Posts Tagged ‘restaurant’

Olly Bongo’s, 4 Teviot Place, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH1 2QZ

christineI met a friend for lunch recently. She works at The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland and suggested that we meet near her work so that I could catch up with her during her lunch break. As I was not familiar with the area, she chose Olly Bongo’s. We were greeted by a friendly waitress on arrival, who gave us a choice of seats. I like getting the option rather than being told where to sit, so that was a good start. The decor was nice with a Mediterranean feel and posters advertising music nights.

We ordered our drinks quickly, but took time choosing lunch from the varied menu. I chose a spinach, tomato and mezzefeta cheese bruchetta while my friend chose a mezze. When our meals arrived, I was amazed by the size of the portions. Our meals were enormous and delicious. The food was freshly prepared and served with a side salad by polite and attentive staff. I certainly could not finish my meal. The portion was so big. However, I did enjoy it very much and my friend finished every crumb. I subsequently discovered that she is such a regular customer she qualifies for a discount!

Access to Olly Bongo’s is easy for those with mobility issues and the cafe is spotlessly clean. We finished our lunch with tea and coffee. Again, it was freshly brewed and outsideserved with individual pots. I had never heard of Olly Bongo’s, but, for the price, it was a real bargain.  This inconspicuous little cafe on the corner of Teviot Place is one of Edinburgh’s fun and quirky places to sit down, have a chat and enjoy a great plate of food. You could easily walk right past it as it does not look like much from the outside. However, if you step through the doors you will get a different impression entirely. I highly recommend Olly Bongo’s.

Valerie Penny

 

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Lounge, 33-43 Main Street, Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland, KA30 8AE

lounge-largs1Lounge is a stylish venue in the centre of Largs, Ayrshire in Scotland. It combines a restaurant, bar, outdoor terrace and nightclub. My husband and I went there recently with friends for dinner. What a lovely evening we had! The restaurant at Lounge specialises in contemporary Celtic cuisine with menus and strives to use the very finest local products.

Although the bar was not busy, we chose to go straight through to our table and have our pre-dinner drinks there. They were all perfectly chilled and served. The dining room is carefully lit and the service was impeccable. The table are also far enough apart or separated by furnishings to give diners some privacy.food1

We chose a selection of starters. Two of us went with the black pudding and haggis fritters, one with the garlic mushrooms and I chose a side salad of mixed greens and walnuts with shavings of parmesan cheese. My salad was really tasty, indeed we all enjoyed our starters very much. With our main courses we ordered more drinks. Again, these were perfectly chilled and nicely served. I am vegetarian and food2there were sufficient numbers of choices  for me. I opted for beer battered halloumi with salad and french fries. My husband and one of our friends chose the steak pie while our other friend went with a burger which was served on a large wooden platter. The meals were all freshly cooked, and very tasty. We all thoroughly enjoyed them.

Somehow or another, we managed to make room for pudding. Lounge is unusual as it offers smaller portions of restaurant-3several deserts. I chose a small size brownie. It was beautifully served and just enough to finish my meal. One of our friends chose the cheese cake, which he really enjoyed. The others had sticky toffee pudding. This amply lived up to its name. Our after dinner coffees were served after our puddings and were all as ordered. We all really enjoyed a leisurely meal. The service at Lounge was efficient and courteous. Altogether we had a lovely meal and a great evening. I will certainly look forward to going back to Lounge.

Valerie Penny

La Vita, 161 Queen Street, Glasgow, Scotland, G1 3BJ

My sister and I meet up for lunch every 5-6 weeks. We usually go somewhere mutually inconvenient! Last month wela vita out chose to go to  La Vita, 161 Queen Street, Glasgow, Scotland. This restaurant is situated in central Glasgow, on the corner of George Square, very close to the Queen Street Train Station. As it is on a corner of the street, it has an interesting view to the downstairs dining area. The stairs, however, are rather steep. The tables are also very close together. I would not recommend this restaurant to those who are disabled or with mobility issues. I was also slightly surprised that none of the staff I encountered were Scottish or Italian: for an Italian restaurant in Scotland, I thought that was unusual.

