I was in London and staying at the Fox and Goose close to Hangar Lane. This is a Fullers Hotel and is part of the same chain at Drayton Court, which I have also stayed at.The restaurant is in the older part of the hotel, as the hotel bit is now a new build at the back.
When I was staying at the Drayton Court Hotel I had some excellent meals. The Fox and Goose had a slightly different menu than the Drayton Court, but there were similarities.
For my starter I went with the Laverstoke Park Farm Mozzarella with Isle of Wight tomatoes and pine nut pesto.
It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, the amount of lettuce was surprising.
The mozzarella was nice and fresh, and I also liked the pesto.
There was some heritage tomatoes, but it was also a little too chilled for my liking. As a result it wasn’t as flavoursome as I think it could have been. I certainly felt the tomatoes lacked flavour.
Staying at the Drayton Court Hotel I went for dinner and I really wasn’t sure what to have. I did quite fancy the crab pasta starter on the specials list, but it was unavailable. Looking over the starters I decided to have the fish tacos. As I wasn’t having pasta for a starter I went with the pasta special for my main course.
This was described as a wild boar and roasted tomato ragout, served with pappardelle pasta, pecorino, and truffle oil. This sounded rather nice.
The dish arrived.
Well, the pasta wasn’t pappardelle, this was tagliatelle. Well not the end of the world. There was a substantial amount of cheese on top. As for the ragout, well I was expecting a strong flavoured ragout. However it was rather bland, quite dry, and disappointing. I couldn’t taste the truffle oil either.
I was up in Manchester staying at the Copthorne Hotel on Salford Quay and went for dinner in the restaurant, finding it was closed, no reason given, but food was being served in the bar area.
I decided to have the mackerel pate, however it wasn’t available. So I went with the soup of the day. Today it was tomato.
I had expected to get cream of tomato soup, like you get out of a Heinz can, but what I actually got was a really nice fresh tasting tomato soup. It was rather good. It came with some toast, I think toasted white bread is okay when cooking soup at home, but in a restaurant setting I think I would like to have seen some toasted sourdough or ciabatta.
Though I hadn’t finished my soup, my main course arrived. So I quickly finished my soup and was about to start my main course, when I realised I had no cutlery. So it was back to the bar to get a knife and fork.
I had ordered Steak Frites. This was steak with garlic butter, fries, a parmesan and rocket salad.
In a previous visit to the Copthorne Hotel on Salford Quay I had ordered Steak Frites and I wrote this.
Well, yes it was a sirloin steak, yes it was served with herb garlic butter (and it was quite garlicky), yes there was some rocket. However those were not fries, they were chips! Okay maybe being a little petty, but the menu describes the fish and chips as coming with chips, the steak and ale pie talks about being served with chips, but when I see a menu say it is served with fries, I do expect to get fries.
Well at least I got fries this time…
The rocket and parmesan was nice and would be something that I would try and make myself.
Alas unlike my previous visit, the steak was rather disappointing.
The steak was unseasoned and had very little flavour, the garlic butter was missing. It was still cooked medium-rare as requested. I decided that I would add some salt, and I literally never add salt to my food when eating. However there was no salt on the table, so I had to go back to the bar and ask for salt.
Overall I liked the soup, I was pleased with the fries, but was disappointed with the steak.
I was staying in Berlin in December, for a few days attending a conference. The last time I had been to Germany was in 1985 staying for a couple of days in Munich on the way back from a camp in Yugoslavia. This was my first visit to Berlin and the first visit to a unified Germany. I was staying at the NH Collection Mitte ‘Checkpoint Charlie” in the heart of what was East Berlin. I had various meals and snacks while I was there in Berlin.
I did feel a little guilty going to an Italian restaurant while staying in Germany, but when you realise that Vapiano is a German restaurant franchise company headquartered in Cologne. The chain’s restaurants offer Italian food adhering to the fast-casual principle, it certainly has some German food credentials.
The service was simple, in that you ordered from a screen, took a buzzer, and then collected your food from the kitchen. Looking over the menu, I initially decided I wouldn’t have pasta or pizza, but would probably go with a risotto.
I did though look over the pasta menu, I liked the idea of choosing your own type of pasta, and it was fresh pasta. So, I changed my mind and went with the Filetto di Manzo e Rucola, or Beef Fillet and Rocket.
The menu could be accessed in English, so the description of Rinderfilet, Weißwein, Karotten, Zucchini, Champignons, Lauchzwiebeln, Zwiebeln, Rucola, could be translated to beef fillet, white wine, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, spring onions, onions, rocket.Saw I could add “brot” for free, so I did. Well, my Grade 4 CSE German comes in handy when I remember that ‘brot’ is German for bread and it was a free extra to my food.
When my buzzer buzzed, I went to the kitchen to collect my food. The dish looked great.
It also tasted great. It was fresh and delicious. The steak was tender and I liked the addition of the rocket to the dish. The rest of the ingredients in the dish added to the flavours and textures.
I really enjoyed the pasta dish. The bread was nice as well.
Though I had intended to have the Bruschetta as a starter, because of the process of ordering through a screen meant that the Bruschetta and the pasta arrived at the same time. The Bruschetta was toasted bread with fresh tomatoes, onion, and rocket.
It was a great combination of textures and flavours. The tomato was nice, fresh, and it was well seasoned.
Tasty. Though another time I think I would order my starter first and then order the main course.
This is a very simple salad, that is quick and easy to make.
