Well, what can I say?

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel I had had some excellent meals, delicious food, well presented and very tasty.

So when I ordered a starter of Sweet Vietnamese Chicken Wings I had quite high expectations.

The bowl arrived promptly and I did think they looked good.

These were crunchy coated chicken wings in a sweet chilli sauce dressed with sesame seeds.

However, I was in the end quite disappointed. They weren’t quite what I was expecting. They tasted overcooked and as you might expect the sweet chilli sauce was a little overpowering. There wasn’t too much of a crunch either. Whereas with most meals I’ve at Drayton Court Hotel I would order them again, the chicken wings, I wouldn’t.

Nice to be back

The Coffee Dispensary

I was in Cheltenham and had some time for a coffee. Wondering where to go I saw The Coffee Dispensary. I had been there in August 2019 and had a great macchiato back then (but didn’t blog about it). There is a nice calm environment, and they have seating inside and outside. As well as coffee they have a range of cakes and do sandwiches at lunchtime. I was a given a warm friendly welcome I ordered a flat white and took a seat. My flat white was brought over promptly. 

flat white

It was well made and a good coffee. Nice to be back.

Pan-Roasted Cornish Hake

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel overnight I had a meal. I went down to eat, planning to have the roasted belly of pork, only to find that they had changed the menu overnight!

So in the end, I chose the pan-roasted Cornish hake with St Austell Bay mussel velouté and sea vegetables.

pan-roasted Cornish hake with St Austell Bay mussel velouté and sea vegetables

The dish looked fantastic, a nice piece of fish on a bed of vegetables and there were a number of mussels in the velouté.

The fish was well cooked and the sea vegetables added different tastes and texture to the dish. The velouté was smooth and creamy. I only wish I had a spoon to finish it off.

Though I think the dish was as nice as it was, I think some bread would have been a nice accompaniment. If I was cooking it at home I might have served it with some creamy mashed potato.

Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza

I have had the Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza before, which apart from the chilli I had enjoyed. On a visit to Bella Italia for my birthday back in April I decided to have the pizza again. The Salsiccia Broccoli Pizza comes with basilicata sausage, tenderstem broccoli, red chilli & garlic topped with mozzarella and pecorino cheese on a creamy mascarpone base with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

I did enjoy the white base, and toppings. I did this time remove most of the chillis.

Steak and Chips

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel another night I had another meal.

This time I went for the steak and chips. This was described on the menu as Owton’s dry-aged 12oz sirloin steak on the bone, triple cooked chips, watercress & pickled shallot salad, peppercorn sauce.

I didn’t read the menu properly, so didn’t realise that this was steak on the bone. I asked for it rare, mainly that I find too often steaks are over-cooked, however this steak was cooked rare. It was a nice steak and I enjoyed the peppercorn sauce as well.

I am not a fan of triple cooked chips, it feels like they are overcooked, but these were okay. They were nice and crispy and did taste of potato. The salad garnish was simple, but rather good.

Overall it was a nice plate of food, but I do feel it could have been better.

Crispy Duck Leg Cassoulet

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel having had a great starter for my evening meal, it was then onto the main course.

I had ordered the Crispy Gressingham duck leg, which was served with a bacon, sausage and bean cassoulet.

It was supposed to come with a parsley crumb I think, but there was crispy kale instead.

I had had a really nice duck cassoulet at Côte Brasserie at the end of last year, so it wasn’t too surprising that I compared the two dishes as I tucked into the cassoulet from the Drayton Court Hotel. The duck was tender, but I do think the skin onto could have been crispier. The cassoulet though was rather good, filled with bacon, sausages and beans. I also enjoyed the crispy kale that garnished the dish. 

Overall I think both dishes were great, I preferred the duck at Côte, and it was difficult to choose between the cassoulets, but Drayton Court had the edge.

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel I did quite fancy a starter with my evening meal. The menu talks about bar snacks, rather than starters. However one item on the menu caught my eye, which was fish tacos with mango salsa. I liked the idea of that so I ordered it.

The dish arrived promptly. It comprised three tacos, each was served with a piece of fish in a crunchy coating, shredded lettuce, mayo and the aforementioned mango salsa.