Our table was booked for 1pm. My sister arrived a few minutes early: I was a few minutes late. During this interval the waitress was keen to unite my sister with a complete stranger, who was also waiting for a friend, at pizzaanother table – twice. My sister was incensed by the time I arrived, not with me, but with the unwanted introduction the waitress seemed intent on making for her.

We ordered our meals. We each chose a margarita pizza with a side salad to share. At this time the waitress took it upon herself to berate me for my late arrival. I was bemused but I thought my sister was going to explode. She had, in fact only been waiting about 5 minutes. In any event, it was hardly for the waitress to take this up for her.la vita inside

La Vita has separate menus for food and drinks. There are also chilrdens’ meals available. The menus are varied, but the lunchtime selection for vegetarians is not wide.

Our drinks arrived. They were chilled and nicely served. The pizzas did take a little time to arrive. That is not unusual for freshly prepared food and gave us time to chat. The salad, arrived first. It was quite large and served with a tasty balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It was delicious and complemented the pizza perfectly. The pizzas were also large. The tomato base was tangy and tasty as was the cheese used. Both my sister and I enjoyed our meals very much. It was unfortunate that the service was so intrusive. As a result of that service, I am unlikely to use this restaurant again. If you and your companions arrive at the same time, you may enjoy a meal at La Vita.

Valerie Penny

Some Good and Some Not So Good by guest author bojan131

There is a a place called Selera at 487 Khyber Pass Road, Newmarket, Auckland 1023, New Zealand. This is a Malaysian saloon right the centre of Newmarket. I think our buzz with Malaysian cuisine made us want to try different places just for us to enjoy more of it. And this place looked busy, which seemed like a good sign.

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You get into Selera and it is rushed like anything. Sometimes you got to wonder if places only appear to be busy because of their size rather than popularity. Probably a bit of both with this place so I’ll try not to give you any preconceptions about the food before we review it. Very hard working waiter took our orders and explained some of the dishes quite well. We saw they had something called “Mas Sauce” and wondered if it had anything to do with Malaysian Airlines. It could have but the guy who came up with it went missing I heard.

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We settled for King Prawns with Sambal (shells off), Acar Awak (which is like a mango pickle), a Cabbage Chicken Salad and a Chicken Rice (as opposed to your usual standard white rice). All of that came down to NZ$41 or US$30.60. I just noticed on the photo that they did Carrot Cake and I’m loathing not ordering it. That dish should be a reason alone to go back to Singapore. I’ll even risk chewing gum, urinating in an elevator and jay walking to get it.

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The place is quite chaotic. We had a cup of chopsticks on our table and one of the waitresses kept on putting her arm between us to get them. Holding short of the excuse me or thinking about whether there’d be enough for us. Well, you don’t go to the place for the service if the water and tea is self service.

Then out comes the food, first we had our Chicken Salad arrive. This was actually quite nice. Tomatoes were fresh and the sesame seeds offered a great counter balance to the chicken and the cucumbers. OK, I’m really talking out of my ass and what I really mean is that the dish was very tasty and, take note Hollywood, low on calories.

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Next was the Acar Awak. Now if you’re not a fan of mangoes then you’d probably dislike this dish. About 85% of the flavor came from the mangoes and I was sold. It was like a fresher equivalent of those Mango pickles you get from a suburban Indian restaurant and a lot less sweet. Nice touch with nuts sprinkled on top, too. Now if these were the only two dishes we had, we would have thought that we had a pretty good experience.

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The King Prawns with Sambal, well, now we’re cooking with gas. Arrived on the table and it looked pretty tasty. Take the first bite, assuming the shells were removed, and you bite straight into the shell. My one backfired a little more than Casey’s because I inadvertently went for the head first so I got a good dosage of prawn guts. Delicious. So, f*** up no. 1: shells were not removed. The next thing was that the dish was way too sweet, almost to the point that it was designed for those not used to Malaysian cuisine. Picture the setting in the kitchen…

Waitress: And the Europeans ordered the King Prawns with Sambal. Shells off.

