Not as described

I was up in Manchester staying at the Copthorne Hotel on Salford Quay and went for dinner in the restaurant. I had a table overlooking the water, I settled in and looked over the menu.

For my starter I went with what was described as mini pan fried scallops with pea puree, pea shoots and bacon crumb.

Well this is what I got!

Okay, so there were some mini pan friend scallops, but it was dressed with peas and bacon. No puree, no pea shoots and no bacon crumb.

This was really disappointing. I did complain, but really I was just fobbed off with an excuse that the chef had over-elaborated the dish on the menu. My response was that, if the chef had described the dish, accurately and as it was, then I wouldn’t have been disappointed, I probably would have still ordered it. 

It’s this kind of thing that puts me off eating in hotel restaurants, which can be overpriced as well.

Birthday Breakfast at the Brunello

I have been to the Brunello Lounge before on the seafront at Weston-super-Mare, though mainly for coffee. We did go there for a Christmas Eve breakfast back in December 2019 (though I didn’t write about it).

The Brunello Lounge is one of a range of lounges across the South West. They all have their own names, the one in Gloucester is the Portivo for example. They have a pretty eccentric decor, where we sat in the Brunello there was a huge soviet era painting of Lenin on the wall. I actually quite like the eccentricity of the decor.

We were celebrating a birthday, so we headed out to the Brunello Lounge. We were given a nice warm welcome and we looked over the menu. One of the things I like about the Brunello Lounge is that their gluten free menu is extensive and wide ranging. No limited choices here, the menu is nearly as wide at the “normal” menu.

We looked over, and we made our choices. I went with the muffin with bacon, sausage and a fried egg.

We placed our orders at the bar, gave our table number and waited.

We didn’t have to wait long and the breakfasts arrived.

They were eaten with gusto and I enjoyed my muffin. The sausages were excellent, but I found the bacon a little too salty, probably because it was slightly overcooked compared to how I like my bacon.

Everyone enjoyed their breakfasts.

Time for a Breakfast Bagel

Breakfast Bagel

Over the last week or so (and not every day) I have been treating myself to a home-made breakfast bagel. What even surprised me was how quickly I could cook this before starting work. It certainly helps I don’t need to commute to the office, but even if I did, I am pretty sure I could still cook this, clean the pans and dishes and put them away before heading out.

I take a small frying pan for the bacon and an even smaller frying pan for the fried egg.

Heat on both and then add a little sunflower oil to the bacon pan and more to the little frying pan to ensure that the entire cooking surface of the pan is covered.

Into the larger pan, place two rashes of folded back bacon. I used some oak smoked dry cured air dried back bacon rashers from Sainsburys.

bacon

What I liked about the bacon, was that as it was dry cured, it cooked easily in the frying pan without losing lots of liquid that standard supermarket bacon does. If I only had the standard stuff then I would probably grill it, however that takes longer, as I have to wait until the grill warms up.

So having folded the rashers and placed them in the hot frying pan. I crack the free range egg and fry them in the small frying pan.

I then slice the bagel and put it in the toaster.

When I started doing this I used some New York Bakery Co. Bagels, however I also tried and liked the New York Bakery Co. Sourdough Deli Bagels.

I also quite liked the M&S Sourdough Bagels as well.

While the bagel is toasting turn the bacon to ensure it is thoroughly cooked. I also baste the fried egg to speed up the cooking time.

Once the bagel has finished toasting, place the bottom half on a plate, add the rashers of bacon, add the egg. I also like to add a slice of (processed) cheese and then top with the top half of the bagel. You could add sauce if you like that kind of thing.

Better late than never…

Back in December 2019 I was staying at the Taplow House Hotel in Maidenhead. I had chose the hotel in the main as it was cheaper than some London hotels, also parking was available. 

I had not eaten at the hotel the evening, as It was late when I arrived at the hotel. I had left leaving for the hotel much later than I had planned. So I had eaten at home and when I arrived, it was basically make myself a cup of tea, read and then get some sleep. I had a really nice classic room.

I had to be in central London in the morning, so I wanted an early start. I got myself washed and dressed and went down to breakfast. However they weren’t quite ready, so I had to wait outside, as it took the staff ages to open the dining room for breakfast. 

Once in I was ready to place my breakfast order, but this didn’t happen very fast and then a little longer for it to arrive at my table. So I was a little rushed, but having said all that it was a really nice breakfast.

The bacon was nice and thick, the sausage was meaty and tasty. The fried bread was done right, but my poached egg was overcooked. I also enjoyed the mushrooms, tomatoes and black pudding.

