Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ming Wah - Weymouth

I don't tend to eat out at many Chinese/ Far Eastern influenced restaurants the reason being is that I'm Vietnamese and no one cooks like my mum. However today my boyfriend had a craving for Chinese food and we found a small traditional looking restaurant down the high street in Weymouth called Ming Wah. The Chinese new year decorations were up with the large dragon costumes hidden in the corner, ready for tomorrow.

The restaurant was really busy considering the town was quiet, it seemed like everyone was in here. We didn't make a reservation but were luck enough to get a table. The service was great throughout the evening, the staff were very attentive and I enjoyed the low lit restaurant. We picked the set menu "F" which was £19.90 each, which consisted of:

- Fried Crispy Seaweed
- Authentic Malaysian Chicken Satay
- Barbecued Spare Ribs
- Crispy Aromatic Duck (1/4 for every 2 persons)
- King Prawn in Garlic and Chilli Sauce
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Served with Yung Chow Fried Rice

There was so much food between us that it was a big struggle when it came to the last few dishes. Our eyes were definitely bigger than our belly and it didn't help when a customer gave every table in the restaurant a generous serving of profiteroles (It was her 50th birthday and she had about 200 profiteroles stacked up as a cake). It was a very lovely gesture.

Anyway I had a great experience at Ming Wah, the food was tasty and I enjoyed the ambience throughout the restaurant. There was a mixed crowd of people from older generations to families, couples and young groups of friends, which personally I think is a good sign of a well established restaurant.

BBQ spare ribs and satay chicken
Crispy duck and pancakes
Sweet and sour chicken, rice, king prawn in garlic and chilli

Potters Cafe Bistro Restaurant

I love eating at local restaurants when I am away from home and I usually find that the food tends to be at a higher quality in comparison to your usual food chains. Anyway whilst travelling through Dorchester I came across a quaint little cafe off the main street called Potters Cafe. This cafe/bistro looked so homely inside, you could tell that it was lived in before. The old fireplace was still there, which reached from the ground floor to the first floor, which really gave the place character. I liked the fact they hung paintings on the walls, which I assume were local artists that could be sold to customers.

My boyfriend and I both selected meals from their special menu, which were toasted ciabatta with brie, aubergine and homemade chutney and tempura battered plaice with chips and tartare sauce. The food was great, it was all so fresh and just how I would expect good country food to be like and the portions were very generous for the price we paid. This is what I like about exploring, its when you find hidden gems like this cafe and enjoy good honest food. 

Ciabatta with brie and aubergine
Battered plaice with chips
Side view of Potters Cafe

Monday, February 11, 2013

Big Easy - Chelsea

I was tempted to just write about Big Easy Bar BQ and Crab Shack and leave out the photos altogether but I thought there is no harm in posting the photos. The reason why the photos are so terribly awful (used iphone and HTC) is that the lighting is so dimly lit in the basement of the restaurant, I had to use flash, which I hate.

Anyway I was out with four friends and we stumbled across Big Easy on King Street near Sloane Square. The outside looked flashy and as it was pouring with rain, we didn't hesitate and walked straight into the restaurant. The waitress was very kind and seated us at a reserved table, in which we had to leave by 8.30pm (which was just under 2 hours). She had experienced times when people refused to give up the table, but we gave her our promise and thanks that we would be gone by then.

The restaurant was so busy, the waitress took us downstairs and it felt a bit claustrophobic. This was pretty much the basement of the restaurant, it had no windows, the lights were dimly lit and the ceilings were very low, nonetheless each and every table was occupied. They really did try to make the most of all the floor space, as there was hardly any space to walk to our table without brushing someone's coat to the floor. Once we were seated we had a very helpful waitress who went through the menu with us, I decided on the Bar-B-Q Smoked Baby Back Ribs, which were slow smoked ribs with their special barbecue sauce with coleslaw and beans. As a side I also ordered their "Half and Half" of onion rings and steak house fries. 

My belly was so hungry up to this point, there was no necessary reason for me to have ordered the onion rings and fries. The whole meal reminded me of being in America and served a massive platter of food. They even gave you a plastic bib to help you dig in without ruining your clothes. The food was good, the ribs were cooked well and the meat was easy to pull from the bone. The downside is that I don't think the pork ribs are marinated in anything, it looks and tastes like they just drown it in bbq sauce and serve it to you. 

I also think the portion of coleslaw was overkill, it would have been nicer to have half the amount but provide a small corn on cob or something. My overall meal experience was ok, although I'm not sure if that was a true reflection of how it actually was, as at this point I was so hungry I could have eaten anything.

Baby rack of ribs with coleslaw and beans
Half and half, onion rings and fries

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

Recently I've been trying to eat out at places where they offer discount vouchers like Groupon, Timeout or Living Social etc and it just so happened that Voucher Cloud had a deal for two Capital burgers for £10 at Gourmet Burger Kitchen. I've never eaten at this chain but have heard positive things from friends. 

So we met up after a busy day at work and headed to the Spitalfields chain near Liverpool Station. Upon arrival the staff were friendly and took us to our tables. I loved the free monkey nuts you could scoop from the sack and snack on as you waited for your order. 

We of course used the voucher for Capital burgers and had chunky fries as a side. The chips were thick and crispy, just how I like them and the ketchup bottle added novelty value for being the shape of a tomato. The Capital burger was a beef burger with lettuce, onion, tomato, cheese and their special sauce, which I don't remember the name. The burger was good, not sure that I would have paid full price but they cooked it exactly how I ordered it (medium) and it was tender and juicy. My only negative was my burger bun was a bit over toasted. Overall I had a good experience, not sure if I would rush to come here again though.

Chunky chips
Capital burger

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tokyo Diner

You may have noticed that I have hardly blogged this month and the reason being is that I'm trying to eat out less and maintain a healthy diet. I booked a holiday in April and that is my target to have slimmed down by. Nonetheless, it doesn't mean I have to completely stop dining out.

Last night my boyfriend and I had planned to eat at Nandos, as he had been craving this for 3 weeks. As we walked towards the entrance he shocks me by telling me that he wants chicken teriyaki and gyozas. For those who don't know my boyfriend, he hadn't eaten lasagne, onion rings or tuna until he was 24. He is the "stick to what you know" type, so to have him say this really gobsmacked me. Anyway he then decisively ushered me towards the tube and we headed to China Town to see where we could eat. 

I had walked past Tokyo Diner many times and was always curious to know what it was like. The exterior tried to give off a traditional Japanese restaurant aura with its wooden framed windows and outdoor hangings. Inside it definitely reminded me of Japan, it was small, cramped and all the staff we saw spoke Japanese.

The staff were friendly and kept topping up our complimentary Japanese tea. After looking at the menu my boyfriend surprisingly ended up choosing chicken katsu curry, I went for the tonkatsu. My biggest disappointment of the evening was that my food came out 10/15 minutes after my boyfriend received his. The staff did apologise but when my tonkatsu finally arrived it was nothing special, I was left a bit disappointed and only finished my meal, as I was so hungry.

Would I come here again? My answer is sadly no. I think there are better places around London, which offer a cheaper menu and just as decent menu.

Chicken katsu curry
Rating: 4.25
Service: 3/10
Presentation: 5/10
Taste: 5/10
Quality: 4/10