This week I decided to see what delicious morsels would tempt my taste buds closer to home and tried The Café at Energus, Lillyhall.

The Whitehaven News team is based in the Energus building, so it was not my first visit to this café, but it is a hidden gem which should be shared.

The public are welcome to eat at The Café, in addition to students and staff here, as long as they let reception know at the main entrance, and reception can point them in the right direction.

The Café is self service, with a large seating area for customers and offers different dishes daily, including vegetarian, meat and salad options. There is plenty of parking, with the main car park accessible from Blackwood Road.

Lunch choices on November 21 were: Chicken tikka skewers, served with rice, homemade onion bhaji and poppadom, £4.10; butternut squash and red lentil curry, served with homemade onion bhaji and poppadom, £3.60; festive baguette, on its own £3 or as a meal with chips, roast potatoes, can or water, £4.30; Chinese egg noodles, prawn crackers and fruit shoot, £2.55; Mexican bean and rice soup with a roll, £1.30. For sweet they had Mars bar cake, £1.

The menu is varied each day, but always has a vegetarian option, meat option, snack and salad bar.

I had the butternut squash and red lentil curry, with halloumi, which was served with a homemade onion bhaji and a poppadom, washed down with a latte coffee.

I know that curry’s can be quite subjective, and I do not like a bland curry at all, but this dish was perfectly spiced, it was delicious. The homemade bhaji was the tastiest I have ever had and the poppadom was fresh and crispy.

I was offered half rice and chips if I wanted, but chose rice and it really was a lovely lunch. I did not have any room for the Mars bar cake, but it is certainly on my list for the future.

The portion size was perfect and for only £3.60 (and £1.70 for a latte) it was the only meal I needed that day.

The Café always has a hot meal deal available and if people want to pop in for a coffee, tea or hot chocolate there is a great combination deal, where a muffin can be bought for 85p with a hot drink.

They have just introduced a grab-and-go pie station, for those of us that are in a rush and need to grab something and run and they also provide a takeaway phone order service, where customers can call 01900 844955 and place orders.

Orders can be placed for cooked breakfasts, which are offered at The Café from 8am to 11am. Lunch is served from noon to 1.45pm and hot drinks are available until 3pm.

Last week they were awarded a food hygiene rating of 5 stars by Allerdale Council’s Environmental Health department, much to the delight of head chef Tony Brown, who said: “I was over the moon, I’ve been here three years and we have had a 5 star rating every year, but this year was the first since bringing the catering in-house at Energus.”

For taste, service, cleanliness, efficiency and value for money, I completely agree with Environmental Health and also award The Café at Energus 5 stars.