What the Snail Box has, though, is what many other restaurants have not: a special kind of atmosphere, a familiarity and a warmth that is easy to manufacture but impossible to fake. The truth is, there’s nothing fancy about this place — you can roll up in your best threads or in the jumper and jeans you’ve worn all day, and still feel good about your position at the dinner table. No one is going to look at you because they’re too busy eating their food. No one is going to comment about your lack of a smart jacket because they’re too busy wallowing in the buzz of contentment.
The food? Contrary to what you may have presumed by the preceding few paragraphs, the food isn’t secondary. It is superb.
We shared a starter of Thai Beef salad, which features layers of tender meat on a crisp salad mix. For mains, we went for fillet steak (medium-rare) and prawn stir-fry. One of the proper foodie reasons we’ve been here so often is because of the mouth-watering steaks, which are always cooked exactly the way we ask for, and which are garlanded with a skewer of sautéed onions and mushrooms, as well as a side order of fries or salad. The stir-fry, too, is a house speciality, served sizzling and smoking hot and accompanied by rice or noodles. Desserts are usually a no-no, due to the amount of food served for the main course, but tonight we shared a Snailbox Fruit Ice Cream, which is akin to a Knickerbocker Glory with fragrant, fruity knobs on. To wash it down, we plumped for a Chilean Merlot (San Elias, 2012), which was — cease and desist, wine snobs! — just right.
The end result? A car journey home with no complaints. Again.