Sara EmanuelEvery Monday at 6pm
A great music mix, rush hour travel news and the best of what's happening in North Surrey including the Restaurant Review
The Review: 16.11.15: Burgers and BibsIt was a damp November the 5th and fireworks were blasting into the sky. instead of the usual whizz, bang, Oooo and ahhh myself and fellow diner headed to the opening night of Burgers and Bibs at Rift & Co, Sutton.
This is the first confusion to clear up, burgers and bibs is a restaurant franchise, which is opening within Rift & Co bars around the UK. A very clever concept if you ask me. No overheads of opening a new restaurant use what is already available and make it better! They bring in their own chefs to train the staff in the burgers and bibs way and deliver a continuity of food throughout their chain.
The décor as you walk in has that urban bar feeling, wooden tables, metal work lights hanging low from the ceiling and my favorite a disco ball! There is a dance floor which is used at weekends and a club upstairs. There is a nice mix of seating to accommodate all tastes and if feels very relaxed, exactly what you want.
So, first up, the menu. I really liked the way it had been laid out, black and white with full on photos of the food and easy to read descriptions. There is an array of burgers to choose from, the largest being "The dirty monster" a whole head of burger, onion rings, pulled pork, chorizo and much more! Of course at an American style eatery as the name suggests there is also ribs, steak, salads and they do have a veggie option. Though Id probably wouldn't go if avoiding meat were my thing. I opted for something I rarely eat, the "BnB Dirty Dog" a beechwood-smoked frankfurter, crispy bacon, pulled pork and American cheese. Not stopping there it's topped with fried onion ring, BBQ sauce and mustard. The fellow diner went with "The Dirty Bird". Grilled chicken breast topped with chicken tenders, cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato and finished off with a BBQ chicken wing, because there wasn't enough chicken already! I also went for an American chocolate shake. I couldn't wait to tuck in!
I've always been a fan of BBQ and often spend my evenings indulging in watching numerous episodes of diners, drive ins and dives. An American show where the host Guy Fierotti trawls American eateries, many of which do BBQ.. Id love to do a BBQ tour of the US one day. I digress!
First up came the milkshake, I love that it was served in a 50s style metal cup and topped with whipped cream, sadly, this was all I loved about it. Firstly, it wasn't cold, the cup was but the actual milkshake wasn't. it was tepid, Secondly the milkshake which I expected to be like a thick ameriacan shake was more like a bad nesquick, thin with not much flavour, a big disappointment to say the least.
We didn't have to wait long for the food to arrive and I have to say it looked exactly like it did on the menu, amazing. T he Dirty Dog was huge! Even with my appetite I struggled to finish it, I am not Adam Richmond! The dog itself had a great texture and lovely flavour though maybe a tad salty for myself, I could see it appealing to a younger crowd. The topped onion rings where my favorite part, crispy but not greasy. Very nice indeed. My fellow diner was very much enjoying his Dirty Bird, you have to be impressed at the size of the portions too, and no one is going to go hungry here. Sadly I didn't get a look in to try it but I was assured by them it was very tasty, it must have been as it disappeared to so quickly! The fries came in a small silver bucket, we also had a side of mac n cheese. This was very tasty, pasta not over cooked in a nice cheesy sauce. The food itself is served on a tray with branded paper, each table has a selection of condiments to choose from including BBQ sauce, chilli sauce and my favorite the chipotle mayo. W hat of course I forget to mention was you are also given bibs to wear! I sported one myself however fellow diner declined to wear one. All part of the fun as far as I am concerned.
Onto desert. Though both full the desert menu did sound very temping so we opted for a classic, chocolate fudge cake and something new, honeycomb cheesecake. This was white chocolate cheesecake with crushed chocolate, honeycomb pieces on sweet biscuit crumb. Both arrived and both looked very tempting. However, as I bit into my cheesecake I realized that a cardinal sin had been committed, this wasn't a cheesecake, this was in fact a mouse. I have been fooled before in restaurants, claiming you are getting a cheesecake and in fact you are getting some kind of light mousey thing that bears not resemblance to a cheesecake at all, I have to say its one of my pet hates. It also makes me sad that children are growing up thinking this is what cheesecake tastes like, it isn't and it should be called so. Still it was a sweet, chocolaty desert with lovely pieces of hunnycomb, just change the name and I would have been happy. The chocolate fudge cake however was much more of a success, unusually it had a white chocolate buttercream, which worked really well. A nice light sponge and a dollop of lovely creamy ice cream next to it. Very tasty indeed.
At this point we were fit to bursting so had to take our leave. We had enjoyed our visit here and it was time to go out into the world and watch the sky light up.
So, marks out of 10 for Burgers and Bibs, Sutton.
For service, 9. The staff where friendly and attentive, we couldn't ask for more. There was an attention to detail, which was very welcoming.
For food 6.5. My first half score! I had to say I did feel very let down by both the milkshake (lets hope that was opening night nerves) and the faux cheesecake but the dirty bird and dirty dog redeemed the scores.
For ambiance 8. It was a very nice, chilled atmosphere.
In total, a respectable 23.5 out of 30.
For me, burgers and bibs is somewhere to take a family, or for a quick bite after work, it has a great kids menu at reasonable prices.
For more information you can visit their website www.burgersnbibs.com Or to book the Sutton branch we visited call 0202 642 9254.
The Review: 09.11.15: Panshi Hinchley WoodWhat has become a staple on our high street over the past 30 years, this week I am reviewing an Indian restaurant with a twist. An Indo – Bangladeshi restaurant based in Hinchley Wood. Panshi is one of those local places which Iv driven past numerous times over the years but never been in. Finally a chance to see what its like inside.
