Steak Dinner

I was up in London for a conference and I was staying at the Ambassadors Hotel in Bloomsbury. I had stayed there before in December 2008 and had eaten in the restaurant. We had eaten a delicious meal there, but I wasn’t sure if the experience could be repeated.

 I had been looking around the area seeing what was around before defaulting and deciding to eat in the hotel restaurant. The restaurant wasn’t very busy, with only a few tables occupied. However I was hungry, so wasn’t too worried. They have an interesting looking menu, but in the end I went with their special and had the steak and chips with a drink. Chips were an extra, so I went with the truffle and parmesan fries. It wasn’t long before the food arrived.

The steak was much bigger than I thought it would be, it was also a very nice steak.  The fries were okay, but I think I would preferred them plain.

It wasn’t the best steak I have ever had, but it was a good steak. I thought, for a hotel dinner, it was value for money.

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.

Steak Bowl from Marrakech Grill

In April last year I went to the Leather Lane Street Food Market in London and had a very nice steak salad bowl from the Marrakech Grill stall.

The salad were excellent, the chips were crisp, and the steak was delicious. I was really impressed with this bowl of food.

Though I have the preference for the Bristol street food markets, you can’t really dismiss the range and choice of food at the Leather Lane Street Food market in London. So on a recent visit to London and buying some lunch I headed off to Leather Lane. I did think about visiting the Mediterranean Grill having had some nice food from there, what I thought was recently, but was in fact back in 2021. However I found it was closed. I walked up Leather Lane and when I saw the Marrakech Grill stall, I remembered the food from my previous visit, so decided to go for it and have a bowl.

There was a bit of a queue, which to me is always a good sign.

This was a very generous bowl of food, with a range of mixed salads, chips, and a good sized portion of steak.

You can choose from a range of salads, I did think about having a bit of everything, but in the end chose a nice variety. It did cool down a little bit by the time I got back to the office, but even so, the salads were delicious. The chips could have been better, but they were nice. The steak was tender and tasty. I really enjoyed the bowl and would have it again.

Interesting the price had gone up, when I last had it, it was six pounds, this time it was nine pounds.

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.


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.

Steak Ciabatta

Having arrived in Birmingham I was staying at the Edgbaston Park Hotel. This is a conference hotel in the locality of the University of Birmingham. It is a nice modern hotel with a restaurant and a bar.

I wanted to grab some lunch. It was later than I had planned, so didn’t have time to find somewhere in the locality. I headed down to the 1900 Bar and looked over the menu. I decided I would have the sirloin steak ciabatta sandwich that came with chips and salad.

I took a seat with my drink (a can of San Pellegrino orange). It wasn’t long before my sandwich arrived. 

Now generally I don’t do sandwiches, but I decided that this was going to be more than a sandwich. I was right, this was a substantial plate of food. There was a portion of chips in one of those fake mini fryer baskets, a dressed salad. In the halved ciabatta roll was a generous portion of sliced sirloin steak, rocket and onion chutney.

I had asked for the steak to be cooked rare, it was tender, but I felt that the steak wasn’t really grilled, the surface lacked browning. As a result the steak was just okay, it lacked flavour, I think it could have been cooked better. I did like the chutney though.

Overall It was a nice sandwich, I liked the chips and salad.

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.

Steak Salad Bowl

Though I much prefer the Bristol street food scene, you can’t really dismiss the range and choice of food at the Leather Lane Street Food market in London (and the fact that it is open all week (well I know it’s open from Monday to Friday, I couldn’t tell you about the weekend). I have had some great food at the market, but I’ve also had some disappointing meals.

Back in April I was walking up and down the road thinking about what to get to eat, there are a lot of similar stalls along the market, so sometimes it’s not just about choosing what to eat, but when that decision is made, where to go and buy it. I had walked the length of the road when I saw the Marrakech Grill, a stand I hadn’t recalled seeing before.

There wasn’t really a queue, which sometimes is a warning sign, however I watched as people ordered and were served their food. It did look really good.

So, I joined the queue and ordered a Marrakech Steak Salad Bowl, which was just six pounds. This was really good price compared to similar dishes elsewhere in the market.

This was a very generous bowl of food, with a range of mixed salads, chips, and a good sized portion of steak.

I took it back to our office to eat.

The salad were excellent, the chips were crisp, and the steak was delicious. I was really impressed with this bowl of food.

