Archive for the ‘Restaurant Review’ Category

The Birchwood, Marchmont Rd, Edinburgh, Scotland,

birchwood outsideI arrived late for lunch at The Birchwood, but could not have been made to feel more welcome. The decor is bright and clean and the service friendly without being obtrusive. Access is easy for those with mobility issues.

 

I am vegetarian but found there was choice on the menu for me, meat eaters and vegans, had that been necessary. I chose a brie and chili jam roll. This was served with a delicious, fresh salad tossed in a tasty dressing. Birchwood inside

From my seat, I could see the meals being made. I always like that. It gives me confidence that the restaurant is clean. The Birchwood was certainly spotlessly clean.

Whenever I am back in the Marchmont area of Edinburgh, I would choose to eat at The Birchwood again.

Val Penny

Zavi Restaurant 747-753 Sidcup Rd, London

zavi out 1My husband and I were visiting family in London, but were lucky enough to be able to sneak away for some alone time one evening. Zavi Restaurant was recommended to us by our hotel, and what an excellent recommendation that was! zavi bar

 

This is a Turkish restaurant in the SE London suburb of New Eltham. We were glad we had made a reservation as the restaurant was quite busy. The service was polite and not obtrusive. Access is good for those with mobility issues.

zavi val

We did not order a starter but were served a complimentary dish of hummus and pitta bread. The hummus was clearly home-made and was delicious. For our mains my husband had the combination meat platter and I had the vegetarian moussaka. We each enjoyed our meals very much.

zavi coffee

As we were travelling the next day neither of us wanted alcohol but the restaurant offers a selection of tasty ‘mocktails’ and we each had one of these. They were delicious. We did not have desert but my husband had an Americano coffee and I had a Turkish coffee. This was a fine way to round off an excellent meal. I highly recommend the Zavi restaurant next time you are in London.

Val Penny

Cadillac Bar and Grill, Market Square, 44 9th St, San Francisco, California, USA

I had not long arrived in San Francisco with friends when we realised we did not know of a good local restaurant to go to for dinner. So, did we google it? No, we are old school, so we asked for a recommendation from our hotel reception. It was a good one. We were recommended to the Mexican restaurant, the Cadillac Bar and Grill, Market Square, 44 9th St, San Francisco, California, USA.

cadillac outside

We arrived a bit early for dinner so atarted the evening with margaritas for the ladies and beers for the guys. We had taco chips and salsa and ordered guacamole too. Lovely!

cadillac inside

Access to the restaurant is easy for those with disabilities, although some of the tables may be too close together to get a wheelchair past. The restrooms were clean and the service was good, although the waiter did pressure us to order dinner earlier than we wanted to. We resisted the pressure.

cadillac waiter in

 

The restaurant filled up quickly so we decided to eat there and were pleased that we did. I had a vegetarian burrito. My husband had a combination platter while our friends shared a sea food sharing platter.

cadillac musicians in

The meal was delicious and very filling. Only my husband made it to desert for a chocolate brownie. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and the atmosphere of the Cadillac Bar and Grill which included music  minstrels. I recommend it and will certainly be back.

The History

The San Francisco Cadillac Bar Restaurant is a legendary establishment. Its beginnings can be traced back to the original Mexican Cadillac Bar which opened in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico in 1926. Back in the early 80’s, several partners decided to bring this concept to San Francisco where they went to work and converted a warehouse into a restaurant in the South of Market neighborhood.  When they opened the doors in 1982, the partners made sure the restaurant had an authentic Mexican look including many features from the original Cadillac Bar such as the red painted ceilings, the high back bar, white linens on tables, and waiters and bartenders in white coats and bow ties. All these special touches were meant to make you feel like you were south of the border.  The partners ensured that the menu was authentic and house margaritas were always hand shaken. San Franciscans took notice and voted the Cadillac the best Mexican food restaurant in the city for many years. Unfortunately, in 1999 the restaurant was forced to close due to the expansion of the Moscone Convention Center. However, in 2012, one of the original founding partners decided to revive the Cadillac Bar and Grill in San Francisco with the goal of recreating that authentic Mexican restaurant with the same feel and look of its famous predecessor. 

Val Penny

Seamill House Hotel, 31 Ardrossan Rd, West Kilbride, Ayrshire, Scotland

My husband and I have enjoyed afternoon tea and dinner at the Seamill House Hotel, 31 Ardrossan Rd, West Kilbride, Ayrshire, Scotland and members of our family have stayed at the hotel. This Hotel offers award winning luxury accommodation at its finest. The coastal location of Seamill now boasts one of Ayrshire’s newest boutique hotels. It is certainly a favourite haunt of ours.

Seamill house hotel

The afternoon tea was a social event for our book group. We were accomodated in a large, bright, private room on the ground floor of the hotel which suited our group well. Orders were taken for tea and coffee, but only teapots were left on the table which meant the the coffee drinkers had to ask for additional refreshments. I also noticed that water was only brought to the table upon request and the number of jugs was minimal for a group of 20 people. The jugs had to be refilled several times.

The meal was traditional consisting of a variety of sandwiches, scones with jam and butter or cream and cakes. The sandwiches were fresh and very tasty and the scones were delicious. While the cakes were lovely, I think they were the smallest cakes I have ever seen!

views

The quality of service was mixed. Most of the staff were delightful and attentive but one young waitress seemed to think it was her place to comment diparagingly about the number of vegetarians in our party (3). I did not appreciate that.

