Caravan – Kings Cross N1C

Our group of eight ate from a ‘set menu’ this eve. This is great when there’s a few of you as it means you can have a few starter plates to share (they’re exceptionally tasty) and still get to choose a main course and dessert.

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Sample set menu for groups

If eating from the a la carte menu, this Burmese chicken salad, turmeric, chilli, lime and peanuts starter sharing plate is £7.50. It’s a gorgeous blend of flavours.

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Burmese chicken salad – starter sharing plate

This red quinoa and buckwheat grain bowl, stem broccoli, sweet potato, peanuts with miso-tahini dressing is £8.00 on the a la carte menu. Again, really tasty and healthy too.

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Quinoa and buckwheat grain bowl – starter sharing plate

There’s a good choice of wines ranging from £18.00 a bottle up to about £60.00 (we had a good Rioja @ £18.00).

After such a good start with the amazing sharing plates, my expectations were raised. And dropped again. Most of our main courses arrived together, but some didn’t arrive until after a further 20 minutes (so a couple ended up eating after everyone else had finished).

Pizzas are stone-baked and nice enough but the base is very thick, made from a heavy dough – it was like munching through a loaf of bread and a bit of a chore. Toppings were nice and fresh but my pizza base was burnt. Still, there was enough of it that even after cutting off the burnt part of the base, I was still left with plenty.

This mozzarella, tomato + basil pizza is normally £9.00 on the a la carte menu:

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Mozzarella, tomato + basil pizza

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Portobello mushroom, porcini ricotta, mozzarella + rocket pizza

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Caravan Kings Cross – a grade II listed Victorian grain store

The verdict: Appealing venue, basic but cosy. Food was either exceptionally good (starters) or poor (burnt, thick-based pizza) and service wasn’t great (that our group’s main courses arrived at different times, meaning we ate – in effect – in two sittings, was disappointing).

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: International
– Address: Granary Square, 1 Granary Square, Kings Cross, London
– Postcode: N1C 4AA
– Tel: 020 7101 7661
– Nearest station: Kings Cross, St Pancras
– Website + menus: Caravan Kings Cross website
– Photos on flickr: Caravan Kings Cross photos on flickr
– Location: Caravan Kings Cross map

Caravan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Begging Bowl – Thai tapas in Peckham SE15

Thai tapas concept menu

We were a party of ten on a Friday evening and this restaurant in Peckham was heaving. Tables were packed in close together and we were crammed in. It was noisy and lively befitting a Friday evening – the start of the weekend – but the acoustics were poor making it difficult to hear conversation.

Dishes are designed for sharing. The menu offers 12 dishes, roughly half are starter portions and the other half mains. Plus limitless Jasmine rice and sticky rice @ £2.50 a head, and a choice of three desserts.

Drinks took ages to arrive and weren’t altogether correct when they did. That continued throughout the meal. By the time they did arrive, we were happy to accept whatever had been brought. Servers were busy and under pressure; service was hit and miss.

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Thai tapas at the Begging Bowl
Top – starters: (left) Miang of pomelo, ginger, peanuts, dried galangal, palm sugar, seaweed, caviar wrapped in betel leaf @£5.60, (right) mixed salad starter about £5.80
Bottom – pudding: (left) Coconut saffron rice, pomelo, satsuma, cognac caramel, cobnuts, puffed black + flat rice, jasmine smoked coconut cream @£6.00, (right) Banana fritters, coconut sesame batter, tamarind, peanut brittle, turmeric custard @ £6.70

We ordered most plates from the Thai tapas menu to share (the food was amazing – top marks to the kitchen) starting with a peanut and ginger miang (a bite sized snack, wrapped in a leaf) with pomelo (citrus fruit), dried galangal, palm sugar, seaweed, and caviar wrapped in betel leaf @ £5.60 – absolutely gorgeous blend of flavours; a salad of salsify, betel leaf, lemongrass, coriander, peanuts, Thai shallots (there’s an option to have this salad with chargrilled duck) about £10.00; and a morning glory stir fry with garlic and fermented yellow bean @ £6.50.

This menu is really pleasing for nut lovers like me.

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Charcoal grilled salt-crusted whole gilthead bream stuffed with pandanas, lemongrass, grilled green chilli dip @ £13.50
Behind: a near-finished plate of morning glory (Thai green stems) stir-fry @ £6.50

This charcoal grilled salt-crusted gilthead bream was a hit (we ordered more). You can see what it looked like whole (above) and the soft white fish-meat inside is pictured below.

