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Strange Indian menu - seeking experts perspective!

We finally tried Yukti's last night - but went for a takeaway rather than eating in.

It's in Old Swan, and the place itself is strange - a big modern building with a large car park (for a restaurant anyway) attached. The building is divided into three - a shop (we didn't investigate that at all), a functions 'wing' and the restaurant in the middle. When we arrived there were quite a few young Asians outside - mostly on their way in to the function suite. It doesn't necessarily mean anything food quality-wise, but there isn't a large Indian/Pakistani population in Liverpool - especially not in Old Swan - so we thought this could be a good sign. Inside the restaurant there were about 50/50 white and Asian people eating.

It's smart inside, without being too shiny (which seems to be a trend these days). There was music, but it was quiet, and, when we were there, jazz was playing.

Now for the food. My summary is that it was quite good and I would go back again to explore the menu a bit more.
Starters were Welsh lamb fillet - very tender (although not pink, as I had hoped fillet would be served) and quite spicy (as in hot), but no sign of the advertised pomegranate yoghurt dressing. Potato and onion bhaji were nice enough. Accompanying dressings/dips (yogurt and mint, tamarind one and a mild chilli one) were ok, but not special.

Mains were Goan fish - this was pretty good, with a light coconut-based sauce and nicely cooked cod. I was impressed that despite it being a takeaway (and therefore having to survive a drive home of a few miles and sitting in the oven while we ate our starters) it was still not over cooked when we ate it.

The Lamb bhuna was ok - the lamb again was meltingly tender and the sauce was a good and thick, clinging to the meat. It did taste a bit too much of cloves, and almost over-spiced generally (I'm not talking about being too hot though). Maybe the sauce had been reduced down too much?

The pulao rice was decent - none of the bright reds and oranges you get in many places. The breads just ok.

There's no doubt it's better than your average British curry-house, and the lamb and fish had been cooked perfectly in the main courses. But I'm not sure of Indian "fine dining" - I really enjoy a more home-cooking style - so I want to try more things on the menu before I give a more definitive opinion.

The bill at £32 was reasonable, as we got 25% discount. I don't know if this was because it was takeaway, or if it was a special offer for all customers.

Even though Liverpool-based Chowhounds are a bit thin on the ground, I would love to hear what others think.

Mar 22, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

A wild ride around the countryside...need some suggestions on the sprint to CDG from Nice. We'd appreciate suggestions on any other aspects as well.

I agree with those who think Carcassonne is overrated. However, the view of it from the outside is magical (although the restoration is far from true to its original state ...). I think there are better, more scenic places to stay between the Dordogne and Provence (the Haut Languedoc National Park is amazing), but on the other hand, if you do visit Carcassonne, it is better to be there in the evening and overnight when the day trippers have gone.

If you do go to the Carcassonne area, the Relais de Chantovent in Minerve is worth a stop for lunch.

Other places en route to Provence (perhaps with some minor detours) include:

The Auberge des Gorges de Madale, just off the D908 http://aubergedesgorgesdemadale.jimdo.com/ Set, no-choice menu, outrageously good value, very good food, big portions (too big for me ...).

Les Marroniers, Lamalou les Bains. Amazing value sert lunches and also serve their cheapest menu in the evenings (around 14 Euro).

L'Ocre Rouge, Herepian. Further East on the D908. Very good modern French cuisine. http://www.locrerouge.fr/

L'Ortensia in St Gervais sur Mare. Perfect food, stunning views from the dining room. http://www.restaurant-ortensia.com/

I have recommended most of these before, and those posts will include restaurants in other places in the Languedoc (such as Sete, Nimes, Arles), so it's worth searching the board for other threads.

Mar 08, 2014
Theresa in France

Strange Indian menu - seeking experts perspective!

I've sent the link to you John - so Helen, if you want to know which cottage I booked in Cartmel, you can contact John for it, and he can forward my email on to you. All very complicated... and it may not even be a problem putting the link up on here - I just wasn't sure.

Mar 01, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Cafe de Pearl - Bubble tea on Bold Street, Liverpool

Ooh - will have to check that out. I've always walked past thinking it looked like somewhere not worth going to - but decent Szechuan sounds like something which needs further investigation.

