Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

Text

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.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hangover Cure

Hangover Cure

This year's hangover cure of choice appears to be honey on toast.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thistle Grosvenor Brasserie Bar Revisited

Thistle Grosvenor Brasserie Bar Revisited

In November I wrote about the decline in service standards at the newly renovated Thistle Grosvenor Brasserie Bar, which was once a very decent and customer focused bar.

Sadly, despite having been assured by management that my concerns would be addressed, standards have not improved.

I went there last night for a quick drink on my way to the West End. The Brasserie Bar had been hired out for a party (the old bar had two rooms which allowed parties to be held without inconveniencing regular customers), therefore I had to go to the lounge next door. I was advised by the "head man" that there were no tables available and that I would have to sit in the corridor (on ridiculously small and uncomfortable seats).

I asked for a gin and tonic and "meekly" took my seat. Ironically, some 30 seconds after I had been told that there were no seats in the lounge, I saw a couple (who had just come in behind me, and had not reserved a table) being promptly shown to a "free" table by the same member of staff.

Needless to say, having waited for a couple of minutes without any sight or sound of my drink appearing, I left.

On my way out I spoke to another member of staff about the issue, she was very apologetic but honest enough to admit that the new bar and service arrangements were not good.

Until the management of the hotel sort this out, I am very sad to say that I most certainly do not recommend this venue to anyone.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sprout Shortage?

Sprout Shortage?

In much that same way as there was a rumoured "shortage" of Heston Blumenthal's Christmas puddings, it seems that the food industry is trying to cook up a "shortage" of that much loved Christmas staple sprouts.

The media have published warnings from farmers that the current heavy frosts (which are actually very good for sprouts) have caused problems with mechanical harvesting, thus leading to the possibility of a shortage this festive season.

Hmmm...I will believe that when I see it!

I guarantee that there will be more sprouts available on the dining tables of Britain than people are able to/want to eat this festive season.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Madness II

Madness II

Those people who were suckered into bidding on ebay (bids are currently standing at £129) for a Waitrose Heston Blumenthal Christmas pudding (with an orange in the middle) may well be feeling rather foolish today.

Unsurprisingly, the alleged "shortage" of puddings has been resolved.

How?

Simple, Waitrose put more on the shelves!

Could it be that the temporary "shortage" was nothing more than a marketing ploy, designed to maximise publicity and boost sales?

Surely not?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Savoy Grill Reopens

Savoy Grill Reopens

The Savoy Grill reopens today, after being closed for a period of refurbishment of the hotel and Grill that took 3 years.

Those of you who wish to pop in and try the new Grill may well have to wait, approximately 11,500 table reservations have already been made for the coming weeks.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Madness

Madness

The Telegraph reports that demand for Heston Blumenthal's £13.99 Waitrose Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding is so high, that the supermarket has almost run out and the pudding is now on e-bay with bids currently standing at £77.

It's a farking Christmas pudding for fark's sake!

Get a life people!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Thistle Grosvenor Brasserie Bar

The Thistle Grosvenor Brasserie Bar

I have been a regular at what was the Harvard Bar in the Thistle Grosvenor Victoria for many years. It provided a welcome sanctuary from the hurly burly of the station, and was a delight to visit.

Sadly, Thistle undertook to redesign the bar and have turned one part into a brasserie and the other part into a small, soulless bar which lacks the space, character and comfort of the Harvard.

Even the toilets have been moved further away and downstairs. Hardly convenient!

I was in the bar on Monday and, I and another regular, had to hunt down a member of staff from elsewhere to come in and serve behind the bar.

Aside from the other regulars (who I have spoken to about the new design) some of the long serving staff are none to happy about the change, and are leaving.

The Harvard Bar, and loyal staff, will be much missed!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Question For Southern Rail

Question For Southern Rail

Why oh why has your trolley service abandoned the serving of separate miniatures of spirits and mixers, and replaced them with pre mixed cans of cocktails?

These pre mixed concoctions taste vile!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mouse Sarnie

Mouse Sarnie

The next time you make a sandwich, make sure you thoroughly check the loaf you are using is rodent free.

Stephen Forse found a dead mouse in his loaf Hovis Best of Both from Tesco Online, supplied from a branch in Bicester.

The manufacturer, Premier Foods, was fined £5,500 and ordered to pay £11,109 in costs.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The £110 Cheese Sarnie

Those of you with more money than sense, may care to purchase the £110 cheese sarnie from the Frome Cheese Show in Somerset.

The sandwich is the creation of chef Martin Blunos, and is made with cheddar blended with white truffles and sprinkled with gold dust.

Personally speaking I am not much of a fan of cheese sarnies, most especially if they cost £110!

They are applying for the Guiness Book of Record's for the world's most expensive cheese sandwich. I wonder if they have heaard of the £345 Welsh Rarebit created by Tom Bridge in 2006?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Cote Brighton

Restaurant

Cote
115-116 Church Street
(Opposite The Dome)
Brighton BN1 1UP
Tel: 01273 687541

Website Cote

Overview

The Cote chain, which offer "simple freshly prepared French food at value for money prices", recently (two weeks ago) opened a new restaurant in Brighton.

Eva and I decided to test it out last Sunday evening.

Ambience

Cote is a lively, buzzing, airy bar and bistro. It has ample space, comfortable unpretentious seating/tables and a welcoming atmosphere. It also has a very pleasant outside decked area.

Menu

The menu offers a good selection of French bistro food including; Seared Scallops, Steak Tartare, Moules Marinieres, Mushroom Crepes, Roast Duck Breast and Breton Chicken.

Service

The service was very friendly, cheerful and efficient.

Food

I started with the steak tartare.

