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The Leamington Spa branch of Gourment Burger Kitchen is so new that when I visited it wasn’t officially open to the public. Set up back in 2001, Gourmet Burger Kitchen has 60 branches across the UK each serving 100% prime beef burgers and sauces made from scratch daily.
This was my first visit to Gourmet Burger Kitchen and it certainly wont be my last. Unlike a lot of places the service was fantastic from the moment we walked through the door until we walked out after finishing our meal. You can have the best food in the world but if the service isn’t on point it doesn’t give you a reason to return. As Mr Gourmand was on babysitting duty I took one of his work colleagues Mr Strider along with me instead.
The interior is a modern/industrial mix, I personally preferred the wooden tables to the metal ones but that’s just my personal opinion. It seems very trendy now in the restaurant world to use recycled painted tins as cutlery holders and Gourmet Burger Kitchen have picked up on that trend.
My favourite part of the restaurant just has to be the mural on the back wall designed by artist Damilola Odusote, it’s a map of Leamington Spa and fits in so well, I’d imagine it makes a great talking point if you’re sitting close enough to see it properly.
I’m not sure if the ordering process will be the same when the restaurant actually opens but during our visit we were given a menu and told when we were ready to order we could place our order at the bar.
Our server explained that if we downloaded the Gourmet Burger Kitchen app we could start collecting points to claim a free burger.
I think the app is a fantastic idea, I noticed that you can also use it to order takeaway food which I may have to try at some point.
The menu is nothing short of awesome, I found it incredibly difficult to pick what I wanted to order which isn’t unusual for me to be honest. I was torn between two burgers, the Lamb Ma Goa and the Taxi Driver but as Mr Strider had chosen a lamb burger I figured it made more sense to go for the beef myself.
We made our way over to the bar area where we were served by Chelsea who asked for my customer id so she could log my order on the rewards app, it gave her access to my name which made the service really personalised.
After ordering we were given small glasses so we could help ourselves to monkey nuts which we enjoyed while waiting for our drinks and food, I really like this idea of freebies before your food arrives.
I ordered the Elderflower Fizz (£2.35) which was incredibly refreshing and topped with fresh citrus fruit and mint leaves.
Mr Strider ordered the Peanut Butter Milkshake (£4.50) which was made with real ice-cream, the milkshake looked so thick you could stand a spoon up in it. It did look like a dessert and even if I could stomach that much dairy I’m not sure how much of it I would have been able to consume with my burger, Mr Strider managed to polish it off no problem.
When my burger arrived I was astonished at the sheer size of it and started to wish I hadn’t ordered a side dish. The Taxi Driver (£9.95) is a 100% beef burger served in a brioche bun stuffed with American cheese, an onion ring, Cajun relish, smoked chilli mayo, dill pickle and salad. I must say this has to be the most delicious burger I’ve ever eaten.
What made this burger so delicious was the fact the beef was cooked to perfection, not undercooked and not overcooked just a little bit pink to keep it nice an juicy. This was a mammoth burger, so filling I only managed half of it and Mr Strider had to finish it for me!
Mr Strider ordered the Persian Lamb burger (£8.95) which was a speciality lamb burger served with pan fried halloumi, harissa mayo, rocket, pickled onions and relish all enclosed in a brioche bun. Mr Strider was asked how he wanted hislamb cooked to ensure it was the perfect burger to suit his tastes.
The sides at Gourmet Burger Kitchen are a little bit special, they range from stacked house onion rings to homeslaw and that’s before we get started on the potato variety sides.
Being the Gourmand that I am, I couldn’t resist the Truffle Cheese fries (£3.95). In hindsight ordering this dish was a bit gluttonous of me and when I tasted how rich and decadent the truffle cheese sauce was I knew there was no way on earth I was going to finish this dish by myself and had to call on Mr Strider again to help me out.
Mr Strider was rather sensible with his side ordering and went for the Skinny Fries (£2.95). Speciality sauces at Gourmet Burger Kitchen cost £1.25 and Mr Strider had the smoked chilli mayo and baconnaise which came highly recommended to complement his fries.