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Sticky chicken, gilthead bream, sticky rice, morning glory stir fry

Other dishes we shared included chargrilled sticky chicken @ about £12.50, a mushroom parlow – king oyster mushrooms, shiitake, hens egg, and pickled morning glory (Thai green stems) @ £9.50 and of course – an unlimited supply of Jasmine rice and sticky rice.

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A selection of dishes: Parlow of king oyster mushrooms, shiitake, in foreground; sticky chicken left

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Parlow of king oyster mushrooms, shiitake, hens egg, pickled morning glory @ £9.50

For dessert we shared a dish of coconut saffron rice, pomelo, satsuma, cognac caramel, cobnuts, puffed black + flat rice, jasmine smoked coconut cream @ £6.00 and banana fritters made with a coconut sesame batter, tamarind, peanut brittle, and turmeric custard @ £6.70 (exceptionally good).

The verdict: Prepare for noise, being squashed in, hit-and-miss service and excellent food. This ‘Thai tapas’ concept menu puts an interesting twist on traditional Thai food. It’s worth a visit.

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Thai, Thai tapas
– Address: 168 Bellenden Road, Peckham, London
– Postcode: SE15 4BW
– Tel: +44 20 7635 2627
– Nearest station: Peckham Rye station
– Website + menus: The Begging Bowl website
– Begging Bowl photos: The Begging Bowl photos on flickr
– Location: The Begging Bowl map

The Begging Bowl Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Red Lion – West Boldon, Tyne & Wear

Simple, no-fuss menu with gastro-pub style food

This Saturday lunch time booking at the Red Lion in West Boldon was a family get-together for a party of nine. We’d originally wanted to go to the Poetic License Bar (to enjoy the craft gins from the onsite gin distillery) but on booking we were warned to allow for delays (they warned of poor service, even though I was booking several weeks in advance). Having experienced terrible service already at Poetic License Bar, we decided not to risk it again and booked the Red Lion instead, as it’s more convenient for all the family anyway. Great decision.

You can eat bar meals in the main pub but on this visit, we were shown to a nicely laid out huge solid wood table with very high-backed (and heavy) wooden chairs in the main restaurant. It felt a little like walking onto a set for Game of Thrones, befitting a medieval banquet.

The menu is very plain and simple in its writing and design style. The intention may be to avoid being overly descriptive (and pompous) but it doesn’t capture just how exciting the food that is served here, really is. I was expecting traditional pub food to match the plain menu. Not so.

We’d started with a leisurely round of drinks in the pub while waiting for everyone to arrive, then ordered wine once seated at the dining table – a Navardia Rioja Bagordi @ £18.50 and a Pinot Grigio @ £13.95.

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Selection of dishes served at Red Lion
Starters (top right): prawn cocktail, Thai fishcake + chilli sauce, and (bottom left) goats cheese crostini all @£6.95 each
Mains: Ribeye Steak with grill garnish and  thick-cut chips @ £14.95 (main pic) and Thai red chicken curry with chips instead of rice @£10.95 (bottom right)

Starters range from £4.50 for soup of the day to £7.95 for king prawn skewers. I had goats cheese crostini with dressed mixed leaves @ £6.95, beautifully served with a balsamic glaze, while others had prawn cocktail (described as ‘classic prawn cocktail’ on the menu but beautifully served like this with leaves and balsamic glaze) @ £6.95, Thai fish cakes with chilli sauce also @ £6.95 and black pudding and chorizo salad @ £5.95.

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Starter: Black pudding and chorizo salad @ £5.95

Already very impressed (it’s a while since K and I ate here) we were suitably excited about the main courses. My fish and chips were gorgeous – really good, tasty fish with chunky chips; the mushy peas and homemade tartar sauce enhanced it perfectly.

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Red Lion burger – homemade burger with bacon + cheese  @£11.95

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Traditional fish and chips – mushy peas + homemade tartar sauce with capers @£11.95

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Oven roast salmon with a tomato Provencale sauce – and new boiled potatoes @£9.95

Check out the huge, wooden thrones we’re sitting on:

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Solid wood high-backed chairs

Some had desserts. While, ahem, others had more drinks. And a great pub lunch was had by all.

