Madame Gourmand
18. 08. 2014

We first visited The Moorings 2.5 years ago when Mr Gourmand was contemplating taking a job in Warwickshire, not knowing the area at all we had asked someone for a recommendation of somewhere nice to go for lunch with an interesting view and was told that there was no better place than The Moorings.

I’ve lived in Leamington Spa for two years now and The Moorings is still one of my favourite places to take visiting family and friends, I love to sit outside and look at the canal and on a colder day it’s just nice to sit and chat inside enjoying the comfortable surroundings and of course the food is pretty special too.

Grandma is currently visiting us and at the weekend we decided to take a stroll along the canal which of course just happened to take up to The Moorings. Mr Gourmand swears this wasn’t pre-planned but I’m not so sure.

bread

 

Once we had ordered and received our drinks and had finally decided what we wanted to eat we were presented with a fabulous bread and olive board which was compliments of the house.  I’ve spoken on numerous occasions about how little touches make you want to return somewhere for food or drinks and this little touch was one of them.  A couple of wedges of bread and a spoonful of olives doesn’t cost much at all and it always surprises me how many places charge for such a small thing.  In many of the European countries we have visited, a small bread board, bowl of olives or plate of cheese and mustard is standard.

ploughmans

 

The first time we visited The Moorings Mr Gourmand had ordered the Ploughmans (£9.50) and he enjoyed it so much that he ordered it again this time.  A couple of things really stood out for all of us, first of all the boiled egg had a runny yoke which doesn’t happen often enough for Mr Gourmands liking, secondly the slices of pork pie and Wookey Hole cheddar were certainly not scrimped on which again is unusual.  The ploughmans comes with a choice of chips or soup of the day which during our visit was mushroom and tarragon.  This is the second time Mr Gourmand has ordered soup as his side and each time it has been creamy and delicious.

Although I don’t eat pork I would be tempted to order the ploughmans for the pickled onions alone which for me are the best thing about the whole platter, next time I might just order a bowl for myself.

Beef Burger Bacon Relish

 

Grandma ordered The Moorings homemade cheeseburger (£10.95) which was served with bacon jam, pickles and chips.  Grandma was asked if she would like her burger pink or well done which I’ve only seen happen once before, the pink option was selected because let’s be honest if you’re eating good quality meat you want to be able to enjoy it don’t you and not have to eat through an inedible piece of charcoal.

Grandma declared that this was probably the nicest burger she had eaten, she loved the addition of bacon jam which added a whole different flavour level to the burger.

Crayfish sandwich Crayfish Sandwich Doorstop

 

I wasn’t really in the mood for something huge as I had eaten quite a large breakfast so I thought a sandwich would be a good option. How wrong I was.  I ordered the Crayfish sandwich (£7.50) which like the ploughmans came with a choice of Chips or soup of the day, I picked the chips.

I’ve taken a side view just so you can see how huge the sandwich was!  I managed to eat half of this mammoth doorstop and had to ask for the other half to be wrapped up so I could take it home.  I don’t think I’ve ever been defeated by a sandwich before and even Mr Gourmand agreed that he probably would have struggled too.

The sandwich was actually really delicious, the lemon mayonnaise really complemented the rocket and crayfish and gave a lighter taste to the filling, I could have done without the chips if I’m honest but I doubt I would have finished the other half without them.

If you’re going for a stroll along the canal in Leamington I would definitely recommend popping in to the moorings for a drink or bite to eat, you can find The Moorings on Myton Road in Leamington Spa.

16. 07. 2013

The Sozzled Sausage is a bar in Leamington Spa that we have passed on numerous occasions, often when taking Mini Gourmand to Lantern Corner for sweets if she behaves, which is not that often! Anyway, we all decided to pop in for a quick bite to eat not so long ago, and we think this place is something special!

sausage

Mr Goumand had the sausage sandwich (£5.00) which was simple, tasty, excellent bread, nice side salad and amazing onion rings! oh my gosh those onion rings were good, so light and crispy and maybe, dare I say, the nicest onion rings I had ever tried!? tough call but for the moment, and unless my memory tells me otherwise by the time I finish writing this post I’m standing by that statement….the nicest onion rings I have ever had!

