Bayley Lane

It was my birthday last week, and now that I am creeping ever closer to 30, I seem to celebrate it less and less. For once, I decided to make an effort to rally the troops into eating dinner with us. I settled on somewhere affordable for everyone, but with a more upmarket menu. I was recommended Bayley Lane well over 6 months ago, but only managed a stop off for cocktails back in April.

Situated in the heart of Coventry, right next door to the Cathedral Ruins, Bayley Lane is described as a kitchen and bar, focussing on fresh, quality ingredients in both their food and their cocktails. I have actually heard mixed reviews on the direction of the place since it initially opened its doors, and was surprised to hear that after looking to be a cool, sophisticated offering, along the lines of Purnell's Bistro in Birmingham, it has apparently managed to become a popular place for people to move on to later in the evening for DJ sets and drinks. I hate to sound like a square, but there are enough venues in the city to listen to drum and bass in, and not enough really good places to eat. I hope that Bayley Lane doesn't end up compromising itself and alienating those of us that are there for the grub.

Anyway, we were booked in for 7.30 on a Wednesday night, and the place was pretty empty on arrival. Our table wasn't quite ready, so we waited in the seating area for the others to arrive. Drinks didn't flow as quickly as we'd liked for the hottest day of the year so far, but the warm welcome and friendliness of the staff remedied any discontent.

The current menu is actually different to the one on their website, with a lot more options, including more decidedly pub-foody dishes. I imagine it has been adjusted over the passing months to be more extensive, and to cater to those with fussier and (sorry to sound like a TOTAL food dick) simpler palettes. The good thing, however, is that between us we ordered all sorts of starters and mains—from artisan bread and olives, to jalapeño poppers, and from burgers to swordfish—and they were all really good! I had slow roasted belly pork with dauphinoise potatoes and crispy kale. It's not much to look at in a photograph, but it was truly delicious, especially the sauce.

There was a good selection of popular flavours for dessert: lemon tiramisu, chocolate brownie, peanut butter and oreo cheesecake, and Mark ordered a knickerbocker glory. Aside from almost breaking my tooth on the peanut brittle on my cheesecake (one runs these risks with brittle), the desserts also went down well.

Overall, a very good meal for the price: charismatic staff, decent portions, lots of options, all cooked to a high standard. I have a small regret that I didn't eat there much sooner, but equally, I am anticipating us going back and ordering the Tomahawk (which wasn't on the old menu). Aged rib of beef on the bone with a dolcelatte sauce. You gotta!

Bayley Lane Kitchen & Cocktails, 24 Bayley Lane, Coventry

N.B. We booked and paid for dinner at Bayley Lane ourselves, and all opinions are our own.