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

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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

Apex Hotel Haymarket, 90 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland

Apex city-roomOn a recent visit to Edinburgh, Scotland, I needed an inexpensive room for an overnight stay in the city centre. The Apex Hotel Haymaket fit the bill. The hotel is situated at the West end of Haymarket Terrace and so there are hotles closer to the train station, however, The Apex Haymarket is of a higher standard but around the same price. The hotel, before it was extended, would originally have been an elegant family home with the servants’ room in the attic on the top floor.

The reception is around the corner from the main road and is on Magdala Crescent. The street-side entry to the hotel restaurant is from Haymarket Terrace. Reception is small, only one desk, but there was only one person ahead of me, so I did not have to wait long. The receptionist was courteous and efficient and complimentary maps of the city centre are readily available for those unfamiliar with the city.  Tha Apex Haymarket is also convenient for local transport. There is a bus stop directly outside; the tram and train station are just a short walk to the East. Apex room 2.jpg

I had booked a small double room as I was only in the city for one night and would not be in the room for long. The room was on the fourth (top) floor, so I was in the original servants quarters. How times have changed! This was a bright, colourful room with an en-suite showerroom and full, complimentary hostess tray. The room was small, but that was fine, it was advertised as small and the price paid was commensurate with that.

The bed was comfortable and, although the room was hot that night, I slept well. The shower was powerful and the room with en-suite was spotlessly clean. Access to the hotel and restaurant is disabled friendly.

Apex outside Breakfast was an extra charge, the price was £2.50 less if I booked it before midnight than afterwards! It was tasty, but service was slow. The coffee, tea and toast were brought to the table as were the cooked options. The continental breakfast was self service. Everything was freshly prepared and I enjoyed it.

I would definitely use The Apex Hotel Haymarket, Edinburgh again and recommend it as an economical, central Edinburgh hotel.

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

Imperial Palace, 36 Inglis Green Road, Edinburgh, Scotland

Imperial palace outIt was important to find a good restaurant for Mother’s Day. There were various requirements: Mother had to like the food, that excluded Indian, Italian and Mexican restaurants, so Chinese it is. The restaurant had to allow wheel chair access: that ruled out restaurants Kowloon, Rendezvous and Lune Town (reviewed on this site 16 December 2013). However, step forward the Imperial Palace. Imperial Palace inside

The Imperial Palace, 36 Inglis Green Road, Edinburgh, Scotland is very close to one of the main Chinese Supermarkets in Edinburgh and is well frequented by patrons of Chinese heritage. The menu at the Imperial Palace is extensive and interesting. Many of the traditional classic dishes you would espect from a Chinese restaurant sit comfortably beside more unusual offerings including Chicken Feet in Black Bean Sauce and Tofu and Fresh Fish Head Soup Garnished with Colianders.

imperial palace foodWe were a party of five, Mum, my sister and I and ours husbands. We chose a variety of starters. Mum went with chicken wings, my husband with spare ribs and the rest of us chose vegetarian spring rolls. They were all delicious. Our main courses included Mum’s favourite, sweet and sour pork with egg fried rice, my tofu and vegetables with black bean sauce, my husband’s cantonese style duck and my sister and brother-in-law went with special fried rice, deep fried aubergine,  Singapore Thin Egg Noodles and Mixed Vegetable with Pickled Ginger and Pineapple. We all enjoyed our meals very much. The boys managed desert and my mother was encouraged to a little ice cream.imperial palace food 2

The Imperial Palace allows easy wheelchair access. The table we had was round, giving easy opportunity for everyone to chat. The staff are attentive but not intrusive and there is ample parking nearby. We all had a delicious meal at the Imperial Palace and will certainly use this restaurant again.

Valerie Penny