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[Liverpool, Albert Dock] Any reccs?

Liverpool isn't known for good Italian places - there are a couple of decent-ish ones, but few, if any, really good traditional ones that I know of/have heard of.

I liked the look of Bacaro for a few reasons - it's a sister place of Salt House Tapas, which I love (although so is Hanover St Social, and I didn't rate the food there at all); the small plates allow me to be indecisive and try everything, and the campari/cocktail bar thing also appeals when I fancy a straight from work Friday drink with food. Will report back when I get to try it.

about 5 hours ago
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

[Liverpool, city centre] Lunya

Glad you liked it, John - the owner/guy who runs it is very passionate about it and the food is pretty damn good. I'm not sure what the difference between Catalan tapas and other tapas is though (aside from Catalan produce being the ingredients to what seem like fairly generic tapas), but I could be showing my ignorance here. Having said that, I think padron peppers are very Catalan.

I think Salt House Tapas edges Lunya and they have a similar lunch deal, so next time you need to come to the Pool for a bit of culture ;) you'll have to give it a try.

about 5 hours ago
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

[Liverpool, Albert Dock] Any reccs?

The Tate café is pretty good - though quite expensive. Will have to try their bacon butties.

1 day ago
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

YIKES-Another thread on tipping in france

I know John (Harters) has said in other posts that it is quite common in high end, and some medium level, restaurants, to add a discretionary 10-12% to bills, especially in London. But I very rarely come across a restaurant which does this - even high end ones (I live in Liverpool, but eat in other parts of the country too). When they do, it's usually for large groups or for busy times of year like Christmas.

If this is on the increase, then it seems to me to be a way for restaurants to take less responsibility for paying their staff a living wage. Tips in Britain are/were always about leaving a bit extra for good service - not to pay for the service - these are important distinctions in the whole debate, and that's why I don't like restaurants adding it on, even if it is discretionary.

Nov 24, 2014
Theresa in France

Afternoon tea in Paris

I agree - when I was little, the youngest ones in our very big family had "high tea" for our main evening meal - it was at about 5.30/6pm and we had something like beans on toast or herring roe on toast. The older kids ate with our parents a bit later.

I was born and bred in London and so "tea" just meant the drink, but could also mean bread and butter and maybe biscuits or cake which we sometimes had when we got in from school.

However, now I live up north and it's different - "tea" means the drink, but also the main (only) evening meal for both adults and kids and can be eaten at anytime between 5.30 and 7.30!

Nov 21, 2014
Theresa in France

[Liverpool, Albert Dock] Any reccs?

Update! I've just been into town (something I don't do very often these days) and made an exciting discovery. the Salt House people have opened an Italian "small plates" place the other side of Liverpool One on Castle St - it's called Bacaro, and is a take on the Cicchetti bars in Italy. It looks really good, and if their cooking is as good there as it is in the mother ship, then it will be - so I want to go very soon.

Nov 20, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

[Liverpool, Albert Dock] Any reccs?

Lunya is another good tapas place around the corner from Salt House Tapas. I would always choose the latter over the former, but if the latter is full, the former is pretty damn good too...

Nov 19, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

[Liverpool, Albert Dock] Any reccs?

I'm not sure what kind of lunch you want, but there a few places that spring to mind.

You could try Salt House Tapas, which is handy for where you'll be. They do really good, interesting tapas and there's a good lunch deal too.

A place I haven't tried yet, but which sounds good is Brett & co. It's between Bold St and Renshaw St, so is a bit further away from Liverpool One, but it looks like a nice place for lunch. It's a cross between a bistro and a deli.

On Bold St itself is Bakchich - a very good Lebanese place which is more café than restaurant and which doesn't serve alcohol but apparently has some really interesting soft drinks. Lovely lamb schwarma and tabouleh. There's another newer Lebanese place on Renshaw St, which looks worth a punt.

If none of these hit the spot, I'll try to think of other options.

Nov 19, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

"Tip and Tax not included." A new trick on visitors unfamiliar with Paris restaurants?

Hi John

I don't eat in London often, but, when I do, it tends to be cheap or medium priced places, and I don't think I have ever had a bill with the service charge added onto the price of the meal - are the places you are talking about higher end?

Nov 02, 2014
Theresa in France

"Tip and Tax not included." A new trick on visitors unfamiliar with Paris restaurants?

I think this is an example of the confusion between a "service charge" and a "tip", or "pour boire" in France. Most restaurants in Britain (there maybe some exceptions in London) include service in their bills (and this isn't mentioned - it's just included in the prices). The staff are paid at least minimum wage and there is not the same pressure/expectation to leave a tip as there is in the states. Tips in Britain are regarded as being an acknowledgement of good service, rather than paying for the service, if you get my drift ...

Having said that, the custom is to leave around 10% as a tip, so it is more than in France. But people vary - I know some who don't tip, or who leave very little (rounding up or 5%) and a (very) few who pay more than 10%. There is also the debate about whether a 10% tip should be 10% of the whole bill (including alcohol), or for just the food.

I've known places that add 10% to the bill, but this is generally added for larger parties and/or during the Xmas period. I have rarely seen it added as a matter of course. Whatever the circumstances, if a service charge has been added, I wouldn't leave an additional tip on top.

