Posts Tagged ‘restaurant’

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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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…




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.

bw map


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 -


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 -


Tzatziki at Minos -


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?


Salad of Chicken Breast and Halloumi Cheese

Seafood salad at Minos -

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.



The Salisbury Arms, 58 Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh EH16 5AD, Scotland

Many years ago, when I attended the  University of Edinburgh, this pub traded as The Gold Medal because it is near the swimming pool salisburythat was built for the Commonwealth Games when they first came to Scotland, to Edinburgh in 1970. The front of the building faces Queen’s Park. There is outside seating for the smokers in the pub.

Recently, the building has been thoroughly renovated and it serves not only a wide variety of drinks, but also meals. It looks very smart both inside and out. There is ample parking and access is easy for the disabled and those who have mobility problems.

My mother discovered The Salisbury Arms when her friend invited her there for lunch around the time of her birthday. She enjoyed the meal and the company. It is always nice to find a new haunt to visit. So, Mum booked Sunday lunch for herself, me, my sister and my nephew, (who had a few hours off from rehearsing with his band, Broken Records).

On Sundays, the pub serves a variety of Sunday roasts including nut roast for the vegetarians amongst us. The usual menu is also served. My sister and I are vegetarians. The choice for us was not wide and rather uninspired: it revolved largely around cheese, particularly goats cheese. My mother chose the roast pork and my nephew had fish and chips. All the portions were large and we enjoyed our meals well enough, although the vegetables served to my mother looked very dry and the crackling she was under-cooked. The service is courteous, but thoughtless. However, we booked the table ten days in advance and were told we could get a table for no more than 4 people at noon or 3pm. We chose the earlier time but had to vacate the table by 2.30pm.

We arrived promptly at noon, before the doors of the premises had opened. There was one other patron going in atthesalisburyarmsedinburgh-int-content-1 that time. There were no other diners. We were shown to a table for 4 where the sun shone into the eyes of two of our party. While it is lovely to enjoy the sunshine in February in Edinburgh, there were many other tables where we could have enjoyed the sun without it adversely affecting our table. When we left only another 3 tables were in use. I still do not understand the restrictions on booking or the lack of thoughtfulness when we were shown to that particular table.

I was my mother’s guest, therefore I did not complain about the inadequacies of the meal or the service: had I been the hostess, it would have been different. The Salisbury Arms has been beautifully restored. Unfortunately, neither the food nor the service met that beauty. I would not return to this venue by choice, nor can I recommend it.

Valerie Penny

Champagne Charlie’s, The Arches, 17 Villiers Street, London, England, WC2N 6NG

Champagne Charlie’s, in London, England, is a lovely atmospheric and cosy cellar style bar.  It is part of the Davy’s group, offering wine by the glass, carafe or bottle on the ground floor. There is a wide variety of gins and whiskies too. The lovely restaurant with a wide menu is down stairs. It is a bit of a tardis and seems to go on for ever. The venue has easy access to many parts of London by tube, train and bus. It is near both Embankment and Charing Champagne-Charlies-ICross underground stations and a nine minute stroll from Waterloo across the Jubilee Bridge, tucked away at the Arches. It is unique amongst the dozens of eateries in the area. The exposed brick walls with no windows in the restaurant, as you are underground, does create an interesting atmosphere. However, it is not claustrophic. The clever use of aches and mirrors avoids that.

My daughter recommended this to the family. She and her husband use it when dining with friends. The staff were polite and helpful. I am vegetarian and there were various choices available to me as well as to the omnivore members of our group. The pub area of the venue was busy and quite noisy, but we were there on a Friday evening. I would have been surprised if it had been otherwise. It is possible to reserve a table and my daughter had booked a table for our meal. The restaurant was not nearly as busy, or as noisy as the pub.Champagne-Charlies-IV

We had a delicious meal in lovely surroundings. Two of us had the risotto, which is delicious and the other had the burger: this is her firm favourite. We each had a gin and tonic, but apart from that, stuck to soft drinks. I had planned to have cheese and crackers afterwards. The menu boasts a wide variety of cheeses and the crackers are picked to match them. This all sounded marvelous, but there was no way that I could have eaten that much. I was too full of risotto! I ordered a brownie, because I am a chocoholic and could not resist. It was absolutely lovely, but, even sharing it with my younger daughter, we could not finish it. The portions are generous. We finished our meals with a cappuccino and two Earl Grey teas. It was a terrific meal and the price was very competitive for central London too.  It was good value.

The only real negative I found was that , if you are disabled or have mobility issues, access is difficult. Champagne Charlie’s is tucked away under the arches beneath Charing Cross station this is an unusual place full of character. I certainly enjoyed my meal and my evening and would recommend Champagne Charlie’s. I plan to visit it again.

Valerie Penny

L’Antipasto City, 2-4 Botolph Alley, London, England, EC3R 8DR

I recently spent a few days in London, England. It was lovely because I had time with my daughters. On my first mapevening there, my younger daughter and I looked for somewhere to have dinner that was near my hotel. She found L’Antipasto City. It is a bit tricky to find because the alley where it is does not really look like a regular street. It is near East Cheap and also Monument. It is very central.

The restaurant has a warm, cosy welcoming feel and the staff are attentive and friendly, but not overly so. However, L’Antipasto City is quite small, so it does get rather busy and you may want to consider booking a table. The menu is Italian, but within that it is wide and varied. We both chose pizza and enjoyed our meals very much. The meals are lanti pastofreshly made in a kitchen open for all the diners to see. The food is delicious.

I will certainly use L’Antipasto City again. The cost of our meals in central London was very reasonable. I highly recommend this restaurant to you.

