I fancied a snack and the Temple Quay market was running in Bristol, so headed down to see what was on offer.

I got a portion of calamari from King Fin. They (as usual) were cooked fresh to order.

This was a lovely generous portion of calamari. The batter was nice and crispy, but not too thick to overpower the squid. It was cooked just right, as well as light batter, the squid was nice and tender. Sometimes when I have squid it can be overcooked, so the batter is more crunchy than crispy, and the squid can be somewhat chewy. This squid though was cooked really nicely. Must remember next time to ask for less salt though.

Tapas at Brunello

We went for lunch in Weston and decided to head to the Brunello Lounge.

We weren’t really that hungry, so decided against a full size main course, and we ordered three tapas dishes, some fries and onion rings. Service was quick and efficient, which is always nice when you don’t have a huge amount of time for lunch.

We had some chicken wings, the salt & pepper squid, and the hummus.

The chicken wings were fried crispy chicken wings, which had been coated in a sticky sauce and dressed with sesame seeds.

For me the chicken was overcooked. Probably a result of being cooked twice more than anything else. I do like chicken wings, but these weren’t my favourite.

The squid was nice and crispy and there was a large dollop of aioli in the middle.

My favourite of the trio of dishes was the hummus. This was beautifully presented little dish of hummus with fried chickpeas, chilli and parsley. This was served with some flatbread.

The fries were nice and crispy, as was the batter on the onion rings.

Overall a nice snack for a quick lunch.

Monkfish Tempura

I was in Bristol and went for a walk at lunchtime. Went to the Finzel Reach market intending to have something from Big Nath’s BBQ stall, but they weren’t there, so went to King Fin instead. 

Was torn between the calamari and the new monkfish tempura. Whatever I chose I was going to have chips anyhow. In the end I went without the chips and went with both the monkfish and the calamari.

The calamari was excellent as usual (maybe a little too salty), but they were cooked to order, so the squid was nice and tender, and the coating was nice and crispy. The and cider vinegar slaw was a nice accompaniment.

The special, monkfish tempura was new to me. 

The pieces of monkfish were deep fried in a tempura batter, and served with a lime and coriander yoghurt, tamarind, crispy sweet shallots and curry leaves.

The monkfish was cooked perfectly, and the batter (on top) was nice and crisp. Alas by the time I got back from the market to the office, the batter on the underside of the fish had got a little soggy from the yoghurt. I think if I had eaten the dish as soon as I was served it, it would have been fine. If I was to offer one piece of advice, I would probably say serve the yoghurt on the side, rather than on the bottom of the box. Or have something to separate the crispy fish from the yoghurt. Even so I liked the lime and coriander yoghurt which added a sharpness to the fish. I also enjoyed the tamarind, crispy sweet shallots and curry leaves.

Overall it was a little extravagant to have two mains, and no fries, however I really enjoyed having the calamari instead of fries.

La Lola Calamari

I hadn’t actually planned to have lunch in Bristol, but I was shopping in Broadmead and was feeling a little peckish. It was getting past the lunchtime, so wasn’t sure what would be available. I did quite fancy something from La Lola in the end, also I could sit down as well.

I decided not to have the paella, as it was near the end of lunchtime so probably might be not so fresh. In the end I went with the calamari.


This was cooked to order so was nice and fresh. It came with salad and deep fried potato slices.

The squid was delicious. It was nice and tender with a crisp coating. I felt though that the potatoes were like thick crisps. I wasn’t too enamoured with them and preferred the fried sliced potatoes that they use to serve. The salad was nice though.

Overall I enjoyed the food and it was a nice place to sit, eat and take in the atmosphere of the street food market.

Nice chicken, shame about the squid!

I was in London I was staying at the Crowne Plaza in Ealing and I had dinner in the hotel restaurant. They have an extensive menu with some interesting choices.

I always think that the way in which a restaurant cooks and serves calamari gives you an insight into what kind of cooking they do, and food they serve.

So seeing Spiced Squid Rings on the menu I thought I would give them a try. They were described as battered calamari dusted with paprika served with garlic and lemon aioli.

Now I will say at this point that I didn’t think that these would be any good, the description of the squid as battered calamari said to me that these was not going to be freshly cooked squid. This would be frozen calamari rings cooked off in the deep fat fryer.

When it arrived, it was as expected.


