Timoney’s, Oakwood, Leeds

More breakfast reviews, I’m afraid.

Timoney’s is a lovely little cafe in North Leeds on a parade of shops in Oakwood not far from Roundhay Park and conveniently down the road from the office.

We’re often in there and it’s an incredibly friendly little place. The people that run it are lovely and they can never do enough for you (mum and two daughters, one Australian). In terms of service they really do go the extra mile and if I was reviewing on service alone, it would be 10/10 every time.

I’d left the office keys at home so I drifted down to sit in the sun and have some breakfast. I ordered a bacon and egg sandwich on white along with a ‘flat white’ aussie style coffee. Both perfect.

Not even the semi-caustic U2 feature in the Guardian could spoil this little moment of perfection in an otherwise trying week.

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Apologies again for the half eaten food again, I forgot to whip out the camera til halfway through!

The breakfast quest continues

Sufficiently inspired by my outrageously successful breakfast visit to Harvey Nichols, G dcided to join me for the latest instalment of my relentless search for the very best breakfast experience Leeds (and its environs) can offer.

This week: City Bar and Grill.

Occupying a great location in city square and if the weather is fine, there’s not many better places to dine alfresco in the city centre. Alas, this Sunday’s drizzle forced us indoors which to be honest is no bad thing as I think it’s one of the most handsome dining rooms in Leeds. When it’s packed with people, the big, clattery space delivers lots of atmosphere. On a Sunday though, there was chilled out ambience with a scattering of diners – by no means empty.

We settled into a table for two and both ordered full english breakfasts, tea, coffee, water and bloody marys. Service was slick and friendly and soon the food and beverages were arriving. The bloody marys seemed to have the bar staff flummoxed though and we saw them consulting a manual to see how to make them! We assume that their normally excellent mixologist was off duty and as a result the cocktails weren’t bad – but they just weren’t a patch on the HN version.

As the breakfasts arrived it was immediately clear that the kitchen had made the schoolboy error of overcooking the poached eggs – they were rock hard. I think is always a good measure of a kitchen if it can deliver perfectly wobbly, runny poached eggs time after time – then they know what they’re doing. All else was pretty good to honest. The bacon had been griddled and we decided it would have been better fried, but the sausage and black pudding was good quality and we thought the sauces brought to the table without asking was a nice touch.

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(Apologies for the half eaten food pic – I forgot to take a shot such was my enthusiasm to get stuck in!!)

Coffee was Illy and was excellent and G’s twinings breakfast tea was declared on the money. Including tip it came to £40 for two of us and although this definitely wasn’t a budget excursion, we concluded that we’ve eaten a lot worse but equally eaten a lot better for the price.

So, although the breakfast at City Bar and Grill is at a similar price point to Harvey Nichols the overall quality at HN is better.  The portions at CB&G were substantially larger and we certainly felt like we’d been fed and had relatively good value. I would certainly recommend on this basis, but if you’re thinking of pushing the boat out a little, then HN or Anthony’s still take some beating.

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Next breakfast review will feature a more modest outlay – any suggestions where we might find a ‘proper’ working mans breakfast in or around the city?

Hog roast planning evening

We decided a few weeks ago that we would attempt another hog roast in the summer months, so last night we held a planning meeting where we could work out who’s doing what in terms of logistics, ensuring we have even division of labour and crucially, how many bread buns we will need.

Hosted by D&G, we spent a remarkably dry evening in the garden and the food came couryesy of Pat, Tony and Tess who called at Aagrah on their way back from the Bradford City friendly. A word on the indian takeaway – superb. It was absolutely head and shoulders above the average takeaway – they have really got their act together at the new place on the Leeds/Bradford border. The chilli king pawn balti was to die for (thanks to G for the recommendation) and the lamb chops sublime (I could have eaten a dozen of them). Everyone else made happy noises so all was good.

On to the business of the evening and ably chaired by G, we managed to sort out all the practicalities for next Saturday’s roast and miss the nightly exodus of 82 bats from D&G’s belfry. We’re hoping they’ll do the honours next weekend.

We’re looking into the technical possibility of having a live webcam for the hog roast next weekend, so watch this space!

Chino Latino, Leeds, 23-07-09

A very loveley afternoon/evening was spent with my dear friend AKCoppi. We met at Restaurant Bar and Grill and had a Mojito which set us up for the Mojito challenge…Watching cocktails been mixed is a fascinating business but I always find myself wanting to tell…sorry.. advise bar mixologists? how to make a decent Mojito….Anyway..our 2nd M was at Harvey Nichols, very tasty but too much ice…3rd in HN was spot on and not made by the same guy as the 2nd….funny how the same ingredients mixed differently can give such a different taste….

Eventually at 6.15ish we made it to Chino Latino, we were welcomed by friendly staff who informed us that on Wednesdays between 6-7pm they provide free canapes and drinks!!!!!(wine and beer)…Yipee, the little chicken wing things were fab as were the tempura battered vegetables and the 2 glasses of wine!!