However I didn’t really enjoy the breakfast as much as I would like, as I was rushing. I much prefer a more relaxing breakfast.

I left the hotel about 30 minutes later than I wanted to, so I hit traffic on my way into London. It took me slightly longer as a result to get to the Westfield Centre, park and then catch the tube to central London for the event where I was presenting at an event. In the end I was just on time! I missed the start of the event, but was on time to present my piece and listen to some others as well.

A bizarre breakfast

Not going out to eat over the last three months has meant that I’ve had no meals or dishes to blog about. I have caught up with some recent meals, but have now been going back further into my photo library to see if there were dishes and meals that I may have not blogged about. One of these was a breakfast, which was not amazing!

In August of 2019 (only last year) we went to Brittany in France for our summer holiday. We took the ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg before driving down to a Eurocamp close to Dol-de-Bretagne.

Though the weather wasn’t that great, we did have a nice holiday.

We drove down to Portsmouth to catch the morning ferry. I hoped we could have breakfast at the port, but the process was very much queue up for passport control and then board the ship.

We were catching the fast ferry, the Normandie Express. It is a high-speed catamaran cruise ferry, owned and operated by Brittany Ferries.

The car deck was packed with cars and we scrambled through to the passenger deck.

Knowing that everyone was hungry we went straight to the café to get some breakfast and avoid any queuing or no seating.

I was anticipating something rather special, as I had seem this video on the Brittany Ferries website.

The menu looked a little bit strange, but I ordered some croissants, a few cooked breakfasts as well as some gluten free rolls. Oh and of course some coffee!

The breakfast looked like this!

There was some bacon, sausages, scrambled egg and bizarrely mashed potato!

It was an interesting experience, not one I would want to repeat. The sausages were fine, the egg was passable, however the mashed potato was just bizarre and the bacon did not taste like bacon.

The croissants were okay, fluffy and the French butter was very tasty. As for the gluten free rolls, well they were not very nice.

I think this could have been so much better and it was a bit of a flat start to our holiday. One of the reasons I wanted to go to France was for the food.

The breakfast was completely forgotten about though once we reached the open sea, as the water was very choppy and there were strong winds.

The day before the service had actually been cancelled due to the weather, and though the wind was not as strong as the day before, the waves were still there and it was a very rough crossing.

We had a lovely holiday and some great food. On the way back, we took a homemade packed lunch!

Gluten Free Mushroom, Spinach and Bacon Puffs

Gluten Free Mushroom, Spinach and Bacon Puffs

Having used the Jus-Rol Gluten Free puff pastry to make sausage rolls I decided to make them again, but also decided to try something new and make some Mushroom, Spinach and Bacon Puffs.

Jus Rol Gluten Free Puff Pastry

The Jus-Rol Gluten Free puff pastry comes as a ready rolled sheet which I sliced into squares. Into the middle of each square I put a mixture of mushrooms, chopped bacon and cut up spinach. I did consider pre-cooking the mixture, but decided not to. I then folded the corners into the middle and I then brushed the pastry showing with beaten egg. These were then placed on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.

The puffs were then baked in a 180º normal oven or 160º fan oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

If I was to make these in the future I would probably add some cheese to the mix, as they were a little dry. Fresh mozzarella would add some moisture, but cheddar would add flavour. Something to think about if I made these again.

Time for some breakfast

So there I was at an event in London and needing to book a hotel for the night. Going through the booking system we use at work, there was a cheap hotel almost next door to the venue, well that made a lot of sense, so I booked it.

Well it was a very tired hotel, it was dated and in the end quite noisy as well. I did though have breakfast included.

The breakfast was limited in choice, but it wasn’t half bad.

breakfast

Well the coffee was plain awful, I wish I had tea, those knowing me, will realise that’s saying something. It should be said I rarely find outstanding coffee when I have breakfast in a hotel, but this was on another level entirely.

The breakfast itself was all hot (and you can’t always say that about the breakfast buffet at some hotels), the eggs were cooked perfectly to my liking, I liked the tomato and the sausages. I wasn’t too enamoured with the bacon, but it was okay. As for beans, I don’t really like beans, so won’t comment on that.

I enjoyed the toast and there was a good choice of jams.

Overall the hotel was somewhere I wouldn’t want to stay again. The breakfast though, wasn’t too bad for a hotel breakfast.

Time for breakfast

breakfast at The Walton

I occasionally have to stay away as part of my job, and I find it surprising that I have become something of a breakfast snob when it comes to hotel breakfasts. I know that it is nice to have someone else make you breakfast.