The verdict: Gastro-pub style food in a homely, friendly pub. Very good value – checkout the website for latest offers (as of Feb 2017 there’s a credit crunch lunch @£9.95 for two courses and a tea or coffee, served Monday to Saturday, 12-7pm).

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: British, pub
– Address: Redcar Terrace, West Boldon, South Tyneside
– Postcode: NE36 0PZ
– Tel: +44 191 536 4197
– Nearest station: East Boldon metro
– Website + menus: Red Lion website
– Photos of Red Lion: Red Lion pics on flickr
– Location: Red Lion map

Cow + Pig Bromley – best Sunday roasts

How often does a Sunday roast really satisfy your desires? A really great roast takes time and effort to prepare. It’s tricky to get everything ready to serve at the same time – making sure the Yorkshire puddings are perfectly risen with a crispy shell that’s soft in the middle; that you got the best cut of beef and it’s pink and not over-cooked; that the roast spuds are crispy and not under-cooked, and that the veg is neither mush nor too raw.

All too often I’m disappointed with Sunday roasts served in pubs and restaurants that don’t live up to my expectations (nostalgic memories of mum’s perfect roasts, perhaps through rose-tinted glasses…) particularly if the cuts of meat used aren’t the best.

So for me, the thought of a good old Sunday roast is often better than what you get.

Our first visit to Cow + Pig was for Sunday lunch (well, all Sunday afternoon as it turned out) a few weeks ago. As the name implies, Cow + Pig specialises in meaty dishes and there are a lot to choose from.

We were warmly greeted and seated, and started with these cocktails (white lady @ £7 and whisky sour @ £8 from the cocktail menu here) while reading the wine list and menus:
– starters and grill menus
Sunday lunch
grazing lunch and dirty dogs
the rest, salads and sides
pudding and dessert wine
after-dinner drinks menu

For starters, we shared cheese + onion doughnuts @ £3.50 (six cave-matured cheddar and onion doughnut-shaped puffs with garlic mayo – so tasty, and lighter than you might expect) and gin salmon @ £7.50 (oak-smoked gin-cured salmon, pickled cucumber and brown bread – really good but surprisingly not as exciting as the cheese and onion doughuts).

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Cheddar and onion puffs – starter @ £3.50

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Oak-smoked, gin cured salmon – starter @ £7.50

At Cow + Pig every Sunday boasts the best roast.
This bold statement appears on the Sunday lunch menu, along with “all our meats are hand-picked, locally sourced and served with lovingly made week long gravy, Covent Garden vegetables, roasted potatoes and Yorkies your nan will be proud of.”

Can you resist?

It’s a thoughtfully crafted menu that is beautifully branded, lets you know that meats and produce are carefully and locally selected, and appeals to the reader’s desire for perfect food with direct questions such as: “why not try the best you can possibly get – a roasted 500g fillet steak served with all the trimmings @ £60 to share between two”.

Why not indeed? We could think of no good reason not to try the best you can possibly get. It was K’s birthday after all.

And so we ordered rare fillet steak (perfectly pink, melt in your mouth beef) with Yorkshire puddings (exceptional Yorkies, on a par with Plum + Spilt Milk or  Crocker’s Folly), mixed roast veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, squash), crispy roast potatoes with rosemary, cauliflower cheese and gravy (gorgeous).

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Sunday fillet steak for two – roast dinner @ £30 a head

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Fillet steak with gravy

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Cauliflower cheese

To accompany ‘the best’ Sunday lunch option, we chose – as a birthday treat – a bottle of Rioja Roda I Reserva @ £75.00.

This was all very pleasing, filling and relaxing. We were served by a few different people, most of whom were outstandingly helpful, friendly and chatty and came across as knowing the menus (both food and drink) inside out, and happy (proud, even) to be working here. Good.

The restaurant design is appealing, from the clean, simple Cow + Pig logo and clearly laid out menus, to the playful pictures and cow and pig themed furnishings (cow skin chairs and wooden pig decorations). Tables are arranged spaciously and with some privacy making it a comfortable place to eat leisurely and while away a few hours (we arrived slightly early for our 1pm reservation and didn’t leave until after 4.30pm).

Cow + Pig playful pictures
Branding and humour

We attempted a sharing platter of cheese and biscuits with tasty chutney. Cheeses included: Ellie’s goats cheese from Kent, Lord London from East Sussex, Mayfield Swiss style cheese from East Sussex, Winterdale shaw cheddar from Sevenoaks, Kentish blue (gorgeous), Lancashire bomb and Baron brie from Suffolk.

