The Mecca Bingo Club in Skimpot Road is re-positioning itself as a leisure destination, in addition to being a popular bingo venue, and so our intrepid reviewers Bev Creagh and Stewart Carr went along to suss out what’s on offer.
As general manager Nick Cook said: “People come to experience a night out so we’ve expanded the menu to include a ‘Something Special’ section with choices like salmon steak and Thai noodles. It also features premium cod - although there is a cheaper alternative on the regular menu.
“All our food is fresh cooked [from frozen] and the emphasis is on speedy service.”
CREAGH SAYS ... Stewart and I sampled a series of dishes from the new menu (it changes twice a year), starting with Cajun chicken nachos.
The portion is huge and good value at £3.95. It’s served with spicy tomato sauce, melted cheese and sour cream and was my favourite choice.
The chicken basket is also good value at £4.50 - containing their ‘hot ‘n’ kicking’ popcorn chicken, oniin rings, chips and creamy coleslaw.
I’m no a great fan of wraps - they’re far too stodgey and when they’re filled with deep fried southern fried chicken or scampi even more so.
The typical snacking and sandwich menu is well prepared and good value.
The salmon steak was full of bones (why not a fillet instead?) and the Thai noodles seemed to have barley floating in the coconut sauce.
I liked the risotto with butternut squash and goat’s cheese, accompanied by garlic dough balls, and the ‘Cod Father’ was delicious fish in a light batter., served with chips, peas and a pickled onion.
By the time we got to puds, we were both fairly full - but they’re popular with customers who suggested both the Cookie Tower and the Belgian Waffle Sundae on the new summer menu.
Undoubtedly value for money - but I’d have preferred a few.
CARR SAYS ... Bingo is a traditional pasttime and it seems fitting that a Bingo restaurant offers homely, familiar food on its menu.
And at the prices quoted – £3.95 for Cajun chicken nachos and a £4.50 chicken basket – you can’t go wrong. It’s glorious comfort food designed to fill you up in between lines, and a hungry student’s dream meal.
I loved spicy cajun chicken nachos, as well as all three of the hot wraps, which comprised of scampi, southern fried chicken or spicy vegetables. I have to say the latter was my favourite, a perfect mix of kidney beans and root vegetables spiced and fried.
And I do have to give a definite thumbs up to the cod and chips on the premium menu, aptly named ‘The Cod Father’.
In fact, if there’s one recurrent theme with this menu, it is that so many of the mains dishes come served with chips.
But it’s the exotic dishes on the menu where things go slightly awry. The Thai noodles served with salmon and coconut sauce sounded wonderful, but the noodles were more like over-cooked spagetti.
And not being a fan of goat cheese, I couldn’t stomach the butternut squash and goat’s cheese risotto – although I’ll happily admit that’s a matter of personal taste!
Things pick up again with the restaurant’s prized deserts – its ice cream sundaes were a delight and the cookie tower was scrumptious ... just don’t let the ice-cream melt under that hot cookie.
For more information about Luton’s Mecca Bingo visit here.