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, December 21, 2011

Deep Fried Butter Balls

From the nation that gave you deep fried Mars bars, comes deep fried butter balls.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Dangers of Oysters

Be warned, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), 75% of British-grown oysters it tested contained the winter vomiting bug norovirus.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Voici Le Demi Poulet!

In June this year I wrote about the demise of that bastion of the Cafe Rouge menu, the Demi Poulet.

I am very glad to report that, following many complaints from customers across the country about its absence from the menu, the good people of Cafe Rouge have reinstated it.

Tres bien!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shout Out To Aggi and The Team at Nasza

A special shout out and thanks to Aggi and the team at Nasza (22 St James Street, Brighton) for looking after us (Eva, myself and two good friends) so well last night.

The food was great!

My compliments to the chef who produced some excellent pork, dumplings and pirogi.

Additionally, Aggi and her staff went the extra mile to look after us even though we arrived late in the evening.

Nasza is well worth a visit!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pub With No Name

A jolly gang of four of us dined in Pub With No Name (58 Southover St Brighton) last night.

As the pub's website says:

"Pub With No Name is housed in a rambling building no architect could possibly have designed. You just keep on finding nooks and crannies and interesting places, and another comfy sofa to sit on. Art and photography decorate the walls. And there are screens for sport, too. Upstairs the function room leads onto a split-level beer terrace.


The bar features cask ale, foreign beers and a shots menu, while Rich’s Kitchen provides Mexican food during the week, making way for The Pub With No Name’s famous Sunday lunch."

Lat's night's specials were a "smorgasbord" (yes I know it's the wrong country!) of Spanish Tapas dishes including; cold meats, meat balls, spicy potatoes, tortilla etc etc.

We had every dish from the menu...because we were greedy pigs!

Our conclusion?

Bloody marvellous!

My compliments to chef Rich.

The dishes all arrived within minutes of each other (no tedious wait) and tasted absolutely great.

We were well pleased, well fed and well stuffed.

I have no hesitation at all in recommending Pub With No Name for its food, atmosphere and friendly staff and service.

We shall return!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Shout Out To Chef Craig at The Sir Charles Napier

A special and well deserved shout out to Craig, who is the chef at one our very special local pubs The Sir Charles Napier at 50 Southover Street, Brighton (a place that I wrote about in June this year).

The menu that the pub now offers changes regularly, and uses locally sourced good quality ingredients. Aside from staples such as sausage and mash, burgers and home baked pizzas there are specials such as beef casserole, scampi and fish cakes.

Unlike some chefs, Craig does not throw a hissy fit if a customer turns up just before the kitchen is meant to close (9PM) and stands by his post until the meal is finished (including offering a desert).

I would also make special mention of the fact that if a customer (as we did last night) asks for a couple of sausages as a starter (sans mash) neither the staff nor Craig throws a "wobbly".

Eva and I had a great meal last night, kicking off with two excellent smoked pork sausages on a leaf salad (to share), then beef casserole with mash for myself and scampi with mash for Eva. Craig was so worried that Eva wanted mash instead of chips, that he made a special salad as well for her, in case it wasn't enough.

We were even offered a desert (apple strudel), which we shared, well past kitchen closing time.

The food is great, the portions decent and the staff and atmosphere are warm and welcoming.

Go there and try it for yourself!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

El Bulli Closes

El Bulli, the world's "most revered" restaurant (which each year saw two million hopeful applicants for just 8,000 dinner reservations at the restaurant two hours drive from Barcelona) has now closed for good.

Its legacy will be the elBulli foundation, a "gastronomic think tank" dedicated to creativity and expanding knowledge of the pioneering culinary techniques created within the restaurant across the globe.

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Restaurant at Hana

The Restaurant at Hana
Phoenix Commercial Ventures Ltd is proud to announce that Hana Electronics JVC (a 50/50 joint venture based in the DPRK) completed and moved into its new headquarters based near the T’ongil Market in Pyongyang in Q1 2011.

Having moved in and set up its production facilities, Hana has now opened a restaurant (“The Restaurant at Hana”) and related leisure facilities (swimming pool, sauna, hairdresser, bar, gym etc) in its headquarters.

The restaurant (which comprises a main dining room and several private ones) and leisure facilities are open to locals and foreigners alike. Food for the restaurant ihttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifs sourced from local markets.

A video and photos of the restaurant can be viewed on the Phoenix website.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Sir Charles Napier

My compliments to the Sir Charles Napier pub of Southover Street on their recently expanded food menu.

Alongside their homemade pizzas (genuinely homemade) and locally sourced sausages and mash (a very nice dish), they have added a variety of hamburgers and a Rogan Josh curry with rice and garlic bread.

