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London - place to eat

What is the Chinese food like in NZ? If it is good it would be a shame to have so many Chinese meals in London, and it would be better to have more meals which will give you the 'essence' of London. If it isn't very good in NZ, then I would advise you to search this board for Chinese places - London, along with other parts of the UK, now has a fair few excellent places serving Sichuan food and other regions.

As for Indian/Pakistani food, I agree with posters here who advise you to avoid Brick Lane places, and opt for Tayyabs, Café Spice Namaste or Needoo. These are all near to Brick Lane, so you could have a walk around the area to get a feel for it before eating elsewhere. Gram Bangla (on Brick Lane) has been highly recommended on here by J Fores, but it sounds pretty 'hard core' and I don't think it is the kind of place I would recommend for people new to London and to Indian/Pakistani food. You can find lots more info by searching on here though, and can decide for yourself.

Other people have recommended gastro pubs, and they are generally a good reflection of the British food scene and St John's would be worth a try. Near there is Vinoteca which is a great place - informal wine bar with good (sometimes very rich) food.

There are good Malaysian places in London but I'm assuming (maybe wrongly) that there will be good options in NZ.

On the night you arrive in Kings Cross, you could do worse than heading up to Exmouth Market - it's walkable if you are not carrying loads of stuff, but a taxi wouldn't break the bank. Again, search this board for recommendations on that street - Moro (excellent Spanish and N. African influenced food) would be my first choice, but you would need to book. There are other decent options there as well as the original gastro pub, The Eagle.

1 day ago
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Vegetable side dish/salad in France??

It does depend a bit on the place. I've often found that when we order a menu of the day the plat is meat and potatoes/rice/pasta with either no veg at all or just a garnish - a salad leaf or something. Entrees often include a salad of some type, so people wanting veg will order that. It's similar when we eat at French people's houses - the veg element of a meal tends to be in the entree, or maybe a salad after the main course or even with the cheese.

Sep 14, 2014
Theresa in France

Free range chicken - green area in the breast!

I'd already posted that link above - thanks though

Sep 05, 2014
Theresa in General Topics

Free range chicken - green area in the breast!

Well, yes, it is gross, but I'm British, and I live in Britain, so the FDA isn't very relevant. But I genuinely believe there are good chicken farmers, raising free range chickens, who are not treating their birds badly, but are having this problem - so there needs to be more research. There must be a reason why factory farmed birds are less likely to get this DPM thingy - i.e. they can't move ...

Aug 29, 2014
Theresa in General Topics

Free range chicken - green area in the breast!

I rang the farm I bought them from again today, and spoke to one of the family. I noticed from their website that they don't have chickens on their farm, and she said that they get them from another supplier.

When I explained what it was about, she was horrified - I did say that, as the 'normal' meat is still edible, I wasn't seeking compensation (although she was insisting that they would give me other meat to the value of what I paid for the chickens).

I did say that they should check with their suppliers though, as it seems that chickens bred to have unnaturally large breasts are more likely to get DPM, and that their suppliers may be using dodgy breeds or pumping their chickens full of stuff to increase breast growth. Or at the very least, their chickens may be being put under sustained stress, which some think can also cause the same problem.

She was great, and I said I would take the offending part of the muscle (now frozen) to the next market so that they could show the supplier.

Aug 29, 2014
Theresa in General Topics

Getting hold of Asian ingredients online from UK

I don't think there will be any "local Indian markets" in Dorset! Probably the nearest shop would be in Southampton or something, but even there it might be difficult to find one selling a good range of Asian produce. Supermarkets - even in Dorset - generally sell a decent selection of spices, but it would be difficult to get curry leaves - fresh or dry.

Aug 29, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Free range chicken - green area in the breast!

That sounds grim - I hadn't read anywhere that it causes fatal systemic poisoning - but you sound like you know what you're talking about - and this is all new to me! How do you know that?

I know that I am not very impressed by their lack of response to my message (both to their daughter and on their voicemail), so while I have cut out the green bits and will eat the chicken, I won't be hurrying back to their stall...

I will definitely ring them again tomorrow.

Aug 27, 2014
Theresa in General Topics

Free range chicken - green area in the breast!

No - I left a message, but will ring again tonight or tomorrow.

