Caesar Salad

I was staying at the Drayton Court Hotel in Ealing, it is  of the regular places I stay when in London It is significantly cheaper than central London, and with the Elizabeth Line, hitting central London is really fast.

When staying away I don’t usually have salad in the evenings, as partly I want something more substantial and filling, and partly as I probably would have had a s salad for lunch as I generally don’t do sandwiches. However this time I was quite hungry (as I had missed out on lunch) so I went with a pizza and the Caesar salad alongside.

The pizza was excellent, fresh base, freshly cooked in a proper pizza oven. The Caesar salad was described as coming with cos lettuce, pickled anchovies, confit egg yolk, sourdough croutons and Parmesan.

Caesar salad

Well there were some overlarge sourdough croutons, there were anchovies, Parmesan and lettuce. However the described confit egg yolk had been replaced with a halved boiled egg. Didn’t mind that replacement that much.

The salad was delicious and I really enjoyed it, so much so, that I have recreated the dish a few times since at home.

Time for another Fiorentina

I was up in York for a few days and I was looking for a place for lunch, where I could sit down for a while and check work stuff and do emails and the suchlike.

I had a notification from the Pizza Express app that they had a £7.99 deal for a classic pizza, so I thought, that’s good value and I will be able to sit for a while. I’ve done this deal before at the Pizza Express in Ealing.

I headed to the branch of Pizza Express in York by the River Ouse. There was lots of room, so I chose a table by the window. I looked over the menu and looked at the classic pizza, as this what was on offer with the app. I went with the Classic Fiorentina Pizza.

The one with the ‘egg and spinach’, plus mozzarella, tomato, Gran Milano cheese, black olives and garlic oil. 

The egg was slightly overdone for my liking, but not by much. I’ve had this pizza many times and this was a nice pizza. It’s quite a simple pizza, but I like it.

I did feel that the service was a little over-attentive, but it wasn’t that intrusive.

This was a nice place to eat, the offer made it good value, and I had a tasty pizza.

Time for a Fiorentina

Fiorentina Pizza

I had arrived in Ealing early and had some time before I could check into my hotel. I did quite fancy pizza and I had enjoyed my pizza from Franco Manca when I last had pizza for lunch in Ealing.

I went for a walk, despite thinking I would have pizza for lunch, I did walk around first. I did wonder if the La Rueda Spanish Tapas Bar had a lunch offer, having enjoyed my tapas dinner there the previous week. They didn’t.

I decided I would go to Rosa’s Thai for lunch, but when I got there, it was empty. Decided, that was a no, I don’t really like eating in an empty restaurant.

So, what was I going to have for lunch, decided I would have a pizza at Franca Manca. I went in and there didn’t appear to be any staff, I waited, and then I waited some more. I then walked out.

I headed to Reineta for lunch, this time their lunch menu matched their online lunch menu. However, I didn’t really fancy a toastie or a sandwich. I left and went back to Franca Manca. Again, I waited, I waited some more, then I walked out again. 

So, I headed to Pizza Express, this time I was given a warm welcome, so I took a seat and looked over the menu. I had a special offer on the app, so I used them to have a Classic Fiorentina Pizza.

The one with the ‘egg and spinach’, plus mozzarella, tomato, Gran Milano cheese, black olives and garlic oil.

It arrived in good time. It looked really nice.  I’ve had this pizza quite a few times and it is one of my favourite pizza from Pizza Express. I like the spinach, olives and egg. I was a little disappointed that the egg was cooked solid, but overall, I did enjoy the pizza. It was good value for money, I had good service and I didn’t need to wait!

Excellent Eggs

Up in Manchester I joined a colleague for breakfast at the Federal Cafe Bar.

I really liked the atmosphere. We found a table and I went to the counter to order a coffee. Having had some toast at my hotel I only wanted the coffee.

My colleague with the Turkish Eggs. Two free range poached eggs on whipped garlic yoghurt with hot chilli butter and za’atar and served with sourdough toast.

Excellent Eggs

It looked amazing and my colleague said the eggs were excellent.

I had a great flat white.

Later I decided to go back there for a coffee, only to find the place full and no free seats. Well maybe next time I am in Manchester I will return for a coffee or even breakfast.

Waiting for Wagamama

I have been to Edinburgh many times for work and have eaten out there when staying overnight. I had an excellent French meal back in November 2019. However though I have been there for work I have never been there for a personal visit. So when planning a short holiday for the summer we decide we would visit Edinburgh in August for a short city break.

On our first evening we had decided to visit Wagamama but the queue was horrendous so we then ended up at the Italian restaurant, Amarone. On our second evening, as it was late we ate in the hotel, what a mistake that was!

On our final night we decided we would go for Wagamama, though there was a queue it was shorter. We had to wait for a while, but once we were in, we were in. We were shown to a table and we looked over the menu.