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Cheese and biscuits with chutney @ £12.00 to share

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Cheese selection – includes Baron brie, Kentish blue, Winterdale shaw cheddar

Cow + Pig birthday cake and cognac
‘Happy birthday’ and cognac

I’d brought some birthday cake and candles (see the LardButty homemade recipe for apple and cinnamon cake) which I’d slipped to our waitress earlier. She brought the lit cake out, and got a rendition of Happy birthday going. Others joined in. It seemed like nothing was too much trouble.

To prolong this enjoyable afternoon a bit more, we ordered Remy Martin XO cognacs @ £12 each and coffees. A birthday afternoon well spent.

When the bill arrived, something was missing. We questioned that we hadn’t been charged for something we’d had. Maybe I shouldn’t advertise this but it was such a nice gesture: we’d been given some complimentary drinks by way of a birthday treat and a thankyou. How nice, and unexpected, was that?

This is somewhere to come for a celebration and be assured you’re in safe hands, for a reliably good meal.

It’s also a great place to come even if you’re not celebrating and splashing out. For food of this high quality, it’s reasonably priced.


We were back just over a week later. On this mid-week evening visit, I had a Gentle Ocean Breeze alcohol-free cocktail @ £2.50 (absolutely gorgeous with cucumber and elderflower and other mystery ingredients left to the barman’s creativity).

We ordered these starters: cheese and onion doughnuts (K enjoyed them so much last time, he couldn’t venture to try anything different; and you get six rings for £3.50) and salt and peppered calamari @ £7.50 (again, a big portion).

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Salt + peppered calamari rings with garlic mayo @ £7.00

We shared a bottle of Les Puits Neuf Chateauneuf-du-Pape @ £35.00 (note that there’s a good choice of wines, starting from £14.00 a bottle) and, for main course, both had the Cow + Pig plate of meat – a hugely filling plate of seven meats, chips and slaw @ £18.00 a plate (if I have this again, I’ll skip the starter).

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Cow + Pig plate of meat – with chips and slaw @ £18.00
L-R (ish): Pork belly with crackling, black pudding, burnt ends, Orchard sausage, steak, lamb chop, beef in tomato ragu

We added half a grilled lobster with garlic butter @ £15, making it surf n turf and shared this.

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Half a grilled lobster @ £15.00

On this visit, we had a window seat under a canopy of twigs and leaves:

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Interior – bringing the outside in

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The cow theme extends to the furnishings

The verdict: Best Sunday roast I’ve had in a long time. Extensive menus with an interesting twist. Great service and reasonably priced. If you like great quality meat and are handy for Bromley, give this restaurant a try. It’s one of those rare occasions where a restaurant scores five out of five in the LardButty index.

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 5 / 5
– Type: British, steakhouse
– Address: 39 East St, Bromley
– Postcode: BR1 1QQ
– Tel: 020 8464 8877
– Nearest station: Bromley North
– Website + menus: Cow + Pig website
– Photos on flickr: Cow + Pig photos
– Location: Cow + Pig map

Cow & Pig Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Murakami – Japanese in West End, WC2

Creative. Stylish. Comfortable. Downright tasty.

If you want to get straight down to it, these are the words that describe Murakami appropriately.

I arrived early and was immediately excited by the Japanese themed cocktail menu. A Lost in Translation (a tiki of El Dorado rum, Kraken spiced rum, quiquiriqui mezcal, pineapple, elderflower, cardamon for a subtle spicy flavour and fresh lime) @ £9.00 slipped down far too easily. I ended up recommending it to the couple who sat down at the neighbouring table – the restaurant was empty and tables closely spaced (private conversation could be a downside here, if you’re after some privacy).

 

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Black cod – ‘stand out’ dish from the robata grill menu

J ordered a Japanese whisky sour (so good, made of Nikka from the barrel Japanese whiskey, shichimi spices, pineapple syrup, lemon juice and whites) and then we moved on to beer from the main drinks menu, which offers a load of sake, Japanese whisky and wine too.

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Cocktail – Lost in Translation

We chose a selection of food, from the varying menu sections with a little help from our waiter: salted edamame @ £4.00 from the starter menu; volcano roll @ £12.50 from the signature rolls menu; crispy baby squid @ £9.00 from the hot plates; grilled cauliflower @ £4.50 and black cod saikyo @ £25.00 both from the robata Japanese grill menu.

