Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Fish n chips at Lion and Lamb Cafe

November 8, 2014
fish n chips

fish n chips

We are always looking for dedicated and passionate chefs who are striving to put their own stamp on the menu. If you would like to be part of our team please email us your cv. — Lion and Lamb Cafe

I thought lunch at the fish n chip shop in Downing Street, but too late.

OK, Waitrose, then home. Only it started to rain, heavy rain.

As I was passing by, I decide on lunch at Lion and Lamb Cafe, in Lion and Lamb Yard. Often they have an interesting special chalked up outside. Not today. I walked in. Usually when I walk by it is empty. Today packed. Is it old or fake old?

Tables packed very tight together, barely room to move.

I was offered a table in line with the door. I refused, as I did not wish to be chilled every time the door opened.

I ordered fish n chips. Expensive and pretty disgusting. Not very good fish, they had not even bothered to take the skin off. Old dried up chips, tasted like oven chips. For some perverse reason, not served on a plate, but what I can only describe as a large soup bowl. Explains why usually empty.

Far better fish n chips in fish n chip shop in Downing Street. And cheaper.

Toilets upstairs like outdoor toilets used to be hundred years ago in Victorian terrace houses, even down to the same doors with the latch.

A lady on an adjacent table with two children. They left their main meal untouched. I asked as they left. She mouthed back disgusting. I mouthed back the same.

I had chatted to them earlier and suggested a few places where to get decent food.

  • Friday lunch at Guildford Institute in Guildford
  • Cafe Mila in Godalming
  • Italian coffee shop in Alton
  • Friday street food on Winchester market

I think the only reason packed, and lady on adjacent table said the same thing, people had done as we had done, walked in to get out of the rain.

Service very slow, though staff pleasant.

Free wifi.

I have never understood why anywhere thinks I am impressed by being told they have worked donkeys years in the catering business. I usually find it to be a very bad omen.

You can bring your own wine. For which your pay for the privilege at £5 a bottle.

Teapigs. Oh for decent tea. J D Wetherspoon used to serve teapigs, now it is Tetley, at least honesty.

Oh what a loss The Barn which closed in the summer.

How You’re Paying Twice For Your Big Mac

November 8, 2014

There is no such thing as cheap food, you simply pay through other means for the externalised costs and subsidies.

We pay through the cost of trade treaties and subsidies.

We pay when we have to pay through our taxes to subsidise cheap wages.

In England teens are working at McDonald’s unsocial hours, zero hours, £4-50 an hour.

We pay through the de-skilling of jobs, leaving an unemployable workforce lacking in skills.

We pay when our democracy is corrupted, and planning applications are rubber-stamped in favour of greedy developers and Big Business, against the wishes of local people.

We pay when local heritage is destroyed and we lose our sense of place and identity.

We pay with the poor health of our children.

Apples off the local farmers market, not travelled far, picked recently, crisp, tasty and delicious.

We need rules that protect us from Big Business, not rules that distort markets to benefit Big Business.

We need people to better understand their nutritional needs so they do not eat junk food hyped by Big Business.

Lunch at Guildford Institute

November 7, 2014
stuffed aubergines, rice and salad

stuffed aubergines, rice and salad

stuffed aubergines, rice and salad

stuffed aubergines, rice and salad

Excellent lunch at Guildford Institute.

I arrived late to find very little left, little choice.

It was stuffed aubergines and rice or nothing. It looked singularly unappetising, but was excellent.

Followed by apple and blackberry crumble.

The bad news, as I heard last Saturday and had confirmed today, the lady who does these excellent lunches is leaving.

Guildford farmers market

November 4, 2014
Guildford farmers market October

Guildford farmers market October

Frosty start, sunny but a chill in the air, by lunchtime dull, then cold and rain.

Dysfunctional First Great Western train service. Train late, slow run to Guildford. On getting on train, yob threatens train guard. I said call ahead and have him met by Police, I would be happy to be witness. But guard said happens so often get used to it. Toilet on train in disgusting condition. OK fault of passengers, but why not cleaned?

River Wey running high, fast and very muddy. Far higher than on Saturday. Indicates a lot of rain fallen over the last few days. Also that the ground is already saturated. This bodes ill for the winter and flooding.

This time of year, the summer fruits have been and gone, a farmers market is a dismal affair and barely worth the effort.

A loaf and Eccles cake off Celtic Bakers, apples off the apple stall, and that was it.