Myself and fellow diner rocked up around 8pm, we had made a booking it being a Thursday evening, a good restaurant can get busy. When we arrived there was a nice bustle within the restaurant and we were greeted with smiles. Shown to our table, coats taken to hang up, I was already impressed by the friendly service. One thing I do love about Indian restaurants is that they still use linen tablecloths, oh how I miss these. Of course still used in high-end restaurants one does find that these are missing from the chains of today.
The interior décor is very clean, modern, gold and bronze tones mixed with dark woods and mirrored services, it has a very high end yet relaxing feel.
Once settled we were asked about drinks and if we would like any poppadum's to start. Of course yes to both! I have to admit one of my favorite things in an Indian restaurant is the poppadum's. These quickly appeared with an assortment of condiments all very freash tasting.
For mains I had a lamb Balti, which is lamb cooked with diced onions in a medium dry spicy sauce and my fellow diner had the Panshi chicken special, tender pieces of chicken in a spicy tangy sauce. A balti is traditionally a spicy dish cooked in a small two-handled pan known as a Karachi, which in the UK we call a Balti dish. A popular dish in the midlands I had my first Balti in Wolverhampton in my 20s and have loved them ever since. For sides we had garlic nan and bindi bhaji. I always get a bindi bhaji whichever restaurant I go to as they all serve them differently. As a dish it is diced okra (or ladies fingers) pan fried with onions, garlic and a mix of herbs & spices. To accompany our meal we chose a garlic nan and a pilau rice, nan and balti go together like fish and chips as far as I am concerned.
In no time at all the food arrived, the restaurant had a lovely feel and everyone seemed in a jolly mood. I was intrigued to try the special ordered by my fellow diner, I wasn't disappointed. It had a lovely tang to the sauce and was generous on the portion of chicken. I am not sure how to describe the sauce but it was a lovely blend of herbs and spices, not overpowering at all. The balti was delicious, it came piping hot, which I like in its own balti bowl. What I really like was it had a lot of spinach in it as well, and the vegetables where clearly visible. It wasn't overpowering and had a hint of heat rather than grab the nearest drink kind of heat. What I really loved about both the mains was that fact that they were not swimming in grease, which is so often the case at many, an Indian restaurant. Onto the bindi bhaji or ladies fingers. Gorgeous ! Unlike some I had had before they were kept whole which I prefer and you could taste the different spices of cumin and coriander. I would go back to Panshi for the Okra alone.
During our meal one thing that was very evident was the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. So often you see the staff looking miserable, not here, they couldn't do enough to check we were okay and happy with our food.
As usual in an Indian we both were stuffed and had no room for desert.
For service, 10. I could not fault, from the moment we walked in the door to the time we left I felt looked after.
For food 9. I would come back to Panshi for the Bindi Bhaji alone.
For ambiance 8. A relaxing atmosphere with a bit of bustle on the side, perfect for a chilled evening out.
A high score of 27 our of 30!
You can order a number of ways at Panshi who also deliver. Firstly at CurriesOnline.co.uk or of course via telephone on 020 8398 8585. You can find their full menu online at www.thepanshi.co.uk
They can be found at 7 Station Approach? Hinchley Wood?KT10 0SP.
The Review: 11.10.15: Pizza Express WokingAlways a popular choice for a meal out, Pizza Express in Woking town centre has recently undergone a facelift. Located in Goldsworth Road, close to the shopping centre, the restaurant has been totally transformed and features artwork paying tribute to the town's punk revival band, The Jam.
Each Pizza Express restaurant is individually designed – often using well known places, people or historical events from the area as the basis. . A perfect place for a music enthusiast such as myself to dine out.
When I arrived on a Friday evening the place was just starting to fill up, it was larger than I expected and there was a great choice of places to sit including a lovely looking conservatory, I quickly spotted the new Union Jack Wall as I walked in, I really loved it painted onto brick surrounded by album covers. At the other end of the restaurant is the striking bronze mirror which is stenciled with The Jam band members, very cool. There are also framed prints of the bands songs and lyrics dotted around on the walls. Fellow diner and myself chose to sit under the mirror so we could have good view of the whole restaurant. This was also my fellow diners first experience of a Pizza express so I was looking forward to seeing what they thought of the menu.
Onto the food! It would of course have been rude not to go for a classic dough ball starter with garlic butter and we also tried the bruschetta fungi. This consisted of a dough base, smothered in a creamy béchamel sauce with mushrooms with red onions and balsamic syrup. The topping was excellent and full of flavour, I would have like a more traditional toasted bruschetta base however as this one was more like a large flat dough ball. Tasty and quite filling for a starter, like a mini pizza. Next up, the pizzas, I chose a traditional American and my fellow diner what I believe was called a "pardrino" I have been unable to find it on the online menus so maybe it is special to the Woking restaurant. It was a confident mix of toppings including, chicken roasted peppers, tomatoes and fresh pesto sauce. For our sides we had a Cesar salad and polenta chips. The American had a lovely crisp base, was full of flavour and had a generous smattering of small pieces of pepperoni, the pardrino as I will call it for me had too many flavours going on but my fellow diner loved it! They were especially keen on the pesto sauce with the chicken and there was no denying that it was well cooked with a generous portion of toppings. The pizzas were also huge! One could feed two people with some sides, easily. So, its no surprise at this point we thought the sides may have been a mistake ( eyes bigger than stomach kinda scenario) however, the polenta chips were in fact a complete revelation to me! Italian polenta chips with rosemary, oven-baked and finished with Gran Milano cheese, served with a honey & mustard dressing dip. I could literally have a plate of these on their own, crisp, full of flavour, an absolute delight. I had to fight off fellow diner for the last one! The caesar salad was sadly not to my liking, fresh leaves which were great and nice to see whole anchovies, however the dressing was not a caesar dressing just a creamy vinegary sauce with no particular flavour, not one I would order again. The polenta chips more than made up for it though.