This came with the egg already mixed in (something I personally prefer to do myself). However, it was very good and consisted a decent portion of tender minced steak well balanced with shallots, capers, cornichons, egg yolk and cognac.

Eva opted for the smoked salmon, which she professed to be excellent. The dish consisted of sliced smoked Scottish salmon with dill, shallots, baby capers and creme fraiche dressing.

I chose the half chargrilled "Breton" chicken (corn fed chicken from Languidic in the north of France) for my main, with fries. I eschewed having any sauce with it, as the chicken if well cooked should have enough flavour to stand on its own.

I was not disappointed, the chicken was succulent, not overcooked and had an excellent flavour.

Eva had the steak hache, an excellent tender pan fried steak served with garlic butter and mashed potatoes.

A most excellent meal!

I do have one request, please could you serve Absinthe (I understand you have the bottle behind the bar but do not serve the drink for some reason)?

The bill, including a bottle of Viognier, some cognacs and service, came to £78.

Overall Opinion

Good value, great atmosphere; we will most certainly be coming back!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Cloned Beef

Cloned Beef

Despite initial denials by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) it has now been forced into a humiliating admission that meat from the offspring of a cloned bull was slaughtered, sold and eaten last year in Scotland.

Food from a cloned animal, or the offspring of a cloned animal, is illegal, according to the FSA.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Eggs By The Dozen

Eggs By The Dozen

It seems that, contrary to earlier reports, the EU is not about to ban selling foodstuffs such as eggs by quantity.

The BBC reports that Renate Sommer MEP, who is steering new food labelling legislation, said:

"There will be no changes to selling foods by number.

Selling eggs by the dozen... will not be banned.
"

Monday, April 26, 2010

97% Chicken

97% Chicken

Sign on the hot chicken counter of my local Morrisons:

"Contents 97% chicken"

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Advice To The Hotel Du Vin Brighton

Advice To The Hotel Du Vin Brighton

Check that your salt and pepper pots are full before laying the tables, most especially (when asked for replacement ones) check that the replacements that you provide are actually full!:)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Croydon Park Hotel Launches New Menu

Croydon Park Hotel Launches New Menu

My thanks to the Food and Beverage Manager at the Croydon Park Hotel for showing me the new a la carte menu for Oscar's (the hotel's restaurant), that will be launched next Tuesday (6th April).

The much loved, and very popular, buffet will remain. However, the a la carte menu has been revamped to offer a more "bistro" style choice. The new menu includes; lamb shank, fish and chunky chips, rib eye steak, Thai crab cakes and risotto.

The menu looks good, and (on the assumption that the quality is good) is reasonably priced.

I wish Oscar's well with the launch, and look forward to sampling the new menu when I am next in Croydon.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sir Charles Napier Pub

Sir Charles Napier Pub

My compliments to the Sir Charles Napier pub (50 Southover Street, Brighton tel 0872 148 6009) one of our numerous locals, which is serving top notch sausage and mash.

Eva and I went there last Friday evening for a drink, and to try their sausage and mash.

For a price of £5.95 there is a choice of several meat and vegetarian sausages (locally sourced), three types of mash and even three types of gravy.

For the money you get three good sized sausages atop a pile of homemade (not packet) mash, with a good quality gravy.

First class food and good value.

The pub itself is cosy, and very welcoming.

Aside from sausage and mash, they also serve pizzas, sausage rolls and sausage baps.

Well worth a visit for a drink and a plate of sausage and mash (served until 9PM).

Monday, March 01, 2010

Rose Gray Dies

Rose Gray Dies

Rose Gray, the co-founder of the River Cafe restaurant in London, has died at the age of 71 after a long battle with cancer.

She set up the restaurant with Ruth Rogers in 1987.

Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall both worked at the River Cafe.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Morrisons' Lentil and Bacon Soup

Morrisons' Lentil and Bacon Soup

Those of you who want to spend a warm dry evening inside, instead of venturing out to a restaurant, may be tempted to have a nourishing bowl of soup.

In that event, I strongly suggest that you avoid Morrisons' Lentil and Bacon soup.

I tried a bowl of it this weekend, and found the taste bland in the extreme.

Were it not for the label, and pieces of tasteless ham in it, I would have assumed it was a rather bland mushroom soup.

Avoid!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Jamie's Brighton

Jamie's Brighton

We were going to visit Jamie Oliver's restaurant in Brighton this Saturday. However, when trying to a book a table, I was informed by a member of their staff that they were not taking bookings that evening.

Their loss!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Poncey Food

Poncey Food

The Times reports that Michelin starred chef, Ryan Simpson, has stormed out of his kitchen, at The Goose in Britwell, after being told that his food was "too poncey".

Simpson, his kitchen and waiting staff quit after the owner said that his menu was unsuitable for local diners. The restaurant has closed.

Why employ a Michelin quality chef in the first place then?

Engineering a walk out is a neat way to avoid paying redundancy though.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

World's Top Restaurant Closes For Two Years

World's Top Restaurant Closes For Two Years

Ferran Adria, the chef at El Bulli restaurant in Spain, has announced at Madrid Fusion (an internationally culinary conference) that El Bulli will close for two years in 2012 and 2013 giving him a chance to take a sabbatical.

El Bulli has been repeatedly voted the world's best restaurant (measuring the quality of restaurants is a somewhat inexact science, I would say). It serves up "experimental" cuisines such as, turtle dove with blackberry caviar and duck foie gras candies.

Tables for its six month annual season sell out in just one day.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Free Advice

Free Advice

Here is some free advice to those new to the restaurant business (such as the four week old establishment that we visited last weekend):

1 Wipe your faux marble table tops down properly, stains from previous diners are not very appetising.

2 Serving me pigs' trotters that were first cooked 4 days earlier (ie that have therefore been reheated a few times), is unwise; they were most assuredly stale.