Sunday, 31 August 2014

Grandy Nook - Hawkshead

On our first afternoon in The Lakes we had a couple of hours to kill before we could pick up our keys for the cottage. So we wandered around Hawkshead in search for lunch, what we came across was cafes and pubs. A pub, we thought, would be too much of a heavy lunch so we set about looking in the cafes. Hawkshead is pretty small and it wasn't long until we had walked around all the cafes and still hadn't chosen one. Fed up we chose the nearest to where we needed to pick up our keys from.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Brew Lab - Edinburgh

I'm not going to write a huge amount in this post as I don't feel educated enough in coffee to do so. In fact I only started drinking coffee 6 months ago. I'm still playing it safe with Mochas too.

Whilst in Edinburgh I noticed that another food blogger happened to be visiting Edinburgh too. Richard who writes Them Apples posted a picture on Instagram of a coffee place I had walked past the day before. Interested I asked him if it was a place he would recommend.

So on our final day in Edinburgh a very tired D and me decided to pay a visit.

Friday, 29 August 2014

The Bon Vivant - Edinburgh

Down the side street out of the hubbub of Princes Street and Hanover Street (slightly less hubbuby) on Thistle Street you'll find Bon Vivant, however it may be easy to walk past this dark doorwayed place.

I have now learnt that Bon Vivant have a number of different places dotted around Edinburgh, clearly a popular place. I like the sound of their concept which is to create an informal dining scene like that you find on the continent with great food and great drink.

A considerable amount of the menu is served in small portions and this seems to be the most popular choice.

We'd only popped in for something light so this was perfect for us. We ordered a pot of tea each (as it's bloody freezing in Scotland and needed to warm our cockles) and took a look over the menu.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Southern Cross Cafe - Edinburgh

I'm going to start off by saying - don't visit this place.

Just off the Royal Mile on a curved road up a slopping hill lies Southern Cross Cafe, or as it's now abbreviated to 'SX Cafe'. 

It's near the Royal Mile, it gets the footfall, it doesn't really need to put the effort in to make people return as it will get more than enough one time visitors to keep it going. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Dogs - Hanover Street, Edinburgh

Note to readers: this post may contain expletives. (It does).

The Dogs on Hanover Street in Edinburgh was recommended many times over on twitter when I asked where I should go when visiting for the first time. With so many notifications coming through recommending them it would be rude not to book a visit.

We booked a table early (6pm) Sunday evening knowing that we had an evening full of shows to see at The Fringe Festival. There was no problem booking a table even during this busy period. I was surprised as I left it quite late too, two weeks prior to our visit.

White Hart Inn - Grassmarket, Edinburgh

In the search for ale, none of this crappy lager stuff, we accidentally stumbled in to the oldest pub in Edinburgh. An absolute fluke! We walked in and out of a few pubs that didn't have pulled cask ale, walked in to this one saw that it had ale, a pub food bites menu and some tables (albeit outside) so parked our bottoms and pints (once pulled and paid for) outside. It was once we were sat outside that we noticed the sign which said it was the oldest pub in Edinburgh. Bingo.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Mother India Cafe - Edinburgh

Mother India Cafe in Edinburgh, despite the name, is a restaurant that serves Indian food in tapas portions. A brilliant idea. It enables you try many more dishes than you would at your standard Indian restaurant and sharing food is always a great way to try more things too. Win win. I know most people would be eager to try Scottish fare when visiting Edinburgh but we had already booked somewhere Scottish and were fearful of falling in to the tourist traps and eating substantial run-of-the-mill stereotyped food the whole time we were there.

A quick look through some Scottish based blogs and urbanspooon and we came across Mother India Cafe. There were some great reviews and having been pining for a decent curry for some time we gave them a call.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Blackhouse Revisited - Leeds

It has been almost a year since my last post about Blackhouse. I found myself there again a couple of weeks ago, this time as a member of a large group (11) celebrating a birthday. We were informed that as we were a large booking we would have to order from one of the set menus, no further explanation but two menus were presented to us of £35 and £40 per person. We took a vote and the £40 menu won. Curious I decided to compare the set menu against the main menu and how much each individual item on the set menu cost on the main menu (ie if you weren't in a large group)... I know I know I was being anal but I like to think I'm getting my monies worth when I'm eating out.

The conclusion was that if each person ordered the most expensive thing for each dish on the set menu (using the main menu for the prices) then this would equate to £41 per person.  A massive saving of £1 per person. If you substituted one dish for anything other the price would be lower than we were being charged for the set menu. So I began to think maybe the set menu includes their service charge... Wrong. When we got to the restaurant it was also noted on the menus before us (the set one) that there would be a service charge added too... With such a large group already over paying for the food the service charge would be fairly substantial.

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel - North Yorkshire

Dipping in to the North York Moors and close to Scarborough you will find Ox Pasture Hall Hotel. A grand old (former) farmhouse now converted in to a hotel using it's back-houses and barns to a AA 4 star standard. The main house now contains The Courtyard restaurant which presents fine dining and gastro pub experiences, something for everybody.

I was lucky enough to be invited to review the hotel (bear with me I've only done one before) and the afternoon tea (more than experienced), dinner (even more experienced) and breakfast (more than happy to lend a hand).
Check in at 2pm we managed to roll up exactly on time despite the frustrations of road closures due to Leeds fest and only one minor error from the sat nav taking us down the wrong lane. The journey into the national park drove us down country lanes and past vast forest land. We pulled up smiling.