The restaurant filled up pretty quickly however the staff seemed to be completely unfazed which was great to see. I wish Gourmet Burger Kitchen the best of luck in Leamington Spa, I know they won’t need it though as the people of Leamington love gourmet burgers and I’d imagine the next time I visit it will be me waiting in a queue at the door to get in!
The Clarendon is a rather fabulous pub situated on Clarendon avenue in Leamington Spa, we have visited several times over the past three years and it’s such a great place it’s easy to see how people return time and time again.
Our most recent visit was on a Sunday lunchtime, we had originally gone in to sample the burgers again but after a quick look at the menu I decided that I just had to sample the Sunday lunch, of course Mini Gourmand didn’t want to be left out so he said he would have one too.
The Clarendon offer three choices of Sunday roast costing £10 each, topside of Hereford beef, corn fed chicken breast and free range pork belly (there is also a nut roast for non meat eaters). I had decided to get the Beef and Mini Gourmand had decided to get the pork, then her eyes lit up. Mini Gourmand had spotted the Sunday roast sharing platter for £20, this served 2 people and contained all three meats and all of the trimmings served on a platter.
We all know that Mini Gourmand likes variety in her meals so this was the perfect choice for us and it meant that Baby Gourmand could choose what items he would like to eat. I noticed that you could order a side of cauliflower cheese for an extra £2 so I was sent to the bar to order the two items.
I can’t lie, this was probably one of the most impressive Sunday roasts that I’ve ever had. The picture above doesn’t actually do it justice but I couldn’t wait to get stuck in so I didn’t manage to take any more pictures, I also forgot to capture the Cauliflower cheese which was so delicious we ended up dipping our leftover veg into the sauce as we couldn’t bear to leave it.
So what did we get for £20? A hell of a lot of food that’s what! We got 2 huge homemade Yorkshire puddings, a bowl of deliciously spiced red cabbage, roast potatoes, roast carrots, parsnip and squash, leeks, green beans and broccoli. a large chicken breast, 3 large slices of beef, 3 slices of belly pork, stuffing, bread sauce, gravy, apple sauce and horseradish. Phew.
There was more than enough for the three of us and if Grandma Gourmand had been with us I think all four of us could have eaten this (with a dessert of course). If you do decide to visit and have the Sunday lunch, please order the cauliflower cheese as a side dish, you will not regret it!
I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to The Clarendon to have this again, the value for money was amazing and I definitely couldn’t have cooked it at home for the price. The staff couldn’t be friendlier if they tried, there is loads of space for pushchairs, prams and highchairs and the tables are well spaced out so if you do have children in your dining party you don’t need to worry about them upsetting other diners. Well worth a visit.
The very first time I visited a branch of Zizzi was around 2008/9 when I was working as a mystery diner, I had been assigned the branch in Newcastle upon Tyne and it was such a bad experience that I never ventured back until 2011 when I was invited out for a friends 22nd Birthday, I remember the food was good, the service was on point considering we had a table of 15 and the overall experience was a very good one.
We decided that instead of going for Sunday Lunch yesterday that we would pay a visit to Zizzi as the menu looked good and as we have seen children in there before that it must be fairly family friendly so I booked a table online for 12:30pm.
We arrived at the restaurant at 12:25 and although I’d already booked, they didn’t have an up to date booking list at the front desk which was fine as they were quite quiet although I wouldn’t have been very pleased if it had been busy and I hadn’t been able to get a table, you have to plan outings like this with military precision when you have a toddler you see.
There were already a couple of tables on the left hand side with prams and pushchairs so we selected a spot on the far right so we be out of the way should it get busier. Our drinks order was taken by a very polite server and we perused the menu.
Baby Gourmand started with Carrot sticks, Cucumber and Bread sticks which was part of the £6.75 Bambini kids menu, this was the perfect starter to keep him entertained until his main meal arrived.