I had the Rogan Josh last night, and it was pretty decent in both taste and portion size. Eva had the Carne Misti pizza (tomato, Mozzarella, Parma Ham, pepperoni, spiced beef, spiced pork), the topping of which was flavoursome and generous sitting atop a light base (a welcome change from the stodgy rubber like creations of other establishments).

The pub itself is very friendly and has a lot of character in the true "traditional English pub style".

It is well worth a visit.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Cafe Rouge - Ou Est Le Demi-Poulet?

On a visit to Cafe Rouge last night I was very disappointed to discover that my favourite dish (which they did very well), the demi-poulet (half a chicken), is no longer on the menu.

Come on Cafe Rouge, bring back the demi-poulet!

Note: Cote serve a most excellent half chargrilled "Breton" chicken (corn fed chicken from Languidic in the north of France). Therefore, in future, whenever I fancy French I will be dining in Cote.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Old Bank Steak & Ribs

Restaurant

The Old Bank Steak & Ribs
120 St George's Road,
Kemptown Village,
Brighton,
East Sussex
BN1 1EA

Tel: 01273 682200

Website The Old Bank Steak & Ribs

Overview

Last Friday evening Eva and I decided to walk to Kemptown village, to try out The Old Bank Steak & Ribs restaurant that is housed in the old Barclays bank building.

As the name implies, the restaurant specialises in steaks (all aged 28 days) and ribs.

Ambience

The restaurant is a large cheerful, bright, lively, unfussily decorated establishment with tables and booths and an open view of the kitchen.

Menu

The menu offers a good selection of steaks, ribs, chicken and burgers. There is also a smattering of daily fish specials.

Service

When we arrived, at around 8:45, as we hadn't booked we were told that it may well be an hour before we could be seated. Given that we had walked for all of 15 minutes we decided that we would wait, rather than give up at that juncture, and were advised to take a drink in the pub opposite and wait for the restaurant to call my mobile when the table was ready.

We were very impressed and pleased to receive a call within 15 minutes, at 9:00, to tell us that we could come on over!

The welcome and service was excellent, efficient and friendly.

Owing to a misunderstanding/miscommunication with the kitchen my steak came basted in barbecue sauce. I do not actually like barbecue sauce that much, and prefer my meat unfettered. However, our waitress was extremely apologetic and offered without any hesitation to replace the steak. Given that the offer was made without any fuss, and that the food was not inedible and would have resulted in a steak going to waste I declined. The offer made to replace the steak was ample demonstration of good customer service.

Food

I started with the wholetail scampi served with tartare sauce. These were very decent, and decidedly more chunky/meaty than some other establishments serve.

I opted for the rib eye steak for my main course. Not withstanding the barbecue sauce issue (see above) the meat was very tender, tasty and had been cooked medium as requested.

The steak came with chunky chips, which were good. I also ordered onion rings (which were very good, crispy and not greasy) and a dish of green beans fried with garlic and tomato (which was not particularly inspiring, ie bland).

I would recommend that, as this is a steakhouse, side dishes of grilled beef tomato and grilled flat cap mushrooms also be offered (as they are both great accompaniments to steak).

Eva started with the spicy chicken wings. These were very good, both in terms of taste/spiciness and quantity. They came with a first class blue cheese dip.

Eva then opted for a half rack of ribs as a main course. She was delighted with them as they were particularly tasty and succulent, and they came with a most unctuous baked potato.

The meal, which included a decent bottle of champagne, came to £67 including 10% service.

Overall Opinion

A very enjoyable meal, and I am happy to recommend this venue. However, if you don't like barbecue sauce make sure that you state that when placing the order; as the "basting" comes a standard.

We will return, but I will next time ensure my meat is not basted.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Exploding Watermelons



I am gemused to read of problems in China wrt exploding watermelons.

Seemingly, as a result of using certain chemicals to promote faster growth, there has been a spate of exploding watermelons in China's eastern Jiangsu province.

The affected watermelons begin to split near the top, and within minutes burst open to reveal a jaundiced yellowish-pink flesh. In one Jiangsu town, a watermelon exploded as an elderly woman was cutting it open.

Unsurprisngly the chemicals used aren't terribly good for the human digestive system either!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pop Up in The Eye

The world's first six Michelin star restaurant in the sky will "pop up" in the London Eye for four days, during the London Restaurant Festival in October.

The cost of dining in the Eye will be £15K per ten person capsule.

Pre dinner drinks will be served at The Savoy, followed by a boat journey to the Eye.

Post dinner accommodation in the Savoy is also included in the price.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Gordon Ramasy Eats Beating Snake Heart

Gordon Ramsay has managed to offend a few people, nothing new there, by eating the beating heart of a cobra on TV.

