Since I wrote this post, The Spark has sadly closed. It’s been replaced by Beerbohm, a bar serving cask ales, wines, spirits and specialist Belgian, German and American beers.
I didn’t have a Midweek Munchies post ready for this week, so just for you guys I treated myself to lunch yesterday. Purely for blogging purposes of course. I’ve been to The Spark in Lichfield before, but not for a while and I have to say I’d forgotten how good it was.
It’s a simple place, pretty trendy but not over-the-top. It’s not huge, it’s not swanky, but it feels nice. Somewhere you could happily spend a few hours if you had more than a 60-minute lunchbreak to woof something down in.
The menu’s simple – nice-looking sarnies and wraps, savoury crepes, melts, burgers, soup, salads, and some specials on blackboards on the wall. There’s an array of indulgent-looking cakes on the counter, and a full drinks menu (including wine – is it wrong that I find myself tempted by wine at lunchtime?).
My colleague and I both opted for the same. After all, it’s not everywhere that you get fish finger sandwiches on a menu and on a grey Tuesday (any excuse Ellen, any excuse!) it’s always going to be tempting. To be fair, plenty of other choices were tempting too, including a nice-sounding Packington Pork sausage sandwich, but we stuck with our fish and chips.
And a good choice it was too. I slightly clumsily expressed my satisfaction with my choice with the words, ‘It’s kind of like a filet o’ fish but a million times better’, and although I’m sure this will be taken the wrong way, I really hope anybody reading this takes it in the spirit it was meant and tries to get what I’m saying. I haven’t had a lot of filet o’fishes in my time – I think I was put off by the waterlogged, pitiful imposter for a fast food meal that I was presented with. But I think I know what McDonald’s is trying to do – crispy fish, a soft roll, tangy tartare sauce. All served up with chips in an adaptation of fish and chips.
And this is what I got at The Spark. This was everything the filet o’fish aspires to be. A large, soft malted roll filled with crispy fish fingers. A thick dollop of tasty tartare sauce, and some fresh lettuce adding a bit of crunch. The chips were fat, not as crispy as I might have liked, but homemade with the skins still on and nice and chunky. And so yes, a million times better than its much inferior third cousin once-removed known as filet (if anyone’s still unsure, I’m saying it was pretty bloody good).
The portion was generous. My colleague balked slightly (probably not as greedy as me) as it arrived but soon saw it off. The staff are friendly, happy to make conversation as you order at the counter, and efficient bringing your food. I’ve spoken before about the age old problem of getting your order in, getting eaten and getting back to work within that golden hour, and I’m pleased to say Spark seems to get this.
They don’t just cater to the work crowd though – when we went there was a lovely mix of older ladies catching up over a slice of cake and, for one, a brandy; someone working on their laptop over a coffee; and a mother with her children. And I’m not surprised. It’s got a great atmosphere and whoever runs it seems to have realised that keeping things simple, but decent, is a winner. It’s also open for breakfast and brunch and holds plenty of special events like comedy nights, art workshops and live music.
It’s coming up to The Spark’s fourth birthday and it’s planning a whole load of celebrations – complete with deals – so I imagine I’ll be back there a fair bit. Unless of course, I discover a newfound love for filet o’fishes……
We paid for our lunches at The Spark. They didn’t know I was a blogger.