Desert… This was hard as at this point we were both suitably stuffed. When in Rome however… Pizza express has all the classics and we opted for two, tiramisu and a chocolate fudge cake. I must say though the menu has been more than updated in all areas from the starters to the deserts and there were many to try. Next time I will definitely try the Salted Caramel Profiteroles or the Bombolini, Warm Italian-style miniature doughnuts filled with strawberry jam, served with creamy vanilla gelato and finished with icing sugar and fresh mint. Maybe we should have done a doggy bag just for desert?!
I must mention that there is now a range of gluten-free choices from risotto to pizza to brownie and even an award winning Pilsner beer, all gluten-free. What is great to know is that they have worked closely with Coeliac UK to make sure they obtain gluten-free accreditation for all new dishes and have introduced new kitchen processes and even gluten-free flour in the kitchens.
Back to the desert. It was the first time my fellow diner had had tiramisu (I must let him out more). He loved it, very creamy, a lovely twang of the smooth mascarpone cream though we both agreed it could have done with a bit more a coffee hit. Definitely ones for the sweet toothed amongst you. The same with the fudge cake, the icing was very Moorish, though the cake could have benefited from being warmed just to bring out the flavour of the bake. The accompanying ice cream had a lovely vanilla flavour to it.
So, marks out of 10 for pizza express, Woking.
For service, 9. The staff where friendly and attentive, the restaurant was full to the rafters by the time we left and they did a very good job of keeping everyone happy.
For food 8. The highlight of the meal for me had to be the polenta chips, I will definitely be ordering these again.
For ambiance 9. The newly decorated restaurant had a lovely buzz around it. The new areas with the union jack bulls-eye with low slung lighting and brick walls make for a relaxed, contemporary interior and one cant leave out the stunning stenciled mirror.
In total, a great score of 26 out of a possible 30.
If you would like to visit and I highly recommend you do, For more information you can head over to their website... www.pizzaexpress.com
65 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6LJ. Tel : 01483 750 310
The Review: 17.08.15: YoZenLast week I was lucky enough to get invited to a new store opening in Woking town centre, YoZen. Sounding slightly like the name of a type of yoga practice it is in fact all about a healthy lifestyle, this time its organic frozen yogurt. It had been a while since I had been to Woking but the store was not hard to find. It stands out as you walk out of the train station like a psychedelic rave, you just know you going into something fun when neon signs are involved! As I walked in, the floor is actually astro turf so you feel like you are walking on grass, my immediate thoughts as I looked at the brightly painted walls and clouds, yes clouds hanging from the ceiling was that I was walking into an Alice in Wonderland novel. Turns out, this was the look they were going for. The interior makes you smile as soon as you sit down, no doubt aimed at families with children you cant help but be happy in there, especially with the lively music playing in the background.
YoZen is the flagship store for its owner, Kash, who also puts his names to Creams cafe, the ice-cream parlour many are already familiar with in Surrey. I was lucky enough to sit down with Kash to find out what gave him the idea to open a frozen yogurt store in Woking. Haling from the Woking area himself we chatted about how he was looking to bring a healthier option to the market, YoZen is fat free and a lower calorie choice than traditional ice cream.
The concept is simple and one which has been prevalent in other areas of the world for some years, I remember working at a frozen yogurt place myself in Canada nearly 20years ago, but that's a story for a another time! YoZen offers a choice of flavours, natural, strawberry, mango, chocolate and coconut. You can either have these on its own or choose from a large range of toppings to go with. What's great about this choice is you can either go for more healthy toppings such as blueberries or pomegranate or indulge a little bit more with some cookie dough or smarties. The choice is yours.
Kash discussed how they would look at changing the yogurt flavours depending on customer demand, coconut is "the" trendy thing right now, in everything from hair care to cooking oil. Being able to change these flavours I thought was a great idea. Who knows what will be the next big thing.
What first struck me when trying the yogurt was how fresh it tasted, it also wasn't overly sweet. Out of all the flavours my favorite was actually the natural, though I liked the chocolate and strawberry I found it to have a slight after taste, maybe a little sweet for me, so would suit young children perfectly, whereas the natural, coconut and mango seemed to melt away on the palette. They were all also very cooling to eat. I also felt the natural was the most versatile of the flavours, add some fruit and you have a healthy breakfast, add some chocolate pieces and you have a healthier style treat! Head over to the Brooklands website and you will be able to see photographs of the different combinations on offer. I was unable to try the sweet toppings but you can see a shot of them in my photographs, they all looked very tasty.
As well as the frozen yogurt they also offer a drinks menu. Using nespresso coffee a range of drinks from cappuccino to mochas can be brought as well as hot chocolate and of course tea. One drink many people would not have tried is a flaooda, a cold frozen yogurt drink popular in India. As a lassie fan I am sure this is something I would like to try next time I am in.
Really what we have here is guilt free deserts, what we all really want. I love the idea of going out for desert, a trend which has yet to take off in the UK but one YoZen is defiantly championing.