The things I've read seem to all agree that it is caused by big chickens flapping their wings too much and that it isn't bruising (which you get a lot of with factory farm chickens), but is caused by the blood supply not reaching the inside of the breast. It seems that this can happen if:
- people are not good at handling them when they are going to slaughter/being slaughtered, so they flap their wings through distress - this can damage the blood supply and therefore the muscle
- the chickens are bred to have enlarged breasts, and flapping wings becomes a problem because of their size.

They also say that the reason factory farmed chickens don't get this is because they are either slaughtered very young or because they have no space to move properly, let alone flap their wings.

The jury is still out about whether it is linked to bad handling, breeding or just free range chickens being generally much bigger even if they are not deliberately bred to have big breasts!

That's a slightly confused lay person's summary of what I have read ...

Aug 26, 2014
Theresa in General Topics

Free range chicken - green area in the breast!

Thanks for that, PSRaT. I googled Deep Pectoral Myopathy and it came up with this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/568500

It's interesting, but everyone maintains that the meat is safe to eat and it's usually associated with larger free range chickens rather than small ones produced on factory farms.

Aug 25, 2014
Theresa in General Topics

Free range chicken - green area in the breast!

I really don't know what to make of the chickens I bought the other day. They are huge free range ones I got at the farmers market (7.5 lb including giblets), and they smell fine. But when I was cutting one of them up (still raw) there was a large area of the inner breast (that mini fillet on the inside near the bone)which was green, and also had the texture of cooked meat. It's really odd - it's only on one side, and it doesn't smell bad.

I have just cut up the other one, and while there is no green area, on one side there is a small brown patch which looks similar as it is also the texture of cooked meat. I have tried to get hold of the farm, but had no joy yet - any ideas what this might be? Do I need to throw the whole bird out?

Aug 25, 2014
Theresa in General Topics

Simple lunch or tapas in Girona province

Gracias!

Jul 24, 2014
Theresa in Spain/Portugal

Simple lunch or tapas in Girona province

Thanks Gastrocar - I'm not sure how 38 and 60 euro menus suit our need for 'cheap/casual/low end' ! :o), but the Can Roca idea is a really good one.

I've had a look at the info that's available out there, and I can't find any detail on their opening hours - beyond the fact that they open for lunch Monday-Friday. Do you know what time they open at lunch time? We could do with being able to eat earlyish - at about 1pm - but in Spain that's often too early. And do you know if we would need to book?

Thanks for the tip!

Jul 24, 2014
Theresa in Spain/Portugal

Simple lunch or tapas in Girona province

I've searched the boards, but can't find anything for this area other than recommendations for very high end stuff!

We will be travelling up from Barcelona airport to France and want to stop somewhere in Spain for lunch - preferably accessible from the motorway (the A7?) and between Girona and the border.

Does anyone know of any places which will do a good traditional lunch and/or tapas? Or at least a village or town which looks promising for us to take a chance. We're after cheap/casual/low end, but good food!

Jul 23, 2014
Theresa in Spain/Portugal

New Malaysian and Middle Eastern/North African in south Liverpool

Bizarre - I just had to edit my post, because my tablet changed the word nasi to Nazi ...!

Jun 13, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

New Malaysian and Middle Eastern/North African in south Liverpool

I went back again this week. We went for the nasi lemak again - very good - and a fish laksa, which was excellent. They obviously only use the cheapest ingredients protein-wise, so there was no fancy fish in this, just some dried/tinned fish with a strong taste, but together with the hot and sour flavours it was spot on.

We also got a beef rending and plain rice - this had obviously been cooked for hours, so the meat (again a very cheap cut) was very tender and had a thick sauce clinging to it. One or two large bits of fat or gristle, but still very good. All this came to £16.

I'm not an expert in Malaysian food per se, but I cook other Asian foods a lot and I really think this is the real deal - I just worry that their use of less popular cuts and very bony, sometimes chewy, meat may put off some people. I really want them to survive - their attention to detail is great for a lowly chip shop on Lodge Lane! I just wish they had the fish head soup I saw someone eat years ago at Kopi Tiam in London ... it looked great.

Jun 13, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

New Malaysian and Middle Eastern/North African in south Liverpool

No - I haven't noticed it, but sounds worth a try.

Jun 13, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

[Liverpool, Albert Dock] Any reccs?

I think it's been upgraded/rejuvenated in the last few years, so it may be better than the last time you went - it might be worth checking their menu on the website

Jun 08, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

[Liverpool, Albert Dock] Any reccs?

