Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

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Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my experiences with you.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Big Breakfast At The Walmer Castle


Kudos to chef Shane of The Walmer Castle (95 Queen's Park Road Brighton) for adding to his most excellent menu an all day big breakfast, served only on Saturdays from midday.

The breakfast (pictured above) consists of:

- 2 eggs
- 2 sausages
- 2 bacon
- mushrooms
- tomatoes
- hash browns
- bubble and squeak
- beans
- black pudding (Scottish black pudding, at the insistence of Barry)
- toast

The breakfast is nicely cooked and presented (not swimming in a layer of fat), and tastes great.

My hearty endorsement of the dish, at £12 for two you can't go wrong!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Constant Service - One of The Beacons of Hanover

At the risk of sounding like a scratched record (not that they ever play those in the Constant Service), I would like to once again complement the chef at the Constant Service (96 Islingword Road, Brighton) for offering and cooking another imaginative and tasty range of specials last night.

This time I ate skewered chicken with herbs and garlic, accompanied by a salad, tzatziki and rice. The dish was generous, well flavoured, tender and moist. Cooking as it should be.

Eva had a chicken stew consisting of good sized and generous chunks of chicken, chorizo, potatoes and cheese. Bloody marvelous!

The reason that I yet again mention the food at the Constant Service, aside from the fact that it is very good, is that whilst some pubs in Hanover also produce good quality home cooked food others fall lamentably short.

Naming no names, there are some pubs (and chefs) in the area whose imagination doesn't extend beyond burgers (calling them "gourmet" really doesn't cut the mustard with me) and a Thursday night "curry" (served with a mean portion of rice). You cannot populate your menu mainly with burgers and call yourself a chef.

Those Hanover pubs and their chefs that have fallen behind the curve should look to the Constant Service as a beacon as to how menus should be constructed, food cooked and customers' wishes be taken into account.

To compare and contrast attitudes, last night I asked for rice instead of the flat bread that was on the menu for my dish. This request posed absolutely no problem for either the landlady or the chef, who were perfectly happy to do step up to the plate and cater for my request. In another Hanover pub, some months ago, I asked for mash instead of chips and was told that the portions of mash "had already been allocated" (ie "No"). The lesson is clear, do as the customer asks (if the request is reasonable) and the customer will return, do as you wish (and ignore the customer) and you will end up with no customers.

Pubs and chefs that don't cater to their customers wishes will not survive, as is evident by those pubs in Hanover that are sadly empty.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Constant Service

Kudos to the chef at the Constant Service (96 Islingword Road, Brighton) for cooking a first class Coq au Vin, amongst other specials, last night.

The dish tasted fantastic, and was enhanced by the fact that fresh thyme from the garden of the Constant Service was used in the recipe. The accompaniments of mash and cabbage were superb.

Two Coq au Vins and a very decent bottle of Blush, all for £30!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Mouse Droppings Found at Jamie Oliver's Butchers

Jamie Oliver’s butcher’s shop, Barbecoa (near St Paul’s Cathedral), had to temporarily close after inspectors from the Food Standards Agency found serious hygiene problems including mouse droppings, mould on carcasses and out-of-date wagyu beef.

Barbecoa closed its doors for 24 hours after public health officers scored it one out of five on 8 January. It reopened after the issue was addressed.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pasty Aid

When your world crumbles and you are feeling depressed and hungry, turn to a pasty for comfort and nutrition.

Pasty Aid shows how the "humble" pasty is an efficient, transportable, cheap and tasty means of feeding people.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

First Class Lamb Curry

My compliments to recently returned chef Greg of the Sir Charles Napier (50 Southover St, Brighton), for bringing the food menu back to life at this excellent local hostelry.

Aside from serving homemeade pizzas during the week, on Fridays and Saturdays there is an a la carte menu offering dishes such as scampi, homemeade meatballs, gammon etc.

The menu changes each week, and last night one of the dishes was a lamb curry.

The curry was first class, tender lamb in a rich spicy curry served with basmati rice and nan bread. I can also commend the boar and beef meatballs.

On Sundays traditional roasts are served.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Triple Cooked Chips

I have to say that I find the current practice by some chefs to offer "triple cooked chips" on their menus to be an unnecessary and pretentious fad.

However, if they insist on doing this they should at least ensure that the chip is placed in the oil/fat only when the oil/fat is hot enough. Failure to so means that the chip absorbs the oil/fat; this in turn leaves an unpleasant fatty taste in the mouth, that lasts until the next day.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Interpretations of Classic Dishes

Whenever I see the phrase "our interpretation of a classic dish.." on a restaurant menu I instinctively look for the exit.

"Interpretations" of classic dishes invariably mean small poncy portions of undercooked meat and vegetables covered in foam, jus and drizzles. They are an insult to the classic hearty dishes of the past, and are usually an excuse for an ego trip by a young wannabe celebrity chef.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Fish Fingers and Custard Day


Fans of fish fingers and custard will be salivating in anticipation, as tomorrow (3rd April) has been declared by Birds Eye as being Fish Fingers and Custard Day in honour the Doctor Who episode (The Eleventh Hour) broadcast on 3rd April 2010 in which Doctor Who ate fish fingers and custard.

As such, Doctor Who has replaced Captain Birds Eye on a special bespoke pack of fish fingers.

The bespoke pack has been sent to Matt Smith (who debuted in The Eleventh Hour), along with a year’s supply of fish fingers.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chef Rich Moves To The Dover Castle

Fans, such as myself, of Chef Rich's cooking (especially his chili) will be pleased to know that having left The Pub With No Name he is now in residence at The Dover Castle.

Friday, March 08, 2013

The Grosvenor Hotel

Yesterday, as I have done for over twenty years when travelling to London for a social event, I popped into the Grosvenor Hotel at Victoria station for a drink.

The bar was closed (it was 11:45), and the bistro fully booked for a private function. However, I was advised by reception staff to go to the lounge for a drink.

No problem, or so I thought.

I was about to sit down by a small coffee table in the lounge when I was told by a member of staff there that there was a minimum table charge of £30!

Suffice to say I said no way, and went back to reception to raise the issue.

The response?

"The law allows us to charge a minimum £30 cover charge."
I needless to say walked out.

I have used that place for over twenty years (eating and drinking), and have never been treated so badly there (or indeed anywhere else) before.

The sheer greed and arrogance of an institution that treats a loyal customer, of over twenty years standing, in this way beggars belief.

I urge you all to boycott the place until they come to their senses!

Monday, February 25, 2013

IKEA Meatballs Contaminated With Horsemeat

Reuters report that Czech inspectors have found horsemeat in meatballs made in Sweden for the IKEA Group. The inspectors took samples for DNA tests in IKEA's unit in the city of Brno from a product labelled as "beef and pork meatballs".

Ironically, as per the IKEA website
What we are proud of
We want to offer quality food products at low prices. At the same time we want you to know that we source food products in a responsible manner. We are working in all parts of the food chain, from the farm to the IKEA store, to be able to offer food you can trust...
Food safety 

We want our customers to feel confident that the food served and sold at IKEA is safe and of good quality. That is why we require our suppliers to have special quality programs in place.

Also, all our stores in the UK & IE are subjected to independent, unannounced food safety management audits to ensure the highest level of food safety training and food safety standards.
"
760kg (1,672lb) of the meatballs were stopped from going on sale after the contamination was discovered.

As I have noted before, take a leaf out of IKEA's book, don't buy ready made meals but "self assemble" your food (ie make it and cook it yourself) by buying the ingredients from trusted local butchers.