So, for the final scores for YoZen. As an opening evening I can't really score for service but out of 10 I would give the food an 8 and the ambiance a 10, you cant help but smile sitting amongst the green grass and clouds. I can see this as a great place for children's parties for sure.
The, would I go again test? Yes, for sure. I hope to see more YoZen popping up around Surrey
If you fancy going for a taste yourself, you can find YoZen at Principal House, Chertsey Rd, Woking, Surrey GU21 5AB. For more information you can go to YoZenuk.com.
As usual a podcast and the full review and photographs will be posted on the Brooklands website over the next week.
The Review: 18.05.15: The Cheeky PeaI was told to go check out The Cheeky pea by a friend of mine, we were discussing hummus as you on a Friday night and had mentioned I was heading to Kingston to find a new place to review. Go the Cheeky pea she said, hummus and falafel! And so I went …
Its quite hidden away in the centre of Kingston, the fact it's been there for two years and iv never noticed it, shows it's in hiding. Cheeky indeed! My first impression as I walked in was it was very light and airy, a simple rustic almost interior with wooden tables and bright citrus colours in the accents.
On arrival I was greeted by the friendly counter staff that explained the menu to me as I had never been in. Of course it is all about chickpeas here being that that is the base for both hummus and falafel dishes. My main choice was what to have on top. There are a number of options available including hot mushrooms, guacamole, chicken and Moroccan meatballs. I decided to go for something warming and went with the meatballs. My bowl of hummus and meatballs was served with two pieces of pitta bread and a side salad of my making. I was impressed that I had a choice of what to put in my side salad and all the options looked freshly made.
I loved the presentation of the dish, the bowl of hummus and meatballs was place in a wooden basket with the pitta underneath. I was also asked if I would like it dressed in the traditional way with olive oil and paprika, a yes of course!
The hummus itself was smooth as silk and very creamy. The meatballs in a tomato sauce complemented it well and it felt like you where having a filling meal rather than a snack as many people see hummus. Personally I like to eat this kind of dish in the traditional way, scooping up mouthfuls on the pitta bread using my hands but cutlery is available should you so wish. Each mouthful was delicious, I wondered how they got the hummus so smooth. It's a far cry from the processed little pots you buy in your local supermarket, the two definitely are not related. The salad bowl I had filled with carrots, olives, cucumber and a lovely tabouleh in which you could taste the fresh herbs. To round it all off I had a fresh mint tea, once again, no bags here, a traditional mint tea infused with mint leaves.
So, the final scores for The Cheeky Pea. Out of 10 I would give service a 9, the staff where super helpful. For food a 9, the best hummus in town for sure and for ambiance a 7. The only changes Id make to the interior would be to get rid of the cartoon chickpeas on the walls and replace them with some modern framed photographs of the food.
The, would I go again test? Yes, absolutely, I can see this being my new local haunt when I am out shopping in Kingston. I was quite surprised how for a lunchtime it wasn't busier, Iv been too similar places in London before where queaues are out the door. I can only assume people do not know its here as it is tucked away, so I urge the Cheeky pea to get out and market itself, it's a hidden gem in Kingston for sure. Two minutes away from the Marks and Spencer where people are buying lunch everyday, corner these people with samples and I am sure you will have many many converts.
If you fancy a visit, it is located in Eden Walk Shopping centre, virtually opposite H&M and Claire's accessories and a stones throw from the back end of M&S for those who know Kingston.
The Review: 20.04.15: L'Affamato(click here to listen to the review)
A friend of mine suggested we try a place in East Molesey this week called L'Affamato, she had been here before and recommended the pizza! So, I thought lets give it a go… Brunch was calling…
Located on the Walton Road in East Molesey L'Affamato is an Italian café, L'Affamato meaning "hungry".
Walking in it was smaller than I expected from looking at the outside but we quickly found a seat. Inside I found quite a plain décor with a deli counter at one end. Menu boards on the wall outlined what was available.
Someone quickly came over to take our drinks order. I went for a cappuccino and my fellow diner went for an iced tea. Though we had come for food there were no menus on the table, we were also not offered a menu, we wondered had we come to early for food? It was only 11am. I thought they must serve food being a café so I went to the counter, I was right, and was given a menu forthwith! Odd though that we had not been offered one when drinks orders were taken.
We were given two menus, the breakfast menu and the main menu. Both were in need of replacement, peeling plastic is not an attractive quality when deciding upon food and also makes it harder to read the menu. The breakfast menu was one of the strangest I have ever seen, it was badly laid out and rather confusing, I have never seen a menu offering a fried egg with various sides… such as baked beans or bacon. It seemed a lazy way to do a menu. How hard would it be to have number 1. Eggs, beans and bacon. 2. Eggs, beans and mushrooms and then the prices. Moving on… The main menu had the aforementioned pizza my fellow diner was wanting to try and many interesting looking variations such as those including smoked salmon and dill and ricotta and bacon, however knowing how large they are she was just after a smaller portion so decided upon the child's pizza.. This is where the problems began.
The drinks arrived, after what I thought was too long a time and we ordered our food. I went for the scrambled eggs on toast, (a choice of bread was given) and smoked salmon from the breakfast menu, my fellow diner the children's pizza. At his point she was informed that adults could not order the children's portions, she asked if a smaller size was available, no was the response. Being that this is a café restaurant we both agreed that starter sizes should be available, not just one size pizza. Sitting next to us was a very kind gentleman who spoke and I assume was Italian. He asked the waiter for us if they could do it on this occasion, still a no, by what seemed to be a regular at the joint. It was suggested to order the main pizza and take the leftovers home, not something my fellow diner wanted to do. We both felt it was odd that they would rather she order nothing than order something, sadly, this is what happened. Not very customer friendly and also bad for sales. The menu presents itself by stating rather than starter/mains sizes it says kid portion/adult portion, isn't that the same thing? It seems not and I was dining alone.
