Secret Diner Review: Good Friends Bistro & Deli, Grafton Underwood
Published on August 8, 2014
By Sophie Patel
Thinking about it, my most fondest memories with friends centre around… surprise, surprise – food.
Food in various guises, like the first time I ate meat after serving a six-year vegetarian sentence – egged on (they would say “supported”) by my unruly housemates chanting in my ears. Or that time I was so exhausted and my friends treated me to a slap-up Chinese takeaway… only for me to fall asleep head first in my chow mein. The Good Friends Bistro & Deli has hit the nail on the head with this adventure: good food, good stories, good wine, good service, cementing friendships for years to come.
Outrageously pleasant, Good Friends Bistro resides in a Grade II listed old post office in Grafton Underwood. It’s the kind of village that always seems to be sunny and actually increases your intelligence on every visit (via the word of the day sign, FYI today’s was ‘fantod’, meaning fussy person – they know me well!)
I’ve been a few times now, and I will return purely because the owners are welcoming, passionate and lovely people. They have handpicked all the ingredients and conceived the whole menu lovingly and with attention to detail. I always think that a personal recommendation goes a long way and these guys have obviously tried and tested everything on the menu to ensure their customers are treated, delighted and enchanted by the humble offerings. It’s like having beautiful home-cooked dinners… if your parents were elegantly Mediterranean and stylishly sophisticated.
I had the Deli Meat Platter, which gives you a selection of Serrano ham, Napoli Salami and chorizo served with marinated olives, quince relish and a choice of two cheeses – that’s right, there is a separate cheese menu for all you cheese aficionados. I would recommend speaking to the staff about what you like and they always come up trumps.
While enthusiastically delivering a week’s worth of updates to Rob, he wiped his platter clean, smacked his lips and nodded in agreement to my obviously entertaining stories. This my friend, is the clean plate star rating – the more of the plate you can see after the meal, the higher the prestige.
Taking full ownership of the bread basket, he proceeded to summon over the waiter and request some balsamic vinegar. “Yes, of course you can have some balsamic vinegar, but which one would you like.” After reeling off a few varieties, Rob decided to try the pomegranate. “I think you should try the fig and date,” came the reply, and a bowl came back for us to try. It’s these recommendations and guidance we need in life; if it was left to Rob he would still be putting milk into his spag bol.
The food is simple and delicious, the desserts are indulgent and rich, and the atmosphere is friendly and not too ‘lets-whisper-because-the-ambience-is-stuffy.’ After a classic case of exit through the gift shop (cue a fig and date balsamic vinegar purchase), The Good Friends Bistro was given a very high clean plate star rating.