A new Spanish place Tito’s Kitchen handing out samples. A hard act to follow, as La Casita very good. They admitted several others had said the same thing.

It started to rain. I was going to have lunch at Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage. La Casita was nearer.

Food for Thought, excellent little food shop off North Street. Though appalled they have teapigs and Whole Earth peanut butter, neither of which are quality products. Unlike Meridian which is quality peanut butter, ground peanuts and nothing else, Whole Earth peanut butter is bulked out with palm oil, higher in saturated fat than pig fat, bad for your health, bad for the environment.

cacao coated cacao beans

cacao coated cacao beans

Often tasters and samples and today was no exception. Cacao coated cacao beans, tasty but at £7-99 for 100g very expensive, also a cake to try (with recipe sheet).

personalised cappuccino

personalised cappuccino

A cappuccino in Harris + Hoole. New guy making coffee, to give him practice, a personalised coffee.

On leaving Harris + Hoole, dark and temperature had plummeted.

Dysfunctional SouthWest Trains. Aldershot train 20 minutes late leaving Guildford. It usually takes less than 20 minutes to reach Aldershot, this evening 23 minutes, missed bus.

New Forest Steak Burger Co

November 1, 2014

Winchester is a terrible place for lunch. I have a burger off a stall, New Forest Steak Burger Co. It is excellent.

Burgers do not have to be McShit served by the Fat Clown.

I tell the man, Winchester terrible place for lunch. He tells me, I am the third person to tell him that.

But, he using polystyrene burger boxes. No excuse when there are card alternatives. Also shrink-wrapped tomatoes from a supermarket. Why, when there is an excellent fruit and veg stall. Similar with his bread, when there is an excellent bread stall?

I find Jimmy Bean. Excellent coffee.

Winchester has some excellent food stalls.

  • Jimmy Bean for coffee
  • New forest Steak Burger Co
  • Bread stall
  • Cheese stall

Ask any of them about their produce and they will be able to tell you.

Jimmy Bean will be able to tell you about coffee. The bread stall what flour, how baked, where it is from. The cheese stall, where the cheeses are from how they have been produced, a sliver to taste.

New Forest Steak Burger Co is no exception.

A must for Guildford farmers market, first Tuesday of the month in Guildford High Street.

Lunch and afternoon tea at Café Mila

October 28, 2014
pumpkin soup

pumpkin soup

Excellent lunch at Café Mila.

Pumpkin soup, followed by filo pastry tart stuffed with vegetables.

Pumpkin soup is usually an orangey-yellow. This was green. I do not know why. I meant to ask the chef, but forgot. Strictly speaking, it was spiced pumpkin soup.

A wander around Godalming, then afternoon tea and cake. Bakewell tart with a mug of tea.

Bad news, Café Mila will be closing at four o’clock, which is not good news. Indeed it is very bad news.

I would turn this around. In the winter stay open until five o’clock, in the summer stay open until at least six o’clock.

Today, and last Tuesday, it was still busy when I left a few minutes before 4-30.

When indy coffee shops close early, all they do is lose custom to the High Street chains, people then get into the habit and do not come back.

In Guildford in the summer Glutton & Glee are turning people way when they close at five o’clock. Their loss, Harris + Hoole gain.

Lunch at Iydea

October 26, 2014

lunch at Iydea

lunch at Iydea

Has Iydea changed hands?

Food still good, but not much else.

Internal décor has changed. Not an improvement.

Inside horrendous music thudding out. Lunch and as an added bonus, leave with a headache.

It used to be two plates, two portion sizes.

Now, pick what you wish to eat, two vegetable or salad choices.

Very unpleasant surly person serving. When asked, what the different dishes were, said read what it says on the counter. Same with the toppings.

I would fire him on the spot.

They used to have very charming and helpful staff.

I sat outside, it was far to unpleasant to sit inside. Though not too warm to sit outside.

They used to have cakes, a delicious choice. If they still have cakes, not apparent.

I walked to Taylor St Baristas and had a cappuccino and a cookie.

La Casita

October 24, 2014

It is good when you stumble across somewhere worth eating, where they take a pride in their food.

Lunch at Guildford Institute was not up to much today, mainly because everything had gone and there was little choice.

Late afternoon, I decided to have a cappuccino and cookie in Harris + Hoole, but upstairs was closed (they now close at five) and downstairs was packed.