What can you say about scrambled eggs on toast? Well to be fair the eggs where nicely cooked and a decent side of smoked salmon. Two slices of brown toast, though I had to ask for butter. It was nice, nothing to write home about. The rest of the menu does cover the usual café staples of Paninis and sandwiches. Very much based around the Italian theme, for example the Melanzane sandwich has aubergine, basil, tomato and fontina cheese or the Chorizo and pesto has chorizo and pesto! They also have salads, pastas and of course a variety of pizzas!
To be honest, this place and its menus confuse me, it neither comes across as a café or a restaurant. Reading some of the reviews online it seems they are also open in the evening but do not have an alcohol license. However as they have no website and a very out of date facebook page it is hard to know.
So, onto the final scores…
Out of 10? , service 3 The drinks sadly took too long, we weren't offered food menus and we were unable to order a small portion for an adult. Food, based on what I had a 7, and ambiance 7! It's a nice little place, clearly very local. A grand total of 17 out of 30.
Would I go back? Id be tempted to go try a pizza, it is meant to be Italian run after all, but am definitely put off by the lack of service
Address: 43 Walton Road, East Molesey KT8 0DH
Phone: 020 8979 5425
No website, thought you can find reviews on trip advisor
The Review: 13.04.15: Hello Sushi(click here to listen to the review)
Like many people over the past 10years my love of sushi has steadily grown. With the increase in its popularity has come an increase in restaurants chains serving sushi such as the popular YO! SUSHI and WASABI. Though YO SUSHI has spread to towns outside London sadly Wasabi has yet to appear in Surrey. Here lies the dilemma, if you are after a good sushi takeaway locally in Surrey where do you go? The choices for a long time have remained the local supermarkets. Until now. I discovered HELLO SUSHI by chance. It is hidden in a residential road in Hersham so it's only discovered by word of mouth. Not a restaurant, HS is a take away/delivery sushi service.
I decided upon a vegetarian starter for a change with the …
Edamame: Blanched soya beans, served in the pod, flavoured with sea salt Vegetable Gyoza: Five dumplings filled with soya pieces & vegetables
The gyoza can also be had in chicken and prawn.
I was given 7 gyoza, which I thought was very generous. However I enjoyed the taste of the filling I found the pastry parcel it was wrapped in a bit under cooked, so chewy. They did come with a nice dipping sauce though. I have always been a fan of edamame so it hard to go wrong here, steamed to perfection with a dusting of sea salt, you always feel like you have had one of your five a day when you have had edamame.
Onto my mains.
Prawn Tempura Uramaki: Uramaki is a sushi where the filling on the inside is surrounded seaweed, then by rice but with no seaweed wrapped around the outside. So it looks kind of underdressed! Inside was as suggested prawn tempura. It had a lovely flavour and was cooked well. Like all the sushi I had delivered, it came with an accompaniment of wasabi paste (a hot condiment derived from a root), pickled ginger and of course soy sauce. Chopsticks are also included.
Next was Salmon Nigiri. This is shaped rice with a piece of raw salmon on top. As sushi is essentially raw fish in most cases you need to be sure you are getting "sushi grade" fish, so its not something you can make with a fillet of salmon from your local supermarket, maybe fishmonger if you are lucky enough to live near one. The salmon was firm and tasty balanced will with the seasoned sushi rice.
Final dish of the meal was Salmon & Avocado Uramaki. Similar to before but with a centre of salmon, and as expected, avocado! One thing to note is the sushi rice is often warm, as it should be, so don't get put off if this happens. It is freshly made and meant to be eaten straight away, not the next day.
Not only like all takeaways can you ring up and order for pickup, hello sushi do do a delivery service, however I feel the minimum order of £18, where most takeaways are £12-£15 in the area is steep and has made it off putting to order sometimes which is a shame.
So, how would rate out of 10? , service 0/05 ( delivery)! Food 9, you are getting freshly made sushi here. and ambiance 0! A grand total of 14 out of 30.
Address: 283 Hersham Road, Hersham, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey KT12 5PZ
The Review: 16.02.15: The Full Moon, Hersham(click here to listen to the review)
It's Chinese New Year this week, the year of the goat. I thought it fitting therefore that this week I visited a Chinese and chose the Full Moon in Hersham.
Located on the Molesey road, it's been a local on the food scene for some years now. When you enter you are greeted by two large stone dragons and a friendly waiter. My fellow diner and myself decided to opt for a set menu to be able to sample a little of everything. Duck is always a must for me when eating Chinese, so after having a choice between ribs or duck to start we went with the crispy duck. This was to be followed by king prawns in sweet n sour sauce, sizzling beef, chicken with black bean sauce and cashew nuts, mixed vegetables and egg fried rice.
>As soon as we sat down a plate of prawn crackers was placed in front of us on the table and drink orders were taken. The service continued to be speedy and efficient. The drinks arrived soon after ordering and then the duck. What's not to love about crispy duck? It came with the usual suspects of fixings. Pancakes, hoisin sauce, cucumber and spring onion strips. There was a generous portion of duck, which included both the meat and crispy skin.
