Archive for the ‘Restaurant Review’ Category

Pickwick’s Tavern, Ohlos de Agua, Algarve, Portugal

My husband and I very much like Portugal, the countryside the people and the food. However, on a recent visit we stopped in for a cup of tea to a delightfully English pub, Pickwick’s Tavern. The owners and staff are English and they do an excellent mug of tea. My husband has also often taken refuge there with a pint of lager when I am resting or shopping. Conveiently, Pickwick’s Tavern runs a ‘husband creche’ that many wives take advantage of!portugal out

The pub benefits from the mild weather in the South of Portugal. It makes a point of showing main sports matches on big screen TV. It is always busy during international football and rugby matches. portugal in

The inside of Pickwick’s Tavern is quite small but cosy. Outside there is a large comfortable street-side area that benefits from large parasols that provide shade in the eat of the day. portugal sign

The staff and owners are friendly and take time to chat and make customers welcome. The ambience of Pickwick’s Tavern is warm, the food offered is excellent ‘pub grub’ and they do a tasty breakfast. We really enjoyed our visit to Pickwick’s Tavern and I highly recommend this this establishment.

Val Penny

 

Gerrard’s Corner Chinese Restaurant, 30 Wardour St, London, England

On a recent visit to London, my daughters treated me to a theatre visit, something I miss now I live in a village. We went to see The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre. It was an extremely funny comedy. I have rarely laughed so hard. The cast were fabulous and we enjoyed the experience greatly. Afterwards, it was only fair that I treated us to dinner.Apple Duchess Theatre

I do not know London well, so, having decided that we would have a Chinese meal, my older daughter suggested a restaurant she has been too before and enjoyed. She chose Gerrard’s Corner Chinese Restaurant on the corner of Gerrard Street and Wardour Street. For the omnivores amongst us, it was a good call. chinese out

Gerrard’s Corner is obviously a popular restaurant as we had not booked and, although we were early for dinner, there was a short queue. We were told we would have to wait about five minutes, and that was about right. We were shown to a table downstairs in the large, cosy basement. Service was friendly and prompt without making us feel rushed in any way.chinese in 2

I started with the Deep Fried Crispy Greens, and my daughters had the Satay Chicken on Skewers. We all enjoyed our starters. They were delicious. I am vegetarian and was surprised at the number of bean curd and vegetable dishes that contained meat, fish or fish paste. So my choices were limited. I chose the Fried Bean Curd with Salt and Pepper. It was tasty but a bit dry. My older daughter had the Fried Chicken in Lemon Sauce whch she very much enjoyed and my younger daughter ordered the Crispy Shredded Beef in Chilli sauce. She enjoyed that too. As a vegetarian, Gerrard’s Corner is not a restaurant that I would recommend. However, the omnivores amongst us thoroughly enjoyed the meal.

Val Penny

 

 

The Corner Cafe, 73 Main St, West Kilbride, Ayrshire, Scotland

corner cafeA few weeks ago this new restaurant and takeaway, The Corner Cafe, opened on the corner of Hunterston Road and Main Street in the Craft Town of West Kilbride Ayrshire, Scotland. My husband took me to lunch there recently. The takeaway enters from the corner cafe logoMain Street while the restaurant is entered from Hunterston Road.

When we went in, I was very impressed with the bright modern decor. Also, you can see into the kitchen. I like this, it is clean, tidy and well organised. The Corner Cafe was busy when we arrived for lunch but we did manage to get one last table for two. The table was a decent size, so many modern restaurants have tiny tables for two people.

corner cafe fishWe were also pleasantly surprised by the menu. There were imaginative specials, a variety of light meals and a generous choice of main meals. I was impressed that there was a choice of meals for vegetarians too. My husband swithered with having the fish but finally decided on one of the specials, the chicken caesar club sandwich with fries and extra onion rings. He enjoyed the meal very much. I chose the vegetarian cous cous with roasted vegetables. It was a most unexpected vegetarian option and delious. The portions were generous and there was a lovley choice of cakes and desserts.corner cafe choccake

I am also impressed that the access for disabled people is excellent. The Corner Cafe is a new venture. I recommend it and wish it success.

