Pan Roasted Lamb Rump

I was up in Birmingham for a roundtable event and staying at the Edgbaston Park  Hotel which is on the University of Birmingham campus. This is a modern conference hotel with a restaurant and a bar, as well as meeting rooms.

I had the scotch duck egg royale for my starter. For my main course I had the pan roasted lamb rump, aubergine purée, glazed shallots, potato purée, mint jus.

On the plate was the jus, then some potato purée onto which was placed two thick slices of rare pan roasted lamb rump. Also on the plate was two spoons of aubergine purée, a glazed shallot, and a broccoli floret. Finally the dish was dressed with some mixed leaves as a garnish.

The lamb was very tender, but was under seasoned. I rarely if ever add salt to my food, this lamb needed some salt. I did though enjoy all the other aspects of the dish. The potato purée was lovely and smooth, the aubergine purée was quite tasty. Not sure the mixed leaves garnish added anything.

I liked this dish, but it needed more seasoning. I had asked for my lamb to be cooked rare. I am not sure in the future I will ask for this kind of dish to be rare, I enjoyed the lamb, but think it needed a little more cooking time for me. Next time I will ask for it to be cooked medium.

I didn’t have dessert, though was tempted by the cheese and biscuits.

I knew that

I have always enjoyed the Kurdish wraps from Matina in the St Nicholas market in Bristol. The star of the show is the freshly baked flat bread, but the salads and pickles that you get in that bread are also really tasty.

I tried my own version of the wrap. Not an identical copy, one that was inspired by the Matin wrap.

lamb kebab

I made some red cabbage slaw, this was thinly sliced red cabbage dressed with white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. This I made about thirty minutes in advance.

I also did some pickled red onion. In a pan I heated some vinegar, added salt, sugar and pepper and then added some sliced red onion. I kept it on the heat for a minute or so, then took it off the heat.

I took some Middle Eastern laffa bread from Waitrose, these are handstretched flatbreads from The Levantine Table range.

I spread some hummus, tzatziki, on the flatbread. I added some shredded romaine lettuce heart and sliced cucumber.

The lamb was some boned leg, which I had cubed and seasoned with rosemary, salt, and pepper. I chargrilled the lamb on my griddle. The cooked lamb was added to the flat bread, and I finished off the dish with the red cabbage slaw and the pickled red onion. The lamb was really tender and tasty.

Though I really enjoyed this meal, it wasn’t as good as those from Matina, but then I knew that.

Scarsdale’s shoulder of South Coast lamb

Scarsdale's shoulder of South Coast lamb

I was in London and staying at The Fox and Goose close to Hangar Lane. The restaurant is in the older part of the hotel, as the hotel part is now a new build at the back. 

The menu changes every so often, and they always seem to have a range of choices, that means it can be difficult to choose what to have.

One thing that I did like the sound of, which I hadn’t seen before was the Scarsdale’s shoulder of South Coast lamb, served with a rosemary potato rösti, sautéed kale, red currant gravy.

It was one of the more expensive items on the menu, but I did like the sound of it, so I ordered it.

It did look quite impressive, this was a big portion of lamb shoulder.

However I will be honest I was a little disappointed, I wonder if that was because I had quite high expectations. The lamb was lovely and tender and did have a lot of flavour. However, though it had been slow cooked, it was obviously reheated for my plate. I think it could have done with a little more caramelisation, which would have added more flavour.

The rosemary potato rösti was also disappointing, it was packed with flavour, but it needed to be more crispy. It was quite soft. I did enjoy the kale and the gravy was nice.

Though it wasn’t perfect, it was nice, however I don’t think if it was on the menu again I would order it.

Time for a sandwich, well a nice sandwich

Portwall Tavern

Went out for a walk at lunchtime. I did consider Low N Slow at St Nick’s market, but the brisket wasn’t looking that good today, it looked excellent last week. I then went to the Finzel Reach street food market. I did consider getting lunch from She Sells Sushi, but I’ve had that quite a lot recently, so thought no. 

I had a look at La Panza next to the office, which has a £10 lunch deal. I was very tempted, but disappointed to find out that the deal had only one choice of pasta, which was a cheesy broccoli bucatini pasta, which I didn’t really fancy. I had hoped they would have a choice of pasta, but they only had a pasta of the day.

I then remembered I had enjoyed a sandwich dish from the Portwall Tavern, so went there and had the pulled lamb ciabatta with potato wedges. 

The last time I visited the Tavern I had swapped the wedges for skin-on fries, this time I didn’t. That was because last time the wedges had looked so good.

This was a substantial open sandwich. There was a slice of ciabatta with salad and a good sized portion of the slow cooked (pulled) lamb. The lamb was garnished with some mint yoghurt.

I don’t normally do sandwiches, but this wasn’t a sandwich, this was quite a substantial meal. The lamb was full of flavour, very tender, and tasty.

I enjoyed the sandwich. Generally I don’t do sandwiches.

Mixed Grill at the Gardens

Entrance to a hotel

We were on holiday at the Cerro Mar Gardens in Albufeira in Portugal we made a couple of visits to the hotel restaurant. On my first visit I had an excellent swordfish dish.

On our second visit, I was tempted by the cataplana, but it was for two, and everyone else was choosing different dishes. I even considered just having the cataplana to myself.

Cataplana is a traditional Algarvian dish cooked in a special copper pot of the same name. The ingredients typically include onion, red and green peppers, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, tarragon, parsley, white wine, and a variety of meat or seafood, such as cubed pork, chouriço sausage, chicken, fish, prawns, clams, or other shellfish.

