Time for a Mixed Grill

The Landing Light is a Marston pub. Though very close to where we live I think I have been there only once before a meal, and even then I am not sure I actually have. So I was looking forward to going there when we went there for a birthday meal. The Landing Light is not an old pub, it opened ten years ago, it has a modern retro feel to it.

I looked over the menu and there were lots of things I liked the sound of. I decided I would have the mixed grill. This was a 4oz rump steak, a 6oz gammon steak, a pork chop, a lamb chop, a pork sausage with a fried free-range egg.

It took a while for the food to arrive, and my mixed grill was a large plate of food. Alongside all the meat, the plate came with chips, grilled tomato, mushroom and a green leaf garnish.

The meat was cooked well, the steak was delicious. Nice char but pink inside. I liked the lamb chop and the gammon. I wasn’t that impressed with the sausage, and the pork chop was less of a chop and more of a loin steak.

I did enjoy the plate of food and would certainly visit the Landing Light again.

Slow slow dinner

We had a team dinner at The River Station in Bristol. I was quite looking forward to the meal, as I have never eaten there before. It’s a lovely venue and we were given a warm welcome.

We had chosen our menu choices well before we sat down for dinner. I am not a fan of that, as what I like the look of when I am choosing from a menu, may not necessarily what I want to eat on the actual day of the dinner. 

After sitting down we had to wait a while for our food to arrive. For my starter I had harissa glazed carrots, roasted pears, beetroot hummus and watercress.

harissa glazed carrots, roasted pears, beetroot hummus and watercress

I liked this dish, though I thought the watercress spoiled the look of the plate of food. The carrots had bite and the harissa added a nice element of spice. The hummus was tasty. I couldn’t taste the pears! I am not even sure there were any pears.

There was quite a delay before the main course arrived, I had the chicken supreme, sautéed Cornish new potatoes, roasted romanesco cauliflower, truffle cream and salsa verde.

chicken supreme, sautéed Cornish new potatoes, roasted romanesco cauliflower, truffle cream and salsa verde

The chicken was cooked well and I liked the sauce and the potatoes.  Though I had no romanesco cauliflower, just plain old regular cauliflower.

Due to the lengthy delays in getting our food, I ran out of time and left before the dessert arrived. I had ordered the  apple, fig and chestnut crumble, with a lemon thyme custard. Sounded interesting, but wasn’t that disappointed I never got a chance to try it.

I did enjoy the food, but the long service was a little disappointing.

Time for a Soho ’65

Staying in Loughborough and having had an interesting meal at the Harvester previously in Loughborough close to the hotel, I decided I didn’t want to make a return visit there and headed to the centre of Loughborough to see what was around.

After walking around for a while I decided I would have pizza at Pizza Express. It had been a while since I had been to Pizza Express. They had a new addition to their menu, the Soho ’65.

A slice of our heritage – tomato with garlic, fresh buffalo mozzarella, olives, rocket and shaved Gran Milano cheesSe.

So I ordered the Soho ’65 and a side order of halloumi bites. It wasn’t too long before my food arrived.

This is a rather simple, but tasty pizza. It’s also a square pizza. 

I think they forgot to add the shaved Gran Milano cheese, this I didn’t notice at the time. However I did enjoy the pizza and did like the combination of fresh mozzarella, olives, and rocket. The base was baked well and was crisp on the outside, soft in the middle, and tasty.

Alongside (as I had a free side in the app) I had a portion of halloumi bites, this was crispy coated halloumi with Italian tomato dip and parsley.

Didn’t think much of these, the halloumi was okay, but I didn’t like the tomato dip. I think as it was (probably) from a jar and didn’t taste very fresh.

I did enjoy my meal and the service was excellent.

Ultimate Grill

When staying away I sometimes go out to eat and sometimes eat in the hotel. If it is a place like Drayton Court where the bar and restaurant are quite busy, then the place has atmosphere, making it a nice place to eat. Sometimes though the hotel restaurant can be empty, cold, and uninviting. This was certainly the case when staying at the Link Hotel in Loughborough. The restaurant was empty. I was charging my car, so looked locally for a place to eat, next door was a Harvester. Now I have never been to a Harvester before, so this was going to be an interesting experience.

Compared to the hotel this restaurant was bustling and busy. They however found me a table and I sat down and looked over the menu.

I wasn’t sure what to have, but looked over the different dishes. I was feeling quite hungry, so I decided to be greedy and went with the Ultimate Mixed Grill.

This was a quarter portion of rotisserie chicken, 8oz rump steak, a half rack of BBQ-glazed ribs, 7oz gammon, two pork sausages, two fried free-range eggs and two black pudding slices, chips, garden peas, tomato and onion rings.

I will be honest this was one big plate of food, and I thought I had made a mistake in ordering it.