Valerie Penny

Dumfries House, Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland

dumfries house annaMy friend Anna and I had a lovely day out to Dumfries House,  Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Dumfries_House

It was my first visit although Dumfries house is on of Britain’s most beautifuldumfries house prince charles stately homes that was saved for the nation by the personal intervention of Prince Charles the Prince of Wales in 2007. The house and estate is now owned in charitable trust by The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust, which maintains it as a visitor attraction and hospitality and wedding venue. Both the house and the gardens are listed as significant aspects of Scottish heritage.

Mike Scott
Phone 07968 258392
e-mail mike@mikescottphotographer.comThe 18th century house is set in lovely grounds and combines the neoclassical architecture of Robert Adam with the furniture of Thomas Chippendale. The refurbished blue bed is a stunning work of modern and classical craftsmanship.

dumfries house cafeteria

We sampled coffee and cake at the visitor centre before touring the house and grounds. The baking was fresh and the scones the most enormous I have ever seen! We enjoyed the bright, freshly decorated cafeteria. There were many tables and it was well appointed. We enjoyed exploring the grounds and the playground is delightful. We only wished we had a child with us to enjoy it too.dumfries house woodland walks

On our visit around the house we were entranced by the quality of the restoration and the beautiful, original furniture that has been saved by Prince Charles. He has secured employment for many people in and around Cumnock. This is an area of Scotland that suffers from serious unemployment and a lack of investment. dumfries house blue roomI paticularly liked the yellow room in the house. It was so bright and light and cheerful. The collection of Chippendale chairs in this room is splendid. Anna enjoyed the blue room with its cool colours and original furniture.

After our tour of Dumfries House, we stopped for lunch downstairs in the original kitchen and servants’ working area of the house in the basement. The cutlery and table furnishings were beautiful. We were served vegetriandumfries house yellow room parsnip soup, made from produce grown in the grounds. There was also a selection of sandwiches with various fillings. Biscuits and cakes finished off the meal. Some of the sandwiches and pieces of cake tasted slightly stale. that was disappointing. I suspect they are cut early in the day and uncovered until served, at whatever time of day.

However, after lunch we took another tour of the grounds and visited the walled garden. The beauty of the house, grounds and the stylish walled garden far out-weighed the slightly dry cake.dumfries house walled garden

I would defintely visit Dumfries House again and, be happy to sample the offerings in the cafeteria. Also, if I were there in the middle of the day, I would make my way to the basement for lunch. I highly recommend Dumfries House.

Valerie Penny

 

 

The Canny Man’s 237 Morningside Rd, Edinburgh, Scotland

canny man's 1 imagesOn a recent visit to Edinburgh, my daughter took me to the Canny Man’s Pub and Restaurant so that we could celebrate the forthcoming publication of my debut novel, Hunter’s Chase, by Crooked Cat Books. The Canny Man’s pub in Morningside is an Edinburgh institution established in 1871 and passed down through generations of the Kerr family. It is a free house therefore it has no connection with any brewery and only sells the best of each brewers produce.

We found a discreet table in a snug so that we could chat. There are lots of little nookscanny man's 2 and crannies in this old building. This small family run bar and restaurant in Edinburgh has catered to many dignitaries and celebrities over the years. With celebrated seafood chef Rick Stein calling the Canny Man’s “the best pub in the world”. We both ordered gin and slims and each of us had our preffered make of gin the snacks served with alcoholic drinks are complimentary and attention to detail here is second to none. There is even a free of charge buffet that runs Mon-Thurs 5-6pm!

canny man's bar-banner-3My daughter and I sat in the main bar it holds an impressive selection of over 250 whiskies and has seen no change in over half a decade. But there is another bar in the back of the premises is referred to as the ‘back bar’ or ‘lounge bar’, this is a great alternative to the main bar to ensure you will always be served. The Canny Man’s has good disabled access.canny man's restaurant-banner

The restaurant seating in the Canny Man’s is quirky, eclectic and deceivingly big. Dining tables can be found throughout the pub and there are certainly some very sought after seats available, including the Winston Churchill Room. The restaurant offers a selection of menus using fresh, local produce including a variety of tasty open sandwiches .

canny man's lounge-img1The Canny Man’s Bar and Restaurant is a little slice of Edinburgh that I highly recommend to you on your next visit to the City.

