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 restaurant experiences, and views on food, with you.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gourmet Evenings

Gourmet Evenings

Those of you who are fond of gourmet food, may find the gourmet evenings offered by Bronzefield women's prison in Ashford to be of interest.

Seemingly house of horrors killer, Rose West, and the other inmates of Bronzefield have been treated to an evening of gourmet food and opera singing in prison.

West was jailed in 1995 over a series of murders she committed with her husband Fred.

West and 400 fellow prisoners were offered a menu comprising chicken supreme in tomato and garlic with olives and Parmesan or baked fish with asparagus, fennel and mushrooms.

The meal was rounded off with tiramisu and cups of coffee.

The inmates were then serenaded by two Italian singers, who performed operatic arias to backing tapes.

Last week's Italian Day was not a unique event, previous evenings have included Mexican and Jamaican themed events.

The food cost the same as any other day in the prison, this is a lesson for those people who claim that cooking good food is an expensive luxury.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sakura

Restaurant

Sakura
Luntmakargatan 59
113 58 Stockholm
Sweden

Phone (46) (8) 673 45 55

Website www.sakura.gastrogate.com

Overview

Eva and I, whilst we were in Stockholm the other week, decided to go Japanese and tried out Sakura.

Sakura is a Japanese restaurant and karaoke bar.

Ambience

Sakura occupies two floors; the ground floor contains the main restaurant and the basement contains the karaoke bar and a smaller function room for private karaoke parties.

It is laid out and decorated in a traditional Japanese manner, with cherry wood tables (each containing a small grill cut into the centre) and wooden fittings. However, chairs are provided so you don't have to sit in the more traditional Japanese manner on the floor.

The restaurant was quite busy, but given its size there was no problem with fitting two more guests in. Although both karaoke bars were in full swing, the noise from downstairs was not intrusive.

Menu

The menu offered an excellent selection of Japanese dishes including; sushi, small grill dishes, sukiyaki and a few Western style grills dishes. The menu was in English and Swedish.

Service

Our waitresses were very friendly, efficient and pleasant. They helped us understand what was what on the menu, and explained how to cook and enjoy our main dish.

Food

We started with two dishes from the small grill menu, scampi and ox tongue; together with salmon, beef and sweet shrimp sushi.

The grill was heated up and we placed our cut pieces of scampi and ox tongue on the grill to cook. These came with soy sauce and some salad. The meat and the scampi were tasty, tender and succulent; it was rather fun to cook them ourselves, and made the meal more enjoyable being able to share the dishes.

The sushi were absolutely first class, my own favourite being the shrimp.

We chose to share the sukiyaki for our main course. This consisted of thin slices of raw beef, fresh mushrooms, cabbage, glass noodles and other vegetables.

All of the ingredients were raw, and needed to be cooked in the sukiyaki sauce that was placed in a stew pot in the grill on the table.

When this had become hot enough we placed various ingredients into the pot, a few at a time, then (when cooked) dipped them into raw egg and ate them with the accompanying boiled rice.

There were ample portions of both meat and vegetables, all of which were fresh and tasty. The sukiyaki sauce was unctuous and did not overpower the flavours of the ingredients.

We thoroughly enjoyed our main course, and would most certainly chose it again.

The bill, which included a bottle of Mateus Rose and a bottle of sake, came to 827SEK before service.

Overall Opinion

A splendid evening in a splendid restaurant, well worth visiting again.

Friday, November 10, 2006

La Habana

Restaurant

La Habana
Sveavagen 108
113 50 Stockholm
Sweden

Phone (46) (8) 16 64 65

Website www.lahabana.se

Overview

Eva and I were in Stockholm last week, and decided to try out La Habana; Stockholm's first Cuban restaurant. La Habana is open Monday to Saturday 17:00-01:00, it contains a restaurant, bar, salsa club and cigar club.

Ambience

La Habana occupies two floors; one bar and the main restaurant being on the ground floor, with the other bar and salsa dancing area being in the basement.

It is charmingly rustic; wood being the material of choice for walls, bars, tables and chairs.

As we went there on a Friday night is was absolutely packed, and you are strongly advised to book in advance.

We were warmly welcomed and, as we had arrived early, partook of some cocktails in the downstairs bar. I should point out that rum is the drink of choice in La Habana, they have a variety of dark and light rums which make jolly agreeable cocktails.

I would make one observation about the door policy, there is a 20SEK charge per person for leaving your coats. This may be fine if you are just coming in for a drink. However, given that this is not the Savoy, I feel that to have to pay for leaving your coat, when you are paying for dinner as well is excessive.

I would also note that, because of the proximity of the main door to the restaurant, everytime someone entered or left there was a draft. I would recommend some form of curtain that shields the diners from this draft.

La Habana had a great atmosphere both downstairs and in the restaurant, lively and fun without being intrusive.

Menu

The menu offered a good selection of simple Cuban food including; ensaladas, fried chicken, tuna, swordfish and lamb.

I would note that the menu was not in English. However, the staff all spoke good English and would be more than happy to help explain the menu.

Service

The service was very good; efficient, friendly and prompt. I would also note that despite the fact that the place was full, we were shown to our table exactly at the time that we had reserved it.

Food

Eva started with the scampi sauteed in olive oil and garlic. These were fresh and tasty, neither too much oil or garlic had been used to overpower the taste.

I chose the chicken "Pio Pio" to start with. This was deep fried chicken breast with banana chips and a spicy side dip. The chicken was good, if a little dry (it needed the sauce to dip). However, I would say that the banana chips did nothing for me. I feel that fresh banana served with this dish would be better.

Eva, for her main course, chose the chicken "Pio Pio". Oddly, although the banana chips were again served with it, a fresh banana had also been added which did work well. The dish was accompanied by dark rice with black beans, this made an ideal compliment to the chicken and Eva was well pleased with her choice.

I chose the grilled breast of cockerel for my main course. This was a fine piece of meat, not overcooked but tender and unctuous. It was accompanied by green rice (cooked with basil), salad and a paprika sauce. Absolutely first class, and thoroughly enjoyable.

The meal, which included a bottle of Moet and liqueurs, came to 1545SEK including tip.

Overall Opinion

A great place for a good night out, we will definitely return.