I walked to the Castle grounds and read a little of This Changes Everything on Google Nexus 7. On the way I passed La Casita and looked at the menu. On my way back, I looked again, and although it was only early evening, I was hungry, and decided to give them a try.

I asked was their offer three tapas for £10 still valid, they said yes.

I decicdd to stay.

A lovely atmosphere.

I chose tortilla española, champiñones al ajillo (mushrooms cooked with garlic and chillies) and pincho moruno (pork and peppers and onions on a wooden spit).

The portions were generous.

Something missing. Bread. I asked. Why did you not say. A basket of bread was brought out.

The tortilla good, though not as good as in Puerto de la Cruz, though half way through, I decided as good. The other portions excellent.

To have food this good, yoou would have to go to the old part of Puerto de la Cruz, where there are many excellent restaurants or El Limón or Meson California en Plaza Charco during carnival.

As it was early and I was the only customer, I had a long chat with the owner. Someone who takes a pride in what he is doing. A pleasant change to the ghastly chains that dominate our town centres, chains that do not even pay tax.

It is these little business we should be supporting. When was the last time a politician passed through the door and asked ‘what can we do to help?’ on the other hand they fall over backwards to help big business.

La Casita to be added to the list of places worth eating in Guildford, Friday lunch at the Guildford Institute, Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage.

Afternoon in Godalming

October 21, 2014
Church Street

Church Street

I was surprised how cold it was when I alighted at Godalming Station.

Was it different location or was it temperature falling during the day?

A big storm was due to hit during the night. The remnants of a hurricane that devastated Barbados over the weekend. I cannot say I noticed, but this morning it was very windy, and reports of extensive damage from across the country.

The first big storm of the autumn. Trees still have most of their leaves hence maximum damage. Storms are arriving earlier and earlier, and of increasing severity.

If we hold global temperature rise to less than 2C we are going to see an increase in severity of storms. Ideally we should hold to less than 1.5C. But with the amount of carbon we are pumping into the atmosphere, we are unlikely to hold to 2C. If we go beyond 2C, the models start to break down and we are likely to face thermal runway.

But it is still businesses as usual. And when we use austerity as excuse for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, we are in not in a good position to withstand shocks to the system, as we saw with the floods and storms last winter (which stated with autumn storms, and we have already had nearly two weeks of rain).

A look in the Parish Church. Where prayer cards are left, and candles lit. I noticed a memorial book for our animal friends. And why not, they are as much a member of the family.

A walk along the River Wey. Very cold.

Lunch at Café Mila. It was packed. I have never seen it this packed.

Even upstairs was packed.

mushroom soup

mushroom soup

cauliflower and sweet potato curry

cauliflower and sweet potato curry

I ordered mushroom soup followed by a curry. Both were brought up to me by the chef.

The mushroom soup was excellent. Often soup is sloshed around a bowl. Not when the chef serves. Presentation is equally important. Generous portions too.

The curry was ok. Not what I would have chosen, but everything else had gone. More like a broth. It lacked body. I would have added some chopped up boiled new potatoes.

Lunchtime eateries in Winchester have a lot to learn. In Ginger Gelato, watery tomato soup. Lunch consists of a little more than ciabatta with a little melted cheese. Were Café Mila Winchester to open I cannot see anyone else surviving.

A little wander through Godalming.

Tea and cake in Café Mila. Not much choice left on the cakes.

sunset over Frensham Pond

sunset over Frensham Pond

Catch 4-30 bus to Aldershot. Three counties, Surrey, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, through the Surrey Hills. I thought it might be heavy rain, a nightmare journey, but luckily sunny. Sunset over Frensham Pond. A pity the bus drivers do not clean their windows.

When I get off the bus over an hour and a half later, very cold at the bus station. Five minutes wait for a bus, and I was chilled to the bone.

Dinner and party at Nicolas Tavern

September 28, 2014
delicious food

delicious food

Greek food

Greek salad

tea and cake

tea and cake

Chicken soup, followed by kleftico, followed by baclava.

Many claim to do kleftico, but if it is not cooked in the traditional way, slow-cooked in a  clay oven, then it is not kleftico.

At Nicolas Tavern, kleftico is slow-cooked in a clay oven.

live music

live music

Nicolas, staff and guests

Nicolas, staff and guests

A 40th anniversary wedding party, around 60 guests. Live music until half-past midnight, followed by DJ until the early hours of the morning.


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