The Albert dock is a bit of a desert, but if you fancy just snacks, then Vinea is a good call - it's basically a wine bar with charcuterie and other stuff, but as you don't drink, it might not suit you. It is a nice independent place in a dock full of chains though.

The Tate café can be quite good, but not cheap.

The Maritime Museum has a restaurant which is supposed to be good, but I've not been - only round the corner from the Tate.

The only other place in the dock I have heard decent reports on, aside from East z East, is Gusto - but it's a chain and I've not been, so can't comment.

Good luck!

Jun 07, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

New Malaysian and Middle Eastern/North African in south Liverpool

I've recently tried two very different places near me in Liverpool.

Lodge Lane is becoming a bit of a takeaway strip these days - one or two of them are worth going to, but most are pretty poor. But our local chippy, at the bottom end of the Lane has recently acquired new owners. For those who don't know Liverpool, the first thing I noticed when coming up here from London 34 years go was that every chippy was run by Chinese people and they all had full Chinese menus (in addition to the usual fish and chips/sausage dinners etc). This was so much the case that the only chippy anyone knew of that didn't serve Chinese food was one on Whitechapel called the "English Chippy"!

Anyway, this chippy is now doing Malaysian food - and it's really rather good! We've only been once, but I managed to give the menu a decent trial. We had:

Malaysian lamb soup - very comforting, lots of flavour and a few pieces of slightly chewy lamb on the bone.

Nasi Lemak - this seemed really authentic, with all the usual ingredients (rice, boiled egg, peanuts, some kind of dried fish, sambal and even a piece of pandan leaf) along with some small pieces of chicken. Lovely all mixed together.

Malaysian chicken curry - really good and just as I'd imagine they make at home. She told me they make all their own spice pastes, and you can tell. I ordered it on the bone, as I always prefer that and did not want to end up with chicken breast - but it is very boney, and although it's probably more authentic like this, the meat wasn't very juicy. But delicious nonetheless.

A noodle dish - Mee Goreng, I think - again, really good flavours and lots of attention to detail (sambal on the side, sprinkles of spring onion etc).

The noodles were a bit over cooked - but it's a chippy for god's sake. They are only just finding their feet, and they still only had one copy of their full menu on about 12 sheets of paper - but really worth a look if you're in the area.

Then last night we went to a new place on Lark Lane - the Medjool Bistro - It says it's food from the Middle East, Turkey and beyond. The menu includes Persian lamb dishes, Egyptian breakfasts, falafel and chicken with apricots - so it seems to stretch from Turkey and Iran, down through the rest of the Middle East and round to tagine country. It's very good value and bring your own wine, which is another bonus.

The food was mostly very good:

Peri peri chicken wings (yet another country represented there!). These were ok, but not special. Lots of parsley and raw garlic spread over them,which I didn't like (I hate too much raw garlic - it makes me feel ill), so I scrapped it off. The other starter was aubergine rolls stuffed with feta and covered with more parsley and garlic - a bit bland, except for the garlic hit.

The main courses were great though Persian Kofte with a really lovely yoghurt sauce and lamb shank cooked with tomatoes and dried lime - this was really good. I have cooked with dried lime before, and I wasn't sure if I liked it - it was very strong. but in this dish the waitress told us that they used whole dried limes in the cooking, so the flavour was still there, but much more subtle - very nice indeed. Both came with dill and barberry rice.

We had a portion of bread, Turkish coffee and a pot of Turkish tea and the bill came to about £36 - what's not to like?

La Telline, Restaurant and Chambre d'Hote, Villaveuve, the Camargue

After a couple of years wanting to try this place, we finally did a couple of weeks ago. Our flight into Nimes that morning meant that we would have time to stop there for lunch before driving further West to our destination in Herault.

What a gorgeous place - we didn't meet the labrador, but we had an excellent lunch and I would love to go back - although our finances won't allow that to happen very often.

The starter of tellines was great - loads of them. My only initial gripe was that I always find aioli too overwhelming - I have a personal dislike of lots of raw garlic as it makes me feel ill. But after asking for a wedge of lemon it completely transformed the dish for me - I enjoyed every last one of them - really lovely.

We both had the fish gratin to follow, which looked very small, but was packed with fish and very filling. It came with wild rice and a bowl of pureed courgette and basil (I think - my memory fails me I ashamed to say).

The house wine - both red and white - are great.

