 4 hours sleep. Once I’d arrived in London, Frankie and I drove to her Dad’s and soon found ourselves in the countryside and holding a glass of Pimm’s. Well, you know the best way to get over a hangover, right?

A little later on, it was time to head to the pub. I didn’t even realise how much I’d been travelling, probably because I wasn’t feeling 100% myself yet (if you know what I mean), and also due the excitement of the fresh countryside air and the smell of French food. And more Pimm’s.

Frankie was the sensible designated driver so had an Elderflower drink instead. I should draw a halo above her head.

After chatting away, basking in the (surprising) warmth and sipping away at drinks which somehow kept multiplying in front of our eyes, we headed inside. All I could think of was “Yum yum yum”.

And that’s exactly what I thought throughout the whole meal. Once we’d sat down, a few plates of jambon (french ham) was ordered. And anyone who’s tried it knows how delicious it is, and anyone who doesn’t agree with me is crazy.

We were also greeted with a fantastic bottle of red. It was a celebration, after all.

You know what else is fantastic? Food. To clarify, the food here. If I hadn’t made that clear before. Yes, I will be annoying and repeat it as much as I like.

The two winning starters are the Grilled Mussels with Provençal Crust and the Pan Fried Fresh Foie Gras with Brioche. They are must orders. If you’re on a date, order them and share. Take these half-Asian words of wisdom.

The most popular main at the table was Mr. Roast Chicken and Fries. Nearly everyone ordered it because they know how damn good it is.

The best thing about big portions is that people struggle to finish and genuinely want you to help them out. I guess I’ll just have to take one for the team. The things I do for people.

Frankie and I had to be a little bit different and ordered the Fondue Savoyarde, which is for 2 people. It’s bubbling gruyére and Emmental cheese served with ham, potatoes and fresh crusty bread to dip it into. I had this the last time I was here, and the only time I’ve ever had anything close to this was in France itself. ‘Omfg’ is what comes to mind.

There was a few sides as well that went round for the table. I had to get my greens in somehow.

It was a feast for champions.

Man, I wanted to shrink up, jump into this bowl of cheese and eat my way out.

We started off with dipping bread in, but then things started getting a little more adventurous…

The broccoli//health attempt slowly turned into chips…

Then potatoes with ham..

DIP EVERYTHING INTO CHEESE.

And that was exactly what we did. I’m pretty sure the chicken went into that pot of cheese at one point.

As it was a birthday celebration, a little plate of dessert and champagne was brought out to everyone. As full as I was, you really couldn’t pass this up. And after one bite, I reaaaaally didn’t even have the choice to stop.

And just when things couldn’t get better for my tastebuds and worse for my tummy. They brought out the meringues. I’m not really sure if I’ve spent my life eating terrible meringues or if these are just the best meringues in the whole world. Maybe it’s because their French ones? Anyway, I had one last time I was here and I’ve never had a better one since. Okay, I say one, I probably had about four. They bring them out after your meal and, once again, my heart jumped. I think I’m actually romantically involved with dessert.

The thing about them is that although they’re crisp and hard on the outside, inside is fluffy clouds of sugary heaven. I’ve been searching for better meringues since, and I’ve yet to be impressed.

I’m officially a meringue snob. God I’m getting high maintenance. It’s safe to say my attempt to stick to one meringue failed miserably. As expected. 

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