On the weekend my family and I celebrated my dad's birthday from the previous week by going to Côte in my home town. 

There can often be a stigma around going to chain restaurants, but I think they're great, the food is 9 times out of 10 actually really good, it's well-priced (in this day and age) and your expectations are managed if not exceeded. What's not to like?

Côte has unintentionally become one of our family favourites, having eaten at one of their restaurants or another a number of times over the last couple of years. And that includes being booked in for the trial run of the Côte in my home town, just before opening night, where we only had to pay for a bottle of wine and teas and coffees - pretty good I think.

Although it's a chain, whichever 'branch' I've been to, has always provided a warm and welcoming atmosphere, the staff are always friendly, helpful and professional and the food has always been really delicious. I'd say Côte is certainly on the higher end of the scale in the chain restaurant league, and they have never failed to disappoint. On Saturday night we barely had to wait for our food at all during our visit on Saturday night, but equally didn't feel rushed at all.

The menu really has so many options, and I often find myself struggling to choose, which is always a good sign in my opinion.

On Saturday I decided to start with a starter that was on the specials menu, Scallops with bacon lardons, pea shoots with a pea purée - a very fresh way to start the meal. The scallops were cooked to perfection, and were complimented perfectly by the crispy, smokey bacon lardons.

For my main I inadvertently chose a second seafood dish, but hey, there ain't no rules to abide by here. Despite offering French cuisine, I went for seafood linguine, which was light as well as super filling with LOADS of seafood. Sometimes at a restaurant you'll find that there's either not enough mussels or squid and just loads of prawns, but in all honestly, there was enough of each element in that dish - thoroughly enjoyed. To balance all of the carboy-goodness from my main, I chose a tomato and basil side salad, topped with shallots and I think a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar and it was truly divine and broke up the main nicely.

Despite being quite full, every single one of us opted for a dessert, it would be rude not to after all. I decided to go for something light (after all of the pasta I had eaten) and went for the frozen summer berries with white chocolate sauce. So simple, so tasty. Pouring the sauce over the frozen berries softened them ever so slightly but when eating, it still felt like a berry ice cream/sorbet. I have fallen in love with this dessert and cannot wait to recreate it at home. 

I'll be honest, it does feel slightly contrived writing a review on a chain restaurant, but the food was just too delicious not to mention. We had a lovely time chatting, eating great food and celebrating my dad's birthday - what more could you want?

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