The stunt was pulled in Vietnam, where eating snakes (live ones) is deemed to enhance male virility.

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Royal Wedding Trifle (aka The Royal Trifle)

Following on from the recipe for the Unbaked Chocolate Biscuit Cake (similar to the one being served at the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton) that I featured on this site a few days ago, here is a version of the Heston Blumenthal Royal Wedding Trifle (soon to be sold by Waitrose under the name of The Royal Trifle).

Ingredients

- Between 1/2 - 1 pint of double cream (note: the amount of cream depends on how rich you like your Royal Trifle)
- A teaspoon of saffron (crushed to a fine powder)
- 1lb of strawberries (destalked and halved)
- 1 vanilla pod split lengthways
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
- 3 tablespoon of kirsch
- A packet of Amaretti biscuits (crumbled, not crushed)
- A slug of brandy (Heston uses Marc de Champagne)
- 6-8 large meringues (broken roughly)
- a few rose petals (washed thoroughly, make sure also they have never had chemicals sprayed on them)
- Dried strawberries
- Caramel almonds

Method

- Mix the saffron into the cream, and leave in the fridge overnight to infuse

- The next day heat a heavy frying pan, add the vanilla pod and heat for 20 seconds

- Add the strawberries and heat for another 30 seconds

- Add the sugar and gently fold into the strawberries with a large spoon. Heat until the sugar dissolves, then add the kirsch and heat for another 30 seconds.

- Remove the vanilla pod

- Remove the mixture from the pan and place in a clean container. Leave to cool, then place in the fridge to chill for 2-3 hours

- Place the strawberry compote (for that is what the above has made) into a suitable glass trifle serving bowl

- Add the slug of brandy to the biscuits and allow to soak for 10 minutes

- Add the soaked biscuits to the strawberry compote

- Whip the cream until it is stiff and spoon onto the top of the compote

- Pile the broken meringues on top of the cream

- Scatter the dried strawberries, almonds and rose petals on top

Voila!

Note: if you want to vary the look of the Royal Trifle, then do not mix the biscuits with the compote; instead spoon the whipped cream on top of the compote, then scatter the biscuits over the cream before topping off with the meringues.

The "look" of the Royal Trifle is very much up to the artistic licence of the chef!

Don't forget to visit Accountants Can Cook which contains anecdotes of my travels around the world, together with 120 of my favourite recipes amassed during 40 years of travelling, eating and cooking.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Unbaked Chocolate Biscuit Cake (The Fruity Version)

Following on from the recipe that I posted on Sunday for an unbaked chocolate biscuit cake (similar to the one being prepared for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton), here is a variation to the recipe that will give you a "fruity/nutty version" of the unbaked chocolate biscuit cake.

Use the same recipe, except substitute 2 tablespoons of Lyle's Golden Syrup for the condensed milk and add in the following extra ingredients:

- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup dried tart cherries

Don't forget to visit Accountants Can Cook which contains anecdotes of my travels around the world, together with 120 of my favourite recipes amassed during 40 years of travelling, eating and cooking.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Unbaked Chocolate Biscuit Cake

As a follow up to yesterday's recipe for an unbaked (or "no bake") chocolate biscuit cake, similar to the one being made for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, here is a variation on the recipe.

For an "adult" version of the unbaked chocolate cake, add a little vodka or rum to the mixture (according to taste).

Don't forget to visit Accountants Can Cook which contains anecdotes of my travels around the world, together with 120 of my favourite recipes amassed during 40 years of travelling, eating and cooking.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Unbaked Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Unbaked Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Here is a recipe for an unbaked chocolate biscuit cake, similar to the one being made for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Ingredients

- 12 ounces of chocolate (eating chocolate not cooking chocolate - milk or dark according to taste)
- 4 ounces of butter or margarine
- One ordinary can of condensed milk
- One or two packets of crushed digestive biscuits (you can use ginger biscuits, chocolate covered digestive biscuits or rich tea biscuits if you prefer)

Method

Place 6 oz of chocolate, 4 oz of butter or margarine, and the contents of one can of condensed milk in a bowl on top of a saucepan 1/3rd full of water

Heat the water (not to boiling point) over a low heat

Stir the contents of the bowl

Melt the chocolate and blend the ingredients

Remove it from the heat

Stir in the biscuits

Line a cake tin with foil or clingfilm.

Tip the mixture into the tin and smooth it over

Chill in the fridge for 4 - 6 hours

When chilled and firm, turn the cake out onto a plate

Melt the remaining chocolate, and pour or spread it onto the top of the cake.

