Monday, September 1, 2014

Artusi, Peckham

161 Bellenden Road
SE15 4DH

We were heading to Peckham for a friends birthday bash and did read about Artusi online, so we decided to give it a try. We arrived just before 7 and were lucky to get a table.

It's a fairly small space, but had a good feeling on a warm sunny evening and a simple modern fit out.

At the back of the restaurant, there was another section joined to the kitchen with more tables and stools on the pass.

The fairly short menu was chalked up on the wall...

We shared the panzanella salad to start. The combination of chunks of bread, tomato, cucumber, red onion and basil was a fresh and flavoursome appetiser.

The spaghetti with anchovies and pecorino was simple but well executed and a hit with the salty fish lover!

I was unsure of which main to have, but with some gentle persuasion from our waitress ordered the octopus with courgette and salsa verde which also included some roast potato. Any fears of the dish being too full on were soon assuaged, the cephalopod was perfectly tender and not too strong and was well complemented by the salsa and veggies.

The service through the meal was great, although we'd been told we only had an hour or so to eat we never felt rushed. The bill came to £40.10 including a few drinks, which felt like good value. We would certainly head back next time we are in Peckham, but that probably wont be for a while...

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

The White Hart, Denmead

Hambledon Road

A few of my mates from school live in Denmead these days and the White Hart is a popular for us to meet up for a pint. I hadn't eaten there before, but circumstances resulted in that happening on this visit. We found a table in the sunny beer garden which was quite quiet on a Tuesday evening.

The menu had plenty of options with a range on influences as well as a few pub classics.

We ordered at the bar and were surprised how quickly our meals were delivered. The warm duck salad with a hoisin and plum dressing was a winner.

I revisited a childhood favourite with the breaded wholetail scampi, chips and peas. It was pretty much as I recalled, and perhaps doesn't hold quite rate quite so highly in the pecking order for me these days!

The service was friendly and meals were pretty good value and we'd happildy eat there again.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Nags Head,Woodborough

Main Street
NG14 6DD

The Nags Head sits towards the western end of the Main street in Woodborough, a small, quaint Nottinghamshire village.

Relatives we were visiting recommended it. Inside it was a traditional English pub, with plenty of room for diners.

The menu was extensive covering British pub classics, Italian and veggie options.

Unfortunately the pork was tough and pretty dry.

The king prawns with the tagliatelle weren't particularly king sized... and the sauce was creamier than expected.

I had the sweet potato, chick pea and spinach curry with rice, naan bread and a poppadom. Although not particularly spicy, the flavours were pleasant and satisfying.

The service was friendly and welcoming. I seemed to be the lucky one with my choice of dish, and a one out of three hit rate isn't a good enough hit rate to warrant a return visit...

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Black Swan, Ockham

Old Lane
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

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

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

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


367 Little Bourke Street
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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