Mini Gourmand and I decided to skip a starter as we have been to similar chains in the past and the food is usually very filling so we opted for the Italian bread bucket which contained Freshly baked focaccia bread & dough sticks with olive oil & rosemary. The bread bucket came with a bottle of balsamic vinegar and we made use of the olive oil that was on the table already, we both found this delicious and were quite excited to receive our mains especially if the taste and quality of some simple bread was so good.
That’s when things went downhill.
Mini Gourmand had ordered the Classic Pepperoni Campagna topped with Pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, mozzarella & thyme but as she’s a big eater she went for the larger Rustica base for an extra £1.50. The pizza may have been larger on the board but it was so thin that the edges had burnt, Mini Gourmand wasn’t a fan of this style of base at all, she found the combination of cheese and topping wasn’t quite right, there was big chunks of topping in parts and very little at other sections. She found the pizza lacking in flavour and was rather disappointed with her choice.
I had thought about getting a pizza and at the last minute changed my mind in favour of the Risotto Pesce which contained King prawns, mussels & squid rings in a tomato, chilli & white wine risotto. I very rarely eat risotto unless I make it myself I was quite excited to try this. I had my first mouthful and found I couldn’t taste anything but butter, I quickly gave Mini Gourmand a forkful to make sure my taste buds hadn’t died but I was right the dish didn’t have any real flavour just a very buttery taste. I then made the biggest mistake I’ve ever made when eating an Italian dish, I picked up what I thought was a piece of red pepper only it turned out to be a chilli and not a nice chilli a really really hot chilli. I’m a fan of spice, chilli and heat in my food, I love making curry and use chilli in stir fry, bread and a whole host of other dishes but never have I eaten something that packs so much heat, my mouth was on fire and between that, the lack of flavour and the buttery taste I was finished after 4 mouthfuls, I passed my plate over to Mini Gourmand who was so hungry she would have eaten anything!
Poor Baby Gourmand suffered the most with his dish pictured above. This was not minestrone soup but actually pasta Bolognese like I have never seen it before, it was so watery I had to decant the slippery pieces of Penne into a spare bowl. The least said about the taste of this the better, I think the picture speaks for itself.
I shared Arthur’s picture on instagram and was asked why I didn’t send it back? The restaurant had filled up (more about this later) and there only seemed to be two or three members of staff serving staff who were rushed off their feet add into this a hungry toddler who would have screamed the place down if his food had been removed it was best to just let him eat it.
When our server came to take the plates she asked if everything had been ok? I told her that it hadn’t actually been great, none of us had enjoyed our food and I told her I thought Baby Gourmands dish was diabolical, I’ve never actually seen Bolognese like it in my life! I then told her I wasn’t sure how I was going to vacate the resteraunt, you see while we had been sitting the place had filled up and we had been boxed in to a corner with our pushchair. It would have been hard enough for a person to squeeze out never mind a child in a pushchair, the server replied that we would have to fly with a laugh. Our server did offer to have a word with her supervisor but to be honest the restaurant was so busy and we had just had enough at this point that we declined as we just wanted to pay and leave.
We paid our bill, £41 which really wasn’t worth it at all and tried to work out how on earth we were going to get out, not one member of staff came over to help us and we were pretty much struggling. There was no way that we were ever going to get out so I decided that the best course of action would be to fold down the pushchair and lift it over the 3 tables that were in our way. The other diners helped us to get out and we made it to the door and still not one member of staff came to ask if we were ok.
One thing I would just like to point out is that it wasn’t just us who seemed to be having a bit of a bad time, a table to the side of us were not happy to have their main course delivered a couple of minutes after their starter and the table behind had sent their food back once and we could hear them after new dishes were brought out complaining about the quality of the food, they looked to have ordered Bolognese, I hope they didn’t have the same sauce as Baby Gourmand!
I don’t imagine we will ever be returning to this chain and I’m actually annoyed with myself that I wasted £41 on food and service that was substandard.