Chef: Hear that boys? Europeans. Alright, back up the pick up truck. I’m going to need a kilogram of sugar and a few liters of oil. And I think she said to keep the shells on. That’s right, I’m gonna need the shells on.

I know that there are a lot of restaurants in New Zealand that try to ‘Kiwify’ their otherwise traditional dishes by adding sugar and oil. This is slowly changing as more New Zealanders are going overseas and getting a flavor for the real deal. But it exists and I’m here to bring some awareness to the issue.

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Well, rather than leaving it on a sour note (pardon the pun), I didn’t mention that chicken rice we ordered. This was just a standard white rice with chicken broth poured over it, giving it a unique flavor. Well, its just the kind of rice you get with Hainanese Chicken Rice but its worth going for this one over the white rice.

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Well, it was definitely a mixed bag. Impressive salad, pickle and rice but a let down with the prawns. You’ve definitely got to look at the positive side to everything though. The prawns at least provided the foundation for some crude kitchen humor about Europeans eating at an Asian restaurant. And besides, who said we wouldn’t give them a second chance? Selera does Carrot Cake…

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Bojan 131

Tony Macaroni, 2 Greenock Rd, Largs KA30 8NF, Scotland

This week was my husband’s birthday. As part of his birthday celebration I arranged for his cousin and his brother toimage1 join us, with their spouses, for dinner at Tony Macaroni in Largs, Scotland. It  is an Italian restaurant next door to Nardini’s cafe and icecream parlour. It seemed like a good idea as we had been there before and enjoyed our evening. The restaurant was also mutually inconvenient, so the venue was chosen.

Our table was booked for 7pm and we sat at a table that gave us enough space for us all. The staff were helpful and we started with drinks before we ordered. We were not rushed in any way. We were there on a Friday evening so the restaurant was busy and it was a warm happy and friendly atmosphere. Each of us had something different, my brother-in-law chose soup and his wife went with the rosemary foccachia, My husband’s cousin had the calimari and her husband chose the garlic tony napkinmushrooms, My husband chose the half rack of lamb and I had the mozzarella sticks.

We had to wait a little while for our starters to arrive, but only as long as you might expect for the dishes to be cooked. All our starers were delicious and we enjoyed not only our food but also the restaurant experience. It was really fun.

When our main courses arrived we were equally pleased. My husband’s cousin chose the sea food risotto and her husband chose anther risotto dish, my brother-in-law swithered but eventually plumped for the spaghetti bolognaise while his wife had a risotto, my husband hand a filet steak and I had a margarita pizza. We washed the meals down with lager or pinot grigio white wine. We all enjoyed our meals very much. My husband’s steak was cooked exactly as he likes it and was extremely tender. He was thrilled. The only tony macaroniproblem with my pizza was that it was too much for me too finish. It was a very big pizza! However, I was offered a box to put the leftovers into. I do not usually accept such an offer, but, the meal was so delicious, I did accept on this occasion. My husband and I had the left overs for lunch the following day with potato salad.

After our meals, my husband, his cousin and her husband decided to make a move on pudding. The rest of us just opted for various coffees. My husband chose the banana split. It was enormous! He enjoyed what he had, but could not finish it. His cousin opted for the chiacciere which is really pizza dough cut into long strips and deep fried then sprinkled with sugar. At Tony Macaroni this is served with chocolate and toffee dipping sauces. She really enjoyed it, but, like me could not finish her meal, so she opted to take the leftovers home in a box. Her husband did manage to finish his Tiramusu. He said it was excellent.

What a good evening we had. A delicious meal, good service, happy ambience and a great time had by all. We will definitely be back to Tony Macaroni in Largs.

Valerie Penny

Brew Wharf,14-16 Stoney Street, Borough Market, London, SE1 9AD, England

On a recent visit to London, England my husband and I were able to have dinner with our daughter and her boyfriend. They chose, Brew Wharf,14-16 Stoney Street, Borough Market, London and as it seemed to be central and very close to our hotel, we decided to walk. We must have taken a wrong turning. We got thoroughly lost. Having brew wharfgone round and round and becoming quite agitated we took a cab from where we were. It was central and so close the fare was under £5.00 but we would never have found it without the cab driver’s help! Stoney Street is little more than a narrow lane. Brew Wharf  is an interesting building, an  exposed brick railway arch bar and terrace with lengthy beer menu and pub type cuisine.