fish and chips

Mini Gourmand had the fish and chips (£7.50)! obviously feeling a bit peckish on this occasion. Huge portion and it looked very nice, I must admit I didn’t get a chance to try it because one minute it was there, a full fish almost bigger than her head, and the next, gone, just like magic. I’m not bothered, I’ll have it next time I visit!

chicken burger

I had the Chicken Burger (£7.50) which was amazing. The bread, which I think came from a local shop, and the juicy chicken breast was out of this world, I couldn’t even finish it, it was that big and filling. Another tough call but again I’m going to make it, the best chicken burger I have ever had!!?? Oh and yes, the onion rings are the second nicest I have had, after some I made for Mr Gourmand a year or so ago…..where is that recipe again!?

You can find the Sozzled Sausage at 141 Regent Street, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, United Kingdom CV32 4NX

11. 06. 2013

Frankie & Benny’s is a Gourmand family favourite which combines the best of popular American food with traditional Italian dishes.

Lunch menus are available Monday – Friday, 11am until 5pm, you get 3 menus to choose from the main menu, lunch value menu and the specials menu. The lunch menu has over 30 dishes to choose from, 1 course will cost you £5.95, 2 courses £8.25 and 3 courses £9.25

The Specials Menu is available all day Sunday – Friday, and 2 courses costs £10.95 or you can get 3 courses for £13.20.

breadsticks

Frankie and Benny’s needs no introduction, it provides good value and very tasty food which is prepared consistently well, no matter where in the country you go. Lets get straight to it, I can’t resist the Warm dough sticks and dips, they are delicious and have a great texture and springy consistency. Everytime I order them they have a really familiar and homely oven baked taste which makes my mouth water with anticipation.

salad

Mr Gourmand goes through strange phases of thinking he should eat more healthy, so if there is a salad on the menu, more often than not he orders one. On this occasion he went for the mozzarella and tomato salad platter which comes with a light creamy mozzarella, sliced beef tomato, marinated olives and warm garlic dough balls. This was served with fresh watercress, olive oil and seasoned with cracked black pepper. I’m not sure how healthy this is, but he feels less guilty by ordering it so at least its good in his mind. He enjoyed it very much and again as a testament to the quality and consistency provided by Frankie and Benny’s, has ordered this on a few occasions and never been let down.

burger

For a main course I went for the tried and tested crispy chicken burger, with fries and coleslaw. Although this is simple combination, it really can’t be beaten for taste and value, and always hits the mark. The crispy chicken is succulent without being too dry, and the chips and coleslaw provide a nice fallback in between burger bites. If I was being very critical I think chips should be either an american fry, or homemade thick cut chip, but it’s not the end of the world, I still eat them!

chicken salad

Mr Gourmand really was pushing the healthy side of the menu on this day and went for a Caesar Salad with crispy baby gem lettuce leaves, anchovy fillets and tomato, and drizzled with Frankie and Benny’s own caesar dressing, all topped of with Grana Padano. Really nice, very crispy and fresh salad with a gorgeous dressing, and the mixture of soft salad, chicken, crispy croutons and anchovies is so good that I may even order this one myself next time we return!

garlic bread

Ok ok, call us greedy but what can I say, the table next to us received their garlic bread just as the waitress took back our menus, Mr Gourmand couldn’t resist, our order was read back with the addition of a garlic bread side, it just looked and smelled so good. Guess what, it tasted a s good as it looked, yum.

29. 05. 2013

The menu at Wetherspoons offers an enticing mix of traditional British meals, along with popular and innovative international dishes. Most of the food served is sourced from the UK and the brand have strict specifications for all of their products, ensuring that the highest standards of quality and safety are met.

Recently some new additions have been added to the menu such as Hotdogs, Peri Peri Chicken, Gourmet Burgers and we couldn’t wait to try some of these dishes out!