The fish was nice, full of flavour, the mango salsa was nice as well. The actual tacos though were a little dry and tough, as though they spent too long hanging around. I would have preferred mine to be warm and soft, rather than dry and hard. Having said that I would order them again.

Good food, not so good service

We visit Wagamama quite a bit compared to other places, however we have never been to the branch at Cabot Circus. It was a bank holiday and the place was busy and we had to queue (as you can’t book tables at Wagamama).

We were kept informed about the wait, I think partly to put people off, but we continued to wait. Eventually we were shown to a table and we looked over the menu.

I did consider having the shu’s ‘shiok’ chicken which when I went to Wagamama in Manchester was off the menu. I also thought about the spicy miso mackerel kokoro bowl. In the end I decided I would have a katsu curry. I chose the vegan yasai katsu curry. This was aromatic katsu curry sauce, vegetables in crispy panko breadcrumbs, sticky white rice, side salad, japanese pickles.

The vegetables were aubergine, sweet potato and butternut squash. I did think that usually I would have gone with the chicken katsu, but I what I wanted from the dish was the curry sauce, the rice and the texture of the crispy panko. The chicken wasn’t necessary and I liked the idea of different vegetables.

I did enjoy the dish, though I wasn’t enamoured with the curry sauce, maybe I should have gone with the hot spicy version. The panko vegetables were very nice, I liked the crunch and you could taste the vegetables.

To accompany the curry I had a Singha beer, which was nice and fresh. I would have preferred the beer to be colder though.

As for the service, I was less than impressed. I know at Wagamama the food arrives when it is ready, so dishes won’t be served together. Normally I am alright with this, but this time the first two dishes arrived quite quickly, the other two took much longer to be served. By the time the final dish arrived, we had nearly finished our food. We ordered some more drinks, and they spent a lot of time on the bar, before they were brought to the table. There appeared to be a fair few staff. I think part of the issue was they were being inundated with online takeaway orders which was swamping the kitchen.

So good food, not so good service.

Great donburi, disappointing hirata bun

For me it was a bit of a no brainer when I visited the Finzels Reach Market and I saw SheSellsSushi had their stall. As I joined the quite lengthy queue, I looked at the menu. They had a Japanese panko chicken curry, their beef donburi, hirata buns, sushi and Takoyaki.

I did think about the curry, but decided I would go with my usual favourite, the Bento box with the beef donburi and a hirata bun. 

There was a bit of a queue, but in the end I got served my box of beef and a bao bun. 

The hirata bun contained a piece of panko crumbed Katsu chicken breast in a charcoal bao bun served with house salad and sriracha mayo. 

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. It has also put me off trying the Japanese curry as it looked like that dish was based on the same panko chicken katsu. Having said all that it was so much better than the bao bun from Ah-Ma’s.

 The beef teriyaki domburi was delicious as always.

Tasty tender beef rib on a bed of sushi rice and served with pickle and spring onions.

Well that was a nice breakfast, pity about the coffee

Having had a delicious dinner the night before at the Drayton Court Hotel in West Ealing,  I did have quite high expectations about the breakfast at the hotel.

I did wonder if this was going to be a buffet style breakfast, or one that you ordered at the table. In the end it was a bit of both. You helped yourself to drinks, toast, croissant, fruit, and so on. For hot food though you ordered off the menu. I ordered the full English which was pork sausage, Mrs Owton’s bacon, Hampshire black pudding, grilled tomato & field mushroom, hash brown, Heinz baked beans, and two poached eggs.  Well you could order the eggs anyway you wanted, but I went with poached.

full English breakfast

The breakfast plate was beautifully presented. The three rashers of bacon were cooked to my liking, not overdone, full of flavour. I enjoyed the sausage and the black pudding. The poached eggs were perfectly cooked, and had runny yolks. The field mushroom was delicious, though I would have liked my tomato a little more cooked. The beans and hash brown were nothing to write home about, but did help complete the breakfast plate. I really enjoyed the breakfast and is one of the best breakfasts I have had at a hotel. 

However one criticism, was the quality of the coffee, which was standard filter coffee, and not very good. I would have appreciated better coffee to go with such an excellent breakfast.