The table was cleared to be laid with hot plates for the main course. The beef came on a sizzling platter, followed by the rest of the dishes. In terms of food you get exactly what it says on the tin. The king prawns in sweet and sour sauce were succulent with crispy peppers. I was informed that by my fellow diner, the chicken in black bean and a nice chilli kick, I myself tend to steer away from chilli. The beef was tender and the veg well cooked. All in all it was what you would expect from a Chinese restaurant. It was a good meal. Finished off by a couple of fortune cookies. Sadly none of which was telling me I was bout to win the lottery!
The ambiance is relaxing, large round tables, plenty of space and friendly. Your typical Chinese restaurant décor. Its nice to get a table cloth and a real serviette!
So, marks out of 10 for the full Moon.
Service 10, food 8 and ambiance 7.
It's a nice local Chinese but nothing surprising. You get what you expect. A British version of Chinese food, ie the same dishes I have been eating since the 80s. It would be nice to find somewhere that was going to surprise me but I guess I may need to head into Chinatown for that.
What is different is they do have different musical evenings, the next coming up is an Elvis night, now that could be fun! They have also been known to have Abba and Tom Jones tribute acts. On a Sunday they have a buffet special where you can order all you can eat from a large variety of dishes for one set price person.
As an easy takeaway it's a perfect Friday night.
As they say in China, Kung hei fat choi, happy new year!
For more information you can head over to their website.
Tel1: 01932 225531 or Tel2: 01932 267255
The Review: 09.02.15: Boho Weybridge tea room and coffee shop.(click here to listen to the review)
The day I visited Boho café in Weybridge I had spent a hard day starting the spring clean early, exhausting and thirsty work. I decided I needed a treat, and took along my cleaning partner in crime. Looking for somewhere to go I stumbled across Boho online, I wanted a café that did cake, good cake, not mass produced chain shop cake. Boho looked like the spot. Oddly, I had no recollection of the café, its in Queens road Weybridge, I guess I am usually passing through, I was convinced it was a Deli not a café. On arrival the sun was shining and lit up the front, I was amazed, how had I never spotted this place? Painted in cream with large bow windows, you go step inside, it has a Parisian vintage feel. Boho I guess is the theme! I was pleasantly surprised, a good start indeed.
At the counter I decided to order the cream tea, I did ask if they had decaff tea but sadly this was not available, though a selection of fruit teas are. This is I admit one of my bug bares in cafes and restaurants, with a supermarket on every corner now there is no excused to have a box of decaff tea or jar of decaff coffee on standby. I soldiered on. My co-hort ordered an Americano coffee and gingerbread muffin. We decided to perch by the lovely window, sunlight flooding it, it looked inviting. A mix of tables and seating fill this small cozy venue, it has a relaxed, warm atmosphere to it.
Our drinks quickly arrived followed by our food. 2 scones, small pot of jam and a side of clotted cream, lovely. I noticed all hot drinks were being served in an eclectic mix of cups and saucers, adding to the vintage feel of the place. The tea was served in a cute blue teapot, containing a teapig bag. Those of you who know your tea will know that teapig are a trendy brand of choice, and do deliver a nice cup of tea.
So, at first look and bit I could tell the scones where homemade, a great start. That sadly was the highlight of them. Though substantial in size they lacked fruit, the texture was more of a heavy bread and they had a distinct tang of salt. Wondering if it was me I asked my co-hort to have taste, no, it was definitely salt. Someone was a bit heavy handed in the making. Scones need a light touch and these didn't have it. The jam lacked flavor, the clotted cream as as it should be. So far, not the greatest cream tea I have ever had. The gingerbread muffin however was a different matter, moist, tasty and a strong taste of gingerbread, clearly I had chosen wrong.
The service as quick an polite, I asked the waitress serving about the place, apparently it used to be a bakery and indeed there were some old photos on the wall of its previous incarnate. They had kept the windows and tried to keep as many as the original features as possible. You cant not like the interior that is for sure.
Its clear the Boho café thinks about its customers, there is an open covered courtyard area next door named "the garden". It's a kind of indoor, outdoor space where customers can bring dogs, a great idea. Also there was a clear sign up asking customers to make them aware of any food intolerances they may have so they can accommodate if possible, a nice touch I thought.
As far as food goes they also have an all day breakfast brunch menu, specialty sandwiches and a range of salads, jacket potatoes and cakes. Afternoon tea is also available. I have to say another customer had a slice of chocolate cake that look lovely.
So, the would I go again test? Yes, i'd hope the scone incident was just a one off, maybe a bad batch perhaps, everyone deserves a second chance, of course with homemade fair this can happen.
Oh and that Deli I was thinking of? Just a few doors down so I wasn't going totally mad!
Out of 10? , service 9! Food 6 and ambiance 8! A grand total of 23 out of 30.
It has a relaxing atmosphere that welcomes you in, so worth a try.
Address: 45 Queens Road, Weybridge KT13 9UQ
The Review: 02.02.15: Hemingways of Haslemere(click here to listen to the review)
I came across Hemingways as I was in Haslemere for the first time over the weekend. I needed somewhere to stop and take a minute, and refresh my mind. From the off, it certainly has curb appeal. A lovely seated courtyard out front and a large expanse of windows, all of which looked full of people. I forayed in! My first impression was it was bright and welcoming, the ceiling is adorned with large red and orange lampshades, there is a lit up palm tree in the corner which triggered a flashback, Humprey Bogart and Ricks bar from Casablanca.. I think it was the palm tree that did that! The seating is a mix of chairs and long benches, which have an old school/ecclesiastical feel. Very usefull for large parties though. Inside the walls are adorned with shelving selling arts and crafts. You can feel already you are very much in a local venue.
