Greek time at the Cranside Kitchen

Having enjoyed my previous meal at the Cranside Kitchen, I went there again for dinner the next night.

I was staying in a hotel in Glasgow close to the SECC where I was attending a conference. I had planned to just eat in the hotel restaurant, but found that the restaurant wasn’t open. Well that wasn’t helpful. I had a look around the area on Google Maps and found that, apart from other hotel restaurants there wasn’t much choice close by. I could have walked up to Argyle Street, but it was dark and cold, and to be honest I didn’t fancy walking back.

When I had looked at the Cranside Kitchen the previous day, from the outside it looked like it was now an Italian place called Romano’s. I wasn’t sure if I wanted Italian, so walked around the area a bit more. In the end I went to Cranside Kitchen. I found out then it was a little more than an Italian place. You scanned the QR code on the table and placed your order online. As well as the Italian menu, there was also Chinese, Thai and Japanese.

On my next visit I found that on that that evening there was a Greek option. Well quite liked the idea of Greek so went with that choice.

I had three dishes, the crispy calamari, chicken souvlaki, and a Greek salad.

The crispy calamari was battered squid rings with a garlic dip. 

As calamari goes it was okay, I have had better (and I have had worse). I do think as I have it quite often, that I find it a good benchmark to compare places.

The chicken souvlaki comprised two skewers of grilled chicken on a rather sad and limp salad. The chicken was quite tasty.

The Greek salad was cucumber, tomato, pepper, onion, olives and feta cheese.

The olives hadn’t been stoned, and the feta cheese was rather bland and lacked flavour.

Overall the meal was just okay, nothing special and nothing outstanding. Compared to the previous meal I had at the Cranside Kitchen it was a little disappointing.

Confusing Fried Chicken

I wasn’t really intending to get lunch out, but I was walking through the St Nicholas market in Bristol and did feel a little peckish. It was quite late during the lunchtime period, so I could see some places were low on stuff. I did think about having something to eat at the Spanish place, La Lola, but in the end thought to myself I would have something I hadn’t eaten before. Across from La Lola is Woky Ko.

Located at the heart of Bristol’s historic St. Nicks Market is our lunch spot offering quick and tasty lunch boxes designed by you, made the Woky Way. Here you will find us serving out the BEST chicken Katsu curry or Korean fried cauliflower with noodles or rice. 

I have been tempted before, but this was my first visit. I do think it is an interesting perspective with Korean fried chicken served with a choice of either Japanese Katsu sauce or Thai red curry sauce.

This is three different kinds of Asian cuisine, which to be honest I am not sure actually works. I would like to have a Korean BBQ sauce with my chicken, but that wasn’t available. Is this fusion cooking, I didn’t think so. I did fancy the Thai red curry, but they had run out, so I went with the Katsu.

The fried chicken was served on rice covered in the sauce with some salad on the side.

The chicken was nice and crispy, the sauce was quite tasty. I did enjoy the dish, but I don’t think it would be something I would have again.

Time for a Buttermilk Chicken Burger

I was staying at the Doubletree Hilton in Ealing and was eating in the hotel restaurant.

I had initially decided that I wouldn’t have a burger, as I have eaten quite a few burgers recently. However I haven’t had a chicken burger for some time. Reading the description, fried butter milk chicken burger with red-hot sauce, blue cheese sauce, pickled cabbage slaw, lettuce, mayonnaise, tomato, pretzel bun, I wasn’t sure I was going to like that.

I did think about modifying the burger and getting rid of the sauces, but in the end I went with what was described. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I do like to try new things and see how they taste.

It arrived and it did look quite good.

Time for a Buttermilk Chicken Burger

The pretzel roll was a nice change from the brioche roll which seems to have become the standard across gourmet burgers these days.

The chicken was nice though it wasn’t as crispy (or crunchy) as I would like. The sauces I thought might be overpowering actually weren’t.

The accompanying chips were crisp and tasty.

Pollo Cacciatore at Bella Italia

I was out for a meal at Bella Italia at Cribbs Causeway. It’s being a while since I was last here, but I do remember have an excellent meal here back in June 2021. I did notice that Bella Italia at Cabot Circus which has been closed for a while, is now going to be a Bao Burger. I found that branch lacked character and atmosphere, whereas the Cribbs Causeway branch has a little more character and charm. They’ve updated it over the years and though at some time it had a classic Italian trattoria feel to it, today it is slightly more of a Italian inspired funky look.

We had booked, which having arrive, made sense, as the place was rather full. We were given a friendly welcome and we were shown to our table.

I looked over the menu. I didn’t think it was as interesting as it was back in June 2021, but there were some dishes I did like the sound of.  In the end I went with the set menu, and I had a starter of Mushroom Crostini, which I enjoyed.

For my main I did initially think about having their new(ish) Pinsa Pizza.

With a bigger, thicker, crispier base, this traditional premium Italian Pinsa is hard to beat

I suspect if they had a white base pizza with mushroom and truffle then I would have gone for that. In the end I decided I would go with a pasta dish and I chose the Pollo Cacciatore – Roast chicken, pancetta, chestnut mushrooms and red onions tossed with pappardelle pasta in a white wine and tomato sauce. I did look at the image on the online menu and liked the look of the dish.

The dish which arrived didn’t quite look like the picture on the online menu!

This is what I received.

This is what the online version looked like.

