Archive for the ‘Restaurant Review’ Category

One Square, Sheraton Hotel,1 Festival Square, Edinburgh, Scotland

one square outsideRecently, I had to organise a festive family lunch where I could be sure my mother and her wheelchair would be accomodated and my granddaughter would have access to a highchair all on the Sunday before Christmas. I chose the centrally situated Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh as the restaurant, One Square is highly praised. It was years since I had eaten at the Sheraton, but my mother was delighted by the choice but unfortunately she was belatedly unable to join us.

Nevertheless, many people had had the same idea and there were many with mobility issues and wheelchair users there, but the tables were too close together making access for these guests difficult.

one-square-restaurantOur servers were pleasant and helpful and brought drinks but yhey were not efficient about refilling water glasses. The meal was buffet style. The buffet was set in three parts, starters, mains and deserts and cheese. Access around these areas was virtually impossible for those who were not able bodied.

The starters were tasty and varied, but portions very tiny: the real disappointment was the mains. The mains were served in the buffet area by people in chef outfits. There was very rare beef, turkey roll with a strong tasting stuffing and a good looking roast of gammon. However, I am vegetarian: I asked a female in a chef uniform if there was a vegetarian option. I was told she could give me a butternut squash ‘patte’ and I could help myself to vegetables. I am not partial to butternut squash. When I mentioned this, the woman shrugged and turned her back on me. I feel retraining may be required. Had my daughters not been there, I would have called the manager. As it was, I did not want to cause a scene.

one square 2The deserts were delicious and the selection of cheeses varied. The coffee was provided by a machine which needed cleaned when I went to use it, but there was nobody to ask about this. No provision was made for tea and, again, no member of staff was anywhere to be seen to ask. Even getting my bill was a struggle and I did resent the 10% service charge. However, I paid it, but did not add a further tip. It was not deserved.

I had a wonderful time in the company of my husband, our daughters, my son-in-law one square outside 2and our granddaughter, but the food was mediocre and the service far too variable for such a feted hotel. Would I book lunch as a family treat in One Square in the future? No. Would I return to One Square in any other circumstances? Not voluntarily.

Val Penny

The Orangery Restaurant, Seamill Hydro, 39 Ardrossan Road, Seamill, West Kilbride, Scotland

orangery out 2

It is not often that my husband and I can go out for dinner with friends and walk to and from the event, so it was rather nice when we met with Jill and Paul who had suggested we go to dinner at The Orangery restaurant in Seamill Hydro. The hotel has recently undergone a major extension and refurbishment, so we walked down and arrived a little early to have a drink before dinner in the well appointed pub where I had a fine choice of gins.

orangery bar

When we met up with our friends in The Orangery we were seated with them in a booth where we studied all three menus: the regular menu, the vegetarian/vegan menu and the wine menu. The fellows each had a beer, Jill chose a small house wine and I went with a soda water and lime after my earlier gin.Orangery 1

For our meals, we all chose different things. Jill and Paul shared a mixed fish starter while my husband chose a haggis starter and I had the temura vegetables. For our mains, My husband went with a steak, unfortunately this was a bit cooler and more cooked than he had ordered. Jill chose chicken, Paul had a vegetable pasta and I ordered the asparagus and mushroom risotto. My meal was delicious, but very filling. orangery out

Only my husband chose a pudding, a chocolate and icecream desert. The rest of us all had coffee. It was a lovely meal, except for my husband’s steak: the environment was fine, although the service was a big slow. Still, I would give The Orangery another try.

Val Penny

Caffe Creme Cafetaria Store 13, Torre da Medronheira, Olhos de Agua, Albufeira 8200-374, Portugal

It is always nice when on vacation to go for a walk to explore new surroundings and to give yourself a reward at the end of the venture. My husband and I like the village of Olhos de Agua near Albufeira in Portugal very much. On a recent visit, we walked in a different direction from usual and found the most delightful gift shop A Tulipa where we found many unusual gifts for family and friends.

cristina photos cake

cristina cafe insideOn our way back from the shop, we stopped off at the Caffe Crema Cafetaria for coffee and cake. What a find! The coffee is mellow, the cakes are delicious and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. As I say, we only stopped in for coffee and cake but at no time were we made to feel we had to hurry away. The waiting staff spoke good English and German and the restaurant is spotlessly clean.

The choice of cakes, pastries and pies is excellent. There are far too many to choose from than you could imagine. I chose a cream eclair with fruit on the top and my husband went with a couple of the smaller custard tarts. All were lovely.

cristina photos coffee & cake

The Caffe Crema Cafetaria does offer meals as well, including a full English Breakfast. However, although we did visit the place three times during our vacation, we never got past coffee and cake.cristina outside

If you happen to be in the village of Olhos de Agua, I highly recommend some shopping time at A Tulipa and then a refreshment stop at the Caffe Crema Cafetaria.

