Having a happy place, somewhere where you feel content and at ease, is very important, I think. When SACO, who own serviced apartments in Birmingham which allow visitors to the city to live like a local, asked if I’d like to join in with their happy place campaign, I actually struggled to decide where to write about.
SACO surveyed Brummies to find out where we’re happiest. 23% of those surveyed chose a gastro pub in the Cotswolds as their happy place, which sounds excellent to me. A good cosy pub lunch is an excellent thing. Other popular options included eating ice cream on Brighton beach, eating fish and chips in Padstow (from Rick Stein’s I assume, having seen the queues out of the door when I visited Padstow recently), enjoying candy floss on Blackpool Beach and tucking into a pasty in St Ives. It seems to me that Birmingham residents are clearly pretty happy as long you as you feed us. I can relate.
I thought about what makes for a happy eating place, and some of my own favourites. For me, there are several criteria. I don’t think somewhere fancy counts as a happy place, as I like to feel cosy, comfy and at home. Good food is obviously a must, as is friendly staff and good company. So where do I go to fill my face if I want to feel happy?
My first though was of The Lichfield Vaults in Hereford. The Lich, as it affectionately known locally, is a pretty traditional pub, tucked away behind the cathedral. They serve good beer, a selection of well-kept real ales and a menu of pub classics such as a Ploughman’s and a Soup of the Day. There is a twist though. Andy, the landlord, is Greek, and the bulk of the menu reflects his Greek roots, with amazing platters of mezze and greek dishes such as Kleftico, Keftedes and Gigantes. The pub itself looks like a classic ‘old man boozer’ with dark wood and heavy beams, but I love the unexpected twist of the Greek menu. I frequented this place so much when I lived locally, that our group actually had our own table we nicknamed ‘the family table.’ Andy is the dream pub landlord; he’s so friendly and he always made sure we could get a table when we went in, and he’s always delighted to see us whenever we all make it home from our various scattered corners of the UK. I love mezze style food, so I’m always delighted by a menu of sharers, and the food here is always plentiful, delicious and reasonably priced.
A little nearer to home, I might as well move into the city centre branch of Damascena with the amount of time I spend there. I’ve written about it before, and it’s a very popular spot with foodie friends. The cafe itself is so welcoming. I think it always smells delicious as soon as you walk in the door, and the decor is warm and inviting. The food is a bit of a bargain, and is always beyond delicious. Take a friend, order some mezze and an excessive amount of hummus and feel all your cares melt away. We have to walk past Damascena to reach our bus stop, and after a bad day at work, a chai latte and some shawarma in their comfy seats is spot on, and always cheers me up.
This post was sponsored by SACO. All opinions are honest and my own.