All in all, as value for money goes, this was good and, provided the young waitress got the additional training she needed, I would return for afternoon tea to the Seamill House Hotel.

diningroom

When we were hosting friends to dinner, we chose to go to the Seamill House Hotel. There is free parking to the rear of the building and although the restaurant is upstairs, there is a lift for those with mobility issues.

We were seated at a table near the window. Ice water was brought to the table and the service was excellent. I chose the mushroom burger and my husband had the fish and chips. The fish was fresh and flaky and the mushroom burger surprisingly delicious. For desert I chose a chocolate brownie and my husband had the sticky toffee pudding. Both were excellent. I would certainly recommend the Seamill House Hotel as a dinner venue.

.rooms

When our family stayed in the hotel, they were delighted by the quality of the rooms, and the lovely views. The hotel was busy as there was a party in the simulated golf room and the bar was busy but our group slept well. They all enjoyed the breakfast which was included in the price and I would certainly recommend a stay in the Seamill House Hotel.

Val Penny

 

The Garrison Public House, 99-101 Bermondsey St, London, England

I visited London recently to take part in the Festival of Learning at Eltham Library, Greenwich. In the evening one of my daughters and her partner met up with me and we had dinner at The Garrison Public House, 99-101 99 Bermondsey St, London, England. The establishment is conveniently situated for those travelling into the city through London Bridge Station.

The Garrison Public House

The focus of this chic little restaurant is on fresh British produce with the chefs changing menus frequently to highlight the best seasonal offering, sourced from local Bermondsey suppliers, and predominately from British farms and fishermen. The pride in their food is justified. My daughter and I both chose the spinach and riccotta cheese ravioli and shared a side order of broccolli and asparagus. Her partner went with the viener schnitzel with a side order of fries. As it was a school night, we all chose soft drinks. Our server came back to ask if we wanted other drinks more often than I felt was necessary, and that was a bit intrusive.

the garrison inside

However, the food was delicious and the quantities sufficient for an evening meal. We shared the cheese board afterwards and my daughter had a mint tea while I chose the earl grey tea. The selection of British cheeses was tasty, but the serving of crackers was rather mean.

the garrison foodThe meal I had at The Garrison Public House was very tasty, the service let the restaurant down a little, and the lay-out is not perfect for those with mobility issues. Despite that, I would visit there again and do recommend it.

Val Penny

Sam’s Diner, 1220 Market Street, San Francisco, California,

On a recent visit to California, My husband, my friends and I were staying in a central hotel on Eighth Street. On a couple of occassions we stopped into Sam’s Diner on Market Street, for breakfast. Sam's Diner out

Sam’s Diner was recommended to us by the recption at our hotel and it was a good call. The menu is varied and offers breakfast dishes from fruit or oatmeal to eggs benedict . On our first visit we were seated in the boothe commorating the service of a former Mayor of the city and there s a large TV on the wall to watch the news. It was really rather nice.

Sam's Diner tv

The entrance to the diner is easy for those with mobility problems, but most of the seats were at booths or high seats at the counter so I am not sure that wheelchair access is realistic.

Service was courteous and our orders were taken quickly. I had a spinach and cheese omelette while my husband had a full breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon and potatoes. One of our friends had eggs benedict while the other had a scambled eggs with vegetables through it. We all enjoyed our meals, although I could not finish mine, it was just too much food. The friend who had the eggs benedict would have preferred more hollandaise sauce. Sam's Diner booth

One thing that we all agreed on was that the blend of coffee served at Sam’s Diner was a very strong blend and not entirely to our taste. This was so much so that on our second visit, I took tea instead.Sam's diner in

Sam’s Diner was a great find during our visit to San Francisco and I would certainly recommend it, especially if you like very strong coffee.

Val Penny

Wildwood, Lothian Rd, Edinburgh, Scotland,

I always get a little nervous when I am meeting a lot of new people for the first time, but for the meal arranged by the inimitable Kelly Lacey for the Facebook Group, Authors and Book Bloggers in Scotland, I need not have worried – what a lovely meal in excellent company. Wildwood 105-109 Lothian Rd, Edinburgh, Scotland is very centrally situated so it was easy for everybody to get to either by car or public transport. wildwood out 2

We were all seated at one long table I was sitting amidst a very jolly group and the chat flowed easily. Several bottles of Prcesso were on the table and included in the cost of our meal. It all added to the happy atmosphere. The staff were most warm and friendly without being intrusive and we all enjoyed a joke with them. wild wood in

The restaurant is decorated in a modern, relaxed style and, because there were so many of us, we had ordered in advance. Our starters arrived on large sharing platters these included figs and strips of pizza bread with cheese and onion jam. Everything was delicious.

Main course choices included sea bass and turkey but I chose the pizza. This caused great hilarity as it was enormous and would comfortably have fed a family of five for  a fortnight, I think! I thoroughly enjoyed what I had, but there was no way I could possibly finished such a large serving. Deserts included a chocoltate brownie with ice cream or a sorbet. I had the brownie. Again, this was very tasty but I had already eaten so much, perhaps I should have chosen the sorbet.

wildwood food

All in all this was a delightful afternoon. The restaurant did not rush us at all and I had a delicious meal in fresh surroundings served by attentive staff and in good company. I highly recommend Wildwood and plan to visit again with my husband when we are in Edinburgh.

Val Penny