Once upon a time, if we were staying with my granny in Lewes, a huge treat would be going to lunch at Bill’s. Bill’s, back then, was an independent cafe/veg shop where you sat on wooden benches surrounded by an overflowing assortment of locally grown veg and fruit and tucked into home made, healthy food. Bill’s used to be THE spot in Lewes to be seen at, but now, having been brought out, Bill’s is pretty much everywhere. Yet somehow, despite there being over 70 Bill’s branches, each Bill’s feels exactly the same. Same ethos, same interior decor, same menu, same fresh food, same atmosphere…. a blessing and a curse, for as great as it is knowing what to expect when you sit down, it doesn’t necessarily make for the most exciting meal out.
That said, you can’t really go wrong with Bill’s, it’s a true crowd pleaser and one I always suggest if I’m going to be eating at a high street chain. I’ve never heard anyone say their not a fan and it definitely stands out from the rest of the chains in terms of quality of food, with properly home-made nosh.
I went back to Lewes the other weekend and of course headed straight to Bill’s for breakfast.
Gone were the vegetables stalls to be replaced by seating tables and all sorts of colourful tins filled with homemade produce. I have to say that although there is something for everyone’s taste buds and there are gluten-free menus available, the dairy free options are very limited, particularly for breakfast.
I had the porridge which was good, perfect for a cold February morning with a hearty portion size – I just felt that they should provide a dairy free milk option which wouldn’t be that inconvenient if they are making the porridge there and then on site.
The eggs florentine went down a treat, with perfect hollandaise sauce smeared all over the eggs.
The avocado on toast with a poached egg – with an added side of bacon- got the thumbs up; I liked the quirky touch of adding a side of lime instead of lemon and it really lifted the dish.
I particularly rate Bill’s for lunch or for a causal, quick, not too expensive supper and there are plenty of handy Bill’s located near theatres/tourist attractions. Bill’s really come into their own here with all sorts of healthy options from soups and salads to fresh fish and vegetable mains.
Naturally all to be washed down with freshly made cocktails….
And wine; I mean if the wine is served in an olive tin surely then it’s acceptable for lunch?
The spinach and bacon salad is served rather oddly in a bowl…on a plate…so take your pick as to which dish you wish to eat off! Either way, you won’t be disappointed with the perfectly ripe avocado melting into the crispy bacon.
I tried the new mezze board recently which was great although the combination of falafels and hummus aka chickpea/legume overload did set off my IBS so worth bearing in mind if you suffer from this. The board typically comes with bread, but my request for the bread to be swapped for crudités was done without a fuss which always make a meal much more pleasant- thank you Bill’s!
This is a great board to order in a group as there is something for everyone; I didn’t have the halloumi croquettes but they got the thumbs up as did all of the dips, my favourite being the baba ganoush. The warm olives take a bit of getting used to and contain stones, always problematic when your trying to eat vaguely attractively. If you are having the board as a light lunch/early supper for one, I found that the board needed a bit of greenery so I’d recommend getting a small house salad on the side.
The homemade fish cakes are excellent. If I made these at home, I would be damn proud. Although they are a starter option, with a side of sweet potato fries they are perfectly filling and the perfect option for a cold evening.
Although I would rather eat at an independent restaurant sometimes circumstances dictact otherwise, and with an increasing number of high street chains compromising on the quality/taste of their dishes, I always choose Bill’s for a reasonably priced meal, with dishes that can be tweaked according to allergies. Find your nearest Bill’s here and let me know what you think of the chain!