At 7pm we were shown to our table, no starters required, I ordered blackened cod with Jasmine rice and AKC opted for the steak cooked on hot rocks and a portion of noodles….the food was delicious and our final Mojito went down extremely well….Dessert was shared..described as a fresh exotic fruit selection with white chocolate dipping sauce, we could not resist ..a bit of a let down ….as it was not very exotic, a few strawberries, watermelon and mango..but it was served with choc sauce so who cares!

Anyway, the Mojito challenge on this occasion was won by the 2nd in Harvey Nichols but is probably something we should continue……..

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D.

Cornwall July 2009

Every year Pat, Tony, Tess and Dawn get to St. Agnes in Cornwall and every other year Chester and I tag along, this year Jenny and Rob also joined in. The drive to Cornwall can be difficult sometimes but all 3 cars did pretty well this year. Pat, Tony and Tess went down a day earlier than the rest of us so when we decided to have a traditional 1st stop at Padstow and get the ferry across the estuary to Rock for breakfast at the Blue Tomato they travelled back up the coast to join us. 

The Blue Tomato is a fancy Cafe/Restaurant which does food all day long in a very relaxed Cornish Surfing kind of way. Dawn, Pat and Tony had Toast and Porridge, Jenny and I had Smoked Salmon with scrambled eggs with Rob and Tess opting for the full Cornish Breakfast. The price worked out with drinks o around £15 per head and it was well worth it! The view across to Padstow is amazing with lots of activity in the waters at The Blue Tomato is very popular.

The weather all week was very mixed so we were either walking in the sun along the beautiful Cornish Cliffs or on the beach playing boules(Rob is the current champion but I must add by only a single point from G….) or we were in some hostelry, not a bad way to spend a week.

Two spots in St Agnes that need a special mention for good value and atmosphere are the St Agnes Hotel and the Tap House also in St Agnes. The St Agnes hotel is referred to by us as The Stagness and is a pub with rooms, the pub is very traditional and as a good mixture of locals and regular tourists like us. The beer is always good and the wine list is very reasonable, the food is good standard home made fare, Rob and Tony both agreed the Stagness Aggie Burger was very good but I must say the fresh mackerel fillets I had were excellent.

The Tap House is more contemporary with wooden floors and a little decked area which makes people spill out on to the street. The Cornish Rattler(Cider) was a favourite drink with the fellas thanks to Rob’s suggestion but I must add that at 7.5%  it can be interesting………. The food we had this time was very good and tremendous value, particular mention has to got the mixed mezze platter with meats, seafood, olives, breads etc as well as the Singapore spicy noodles, nachos with everything(guacamole, sour cream, cheese, salsa, re fried beans(many Cornish pubs do Nachos and I reckon they all do them better than most places elsewhere for some reason perhaps it’s a surfer staple?)). Seafood linguine, Lemon sole, rib-eye steaks and pizza were all very good and at approx £40 per head all in, great atmosphere we will be back again.

We had a good Chinese meal in St Agnes but the name of the restaurant escapes me, I’m sure one of the others will add to comments.img_1267_1

 

 

 

 

 

Finer dining was had by Pat, Tony, Tess, Dawn and I at Fifteen in Watergate Bay. We went along for lunch and started with  round of drinks that included a mojito for D which was good but I had a “GT” which was Fifteen’s own spin on a G&T, can’t remember the twist but it was excellent.

Food wise the girls and I shared the Fifteen antipasto plate for three which was very good and more than ample for 4. Tony had the monkfish wrapped in pancetta and although as usual the dish was very well presented Tony was disappointed and felt the monkfish my have been under cooked.

Mains were a mixed bag, Tess had Pollock and was happy, D and I think Pat had the Rib-eye steaks and were very impressed. However Tony and I had Lamb, both dishes were well overcooked, Tony sent his back and I tried to salvage mine but in the end also returned it to the kitchen. The Manager was very apologetic, agreed with our assessment and even offered to replace every main course dish so we could eat together but as the girls had already tucked in we declined his offer.

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As far a desserts are concerned we shared a plate of cheeses which was very good. As it was lunch we only had one bottle of wine and 4 separate glasses between us. With the 2 offending Lamb dishes taken off the menu the bill came to round £50 per head which is a minimum standard for this type of establishment and despite this experience we will go back as previously we have not had any issues.

Fifteen behind us our next gastronomic experience was to a restaurant called Odds which is near Cubert. The restaurant is aptly named because as you arrive in the car park the only visible building is what looks like a small wooden posh tourist information shop. However talk bout being pleasantly surprised, as one enters and walks down the curved stairway you enter a stunning Eco-friendly wood and glass large room with spectacular views across moonscape moorland and out to sea, it has to be seen to be appreciated!

Odds is owned and run by a local farmer with almost all the produce sourced from his family’s farms or locally. The service was very friendly and the wine list was interesting and good value. The menu is quite simple but there is something for everybody. The quality of the dishes that were served was exceptional and I had to try Lamb(the proprietor had been told of my earlier experience at Fifteen and said if it was not good he would have to kick his brothers backside as the lambs were reared on his farm just a few miles away) no need to worry though because the Lamb was perfect. Other dishes included scallops,beef bourguignon,seabass and lemon sole.However the best was yet to come as Rob’s Cheesecake was “as good as he’s ever had”, my Pannacotta was “as good as I’ve ever had” Jenny had a crepe filled with strawberries icecream and clotted cream. Dawn and Pat both had liqueur coffees, we’ll have to have a rematch next year!!

