Monday, 24 November 2008


I have been very lucky in the last 7 days, 2 excellent restaurant meals and a trip to Devon, what more can a girl ask for!

Last Monday we had a new fridge freezer delivered and whilst watiting the specified resting time before restocking, we went out to one of my favourite restaurants for dinner, Bar 163 in Chertsey, Surrey. Oddly quiet in there but I guess Monday is a quiet day!

We started with the most scrummy garlic bread, which was a fresh 1/2 crispy baguette and topped with melted cheese and also a portion of foccacia with oil. They initially brought the wrong dish over with olives and bean dip etc (which I am slowly starting to like, I managed 4 whole green ones!) but they only charged us for the cheaper one, despite eating the majority of it by the time they realized!

For mains I had the special of Pheasant ravaoli with a radiccio, bacon, brie and walnut sauce which was gorgeous, huge pasta pillows and a lush creamy savoury sauce. Somehow I also managed a also delicious cheeseboard for afters and I am very firmly now in the "I love stilton" camp! It also came with a nice creamy brie and a so-so cheddar and lovely caramelized onions and good old jacobs crackers!

During the week I also tried out one of Tesco's newish salad bags with baby herb leaves which made a nice change with coriander and baby spinach, amongst other things in it! I really liked the herbs and will definately buy again.

On Friday I made this Chocca mocca caramel cake from BBC Good Food: to take to Devon (was visiting family) but I'm not sure if would make again. The caramel chunks all sank to the bottom (as I thought they might) and the sponge seemed a little dry, despite the incredibly sweet gooey topping...however it did catch slightly in the oven so that might have been partially at fault.

Saturday night we had a rather indifferent meal at Café Rouge in Exeter, to use up some Tesco meal vouchers. Maybe I am more used to the Esher one which is calm and relaxed with nicely spaced out tables but I felt the Exeter one very cramped and whilst our waitress was sweet, it was her first night which seemed a bit unfair for a new starter, especially being so busy in there. They are apparently changing the menu shortly and as a result very limited offerings of the available steaks, for our two male steak eating diners was not ideal.... My starter of supposed king prawns with tomato salsa was not very exciting and the prawns looked oddly flat and slightly tasteless, our guests French onion soup came out ice cold and had to obviously go back to the kitchen!

We skipped dessert and finished the cake at home, though not before stopping and trying a tangy Elderflower Fizz cocktail in the Exe Shed, near the restaurant. The highlight of the evening though was when I accidentally managed to smash a pint glass picking up a cocktail menu and pour a fresh pint of beer down some poor guy! Luckily he wasn't too angry and we made it out of the bar alive! If you read this, I am so, so sorry!

On Sunday we went to the Puffing Billy, thepuffingbilly a lovely country pub/ restaurant in Exton. The staff were faultless and I really liked how on arrival they took our coats and a drink order then showed us to the table. Shortly after they bought a basket of fresh bread, which came with a little pot of salted butter, which was just the right softeness for spreading.

For mains I chose the steak and ale pie with mash, it was so big I didnt actually manage to finish it! Huge chunks of really good quality beef steak, mushrooms and a delicious gravy, topped with a puff of pastry. The mashed potatoes were lovely and creamy and on the side we also had a dish of red cabbage, carrots and broccoli, which too were perfectly cooked, not too raw and not mushy! Everything was spankingly fresh and tasty which made a really welcome change to the many other pubs that just seem to re-heat Brakes finest.

I couldn't face a whole dessert, despite the tempting offers so I shared a dessert of chocolate brownie pudding with the beloved, which came with clotted cream and a silky butterscotch sauce which perfectly complemented the hot brownie.

Everyone else loved their meals and we will definately be re-visiting in the near future.

Just before heading home also managed a quick visit to Dart's Farm, which is a lovely, if a little expensive farm shop on the outskirts of Exeter. I was very well behaved and only came away with some strawberry liqorice and some sweeties for a friends x-mas gift! However I did try some really good chocolate from the South Devon Chilli farms, my favourite was peppermint which started with a nice minty kick and finished with a little chilli heat. The orange and chilli, plus the coffee bean and chilli were also very yummy!

To finish with spoiled part, I am also going to be at the Good Food show this Thursday in Birmingham and will let you know later in the week how it goes!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you are living the high life, lucky girl!
    PS. I've made that cake too and had the same problems!


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