Posts for the 'Other British restaurants' Category


Hudson’s – Cedar Court Grand Hotel, York

Note: Words and pictures by Foodpornnation and myself.

Cedar Court Grand - Hudson's

Hudson’s

Located within the Cedar Court Hotel & Spa, Hudson’s offers up a no-nonsense approach to bistro dining, a dining experience that is relaxed and cosy but with a touch of elegance. The Hudson’s menu serves up a contrast of interesting tit bits versus the more traditional bistro favourites. You can take the unconventional vegetarian fish & chips (£15.95), the beetroot Carpaccio (£15.95) or perhaps a more comforting grilled steak.

To get to Hudson’s you first walk through the plush warm interiors of the Cedar Court Hotel & Spa before being welcomed into the warmth of the luscious Hudson’s dining room. It was elegant and plush and oozed a relaxed ambience. Hudson’s might be bistro dining – but smartly done with a fine dining feel.

The Chef’s special spare ribs (£7.50) came with it’s own warning sign. We were warned before ordering, not once, but twice by our waiter, that these were extremely hot. And even though they were hot, a brush of the accompanying maple syrup provided some sweet relief. These got our pick because they were a delectable, fall off the bone, lick the bone clean in one fell swoop type of eating.

Hudson's Cedar Court Grand - Spicy ribs

Spicy ribs

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Royal Ascot 2014 – Restaurant & Catering Preview

Royal Ascot 2014 will span the dates of 17 and 21 June, and as with every year, Royal Ascot 2014 promises to be something special. Last weekend I had the good fortune of being invited to a press event at Ascot Racecourse to experience a spectacular tasting menu designed to provide an insight into the cuisine that will be served throughout these five magical days.

Ascot Racecourse offers a number of fine dining options and this year two Michelin starred chefs will be cooking at Royal Ascot to present their Michelin starred food. Atul Kochhar from the one-Michelin starred Benares will be on hand to serve his modern take on Indian cooking at the Panoramic Restaurant, which as the name suggests offers unrivalled ‘panoramic’ views of the racecourse. Also cooking is the two-Michelin starred Tom Kerridge from The Hand and Flowers who will treat guests to his smart British classics in the soon to be opened On Five Restaurant overlooking the final furlong. But the premier dining venue at Royal Ascot is without doubt The Parade Ring Restaurant. Located adjacent to the Royal Box, it is here that Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal party comes to dine. Guests who savour the food at The Parade Ring Restaurant are presented with canapés on arrival followed by a five course à la carte menu and a full afternoon tea from Ascot’s Executive Chef Steve Golding.

Royal Ascot 2014 - Salmon

Salmon

Our day at The Panoramic Restaurant started with some gorgeous canapés from Rhubarb, the caterers which will oversee the private box hospitality packages during the five days of Royal Ascot. Here we were treated to salmon mi cuit – beautifully fatty salmon with a yuzu dressing, some rich and decadent foie gras rocher – foie gras parfait coated with hazelnuts, and some fresh and sunny Cornish crab. Also delicious were the garden pea panncotta with its beautifully creamy texture and a superbly tasty duck with mooli. To wash down these delicious treats was a glass (or two or three) of Bollinger champagne.

Royal Ascot 2014 - Foie gras rocher

Foie gras rocher

Royal Ascot 2014 - Pea pannacotta

Pea pannacotta

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Vineyard at the Stockcross

The Vineyard at Stockcross

The Vineyard at Stockcross

My first visit to The Vineyard at Stockcross in Newbury was a few years ago when I stumbled across a last minute special offer of a weekend night’s stay in one of their delightful Atrium suites for £120, a room that normally costs several hundred pounds. I was well happy, not just because of this bargain rate, but also because this 5-star hotel was truly a delight. It has a luxury Californian vineyard feel to it, boosted by the spa facilities that make this a great weekend escape. We also had an amazing meal, cooked by John Campbell who was the Head Chef at the time and helped The Vineyard to two Michelin-stars. As part of his tasting menu I had this salad which long lives in my memory as one of ‘the’ best salads I have ever tasted.

John left in 2010, and chef Daniel Galmiche, who was previously at the famous Cliveden and Michelin-starred L’Ortolan in Berkshire, has since replaced him. Daniel continues to hold a one Michelin-star at The Vineyard and occasionally features on Saturday Morning Kitchen.

Other changes since my last visit include the installation of a spectacular glass-panelled cellar in the lobby that showcases some of the 30,000 wines housed at The Vineyard, some of which are Californian award winners. Custodian of the cellar is the charming Head Sommelier Yohann Jousselin who was The Academy of Food and Wine Service’s (AFWS) 2011 UK Sommelier of the Year.

The cellar at the Vineyard at Stockcross

The cellar at the Vineyard at Stockcross

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Cau Restaurant

Cau Restaurant is a new chain of Argentinean steakhouses by the people behind Gaucho. Cau (cleverly pronounced as ‘cow’) stands for Carne Argentina Única. The restaurant targets a more regional market, and the first UK branch is in Guildford which I visited. There is also another branch in Amsterdam.

The concept behind the Cau restaurant brand is far quirkier and more casual than Gaucho. This is evident in the restaurant’s design with the grass images on the ceilings and the sky blue walls. Waiters and waitresses wear ‘cauboy’ and ‘caugirl’ T-shirts which I thought was particularly fun. This is very much a family type restaurant and the amicable and pleasant service was testimony to this.

We started with a sweet potato salad with mixed greens and chorizo (£4.95) and a crab salad with baby gem lettuce (£6.50). Both salads lacked for dressing and both contained avocado which hadn’t ripened properly. There was far too much lettuce in the latter, and I would have also preferred more crab.

Sweet potato salad

Sweet potato salad

Crab salad

Crab salad

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The Sportsman

Baked oyster with gooseberry granite

Baked oyster with gooseberry granite

I found it mildly amusing to read what had been written on the ‘location tab’ of The Sportsman’s website, a one Michelin starred gastropub situated in Kent. It goes something like this:

“A common theme in many write-ups and reviews is that The Sportsman is remote, bleak and a bit of a dump. Equally, many regulars find this point of view shocking as they love to arrive early, go for a walk on the beach and then have lunch or dinner.”

I suppose the view of the former group was not easily dispelled for me, seeing as the day of our visit was a rainy, bleak day in June. Who would have believed it was summer?! And the long journey from London (a tube ride to Victoria Station, a 1½ hour train ride to Faversham, and taxi from Faversham to The Sportsman) further confirmed the assertion of remoteness.

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The French Horn: A weekend of indulgence (part 2):

The morning after the night before, I awoke afresh after having slept off the previous night’s dinner decadence at La Famiglia with a renewed sense of anticipation for the lunch to come. Still more sleep couldn’t hurt, and the hour ride to our destination with designated driver in tow would allow me some catch-up snooze time before our feast. As mentioned in Part 1, Sunday lunch was at The French Horn, a classic French restaurant in Sonning, famed far and wide for their spit-roast duck.

Duck roasted over a spit in the drawing room

Duck roasted over a spit in the drawing room

The restaurant has the look of a classic French manor. French period furnishings dot the drawing room where, as we entered, four ducks were being roasted on a rotisserie in plain view at the fireplace. With aperitifs to start, we perched ourselves by the fireplace. Not only was it warming for the soul on this damp autumn afternoon, it was also a mouth-watering way to pre-empt our lunch, watching the act of cooking before the actual act of eating itself. With the ducks glistening as they turned on the rotisserie, it was a truly a feast for the eyes.

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