Mar 01, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Strange Indian menu - seeking experts perspective!

Lots of good advice here. I have the same reservations as most of you - it could be really grim. And Ninm - the mad typos are probably a good indication of the quality (or lack of...).

Phil and Harters - you're right - I think I need to take one for the team. And, of course, for Raymond Bland ...

Feb 27, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland
1

Strange Indian menu - seeking experts perspective!

The provenance thing is funny though - they claim that they locally source their ingredients and meat produce, but I'd hardly call Norfolk and Cornwall as local to Liverpool ...

I think his reference to working with Raymond Bland is hilarious - especially in the context of a chef from India working with someone expert in French and British cuisine! I wonder if Raymond would consider that this version of his surname could damage his brand ...?

Feb 27, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Family Trip to Ireland

If you search on the boards for Kinsale, you'll find quite a few reports and recommendations, including mine from nearly four years ago. I'm not sure how useful my stuff will be now, but there are a couple of places in the town which have been around so long that they are almost institutions, so they are probably little changed.

By the way, it would be more useful to tell us what your budget is in Euro or sterling rather than dollars.

Feb 27, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Strange Indian menu - seeking experts perspective!

A new Indian restaurant has opened in Liverpool, and it's good to see that it isn't the usual bog-standard British curry house menu. However, it looks to me like they are trying to do too many things - they are tarting up the food (using terms like "green pepper coulis", "chickpea gateau" and "coriander pesto", probably in an attempt to appeal to the fine dining set (or at least the people who are impressed by this kind of language); and it looks like the menu is a mix of cuisines from all over the country.

I would be interested to know what the Indian food experts on here think of the menu! And would you eat here ...?

http://www.yukti.co.uk/

Feb 27, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

[Cartmel, Cumbria] Pig & Whistle

Just had a look, and can;t see away to send you a private message - am I being dense?

Feb 24, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

[Cartmel, Cumbria] Pig & Whistle

It was a lovely one bed place - not very characterful, but the living area was lovely with a woodburner and decent kitchen bit. They had made really good use of the space - there was plenty of room and it was fun playing house for a weekend. Most places I've looked at will do three night weekends between the half term breaks in October and February. Many will do it even in high season if it's a last minute booking. This was about two mins walk from the Pig.

Not sure about the rules on here, but I'll send you the link if I can do it via your profile...

Feb 24, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

[Cartmel, Cumbria] Rogan & Co.

Yeah - it was reading that that reminded me to put this review up!

Feb 22, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

[Cartmel, Cumbria] Pig & Whistle

After the less than enjoyable Saturday bar-snack lunch, we returned on the Sunday for a late lunch/early evening meal. I like that they serve this all day on sundays - it means you can go for a good long walk and not worry about having to get to the pub for your roast dinner by 2pm for last food orders.

This was a lovely meal - starters of smoked salmon, chicken liver parfait (REALLY good - came with a slightly too sweet chutney), and ham hock terrine (with an overly sweet piccalilly). Sweet pickles and chutneys seem to be a bit of a Rogan thing.

The roast beef was great and properly rare. Good roasties and veg served with it, plus a lovely hot cheesy leek dish served in a little skillet. The pork was good too. We didn't have pudding, but went back to the cottage to finish off the cheese we had bought (having remortgaged our house) at the Cartmel cheese shop the day before. Will definitely go there again - it may have been my best ever roast dinner in a pub/restaurant - if not, it was definitely in my top two or three.

Feb 22, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

[Cartmel, Cumbria] Pig & Whistle

We first went to the Pig and Whistle just over two years ago, before Simon Rogan had taken over operations - we were staying in one of the B&B rooms upstairs.

This time we had booked a cottage for the weekend, and ate at the Pig twice - once for bar snacks, and once for a sunday roast (I'll comment separately on this).

So, on a rainy and cold Saturday lunch time, what better than to have an early lunch by the fire in the Pig and then watch Liverpool demolish Arsenal in the Royal Oak up the road. I was really looking forward to the two of us sharing the short menu of hot snacks as a decent brunch - but the standard was a bit mixed. We ordered everything on the menu:

- fish goujons - good tartare sauce, but fish was a bit dry;
- beer and cheese on toast was good;
- mini ham hock croquettes were disappointing (we had adored the larger versions served to us as an amuse in Rogan and co the night before, so we got two portions of these, but regretted it).
- Something described as 'garlic and thyme fries' - these were honestly horrible. It was mashed potato formed into 'chips' and then fried. Very strange, and the flavour of fresh thyme was way too strong. I hope that was just an experiment ...
- I think there was another dish, but I can't remember what it was.