Note: the more finely crushed the biscuits, the more "solid" the unbaked chocolate cake.

Note: for an "adult" version of the unbaked chocolate cake, add a little vodka or rum to the mixture (according to taste).

Don't forget to visit Accountants Can Cook which contains anecdotes of my travels around the world, together with 120 of my favourite recipes amassed during 40 years of travelling, eating and cooking.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pigs Can Fly

Pigs Can Fly

According to a survey carried out for National Butchers' Week, 17% of British people think that pigs have wings.

However, this alarming ignorance was not just confined to pigs. According to 23% of those surveyed, chickens have chops and lambs have drumsticks.

This level of ignorance is truly disheartening and alarming.

As a small child I used to love visiting the local butcher shop with my dad, and would sometimes be allowed to take a look around inside the refrigerator to see the animal carcasses.

Great fun!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Advice To Cafe Rouge Brighton

Advice To Cafe Rouge (Prince Albert Street Brighton)

Please put a curtain up in front of your door to stop the customers from freezing everytime the door is opened.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Townhouse Kemptown

Restaurant

The Townhouse
81-82 St James St
Kemptown
Brighton
BN2 1PA

Tel: 01273 693216

Website The Townhouse

Overview

Eva and popped into The Townhouse in Kemptown the other day for an impromptu lunch.

The Townhouse is relatively new, and is both a bar and restaurant.

It offers contemporary British food (cooked by a head chef who hails from The Dorchester) in a relaxed atmosphere.

Ambience

The Townhouse is a cheerful and bright venue, it has "rustic" wooden tables and brick faced walls. Aside from a dining area, it has a lounge bar and a piano room where you can sit around the Baby Grand Piano on bar stools while drinking!

Menu

The menu offers a good selection of British cuisine including; smoked haddock, roasted cod, crab, steak, rack of lamb and belly of pork.

Service

The service was excellent, efficient and friendly. I was even offered a choice of wood or plastic toothpicks (a first!), which shows great attention to detail.

Food

I had the pork belly, which was slow roasted and served with an apple mash and prune jus. I was very impressed with this dish, the pork was a good sized tasty cut/join,t and the crackling was crispy. The mash was not overpowered by the apple, and went well with the meat.

Eva had one of the specials, beef sausages and mash. This was very good, four thick tasty sausages atop a bed of mash served with a gravy.

The meal, which included some quality beers and very large brandies, came to around £40 from memory (I have lost the receipt!).

Overall Opinion

A very enjoyable meal, and I have no hesitation in recommending this venue. We will certainly be returning, this time for dinner.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Green's Bar

Restaurant

Green's Bar
136 Freshfield Road
Brighton
BN2 0BR
Tel: 01273 603473

Website Green's Bar

Overview

Eva and popped into Green's Bar the other week (which is nearby us), to sample the new Italian menu that they have introduced.

Green's is both a bar and restaurant near to Queen's Park, owned and run by Paul Green.

It offers an Italian menu, freshly prepared from locally sourced produce.

Ambience

Green's is a light, bright, airy and cheerful establishment that welcomes both drinkers and diners. It also has a large sunny (in Summer!) south facing garden, that can accommodate up to 70.

Paul offers all of his customers a warm and cheerful welcome.

Menu

The menu offers a decent selection of Italian pastas and pizzas. There are no specific meat (carne) dishes as yet on the menu, which to my view is a shame.

However, the menu includes Lasagne, Bolognese, Carbonara and a variety of pizzas and calzones.

Service

The service (by Paul) was very friendly, cheerful and efficient. We even ended up having a few drinks with him after our meal.

Food

I started with the Lasagne.

This, although not as enormous in portion size as other establishments, was by far the best I have ever tasted when dining out. The dish was rich, smooth and unctuous, it literally melted in my mouth.

I then chose the Bolognese for my main course. This was a decent sized portion of a traditional dish. The beef mince in tomato, mushroom and red wine sauce had body and flavour without being overpowering. The spaghetti was fine, although rather whiter in colour than I am accustomed to seeing.

Eva started with the Tricolore Insalata (beef tomato with mozzarella and avocado). This was a well presented dish, and was by all accounts very pleasant in texture and flavour.

For her main course, Eva chose the Pizza Espanol (tomato, chorizo, mozzarella and peppers). This comes on a thin crust and was, by all accounts excellent; most notably the thin crust actually had flavour, unlike many other places that present pizzas made from a rubber like tasteless substance masquerading as dough.

The bill, which included wine and liqueurs, came to around £60.

Overall Opinion

A very enjoyable meal, and worthwhile visiting (most especially if you live in the Queen's Park/Hanover area, as well run local enterprises should be supported).

We look forward to returning again.