NICK FRAME’S LIGHT BITES: High-street big hitter packs a punch

So far I’ve managed to resist the lure of the national chains, well, reporting on them anyway.

But when it comes to quick grub, there can’t be a bigger hitter in the high street lunchtime trade than Greggs these days.

The so-called “fact” that’s been doing the round for some time is that they now have more premises open than Mcdonalds. Indeed, the outnumber their burger-flipping counterparts two-to-one in Mansfield town centre alone.

And like Mcdonalds, you know exactly what you’re going to get, at roughly the same price, across the country.

With no ambition to avoid northern stereotypes about pies, I have to recommend the pasties.

Judging by the amount of people ordering them in the long queue at the shop on Market Place, I’m not in a minority.

The cheese and onion, steak bake and are all pretty good, but today’s choice is the sausage, bean and cheese melt.

When cooked perfectly I have to say it’s at the top of my lunchtime wishlist, I’m not ashamed to admit that.

The only potential spoiler is when they are served up at a mercury-busting temperature, it gives the cheese a napalm-like quality, and any hope of eating it quickly are dashed.

On the flip side, it can be served up stone cold, which takes away much of the flavour- and no amount of microwave reheating seems to recapture it.

At £1-plus, it’s a little more than other pasties or pie, but it’s worth it.

As a final note for those with a bigger appetite, try the tuna bloomers from the fridge. They’re a far tastier bet than any of the pre-packed sarnies you’ll find in chain stores, and around £2, better value.