Wetherspoons establishments are family friendly which is great news for the Gourmands as it means if we don’t fancy cooking we can all go as a family and don’t have to arrange a baby sitter for Baby Gourmand.

starter

We shared a Wetherspoon sharer (1794 Cal) which consisted of Spicy British chicken wings, spicy coated king prawns, southern-fried-style chicken strips, beer-battered onion rings, chips and a selection of dips.  I did initially think chips were a strange addition to the platter, I would have personally preferred to maybe have potato wedges or nachos but Mini Gourmand was happy to polish them off!  Everything was cooked well and nothing was greasy. I particularly liked the coating on the chicken wings, it was both hot and tangy and left a nice taste in the mouth.

hotdog lucie

Mini Gourmand had the Classic hot dog (1120 Cal) which was a pork hot dog, served with chips and a drink.  Usually when you order a hotdog you get a small sausage, this hotdog was a monster!  Mini managed 3/4 of the beast and said it was delicious.

Chilli_dog

Mr Gourmand had the Gourmet hot dog (1659 Cal)  which was served with chilli con carne, cheese, six beer-battered onion rings, chips  and a drink.  Just like Mini Gourmand’s hotdog this was a beast and was made even bigger by the addition of chilli and cheese.  Mini was upset that she didn’t get onion rings so Mr Gourmand shared some with her.  Mr Gourmand was very impressed with the quality of the dish and thought the chilli was a rather tasty addition.

burger Chicken_burger

I had the Tennesee Burger (1343 Cal) which was a chicken breast in a honey glaze made with Jack Daniels Tennesee honey.  This was served with six beer-battered onion rings, chips  and a drink.  The accompanying sauce was a little sweet for my tastes but I did love the smoky flavour.  The Chicken breast was cooked perfectly and was still very juicy.  I really liked the bun that the burger was served in, it was very different from the usual tasteless bap that is usually found with pub burgers.  The presentation of the dish was visually appealing and we all agreed that my dish look the best out of the three.

Overall as a family we were very impressed with the choice of food, the quality and the price at wetherspoons.  We visited the Jug and Jester in Leamington Spa which was filled with families and students on the Saturday afternoon that we visited.  Our starter, 3 main meals and 3 soft drinks came to £23.96 which I’m sure you will agree was very good value for money.

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A few examples of Wetherspoons commitment to quality:

  • All steaks are from the British Isles and matured for at least 35 days
  • Weatherspoons was the Overall winner of England’s Best Steak Pie 2011 (Sponsored by EBLEX)
  • 100% British beef is used in the burgers
  • 100% Rainforest-Alliance-certified coffee is served
  • All sausages contain only British pork and no artificial colours or flavours
  • The waffles are a genuine Belgian recipe, made in Belgium
*Disclaimer* We were provided with Weatherspoons vouchers to use during our visit, this has not affected our opinion of the brand and as always our review is honest and impartial*
02. 04. 2013

Zio bar is attached to Fratello’s restaurant on Jesmond Road, Jesmond, and is easily accessible from Osborne Road by walking, or Bus and Metro Links.  Regular readers may recall my original Zio Bar post which was written back in April when I first visited, we were so impressed with this visit that we decided to pop back for more food and less alcohol!

At the time of our visit Zio bar were still offering £3 cocktails and we both decided it was too good an offer to pass on.

I decided to go for a Classic Mojito which consists of Havana Club Especial rum, churned with fresh lime, mint and crushed ice topped with soda water

Mr Gourmand had the Stormy Mojito which consisted of Gosling Black rum and ginger beer.

Both drinks were very refreshing and a complete bargain at £3 each!

I ordered the Chicken Burger which was moist and succulent, it was a whole butterflied chicken breast so was very filling.  The burger was served with hand cut chips and salsa.  I did find the chips a little dry which I think was possibly down to them being twice or maybe even thrice cooked.

Mr Gourmand ordered the Bacon Burger which was served with handcut chips and tomato salsa, the burger itself was delicious and was polished off in record time.

If you want a night out in Jesmond and would rather avoid Osborne Road or are looking for a quiet drink before heading into the city centre I highly recommend Zio Bar.

17. 09. 2012

I have a bit of a love / hate relationship with the Stateside Diner, I’ve been a customer for many years now but this visit was my first in nearly 2 years.  When I first started to visit the Stateside it was faultless, portion sizes were huge and similar to what you would find in a real American diner, staff members changed and unfortunately so did the food.

