“ Address: Derwent Drive / Derwent Howe / Derwent Howe Ind Est / Workington / Cumbria / CA14 3YW / Telephone Number: 01900 63397 „
---To be DINKY! ---
Hubby and I are what people call DINKY (for those who don't know that means "Dual Income No Kids Yet"), and we enjoy being able to enjoy the finer things in life such building up a ridiculously large DVD collection and eating out.
While we love cooking and hubby is extremely good, sometimes it's nice not to have to bother (especially with the washing up - our kitchen's not big enough for a dishwasher), and we have got into the habit lately of eating at our local restaurant "Caspian Flame Grill" (or Caspians as we call it) most weeks on a Wednesday evening (that mid-week feeling of not being bothered to do anything). Although we had been to Caspians before (we've taken both sets of parents and various friends who have come up to stay), it's only recently that we've started eating there on a regular basis. This has the advantage that we have tried the majority of the options on the menu, so I feel well qualified to write a review.
The information on the Internet about eating out in Workington is pretty much non-existent, so I hope that this review is the start of getting eating out in Workington onto the web!
Some might think it's a bit boring to go to the same place week after week, but I am a creature of habit and like a routine - keeps me mentally stable (or I like to think so anyway)! Besides, when you've found something good why not stick with it?!
---So....where is Caspians and how do I get there? ---
Caspians is on Derwent Drive in Workington, opposite the Derwent Howe industrial estate which is the other side of the road and down a bit. There's a load of buildings on the Industrial estate (such as the Royal Mail depot, and a bowling alley). If you don't know where Workington is, it's on the West Coast of Cumbria - it's 8 ½ miles from Whitehaven, 21 miles from Keswick, 38 miles from Penrith.
It's nice and easy for us to get there as it's a 5-10 minute walk from home - even if it's raining we'll walk, as we like to have a drink. If you happen to be coming to Workington on the train it's dead easy to get there - come out of the station, take the first left, over the viaduct, walk along the road (well, the pavement - you know what I mean!) and round the bend passed the driving test centre (which brings back many unhappy memories for me), and take the second left and Caspians is there on the right hand side. Even I (and I am terrible with directions) couldn't get lost.
You're probably driving though. If so, watch out for the boy racers in their hyped up 1.1litre engine Citroen Saxos or other small car with tinted windows and one of those silly-looking exhaust pipes which I think that they think makes them look really cool (or whatever the word for cool is these days!) It seems that on an evening (certainly on a Wednesday evening) in Workington the young people all go out for a trip in their cars - when I was that age cars were generally vehicles for other people to use while driving me to and from the pub, but it seems that times have changed and now it is entertainment in itself going for a drive round Workington and revving engines as much as possible. That said, I am an Essex girl, so perhaps the Cumbrian way has always been a bit different :o)
Anyway.....now you're aware of the possible hazards whilst driving to Caspians I can attempt to tell you how to get there - as I said, I'm not much good with directions. Actually now I come to it, I don't think I can....but I can tell you that the postcode is CA14 3YW, and you can get accurate directions from RAC. Phew, now that's over!
--- Parking ---
There is plenty of parking for customers.
---Inside Caspians ---
Caspians is a Greek/Turkish restaurant, and the whole eating experience reflects this, from the carafes of wine (rather than bottles) to the lovely bread which comes before every meal. Inside there are a lot of tables, but this reflects how popular a place it is for eating. It is never empty, and is very popular with the locals of Workington. Most times we go there seems to be a party, sometimes for children, sometimes for adults. We generally end up singing "Happy Birthday" along with everyone - normally I'd feel really uncomfortable doing that, but in Caspians I feel relaxed. The atmosphere is always very pleasant.
To be honest I don't really pay much attention to the décor, there's some chandelier type things I think - it's terrible actually, I'm in there week after week - my memory really is terrible, even though the last few occasions I have been knowing that I was going to write a review. What I think is important is that it's always clean, the toilets are fine, and the staff are always friendly and accommodating. And on to the most important thing, the food.....
--- The Menu ---
The menu also doubles up as the placemat - perhaps a bit tacky, but practical. On one side you have the starters and main courses, and on the other side is the pizza menu. The drinks and dessert menus are separate.
I'm not going to list all the starters - but to give an idea, there are lots of salads (the walnut and mussel salad is particularly nice), mini kebabs, chicken wings, ribs, and melon. To give an idea of price, the Corn on the Cob is £2.80, Garlic Mushrooms are £3.30, and mini mixed kebab is £5.50.
The portions are large. I often go for the corn on the cob which is barbequed (always piping hot), because I know that that isn't so large so I'll still be able to finish my main course!
---Main courses ---
Main courses range in price from a burger at £3.60, to a 28oz rump steak for £19. So, there's something there to suit every wallet and appetite! I have never ordered a 28oz steak as the 14oz is quite enough for me! To give a further idea of prices, the Lasagne is £8, Tuna and Swordfish steaks are £10 (I can't name the price of everything as my memory is terrible). There are various other lovely options - minted rack of lamb, special Caspian kebab (the meat is just so succulent), and Chicken Caspa which comes with various toppings such as bolognaise or prawns. Basically it is like a pizza except the base is a butterflied chicken breast rather than pizza dough!
All main courses come with either rice, fries, or jacket potato. They come with salad and veg (sweetcorn and peas). There are side dishes such as onion rings (£1) and tomatoes £1), extra portion of chips £1), and sauces for steaks (also £1!).
Pizzas come in two sizes. A 9inch will cost you approximately £6 (depending on topping) and a 12inch approximately £7.50. I haven't had pizzas that much, but the calzone is very nice! There are a lot of different pizzas to choose from!
