You Say Potato…

1 March 2008

Stef Porter refuels during a day of shopping with potatoes, chilli and other hearty goods at Tatties on Trinity Street


I’m not going to pretend I don’t enjoy shopping. In fact, especially when it’s not my money, I could happily roam from store to store for hours. There comes a time, however, usually about half an hour into the purchasing rat-race, when I start to get hungry. I must stress that this is a wholly involuntary action. Even if I have had the fullest of English breakfasts prior to hitting the high street, my stomach will be rumbling after thirty minutes of meandering around Market Square. On a shopping day, however, you would feel guilty if you went to a formal sit-down restaurant, had a Caesar Salad followed by a mousse for an extortionate £11.95, only succeeding in squandering your valuable purchasing minutes.

Not yet wanting to admit my premature hunger to my better half, I secretly started flirting with eatery ideas inside my gastronomically scheming mind. The first question, every time, was inevitably: “Is today a Boots Meal Deal day?” Less than three British pounds for a fine array of tasty packaged goods, both at the health-conscious and the artery-clogging end of the spectrum. I must admit, I do really find a guilty pleasure in seeing how much money I can save, and often end up buying the Crayfish and Rocket Wholemeal Sandwich, despite the fact I don’t like crayfish or rocket. On this particular occasion, the Boots option was dismissed as it was inconsolably cold outside, and such meals must inescapably be consumed al fresco.

After toying with a plethora of options, I eventually plucked up to courage to come clean regarding my ever-increasing hunger, and ask for a second opinion. Heated debate ensued. Discarded options included picnics, paninis and pasties; leaving us with only one alternative–the humble potato. I was reliably informed, in a somewhat grand-maternal way, that nothing warms me up like a good jacket potato. Tatties it was then, and for the sake of alliteration we chose the one on Trinity Street.

The choice once inside was mesmerising–I had to take the menu and sit down. The idea of ordering on the spot was bloodcurdling. Tatties, as the name would suggest, prides itself on high quality jacket potatoes, and recommend the jacket with their homemade chilli con carne. The menu said it was good, so I went for it, with some grated cheddar thrown in for good measure. Having lectured me mercilessly on the benefits of hot potato consumption, my girlfriend hypocritically went back on her word, and opted for the soup of the day: tomato and basil.

Both meals were really fine. The soup was thick, hearty and had a little chilli kick, which went down very well. The accompanying bread was crusty and warm. My jacket potato was sizeable and the chilli con carne really meaty with a comfortable, yet tasty amount of spice. There could have been a little more cheese. One thing about Tatties is that you do pay a surprising amount for a light lunch. Expect to pay well in excess of £4/5, especially if you opt for the more salubrious jacket, which for a potato is quite steep. Saying that, how often do you get a sit-down lunch for less than a fiver? On a wintry day, it was quick, filling, easy and warm. Perfect for a half-hour break from hardcore retail therapy. You never know, half an hour later I might be hungry again!