My first stop was actually the ladies toilet, I had been driving for some time. Sadly this was a bit off putting and needs a little TLC, the door lock did not lock so I held my breath! Moving on though I thought it has to be good, its so busy, in such a small town people do vote with their feet.
I was offered an extensive menu, something I wasn't expecting. If you are tea and coffee fan look no further. I have not seen such an array of choice, from a nettle infusion to an affogato, something iv only ever seen in Italian restaurants. A lovely array of smoothies and milkshakes, a nearby younger customer had what looked like a milkshake served in a cute baby milk bottle. For those after something stronger there is also an array of beers, wines and ciders.
So, what to order? Once again a lack of choice was not an issue here. I went with a breakfast classic, apparently a house specialty I was told, bacon, pancakes and maple syrup. Alongside which I decided upon a hot chocolate with whipped cream, yummy.
Service was friendly and quick, there was certainly no lack of staff and no waiting around for food. The hot chocolate arrived quickly and tasted lovely. It had a rich flavor and hit the spot as far as hot chocolates go. The pancakes arrived, though in my head I did have American pancakes they where more like homemade English ones, more crepe style. At least this way I knew they had to be fresh. It also came with a mountain of bacon and small XXX of maple syrup. To which I was offered more should I need it, a generous offer indeed. The bacon was nicely cooked ,not too salty, the two pancakes where warm and soft. You cant really go wrong with this kind of dish, the maple syrup as expected was sweet and perfectly complimented the dish. Added to my hot chocolate I had endured a sugary overload! But not in a bad way.
Had I felt inclined I could have chosen from the many other dishes available including warm salads, an array of breakfast, pannis and toasted sandwiches. Indeed my neighbors had ordered a toasted sandwich which seem to come dripping with melted cheese, very nice it looked too. Also, what is interesting, is that Hemingways is open as a wine bar during the evening where they currently offer a variation of currys and tapas.
What I really like about Hemingways was the atmosphere. Jack Johnson lazily played in the backround, perfect Sunday afternoon music. They are also very much becoming part of the local community, attracting local performers with their open mic night and live music evenings. Lets not forget the free wifi, standard in all cafes nowadays. The community board of upcoming events is a prominent feature as you walk in and here I also noticed some charity information. After chatting to the staff and then the owner Nicki I found out Hemingways is actually a sponsor for a childrens orphanage in Africa. If you like you can donate direct to the charity on your food bill, a great idea I thought. They also sell jewelry made in Africa where 100% of the profit goes back to the orphanage. On a Sunday they also have Srunch Sundays, (scrabble and brunch) as well as Check mate Sundays for the chess lovers. Both great ideas to bring local people together.
It was nearly time to leave but of course I must have some cake! The counter is adorned with many, many types of cake, the carrot is always a must for me so this is the one I tried. Firstly, it was a decent slice of cake, something you don't get in your high street chain coffee shops. It was lightly spiced with moist fruit and carrots inside, you could tell it was freshly baked. The frosting on top was sprinkled with crushed walnuts. All in all a very tasty piece of cake!
So, for the final scores for Hemingways of Haslemere! Out of 10 I would give service an 8, food an 8 and ambiance a 9.
The, would I go again test? Yes, for sure, Id love to sample some more of the cakes and it would be interesting to get an evening viewpoint with some live music playing . Hemingways is the type of place w e need more of in the local community and I am happy to see it is being holey supported by those in Haslemere.
If you fancy a visit, it is easily spoted located on Haslemere high street, you can call 01428 656904 or you can check out their website which is www.hemingwayscoffeeshop.co.uk for more information.
The Review: 19.01.15: Henrys Grill, Esher(click here to listen to the review)
Henrys grill is fairly new in Esher, it opened at the end of 2014 on the high street. As a it has an ethos, which, focuses on 3 key areas, society, the environment and sourcing. This mean where possible, using local suppliers, fair treatment of staff and local community engagement. They make a conscious effort to consider their environment footprint from paper products to energy efficiency. As well as use sustainable food sources and ethical meat and diary suppliers. They also support the local shooting stars children's charity.
Booking a table was easy, I just rung up and they are happy to help. I went in with a fellow diner (FD) about 6.30 on Saturday night and the restaurant was already starting to fill up. The decor is what I would call rustic urban chic. Kinda rustic with lots of wood and steel. A good mix of chairs and bench seating was available. Lots of open space, I was surprised how big the restaurant was. Currently seating 150 it can extend to 180 covers.
We were attended to quickly and drinks orders where out the way. The menu itself is a reminiscent of a pimped up TGI Fridays but more like Clever in Cobham or the Cattle grid in Kingston. A posh tex mex if you will. For starters I had the BBQ baby back ribs and chicken wings, my fellow diner had the wild boar & thyme scotch eggs with mustard mayo.
The ribs where sweet and sticky, with a bit of heat, perfectly cooked soft buttery meat falling off the bone. The chicken wings though on the small side where also delicious, the chicken had a good flavour even without the sauce. I would describe both as moorish and finger licking, I could easily have eaten another portion but of course I had to save room for my main course! It was the first time trying a wild board scotch egg and I was pleasantly surprised, It was well presented with the mustard mayo in small condiment mason style jar. The scotch egg had a rich strong flavour and you could really taste the thyme. The centre of the egg was perfectly runny, not an easy feat to achieve!