Having said that the pappardelle pasta was cooked well, and I liked the mushrooms and red onion in the dish. I could have quite easily lost the chicken though. The sauce was tasty and I had some extra parmesan added which enhanced the dish.

For dessert I had the Tiramisu.

Overall I did enjoy my food and I enjoyed all three dishes I had from the set menu. I think after having such an excellent meal back in June 2021, I was a little disappointed. I think that it didn’t help that the dishes I received on my table didn’t reflect what was on the menu. Maybe they shouldn’t publish photographs of the dishes on the website. I probably will visit again at some time.

Back to the Bento Box

If you are a regular visitor to the blog then you will know I am a fan of the bento box from She Sells Sushi, one of the regular stalls at Finzel Reach (and Temple Quay) street food markets.

On a recent visit to Finzel Reach, it was raining, so the queues were shorter, but hey ho, I really did fancy a bento box for my lunch.

The last bento box I had from She Sells Sushi I had decided against the hirata bun and had some delicious Takoyaki. The reason was, way back in April I had eaten a panko crumbed Katsu chicken hirata bun.

I have to say I was a little disappointed. I found the chicken rather dry and lacking flavour. Compared to the tempura chicken hirata bun, the Finzel Flapper I’ve had in the past, this new version of the hirata bun was nowhere near as nice. I think if I order again I will go for the Takoyaki instead.

Which on my next visit I did.

This time though they had a different kind of chicken, so why not. So I ordered a bento box with the chicken hirata bun and my usual beef donburi.

The beef was as usual, excellent. It is tasty tender beef rib on a bed of sushi rice and served with pickle and spring onions.

The chicken hirata bun was also really good, though it was slightly “drowned” in accompaniments.

It was delicious, yes back on form and something I would order again.

A lovely box of food, which I really enjoyed.

Coopers Sandwich

I generally don’t do sandwiches when buying lunch. Mainly as I can easily make sandwiches myself. However I have been known now and again to get a sandwich.

Up in London I and a colleague headed off to Coopers for a sandwich. Despite going regularly going out for lunch in this area of London, I hadn’t tried Coopers before. Here you can choose the bread and filling. I went for a baguette filled with a breaded chicken escalope and salad. You can decide if you want butter or not, mayonnaise or not, and so on.

It was a lovely fresh sandwich and I really enjoyed it.

Dinner at the Spencer

I was over in Dublin for an event and was staying at The Spencer Hotel. A dinner was planned in the restaurant and I was intrigued to see what we would be having. What was nice, was that we could choose from a menu of options.

For my starter I went with the Chicken Caesar Salad. This was crisp baby gem leaves, smoked bacon, crunchy croutons, poached chicken breast, parmesan shavings with classic caesar dressing. It was a nice caesar salad, though the chicken was a little bland. I think if I was cooking it, I would probably have served it with hot chicken, probably griddled, rather than poached. 

For my main course I had the Ribeye Steak with chips. There was a delay in getting my food out, compared to the rest of the group, as there had been a mess up in the ordering (or I suspect someone else decided to have my steak instead of their sea bass, probably forgot what they ordered! When it did arrive, the steak was cooked well and I enjoyed it. I did think they had cooked the steak in an interesting way. It was medium-rare, as requested, but the outside was well cooked, a little too much for my liking. Having said that I did like the dish.

Desert was a trio of desserts, and they were nothing to write home about, so I won’t.

Overall it was a nice meal.

Citrus Brazilian BBQ chicken

This was one of those impulse buys from the supermarket, I was in Aldi and they had in their middle aisle deals some sachets of Schwartz Citrus Brazilian BBQ seasoning.

I got some skinless and boneless chicken thighs, these I then cut in half, trying to make the halves equal in size and weight, so they cook evenly.

I added a splash of sunflower oil to the chicken pieces and coated them. I then added Schwartz Citrus Brazilian BBQ seasoning.

In a hot frying pan, add a little sunflower oil.

Then add the chicken pieces.

I add some greaseproof paper on top of the chicken as it is pan fried to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked.

Chargrilled lemon chicken

Chargrilled lemon chicken

I cook this recipe quite regularly in our house. It is a quick and easy method for tasty, tender, moist chicken.

I take some skinless and boneless chicken thighs, these I cut in half, trying to make the halves equal in size and weight.

I then add a splash of sunflower oil to the chicken pieces and coat them evenly.

I then add some Schwartz Pepper and Garlic Chargrilled Chicken Seasoning.

Schwartz Pepper and Garlic Chargrilled Chicken Seasoning is expertly blended with pepper, garlic and parsley to add a deep, rich and delicious flavour to your chicken dishes.

I then add the zest and juice of a lemon. Add salt if required.

The chicken is then cooked in my griddle plan.

I heat the pan, and when it is hot I then place the chicken into it.

I add some greaseproof paper on top of the chicken as it is chargrilled to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked.

Once the chicken is cooked on one side, I turn it over and cook from the other side.

Serve with salad.

Gluten Free Chicken Strips

This was an attempt to create crispy buttermilk chicken strips.

I took some skinless chicken thigh meat and cut it into chunky strips.

I then coated them in, well I wanted to use buttermlik, but I didn’t have any buttermilk, so I used some crème fraîche. The mix was then left for thirty minutes.

The chicken strips were then coated in a seasoned gluten free flour and deep fried.

Overall, thought they were tasty, I didn’t quite get the effect I was trying to achieve. I think next time I should actually use buttermilk.