Archive review: the Aviator is now closed. The Aviator opened in summer 2005, publicised with a full page advert in the County Press. The...

Archive review: the Aviator is now closed.

The Aviator opened in summer 2005, publicised with a full page advert in the County Press. The ad showed a lovely clean restaurant with 1930’s style aero-related artefacts which caught the attention of Matt and Cat.

The ad was accurate; there is plenty of historical aeronautica. The establishment feels like a social club; one large rectangular room with a spacious bar, including a pool table and fruit machines. However, unlike other clubs, there are spectacular views across the airfield and surrounding countryside; planes were coming and going all the time. On this lunchtime we were serenaded by a jazz trio, who, mercifully, managed to avoid doing any Christmas numbers.

After a long wait for food (it was Christmas Eve!) Cat was disappointed to find that the pasta in the char-grilled vegetables and goat’s cheese penne was undercooked. Not al dente as optimistically advised by the waitress but resistant. However, amends were soon made with a complimentary bowl of chips. The pasta sauce itself was delicious with generous chunks of aubergine, courgette and lashings of goat’s cheese. Matt’s ‘Aviator’ burger was very good – adorned with cheese and fresh bacon. Although the chips were cold, they were soon replaced with another free bowl. The staff were friendly and accepted our comments about the food with good grace.

A major plus point for the Aviator is its no smoking policy throughout – smokers have to stand outside on the vast terrace. Other high points – the toilets were spacious, very clean and well presented and there is plenty of parking. The Aviator is obviously trying very hard to shed its airport cafe heritage and take on a stylish, 1930s style image. If you like watching planes, why not go and see how they are doing?

Edit 31/12/07: the Aviator has burnt down in a disastrous fire. No more food there for now, sadly.