Valerie Penny

The Booking Office, 17 Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Booking Office Waverley BridgeOn a recent visit to Edinburgh, I took the opportunity of meeting up with friends I have known since we counted our age in single figures. That is far longer than any of us need admit to. We needed somewhere central so that everybody could get there easily. As I was getting a train out of the city about 5pm, we chose The Booking Office which is a Wetherspoons bar and bistro near the Waverley Station, the main railway station in Edinburgh, Scotland.The Booking Office out

We met in the mid afternoon, and I thought the place would be relatively quiet. How wrong I was! As The Booking Office is so very near the station, it was extrememly busy. We did manage to get a table, but only because we grabbed it when other people left. However, the bar was well staffed. People ordered hot and cold drinks as well as food at the bar and an army of staff were kept busy serving the drinks at the bar and delivering the food to the tables.

The Booking Office in 2The Booking Office had a lively atmosphere and, as it was so busy, tables would have benefitted from being cleaned more frequently and more thoroughly. This was true of the restrooms too. However, there is good disabled access and service was quick. I was not particularly impressed by The Booking Office, however, as it is so inexpensive and conveniently situated, I may well use it again.

Valerie Penny

Il Caffe,San Lorenzo, Rome, Italy

Every trip aaway from home requires a little down time. On a recent visit to Rome, The Eternal City in Italy, my husband and I set aside one day for nothing more than relaxing, drinking coffee, eating cake and watching the world go by. It was most enjoyable.Il Caffe Rome out

After a lazy start to the day, when we had coffee and wrote postcards (yes, some people still write postcards)! We wandered about San Lorenzo, the area where our hotel was situated. The hotel was bitterly disappointing and is reviewed on this site, here: https://hotelandrestaurantreviews.com/2016/10/25/hotel-vibel-viale-dello-scalo-s-lorenzo-97-rome-italy/. However, we enjoyed our vacation and were happy to find Il Caffe for lunch.Il Caffe Rome in 1

We chose freshly made sandwiches, crisps and a soft drink. The food was very tasty, and the atmosphere at Il Caffe was relaxed and the staff were courteous and helpful. The place was busy over the lunchtime period, but there was no sense of stress or pressure that spilled over to the customers.Il Caffe Rome in 2

Il Caffe offers good value, has good access for disabled patrons and we very much enjoyed our lunch and the experience of visiting this unpretentious, clean, friendly little restaurant.

Valerie Penny

Nevjesta Jadrana, Zanjev Do, 81250 Njegusi, Montenegro

On my first visit to Montenegro my husband and I visited the village of Njegusi in the mountains. To get there we drove up the Lovcen Road. It is one of the world’s most scenic routes: the view is certainly jaw-droppingly beautiful.nevjesta jadrana view

However, it was with some trepidation that we set out from Kotor as we were told that this road has 25 hair pin bends, does not have any safety barriers and is, for the most part single lane, despite being two-way.  Lovcen Road does, indeed, involve driving around 25 hair-raising hairpin bends as it rises steeply above the bay, each switchback providing increasingly gorgeous sweeping vistas across Boka Kotorska, the Luštica peninsula, over to the Adriatic Sea and on to Croatia.nevjesta jadrana outside

 

We stopped for lunch at the Nevjesta Jadrana restaurant where we had delicious ham and cheese sandwiches made with the Njeguški pršut. This is a specialty of Njeguši, the village in Montenegro that Nevjesta Jadrana is in. It is the local version of parma ham. The local cheese, Njeguški sir, and freshly made bread. It was very tasty. We sat out on the veranda to enjoy the view as well as the food.

nevjesta jadrana me

Inside the seating was rustic and traditional. The restaurant was well frequented by locals as well as tourists. I always think that is a good sign in a restaurant.

nevjesta jadrana inside

Unfortunately, the lavatories in Nevjesta Jadrana left too much to be desired and that is the biggest tell in any eaterie, so, despite the beautiful view and the local food I would not go to Nevjesta Jadrana again.

