Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Mayfair Bar, The Mayfair Hotel, London

We stayed at The Mayfair hotel recently as our friends were getting married at The Royal Institute and it was conveniently located. We got there in time to eat at the restaurant but instead we were directed to their bar for food. We ordered the pigeon which came with bacon, a potato rosti and a onion dressing. Ian requested no onion for his. The presentation of the food wasn't bad although Ian's looked a bit pants without the dressing. The bacon wasn't bad, the rosti tasted ok but clearly the potato had been left to oxidise after grating and therefore was grey and didn't look very appetising. The pigeon however was extremely over cooked. Totally overpriced too.

Because of this, we weren't expecting much from the main, we'd both ordered the five spice duck, it was well cooked, served with chinesey veg (which was a bit too salty but otherwise nice) and sweet potato. The sweet potato was cooked nicely, the only thing I'd say is that we would have appreciated a bit more.

We didn't bother with dessert, instead buying cookies from the sainsburys across the road.

The bar definitely wasn't indicative of a five star hotel and later on we discovered that the hotel wasn't all that five star either, but the less I say about that, the better!

The Cromwell Arms, Romsey

Yesterday we ventured into Romsey for the first time in search of food together. I'd been here before for a hen night meal but obviously Ian not being a hen meant he missed out! Ian wasn't sure of the menu, he struggled to pick a starter he wanted but that's probably because he's so fussy!

I've been craving mussels for some time and thankfully this a place offered them. Ian went for tempura squid. My mussels were good, although strangely lemony but in a good way. The only thing I'd say would be there should have been more of them! Ian's squid consisted of some rings and some whole looking squid, the batter was nice and crispy but the squid firm not chewy.

For mains Ian ordered the lamb rump with pea purée, it was juicy and tasty and I really liked the pea purée. I ordered the pork belly but substituted the mustard mash for dauphinoise potatoes. It came with caramelised shallots and the fat on the pork belly hadn't been made into crackling as I'd been expecting, but was very tasty and meant the meat was succulent. The dauphinoise potato had something in it that I wasn't overly keen on, but it was still good. Ian ordered his usual side of chips but they were pretty disappointing although that didn't stop me using them to wipe up the pea purée from Ian's plate!

We did order dessert, I went for the eton mess, Ian for the baked White chocolate cheesecake with honeycomb ice cream. The eton mess was huge and I barely managed half but it was scrummy, lovely chewy meringue, mmmm! Ian didn't like the biscuit base of his cheesecake, and the small bit I had of the topping didn't taste much like White chocolate but he polished it off and the happily finished mine!

All in all, a pretty successful dinner!

Prezzo, Eastleigh

We ended up here by accident, we were actually hoping for the nice little Italian place on the high street, but it was shut for some reason. We had been meaning to try Prezzo since it opened recently in the nearby cinema complex though, so it wasn't a problem. The menu wasn't overly impressive, and the specials didn't seem all that special! Ian had chicken wings to start which were good, and a decent serving size. I had goats cheese, red onion and tomato on a foccacio bread, which I was expecting to be warmer than it was but the taste was still good, although as the bread was quite thick and the topping minimal, it was a little dry.

For mains, I chose one of the specials, lobster and crab tortelli, with a creamy saffron sauce. It wad quite spicy which I wasn't expecting, and the tortelli could have been stuffed with anything as the sauce totally overpowered it. Ian ordered the calzone di mare, but I think claiming it's of the sea when there are only two types of seafood in is a bit much. The bit I tried wasn't very good, and Ian said it was only ok, plus the side salad looked like it had seen better days! The side order of chips were very nice though, I'd recommend those!

We didn't order dessert as we were expecting a delivery of cake from a friend, so we paid and left. I'd probably go back if I was feeling too lazy to cook and too lazy to drive somewhere but it's not making it onto my list of favourites.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Guzel, Eastleigh

This review is pretty late - I don't even remember when we first went here.  But since that time, we've been back three more times! Ian's quite taken with it, not just because it's less than five minutes walk from our house, but also because it's easy to have lots of variety, which we both love.  Generally, we'll order about 7-10 different dishes when we go, and as they're small, it's not as bad as it sounds (although we've taken friends and they've not managed that many dishes so if you're going, I'd go for fewer and then order again if you have room).  Their dishes include baked brie (melted cheese, you can't go wrong!), chilli prawns (we tend to order two lots of these as they're so nice), calamari, lamb shish, chicken shish (both the shishes come highly recommended - by us!).  One dish that we didn't try on the first visit was melon and feta, but it's surprisingly good - we've even tried to recreate it at home, it's refreshing so we save it for the end of the meal.  For those of you who don't fancy variety, they do "mains" as well as meze, so you can have a meze dish as a starter and then a main, but we just prefer to do it the other way.  The only thing I would mention, is that they don't open on Sunday even though their website says they do and the service is better during the week (when it's just the owners staffing the restaurant). 

Monday, 28 June 2010


It's swap time again, this time I've decided to try out Molly Chicken's panda.  I read in the profile of my swap partner that she liked pandas, so hopefully she'll be happy with my attempt at making one.  The tutorial was nice and easy to follow, and I finished the panda in one afternoon.  I really need to work on my stitching so that it's more uniform and neater. 

Apologetic Kitten

I didn't forget that it was my Aunts birthday, I knew it was coming... but then I totally lost track of what day it was, and completely missed it.  Bum.  So, to make up for it, I made up a birthday parcel for her.  I included a card, some marzipan bars, an apologetic letter, a gift card, and then something homemade.  My Aunt is a fan of cats (although she doesn't have any these days), so I decided to try my hand at a stuffed cat. I began making something far too big, and considering I was hoping to post this parcel off pretty quickly so as not to get into too much more trouble, I decided to scale it back a bit and started again.  The result is about three inches high, and the lessons learned were to think more about how it will stand up from the start (as the poor thing just topples over).  I think the package made up for the lateness, so all is good for another year.