A friend of mine who was a loyal Stateside patron from the good old days had mentioned that the menu seemed to have changed a little and the Stateside was back on track!  Hearing this marvelous news Mr Gourmand and I hotfooted it down Pink Lane to find out if this was really true.

I had the Southern Fried Chicken Burger (£5.95) which was served with a spicy mayo, salad garnish and home made fries.  The last time I had a chicken burger at the Stateside it tasted like it had been in the fryer for a week, I’m happy to say on this occasion the chicken was moist and tender.  The home made fries were a welcome surprise and were delicious, as you can see from the pictures above there was certainly no scrimping on the portion sizes which veteran Stateside diners will be pleased about.

Mr Gourmand had the Chilli Dog (£4.95) which was covered in Rancher beef chilli, it barely lasted anytime on the plate which is a good sign!

We shared a portion of Onion rings (£1.95) which were a little disappointing as they tasted like they had been marinated in vinegar which was a little offputting.

Sodas at the Stateside were always refillable which was a huge bonus when eating here, there seems to be a new rule in force where soda’s come with one refill only which doesn’t really bother me as I couldn’t manage more than two anyway but I do know friends who could quite easily polish off 3 or 4.

If like me you were a regular customer of the Stateside Diner and you got sick of the shoddy rushed service, bad portion sizes and meal inconsistency I urge you to go back and try it again, I do believe it’s changed for the better!  The Stateside lives on!

The Stateside Diner can be found at 37 Pink Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne (A short walk from central station)

30. 06. 2012

I’m a terrible sucker for advertising, I get drawn in all of the time, especially when I’m offered a bargain.  A text from Revolution informing me that Mega Monday’s at Revolution bar offered 50% off food all day was just the ammunition I needed to grab Mr Gourmand and our friend Peter and head down for lunch.

I had only previously eaten at Revolution once with my friend Juliet, the food was decent but it was the cocktails that really sold the place to me.

After browsing the menu and being torn between a couple of dishes, I decided to go for the Peppered steak and cheese Denver fries.  (£8.25) ( approx £4.12 with discount)   When the dish arrived I have to admit I was slightly disappointed as it looked very dry, I had expected a rich pepper sauce that coated the fries and steak, maybe they forgot to include the sauce? either way it prompted me to do something I very rarely do and I’m actually ashamed to say I did it!  I added ketchup!

The steak wasn’t good, it tasted a little like liver, needless to say I ate the fries and left the rest!

I’m very glad that I had the sense to order a side of onion rings (£1.95)  The onion rings were actually rather nice, the batter was crispy and the onions inside were cooked well.

Peter chose the guacamole and bacon burger  (£8.95) (approx £4.47 after discount) which came with a side of fries and coleslaw.  Peter had no complaints about the dish and polished it off in record time!

Mr Gourmand picked the Chicken Katsu (£8.95) (approx £4.47 after discount), it was a choice prompted by food envy after glancing at the table next to us!  The salad was dressed well and was a delicious accompaniment to the dish,  Mr Gourmand did have one criticism though, there was not enough sauce to go with the dish.

The three meals, pint of san miguel, pint of lemonade and a lime and soda came to £20.47  which I thought was really good value for money even though I wasn’t too impressed with my meal.

01. 06. 2012

Back in April I was kindly invited to the Newcastle Malmaison to attend a Spring Event, the event was a thank you to business customers who use the hotel on a regular basis, it’s a great way for the hotel to make customers aware of what they can offer and give other business in the area a chance to show their wares so to speak.

I did write a post on my Lifestyle Blog but wanted to save the food and drink for a separate post as I feel it deserves at least that.

The Malmaison do everything to a high standard especially their cocktails which are spectacular, I’ve had many different cocktails now in the Newcastle Mal and each one has been delicious.

The bar staff at Newcastle Mal were kind enough to make my friend Katie a non alcoholic cocktail which looked and tasted just as delicious as the alcoholic cocktails.

The seating areas at the Newcastle Mal are designed in such a way that makes them perfect for both a secluded private chat or a large group gathering.  The seats are all extremely comfortable and the views over the River Tyne are beautiful.