**Update** Zizzi have been in touch via email with the following reply
“It certainly doesn’t sound like our usual high standards of service were achieved and it was disappointing to hear about the quality of the food you and your guests ordered. All customer feedback I receive is logged and collated, I’ve also asked the Operations Manager to share your comments with the team to ensure we’re offering a friendly and efficient service at all times. At Zizzi we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional service and fantastic d ishes but it does seem we have let you down on this occasion.
I can assure you this has been dealt with at restaurant level and has been circulated around Head Office through a Weekly C omplaints Report to ensure everyone stays updated with what’s going on in all our Zizzis. This h elps us improve our service in the future.
I really appreciate you taking the time to let us know about this and by way of apology for your visit, I’d like to send you a £20 Zizzi gift card that you can use at any Zizzi, at any time within the next 18 months.”
I have accepted their offer and will in fact visit again to see if any improvements have been made.
Have you visited Zizzi before? Did you have a good experience?
Zou Bisou is a lovely little place on Regent Court, Leamington Spa. Its sits happily alongside some big chains like Nandos, Yo Sushi, and Turtle Bay, but is so relaxed and welcoming, it has a feel about it that you only get with an independent place. The interior is nice, big chairs, little chairs, quirky, funky, but doesn’t try too hard. It just feels happy. Does that make sense?? Anyway, myself and Mini Gourmand decided to pop in for a light breakfast on Sunday morning and I thought I would share the experience.
I wasn’t really hungry so decided to order scrambled eggs on toast, a fairly safe bet, and it really hit the spot, in fact, probably a slightly larger portion that I was expecting so I had to leave some, which I hate doing!! Baby Gourmand tucked in and helped me out whihc was nice, as he usually doesn’t like scrambled eggs – a break through!! I had wished I hadn’t bothered ordering him his own side of toast as he really didn’t need it with my mammoth breakfast to help me with. The scrambled eggs were creamy and cooked to perfection and the toast was hot, what more could you want?
Mini Gourmand didn’t hesitate to order the full english; a guy sitting not far away had one, and as the waiter took his order book out Mini Gourmand’s greedy eyes followed his sausages from plate to mouth! Just like my scrambled eggs, Mini Gourmand described the breakfast as exactly what she wanted. Quality ingredients, nicely cooked, and a good amount. What more can you ask for!
Interesting that Mini Gourmand recently walked past Zou Bisou late at night and they are open until 10, and offer 2-1 coffees, defintley a nice place for a late night drink if you don’t fancy going to the pub. Zou Bisou has also started offering Sunday lunches, lets see if we can sneak one of them in, in the not too distant future!
Situated on Warwick Street in Leamington Spa is Havana Casa De Cafe, it’s one of those places that you could walk past numerous times and not actually see which makes it quite interesting I think.
We first visited for coffee and cake but that was before Baby Gourmand was born and places can change dramatically in a year so when Grandma and Aunty Gourmand were visiting us for the weekend we decided to have breakfast and I can confirm it was delicious.
Regualr readers will know that the Gourmand family like their food so we were praying that the portion sizes would still be decent on our third visit just after Christmas.
Baby Gourmand behaved himself and we decided rather than buy him anything, we would order food that he liked and put it on a side plate for him. He looks like he should be facing the other way and playing the piano in this shot!!
Mini Gourmand hummed and harred over what to get, as usual. Havana has a quite unusual breakfast menu catering for the sweet and savoury toothed among us, so definitely a good choice if you want something, but you’re not entirely sure what! The Full English eventually won the day, with a little persuasion from the waiter and boy was Mini Gourmand pleased. “Chips with a breakfast.” she exclaimed. Was this a good thing or bad thing I thought. Context is important. A bag full of crinkle cut chips with greasy fried, eggs not so good. Half a dozen beautifully cooked and seasoned chips on a plate of equally beautiful ingredients is! Thankfully this breakfast was the latter, and I hope the photographs do it justice. In fact, i’m going to Havana again on Sunday, and i’m sure Mini Gourmand will order the same breakfast again.