It has a wide selection of beers and the men sampled one or two. I can attest to the fact that they make a mean gin and tonic! Access is good for those with mobility issues and, although it was Saturday evening, the restaurant was very empty. The bar area was busier. However, as a vegetarian, I cannot recommend the venue for a meal. There was not a single starters or main course meal offered on the restaurant menu was suitable for vegetarians. I was surprised. It is a long time since that has happened to me in the UK. I was offered a pasta with a tomato sauce, but really, that is so unimaginative that we decided just to have a drink and go elsewhere to eat. I was disappointed.

After a some time, and to members of staff asking if we were ready to order, the duty manager came over and offered me a mezze from the bar menu. All the dips were vegetarian and the real import of the evening was to get together b w outwith the family, not to wander around London, so we stayed. It was good of the manager to arrange this. The amount of the dips, made me think the dish was meant as a sharing starter. The amount of pitta bread with it made me think the meal was for an anorexic dwarf.

My dips included babganoush, hoummous, guacamole, a tomato dip and a couple of others. It was fine but I would not write home about it. My husband chose the fish and chips and enjoyed it. My daughter had chicken. It seemed to be a very small portion, but she said it was good. Her boyfriend chose pork belly and said that was tasty too. However, bearing in mind that the restaurant only had three other customers, the service was very slow. There was no interaction with the staff. They seemed to be more interested in speaking to each other than waiting tables. Even our second round of drinks took a long time to come.

We finished our meals with tea and coffee. I was really disappointed by the lack of atmosphere in this restaurant because the building is really quaint and I thought it would be fun. It was not. I was looking forward to a nice meal. That was not to be. I also feel that the Brew Wharf is overpriced. I would not eat there again.

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Valerie Penny

 

 

Restaurant Minos, Helsinki, Finland by guest author Reijosfood

Restaurant Minos is over 25 years old restaurant, which serves traditional Greek food. Clear proof of authenticity is the language used by waiters and waitresses; they talk to each other in Greek. Minos has pleasant covered terrace, which can be used also in the winter time, as it is heated.

Always choose to dine at the terrace, because you can observe by-passers at the same time. In the summer Minos has its own spot in popular Kamppi shopping center terrace area serving Greek wines and for instance Mythos beer.

Minos - reijosfood.com

Minos

For starters chose of course again Tzatziki yoghurt and cucumber salad and Dolmades vine leaves stuffed with rise and herbs.

Greek starters are always delicious, still miss taramosalata from holidays, but unfortunately it is not available at Minos. Tzatziki was made from genuine Greek yoghurt, not from Finnish or German and therefore really enjoyable. You can purchase similar dolmades from supermarkets in tins but so what, they were excellent.

Dolmades at Minos - reijosfood.com

Dolmades

Tzatziki at Minos - reijosfood.com

Tzatziki

For main courses we had Grilled chicken breast and halloumi cheese salad and Seafood salad with prawns, octopus, tuna and artichokes.

Chicken salad was excellent. Chicken itself was grilled as well as halloumi which makes the taste always better than fried or cooked. Seafood salad was slight dissappointment because there was only one artichoke (look the plural in the name) and somehow portion was a little bit wet. Maybe too much water from tuna fish can?

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Salad of Chicken Breast and Halloumi Cheese

Seafood salad at Minos - reijosfood.com

Salad of Seafood

For wine had glasses of Greek white and red wine. OK with food, but not so enjoyable without it.

Minos is one of my favourite restaurants in Helsinki, Finland, for many reasons. I like Greek food and Minos prepares it well. And dining at the terrace, either under glass roof our outside is always pleasure. Therefore overall grade is high.

Note that this restaurant is not open on Sundays.

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

Reijosfood