Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Black Boy, Swansea

Returning from our climbing trip (get me!) we wanted a little quick sustenance (and to watch the footie).

We pulled into the Black Boy car park and were nearly put off by the fact you had to pay for parking – but no fear if you buy at the bar and take your ticket stub it gets refunded.

A plentiful lunch followed. I had a tuna mayo baguette which was huge and definitely hit the spot. As we’d missed out on ice creams the previous day we also had delicious puddings. The sticky toffee pudding ice cream is worth the trip alone.

The boys had the World Cup on the telly to watch and so were happy! The bar and waiting staff were all really smiley and friendly, and we had a good lunch.

It’s a local pub with all sorts of people in there, from young lads playing on the quiz machine to OAPs out for Sunday lunch. Certainly if their dinners were like ours no-one went home hungry!

The rating:

Pub grub in a clean pub, really friendly and helpful waiting staff.

The summary:

Food = Pub food, including burgers, grills and sandwiches
Price = Cheap (mains under £10)
Atmosphere = World cup on the telly, pub with games going on (such as darts and quiz machine) nice bustle


The Black Boy

444 Gower Road
West Glamorgan

 01792 299469

Oxwich Bay Hotel, Oxwich, Gower, Wales

I am on holiday! We've come to the Gower for the magnificent climbing opportunities.

I am a novice with my two trusty pals. Having booked into our lovely campsite we set off for food....

This is what we found. It's a busy hotel just over a narrow road from the beach. There's a wedding party on in the enormous (but tucked away) marquee. The inside restaurant looked well laid out and decorated well but we chose to eat in the gardens, as it was a beautiful summer evening.

The food choices were generally British and European classics. The boys had burgers (one lamb, one beef) and I had fish and chips. The food arrived in a decent time, seemingly not interrupted by catering for the party. The batter on the fish was beautifully cooked.

According to the signs on the way out they do rooms at reasonable rates to combine with the dinners, and I would most definitely return.

We didn't really experience much of the hotel itself sitting in the gardens, but the view over the bay (endless sand, sea and sunset) was stunning.

The rating:

Nicely done pub food in a beachside setting.

The summary:

Food = British and European classics (bangers, fish pie, steak, burgers etc)
Price = Mid range (mains between £10-£15)
Atmosphere = Busy, seaside patio and gardens (restaurant inside looked classy)


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Cock and Hoop @ the Lace Market Hotel, Nottingham

Wednesday has, for me, rolled around very quickly this week! Today's dinner-date venue was the Cock and Hoop. It's a miserable evening for June, with heavy rain showers and a grey outlook. We didn't want to walk far and wanted a cosy and comfortable setting.

The Cock and Hoop is (according to their website) is in the Michelin pub guide. I didn't know this but I can see why. It's one of those places that you step into and immediately feel comfortable, like you are in your own home. Given that this is a pub attached to the Lace Market Hotel that's no easy feat, so many hotel bars are soulless and awkward places. Not this one, you do actually want to come in and spend a while here.

The bar serves real ale including various guest ales. I am afraid I cannot comment on the quality as I stick to the soft drinks when I am driving, but there is definitely always a good variety which changes regularly.

So, on to the food. It may have become obvious from previous posts but I would like to make a declaration now. I am a pudding person. I therefore did not have a starter but my friend did. The terrine of duck, apparently very tasty. We did also have a debate over what a rillette is, as this was on the menu and was not something either of us had encountered before.

Well, never failing to deliver, the answer is actually on the Cock & Hoop website and is.... So there we are, that's what it is!

Turning now to mains. As it was such an Autumny day I went for sausages, colcannon and onion gravy. My friend went for a beef burger. The Sausage and mash were great, 3 plump and firm sausages lots of creamy mash and a flavourful gravy. Delicious. The burger came with mountains of chips and was good, although a little overdone for his taste - so it's worth specifying if you want your burger slightly pink in the middle. This did not, however, mar the experience too much as the whole thing was promptly consumed.

Pudding was a warm, gooey chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. Beautifully done, being rich, molten chocolate inside a crisp outer layer.

Just a warning for the world cup season, the bar is intending to show world cup games so if you do want a lovely pub dinner as we experienced today make sure you miss the world cup matches for the next few weeks!

The rating:

Nicely done pub food in an intimate and cosy setting.

The summary:

Food = british and european classics (bangers, fish pie, steak, burgers etc)
Price = Mid range (mains between £10-£15)
Atmosphere = Cosy and comfortable


Saturday, 5 June 2010

Five Rivers, West Bridgford

Friday night is curry night! So we took ourselves off into West Bridgford to Five Rivers.

The early evening special operates until 6.30 so, arriving at 7.00 we were too late (but I'd definitely rate the deal).
We had our complementary poppadoms and sauces before a curry each. They were light and crispy, with the only minor drawback that very few curry houses these days do lime pickle which is one of my favourites.

I had a chicken tikka masala (I've not had one in ages and it just called to me!). It was delicately flavoured with just enough warmth to make it interesting!

The restaurant is small and intimate, with friendly staff and a lovely warm glow provided candles on the tables. There is also air conditioning in the summer.

After the poppadums, curry and rice I didn't have any room for dessert, which just shows how good the curry is!

I'd also recommend the Sunday lunch buffets for trying lots of different dishes at a bargain price.

A lovely casual dining experience, one of our favourites, we'll certainly be back.

The rating:

Good casual dining in a relaxed atmosphere and tasty curry flavours.

The summary:

Food = a variety of curries and fusion dishes
Price = Mid range (mains between £10-£15)
Atmosphere = Calm and intimate. Always great music in the background.


Five Rivers Restaurant
40 Gordon Road
West Bridgford
Nottingham. NG2 5LN
0115 982 6449

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Le Mistral Nottingham

It's Wednesday dinner-date again! A lovely warm and light evening in contrast to last week's dull and rainy one, so we decided to eat al fresco. Le Mistral has a couple of tables outside which were ideal.

Le Mistral is one of my favourite French restaurants in Nottingham my friend and I have our old reliable dishes here (him: moules et frites, me: boeuf bourguignon). They also have a good specials board. I managed to pull myself away from the boeuf to try the special fish dish, trout in a creamed sauce with french beans and potatoes, as it seemed a far more summery dish. My friend went with his usual.

We were not disappointed, the food was lovely. Well cooked fish (cooked, moist and tasty) and plenty of vegetables, a huge dish of moules! The service was prompt and smiley. We really didn't need a pudding after the mains, but had one anyway.

I had a delightfully sticky, and tangy, chilli chocolate cake (served warm with cream). He had the french vanilla cheesecake. All good.

To complete our summer evening we finished off with drinks outside Sinatra's. All in all a lovely summer evening - may this be the first of many.

The rating:
Le Mistral succeeds again, with good quality food, good service and a reasonable price. 

The summary:
Food = unfussy French, unhurried but not slow
Price = Mid range (mains between £8-£14, puddings £5)
Atmosphere = As we were the only ones sitting outside we made our own atmosphere and had a great time!

Monica Podgorska on 0115 941 0401
2-3 Eldon Chambers
Wheeler Gate
Nottingham , NG1 2NS