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Restaurant review: Bygone Times/Spinners Cafe

AA Grill (that's not him) finds it's more about the collectable than the delectable

Written by . Published on December 14th 2012.

Restaurant review: Bygone Times/Spinners Cafe

THE security men seemed to think they were there to be helpful.

It was all “Certainly” and “Don't mention it” at Bygone Times, a short haul up the M6 to three warehousefuls of “collectables, curios, memorabilia, antiques and bric a brac”.

If these jokers ever want to break into into the pub and club security scene, they'll need to do something about their attitude.

Lennon's unbearably sweet smile aptly mirrored my instant korma...tasting like a head-on collision between a jar of curry sauce and a kilo bag of sugar

One chap lugged a pair of ladders at least a couple of hundred yards (they don't touch metric here): past the scale model Eddie Stobart truck, down a flight of stairs, right at the small child's outfit for a highland wedding, up a flight of stairs, around the TARDIS telephone and the 1920s Maori fertility hook, then balanced precariously at the top of them to reach an art deco lampshade we had expressed an interest in, only for us to immediately decide against it.

“No problem at all,” he smiled. And he wasn't even being sarcastic.

Maybe their geniality was connected to the steady stream of mellow seeping into the atmosphere in musical form: the entire playlist from the Jeremy Vine Show mixed with a teaspoon of Friday Night Is Music Night.

Nobody was immune. As Vera Lynn wafted over us singing Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart, I turned left past a signed autograph of Robbie Fowler just in time to see a young couple waltzing along to it.

Or perhaps, before anabolic steroids, all security people were like these. After all, nostalgia is the stock in trade of Bygone Times.

Where else will you see a 50-year-old advertisement for Wolsey X briefs boasting two-point support, a fully poseable Joe 90 doll, with accessories, and a large assortment of rolling pins all under the same roof except, perhaps, in a certain class of bordello.

You could spend the day – and all your dosh – in this place, barely a white Vauxhall Astra van's braking distance from the home of cycling superstar Bradley Wiggins. We were disappointed not to see Wiggo wheeling around Eccleston on his Pinarello Dogma 2; it's not like it's a big place.

By the time I had talked Mrs Grill out of a pack of "Iraq's Most Wanted" playing cards, issued by the Defence Intelligence Agency and US Central Command, I was famished.

High on the wall outside Spinners Cafe is a row of animal head trophies, which provide a stark, if somewhat grisly, welcome, but should not be taken to indicate the exotic nature of the menu.

The mellow gas must have spread into the cafe where we were served by a young man with the expression of a surly teenager and the charm of an angel.

Overlooking our table was an especially garish image of the Fab Four and the moptops waved unnervingly at us throughout our meal. John Lennon's unbearably sweet smile aptly mirrored my instant korma. Actually it was chicken tikka (£6.50) disguised as korma, the lumps of breast meat tender and not ungenerous, the rest tasting like a head-on collision between a jar of curry sauce and a kilo bag of sugar.

Spinners_Cafe_Bygone_Times_Eccleston23Instant Korma


If all restaurant-generated burgers were professional football clubs, the Spinners burger (£6.50) would be a mid-table Championship outfit, safe from relegation but not good enough to make the play-off places. It came with onion rings, which really have no place on a burger and are always an abomination, but brought no complaints from the young 'un.

Lasagne verdi (£6.50) – served with oven chips, dry and crunchyish, and innocuous garlic bread – was what you might call the stripped down version: a basic milk sauce and a meat filling that was moist and toothsome but a little light on anything other than mince.

All the mains came with side salad: iceberg lettuce, onion, a single, diminutive piece of peppper, and anaemic tomato (in this case pale is not interesting).

You can also get jacket potatoes, panini's with shocking apostrophes, and, if it's your thing, chips and cheese. This is food for the hungry, not the gourmet, but as a refuelling stop in deeply congenial surroundings, it does the job.

Afters come in the form of cakes and pastries bought in but freshly made daily For us a rather heavy scone and a plastic-wrapped Bakewell tart, over-sugared and heavy on E numbers. But I understand they like a lot of E numbers in these parts since they have allowed locals to revive a Lancashire expression belonging to bygone times: “EEEEE, by gum!”

The Infobox

(Click here to add text)
Bygone Times
Grove Mill, The Green
Eccleston, Nr. Chorley
PR7 5PB 01257 451889

Overall score: 12/20

Service 4/5
Ambience 3/5
Food 5/10

Scores are like for like, eg, cafes go up against the best cafes, and not Michelin starred restaurants.

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Paul HamletFebruary 20th 2014.

You should try it again. It's changed a great deal in the past year !!!

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I will visit this place once the management and staff have got their act in order.

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