Looking for somewhere for lunch after a morning tour of Mechelen with a group of fifteen people, I selected the Carlton from the many establishments facing onto the main square on the basis of its smart appearance, varied menu (including local speciality Mechelse koekoek and local Carolus beer), and competent response to my first enquiry coming in off the street.
In the event it proved a good choice, avoiding many of the hassles which sometimes arise when arranging a meal for a group - there was a free choice from the varied menu, no attempt to impose a fixed three course menu (a problem if you have vegetarians or gluten allergy sufferers), flexible on numbers up to the last moment, and at the end of the meal each participant was able to pay for their individual consumption, saving the huge headache for the treasurer of trying to split up one large bill and finding change.
Inevitably we were allocated tables at the back of the restaurant, disappointing if it had been a warm sunny day, when people would have wanted to eat outside, but in the event it was cold and grey. Three members were in a hurry to leave, and asked for and got their meal very quickly. The others had to wait somewhat longer, but when the food came, everyone's meal was hot, tasty and perfectly presented.
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