As far as Buffets go the Newcastle Mal did an excellent job at keeping the guests happy, choices ranged from mini cheeseburgers to finger sandwiches (crusts removed)

There was a wide range of desserts on offer, unfortunately I got swayed by the make up and only managed to take one picture.  The brownies and flapjacks pictured were to die for!

As always the wine was flowing and I imagine there was some very sore heads the next morning (Not mine may I add)

26. 04. 2012

I love a good Reuben Burger, I’m always surprised how many different adaptations there are depending on which country you go to.  Some people use Sauerkraut, some use swiss cheese, some use russian dressing.

My Reuben Burger would usually have sauerkraut as an ingredient but as I didn’t have any at the time of making I left it out.  I don’t use pastrami, I find it has too strong a flavour when used with a burger.  I do however use pastrami in a Reuben deli sandwich.

I purchased my burgers from the Meat Merchant in Jesmond, sometimes it’s easier to buy a good burger than make one yourself, especially when you’re only cooking for two!

I used a Ciabatta bun, lightly toasted topped with a slice of Swiss cheese, this was topped with grilled peppers.  The burger was placed on top and another slice of Swiss cheese was added.  Lettuce, dill pickles and a home made Russian dressing finished the burger off.

23. 03. 2012

Regular readers will know that after my last visit to the Fat Hippo (here), Mr Gourmand and I couldn’t wait to go back and sample some more of the delicious dishes they have to offer.  Yesterday as I had a day off uni and Mr Gourmand was working from home we decided to walk over to the restaurant for lunch.

One thing that I love about the Fat Hippo is the quirky decor, the lights are fantastic, it’s light and airy meaning you can sit back, relax and watch people shopping on Acorn Road.

I always think a soft drink tastes better out of the bottle!  My Lemonade (£1.35) did not disappoint!

Mr Gourmand was delighted that his favourite Appletiser (£1.85) was on the menu as you don’t often find it in a lot of restaurants.

Mr Gourmand picked the Spicy Ranch Burger (£8.75) which consisted of a juicy 1/2 pound burger topped with Bacon, Chorizo, Guacamole, Jalapenos and Spicy Salsa.  The burger was served with home cooked chips, salad garnish and coleslaw.

The burgers served at the Fat Hippo are jam-packed with filling, Mr Gourmand loved the various tastes and textures going on within the Ciabatta bun.

You can see from this picture that you get an awful lot of burger for you money!  The actual burger is deliciously seasoned and combined with the spicy topping was a delicious meal.

Not only do you get the huge burger, you also get a bowl of home cooked fries, I don’t know how they make these but they are by far the best I’ve tasted.  Mr Gourmand agreed that although he loves my home cooked sweet potato chips, the chips served at the Fat Hippo are delicious.

The salad garnish tasted fresh and was a lovely accompaniment to the burger, rather than add the ingredients to our burgers we ate this separately.  We are both huge gherkin fans so this was the first thing both of us went for!

The coleslaw was delicious and tasted home-made, I say this because it didn’t have an artificial taste and the ingredients had a fresh taste to them.

Being the indecisive eater that I am, I’m allergic to blue cheese and don’t eat pork products so that crosses out a number of burgers on the menu I decided to have the Cheese Burger (£7.45)  with Onion Rings (£2.75)

My burger was huge, I had to take a variety of different shots just to show how large it actually was!

The Onion rings were delicious, the batter was light and fluffy and the onions inside were perfectly cooked.  Definitely the best Onion rings I’ve ate outside of my own home ( I do have to admit I make a damn good Onion ring)

All of the burgers are handcrafted in-house using 100% Northumbrian Beef.  My burger tasted delicious, the seasoning was perfect and my burger was juicy and cooked just how I like it to be cooked.

We did experience food envy on our visit as the table next to us ordered a nacho platter as a starter which looked amazing!

I’m sure we will be returning to the Fat Hippo again soon, next time we will have to bring Mini Gourmand along as she often complains she gets left out!

You can find the Fat Hippo on the corner of St Georges Terrace and Thornleigh Road in the heart of  West Jesmond or visit their website here