In the end I went with the mixed grill. This was steak, lamb, chicken, sausage, and two kinds of pork. It was served with fries and a tiny salad.

I thought the swordfish was excellent, this dish, not so much. I was rather disappointed. Maybe it was too simple, but the cuts of meat were rather thin and were overcooked and slightly dry. I would like to have had more salad. The fries were okay. That really though sums up the whole dish, it was okay, nothing special.

I wish now I had ordered the cataplana.

Why the slice of orange?

I was staying in York and was thinking about where to eat. I had seen La Terrazzina when out walking on previous evenings and I had been intrigued by the menu.

They describe themselves as

Welcome to La Terrazzina, the best Italian, Mediterranean & Asian restaurant in York! Our restaurant offers a unique and exciting dining experience that combines the flavors and aromas of Italian, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisine.

This was intriguing.

So I walked from my hotel down to the restaurant and I went to read the menu outside, at which point one of the waiting staff came outside and invited me in. This is something that I had seen in Portugal, Spain, and other places where I had been on holiday, not something I have seen very often in the UK. As I was pretty much made up in my mind that I was going to eat there, I went in and sat down.

One of the reasons I liked the idea of eating here was they had rack of lamb on the menu, so I was pretty much happy to order that.

I was given some bread and butter, which I had to return as the butter had mould on it. Well it looked like mould. It was replaced with some fresh bread and butter.

My lamb arrived.

This wasn’t though a rack of lamb, these were grilled lamb cutlets.  The lamb came with vegetables and potatoes, gravy, and a slice of orange. Not sure what the orange was about. I’ve had orange with duck, but never with lamb! The vegetables were al dente, and it was a good sized portion.

The lamb was cooked, slightly overdone for me. I think I would have preferred a “proper” rack of lamb that had been browned in a pan and then finished off by being roasted in the oven. Then carved into cutlets. The other option would have been to describe the dish as lamb cutlets.

Overall it was a nice dish.

Service was attentive and polite. The place doesn’t have an alcohol licence, but there is a Sainsburys Local next door, so you can pop there for wine or beer.

Still not sure about the orange slice.

Dining in Cambridge

I was in Cambridge for a conference and arriving the day before looked for a place to eat. There is a wide choice, but having enjoyed my recent meals at Côte in Ealing I ended up at Côte wanting to try some things out I had seen on the menu before.

For my starter I went with the steak tartare, hand-cut raw beef, cornichons, mustard dressing, toasted sourdough baguette.

I’ve not had tartare before, but not sure that was this the best introduction to the dish. I felt it was both under seasoned and overpowered by the vinegar in the dressing. Though, as I’ve not had tartare before I couldn’t really tell you if this was “normal” or not.

For my main course I had the roasted lamb rump with ratatouille, harissa, tapenade and basil.

The lamb was done rare, and though I quite like it like this, I felt that the lamb needed a couple more minutes cooking time. The ratatouille was nice addition.

Despite some reservations, I did enjoy the food. Along with my meal I went with a basket of bread and butter.

The service was efficient and friendly.

Lamb Kofta Starter

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

I decided to go for a starter, choosing the lamb kofta, which was served with mint yoghurt and pomegranate.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised with the dish and how the food was presented. I did enjoy the lamb and it was an interesting mix of tastes, textures, warm and cold. If I get the chance I think I would order it again.

Pan-roasted lamb at the Fox and Goose

I was in London and staying at the Fox and Goose close to Hangar Lane. This is a Fullers Hotel and is part of the same chain at Drayton Court, which I have stayed at for a few times now. When I was staying at the Drayton Court Hotel I had some excellent meals. The Fox and Goose had a slightly different menu than the Drayton Court, but there were similarities. 

Looking over the menu there was a lamb dish, pan-roasted Dorset texel rack of lamb with pine nut pesto crust, Jersey Royal potatoes, crushed minted peas and anchovy & caper butter.

I did like the sound of that, so I ordered it.

pan-roasted Dorset texel rack of lamb with pine nut pesto crust, Jersey Royal potatoes, crushed minted peas and anchovy & caper butter

The dish a bit of a mix of good and not so good. The lamb was lovely and tender and had a great flavour. I wasn’t enamoured with the pine nut pesto crust, which I think could have had a stronger flavour and a firmer crust. I enjoyed the Jersey Royal potatoes and the peas. I wasn’t sure about the anchovy & caper butter, I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not.

Overall it was a nice dish and I enjoyed it. It’s not the best lamb dish I have had, but it was a good plate of food.

Barbecued Lamb

Last August I barbecued some joints of lamb on my barbacue.

Cooking joints of meat on a barbecue is not a simple process, you can have undercooked or raw on the inside and burnt and charred on the outside.

I used this process to cook two different kinds of lamb joint. I had a mini lamb shoulder and a boned half leg of lamb.

The first thing I did was to prepare the lamb by seasoning with salt and pepper and then marinating with rosemary, and some olive oil.

Though you can cook these kinds of joint directly on the barbecue, it can be quite challenging to ensure that the lamb is properly cooked, through, without burning or overcooking the outside. Part of the issue is that it is difficult to control the temperature of the barbecue unlike a normal grill. The key process is to recreate some aspects of a “normal” oven as opposed to the usual way of using a barbecue as a grill.

After the coals have reached cooking temperature, move them to the sides of the barbecue, so that when the lamb is placed on the grill, it is not over direct heat.

The lamb was then covered, I used a wok lid, but this is where a kettle barbecue comes into its own.

The end result was a properly cooked lamb, which was moist and succulent and full of flavour.