Caspians is a fairly meat-orientated restaurant, and I think vegetarians would probably get bored if they ate there every week. I have to admit that the Vegetable Mossaka is absolutely fantastic (as good as the meat version) and I'm sure the vegetarian lasagne is as well. Of course there are also a number of vegetarian pizzas to choose from as well.
--- Kids ---
The children's menu is £5 - this includes main course, dessert (ice-cream) and a soft drink. The choice of main course is the usual pizza, burger, chicken nuggets etc. However, I'm sure that if your child is more adventurous the staff would be happy to accommodate. We have been there a number of times when a child has been having a birthday party there, and they always seem happy.
--- Desserts ---
On one occasion hubby and I were pushing the boat out (celebrating something I think) and went for the chocolate fudge cake dessert. I have to say that while it was certainly edible, it really wasn't much to shout about - in fact it was a bit dry. There are also a selection of ice-creams - these are of the pre-bought variety (i.e. Caspians don't make them). Desserts are in the £3 to £6 region. Not being a dessert lover none of this really bothers me, and I am always so full up from the starter and main course anyway!
--- Drinks & Cocktails ---
Hubby and I generally go for a litre of house wine - the carafe costs £11.50. You can decide to get a ½ litre which is (I think) £6. There are other wines, but as the house wine is so nice, we haven't tried anything else. They do have lots of different spirits available and a selection of cocktails which cost about £5 - I'll sometimes have one of these instead of a dessert, while hubby has a coffee.
--- Tipping ---
I have to say I don't really do tipping, and it certainly isn't expected of you in Caspians. Sometimes we will tip (normally on a weekend), but otherwise don't really. The staff are all excellent, and very efficient (service is a bit slower on weekends, but that is a good thing if you're making an evening of it) so perhaps we should always tip, but then we do spend a lot in there as it is!
Caspians does takeaway, and we often see the Caspians van around Workington. We have never had a takeaway from Caspians as there's another place we go to for takeaway kebabs, Caspian fried chicken and pizzas etc. Unfortunately it is only the pizza, burgers and kebabs (etc) you can get as a takeaway. Basically you can't phone from home and get the minted rack of lamb delivered!
--- A meal at Caspians - 25th July 2007 ---
Hubby, his friend and I walked up to Caspians and got there just after 6:30pm. On arrival we were shown to our table, and ordered drinks.
After perusing the menu (which I pretty much know off by heart anyway) I thought I'd go for something I hadn't had before (since we have been there so much, it's hard to go for something different). I went for the Spaghetti Bolognaise as a starter (cost £4.30), followed by a Chicken Burger. Hubby chose the soup of the day (vegetable) followed by Swordfish steak with jacket potato. Our friend went for the mini mixed kebab followed by lasagne.
As usual the baguette type bread was brought out with little portions of Lurpak. This bread really is too good to resist - they allow roughly 4 pieces per person......if they gave you anymore you'd probably want to just sit and eat it all night - well, I would anyway!
Our carafe of red wine was brought out, and hubby and I made a start on it while nibbling on the bread. Our friend was restrained and had a Diet Coke. The house red is rich and quite fruity. It really is very nice, and the house white is as well. We have never had anything other than the house wine as it is so good!
The portion of spaghetti bolognaise was big for a starter, and very filling. It had a lovely flavour, and I was given Parmesan cheese on the side. I don't think I've ever had this as a starter before anywhere, as it is so filling - but since I was going for a burger as my main course I thought 'what the hell!" The chicken burger was a pretty standard chicken burger with salad and mayonnaise, and the chips were nice (I went for the slightly larger chips than the usual fries I have had at other times in Caspians). Although I wouldn't usually have a burger in a restaurant (would save that for a McDonalds visit), it was very tasty, and at £3.60 it really was excellent value - better than McDonalds!
I cleaned my plate and hubby gave me a small bit of his fish to taste. I have had the swordfish before, but not for a while. It was perhaps a bit dry on its own (hubby found it salty), but the sauce with it made all the difference. Having not had swordfish anywhere else, I have nothing to compare it to! Our friend didn't make it through his lasagne; he was stuffed (the mini mixed kebab starter really isn't so mini!) I restrained myself from finishing his (I was already full after all), but it was hard as I had the lasagne last the week before and remembered just how lovely it was. It's quite a wet lasagne which is not like one I'd make myself, but it does make a nice chance, and good to dip the chips in. Like the bolognaise, the flavour is excellent.....I'm afraid I have trouble describing flavours....er...meaty?
As ever we were full and didn't want a dessert. Our friend was going home, so wanted to make a move. We got the bill (£47.60), paid, and left at about 7:50pm.
--- Booking Information ---
There was one occasion when hubby and I turned up at 7:30pm on a Saturday night, but there were no tables available. We managed to book a table for 8:30pm and went home in the meantime. Although it is not necessary to book in the week, I think it would be advisable if you are a party of more than 6. On a Friday or Saturday night I would advise booking anyway to avoid disappointment.
Call: 01900 63397 (Yes that is right, many numbers in the area only have five digits)
--- Final Note ---
Caspians isn't gourmet cuisine (whatever that is), but it is good quality and tasty food at a reasonable price. Hubby and I have spent many happy hours there, and intend to spend many more there. I really cannot fault anything at all.
The chances are that you're reading this review either because you're a DooYoo member, or more likely because you're on the Internet searching for places to eat in Workington. I hope my review has been useful, and that if you are travelling around the area (or have just moved into the area) that you will give Caspians a go. And, if it's a Wednesday night you might well see me there!
Previously published on Ciao.