Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Black Swan, Ockham

Old Lane
Ockham
Surrey
KT11 1NG

The Black Swan in Ockham is nestled in the idyllic Surrey countryside but also isn't far from either the M25 or A3. We visited on a sunny summer Saturday, and it was busy, with most of the outdoor tables taken.


Inside things were a bit quieter, it is quite a labyrinth with lots of interconnected spaces.


We found a spot near the BBQ area, which was proving a popular option. It has a separate menu and ordering system. 


The pea and marjoram tortellini, with summer vegetables, ricotta and parmesan cheese from the main menu was as fresh as it looked.


I went for the oatmeal crusted Cornish mackerel fillets also ordered inside. They came with a warm runner bean and new potato salad and a salsa verde. The strong flavors were nicely balanced by veggies and caper rich sauce.


The kids liked their sausages, chips and mixed leaf salad.


Diane went for the char-grilled swordfish steak from the BBQ, which came with a panzanella salad, guacamole and fries. Again everything was super fresh and soon disappeared. 


Nik enjoyed the BBQ menu special of Lamb koftas, which was served with coleslaw, fries and pita.


The Black Swan is a great spot to enjoy a great summers day, with a relaxed vibe and plenty of space in the grassy beer garden. There is a good range of food on offer and we enjoyed everything we tried from the menu.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Edinboro Castle, Camden

57 Mornington Terrace
London
NW1 7RU

The Edinboro Castle, claims to be "Camden's most welcoming pub" and is tucked between Camden's center and Regent's Park. It has a big beer garden or courtyard out the front which was packed on the Saturday evening we visited, but we managed to find some space inside. We were primarily there to meet up with friends, but we did eat too. The menu had a mix Brit pub classics and some more off road options.


I had the wild salmon fish cakes which were a little smaller than I expected but tasty and came with lemon creme fraiche, wedges and 'slaw.


The whitebait was tasty, but unless you are a true connoisseur is probably best shared given the fairly generous serve of the mini fish!


 The southern fried chicken came with chips, coleslaw and pickle dip, and satisfied our friend.


The service was good for a packed pub, and I was happy with the food we had. I'd probably not head back specifically for a meal, but if you are there and hungry, it's worth grabbing a bite.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Bull and Last, Highgate

168 Highgate Road
London
NW5 1QS


Chris and Emma took us along to the The Bull and Last "..a rustic style pub and kitchen serving old English style food in the restaurant.." We ate upstairs where the decor followed a country house or hunting lodge theme.


The menu when we visited covered some traditional British dishes along with some more modern and European inspired options.


We shared the crispy butter milk chicken as an entree. The small pieces of chook were tender and juicy, the aioli was a great accompaniment.


I had the roast cod, which was perfectly cooked, and came with a mussel spaghettini and seashore veggies, which worked together wonderfully.


We also shared some of the giant yet perfect triple cooked chips.


We finished off by tackling the mango and raspberry sorbet between us!


The only downside of the meal was the hour long wait between our courses. It wasn't that busy either, so I'm not sure what caused the problem. Other than that it was a great meal in a nice environment.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Horseshoe

28 Heath Street
London
NW3 6TE

We were visiting friends in Hampstead and they suggested dinner at the Horseshoe. The menu focuses on simple British food.


The pub is the "Home of Camden Town Brewery" and I enjoyed the Pale Ale.


We were in the back section, which featured stylish and cosy booth style tables.


 To start I had the St Austell bay mussels, which came with white wine, parsley and shallots. They were fresh and tasty.


For main I had the breaded haddock which was served on mushy peas with chips and tartare sauce. The dish delivered a great version of this classic.


The hake, courgette, leek, bacon and new potato looked great and went down well.


Chris enjoyed his pork belly with devilled hispi cabbage and apple sauce.


The service was a tiny bit slow, but the food was worth the wait and decent value.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

duNORD

367 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne
VIC 3000

We arrived at duNORD on a Friday evening just after eight, it was a good thing we'd booked a table as it was comfortably busy. The look inside fits the Scandinavian theme with plenty of light coloured wood!