Nov 02, 2014
Theresa in France

Belgium - Ostend, Diksmuide and Gent

De Vitrine was on my radar, but I knew it was closed on the day we would have been there - I'm sure it's great value for the quality of food, but it would have probably been a too expensive for us - maybe another time.

Oct 31, 2014
Theresa in Europe

Belgium - Ostend, Diksmuide and Gent

Thanks for your suggestions - although they were too late for my trip (I didn't have internet access while there).

We didn't make it to Gent, but I'll keep your points in mind for next time, currycue. We were not planning on visiting Bruges this time, so I'm afraid your recs were in vain RMC. But thanks anyway.

In Ostend, we went to De Stad Kortrijk again, and I still love it. One bad thing was that my husband's steak was very over cooked - they didn't actually ask how we wanted it done, and I forgot to volunteer the information - but I was surprised that it didn't come rare automatically - maybe because we are English they assumed we would want it well done. Good points - the steak was tasty despite this, as was the very fresh whole plaice. The chips are divine - crispy and cooked in dripping. Most of all, I love the atmosphere and the dining room itself.

We went to the Cafe du Parc for the first time - it's under the Hotel du Parc and is very near the casino. I loved it - a beautiful art deco brasserie with all the original features, including the most amazing individual pots for filtered coffee. We had chicken wings to share as a snack (crispy, spicy and delicious) and then fish soup, which I loved - probably not the intensity of a fish soup in a high end restaurant, but really tasty, with pieces of salmon and hake (I think) in it and it came with all the usual ecoutrements of croutons, cheese and rouille. My husband had the house salad of the day - this was great - a green salad with lots of thinly sliced smoked duck breast, a generous slice of brie de meau drizzled with honey, roasted hazelnuts and raisins. It was all excellent value in a lovely dining room and friendly staff.

A place we wanted to try in Ostend was the Enoteca Berebene, but they were closing when we tried to get a table. It looks really good - references to slow food was a good sign, but also when I went in, there were all sorts of interesting looking antipasti and/or contorni on the counter for people to help themselves to and a very short menu which looked great. It's a wine shop which does meals - has anyone ever been?

We went to a family-run brasserie in Diksmuide called De Tapperij. It wasn't the best food, but they were lovely people and we talked to them a fair bit about their current commemorations of the first world war. We found the Belgian people to be really friendly and interesting/interested, and these were no exception. They had produced paper place mats commemorating the start of the fighting there in October 1914 - they had a map of Flanders Fields with images of poppies and soldiers superimposed, and the poem "In Flanders Fields" written down the side - very touching. It was a good night in a place run by a lovely family.

Oct 23, 2014
Theresa in Europe

Belgium - Ostend, Diksmuide and Gent

I posted about a couple of these places two or three years ago, and I'm after more up-to-date info if it's out there. We'll be leaving early this Friday for a three-night weekend based in Ostend, but visiting the other places too.

Last time we were in Ostend, we went to De Stad Kortrijk after a recommendation on this board and loved it, so we will go back again. I can't see any more info on other places on this board since then - does anyone know of anywhere? Particularly for a light lunch and another light/low key meal or takeaway on a Sunday night.

Last time in Diksmuide we went to De Mane, which was ok, but I wondered if there was somewhere else worth trying. We'll be there on a Saturday night - again, nothing fancy required - just informal but decent food which won't break the bank.

And finally, we are off to Ghent/Gent for the day (on a Sunday). I've done a fair bit of research and come up with t'Vosken and t'Klokhuys as two of the better looking options. Others are either closed on a Sunday or look too expensive for us. Etablissement Gent gets very mixed reviews and they charge for the use of their toilets, which puts me off a bit, but I'd be interested in any updates.

Oct 14, 2014
Theresa in Europe

[Liverpool] Seoul Love

We finally got to try this place last night, but the reason we went in was because I had confused your description of this with the review you wrote on Café de Pearl (it was months ago when I read them, so I was relying on my memory ...). So I was asking them for the Sichuan menu, and they really didn't know what I was on about. My confusion between the two places was compounded by the fact that the sign outside does say they serve Korean and Chinese food ...

Anyway, we ended up ordering a few things, and it was pretty good. Lamb skewers were very good and while the lamb was cooked more than I would normally like, but it was tasty, tender and spicy. The chicken wing skewer was good too - and very spicy. We ordered "belly pork slice" which came as thin slices on a hot plate with onion, and iceberg lettuce to wrap it in with a sweetish paste and a chilli, cumin and nut condiment too spread/sprinkle over. It was tasty, and improved with the addition of a little soy sauce, but the pork was quite tough, which was a shame - my jaws felt like they had been put through their paces by the end. And finally we had the spicy squid - this was good and spicy with tender squid, but a bit sweet for my taste.

We tried the Korean tea, which I didn't really like, had three beers between us and ordered two portions of rice. The bill came to £43. It was quite a lot of food, but we ate everything except for some of the rice. The beers cost £8-8.50 in total, so £34-35 wasn't bad value at all for two people.

Oct 03, 2014
Theresa in U.K./Ireland

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.

Sep 21, 2014
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