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 Finally the day of Dawn’s birthday. The day was a washout as it rained all day and despite driving to Helston(nothing special)  then on to Praa Sands(Tony visited it once in his youth…) all you can say is nice beach Tony! !!!we ended up at a favourite Globetroffers haunt in Porthtowan yes you guessed it the Blue Bar. A couple of rounds didn’t’ quite make the sun shine but it did make us feel better. Once showered and changed we walked to 500 yards from our cottages in driving rain to Schooners Cafe Restaurant in Trevaunance Cove. Wet but undimmed we started with a glass or two of Champagne overlooking this beautiful cove and were mesmerised by the stunning stormy sea smashing on the rocks. Schooners is a very relaxed beach establishment that has been around a few years serving fresh seafood from a blackboard menu as well some more traditional simple menu dishes. We spotted some people tucking into a superb platter of lobster and lots of other sea delicacies but as with their paella it had t ordered 24 hours in advance. We were warned that if any particular seafood was required it is best to order as it can run out, which is what had happened with the mussels.

Starters included peeled prawns served with a peculiar thyme sorbet which didn’t really work but Tony and I had the fresh sardines which were the best I’ve had in England and I have to say were almost as good as Portugal.

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Mains well what can I say, the best Bouillabaisse even better than the ones consumed in France by a country mile!! Seafood ragout with Pasta according to Jenny was magnificent.The steaks were pretty good aswell.

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Desserts were  fabulous too but we can’t remember what they were because of the copious amounts of champagne already consumed. A  walk back home, you guessed it in the rain, all extremely impressed and happy. This is a big recommend to the Globetroffers.

Lastly I have to mention a special little favourite of the Gobetroffers and two visits were made, THE Chapel Porth beach hut. Yes the Bacon and Mushroom sandwiches are the best, yes the onion soup in a paper cup is the best and yes the Hedgehog Ice Creams are magic particularly after the fabulous 3 mile hike over the stunning cliffs to get there.

Cheers

 

G D and T

Cape Sea Grille – Harwich Port

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Another of our Cape Cod dining experiences, but first we need to set the scene. We had spent the day whale watching departing from the colourful ‘Provincetown’ and the weather at sea had not been kind with plenty of rain. We returned to the ‘Captains House Inn’ at Chatham (review later) at around 20.00 without any dinner plans and asked at reception for some recommendations. We  were amazed at the number of restaurants that closed their kitchens to new diners on or before 21.00. We were left with two recommendations and chose the Cape Sea Grill which assured us their was no problem with us arriving at 21.00. On the Cape dinner is definitely taken earlier rather than later.

Situated in a 19th century sea captain’s home just steps from the water’s edge, off Route 28 in Harwich Port the Cape Sea Grille restaurant has a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. On arrival we were greeted warmly and shown to our table at this time the restaurant was quite busy with a nice buzz. As the night and the courses went by we were the last diners left in the restaurant when we were joined at our table by Doug Ramler the chef/proprietor.

Unfortunately I did not have my camera or phone available for pictures so apologies for the lack of our own photos and relying on the web site for visual details. Checkout the current menu’s and details of the Cape Sea Grille using this link.

Back to the meal, our appetiser was a Crispy Duck Confit with stuffed Swiss chard purse, roasted beets and a red wine glace which was presented and cooked beautifully. Neil and Jean both chose the Grilled Centre Cut Filet Mignon served with a toasted almond-blue cheese compound butter, seared potato cake, sautéed spinach and oven roasted tomato-caramelized onion pan sauce which was praised highly. Me and Linda both chose from the specials menu and opted for sea bass which again was presented and cooked to a high standard. When our shared deserts arrived Doug joined us from the kitchen and we enjoyed his company and stories for 20 to 30 minutes. Doug worked in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to combine his love of cooking and skiing and trained in Colorado.

We had a great night at the Cape Sea Grille and as mentioned in another post Doug also pointed us in the direction of the Straight Wharfe restaurant on Nantucket another Cape gem. The genuine interest Doug showed in our enjoyment of the evening and his cooking/travel stories added to the occasion and we would highly recommend the Cape Sea Grille and would love to return some day.

J&L.

Cath and Matthew’s Wedding at East Riddlesdon Hall 10th July 2009

D and I were invited to the wedding of Cath who is the daughter of our very dear friend Maggie. We hadn’t been to East Riddlesden Hall before so were very surprised that in the middle of Keighley is this little heavenly sanctuary complete with pond, beautiful gardens and spiritual old halls(East Riddlesden Hall is a National Trust property and is licensed to hold civil ceremonies). 

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The wedding ceremony was designed by Cath and Matthew and was truly unique and the whole day was possibly the most joyous we have been to!  The food was very good and service spot on which for a big event can be a challenge. Special mention has to go to the most unusual wedding dessert ever, an assiette of fruit brulee served on a spoon, chocolate cup and a fruit trifle  served in a shot glass.

Thanks Cath and Matthew.

G&D