I decided to go for simple muffins with fried egg, mushroom, and tomatoes. Pretty simple I know, but as I said earlier, this is the beauty of Havana, this is exactly what I fancied, it tasted nice, was cheap, and left room for a cake at lunchtime! Perfect!
Anyone looking for a nice breakfast should try Havana, it really is a great little place. I actually might visit for evening drinks one day, cocktails at breakfast?!
We walk past The Oxford Café each time we go into town but had never ventured inside until last Sunday when we saw a sign outside offering Sunday lunch with fresh vegetables and homemade gravy and Yorkshire puddings for a really good price. The price, was in fact, a lot cheaper than any other restaurants in the area, so we decided to make a visit to see for ourselves if an inexpensive Sunday lunch could be as good as the many other restaurants of Leamington Spa.
Each Sunday The Oxford Café offer a choice of 3 starters, 3 main courses and 3 desserts for a very reasonable price as shown in the picture above. You can’t get much for £6.95, and considering most of the other places we have visited locally charge around £9.95 for Sunday Lunch, you really are getting a bargain if you choose to eat here.
After perusing the menu I actually decided against a starter as I wasn’t sure how long Baby Gourmand would sit quietly for, and went straight for a main course, there is no doubt about the fact I would have gone for the prawn cocktail had Baby Gourmand been asleep.
Mini Gourmand fancied something a little bit different so went for the Mushroom Wellington, it was served in a rich sauce and was beautifully presented on the plate. The wellington was stuffed with mushrooms, rice and what tasted like blue cheese, I did have a smell and as I thought Mini Gourmand was right about the cheese, I didn’t try it for myself as I am terribly allergic to the stuff. Mini Gourmand had no complaints with this dish which did appear to be homemade, the roast potatoes were delicious and the Yorkshire pudding was homemade as you can see. It’s not often that Mini Gourmand can’t eat another bite but this dish really did fill her up.
As I don’t eat pork, and Mini Gourmand had already gone for the Mushroom Wellington, I decided to go for the chicken; Baby Gourmand also loves chicken and I figured he would no doubt be helping me out. My chicken was served with a rich gravy, roast potatoes cooked in goose fat, homemade Yorkshire pudding and a stuffing ball. I don’t usually like to eat chicken on the bone with a roast dinner, I can understand why restaurants do this for portion sizes but I always seem to spend so long removing the skin and trying to take off pieces of meat that the rest of my dinner has gone cold. That being said I did really enjoy this chicken, it was moist, tasty and fell away from the bone easily.
Baby Gourmand ate half of my chicken, I probably should have asked for a child’s portion for him, but as he’s a grazer it wasn’t that long since his last meal so the chances of him eating a plate of dinner was pretty slim.
We were served a selection of vegetables to share with our meals which consisted of baby Brussels sprouts, mashed carrot and swede and cauliflower cheese, which is one of our favourite dishes. The vegetables were cooked to perfection and there was more than enough for the two of us to share.
Would we go back? Most definitely, in fact I have every intention of visiting this Sunday to try the rib of beef.
If you would like to try The Oxford Café for yourself they can be found at 21 Clarendon Avenue, Leamington Spa and Sunday lunch is served between 12-3pm.
The Townhouse pub is situated on George Street not far from the South Side of the river in Leamington Spa, it’s not on the main shopping road so would require a bit of searching if you’re not local to the area. The deco inside has a real vintage feel about it and has my favourite J.H Lynch prints of the Mysterious and exotic lady known as ‘Tina’. I love the exposed bulb light fittings although they do make your eyes go fuzzy if you look directly at them!
Tables are adorned with retro candles with hardened red wax, something you might expect to see in an Italian resteraunt (or my kitchen). The furniture is mis matched which only adds to the quirky vibe that the Townhouse exudes.