After reading positive reviews, and having also had a brilliant Sunday lunch there, I have a feeling that we turned up on a bad day - so I'm hoping this isn't a typical experience.

Feb 22, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

[Cartmel, Cumbria] Rogan & Co.

We went to Cartmel for a weekend a couple of weeks ago and ate at Rogan and Co. on the Friday night. It was different from the only other time we've been (more than two years ago), in that it now does food which has moved slightly towards the L'Enclume style, whereas before it was more of a 'normal' modern English bistro style place. Prices were quite a bit higher too.

Overall, it was great, but with one or two misses. The amuses were fab - ham hock croquettes were lovely, with an English mustard emulsion and prawn crackers with something lovely on (can't remember what it was). Both were divine.

Starters were mixed. I ordered a dish with crab, charred cabbage leaves and chicken scratchings. I thought it sounded great, but it was a bit underwhelming, and a real disappointment after the amazing amuses. The crab was a bit bland - not very crabby - and the chicken scratchings tasted stale! It was very odd - there was that unmistakeable flavour of something that has been in a jar a bit too long - so if they do them in advance (maybe once or twice a week?) they should make them more often. The other starter was good - cured pollock with pickled vegetables. Beautiful delicately cold-smoked fish - my only complaint was that the pickles were very sweet - I like a bit more of a lemony zing. Actually, sweet pickles became a bit of a theme over a weekend of Simon Rogan (see my Pig and Whistle review on that thread).

The mains were top notch - a really good lamb dish and an equally good guinea hen one. Each came with winter veg - one with parsnip, the other with celeriac. All perfectly cooked and with very good sauces/gravy.

The pudding I had was ok - I can't remember the details, but it was rhubarb and ice cream, and I think, from what the menu said, I was expecting brioche with brown butter. - which sounded like a brilliant combination of flavours - but it came with a brown butter biscuit, which was a bit disappointing. the cheese selection which my husband ordered was great - all in perfect condition.

So - a very good meal and a decent wine list which doesn't have to break the bank. The staff were lovely too. I'd go again - but there were one or two bum notes.

Feb 22, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Liverpool - Chinese or Indian?

Yesterday I noticed a new (well, I thought it was new - but they have been open for 18 months apparently) Chinese place near the top of Seel St. It's called Mr Chilli, and does mainly Sichuan dishes. We had planned to go to Chilii Chilli, but fancied giving this one a try, as the menu looked the part. But it was really disappointing.

We ordered dan dan noodles, mixed meat hotpot and broccoli. The dan dan noodles were almost a noodle soup - it was tasty enough, with a nice background flavour of peanuts from the oil, but it was nothing like I'd expect the Sichuan classic to taste like (no fermented cabbage in it at all). The hotpot was very hot (with chilli), as you'd expect, but watery and it had no depth of flavour at all - again, there was no evidence of what I thought would be a key ingredient - chilli bean sauce.

We were gutted - we don't get out to eat as much as we used to, as finances are tight, so when we do, we really want it to be good. We should have stayed faithful to Chilli Chilli - that'll learn us.

Having said that, you have to kiss quite a few frogs to find a prince ...

Feb 22, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Sete

I've not been for a couple of years, but Sel et Poivre, 30 rue Révolution is great. It's small and run by a lovely couple - they obviously really care about their food. It's at the far end of Rue du Revolution, away from the touristy part.

Feb 14, 2014
Theresa in France

[Liverpool] Bakchich

Thanks for these updates - I had a second takeaway from there a little while ago and hadn't enjoyed as much as the first, but maybe it was a one off or my mood or something. Will defo go back soon - it's good to see some decent middle eastern food here.

Jan 26, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Worcester/Malvern area - worthy dinners?

