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.
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.
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.
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.
I was up in Manchester for some meetings. After a long morning meeting I headed out into Manchester city centre for something to eat. On previous visits to Manchester I had seen Society before, I had even gone in there to see what it was like, but I had never actually eaten there. So, on this walk around the centre, and having looked around a few places, I ended up at Society.
A fresh addition to the city’s vibrant cultural space, Society is a hub of street food, craft beer, wine and cocktails and boasts an impressive line-up of talented independent traders. Society features four independently-owned kitchens, from the towering burgers of Slap & Pickle, pan-Asian specialists Manzoku Street Food, flavoursome Indian street food from Chaat Cart and experts in Korean street food, Yoki Social Table. Society also houses a cocktail bar and specialist taproom by craft brewery Vocation.
The process is quite simple, take a seat, note your table number, scan in the QR code, place your order on your phone and wait for your food. With some of the traders you can order at the counter if you want to.
I did first peruse the different (phyiscal) menus and noted that Manzoku had a January special of bao buns. Now I quite like a good bao bun, so this was quite tempting.
I sat down at a table with a glass of water from the bar and looked over the menu. I decided to have the crispy chicken bao buns with a portion of crispy squid.
The January Special Bao Chicken was two fluffy bao buns filled with ginger and garlic chicken thigh in a crispy coating, with Japanese pickled slaw.
They looked great. The chicken was a little dry and overcooked for me, but did have a nice flavour. The rest of the dish was great, fresh and flavoursome.
Alongside I had the Spicy Salt & Pepper Squid. This was deep fried marinated crispy salt & pepper squid with a kick, chilli mayo, and togarashi spice.
When eating this I was reminded of the chilli squid I have eaten at Wagamama. It was crispy on the outside, tender squid on the inside. Nice spicing and I enjoyed the chilli mayo.
Overall I did like both dishes and really enjoyed them. It was a little more than I would normally pay for lunch, but I do think it was value for money. I would certainly have a night out at Society, having a beer and a few dishes from the different street food traders.
I had been on a visit to Scotland and was making my way home. I really didn’t fancy eating on the plane, it was a short flight, but it was over lunchtime. So having time at Edinburgh airport I went to All-Bar-One for a quick small lunch. I did in fact fancy tacos from Bar Burrirto, but the airport branch didn’t sell them. The branch of Yo! Sushi, which I had visited before, had closed down in 2020. Liking the idea of small plates I went to All-Bar-One. I ordered two small plates which arrived promptly. This is kind of important in an airport situation as you are often time constrained.
The calamari was excellent and it was a good sized portion for a small plate dish.
The squid was tender and the batter was crispy. It was served with a sweet chilli sauce. I really enjoyed the squid and would have it again, if I ever fly from Edinburgh.
The prawns in panko breadcrumbs was though slightly disappointing. When it arrived I actually thought they had bought me the wrong dish. What I got was in fact a skewer of prawns, which was then covered in panko breadcrumbs.
I felt that this was a difficult small plate to eat (and would be difficult to share). The dish lacked flavour and I couldn’t really taste the prawns.
My gate number was called, so it was time to pay the bill and head to the plane.
I enjoyed my last visit to Bills on Baker Street in July. So it was with some anticipation we headed there for dinner on a visit to London. Bills has an interesting dining environment, the different branches seem familiar, but different at the same time. The Baker Street branch appears to be smaller than other Bills I have been to.
Upon entering we were given a warm welcome, we had booked, and were shown to our table. One of the things I have found with Bills is that the menu changes quite often, so even though you may think, well I have that next time I visit, sometimes those very things disappear. So it does make, making a choice that little bit harder.
I was expecting to see the set menu we had in July, but it had changed already. It had gone up by two pounds and had lost the steak and chicken dishes we had had back then. So after reviewing what was on the set menu, we looked at the main menu.
While the rest of the table went with steak and chips, I wanted something different.