I did make a visit to the salad bar, for my free salad bowl. I didn’t get a huge salad, as I knew I was getting a lot of food with the grill. There was a lot in there and I quite liked what I ate. Most of it was nice. The chicken was a little dry, but I have found that  rotisserie chicken can be quite dry anyhow. The gammon was nice, as was the steak. The BBQ-glazed ribs were very tender and the meat fell off the bones. Wasn’t that enamoured with the sausages, and though I like black pudding, I felt that it wasn’t needed on the plate. I liked the addition of the chips and onion rings, the chips were cooked, and I enjoyed the three crispy battered onion rings.

In the end I did eat a lot, but I didn’t finish the plate. It was an interesting experience, and I did like the food, but I am not sure I would order that dish again, it was way too much food.

Would I visit a Harvester again, not sure. If I didn’t have anywhere else to go, and the only other choice was an empty hotel restaurant, then I think I would go back to the Harvester.

Sasi’s Thai

When in Oxford, I usually visit the Covered Market and have a delicious plate of Thai food from Sasi’s Thai. 

My first experience of Sasi’s Thai was back in 2013 when I started working in Oxford and would go out for lunch. It was one of the many food outlets in the market and always served excellent delicious food. Even after I changed jobs, and stopped working in Oxford, if I was back in Oxford (or even passing through) I would stop for lunch and seek out Sasi’s Thai for some spicy food.

This was the case back in March 2023, when after a meeting elsewhere in Oxfordshire, I was on my way to another location, so stopped off in Oxford for lunch. I made my way to Sasi’s Thai and though it was busy, I joined the queue. I had the two choices with rice, and had the Crispy Pork with Basil  and the Chicken and Cashew Nuts. 

The crispy pork was nice and tasty.

The chicken and cashew nuts was also tasty. I did feel the chicken could have done with some more cashew nuts.

These are two dishes I would regularly have at Sasi’s Thai. Both dishes were delicious, quite spicy. The food was just as good as I remembered. 

Rustica Black Truffle Salami & Mushroom Pizza

Bristol has a fair number of restaurants and places to eat. Cabot Circus has a fair few high street chains. One of my regular places is Zizzi, usually as I have some kind of offer.

This time I decided to use a Zizzi 25% offer I had received, combined with an existing balance on my Zizzi eGift card, though I could get a cheaper lunch.

I was given a warm welcome and pretty much allowed to choose where to sit. I took a table and looked over the menu. I went with the Rustica Black Truffle Salami & Mushroom.

A white base with truffle salami, mushrooms, crispy prosciutto, Fior di Latte mozzarella, riserva cheese, truffle-infused oil and crispy sage.

Pizza

The Rustica was thin and crispy. I do like white bases and this was excellent. I thought it was a good amount of toppings, not scarce, but also not overdone.

In the end there was a problem with the Zizzi eGift card, so lunch was not as cheap as I hoped it would be. However it was a nice pizza.

We’ve run out…

I was back in London and staying at the Drayton Court Hotel in Ealing. I have been staying here for a fair few years now. It is significantly cheaper than central London, and with the Elizabeth Line, hitting central London is really fast. West Ealing Station is a few minutes walk from the hotel, from there you can catch a train to central London in less than twenty minutes. Downstairs is a bar with an extensive menu, that changes on a regular basis. They do a fantastic Sunday lunch,  and you also can get freshly cooked wood fired pizza as well.

Going down for dinner to eat. I decided I would have the whitebait and the pork belly. However, they had run out of pork belly. So, I decided to abandon the whitebait, and go with just the ribeye steak instead. This was Owton’s 8oz rib eye steak with triple-cooked chips, grilled tomato, baked field mushroom and peppercorn sauce.

The steak arrived, it was dressed with the grilled tomato, baked field mushroom, and some rocket. The chips came in a small metal bucket, and the peppercorn sauce was served in a miniature saucepan.

steak

The steak was cooked well but needed extra seasoning. The chips were crisp, with a fluffy centre. I also enjoyed the tomato and mushroom. I am not really a fan of peppercorn sauce, but this was nice and peppery.

Overall it was a good plate of food and one of the better steaks I have had at Drayton Court.

Half and Half

One memory I have of my time at the University of York in the 1980s was going out to eat at Pizza Hut one time and sharing a pizza with a friend and having a half and half. One half had one topping, the other half had a different topping. This was something I had never done before. I am not saying I’ve done it much since then either. Why the memory, well I recently had a half and half pizza at Zizzi in Bristol. This one though I ate all to myself.

I don’t generally go out for lunch in Bristol when I am working there. Usually I will take a packed lunch, sometimes I have a substantial lunch, as I know I am in busy in the evening and will only be getting a sandwich or a snack.

Went to Zizzi for lunch as I had a gift voucher to use. I did fancy a pizza so I went with the half and half. I chose the Rustica Half & Half Sticky Pig.