 

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Volcano roll – deep fried in tempura with salmon, tuna, yellowtail, tobiko, avocado and spring onion

 

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Grilled cauliflower – from the robata Japanese grill menu served with peanut and goma dressing (highly recommend this)

 

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Black cod saikyo – marinated black cod on saikyo lemongrass miso with mango salad (the two robata dishes stood out as the highlight of the meal)

 

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Crispy baby squid – large portion of baby squid with chilli, coriander and lime @ £9.00 (definitely for sharing)

 

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new Gyoza Bar next door – next time…

 

The verdict: Creative, interesting and very tasty Japanese food; the robata grilled dishes were the highlight for me. Comfy restaurant despite the tables being so close together. Service was a bit hit and miss. Our total bill for two came to £112.84 including service (and a cocktail and couple of beers each).

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: Japanese
– Address: 63-66 St Martin’s Lane, London
– Postcode: WC2N 4JS
– Nearest station: Leicester Square, Covent Garden
– Website + menus: Murakami website
– Photos on flickr: Murakami images
– Location: Murakami map

Murakami Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cleveland Tontine – country pub in North Yorkshire DL6

Quality dining in North Yorkshire countryside

Situated just off the A19 at Staddlebridge, on the border of the North York Moors national park, the Cleveland Tontine prides itself in being “something of an institution” with “open fires, an eclectic mix of furnishings and fabrics, outstanding service and fantastic food”.

Last weekend, K and I celebrated ‘early Christmas’ with our families as we’ll be away for the festive period this year. Part of the celebrations was a Christmas meal out with both sets of parents on Saturday afternoon. We chose the Cleveland Tontine for its convenient location between them, and because it looked appealing with a varied menu on the website.
Cleveland Tontine food
Food selection at the Cleveland Tontine – beef, venison, fish + chips, fish pie

In the lounge, with a view over the countryside, we began with a relaxing aperitif (there’s a great choice of drinks including a fancy gin cocktail menu on this occasion) and read the various menus. There’s a set menu reasonably priced @ £16.95 for two courses or £20.00 for three, or a la carte:

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A la carte menu – sample menu of 26 Nov 2016

This venue (it’s a hotel with accommodation as well as a pub and restaurant) was built in 1804 and was – for some time – a private residence called Ingleby House. It’s beautifully restored while maintaining some old charm. I was surprised that, at 2pm on a Saturday, the basement dining room with its quaint low ceilings, stone walls and beams was very quiet, although it got busier over the course of the afternoon.

We ordered a bottle of prosecco @ £24.95 to accompany our selection of starters from the a la carte menu:

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Goats cheese cannelloni – textures of cauliflower, candied walnuts + baby watercress (simply gorgeous) @ £7.95

IMG_0269b_pear, blue cheese and pecans starter

Poached pear, Harrogate blue cheese + candied pecans @ £6.95

IMG_0270b_scallops and black pudding starter

King scallops + black pudding with cauliflower puree, apple jelly + pancetta crumb @ £12.95

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Racing penguins – we brought Christmas crackers with us; they contained entertaining (and very cute) clockwork penguins to race

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Quaint old basement dining room

Given this was a Christmas dinner, it was pleasing to see a variety of uniquely crafted dishes and no turkey in sight (sorry traditionalists). The food tasted as good as it looks – I’ll let these main course photos do the talking:

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Fillet + shin of beef with truffle mash, Yorkshire carrots, braising juices @ £21.95

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Loin of venison, celeriac, red cabbage + hen of the woods (gorgeous mushrooms) with chocolate jus @ £26.95 (this was my choice and it was stunning)

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Beer battered fish and chips with crushed peas, tartare sauce @ £13.95

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Tontine fish pie with samphire, seasonal greens + Gruyere glaze @ £14.95

With the main course, we had a couple of bottles of winter-warming malbec bodega @ £34.95 a bottle.

Here’s what we ordered from the dessert menu:

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Tontine sweets and treats plate @ £12.95

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Full cheese board (five cheeses to share) with homemade fig jam, biscuits, walnut + raisin bread @ £10.95, along with a 10 year old tawny port @ £7.50

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The Cleveland Tontine set in North Yorkshire countryside at Staddlebridge, just off the A19

The verdict: Excellent food and really good service. We were a party of six having a family celebration and picked the Cleveland Tontine partly because of its convenient location. We were all really impressed with the gourmet food. There was a wide choice of both food dishes and drinks and not overly priced for such good quality. I’d eat here again – in fact, I’d happily stay here.