I liked the idea of a rice dish so I went with the grilled duck donburi. This was tender, shredded duck in a spicy teriyaki sauce. mixed with carrots, mangetout, sweet potato and red onion on a bed of sticky white rice and topped with a crispy fried egg, cucumber and spring onions. served with a side of kimchee.

I have had this dish before (I think) and I really enjoyed it. The combination of sauce, duck, vegetables with rice and egg was delicious. The kimchee adds some nice spice and heat to the dish.

Also served to the table was a  chicken katsu curry. This is chicken coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs, covered in an aromatic curry sauce served with sticky rice and a side salad. 

I have to say I never like the look of this dish, but I was informed that it was delicious and the plate of food was polished off.

Another dish served to the table was a glass noodle salmon salad which was really enjoyed.

Overall we had a nice meal, the place was busy, but the service was attentive. It was noticeable though how the number of takeaway and delivery orders were impacting on the service to the customers who were actually sitting down in the restaurant. We know that there has been a huge growth in the demand for these services during the pandemic, but I am not so sure that restaurants have worked out how to manage the whole process, especially now that there are more people going out to eat in the actual restaurant.

Time for some Portuguese Tastes

Over the last year I have missed going to street food markets, so have been reflecting on nice meals I have had in the past. Whilst going through photographs of my food I realised I had never mentioned Portuguese Taste in all my blog posts on food from St Nicholas Market.

This was quite interesting as I realised that I had eaten there many times over the years I have been working in Bristol. It is one of my favourite stalls in the market. They have a real mix of dishes and every day there are different choices.

I had a delicious Portuguese Chicken meal back in December 2017 which consisted of chicken in a cream sauce served with rice, potatoes and salad.

It is a weird thing I find to have rice and potatoes, but that’s how they serve a fair few of their dishes. The menu has some quite inspiring choices and fish makes a regular appearance as does lamb and pork.

One dish I have had a few times is Portuguese Pork Steaks with Egg.

This was the plate I had in April 2016.

Whilst here is the same dish from a visit in July 2017.

The pork can be a little chewy, but the slow cooked onions and egg really add to the dish.

In May 2016 I had this dish.

I think this was also pork and egg dish, but came with a spicy tomato sauce and no salad!

Though the stall is somewhat small, they do have tables and chairs and I would usually eat my lunch inside the stall. Mainly as it was hot, and it came on a proper plate, but was a nice change from eating in the office out of a cardboard box!

Pizza at The Old Leadworks

Having spent the afternoon in Bristol last November, we had  choice, did we go home and cook, or did we go out and eat first in Bristol. We did venture first to Bella Italia, but it was fully booked. To be honest I wasn’t sure if it was as there was plenty of free tables. However I wasn’t willing to argue with the staff. We didn’t want to spend ages walking around to find somewhere to eat. The challenge was that we needed to find somewhere which had a good choice of gluten free items as well.

I recalled that over by at-Bristol or now as it was called We The Curious in the old Leadworks was a branch of Prezzo. So we decided that we would try there, if unsuccessful we would go home. So we headed towards Prezzo on the Harbourside.

Back in 2000 I actually worked at at-Bristol and my desk was in the offices on the first floor in the old Leadworks. At that time the restaurant was a Firehouse Rotisserie, which sold chicken. I did think about going there a few times, but never did. It was too expensive for lunch and it was somewhere we ever went in the evening either. I am not sure when it became a Prezzo, but it was now a Prezzo.

We were given a lovely warm friendly welcome. I looked over the menu, and wasn’t quite sure what I wanted. In the end I went with the Fiorentina Pizza, a classic pizza with spinach, olives, mozzarella and egg.

I have had this pizza a few times before and enjoyed it each time. This time it was just as nice.

There was a lot of pizza but I did manage to finish it.

It was a lovely relaxing meal and we all really enjoyed our food.

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!

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.


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.

One of these is not like the other

On my most recent visit to Prezzo, I decided to have something different, however they had a run on the Calabria Burger so I had to choose something else. I had enjoyed the Fiorentina Pizza on a previous visit. So needing to make a quick decision, I decided to go again with the Fiorentina Pizza that I had last time.

The Fiorentina Pizza is a classic pizza with spinach, olives, mozzarella and an egg. The last time I thought this was a very tasty pizza, I really liked the toppings and the base was cooked well.

So as you can imagine my expectations were quite high, however though my pizza was nice, the egg, which last time had a nice soft yolk, was fully cooked this time. The flavour was still there, but I had a slight twinge of disappointment that it didn’t look like this.

Fiorentina Pizza, a classic pizza with spinach, olives, mozzarella and an egg.

I did contemplate complaining, but wasn’t sure if I had grounds for a valid complaint, especially as I wasn’t sure how the egg was supposed to be cooked on the pizza, maybe the last time I had it, it wasn’t supposed to have a soft yolk.