We couldn't manage pudding, so waddled off happily to our car - 100 Euros lighter, so it was expensive, but we loved it. I would love to stay overnight next time - maybe if we have a morning flight back home from Nimes ...

Jun 06, 2014
Theresa in France

Summertime in Lodeve/Montpellier and Surrounding Environs

:o)

Have you tried any of my recommendations? I'd love to have updates - as we only spend a total of about 6 weeks every year in the area, we don't always know if places have gone down hill or even closed down.

Jun 03, 2014
Theresa in France

Yorkshire Dales

That's interesting - will have to give it a go. I agree about the food - I love the way the Northcote team are putting NW food on the map. I wish they would be less clinical in their renovations though - they are designed to within an inch of their lives, with the aim of making them look like the old pubs they used to be, but just making them feel like they are part of a big national chain... I think the few Brunning and Price places I've been to manage to avoid this.

May 29, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Yorkshire Dales

The problem, I think, with Harrogate itself is that it is a strange town which has more places to eat than you would expect because it is popular venue for conferences for political parties and other large institutions - so qulaity is not that great. There is a Betty's Tearoom there, which apparently is good for old fashioned British food and service.

However, you'll be in an area with some rich pickings pub-wise.

The Malt Shovel Inn in Brearton, not far north of Harrogate - haven't been for years, but looks the same and worth checking reviews.

The Angel at Hetton - again, it's ages since I've been, but I believe that they have kept the same formula and 'signature' dishes which make for a really good meal.

Further north on the east edge of the Dales is The Blue Lion in East Witton near Leyburn - somewhere I have always wanted to stay and eat, but never made it.

A bit off your patch maybe, but the Inn at Whitewell near Clitheroe is in a fabulous location and great food - another long-standing favourite. Worth a detour on your journey home maybe.

Ribble Valley Inns have a few places on the edges of the Dales - The Bull at Broughton and the Highwayman Inn are the nearest and also The Three Fishes, a bit further away. They are run by the Northcote Manor people, so they know what they are doing. I'm not overly keen on their corporate approach to renovating their pubs, but they serve some really good Lancashire and Yorkshire food.

One town/village I've just thought of is Askrigg - I seem to remember that there is a really good small restaurant there - it's right in the middle of the Dales and very beautiful, so it's worth a google!

May 29, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

Summertime in Lodeve/Montpellier and Surrounding Environs

There are a couple of threads on here where I have made recommendations for this area, so a search for languedoc threads over the last few years is worth doing, but none of them would be dive-type places - and the cheapest, lowliest bars would be unlikely places for veggie food.

One place I've eaten in twice recently is a cafe in Pezenas - Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots!). It's on the newly semi-pedestrianised road where the Saturday markets are held, and it is a real gem. It is part Salon de The, part cafe, and they serve a small daily-changing menu of main courses and a few desserts (I think). The main meals are a perfect lunch size if you are eating out in the evening and are between 7 and 9 Euros. Really good quality and small scale home-cooking - we had a carpaccio and a spinach and sardine tart (both fab, with decent sized salads which were more than garnishes).

In Lodeve, the best place has always been Le Petit Sommelier - consistently good traditional regional food. Not sure about veggie options though.

There is also another very good place in Lodeve, which has competed with the above for the last few years, which serves lots of fish - I think it's called Terre et Mer.

There are lots of pizza vans about, especially nearer the coast, and they ain't half bad - a decent and very cheap lunch time snack.

May 28, 2014
Theresa in France

First Time in London - Meal Plan Thoughts

They are all places I would love to go to, but would not attempt two meals that special and of that size in a day!

May 09, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

First Visit to London Food Recommends

There's no reason to go to Brick Lane really, but there is a decent market on Sundays (with some interesting food stalls too) and you are only around the corner from Tayyabs and Needoo for very good and very cheap Punjabi food.

Many have started to criticise these two places, but I still think they do much better Indian food than the vast majority of British 'curry houses' - they are particularly good for their tandoori dishes and although people complain about the amount of ghee in some of their dishes, I loved the dry curry and the lamb and spinach. They are both incredible value too.

And isn't one of the good Szechuan restaurants - Gourmet San - just along the road too - five minutes walk from the top end of Brick Lane? I've never been, but always wanted to go - I think people went off it after it was reviewed by the Observer, but it's probably still better than most Szechuan places you'll find.

May 09, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

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... 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