Neither myself or Mr Gourmand had visited the Townhouse before but we had heard good things about the place from friends who had visited one of the open mic nights so we figured we would give the place a try.
Staff were very friendly and accommodating and the pub is family friendly although there is a step at the front door so bare this in mind if you have a pram or pushchair with you.
Mr Gourmand and I took advantage of the £5 lunch offer which consists of a very decent sized meal and a drink. It’s always a risk when you visit somewhere new for lunch as to what you are going to receive so we ordered blindly.
With a good selection of food available Mr Gourmand opted for the Broccoli and Cauliflower cheese which was served with chips and salad. The Broccoli and Cauliflower cheese was bathing in a delicious creamy cheese sauce and topped with what seemed like a whole packed of melted cheese on top. The meal was extremely delicious and satisfying.
I really fancied something different to what I would normally order and picked the Roast Beef and Horseradish sandwich served with chips and a side salad. The Roast Beef was pink in the middle which is exactly how I like it, the slices were thick and plentiful. The horseradish sauce was creamy and had a good heat to it which is just what I like, there is nothing worse than mild, smooth supermarket horseradish that has no flavour.
The beef was served on a warm ciabatta which had been buttered, I just managed to finish it all but I did let Mr Gourmand sample the beef as his eyes were drooling at my huge sandwich.
£5 doesn’t usually get you much even in a fast food eatery so if you’re in the Leamington Spa area, need lunch and have a spare £5 to spend you won’t go wrong visiting The Townhouse.
POSTED IN: Broccoli and Cauliflower Cheese, Food, Leamington Spa, Pub, Review, Roast Beef, Townhouse
POSTED IN: Broccoli and Cauliflower Cheese, Food, Leamington Spa, Pub, Review, Roast Beef, Townhouse
Yo! Sushi recently opened in Leamington Spa and the Gourmand family went along during the opening weekend to check it out. We’re a family of Sushi lovers and have visited Yo! Sushi branches in Newcastle upon Tyne, Birmingham and London so to have a branch in our town is very exciting for us.
Situated in Regent Court in the centre of town which is a pedestrianised street filled with a great selection of restaurants and shops, Yo! Sushi offers a fantastic range of hot and cold dishes, it’s not all just about the raw fish!
I love the décor inside this particular branch which has a mixture of industrial and cosmic influences as you can see in the picture above, there is a lot of stainless steel and the orbs hanging from the ceiling really captured Baby Gourmands attention (and mine too if I’m being honest).
As with all Yo! Sushi restaurants you can see the chef’s at work thanks to the open kitchen, the conveyor belt is huge and I love the buzzer noises at this branch.
Tables are set as standard and feature all of the usual condiments like Pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.
We started with some Miso Soup (£2.20) which contains seaweed, tofu, spring onion in a soy bean broth you can have unlimited refills of this soup which is fantastic value for money and incredibly tasty.
Mini Gourmand loves to select dishes from the conveyer belt and Cucumber Maki (£1.90) is one of her favourite dishes, Baby Gourmand was quite partial to these himself.
We asked for a couple of recommended dishes and the first of the dishes we tried was the Popcorn Shrimp Tempura (£4.30), this was a new dish for us and incredibly delicious so much so that our chopsticks were fighting for the last piece.
Mini Gourmand decided she liked the look of the Vegetable firecracker rice (£2.50) which was rather delicious although Mini Gourmand slightly underestimated the heat, Mr Gourmand and myself finished this off for her. Firecracker by name and Firecracker by nature.
Our second recommended product was the Beef and Garlic Teriyaki which was by far my favourite dish, the glaze on the beef was so tasty and one piece just wasn’t enough.
Baby Gourmand started to get a little cranky so to keep him quiet we picked a plate of Fresh fruit (£3.40) which he devoured, it’s really nice to see fresh pineapple included in a fruit salad rather than tinned.
The Salmon Selection (£5.00) was our next dish, this was extremely good value for money and tasted so fresh. It always surprises me how the most simplistic of dishes can often be the most tastiest.