A recent breakfast experience at the Holiday Inn Express was very disappointing, with minimal choice, not much different a previous experience a few years back. However recently I was able to repeat the breakfast experience at The Walton Hotel in Nottingham. I first stayed at The Walton back in 2016.

The Walton Hotel in Nottingham

This is a unique hotel experience and nothing like the bland chains that I usually find myself in. The quirky decor and furniture makes fort a very different hotel experience.

The Walton Hotel in Nottingham

Last time the breakfast was very quirky in its presentation.

breakfast at The Walton

This time I was expecting something different, as I had noticed that the dinner menu was radically different to what I had seen on my last visit. Last time I had a really nice pork done three ways. Looking back through the blog I realised I hadn’t blogged about that dish or the breakfast.

Pork done three ways

That pork dish was very clever and delicious, but as you can see it had quite a quirky presentation. I think I remember seeing a similar sounding lamb dish back then, so was looking forward to having that this time on my return visit. However looking over the menu it was apparent that they had changed chef and were going for “safe” options such as steak and chips, steak and ale pie, fish and chips, etc…

The new menu didn’t inspire me so was expecting a more “traditional” breakfast. However this time the breakfast was similar, it was served on a plate, though the beans were still in a miniature saucepan.

breakfast at The Walton

The mushroom was full of flavour and well cooked, not broiled for ages as you find at a breakfast buffet. Likewise as it was cooked to order the bacon was very tasty and not dried out, the eggs were also similarly freshly cooked and still had runny yolks. I liked the beef tomato that came with the breakfast. The sausage was meaty and tasty. The breakfast came with some nice toasted bloomer bread and a cafetière of freshly brewed coffee.

These were high quality ingredients and were cooked well and tasted delicious.

Breakfast in Bloomsbury

I had really enjoyed the breakfast I had at the Ambassadors Hotel in Bloomsbury back in 2008.

It was a splendid affair, and though there was an element of self-service, what was nice was the staff took your cooked breakfast order and brought it to the table. 

Beautifully served, it consisted of an excellent meaty sausage, some very nice grilled bacon, a small bowl of baked beans, grilled (and skinned) tomato, mushroom, bubble and squeak, black pudding and egg. You had a choice of eggs (chicken or duck) and cooked to your liking, I had a poached duck’s egg. It was also garnished with lettuce, not sure about the lettuce.

So when I was lucky enough to stay at the Ambassadors Hotel in Bloomsbury again recently, I was really looking forward to coming down for breakfast. 

I wasn’t expecting to get an identical experience, but it was pretty close.

breakfast

The eggs were cooked well, the sausage was nice, as was the bacon. I liked the grilled mushrooms. The tomato wasn’t as good as before and there was a solitary small hash brown.

Luckily no lettuce, just some parsley.

There was quite a choice of other cooked items as well, such as boiled eggs and kippers.

Along with the cooked breakfast, there was also a (self-service) selection of toast, bread products such as croissant and panettone, fruit, yoghurt, juice, cold meats, cheese and smoked fish.

Excellent service and great food. A good start to the day.

Breakfast at Bloomsbury

I was recently up in London and stayed at the Ambassadors Hotel in Bloomsbury. I generally dislike having breakfast in hotels, as more often than not they are overpriced and though have extensive choice are not really value for money. For example a month or two back I stayed at the Thistle Barbican Hotel and breakfast (though included in my room rate) would have cost you £15.95. For that you would have to queue up unless you got up really early. Having sat down in the Thistle, if you were lucky, the waiting staff would bring you some coffee and toast. Then it was self-service for the cooked breakfast, which was not very inspiring.

So I was well pleased with breakfast at the Ambassadors Hotel in Bloomsbury. It was about the same price as the Thistle, but unlike that place, at the Ambassadors they served you your cooked breakfast at the table, and what an excellent cooked breakfast it was.

breakfast

Beautifully served, it consisted of an excellent meaty sausage, some very nice grilled bacon, a small bowl of baked beans, grilled (and skinned) tomato, mushroom, bubble and squeak, black pudding and egg. You had a choice of eggs (chicken or duck) and cooked to your liking, I had a poached duck’s egg. It was also garnished with lettuce, not sure about the lettuce.

There was quite a choice of other cooked items as well, such as boiled eggs and kippers.

Along with the cooked breakfast, there was also a (self-service) selection of toast, bread products such as croissant and panettone, fruit, yoghurt, juice, cold meats, cheese and smoked fish.

Overall I was well impressed and would recommend the breakfast, though still not sure about the lettuce.