If you do go to the Talbot, it may be better to ask if you can eat in the bar - it's a nice old one with a bit of atmosphere and an open fire (but hopefully you won't need that in May...). I've always found the restaurant/dining area a bit soulless - it's a personal thing, and it's still in the old building, but from the photos on the site it looks like it's still the same decor as the last time I went a few years back.

Dec 30, 2013
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Worcester/Malvern area - worthy dinners?

Hi there - hope I'm not too late with this, but there are one or two pubs worth looking at, both off the A44 to the west of Worcester.

The Talbot is on the B4197 and is a pub which has served decent locally-sourced food for much longer than most. I have had some great meals there and some only ok, but it is definitely worth a go if you are thereabouts.

Further west on the A44 (or just off it on a very small road) is the Live and Let Live pub. It's in Bringsty (the address is Bringsty Common) and is a gorgeous old boozer with an open fire. We ate there once, very cold and tired, and I remember feeling like it was the best place to be at the time, but I can't remember what the food was like. From what others say on various websites, it sounds like it's decent quality British pub food. It's along a rough track, so be prepared to drive further than you think you should go!

the-talbot.co.uk
liveandletlive-bringsty.co.uk ‎

Dec 30, 2013
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

London and Cambridge - mother & 18 yr old son - adventurous eaters

If you fancy just a simple lunch, but high quality and in one of the most ancient pubs, try the Queens Head in Newton - a village 6 or 7 miles south of Cambridge, just off the M11.

They only do soup (red or brown) and sandwiches (beef, ham and cheese), but the ingredients are great (and they are served as platters/open sandwiches on a Sunday - not sure why). They may even do smoked salmon ones too. But don't miss the toast and dripping (from the beef they roast everyday).

Dec 06, 2013
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Paris to the Spanish border - Your ideal food itinerary?

I kind of disagree with the people saying that driving from Paris to San Sebastian is madness. If you have four days in each place either side and 3 or 4 days driving between it's really doable so long as you don't want to do sight seeing.

As you seem to want to find country Inn/farm house type places, there wouldn't be all the stress associated with driving into big cities, parking, checking in and out etc.

There is a thread on here about rural chambres d'hotes which would be worth looking at - I saved it, but it seems to have disappeared from my reading list, so I can't give you a link I'm afraid.

In your position, I would aim for the A75 (god's own motorway) as it goes through the best of the scenery in the southern half of the country, then head West towards Toulouse and Biarritz and plan your trip around the places you fancy staying at. It might be that it's worth doing a longish drive at the start, so that you can bypass the more boring bits and do some non-motorway driving on other days.

Dec 06, 2013
Theresa in France

[Liverpool] Seoul Love

Have been meaning to try this place for a while - keep us posted if/when you go back. Are they licensed?

Dec 06, 2013
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Meal of the Year, 2013 - what's yours?

It's been there for about 15 years I think, if that helps. How long has the Manchester one been in business? As they are both above a supermarket, it sounds like they may be related.

Dec 05, 2013
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Boutique hotel/restaurant, Aude or western Herault

I have to say I am a bit biased :o) - I do love the area, and we're really pleased to have that restaurant literally three doors up from our house which is in the old part of the village.

If you decide on St Gervais, let us know where you might go when you are out and about, and I might be able to help you with light lunch recs or with other places where you could eat if you want a change one evening.

Nov 18, 2013
Theresa in France

Boutique hotel/restaurant, Aude or western Herault

St Gervais is a very small village in the mountains, but it's quite easy to get to lots of interesting places, and the immediate surroundings are stunning.

If you like walking, there are loads of walks from the doorstep - from short strolls through to serious mountain walks. There are also lots of very beautiful drives over the mountains of the Espinouse, along the Orb valley going west and south and north east towards Lodeve and the Grands Causses behind. Some of the small roads above the Orb are really high (one even goes pretty much to the top of the Espinouse), so you get great views without having to exert yourself too much!

Interesting places within about an hour include Beziers, Pezenas, Lodeve and Lake Salagou, Roquebrun, and Narbonne. Lodeve and Pezenas both have good markets on Saturdays.

Places a bit further away (between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 hours) are St Guillem le Desert (and you could do a lovely circular drive to get there), Roquefort (for the cheese caves ...), Castre, Montpellier, Sete and villages on the lagoon.

We've just come back from there - but, after writing this, I'm already wanting to be back ...

