I’m sure I’ve said it before but restaurant openings in Peterborough are like buses (the Stagecoach number 1 to be precise). ? After a spell of not a great deal happening in the Peterborough restaurant scene we get half a dozen new venues slapped onto our plate for us to feast upon.

The one that’s caught my attention the most is the new Argo Lounge restaurant (officially cafe/bar), part of the Loungers chain. Despite having almost 50 “Lounges” to their name, they’re relatively unknown in this part of the country however you might be more familiar with their sister chain of Cosy Club restaurants, with the Cosy Club in Stamford being a popular destination for Peterborough diners looking for a change from the norm.

LO_Loungers[1]Billed as a home-from-home the restaurants are really going for a family-friendly experience. With a selection of board games, daily newspapers and a free neighbourhood book swap clearly this is a place where you won’t be rushed and can take in the views of Cathedral Square.

That’s right, Argo Lounge has snapped up a prime unit on Cathedral Square (technically 5-7 Bridge Street but if you lean out of the door you’re virtually in Cathedral Square) taking over the units previously occupied by NatWest and Barista cafe. And as a tasty early Christmas present, Argo opens on December 17th.? That’s three weeks away from the time of writing this!

To suggest that Lounges are eccentric is saying the least. ? If the interior of Argo ends up like other restaurants in the Loungers chain then we can expect an overwhelming but oddly welcoming assortment of furniture, lighting, wall decorations and art… I’m sure there’s a method to the madness!

The menu certainly ticks all the boxes for me and I’m glad to see not a pizza in sight (Peterborough really doesn’t need any more pizza restaurants…). Instead we have a menu that will see you comfortably from breakfast through to your evening meal (dinner? tea? who cares). From a humble bacon butty or porridge in the morning, a cheeky wink at the sandwiches for lunch followed by tapas, burgers, the specials board or something from the doesn’t-fit-into-a-category “Loungers” dishes for tea, no-one will think any less of you if you pay several visits to Argo throughout the day.

Whatever the age range of your dining party you’ll find something for everyone too. No more of those awkward conversations with Auntie Maud where you explain “they only do chicken” and “no it doesn’t all have that piri piri sauce on it”.

Those of you blessed with eagle-eyes (or better still, eyes of the hawk) will spot I mentioned burgers. Could we soon be eating Peterborough’s best burger?? Whilst Loungers probably wouldn’t call themselves a burger chain it might be the closest thing we have to a decent range of gourmet burgers in the city centre…

…And not only burgers, but tapas too!? Now those of us with memories of sitting outside an Andalusian cafe as the day turns to evening turns to night can finally get our fix of tapas right in the middle of Peterborough.

All is not rosy with Argo Lounge however.

All is not rosy with Argo Lounge however. Reading between the lines however (and this is a pet peeve of mine) is that food needs to be ordered at the bar. I hope this isn’t the case as it’s often awkward when trying to get a bite to eat when dining solo or with a little one in tow. You spot the table you want but do you claim it with a jacket and bag, risk leaving it unattended whilst you order your food, or do you queue with bags, push chair and a screaming child whilst waiting to order your Rib Tickler burger (and something from the Little Loungers menu) only to find that the table you were after has now been nabbed. Come on, let’s see some table service and leave counter ordering to the fast food outlets!

Counter service aside, if the Stamford Cosy Club is anything to go by, Argo Lounge is going to be good. A casual dining experience that can be enjoyed by all the family. Time for the other chains to up their game!

For more up to date information on Argo Lounge visit their website

Main photo courtesy of Loungers @argolounge and shows an example of what Argo Lounge Peterborough may take design cues from.

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  1. a gang of eight of us went there for new years eve, first impressions weren’t great, we entered through the side door, only to be told that we “weren’t meant to use those doors” – there wasn’t a sign saying they weren’t in use!. We found the staff pretty non-coherent and a little overwhelmed with the number of customers and the bar staff seemed to be really good looking busy doing nothing, I had to ask to be served even though there were five bar staff behind the bar. The layout and decor is pretty nice, generic-chain interior deco but with some nice touches here and there. The food was nice, we all dived into tapas and chose everything off the menu as there were eight of us, ?10 for three dishes was reasonable. When ordering food customers were shouted at from across the bar to make their way to the til to place order. Table service was OK, the food came, we ate, the plates, dishes and empty glasses remained on the table for over an hour until we moved them onto another empty table. We would go back there, the atmosphere was good, food was nice, hopefully the staff learn how to be a little bit more professional and polite in 2015!

  2. I had a similar experience to Jim. When standing at the bar waiting to be served there were a few staff members stood around behind the bar but I seemed invisible to be served, and after a while I was told I had to go and stand next to the till if I wanted a drink!? We were also eating downstairs and I asked if I could have a jug of water with some glasses and was told to find a jug and get it myself! However they did eventually get it for me – too kind!
    Later I came back upstairs to order a cocktail pitcher and was told they would sent it to my table, but at this point I was not aware of the table numbering system and I wasn’t expecting to have it delivered when I’m already stood at the bar. They caused quite a fuss over this.
    Overall the Argo Lounge really felt like a generic franchise rather than the warm and friendly place it was attempting to be. I would go there again as overall it was OK but they really need to work on their customer service as currently it felt as if I was more of an inconvenience rather than a customer who they want to go out of their way to please/impress and make want to return.

  3. I agree with the other commenters, service is everything and it was somewhat lacking during our visit. Not to the extent of the other reviewers but ‘something’ was missing; a sense of urgency. The comments that ‘you have to stand near the till to order’ needs to be addressed. If your process suits you rather than the customer then the customer won’t feel that they are at the centre of the experience. You are there to service the customers’ basic needs as befits a cafe/restaurant/eating establishment – first and foremost. Give me every reason to come back an experience your excellent customer service…
    Food was really good – I had the large breakfast and was impressed with the quality and the value for money. I’ll go back and trust the customer focus has blossomed.

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