I take a ball of mozzarella and break it into pieces. You could cut it, but I think tearing it allows the broken edges to capture the dressing. Then add some sliced tomatoes. I like using heritage tomatoes if I can get them, but at this time of year I try and get a fully flavoured tomato. I then add some basil leaves, tearing the bigger leaves in half. I then dress the salad with some olive oil, white wine vinegar, and then season with salt and pepper.
I was staying in Berlin for a few days attending a conference. The last time I had been to Germany was in 1985 staying for a couple of days in Munich on the way back from a camp in Yugoslavia. This was my first visit to Berlin and the first visit to a unified Germany. I was staying at the NH Collection Mitte ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ in the heart of what was East Berlin.
I had breakfast in the hotel and I did find it interesting what was on offer and what I could have. I had never had breakfast before at a German hotel.
So once I got my coffee and a (disappointing) orange juice, I headed to the service area to choose something for breakfast.
There was a kitchen that cooked omelettes and fried eggs to order. On the hot plates were Nuremberg sausage or Nürnberger Rostbratwurst. These were small grilled sausages with a distinctive flavour. There was also scrambled egg, which was nothing to shout about. I quite liked the cheese covered grilled tomato, the cheese certainly enhanced that tomato. The streaky bacon was overcooked for my liking. I guess if you like crispy bacon then you would enjoy this streaky bacon, personally I prefer my bacon cooked, but still soft. Though initially a little apprehensive, I did quite enjoy the mushrooms in a cream sauce.
There was a wide range of breakfast items available. I did expect to see cheeses and cold meats, but was a little surprised to see fresh salad alongside. That felt a lot more like lunch than breakfast. Next to the salad was a lovely selection of fresh fruit. Elsewhere there was yoghurts and cereal.
I really loved the bread selection, as well as a range of bread rolls, there was a great range of loaves which you could cut slices from. There was white bread, seeded bread and wholemeal bread. Along with the bread was pastries and croissant.
There was also a pancake machine, which you could use to make your own pancakes, to which you could add maple syrup.
This was a splendid selection of breakfast items and I really enjoyed eating breakfast at the hotel.
I was staying at the Doubletree Hilton in Ealing and was eating in the hotel restaurant.
I had initially decided that I wouldn’t have a burger, as I have eaten quite a few burgers recently. However I haven’t had a chicken burger for some time. Reading the description, fried butter milk chicken burger with red-hot sauce, blue cheese sauce, pickled cabbage slaw, lettuce, mayonnaise, tomato, pretzel bun, I wasn’t sure I was going to like that.
I did think about modifying the burger and getting rid of the sauces, but in the end I went with what was described. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I do like to try new things and see how they taste.
It arrived and it did look quite good.
The pretzel roll was a nice change from the brioche roll which seems to have become the standard across gourmet burgers these days.
The chicken was nice though it wasn’t as crispy (or crunchy) as I would like. The sauces I thought might be overpowering actually weren’t.
I was staying at the Doubletree Hilton in Ealing and was eating in the hotel restaurant. I had a look over their menu. There is something about hotel menus that can be rather depressing. Sometimes you find places that inspire and bring joy. Other times you think, I should have gone out to eat!
Now I will say having had steak and chips a fair few times recently at hotels, this dish was just a little disappointing in comparison.
The menu didn’t indicate the weight or the size of the steak, but I got what I felt was a rather thin piece of sirloin steak. The chips came in a small metal fryer basket. Alongside were some roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine, a roasted field mushroom and some watercress.
Having said it was a little disappointing, the accompaniments were all rather good, I think the dish was just let down by the main act. The steak was rather bland and lacked flavour. It was rather thin as well. It was cooked medium rare as ordered, but apart from that I was not impressed.
Iwas out for a meal at Bella Italia at Cribbs Causeway. It’s being a while since I was last here, but I do remember have an excellent meal here back in June 2021. I did notice that Bella Italia at Cabot Circus which has been closed for a while, is now going to be a Bao Burger. I found that branch lacked character and atmosphere, whereas the Cribbs Causeway branch has a little more character and charm. They’ve updated it over the years and though at some time it had a classic Italian trattoria feel to it, today it is slightly more of a Italian inspired funky look.
We had booked, which having arrive, made sense, as the place was rather full. We were given a friendly welcome and we were shown to our table.
I looked over the menu. I didn’t think it was as interesting as it was back in June 2021, but there were some dishes I did like the sound of.In the end I went with the set menu, and I had a starter of Mushroom Crostini, which I enjoyed.
For my main I did initially think about having their new(ish) Pinsa Pizza.
With a bigger, thicker, crispier base, this traditional premium Italian Pinsa is hard to beat
I suspect if they had a white base pizza with mushroom and truffle then I would have gone for that. In the end I decided I would go with a pasta dish and I chose the Pollo Cacciatore – Roast chicken, pancetta, chestnut mushrooms and red onions tossed with pappardelle pasta in a white wine and tomato sauce. I did look at the image on the online menu and liked the look of the dish.
The dish which arrived didn’t quite look like the picture on the online menu!
This is what I received.
This is what the online version looked like.
Having said that the pappardelle pasta was cooked well, and I liked the mushrooms and red onion in the dish. I could have quite easily lost the chicken though. The sauce was tasty and I had some extra parmesan added which enhanced the dish.
Overall I did enjoy my food and I enjoyed all three dishes I had from the set menu. I think after having such an excellent meal back in June 2021, I was a little disappointed. I think that it didn’t help that the dishes I received on my table didn’t reflect what was on the menu. Maybe they shouldn’t publish photographs of the dishes on the website. I probably will visit again at some time.