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.

Aldeburgh Fish and Chips

Aldeburgh is a small town on the Suffolk coast. In recent years it has become something of a fashionable place to live (or have a second home). Walking down the high street, there are many kinds of shops, cafes, and restaurants. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, when we use to visit Aldeburgh. My memories of back then was about the bookshop (which is still there), the toyshop (which isn’t). I also remember the newsagents which sold sweets and comics, and the sweetshops which sold sweets. There were probably other kinds of shops, but as a child, I don’t remember them!

We use to have fish and chips from the fish and chip shop. It is still there. The fish and chip shop in Aldeburgh is often recognised as one of the best fish and chip shops in the UK. 

I did have some in 2008 and wasn’t that impressed.

Well was I really disappointed. These are suppose to be the best fish and chips in the country. Well sorry that may have been the best, but the portion of cod and chips I had on a Saturday night were terrible and very poor.

So when I was back in Aldeburgh in January 2024 I decided to have some fish and chips for my lunch, I would try them out again, so I got a cod and chips to go and headed to the beach to eat them.

This was not a huge portion, but it was lunch, so I was happy with that. I am pretty sure they advertised their fish as boneless and skinless, well mine wasn’t. There was skin and some bones. I found it challenging to eat from the bag with a wooden chip fork, but they were nice fish and chips. The nearby seagulls kept eyeing my food up, you can get a huge fine if you feed them. These were my chips not theirs.

I did enjoy the fish and chips, but I wasn’t blown away by them. 

Why no oven chips?

French fries
Image by Matthias Böckel from Pixabay

I wrote about my impressions of self-catering at Cerro Mar in Portugal in a previous blog post. 

I do like to shop at local supermarkets and buy local produce or ingredients to cook with. As self-catering can be quite limited, I do sometimes on holiday buy convenience food to cook.

One of things I did find different in Portugal was the lack of oven chips available in the local supermarkets. They did sell frozen chips, but these were for deep fat frying.

I don’t know if this is a cultural thing, having bought oven chips in France and Spain on previous holidays.

I did buy the chips, but cooked them in the oven with some oil. They were okay.

Slow Greek Lunch

I have had a few meals at The Real Greek and so when I was in the Gloucester Quays looking for a quick lunch.

They have a lunch deal, so I thought I would go with that. I entered the restaurant and waited to be seated…

And waited…

True there was a member of staff behind the bar preparing some desserts, and did say it would be a few minutes.

And I waited…

I sat at the table and looked over the menu. I decided what I was going to have and I waited.

And waited…

Some people were sat on the table next to me and they had their order taken, even though they were sat after me.

And I waited…

Eventually a member of the waiting staff arrived, and I was able to place my order.

It took a while for my food to arrive.

I expected all the food to come at once, but the cold meze arrived first, and later my hot dishes arrived.

I had the santorini fava, taramasalata, and Greek flatbread.

santorini fava, taramasalata, and Greek flatbread

The santorini fava was made from yellow lentils from Santorini, cooked and blended with herbs and spices, topped with a salsa of tomatoes, onions, capers and caper powder. I’ve had this before and enjoyed it then, and I enjoyed it again this time.

The taramasalata was a creamy blend with naturally undyed cod roe. As the menu says it’s not meant to be pink! I enjoyed the creamy dip.

The Greek flatbreads were soft and warm and there was plenty of it, which was nice.

The hot meze was spinach tiropitakia with chips.

spinach tiropitakia with chips

The tiropitakia was three filo pastry parcels with creamy leek, spinach and feta filling. As with the calamari I had recently, sometimes I think does a dish need a salad garnish, this one did. The dish was certainly missing something fresh to accompany the filo pastry parcels. I would have chosen a salad instead of the chips, but no salad was on the lunch menu.

The tiropitakia had been deep fried, I was expecting them to be baked. I would like to have seen layers of flaky pastry. As they had been fried, they were a little greasy and crunchy. The creamy leek, spinach and feta filling was nice though. I liked the chips which were nice and crisp.

Overall I did enjoy my lunch, but was slightly annoyed with how slow the service was. The place wasn’t busy and they seemed to have plenty of staff, so it wasn’t clear about why the service was slow.

So, no fish on the menu then!

I was staying over at the Drayton Court Hotel in West Ealing. This is a place I stay regularly when working away in London.

Went down for dinner, the menu changes regularly, and the sea bass had been recently added. I was going to have the fish tacos followed by the sea bass. However, both weren’t available. So, I had steak and chips instead.

This was described on the menu as Owton’s dry-aged 8oz rib eye steak with triple-cooked chips, grilled tomato, baked field mushroom and peppercorn sauce.

Owton's dry-aged 8oz rib eye steak with triple-cooked chips, grilled tomato, baked field mushroom and peppercorn sauce.

The plate looked good with the sauce coming separately in a miniature saucepan. The steak was excellent, and much better than some of the steaks I have had at Drayton Court Hotel. It was cooked well and reasonably well seasoned, I did add a little more seasoning. I liked the chips, tomato, and mushroom as well.

Overall it was a really nice plate of food.

Well at least I got fries this time…

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.

Time for a Buttermilk Chicken Burger

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.

Time for a Buttermilk Chicken Burger

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.

The accompanying chips were crisp and tasty.

Time for some fish and chips again

I was staying at the Doubletree Hilton in Ealing and was eating in the hotel restaurant.

I recently had fish and chips in a different hotel which I had enjoyed. So I decided to order it at the Doubletree.

It was described as traditional fish and chips with garden peas, chunky chips and tartare sauce. I received an excellent looking plate of food.

I wouldn’t have said the chips were that chunky! However it was nice to have the lemon as well. The fish was well cooked, the batter was excellent, lovely, light, and crispy. The chips were nice as well. Overall I really enjoyed the dish.