Val Penny

 

Ristorante Tre Scalini, Piazza Navonna, Roma,

I have always loved Piazza Navonna in Rome, Italy. I am entranced by the proportions of the square and fascinated by the artists who display their talents there. My daughter enjoyed watching the ‘silver man’ living staue who performed while she was there with me and, years later, when my husband treated me to a week in this fabulous city, we were keen to re-visit all the sites.

trevi fountainThe day we visited the Trevi Fountain.The Trevi Fountain is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini. Standing 26.3 metres high and 49.15 metres wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. Tourists toss coins into the Trevi Fountain to guarantee a return visit to Rome. For many years now, the monies retrieved from the fountain have been collected, sorted, and donated to Caritas, the non-profit that provides food to the poor and homeless of Rome.

trevi teaAfter our visit to the Trevi fountain, my husband and I walked through the streets of Rome to Piazza Navonna where we treated ourselves to afternoon tea in the Ristorante Tre Scalini. 

Dave & cakeThis is a delightful restaurant where the staff are smartly dressed and formally courteous. My husband thoroughly enjoyed his coffee and banana split. He hadn’t had one for ages, so it was a special holiday treat. I chose a nice cup of tea and we had a lovely time, chatting about our day and planning our evening. We probably stayed far longer than an afternoon tea stop would normally justify, but at no time were we pressured or rushed or made to feel like we had overstayed our welcome.Trevi Restaurant

We enjoyed our visit to Ristorante Tre Scalini and would deiniftely stop there again. It is not a cheap restaurant, but it is lovely and it is in a premium situation in Piazza Navonna. I would certainly recommend it.

Val Penny

 

 

 

Azzurro, 255 Eltham High Street, Eltham, England

I do enjoy Italian food! So when my daughter and son-in-law booked dinner for us at Azzurro in Eltham, I was looking forward to the meal as well as the company. The restaurant is quite small and very busy but everything is spotlessly clean and the service is attentive, but not intrusive.azzurro out

Azzurro in Eltham is a family run restaurant and the food is freshly cooked to order, so it is not fast food. But it is delicious food. My husbad and son-in law shared a garlic bread pizza for starters while my daughter and I nibbled on some marinated olives. azzurro-italia

For our main courses my son-in- law and I chose pizza while my daughter had pasta and my husband tucked into an Italian lamb dish. Only my husband had room for a pudding and enjoyed the tiramasu and we all had teas and coffees to round off the meal.

The restaurant is not austentatious, but it is good value. I highly recommend Azzurro, if you are in the area.

Val Penny

 

Star of India 267 Eltham High St, Eltham, London

There are no local Indian Restaurants in our village, so, on a recent visit to London my husband and I treated ourselves to a meal at the Star of India, 267 Eltham High St, Eltham, London. What a lovely meal we had. star of india inside

We went for dinner fairly early after visiting relatives. The restaurant was cool and the service was relaxed and unobtrusive. The crisp, white linen table cloths made the place look clean and fresh. We ordered drinks and then our meals.

My husband started with chicken pakora while I had a poppadum with pickles. Both of us enjoyed these very much.star of india outside

For our main courses my husband chose lamb passander and I ordered saag paneer. We requested basmati rice as well as side orders of daal and aloo gobi. It was all absolutely delicious. We thoroughly enjoyed the meal and our evening at the Star of India. If you enjoy Indian food, this restaurant is well worth a visit.

Val Penny

 

The Cafe Royal, 19 West Register Street, Edinburgh, Scotland

I recently met up with a delightful clowder of Cats: some other authors whose books are also published by Crooked Cat Books. We got together at The Cafe Royal, 19 West Register Street, Edinburgh, Scotland.Cafe Royal

It was years since I had been to The Cafe Royal and I had forgotten what a popular, busy pub it is. Hidden away around the corner at the East end of Prince’s Street, it is a gem. The décor is fabulous: Victorian & Baroque, stained glass windows in the Oyster Bar and Royal Doulton ceramic tiles. The staff were friendly and attentive. The wide choice of beers and whiskys is legendary.  cafe royal inAfter we had drunk our publisher dry, but not under the table, we all ordered meals and the food was excellent. Our main courses ranged from fish to risotto, steak pie. All the choices were much enjoyed and all were very reasonably priced.

Cafe royal outWhen we arrived about 3pm the bar was quite empty: by the time we left to find a different watering hole some five hours later, The Cafe Royal was back to being the bustling bar I remembered from years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to The Cafe Royal. The company, the food and the drinks were all excellent, so whether you are looking for a pub to watch a rugby match or a restaurant to enjoy a meal with friends, I highly recommend Edinburgh’s Cafe Royal.

Val Penny