I was tempted by the chargrilled lamb rump. However having had an outstanding lamb rump in 2018 from the (now sadly closed) Cattle & Co in Euston, I knew I would have high expectations. The menu description of marinated lamb rump steaks I knew I might be disappointed. The sound of the Black & Gold Burger was quite tempting.
Chargrilled beef patty topped with cheese & truffle fondue, 24 carat gold flakes & grated black truffle. Served with rosemary salted fries.
As was the description of the Triple Truffle Shuffle Burger from the specials menu.
Topped with truffle mac & cheese, white truffle oil & dusted with freshly grated truffle. Served with rosemary fries
However I didn’t really fancy a burger, having only had one the other day in Harwell.
In the end I went with a dish I had been tempted to before on previous visits to Bills, which was the Lobster & Seafood Linguine.
Lobster, king prawn & squid in a rich tomato & chilli cream sauce with lemon oil.
The dish was nicely presented.
There was a nice lot of seafood in the pasta dish, which meant as you ate the dish you kept finding prawns, squid and lobster on your fork. Some places I have eaten this kind of dish, you get a meagre amount of seafood. I wasn’t overly impressed with the lobster, which either lacked flavour or was overpowered by the sauce. If it wasn’t there I don’t think I would have missed it, which was a pity.
I did enjoy the dish, I liked the cherry tomatoes with the pasta. Though I think it wouldn’t be something I would order again, if it was still on the menu. It didn’t blow me away.
As for the rest of the table, well they all went with chargrilled 8oz sirloin steak with rosemary fries.
They all enjoyed their dishes, but they did say I cooked a better steak.
I was staying in Wimbledon at the Hotel du Vin and had dinner a couple of times in their Italian themed restaurant. I had a nice starter of Fritto Misto. I went with fish for my main course and had the Risotto Nero.
Roasted scallops and squid seared in the pan served on a black squid ink risotto.
You have to say that the dish is very black, very black indeed.
A few weeks ago I had a squid ink paella and it was also very black. I have to say that it didn’t look that appetising, however it was very tasty. There was squid and prawns in the rice. I am not sure I would have it again, but I am glad I tried it and it was good. So seeing the risotto nero on the menu I decided that I would give this squid ink dish a try.
Well the risotto I had was also very black. However the scallops and squid had been cooked separately and were added to the dish at the end. So it did look much nicer.
The risotto was al dente, and was quite good. It didn’t have the flavour of the paella, but I did enjoy it. The scallops were cooked well and were nice. The squid, was a little over cooked for me.
One thing I do quite like is seafood in crispy batter, what the Italians call Fritto Misto.
So after enjoying my recent attempts at gluten free Frito Misto, I thought I would cook it again. I went with the recipe I had used before.
Again I used the mixed seafood mix from Lidl. As part of their Andalusian range, Lidl had a bag of frozen prepared mixed seafood. It contains pieces of skin-in cod pieces, anchovy fillets, squid rings, chopped Indian squid and peeled shrimp. As I said before I do think there could be more shrimp (prawns) in there, but it is a good mix of seafood. I did take some of the squid rings and cut them into smaller pieces.
I took the seafood and defrosted it in a bowl and removed any excess water. I coated the seafood in seasoned flour and then left it for a while, a couple of hours all in.
I cooked the seafood by deep frying in hot oil. The end result was a crunchy coating on the seafood. This was then seasoned with a little salt.
I was staying in Wimbledon at the Hotel du Vin and had dinner a couple of times in their Italian themed restaurant. The restaurant was in the Orangery, and to be honest the air conditioning was turned up a little too much for me, as it felt quite chilly.
On another evening I looked over the menu and went with the Fritto Misto for my starter, which was also available as a main course.
The dish comprised deep fried squid, tiger prawns, mullet and anchovies, set on a bed of ailiol and served with lemon.
The dish was garnished with some chilli and herbs. I am not sure how authentic the chilli is, something I see at Wagamama on their chilli, squid. I picked off the chill and squeezed some lemon juice onto the dish.
The batter was thin and crispy. You could taste the fish in the dish. The aioli was a little rough, but was okay.