Time for some ravioli

Ealing Dickens Yard

Staying in London I drove over to Ealing Broadway to do some food shopping. However once there looking at the places to eat. I did think about Cote again. Though I looked at various menus, I wasn’t in the mood for Korean or Japanese. I ruled out the Bread Street Kitchen as it was too expensive. I did think about Bill’s which had a fixed price menu which was reasonable. However the last time I was in Ealing I remembered seeing Dicken’s Yard and this time I went and explored and found a pasta place called Pasta Remoli.

I rarely eat pasta out, as I have had some poor experiences, but this place looked good. I did walk around the block once more, but I was tempted by the pasta. The whole street looked very continental and it reminded me of similar streets in Italy, Spain and Greece.

They had plenty of tables inside, but no air conditioning. However as I hadn’t booked, I was allowed to choose where I wanted to sit inside, I sat down and looked over the menu.

It’s actually quite a simple menu, choose your pasta, choose your sauce and then choose your cheese.

You can either have a regular portion or a large portion.

I chose the large portion of Truffle & Mushroom Ravioli (for a £1.80 supplement). For my sauce I went with the simple butter and sage, described as the perfect accompaniment for any of our Ravioli dishes. I was reminded of the delicious pasta dish I had had recently at Bella Italia back in June. For cheese I went with Parmigiano Reggiano.

It looked great when it arrived.

Truffle and Mushroom Ravioli

It tasted great too. The pasta was al dente as it should be. The filling was rather good and the sage butter just added to the dish and didn’t overpower the truffle and mushroom filling. It was just about the right size portion for me. Delicious.

There were some other dishes on the menu beyond the three choices that looked good. There was a special of spaghetti with fresh clams (wasn’t quite sure how fresh the clams would be). I also liked the idea of Simone Remoli’s Signature Dish,  Fresh Lobster Spaghetti. Though at £19.80 was slightly beyond my budget. There are also some nice looking starters, sides and deserts.

I got the bill. Notice in London that they always add a service charge, this is also happening in Bristol as well. I always prefer to tip rather than a obligatory charge and will tip well if I had good service.

It looked like they had some good gluten free choices, but the following did start to ring some alarm bells.

*Gluten free: there might be contamination during the cooking process

If you are avoiding gluten, maybe not so much an issue, but if you are coeliac then this place would be a non-starter. I suspect the problem is that they cook the GF pasta in the same water as normal pasta. This is a pity as otherwise this would be a perfect place to visit if one of your party was coeliac.

Christmas time at the Mud Dock Cafe

December is often the time for office Christmas meals. With the number of staff in our office, the main Christmas meal we have is often dictated by the availability of the venue and to be perfectly honest I have not been too impressed with the food at the last few I have been to. The fact you also need to order your choices weeks in advance is also a little annoying. What I fancy eating in November, may not be what I actually want on the day. Then again do you really go to an office Christmas meal for the food?

Having missed the main office Christmas dinner (intentionally) last December, I was looking forward to our team Christmas meal which was taking place the week after. There was only going to be a few of us so it wasn’t going to be that massive crazy kind of event. The plan was to have a meal at the Mud Dock Cafe in Bristol.

We had a meeting before heading off to the venue. What I did like about this meal was that we could choose from the menu. As I looked over the menu we were impressed with the salad that a neighbouring table was eating. However we couldn’t work out what it was and didn’t appear to be on the menu. I then cheekily asked the neighbouring table what they had ordered, they were very happy about the query and told us it was the Caesar Salad from the specials board up on the wall!

One of my colleagues was impressed enough that he ordered the salad for his meal.

It looked really impressvive and delicious. Though I was tempted by the salad, in the end I went with the Festive menu. For my starter I had the ballotine confit of turkey leg, cranberry compote and dressed leaves.

This was rather tasty, though as with these kinds of dishes, I could have done with more bread.

I wasn’t sure what kind of main course I wanted, but when I read truffled mushroom I went with the homemade chestnut and parmesan gnocchi in a truffled mushroom and spinach cream.

This, though rather hot (as in temperature) was a rich comforting plate of food. It was tasty and I really enjoyed it.

I was persuaded to have a desert, so I went with the selection of West Country cheeses.

A rather delightful selection and beautifully presented board of cheese.

Overall it was one of the better Christmas meals I have had. It was nice to have a choice and choose on the day, rather than days or weeks in advance.

This year I don’t think we will be having any kind of festive office meal but if and when we can do that kind of thing, I hope to return to the Mud Dock Cafe.

Grilling in Euston

So I was staying overnight on the Euston Road before heading off to France on the Eurostar the following morning.

Having been walking around earlier I had noticed the Cattle and Co and it looked both inviting and interesting.

Cattle and Co

Having looked at the online menu I had quite liked the idea of chargrilled squid, which regular readers of the blog will know I quite like.

However the online menu must be slightly out of date as there was no squid on the menu, however to compensate there was a selection of grills that I hadn’t seen online.

Of the starters I did think about the Buttermilk Wings, but the “Now we talkin’” spice rating of the Buffalo Sauce made me think again.

I was tempted by a couple of items on the main menu. If I was really hungry I probably would have gone for the The Cattle Platter.

The formidable showcase of what we’re about here at Cattle & Co. St Louis Rib, Beef Short Rib, Smoked Chicken Thigh, Honey & Beer onion rings, and in just in case you needed something else; Fries. A wheelbarrow taxi service home also available upon request. No judgement here, we’ve all been there.

As I wasn’t starving (and I was eating alone) then decided that at £35 it was a bit extravagant to go for something that sounded delicious.

I also quite liked the sound of the Buttermilk Fried Chicken as well as the Angus Short Rib.

Now we’re talking. Our imported smoker really showing off its potential with this dish. Hickory smoked on-site for at least 12 hours (Low and Slow), Pickles, Sauce, AND Your choice of Fries.

In the end decided to go down the “specials” route and have a grill. The grills covered a range of prices, but was tempted by either the hangar steak or the lamb rump. In the end I went with the lamb.

It was served with a confit tomato, mushrooms, a green salad and some melted garlic butter. I did order a side order of truffle and parmesan fries.

Grilled Lamb Rump

I had expected the fries to be served with a large helping of freshly grated parmesan and grated truffle. That expectation was based on seeing a similar dish at one of the Bristol Street Food markets. However I didn’t see any real evidence of either parmesan or truffle. The fries were nice and I did enjoy eating them.

So what of the lamb? The lamb was cooked how I asked, the cut was full of flavour and it was really tender. I really enjoyed the chargrill which imparted a great flavour and hadn’t been overdone. I couldn’t believe how tender it was, easy to cut with a regular knife.

I also enjoyed the other accompaniments on the board. The tomato was lovely and tender, yet still full of flavour, so much nicer than just either a chargrilled tomato half or even an uncooked one. The mushrooms were nice as was the salad.

The service was warm, friendly and efficient. I should say it took some time for my food to arrive, but I wasn’t in a hurry and good food does take some time to cook. I think there were quite a few people in the other side of the restaurant by the kitchen, it was much quieter on the side I was in by the bar.

Would I like to go again? Yes I would.

Do you like Truffles?

To be honest I don’t think I have eaten truffles or used truffle oil, but with the news this week that a huge €140,000 white truffle was found in Italy, it has brought to the fore the question, are truffles worth the money?

Black Truffle

The Guardian’s Jay Rayner asks this question:

So the question is, without the flavour burst of truffle oil do truffles really taste of anything? Or, to be more exact, do they taste of enough given their price?

A good article to read with some interesting responses. Personally I would quite like to try something made with truffles, black or white.

Photo source.