Our waiter was friendly and helpful, guiding us through the fairly short menu and providing advice. Unfortunately my camera work didn't turn out too great...

We started by sharing the frites, with mayo of course, as we were both pretty peckish. The bowl was huge, bu we managed to put a good dent in them, and even needed extra mayonnaise!


The (Spanish) mackerel was very much on the rare side, and beautifully tender.  It came with smoked butter and various forms of winter cabbage including a couple of purees.


I had the the pine and mushroom broth, black kale, black pearled barley and pine mushroom. The dish first arrived looking more like a risotto with the barley, kale and mushroom in a low tower, the stock arrived second and was poured over to mix the ingredients further. The flavours were fantastic, and it also fealt both hearty and healthy!


We also shared a side of the winter greens. This was another huge bowl, filled with beans, peas and broccoli, dressed with a bergamot, horseradish vinaigrette, another winner.

The meal was substantial and satisfying as well as featuring some great tasteing dishes and fine work from the chef. The service was great all night and the bill came in at $89 including a beer and a cider. I reckon next time we want to scratch our Scandi itch in Melbourne, we could well be heading in the duNORD direction!

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Spice Kitchen, QV

Food Court
Qv Centre
Melbourne
VIC 3000

Ian and I wanted to grab a quick lunch and as it was convenient, the food court at QV seemed like a good option. I hadn't tried Spice Kitchen before but it looked like it was worth a shot.

The various curry dishes were all laid out on display.


I had the vegetable Thali, with an eggplant curry and a chana masala, along with rice and some raita and a bonus naan, all for $9. The curry's were a little on the runny side, but were reasonably flavoured. The naan bread wasn't too inspiring, but I ended up pretty full.


Spice kitchen offers a filling basic Indian lunch for a bargain price.


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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Stags Head

39 Cecil Street
Williamstown
VIC 3016

Tucked away on the dimly lit back streets of Williamstown, the Stags Head Hotel only stands out due to its size. We entered through the door into the front bar, which had a wonderful old school local feel about it. We headed past a small lounge to the restaurant at the back where our friends were already at the table they'd reserved for us all.


The room was bright and light with simple white walls and a few adornments and classic wooden tables.


We were offered drinks and the menu pretty quickly and took a while to work out what we'd order. We got the waitresses attention and ordered, and despite it being pretty busy, we didn't seem to have to wait long for our food.

Rick took advantage of steak night, and chose a red wine sauce, which went down well.


The salmon looked good, and got good reports, although there weren't many potatoes and the salad was a bit too heavy on the rocket, and missing other flavours.


Nadia enjoyed her lasagna.


I had the fish and chips, the beer batter was crisp and the content fresh and moist. The chips were good and the salad straightforward and wholesome.


The Stags Head had the feel of a traditional Aussie suburban pub, offering basic but good food in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The bill came in around $30 a head including a drink or two each. I think we'll be back again, next time we fancy some pub food fairly near by.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Sailors' Rest

3 Moorabool Street
Geelong
VIC 3220

We went searching for brunch on the beautiful winters morning of the Queen's Birthday public holiday, along the Geelong foreshore. We decided on the Sailor' Rest mainly based on location and the look of the place. Given the sunny and almost warm weather, there was no surprise it was busy.


We ended up in the partially open glazed section which was good with us, the fit out was much more modern than the older brick structure! The views out across to the ocean were great.


We ordered drinks immediately and our meals soon after, the juice arrived promptly my short black took another 15 minutes, but wasn't bad when it did arrive.


Our Vegetarian Breakfasts took another 10 minutes to show up. The better half went for scrambled egg with the spinach, mushrooms, tomato and hash brown.


I went for the poached eggs, which nice and soft. The sour dough toast was a bit on the tough side, the other components were fine but not stand outs.


The long wait for food and bill of $52.50 made it feel overpriced for an average meal, I think we'll try somewhere else next time we are searching for breakfast, although it will be tough to beat the view. 

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