This was a slow-cooked pulled pork and mozzarella pizza with Roquito hot honey. One half, a rich red base topped with spicy ‘nduja, finished with crispy prosciutto and riserva cheese. The other, a white base, with smoky scamorza cheese, crumbled meatballs, crackling & Roquito pearls.

The halves weren’t exactly equal, so I am glad I wasn’t sharing. The rich red base was bigger than the white base. I would have preferred to have it the other way around, or at least equal halves.

The red side was very tasty, quite spicy with the ‘nduja. I keep meaning to buy some ‘nduja and cook with it. Not sure what I would cook with it, but when I have it in food I have out, I quite like it.

The white side was equally tasty. I enjoyed the smoky scamorza cheese and crumbled meatballs. I did wonder if the crackling would be too hard, but it wasn’t, it was nice and crispy rather than crunchy. I am not a great fan of the Roquito pearls, but they added colour and some spice to the pizza.

I enjoyed my pizza. It was a nice place to have lunch, not too busy, but not so empty as to be desolate. Service was friendly and efficient.

Time for a steak

HDR photo of a pub

I have enjoyed the meals I have had at the Fullers’ hotels I have stayed at, Drayton Court, and the Fox and Goose. I was recently back in London and I chose to stay at The Queen’s Head in Kingston, which is another Fullers’ hotel. Smaller, and more like a pub with rooms, I found it a lovely place to stay. The staff were warm, friendly and welcoming. I liked the bar area, which felt nostalgic, but still smart and tidy. I liked the wooden furniture and fittings.

The room I had was nice, it certainly had character. It had very tall ceilings and all the furniture you would expect in a hotel room and then some. I liked how it had an Nespresso machine and a fridge. Drayton Court had a Nespresso machine, but no fridge, whilst the Fox and Goose had a fridge, but didn’t have a coffee machine. I was pleased with my choice.

I went downstairs to the bar to eat, there was a similar menu available to the other Fullers’ hotels. I had enjoyed my meal the previous evening.  This time, well on the online menu they had roasted fillet of Owton’s beef with braised ox cheek coated in herb crumb, black garlic, brown butter celeriac purée, spinach and beef dripping emulsified sauce; so, I was going to have that.  However, on the menu at the bar they didn’t have that, instead for the beef choices, they had a sirloin steak and a cote de boeuf. So, I had the sirloin steak for my dinner.

This was a large sirloin steak with the bone in, rocket salad, grilled field mushroom, tomato, and on a separate plate a portion of chips. There was also a small jug of béarnaise sauce.

steak and chips

The steak was just okay, I kind of hoped it would be better, but it was just okay. The chips and other accompaniments were nice. I wasn’t a fan of the béarnaise sauce, I stuck with my mayonnaise for my chips.

I have had some excellent food at the different Fullers’ hotels I have stayed at. This meal was, well just okay.

Mushroom Tagliatelle

I was in Norwich for a workshop and staying at The Georgian Townhouse on Unthank Road close to the city centre. It is a really nice hotel, part of small chain of boutique hotels with three hotels in Norfolk, one in Mumbles, Wales, and one in London. The rooms are a real nice mix of modern and old. 

I went down to the restaurant, which has all the character of a lovely old pub, I had eaten a nice plate of food the day before, so was looking forward to my second visit to the restaurant. 

I had enjoyed my starter, the pan-fried scallop and crispy pork belly, which was delicious.

For my main I went with the garlic roasted Portobello mushroom tagliatelle with a creamy plant based mushroom and truffle sauce, pumpkin seed pangratatta. I had been tempted by the Pumpkin ravioli, sage butter, roasted pumpkins, sautéed wild mushroom, crispy shallot & pumpkin seeds, however I didn’t want to have pasta for my starter and my main course. I did think about asking if they would do it as a main, but I didn’t want to make a fuss.

Whilst writing this I checked and I saw on the menu of one of the other hotels in the chain, they do offer the pumpkin ravioli as a main option as well as a starter. Maybe I need to stay there next time!

Though I went with the Portobello mushroom tagliatelle, I was a little concerned, as in Leamington Spa I once had a mushroom pasta dish which I wasn’t enamoured with, actually disliked it entirely, sent it back in the end. So, I wasn’t 100% sure that this was going to be the best choice for my dinner. However I do like mushroom pasta, and I think the Leamington Spa experience was just a one off bad experience. I had a little trepidation as I awaited my dish. Having had an excellent starter though, I did have quite high expectations. The pasta dish arrived, and it looked delicious.

bowl of pasta

The pasta was cooked well, and the mushrooms were tasty. I did think the sauce needed a more powerful punch of truffle in there, but it was nice. I liked the pumpkin seed pangratatta which gave some nice crunch to the dish. I enjoyed the dish.