Valerie Penny

The Prestwick Pioneer, 87 Main Street, Prestwick, South Ayrshire KA9 1JS, Scotland

Excitement ruled in our family. Our elder daughter had announced her wedding and weeks thereafter my husband was to be installed into the chair of his Free Masons Lodge, so with many formal events to attend in the near future, he decided to invest in a kilt and I was roped in as a second opinion when he went to MacGregor and MacDuff,205 Main Street, Prestwick, Ayrshire KA9 1LH, Scotland. When he went to try on his finished outfit, he looked so smart.

To celebrate he took me to lunch at The Prestwick Pioneer. It is a Wetherspoon’s pub, so we were expecting cheap and cheerful. Unlike many Wetherspoon establishments that are situated in converted banks or other old buildings, The Prestwickprestwick pioneer Pioneer is a bright, glass fronted building with easy access from the street for those who are disabled or with mobility problems. It has light, modern furniture and a generous supply of coffee from  self-service urn. As my husband would happily main-line coffee he was a very happy man.

We both chose burgers. I had a veggie burger and he had a cheese burger with added bacon. They were served with salad vegetables and chips and we treated ourselves to a small portion of onion rings to share. We both enjoyed our meals.

inside the Prestwick PioneerThe staff in The Prestwick Pioneer were very pleasant and the whole place, including the lavatories, was kept spotlessly clean. We really enjoyed our visit here and it delivered exactly what we had expected: a good hearty hot meal at reasonable prices. If that is what you are looking for, you will not go wrong here.

Valerie Penny

Motherland Spice, 16 Bradshaw Street, Saltcoats, Ayrshire, KA21 5HR

Motherland Spice is a family run restaurant started in 2012 near to our village. Since it opened my husband and I have enjoyed several meals because of the wide choice of unique, authentic Indian & Nepalese cuisine. We really enjoy the food. Also, the owner is eager that all his guests enjoy their meals, staff are polite and helpful and there is easy access to the restaurant for those with mobility problems.


The restaurant is well known for its delicious Indian dishes. It also specializes in South Indian cuisine and produces a combination Scottish/Indian dish the haggis pakora of which my husband is particularly fond. There are also a wide variety of dishes for vegetarians. There are choices of western dishes too, for those who do not really enjoy Indian food.

We have never had a bad meal at Motherland Spice nor a meal that we did not enjoy. However, I have found, on a couple of occasions, that we have been spoiled for choice. This has resulted in us choosing so many side dishes that the final cost of the meal has been more than expected. Of course, this is nobody’s fault but ours! It would not happen if there was less choice. best-family-restaurant

The restaurant offers three types of set meals: Kids Menu, Pre-theatre Meal and Business Lunch. All the set meals have a variety of dishes to choose from and give great value for money. I also like the table buffet service. It runs 7 days a week and offers three main courses with a large choice of side dishes, breads and rice.

My husband and I really enjoy the food at Motherland Spice. The atmosphere is cosy and friendly. I highly recommend it.

Valerie Penny


Bickley Manor Hotel, Thornet Wood Road, Bickley, Kent BR1 2LW

I am a mother-in-law and all I can think about is Les Dawson: I hope my son-in-law does not feel the same way!download

He married my beloved elder daughter on Saturday at the wonderful venue that is Bickley Manor Hotel, in Kent, England. The old Manor House is set amidst beautiful landscaped gardens and from the moment my husband and I arrived we felt transported from the bustling world into the heart of the Kent countryside.

The property was built in 1878, so there is no lift but arrangements were made by the hotel and our family so that my disabled mother felt completely included in the occasion.

The hotel is bursting with character and has retained many of its original period features. Although, a few extra power points would not go amiss! However, the hotel’s highly professional staff ensured that we feel completely relaxed as soon as we arrived. The care and attention to detail afforded to our party far out-weighed any slight inconveniences. However, you must bear in mind that it is an old building and has no elevator. Bickley Manor also has over 30 bedrooms en-suite, including 2 honeymoon outsidesuites and its own private cottage. My mother stayed in the private cottage. That has no stairs.

Bickley Manor does have a spectacular restaurant with high ceilings and a chandelier that creates a wonderful setting for lunch or dinner. We very much enjoyed our meals there. Portions are generous! Even the bar menu is very varied and the wedding breakfast was delicious and promptly served.In t he morning, the breakfast offered is a full English breakfast, although the hotel is happy to change items as required for dietary needs. Cereal, fruit juice, tea and coffee are all available on a self-service basis and the dining room is a very relaxed way for guests to start the morning. There is also a bar on site as well as the restaurant . Everything was great.

func room

There are two honeymoon suites at Bickley Manor. Clearly, the bride and groom took one but my husband and I treated ourselves to the other. Ours was a beautiful room with large windows overlooking the beautiful grounds and the cutest en-suite I have ever seen. When we went in, I thought it was a tiny little shower-room. In fact, the double doors that open on to it hide a good sized bathroom with full bath and quality shower. The rooms also have flat-screened televisions, tea and coffee facilities and good quality shower products. I had forgotten my hairdryer and the hotel provided one without hesitation. room

There are drawers and wardrobe space. This is not always so in modern hotels. The bed was very comfortable and we both slept well. My husband is a very tall man, so he did appreciate the king-size bed.

For our purposes it was most important that the requests of the bride and groom were met. This was the case in every detail. The staff were diligent and helpful throughout our stay. I cannot commend them highly enough. This was an extremely friendly wedding. That is a testament to the bride and groom. It was also a very well-organised event. Again, the couple put a huge amount of effort into ensuring all went as planned. However, there is no doubt that they chose well when they chose Bickley Manor as their venue. The support and kindness afforded to them and their guests was open-handed. I highly recommend Bickley Manor.