Steak and Chips, once more

Steak and Chips

Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel I went for dinner and I went for the steak and chips. This was described on the menu as Owton’s dry-aged 9oz ribeye steak on the bone, triple cooked chips, watercress salad, and a peppercorn sauce.

It arrived promptly and it looked very nice.

The steak was much better than the last steak I had had at the Drayton. As I have mentioned before, I am not a fan of triple cooked chips, it feels like they are overcooked, but these were okay. I did enjoy the peppercorn sauce as well.

I could get use to this…

I was making a return visit to the Drayton Court Hotel and was looking forward to my breakfast after the excellent breakfast I had had the previous times I was there.

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. 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, and the tomato was perfectly cooked. The beans and hash brown were okay.

I really enjoyed the breakfast again and is one of the best breakfasts I have had at a hotel. 

Time for some Roast Pork

I was staying over at the Drayton Court Hotel in West Ealing again. I had arrived Sunday evening, so I went to the bar to get something to eat. Sunday at the Drayton Court Hotel in West Ealing means that it is Sunday roast day.

On a previous visit I had gone with the dry-aged sirloin of Owton’s beef which had been delicious and was probably one the best carvery meals I have ever had from a pub.

So though tempted by the roast beef, I decided to try the roast pork. On the plate was a few thick slices of roast pork, roasted parsnip and carrot, roast potatoes, pan fried greens, cauliflower cheese, a huge Yorkshire pudding, crunchy crackling, apple sauce,, and served with red wine gravy.

This was quite a big plate of food, and bigger than the roasts I have had before. I did enjoy the plate of food, but it wasn’t as good as it was before. The vegetables were just as good, but the roast potatoes were a little chewy; I did feel that they were heated up, well it was a little late in the day, so that perhaps contributed to this. The pork was nice, not as good as the beef, but was still cooked well. Overall I had high expectations, so was a little disappointed, despite having a really nice plate of food. It was really good and nice, but I was expecting outstanding. I still think though I would order it again.

Lamb Hotpot

Needing an evening meal and not having much choice I ate in the bar at the Copthorne Hotel in Salford in Manchester. There is a typical bar menu, this time I ordered the lamb hotpot.

The dish comprised the lamb hotpot covered in sliced potato, some red cabbage slaw and some toast.

lamb hotpot

The lamb hotpot wasn’t half bad, the lamb was tender and there was a good portion, it was quite tasty. The potato slices in my mind needed to be cooked for a little longer and I prefer my potato crispier. The red cabbage slaw was nice, I think it would have been easier to eat if it had been sliced thinner. I wasn’t sure about why there was toast, then I worked out it was for mopping up the sauce.

In the end it was just okay, nothing special.

Fish Supper at Bills

I was in Manchester and needing an evening meal, my hotel restaurant was closed, so I headed out to the Trafford Centre for a bite to eat. There is a wide choice of places to choose from. I did walk around, but in the end decided I would go to Bills. There were quite a few things on the menu that I liked the sound of. They also had a reasonably priced set menu as well.

This branch of Bills is set within the New Orleans area of the Trafford Centre, so though it is a fake building, it’s quite an authentic fake building. I actually liked the facade.

I had a really good meal on my last visit to Bills in Ealing. I had some great tuna tacos and a nice steak. However that branch in Ealing has closed, it is now a branch of Las Iguanas. The menu at Bills appears to change frequently, or probably more likely I go so infrequently that it only appears to change frequently. However the tacos were on the menu, and I was tempted to give them a go again. I took my time, but in the end I decided I would go with the set menu.

For my starter I went with the crispy calamari with chilli and roast garlic & basil aioli.

I am a fan of crispy squid, so knew that I was probably going to be hyper-critical of the end result. However this was a nice plate of food. The squid was nice and tender, the coating was nice and crispy. It worked well with the aioli. I liked the presentation of the dish with the pea shoots and the chilli.

My main course was the pan-fried sea bass which was served with tomato sauce, nicoise olives, chive mash & pea shoots.

This was a nicely presented dish. The sea bass was nicely cooked and was quite tasty. I enjoyed the chive mash and it worked well with the tomato sauce. I finished all of this enjoyable dish.

I was tempted with dessert, but in the end said no.

Service was excellent and combined with the food made for a lovely meal. I would certainly go again and there are other items on the menu I want to try.

Tapas at the Brunello Lounge

My first visit to a “Lounge” was back in 2013 when I went to the Portvio Lounge in Gloucester. I didn’t know at the time that it was part of a chain, but since then I have visited a few others.

The Brunello Lounge in Weston-super-Mare opened in 2017 and I have visited it quite often, usually for breakfast or for coffee.

Recently we decided to pop in for a drink and a lunchtime snack. It was rather busy, but we decided to queue. They had some tables free but we were warned that there was a thirty minute wait for food, which we accepted.

We placed our order at the bar and waited. We did think it might be a “wagamama” thirty minutes, in other words it would be closer to fifteen minutes. However in the end it took fifty minutes for our food to arrive, by which time we had drunk our drinks, which had infant arrived quite promptly.

We had ordered some fries and a selection of tapas. We got three dishes, patatas bravas, crispy squid and buttermilk fried chicken.

The best of the three dishes was the patatas bravas. This was cubes of deep fried potato served with a spicy tomato sauce. The potatoes were nice and crispy, well cooked and I enjoyed the tomato sauce. In my opinion the crispy squid was overcooked, it was certainly crispy, but it was very very crispy and dark as well. The buttermilk chicken was nuggets of crispy chicken served with a chipotle mayonnaise. The mayonnaise was nice, the chicken was a little dry.

Overall I think these could have been three great dishes, but the final result was not as good as they should have been. One was really good, the others needed a little more refinement. I did wonder if the volume of orders was causing problems in the kitchen. In the past the food we’ve had at the Brunello Lounge has been excellent.

Having said all that I might go again and try the tapas again.

La Lola Calamares

Working in Bristol a few weeks back and out for a walk at lunchtime. I did consider buying some mushrooms from the food market at Finzel Reach, but they looked rather expensive, £10 for a small punnet of morels. Due to my experience last time with She Sells Sushi, I decided not to go there and headed to St Nicholas Market.

Having had some really nice food from La Lola at the St Nicholas Market it wasn’t too surprising when I was looking for somewhere for lunch that I gravitated to the La Lola stall. Having tried some of their other dishes, paella and Huevos Rotos with Iberico ham, this time I went back on an old favourite of their crispy squid.

The staff as always were friendly and welcoming, and I took a seat by the window and waited for my food.

It wasn’t very long before my food arrived. The squid was served with “chipped” potatoes, salad and aioli.

The squid had a nice crisp coating and was very tender on the inside. The chipped potatoes were cooked to perfection and the salad was nice and fresh. It was a delicious box of food, which I really enjoyed.

Taking the time for some tacos

I do quite like tacos, I have noticed that some places I had frequented before, had stopped selling them. So on a recent visit to the Leather Lane street food market I found a stall selling tacos. Initially I wasn’t sure and looked around a few other stalls, but in the end I headed back.

I went with the beef tacos. They had an interesting preparation method. The tortillas were placed on a hot plancha, the cheese was added and then the beef. They were then served in a box and garnished.

They looked really nice; the different colour tacos were fun. The beef was delicious, and I really enjoyed eating them. Something I would order again.

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.