And so onto the main course
I had ordered Henrys burger and my fellow diner had the rack of BBQ baby back ribs. My burger came with bacon chilli jam, crispy onion, crispy bacon and chipotle mayo. As I am a bit of a lightweight when I comes to chilli I asked if I could have the bacon chilli jam and chipoltle mayo the side, they were only to happy to accommodate. The burger arrived in a brioche bun with a side order of fries. Great presentation, the fries came in a miniature chip basket, very cute and the sauces in small separate dipping bowls, perfect to dunk the chips in! The bacon chilli jam was lovely, it had a subtle kick with a smokey bacon flavour and slight sweetness. The chipotle mayo was light and creamy with a heat that didn't overpower. The burger itself was well cooked, dense and meaty, full of flavour with a chargrilled finish. The coleslaw, bacon and lettuce sat well inside the buttery brioche bun. My fellow diner had a large portion of the ribs which were the same as my starter, greatly enjoyed and also served with chips and a green salad.
Could I squeeze in desert? Well for the purposes of the review it would be rude not too! I was impressed at range of choices in the desert menu. From the old favourite chocolate fudge cake to the more unusual Lime cake. I settled on a banoffee pie and fellow diner had the apple pie and icecream. The banoffee pie had a good biscuit base and tasted as it should, my only tiny improvement would be to make the cream layer smaller and the toffee layer thicker. It slightly lacked the "toffee" in banoffee but had a good layer of bananas all the way through. The apple pie went down well and fellow diner said they would be happy to order that again.
As the evening went on live music started, this was a nice add to the atmospheric buzz. They look at using local musicians and they have live music every Friday and Saturday evening. The staff were polite and attentive and keen to ensure we where happy with our meal, we did not have to wait long for drinks or between courses.
What it all comes down to is would I go again and would I recommend it to friends, on both counts I would have to say yes! Absolutely. To mark out of 10, I would give 9 for service, 9 for the food and 9 for the ambiance. So a grand final score of 27 out of a possible 30. Not a bad start indeed!
To find out more and look at a more detailed menu head over to www.henrysgrill.co.uk
The Review: 26.01.15: The Archway Café Hersham(click here to listen to the review)
The Archway café in Hersham is one of those hidden gems I didn't really want to tell you about but selfishly keep to myself. It reminds me of a place I used to go as a child with my father, a place which is becoming harder and harder to find as the chains take over the high street. Something that I miss, the great British café! Located next to Hersham train station in by the station bridge archway.
As soon as you walk in you know you are going to get some good food! . The comforting sight of wooden tables, brown and red sauce bottles, a sugar shaker and S&P means you are in real café! Giant chalk boards adorn the walls with old favorites such as ham, egg and chips, a good choice of breakfasts and main meals like Shepherds pie and veg.
Run by Midge and his wife, they have taken the reigns for around 10yrs now. I've often chatted to Midge when I have been in, he is such a friendly happy person and last time we chatted about his love of the classic car. This time he gave me a bit more information about the history of the place, something I never knew and was amazed by.
Those that know Hersham train station will understand when I say it is a rather utilitarian looking building, but it seems there is a reason for that. It was originally built in the late 1930s / early 1940s so that troops could access the railway line during the war. Once you know this, you can see how the architecture fits! The café itself was originally a tea room and newsagents built to service the troops using the station. One of Midges recent customers came in and said he remembers the café being full of GIs during the war! Who knew we had Americans in the area. If anyone else knows of any stories regarding this please do email me in and let me know. I would love to find out myself and of course pass this information onto Midge, or even any old photos if anyone has any.
And so, to the food!.
I had a number such as number 1. Breakfast! Egg, bacon, sausage, beans, tomatoes and 1 slice. It comes with a lovely mug of tea as it should be! The sausage was nice with a hint of spice, the bacon well cooked and tomatoes and beans as you would expect, all well cooked. They are happy to change things to suit, eggs can come anyway you like, I often ask for a poached one instead of fried. On this occasion I decided to treat myself. What I really like is the bread. Not a slice of standard cardboard but a nice slice of a soft crusty bloomer, perfect for moping up the leftovers (not that there were many) on my plate. The service is always quick and you never have to wait long for your food.
I was also offered a free refill for my tea, what more can I ask? I always think I am going to get some apple pie and custard when I go but once again I just couldn't fit it in! I need to make a special desert trip just for this one day.
Of course looking at the vast menu boards they offer more than just a great breakfast. They have a salad menu, mains such as chicken, chips and peas, spaghetti Bolognese and scampi and chips. As well as a range of jacket potatoes and hot and cold sandwiches.
Just as you think it cant get any better they are happy to deliver takeaway locally. I have to confess, I have been know to get a breakfast baguette dropped to the door when its cold outside and im feeling under the weather!
If your looking to switch off for an hour, a relaxing read of the paper at the weekend or to grab a quick bacon sandwich on the way to work this is the place to come. A friendly place for the single diner, families or working bodies on a weekday, long may it continue!
So, how would I score The Archway Café? Out of 10, service 10! Food 9 and ambiance 9! I Cant think of any improvements I could make except a Sunday morning opening so I could selfishly get a good bacon sandwich without any effort but I think Midge deserves at least one day off a week!
Would I go again? U can often find me down there!
Opening hours: 06.30am - 14.30pm Mon - Fri / 06.30am - 13.30pm Saturday
Tel number: 01932 225165
Check out the Brooklands radio facebook page for photos of The Archway and my lovely breakfast!