The batter was thick and doughy. The squid wasn’t tender, but then it wasn’t chewy either.

Sometimes I think does a dish need a salad garnish, this one did.

I was expecting to me disappointed, and yes I was disappointed.

For my main course I went with the Garlic Butterfly Chicken. Normally this is something I wouldn’t choose, but decided I would go with something different. The hot weather also meant I did actually fancy a salad.

This was marinated chicken served with Panzanella Salad & grated parmesan cheese.

This was a much more impressive looking dish.

marinated chicken served with Panzanella Salad & grated parmesan cheese

The chicken was cooked well, it had been cooked on the griddle, but was still moist and tender and full of flavour.

Now as for the Panzanella Salad. Well if you search online you can find a description of Panzanella Salad.

Panzanella or panmolle is a Tuscan and Umbrian chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes that is popular in the summer. It often includes cucumbers, sometimes basil and is dressed with olive oil and vinegar.

The salad I got wasn’t quite that, but it was a nice salad. There was stale bread, tomatoes, onions, but it also had quite a bit of sweet peppers as well. I liked the use of grated parmesan cheese. The bread was a little too stale, but did add crunch to the salad.

I liked it, but I think that Florentine traditionalists would disapprove.

So despite the disappointing starter, I did enjoy my main course.

Time for some calamari

Castle View, Bristol

I was working in Bristol and went for a walk at lunchtime.

I wasn’t really thinking about getting some lunch, but knew that I was out that evening, so might be a good idea to have a bigger lunch. I had brought a packed lunch, but did think that I might get a portion of something to add to it.

I decided to head to the Finzel Reach. There I wasn’t sure if I wanted anything, or what to have. In the end I got some calamari from King Fin. I’ve had some lovely food from King Fin in the past.

This time I got it without fries, you can add fries for another three pounds to make it a more substantial dish.

This was a decent portion of calamari. It was served with a chunk of lemon, garlic aioli, and some slaw. 


It had been cooked to order, so was lovely and fresh. The coating was nice and crispy, the squid was tasty and tender. I liked the slaw, could have had more of that to be honest.

I think my only real criticism was that there was slightly too much added salt for my liking. I think in the future I will ask for no salt, and then add my own.

Overall I really enjoyed the food and it was excellent again.


Pad Kra Prow at Rosa’s Thai

Royal Albert Dock

I was attending a conference in Liverpool, and arrived in the evening. I was quite hungry after a long journey to Liverpool, so after looking at (and dismissing) the hotel menu I headed out to the Royal Albert Docks for a bite to eat. There is quite a bit of choice across the docks, and knowing I was short of time, I realised I had to choose quickly. After looking at a few choices I decided that I would go for Thai and went into the branch of Rosa’s Thai they have on the docks.

They described themselves as:

A family of foodies dedicated to serving up perfected Thai dishes. You’ll find us in unfussy cafes at the heart of neighbourhoods, cooking up fresh dishes from our kitchens straight to your table.

The menu looked interesting and I could see quite a few things I liked the look of. So in I went. It was quite busy, but I was given a warm welcome and I took a seat and l looked around. The environment was informal and inviting. They have different kinds of seating and they used lots of wood and wooden furniture. The staff looked busy, but friendly and efficient.

I looked over the menu, which has quite a few options. My first choice for the starter would have been the crispy squid, but I always have that, so looked over the choices. In the end I went with the Gai satay. Described on the menu as succulent, lemongrass-scented grilled chicken thigh skewers with Rosa’s peanut dipping sauce.

Gai satay

These were three large skewers of marinated chicken thighs, nothing like the satay skewers you find in the deli counters of most supermarkets. The satay sauce was delicious and really enhanced the chicken. I was pleased with that choice.

For my main course I did think about getting the Pad metmamuang, the cashew stir fry, but in the end I went with the Seafood Pad Kra Prow. This was the Chilli & Basil Stir Fry with seafood. The menu called this a spicy and fragrant favourite with Thai basil, onions and green beans. This is something of a national dish, a real classic.

Seafood Pad Kra Prow

I wasn’t sure about the presentation and look of the dish. However the spiciness was just right, there was a good portion of seafood in the dish, though it was dominated by the squid. Not that I minded as I prefer squid. I suspect if you like prawns you might be a little disappointed, though there are prawn dishes elsewhere on the menu.