Skirt Steak Again

I was in London and staying at The Fox and Goose close to Hangar Lane. The restaurant is in the older part of the hotel, as the hotel part is now a new build at the back. 

The menu changes every so often, and they always seem to have a range of choices, that means it can be difficult to choose what to have.

I was pleased to see that the seared Owton’s skirt steak with salsa verde and pecorino was back on the menu. I had it last year and really enjoyed it, so I ordered it again.

This was a nice piece of chargrilled skirt steak served with a tasty salsa verde and shavings of pecorino.

skirt steak

The steak was nice and tender and tasty in its own right, but I the pecorino and the salsa verde added to the dish.

Did the steak frites deal

I was up in Glasgow staying overnight as I was attending a conference, and did quite fancy steak and chips. 

I looked on Google maps in the surrounding area to see what restaurants were local to the hotel. Chateau-X which was not too far from my hotel did an early week special where they do steak and frites for just £10. I thought, that will do the job.

I booked online and walked up to the restaurant. It wasn’t too far from the hotel, and luckily it wasn’t raining, even though it was November. The place from the outside looked quite inviting. It wasn’t really busy, but there was a fair few people inside.

I was given a warm welcome and was shown to my table. I really liked the atmosphere of the place, the decor, the ambiance, and the lighting.

I liked the plain wooden tables with the leather benches and wooden chairs. At one end was the (looking like a well stocked) bar and you could see into the kitchen on the far side. Despite the chandelier, I didn’t think it was a pretentious place to be in, and was looking forward to seeing what the food would be like.

There wasn’t much to the menu, they had the ten pound deal, with a choice of extra sides or sauces.

I ordered the steak frites, which was a flat iron steak and chips, decided not to order a sauce, but did order a side of Tobacco Onions. Wasn’t quite what that was, but was intrigued.

Later in the week there is a more substantial menu available, with more choices of steaks and prices to match.

It wasn’t long before my food arrived.

The steak was nice piece of flat iron steak chargrilled and sliced. It came with fries and some green leaves.

The steak was very nice, tender and full of flavour. I liked the fries as well. I could easily cut through the steak.

I would have preferred a plate to the skillet it came in. I do wonder sometimes if the people who decide to serve the food in these items, ever actually eat out of them, themselves. It certainly wasn’t the worse thing I have eaten off, but not sure what the advantage of it was over a normal plate. As it was smaller than a plate, I wonder if it was to make the dish look more substantial than it actually was.

The Tobacco Onions was a dish of deep fried onion pieces. 

It was a nice accompaniment to the steak. I liked the crisp onions, and though at first glances wasn’t a huge pot, it was quite a large portion and would certainly have been enough for two people.

This was an excellent meal, and great value for money. I certainly would go again. In the end I did, a couple of days later and had lunch there.

Doing the Polka again, one more time

I first went to Polka earlier this year and actually had two excellent meals, I enjoyed my first meal so much, I went again the next day.

On previous visits to Ealing I had noted the Sowa restaurant, but had never gone there. The proprietors of that place moved to some nice new premises in Dickens Yard and renamed themselves to the Polka Kitchen.

So when I was back staying in Ealing, I decided I would make a return visit. The menu was the same. I looked over and thought about what I would have. There are only three starters on the menu, a beetroot dish, black pudding, and a steak tartare.

I went with the steak tartare. I had really enjoyed this the last time I was there.

It looked just as pretty as it did before. It consists of steak tartare and was served with egg yolk, pickled cucumbers, onion, and mustard seeds. This was such a pretty plate of food. Alongside I was given some sliced Polish bread. The steak was tender and fresh, I liked the addition of the pickles, and egg yolk. The pickled mushroom was a nice, and I enjoyed every mouthful. It was just as good as I remembered from the first time I had it.

As there was a (short) delay with getting my starter I was given a shot of Polish vodka on the house, which I quite enjoyed.

For my main course I had originally wanted the pierogi filled with goose meat, but that wasn’t available, so I went with the wild boar pierogi in a mushroom sauce. I did think about having one of the dishes I had before, but I hadn’t tried the pierogi before, so went with that dish.

The pierogi were nice and soft, but still had a bite to it, al dente. The pierogi filling had a robust strong flavour. The pierogi came with a mushroom sauce. I would have liked to have had more sauce.

Overall the food was delicious, and the service was excellent, friendly, warm, and welcoming. Though I’ve had a lot of things on the menu, I do think I will visit again.