Slap bang in the middle of Abingdon, Pablo's Lounge is an eatery perfect placed to attract both shoppers and visitors to the newly opened Abbey Cinema (a fabulous addition to the market town). Offering mouth-watering brunch, lunch and dinner as well as a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, Pablo's is a great place to quench your hunger.
Arriving for a chilled Sunday lunch, we were taken with the effort that Pablo's has made to give itself an independent voice. Part of the extensive Lounge chain, the venue still feels local and likeable, with a book case for book swaps, a corner filled with children's toys and a board for local events. These little touches immediately made us feel comfortable and eager to try the food on offer.
Nestling into a table by the window (my daughter is a keen people watcher) we perused the menu. My partner went for tapas, siding with teriyaki chicken, pulled pork and hummus, while I went for the mac and cheese with pulled pork. My daughter's choice, as it often is, was sausage and mash. Food ordered, we were able to bask in the ambience, perfect for a Sunday, with a fabulous soundtrack playing the likes of Paolo Nutini, Elvis Presley, New Radicals and Chvrches.
Our food arrived speedily and proved mostly a hit. Our toddler wolfed down her food, and the sausages I snuck a taste of were tempting treats. Another great addition for children is an accompanying pot of hummus, bread sticks and carrots, which arrived before our food and was perfectly placed to placate our daughter's hunger. My mac and cheese was scrumptious, perfect for a lazy Sunday. The meal came out piping hot, was freshly made with a flavoursome sauce. The only letdown was the tapas. While the hummus was plentiful and the teriyaki chicken complemented it perfectly, the pulled pork proved a weak link with the flavour not working. A disappointment offset by the fries and haloumi sticks ordered as sides, which were exquisite.
On to deserts and again it felt like a meal of two halves. I went for the banana cheesecake, an enticingly light desert with fresh deserts and a salted caramel sauce that managed to not throw the entire course off balance. My partner went for churros, which were again a let-down. They were sadly overcooked and lacked sugar on top, making them too crunchy and a bit bland of taste. As much as I like Pablo's, there are elements of its menu that work better than others.
But what I can't deny is the overall quality of our time at Pablo's. The restaurant is dog- and family-friendly and feels like everyone is welcome, which is enhanced by a warm, helpful staff. While some of the culinary choices didn't work for us I would still return to Pablo's to explore their menu further. Where the food worked, it was the perfect kind of comfort food for a chilled out Sunday lunch.