The squid was nice and tender, and I enjoyed the green beans and Thai basil. Overall I really tasty dish.

Alongside I had some sticky rice. 

sticky rice

The sticky rice came wrapped in banana leaf. It was really a large lump of sticky rice, which I had to break apart with my spoon. However it did add to the overall dish.

Alongside the food I had a Thai beer (in a can).


This was a lovely meal, excellent service, tasty food, and nice environment. It was my first experience of Rosa Thai and I certainly would go again.

Breton Fish Stew

I was staying in Ealing and having been disappointed that Reineta was closed I went to Côte. Reality was I did walk around Ealing to see what else was there and looking at various menus. So, in the end I ended up at Côte.

I had the Crab Maison for my starter. I stayed with seafood and I had the Breton Fish Stew for my main course.

This is a traditional coastal stew from Brittany with mussels, prawns, squid, seabream, in a tomato, white wine and chilli sauce. It was served with some French baguette.

There was a lot of seafood in this dish, yes it was mainly mussels, and there was only a single piece of seabream. There were plenty of prawns and squid rings.

I enjoyed the sauce, it was though similar to a soup rather than a sauce. The seafood was cooked well and wasn’t overcooked, which I did think it might be.

The bread was two slices of sourdough baguette. I think I would have preferred a more traditional French flute type baguette over the sourdough slices. 

I had wanted to try this dish for a while, and I enjoyed it. However it wasn’t amazing, so it probably wouldn’t be a dish I would order again.

To accompany my meal, rather than wine, I had a bottle of Meteor lager, which was crisp and refreshing.

La Lola Crispy Squid


Working in Bristol and out for a walk at lunchtime. I wasn’t actually intending to have lunch out, but walking through the St Nicholas Market looking at all the different stalls, I was tempted. There are lots of lovely places in the market, there is the new Tibetan stall, MOMO, which had quite a queue. I also did think about Low and Slow, but they were equally popular. In the end I went back to the Spanish stall, La Lola.

Since I was last at La Lola, they have added some walls and windows to their stall, so sitting inside in this cold weather is much nicer. I was given a lovely warm welcome, and I ordered my food, and then took a seat. It wasn’t long before my freshly cooked squid arrived.

crispy squid

The crispy baby squid came in a cardboard container, it would have been nice on a plate (which I have said before), but realise that as a stall, it might not be possible.

The squid had a nice crisp coating and was very tender on the inside. The chipped potatoes had been cooked twice, so weren’t as good as previous visits to La Lola. However they were crisp and tasty. The salad was nice and fresh. It was a delicious box of food, which I really enjoyed.

Yeah, it was what I expected…

I was up in Manchester for some meetings. I had planned in eating my evening meal in the hotel I was staying at, but it was closed, no reason given, but food was being served in the bar area. With a rather limited menu I decided to head off to the Trafford Centre, having enjoyed a meal at Bills there back in May last year. This time there wasn’t anything on the menu that inspired me.

The menu at Tru Street looked quite interesting with choices including bao buns for a starter, and lamb chops for the main. However it was a little more than I wanted to spend, and with the mandatory 12.5% service charge, would have stepped up the bill. What finally clinched it for me, to not to go, were the reviews on Google. Over a thousand reviews and the rating was 2.9 stars out of five. Put that into perspective, Bills has 4.2 stars out of five.

There is a huge choice of places to eat at The Trafford Centre, almost too much choice.

I did consider heading to Zizzi to have pizza, especially as I had a 30% off food voucher. However there was a bit of a queue for tables, and though I joined the queue, it wasn’t moving. I hate queuing so made the choice to go somewhere else. Next door was Thaikhun, a Thai buffet restaurant. They had an introductory £5 off deal, so kind of expecting nothing special I waited to be seated.

This was a self-service buffet restaurant with quite a selection of Thai based dishes. If you have been other buffet restaurants you might feel a little short-changed as compared to places likeZa Za Bazaar in Bristol the menu is limited to just Thai food.

Of all the dishes I had, I really enjoyed the seafood dish which included squid and prawns. 

Compared the excellent Thai food I have had at places such as Sais’s Thai in Oxford, this could be seen to be rather disappointing. However I wasn’t expecting anything special, so I did enjoy the food I had. Would I go again? Probably not.