Dining Out: Stephen Joseph Theatre Bistro - Applause please for theatre’s restaurant

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There are productions of a different kind being played out at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.

They are not on the main stage or in the studio – but in the Bistro and tasty they are too.

The bistro is a charitable venture brought to you by the Beach – a social enterprise project established by Yorkshire Coast Homes.

A social enterprise is a business that trades for social and/or environmental purposes.

Its aims include providing education and training for young people in particular and giving them work experience.

All that is rather a mouthful – but it needs to be pointed out.

The restaurant is not run by the theatre – this does not mean, however, that the standard is anything less than first rate.

The menu choice is small – to give the chef a chance to serve all pre-theatre diners and the diners chance to choose and eat their meals.

The menu changes every few months – I know because I have eaten there twice in less than two months.

One the second occasion the preview courses – or starters – were chicken and a green peppercorn terrine with tomato chutney, prawn cocktail and a Caesar salad (all £4).

I went for the salad which was fresh and tasty with crispy croutons. My companion opted for the prawn cocktail – a retro dish which remains a firm favourite. The first time I dined at the bistro I had melon and parma ham which was also delicious.

The centrepiece - main courses – were breast of chicken filled with mozzarella wrapped in Parma ham served on a tomato coulis, dauphinoise potatoes and broccoli; supreme of salmon on a butternut squash and courgette ragout with watercress cream and spicy chilli penne pasta with roasted mediterranean vegetables and parmesan.

All main courses cost £12.95.

My salmon dish was perfect – a healthy portion of fish, served on sweet butternut squash. There was plenty of watercress cream, too.

On my first visit I had pork tenderloin with apple mash and french beans.

Shirley’s pasta dish was rich and spicy and, again, there was plenty of it.

We debated about sharing a dessert but after being given plenty of time between the main course and the “ending” decided on one each.

The plum and almond tart with custard was delicious - sweet and tangy.

The raspberry pavlova, piled high with fruit and cream, was a layered creation which was devoured with delight. All desserts cost £3.

We opted to just dine on this occasion, but on my first visit I enjoyed a pre-theatre three-course meal. The pre-show dinner menu is served from 4.30pm so there is plenty of time to enjoy it before curtain up. There are few better settings than the 1930s environment of the theatre and if you are lucky enough to get a window seat then you can watch the world go by.

Once you have finished eating you can then move across to the bar and chat the rest of the night away.The bistro bill – including two glasses of wine and a coffee – came to a few pence under £50 which is great value for a three-course meal for two people.

Score: 8 out of 10