Nov 18, 2013
Theresa in France

Boutique hotel/restaurant, Aude or western Herault

I've been to L'Ortensia three times now, and it has been perfect each time. I don't know any of the other places though. When you say "within an hour of several interesting destinations", do you mean places to explore, or do you mean other places to eat?

Nov 17, 2013
Theresa in France

London Advice

My first reaction to your list is that I think it's a mistake to have two special meals out everyday for four days - you may have an appetite that can handle this, but I think most people would become jaded very soon. You could end up not enjoying your evening meals as much as you would if you had just had a snack or sandwich for lunch. And afternoon tea is usually enough to see you through until breakfast (although you may need a late-ish snack) so another meal out that night sounds like a nightmare to me!

Nov 01, 2013
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

What do dirt-poor French people eat?

I'm not sure from your post if you're agreeing or disagreeing with me ... :o)

But if you're "dirt poor" the chances are that you are working part time or not at all.

And I have worked full time for most of my life, but have always cooked from scratch - so I know it's possible to organise your life around good but cheap food.

Oct 24, 2013
Theresa in France

What do dirt-poor French people eat?

My main experience of French people who are really poor is in rural areas, so it might be a bit different in the cities. From what I can see, they still cook fresh food, but they either grow it themselves in allotments (sometimes rented, but often shared or belonging to their parents/friends) or get the cheapest stuff from markets/supermarkets. People I know will eat less meat than others and maybe have a plate of ratatouille and bread. They will avoid good cheese, as it's really expensive, but will make tarts and omelettes. If they have meat, it will be very cheap cuts and it will be made to stretch a really long way (e.g. one or two cheap merguez sausages in a vegetable sauce to go over couscous for two people).

I still think their culture is much more orientated around cooking from scratch than the UK is these days, so they will be more likely to be eating healthier food.

Oct 24, 2013
Theresa in France

Some new(ish) places in Liverpool

Enthused by Helen b's spotting of a couple of interesting looking new places and by our long-awaited visit to a fairly new cava and tapas bar, I can give some feedback ...

Neon Jamon is in the Penny Lane part of Allerton, on the strip of shops and restaurants which joins Church road to the end of Smithdown Rd. They are aiming for a bar with food as opposed to a restaurant where you can also have a drink - so they don't take reservations. If there is no table when you get there, and also no room at the bar, they take your mobile number so that you can go for a drink somewhere else and they will ring you when your table is ready. It's a formula that seems to work - it feels funky and welcoming at the same time, and the music is good and not too loud (which I hate).

The food was pretty damn good too. We had jamon iberico, padron peppers and tomato bread first of all - and all were very good. I've had better iberico ham, but it was still good and made even better by the glass of Manzanilla we had with it. We followed these dishes with the pork ribs cooked in sherry, the clams, lamb chops with figs from the specials list and a lovely tomato, watercress, mint and chilli salad. All of these were great. The only (minor) complaints were that the lamb wasn't quite as pink as I would have liked, but were still juicy and gorgeous; and the clams were slightly over cooked - but that could have been because they were sat steaming in their bowl for a little while before we got round to eating them - they came in a delicious garlic, wine and chilli broth though. We finished off with some churros and chocolate (having breakfast before we went to bed was a new one for me ...).

Lovely staff and an enjoyable night - the prices all seemed very reasonable - particularly the cavas and wines by the glass - but as always seems to happen when I am let loose on places like this, it all mounted up to more than I expected - £77 for two of us (£33 of this was alcohol though).

I passed the new Lebanese place on Bold Street today, and went in to get a menu. I couldn't resist getting a lamb schwarma wrap to takeaway, and it was really good - a decent amount of tender lamb, pickled cucumber and turnip, a lovely garlic sauce which didn't overdo the garlic and lots of flat leaf parsley. I'll definitely go again - it's the perfect location for getting a takeaway after going to the pictures at the FACT. The only downside is that they don't have a licence (as you'd expect), and they also don't allow people to bring their own alcohol. They do have some unusual soft drinks on the menu though.

I went into the new Korean place further up the road - Seoul Love - and got a menu. I'm not an expert, but it looks like it's worth a go - some interesting looking dishes.

Oct 12, 2013
Theresa in U.K./Ireland