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: British, pub
– Address: Staddlebridge, Northallerton, North Yorkshire
– Postcode: DL6 3JB
– Website + menus: Cleveland Tontine website
– Photos on flickr: Cleveland Tontine photos
– Location: Cleveland Tontine map

The Cleveland Tontine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Simpsons in the Strand – Savoy Hotel London

More Twee Sir? 

First impressions: On entering I was looked up and down. This was done conspicuously by the girl who seated us, who was probably checking I complied with their dress code (jacket and tie are not required but it “is the preferred attire”); entering the dining room felt like entering an old people’s home, although we did have an early dinner reservation for 6.30pm.

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Beef carving trolley

Originally known as The Grand Cigar Divan this venue opened in 1828 as a chess club and coffee house. The divans (or booths) are the original seats where the chess players sat. Then in 1848, tableside roast meats were introduced and the carvery trolley remains a tradition today. So, if you’re a fan of traditional carveries, this may be the restaurant for you.

While it’s a beautiful old room, it feels in need of some love and attention. Looking around at the clientele, I suspect there are those who’ve been coming for years (many of the foodie review websites indicate as much with the likes of “I’ve been coming here every week for over fifty years…” not that that’s a bad thing, but London is packed with a wide variety of restaurants, and trying them out can bring endless excitement) and wealthy tourists – possibly fans of Downton Abbey wanting to see where some of Downton’s scenes were set.

 

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Chess player booths

S and I chose from the set menu (“fixed price bill of fare“) – two courses @ £26.50 with an £8.75 supplement if choosing the beef carvery, which I did, so £35.25.

For starters, S had balsamic glazed beetroot with baked goats cheese and roast walnuts (normally £14.00) and I had fish cake with wilted spinach, poached egg, chive butter sauce (normally £16.00).

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Starter: Balsamic glazed beetroot with baked goats cheese and roast walnuts 

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Starter: Fish cake with wilted spinach, poached egg, chive butter sauce 

While the salad was nice enough, the fish cake with a perfectly poached runny egg and chive butter sauce was gorgeous.

For main course, S ordered barley and mushroom with roast artichoke and cauliflower (normally £18.50 a la carte) which tasted as appealing as it looks (not very – the ingredients didn’t really go together).

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Main course: Barley and mushroom with roast artichoke and cauliflower

Carvery meats are marketed as being the speciality here (you can even enquire about master carver classes @ £185.00 a class) so I opted for the house speciality. The roast rib of Scottish beef (aged 28 days) was wheeled  over to the table and two slices were carved in front of me – a pleasant experience with a personal touch. I opted for pink cuts which were really tasty (if a little gristly) served with roast potatoes, Savoy cabbage, Yorkshire pudding (good but not amazing) and horseradish. It was a large portion, and was nice without being at all exciting.

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Carvery trolley wheeled to the table

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Main course: roast rib of Scottish beef with roast potatoes, cabbage + Yorkshire pudding with a glass of Vega Rioja @ £8.50 a glass

Stepping into this restaurant feels like stepping into a bygone era. And the live entertainment contributed to that.

 

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Live pianist in The Grand Cigar Divan

 

I was glad I visited the loos after our meal as the toilets were disgusting. They were old and shabby and falling apart (literally – broken  taps and one of the loos was blocked with water overflowing). They clearly hadn’t been checked for many hours as there were no clean hand towels left to dry hands on (they’d all been used and were in the laundry bin).

The verdict: In general, the atmosphere was twee and stuffy although some of the servers were a bit more relaxed and helpful than others. While I chose the speciality of beef carved off the trolley with Yorkshire puddings (which was nice enough) there was nothing special or exciting about it. I’m glad I’ve been to this historic venue but I won’t go again and I wouldn’t recommend it. Not when there are other historic dining venues that also marry in a bit of excitement, charm or wonder into the dining experience like Kettners or Plum + Spilt Milk in the Great Northern Hotel.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 2.5 / 5
– Type: British
– Address: 100 Strand, London
– Postcode: WC2R 0EW
– Nearest station: Covent Garden, Charing Cross, Embankment
– Website + menus: Simpsons in the Strand website
– Photos on flickr: Simpsons in the Strand photos
– Location: Simpsons in the Strand map

Simpson's in the Strand - Savoy Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato