Levante Pide – Lewisham

We decided to end the working week relaxing over a meal out on Friday evening. We wanted somewhere nice. And somewhere in Lewisham, South East London.

A web search (Google, Open Table, Trip Advisor, etc) showed that Levante Pide, a Turkish restaurant on Lewisham High Street, had better reviews and ranking over other central Lewisham restaurants. And so I booked a table via the Open Table site.

Roll on 8pm Friday night: on arrival the restaurant was packed and we were told they didn’t have our booking – perhaps we’d booked the restaurant with a similar name (Levante) at Hither Green? I showed the booking on my phone and we were shown to a table for two. Mix-up cleared.


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Inside Levante Pide – large and bright, stone clad walls


We weren’t in any hurry – we were intent on having a relaxing, leisurely meal. Even so, service was incredibly slow (to the extent I had to go find our waiter at one point).


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Menu


We ordered a bottle of chianti red wine, reasonably priced at £19.00 and these mixed meze starters: grilled haloumi cheese @ £4.50, sucuk izgara spicy Turkish sausage (excellent) @ £4.50, sigara boregi deep-fried filo dough stuffed with creamy Turkish white cheese and parsley @ £3.90 and calamari fried squid in a light crispy batter @ £4.50.

They were all good and served with fresh salad but the sausage stood out as being the speciality dish here.


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Meze starters – grilled haloumi, sucuk spicy sausage, sigara boregi + calamari


For main course, K ordered Iskender kebab – lamb doner served with butter-coated bread with yoghurt and special Anatolian sauce, topped with sizzling butter @ £12.00 (simply amazing – really tender lamb pieces and gorgeous spicy sauce and flavours) and I had an Adana kebab – minced meat marinated with herb and grilled @£10.00. This was tainted with an unpleasant gassy flavour (from the way it had been grilled?) and I left it.


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Kebab main courses – Iskender and Adona


While I’m not the world’s biggest fan of puddings, I do love baklava (honey and nuts – my kind of ingredients) so in the interest of benchmarking (ahem) we ordered a portion to share (this was tasty enough but @ £3.50 for two pieces it seemed either over-priced or a small portion) along with an Irish coffee made with Baileys @ £3.90 each.


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Baklava + Irish coffee with Baileys


The verdict: a bit hit and miss (some food was great, some food – like the complimentary bread and the Adana kebab – had an unpleasant gassy taste) and service was poor. There are plenty of other good Turkish restaurants in the area, like Turquaz (with friendly staff and entertaining belly dancing) that have an edge over Levante Pide.

And – if your dining criteria is a good restaurant in the Lewisham area – head over to Catford, where there are several great restaurants and a variety of international cuisines.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 2.5 / 5
~ Type: Turkish
~ Address: 187 Lewisham High Street, Lewisham, London
~ Postcode: SE13 6AA
~ Nearest station: Lewisham
~ Website + menus: Levante Pide website
~ Photos: Levante Pide food photos
~ Location: Levante Pide map



Levante Pide on Urbanspoon

Roast hog butties – Borough Market

Do butties get any better than the spit roast hog sandwiches from the Roast Hog stall at Borough Market? (LardButty would love to hear about it, if they do).

M-The-Foodie introduced a few of us to the freshly roasted pig one lunchtime last week. It was so good we ventured back this week. On both occasions there was a long queue – it was torment waiting but watching the spit with its cooked crispy crackling certainly got me salivating.


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Step 1: find the Roast Hog stall


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Step 2: join the queue + let the spit tease you


Choose ciabatta bread or a wrap and watch your sandwich (£5.50 as of April 2015) being assembled in front of you – tender chunks of fresh roast hog (with subtle aniseed spice flavours from the fennel it’s marinaded in), apple sauce, rocket leaves, and the clincher – strips of crispy, crunchy crackling.


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Step 3: Watch your sandwich being made with fresh hog, crackling + apple sauce


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Step 4: eat


Check out Roast Hog’s video on YouTube (you can hire their catering services for events and parties).


The verdict: As long as you like tender pork and crispy crackling, this is a very special, generously filled sandwich. It’s packed with ingredients, and reasonably priced for the size. Go on, try it for yourself…


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Street food, butties
~ Address: Borough Market (and other food markets) London
~ Nearest station: London Bridge
~ Website for: Roast Hog

~ Website for: Borough Market

~ Photos on flickr: Roast Hog images
~ Borough Market location: map (for Roast Hog stall + more)



		

	

BNB breakfast deliveries – South East London

How does this sound: fried bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, plantain, black pudding, cheese and onion omelette and baked beans, all served steaming hot with buttered fresh granary bread?

Delivered to your door. With a teabag if you happen to have run out of tea. Or even a newspaper? Or maybe freshly squeezed orange juice – particularly great if you’ve been out the night before.

All YOU have to do is get out of bed to answer said door. You’d also have to pay £8.00 and select your breakfast items from BNB’s BedNBreakfast menu (or choose a sandwich, omelette, Continental breakfast, veggie brekkie with grilled haloumi or something else).

Oh come on now, you have to put some effort in. But you could place your order the day before if you don’t want to overdo it in the morning.

Sound too good to be true?
The good news is it’s real provided you want a breakfast or brunch delivery – to home or work – to one of these postcodes: SE2, SE3, SE6, SE7, SE9, SE10, SE12, SE13, SE18 or SE28 in South East London.


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Individually packaged breakfast items – keeping hot


BedNBreakfasttt is a new delivery service, with the aim of bringing “our nation’s fave breakfast treats to you, in the comfort of your own home.”

While the reference to a ‘bed and breakfast’ (with two extra Ts?) may be slightly confusing initially, breakfast deliveries are – without doubt – a great concept. Why wasn’t this already happening in our fast-paced, pampered, on-demand lifestyles, hey?


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Food unpackaged + put on a plate – the hard work’s done


We got a delivery this morning and it was a joyous start to the weekend: I’d been out last night (accidentally drank more than intended, then ate more pizza than intended, etc) and woke up ravenous this particular Saturday. And in true LardButty style, telling it how it really is, I’m declaring upfront that this was a complimentary breakfast in exchange for a review.


First, the delivery service was enthusiastic and most certainly ‘with a smile’. Tick. Next, the food items were individually packaged, keeping them steaming hot. Tick.

This selection was from the BedNBreakfast (fry up) menu where you choose six items from: sausage, bacon, egg, cheesy beans, regular beans, hash brown plantain (6 pieces), mushrooms, grilled tomatoes + black pudding.

We had:
~ scrambled eggs – done to a perfect, firm consistency, nicely light golden
~ bacon – also great (I’d suggest the option to choose between smoked or unsmoked as I’m not a big fan of smoked bacon)
~ sausage – a seriously good, big fat flavoursome sausage
~ mushrooms – yum (I just love mushrooms, it’s hard to go wrong with them provided they’re fresh and these were)
~ baked beans – proper baked beans, all good
~ black pudding – no complaints there
~ plantain – sweet fried banana flavours that didn’t go well with the other savoury flavours (but hey ho, given a free choice I wouldn’t choose this. And I *would* order from here again).

We also had omelettes: thick cheese and onion omelette, more Spanish omelette style than regular with a good depth for slicing and tasting (omelettes are normally £4.00 each and the website indicates you can request your preferred type). And to drink, chilled freshly squeezed orange juice (gorgeous). Plus, buttered bread – lovely, fresh granary bread (crusty bread is £1.00) and ketchup – proper Heinz ketchup, the true tomato sauce (a tub of tomato sauce is £0.50). Tick, tick, tick.

I particularly like the convenience of being able to order teabags @ 50p each. The ability to order milk could be a winner too (say, as part of an order over a certain price) as there’s nothing worse than waking up parched on a weekend morning only to discover you’re out of milk and teabags (yeah ok, there are *worse* things, but you get my drift…).


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BNB menu


The food is great and the menu innovative, for example, a ‘breakfast bundle’ for four people @ £30.00 includes a ton of food as well as a couple of newspapers. Nice touch for that relaxing weekend read.

I’ll be eating from BedNBreakfasttt again. While it’s still early days, I can’t wait to see how this service expands and innovates, and develops its brand and website/online presence.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: British, breakfast, brunch, delivery
~ Where: South East London
~ Tel: 020 3612 0322 or 07715481054
~ email orders to: orders@bednbreakfasttt.co.uk
~ Website + menus: BNB website
~ Photos on flickr: images of BedNBreakfasttt food



Bednbreakfasttt on Urbanspoon

The Mistley Thorn Essex – best Sunday roasts

Having spent a relaxing weekend away in Suffolk, we decided to stop off somewhere for a leisurely Sunday dinner, and break up our drive back to London.

A quick google and The Guardian’s 2013 Best Sunday Lunches lists four pubs/restaurants for East England, one being The Crown & Castle in Orford, Suffolk, where we happened to go on Saturday night (it was excellent – hopefully a good indication that the others would be of a similarly high standard).

One of those three being The Mistley Thorn near Manningtree in Essex: their “seafood specials at this old coaching house include the North Sea’s finest scallops, squid and local beer-battered haddock with chips”.

Decision made. We were going to Mistley, a small village on the coast (by the River Stour ajoining the North Sea) with much history (a Roman road to Colchester, C.17th witchfinders, a Cold War control room that became a museum before finally closing in 2002, etc).


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Inside The Mistley Thorn – bar area


It was mid-afternoon, we hadn’t booked. And this place was full – an indication of its popularity. A table for two was made available and we were told there’d be a short wait (by the accommodating, friendly staff) before they could take our order.

And so we enjoyed a leisurely beer (a bottled Goose Island IPA for me, and half an Adnams Spindrift on tap for K) while admiring the simple wood panelled decor that gives the restaurant the feel of a converted seaside hut.

We homed in on the set menu – two courses for £15.95. And both started with the chef’s soup of the day (leek and potato) with croutons (packed with flavours and helped warm us up on this cold wintry day).


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Leek + potato soup – soup of the day with croutons


For the main course Sunday roast, we both had roast Suffolk red poll rump of beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast rosemary potatoes and seasonal vegetables, with a red wine gravy and fresh creamed horseradish.

This red poll beef was really special – a great cut of lean beef, cooked perfectly (medium), pink in the middle and moist (no chewiness or gristle). Undoubtedly the best roast beef I’ve had in a Sunday roast dinner. The Yorkshire puddings were just right too – crisp on the outside, and soft in the middle.


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Roast beef + Yorkshire pudding


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Specials menu – sample menu from Sunday 29 March 2015

 

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The Mistley Thorn Rooms + Restaurant – Mistley, Essex

 

The verdict: Excellent food and great service in homely, comfy surroundings. Well worth a visit, even if it’s out of your way.

 

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: British, Sunday roasts
~ Address: High St, Mistley, near Manningtree, Essex
~ Postcode: CO11 1HE
~ Tel: 01206 392821
~ Nearest station: Mistley
~ Website + menus: The Mistley Thorn website
~ Photos on flickr: images of The Mistley Thorn
~ Location: The Mistley Thorn map


Mistley Thorn on Urbanspoon

Orford Suffolk – where to go

We had a relaxing long weekend in Suffolk (a 2 hour drive from London) at the end of March. We did some cycling, visited the coastal towns of Aldeburgh and Southwold, and were pleased we’d arranged to stay in the small village of Orford.

Here’s sharing the highlights and – as ever – recommending some places to eat, and where to avoid.




Friends Garage, Orford

Known as “one of the treasures of Orford” Friends Garage is a working garage and petrol station where you can buy fresh eggs laid by the owner’s chickens and hire bicycles at bargain rates (about £6 a day normally).


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Bicycle hire from the local garage


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Cycling around coast + countryside nearby – Orford Ness, Chillesford scarecrow




Kings Head pub, Orford

Snug, thirteenth century pub with low, wood-beamed ceilings, serving Adnams ales and good pub grub. All with friendly service too.


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Fresh cod goujons starter @ £6.25


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Beef burger + chips @ £10.25


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Skate wing @ £12.50


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Sticky toffee pudding @ £5.50


Quick ref info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: British, pub food, seafood
~ Address: Front Street, Orford, Suffolk, IP12 2LW
~ Tel: 01394 450271; e: thekingsheadorford@gmail.com
~ Website + menus: Kings Head website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Kings Head food



The Pump Street Bakery, Orford

Gorgeous freshly baked treats and staples – the heart of the village


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Bakery – serving “real bread and slow food”


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Cheese + bacon croissant


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Pasteis de nata – Portuguese egg tart


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Granary loaf – just gorgeous (we stocked up our freezer)


Quick ref info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Bakery, cafe
~ Address: 1 Pump Street, Orford, Suffolk, IP12 2LZ
~ Tel: 01394 459829; e: info@pumpstreetbakery.com
~ Website + menus: Pump Street Bakery website
~ Photos on flickr: images of bakery food



Trinity at The Crown & Castle, Orford

Classy restaurant serving top quality food and wines (slightly overly formal service and atmosphere).


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The Crown & Castle – hotel and Trinity restaurant


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Salad starter – mountain gorgonzola, spiced pear, chicory + caramelised walnut salad @ £8.50


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Tuna loin starter with shaved celery, pinenuts + lemon dressing @ £9.50


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Slow roast pork belly with braised red cabbage, whipped celeriac, potatoes + gravy @ £17.95


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Orford-landed large Dover Sole (before) with brown shrimps + capers @ £21.00


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Dover Sole (after)


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Panna cotta cream pudding @ £6.95


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Neals Yard cheeseboard @ £9.50: Ardrahan, Wigmore, Graham Kirkham’s Lancashire, Stichelton blue served on a Peters Yard crispbread with caramelised walnuts + greengage jelly. Plus we had a glass of white wine (W6) La Grange de Quatre Sous @ £9.50 each (perfect accompaniment)


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Sample menu for Trinity restaurant at The Crown & Castle

Quick ref info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: British, seafood, roasts, gastro-pub food,
~ Address: The Crown & Castle, Orford, Suffolk, IP12 2LJ
~ Tel: 01394 450205
~ Website + menus: Crown & Castle website
~ Photos on flickr: images of The Crown & Castle food




The Adnams brewery store at Southwold is well worth a visit. We picked up a limited edition collaboration brew that went on sale this weekend, The Herbalist, not quite a pale ale but nice and hoppy (a golden saison brewed with pale ale, pilsner and pale rye malts and hopped with Mosaic, Citra, Centennial and four herbs – pineapple weed, pineapple sage, lemon thyme and lemon verbena – to create a fruity beer with aromas of lemon, mango and pineapple and a spicy saison dry finish).

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The Herbalist – limited edition Adnams beer


We also went to Aldeburgh on the coast (rocky beach) and had fish and chips from Aldeburgh Fish & Chip Shop (tiny fish, overpriced; distinctly average fish and chips) – one to skip if you’re short of time.



		

	

Suda – Thai at Covent Garden

“The best chicken green curry outside of Thailand, guaranteed” claims Suda’s menu. A bold statement, no? I was sucked in, and had to put it to the test.

But first, S and I shared a starter of tod mun and prawn skewers (not ‘lollipops’) @ £5.95. The tod mun fishcake balls were perfectly squidgy and spicy, while the deep fried battered prawn balls were a pleasant enough texture contrast but not particularly exciting.


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Tod mun + prawn skewers


For main course, S had kao pad pak ruam @ £8.25 – mixed veggies stir-fried with brown rice (healthy and tasty) and I had the Gaeng kiew waan gai – “the best” green chicken curry @ £11.00, which has a 2-star spice rating (an “intermediate” spicy level, and was spicy-tasty, not spicy-firey-hot).


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Kao pad pak ruam – brown rice packed with tofu, broccoli, mushrooms, peppers etc


At first glance the green curry looked very soupy and watery but the liquid was packed with flavours, particularly basil which I love. And the sticky rice @ £3.00 readily absorbed the juice.

Of all the green Thai curries I’ve eaten in the twenty years since I went to Thailand, I honestly can’t say if this was “the best” of them all (I can’t *remember* them all) but it was up there, ranking highly.


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Chicken green curry @ £11.50 – gorgeous basil + nicely spicy flavours


To drink, I had a couple of glasses of Monsoon Valley Chenin Blanc from Thailand’s Hua Hin Hills vineyard (my first wine from Thailand) @ £5.10 a 175ml glass – medium dry but with sweeter after notes than Chenin Blanc normally has, which made a perfect pairing with spicy food.

I was a bit of a sucker for these cute wooden carvings (table decorations) too, particularly the goat, with its tufty beard and tall horns:

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Table decorations – wood carved animals


The verdict: Spacious restaurant that felt comfortable and relaxing with its black patterned walls and dark decor and soft lighting; attentive and pleasant service and great Thai food, reasonably priced. If you’re in to puddings, the choice is limited.


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Inside Suda restaurant – dark decor, spacious


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Thai
~ Address: St Martin’s Courtyard, 23 Slingsby Place, Covent Garden, London
~ Postcode: WC2E 9AB
~ Tel: 020 7240 8010
~ Nearest station: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Charing Cross
~ Website + menus: Suda website
~ Photos on flickr: Suda photos
~ Location: Suda map


Suda on Urbanspoon

Guy Fawkes Arms – Scotton, Knaresborough

Last Saturday was a gorgeously sunny and mild day in Scotton, a small village just two miles from Knaresborough in North Yorkshire. A fine day to be celebrating my parents’ golden wedding anniversary at a country pub.

The Guy Fawkes Arms is under new management, and mum and dad had already done a recce (thanks for passing on the research skills, pops) and decided this was where they wanted to celebrate their fifty years of marital bliss.

Staff were welcoming, friendly and really helpful from the word go, and there was a good selection of real ales on tap from around the region (including Leeds Pale from The Leeds Brewery) and a good choice of wines too (we had a Viognier – dry white – with our fish courses, reasonably priced at around £25.00 a bottle).


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Sample lunch menu – click to enlarge


Our table for eighteen was in a separate room from the main bar area, just off the kitchen.

For starters I had seabass fillet with Thai vegetables – just gorgeous, with palate-cleansing ginger flavours and a generously sized fillet (more like a main course dish so quite filling).


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Seabass fillet with Thai vegetables – starter


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Feta, sundried tomato + olive salad with balsamic drizzle – starter


For main course, I had battered haddock with chips and mushy peas. The haddock was *huge* with the lightest batter I’ve ever had – it literally shattered when I put my cutlery in it. So good. The chunky fried chips were perfect too (soft in the middle, crispy on the outside) as were the minty mushy peas.


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Haddock, chips and mushy peas – huge main course portion


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Steak + Black Sheep ale pie


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Seafood linguine – with some mashed potato and mixed veg too


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Game breasts – pheasant, pigeon, partridge


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Dauphinoise potatoes


Others had steak and Black Sheep ale pie in short crust pastry, seafood linguine with white sauce and parmesan (containing large pieces of filleted salmon and white fish), and a trio of game breasts + dauphinoise potatoes – pheasant, pigeon and partridge with a redcurrant glaze, for their main courses. No-one was disappointed.

This is seriously good gastropub food.


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Sticky toffee pudding


For pudding, K had sticky toffee pudding *and* a cheeseboard of Wensleydale, goats cheese, Yorkshire blue and Cornish yarg (most of which ended up being taken home, unsurprisingly).


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Cheeseboard – Wensleydale, Goats cheese and Yorkshire Blue, Cornish Yarg


The verdict: Quaint old country pub in a lovely location, excellent staff and service. With Martin Peachey as head chef (formerly at
Becket’s, top Knaresborough restaurant) the food is excellent – in a league of its own.


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Pub, gastro-pub food
~ Address: Main Street, Scotton, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
~ Postcode: HG5 9HU
~ Tel: 01423 868400
~ Website + menus: Guy Fawkes Arms website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Guy Fawkes Arms
~ facebook page: Guy Fawkes Arms on fb
~ Location: Guy Fawkes Arms map


RELATED LINKS
Nearby dining + drinking:
~ Black Sheep Brewery – tours + visitor centre, Masham
~ Carriages – Knaresborough
~ Drum + Monkey – seafood in Harrogate
~ Major Tom’s – craft beer + stonebaked pizzas, Harrogate
~ Storm at The Dower House – Knaresborough
~ Sukhothai – Harrogate, top Thai in Yorkshire
~ The Tannin Level – Harrogate


Guy Fawkes Arms on Urbanspoon

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