Having a spot of lunch is not the most common evening ritual.
But sandwiches, wraps and jacket potatoes were all on the menu at casual dining restaurant, the Blue Rooms, which has extended its daytime eating hours in its Byram Arcade premises to 9pm Wednesday to Saturday.
I took seven friends on a girls’ night out to see if the Blue Rooms cut the mustard.
The cafe bar, which opens at 9am during the week, began staying open late last October.
It came on the back of a successful series of gigs held in the main arcade area outside Blue Rooms, which hosted and provided drinks for the events.
For those who have not been before, getting to Blue Rooms once the arcade has closed is quite a puzzle.
If you arrive at the front entrance to the arcade like we did, you would be forgiven for thinking the staff had done a runner.
Shutters were down and there were no visible signs to point people to the alternative entrance.
Walk around the arcade onto Station Street and you will find a passage on the corner that leads straight onto the veranda of the cafe. If you accidentally go down the stairs, you’ll end up dancing the night away with students at Camel Club instead.
Our group of eight had no problem fitting into the deceivingly large and split level restaurant.
We did book by phone a few days earlier, but rang to increase the numbers on the day, which was no problem.
Our first impression was a warm light that welcomed us in from the chilly February night.
Inside was a rustic delight of cosy wooden tables and chairs, old style wall signs, fireplaces and even antique books.
Disabled seating is available on the ground-floor of the Blue Rooms, with a toilet located outside the cafe in the arcade.
The menu is on a simple, double-sided plastic backed sheet.
It had the look of a lunch menu, as you can eat everything on it throughout the day too.
The dedication of a third of the menu to Britain’s favourite lunchtime snack, the sarnie, makes Blue Rooms the place to be for those who would happily dine on one at every meal time.
A large part embraces the gourmet kind, with fillings such as rump steak, Mediterranean vegetables and halloumi and chicken and chorizo, all served on toasted ciabattas and with a serving of side salad.
Burgers, which come with chips and salad, are another big feature, alongside hot and cold salads and sides like garlic bread and olives.
A few hot dinner specialities that change daily were written on the board.
On offer when we went was gammon and chips, steak or vegan thai curry with rice.
Both alcohol and tea drinkers were well catered for, with the selection including wine, spirits, ales, fresh juices, tea and coffee and even hot chocolate.
Now onto the food. Three burgers, a wrap, a fish platter and three vegan thai curries were brought to us quite close together, with the exception of the wrap, which arrived a little later.
To say many of the menu items had a ring of lunch about them, the ample portions were definitely designed for the hungry end-of-day diner.
Bright salads and home-cooked chips accompanied the burgers, while the vegan curries came with optional prawn crackers.
My friend Soon’s fish platter was easily the most show-stopping – a mountain of prawns, smoked salmon and mackerel on a wooden board with a large cup full of dressed salad and thick slices of wholegrain bread.
“The prawns were a bit dry but the rest was juicy,” she said.
Not surprisingly, a doggy bag was needed to finish off the feat at lunch the next day.
Ania plumped for the locally-reared beef burger with salami and herby cream cheese.
“The burger and chips taste good, but it’s a shame that it was served in a plain white bread roll and not something a bit more exciting,” she said.
Faye’s vegetarian burger came with falafel and a side of halloumi, which she also enjoyed.
“The falafel was a bit dry though,” she added.
Rosy’s vegan wrap was, plainly, just huge.
Inside was lots of falafel and hummus, which she substituted for the standard mint yogurt sauce.
Salad was also on the side, as was, bizarrely, coleslaw, which was not vegan.
The flavours made it a success but for Rosy, the falafel was “too stodgy.”
Creamy and warming – that was my verdict of the Thai curries.
I think it could have been improved with a bit more spice, but it would be perfect for those with a more sensitive tongue and the mix of vegetables complimented one another.
The final verdict was that for a characterful, good value but low-key meal with simple home-cooked food, it does the trick.
I must admit though, I still can’t imagine who would head out on an evening to go there just to order a cold sandwich or a jacket potato.
A few more options for vegans that provide a good alternative to the ubiquitous falafel would also go down a treat. We were told that other items could be veganised, but I would prefer to see options on the menu, rather than leave it to the diner to come up with an idea.