Mr Gourmand took a shine to the Chicken Teriyaki (£3.90) which was succulent due to the meat being thigh rather than breast which can often be a little dry. The sticky sweet sauce really complimented the chicken and the crisp white cabbage was a nice addition to the dish.
Our final dish was the Scallop Katsu which was served with the most delicious wasabi mayonnaise which gave a fabulous kick. Scallops are one of my most favourite things to eat however I’m often scared to order them when I go out as they are often very overcooked. On this occasion the scallops were sweet, succulent and cooked to perfection.
It’s always deceiving how filling the food at Yo! Sushi actually is, between the 4 of us we had 8 plates of food and 4 bowls of Miso Soup and we were stuffed, we didn’t even manage any Mochi which is Mini Gourmands favourite.
Baby Gourmand loved the futuristic highchairs in Yo! Sushi which were a perfect size for him and had just enough space for his colouring book and crayons. The restaurant is very child friendly and the staff are great with children of all ages, one member of staff even helped me to secure Baby Gourmand into the highchair and showed me how the straps worked.
During our visit people were queuing at the door for a table, there were a mixture of all ages in the restaurant and it looked extremely popular. Each time I have walked past since my initial visit it has been bustling so there is no doubt in my mind that Yo! Sushi made a great decision by opening a branch in Leamington Spa. We will definitely be visiting again as a family and will be using the takeaway service very soon.
Disclamier: All food consumed during our visit was complimentary, our thoughts and feelings about the visit are honest and impartial.
We first visited The Moorings 2.5 years ago when I was contemplating moving to 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. Grandpa Gourmand swears this wasn’t pre-planned but I’m not so sure.
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.
The first time we visited The Moorings Grandpa 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 Grandpa 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 Grandpa 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.
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.
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 Grandpa 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.
We have visited The Fat Pug in Leamington Spa on a few occasions now and it never fails to disappoint. The surroundings make you feel at home, the staff are friendly and the portion sizes are great – what more could you want?
I just love the little touches like mini milk bottle to hold the milk for your drinks, Jammy dodger biscuits with your coffee and fresh brewed coffee in a mug rather than a teeny tiny cup.
Grandpa Gourmand thought it would be rude not to try the Fat Pug Breakfast (£7.50) and it didn’t disappoint. We have waxed lyrical about our love of local butcher Aubrey Allen so you can imagine Grandpa Gourmand’s delight that the two sausages in his frying pan were from our favourite butcher. I have a hatred of plum tomatoes unless they are being used to make a pasta sauce, unlike me Grandpa Gourmand just loves plum tomatoes with his breakfast so the Fat Pug ticked yet another of Grandpa Gourmand’s boxes. Not everyone likes black pudding but Grandpa Gourmand loves it especially a big fat slice of it which was another box ticked – in fact nothing on the breakfast disappointed including the huge slice of freshly cut bread.
I ordered the Veggie Pug breakfast (£7.00) which like Grandpa Gourmand’s meat filled pan was filled to the brim with delicious food. I love scrambled egg especially when it is laced with salted butter, this was a mammoth portion of scrambled egg so much so that it filled half of the pan. I’m a bit of a picky person when it comes to liking things a certain way and I do often have a bit of a problem with baked beans when they touch other food, had the beans been in the pan and touching the egg I would have been a bit put off (I’m strange like that) so you can imagine my delight to find that my beans were in a separate ramekin. I was so full after eating this that I skipped lunch which NEVER happens.
Bread costs very little, everyone knows this and it really annoys me when places charge extra for toast. When you buy a hot drink at the Fat Pug you can have FREE toast, it’s not supermarket value bread either it’s delicious fresh bread – breakfast providers please take note, it’s the little things like this that make a huge difference.
Would we go back to the Fat Pug? Damn right we would in fact we have been back since sampling this breakfast and have also visited the sister pub The Royal Pug which is equally great.
You can find the Fat Pug on Guys Cliffe Road, Leamington Spa