Valerie Penny

Ristorante e Taverna Vaelsa, Pohjoisesplanadi 9, Helsinki, Finland by guest author, Reijosfood

Pohjoisesplanadi, Helsinki, Finland

This article was first published on Reijosfood.com on 18, June 2017 and can be found at Ristorante e Taverna Vaelsa,https://reijosfood.com/2017/06/18/restaurant-review-taverna-vaelsa/.


Ristorante e Taverna Vaelsa opened spring 2015 at the Market Square, at Pohjoisesplanadi 9 in the historic Govinius building. At the 2nd floor there is restaurant serving with wider menu and downstairs is taverna, which serves pizzas and some salads. Vaelsan’s kitchen combines local food and classic Italian cuisine with a modern touch.

Visited taverna at late lunch time on Saturday and tried pizzas. Ordered them from the menu under Pizze Speciali headline.

Chose Bresaola Mozzarella, Rucola, Bresaola, Parmigiano, Lemon Vinaigrette and VeganaZucchini, Paprika, Eggplant, Parsley, Vegan Cheese.

Pizza Bresaola was delicious, but quite dry as there was not tomato sauce. Pizza base was quite thick and had to cut quite hard pieces. There was enough fresh rucola, which is not always the case when pizza includes rocket salad.


Pizza Vegana was also tasty and it was pleaseant surprise to see that taverna served also vegan version including cheese. That definately increases points.


Wines were a little bit problematic, only 3 red wines available and 2 out of them had run out and replaced with other brands. Of course pizzas do not necessarily require full-bodied wines but for instance the one we enoyed was quite light.

Location is excellent, just opposite to Market Square. And if you get window table like us, it is nice to watch the crowds outside.

Service was a little bit limping, maybe due to busy lunch hour, which was ending. If you want to visit ristorante, better make table reservation, to taverna you can just walk in and check if there are free tables.

REVIEW: FOOD 4-/5 – SERVICE 3,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4-/5

Astoria, Njegoseva 4, Old Town, 85310 Budva, Montenegro

At the end of a lovely afternoon in the medieval walled city of Budva in Montenegro, my husband and I decided to take a break for coffee and cake at the Astoria. I had never been to Montenegro before and this particular afternoon was beautiful. The weather was warm and the sky a deep sapphire blue. Both showed the city off to its best advantage. Budva is a maze of narrow streets linking little squares. It is a coastal city, but after a long time exploring and dodging in and out the little shops, we needed a rest and something to drink.

budva street

My husband chose the Astoria because it was clean, the outside tables were shaded and there was a nice coastal breeze playing around the area. The restaurant has a large outside area that is an excellent place to relax and people watch.

budva tables

Access is easy for disabled people, the chairs are comfortable and the staff are polite and attentive without being intrusive. My husband ordered coffee, and a diet coke. We were both thirsty so I ordered a diet coke too, but I decided to have a cake too. The menu at Astoria was varied with meals and snacks on offer, but we did not need a meal at that time of day.

budva out

We did not have long to wait before the drinks waiter brought the cold drinks for the bar. They were served from coca cola bottles opened at the table. These drinks were chilled and really hit the spot. The coffee and cake followed moments later. My husband really enjoyed the coffee. He likes smooth filter coffee and this was just to his taste. My cake was enormous! I have never been served such a large piece of cake! It took both of us not to finish it, however, we both enjoyed it very much.

budva me

My husband and I both enjoyed our break at Astoria. The service and the snack offerings were delicious. I recommend this restaurant and, if I return to Budva, I would use it again.

Valerie Penny