Saturday, February 22, 2014

Winning at Wimpy

The winner of Wimpy 2013 goes to my home town Worthing! This was a total shocker to me as I didn't realise Wimpy had been renovated and is totally unrecognisable from how I remembered it. It's modern, immaculate and extremely welcoming. My first credit goes to the staff who were so friendly, they were attentive from the moment we walked through the door and up until we left. Most of the staff looked like they came straight out of high school and it was pretty refreshing to see service with a smile and not a moody teenager.

Second credit goes to the food, it's a lot better from what I remembered and reasonably priced. My friend and I did the 'Buy one get one free open burger' deal and I chose the Smokey BBQ burger, which is a quarter pounder topped with cheese, onion rings, bacon and BBQ sauce, I then ordered chips and a mango shake. 

Mango shake

Its not often I feel civilised in a fast food chain as usually my food is wrapped in paper and then carried in a brown paper bag, but in Wimpy the food is served on white plates which makes such a difference. The food was good and strong marks on presentation, if its one thing I hate about eating a burger is having to rearrange the toppings to make it consumable. My only negative comes from the mango shake, it was bright green and did not look natural, would be more appealing if it looked less radioactive.

Smokey BBQ burger
Overall I think they've really hit the nail on the head in making Wimpy a friendlier and family focused place. The sterile atmosphere and outdated perception that once overshadowed it has totally gone. Definitely a lot of discipline and hard work gone in to improve this place, I hope they manage to maintain the quality and keep their standards high. This old chain has definitely changed my mind and I'd recommend to all Worthingites to break away from McDonalds and get yourself down to Worthing's Wimpy, deserved winner of 2013.

Friday, February 21, 2014

My Last Hungarian Meal - Gundel

I was so sad when my final day in Budapest approached, but it did mean we got to eat at Gundel, a well established, renowned Hungarian restaurant near Budapest City Park. 

When we entered the foyer we were kindly greeted by several staff who looked like they were going to pounce at our beckon call. They were polite, friendly and very attentive. The foyer walls were filled with respectable awards and a collection of photos of reputable people who experienced the magic from the kitchen of GundelAs we were seated I took a good look around and the restaurant just oozed history, elegance and class. The waiter kindly bought us out a little dish to try. I don't remember what it exactly was but the meat was duck.

For lunch I chose the set menu "Luncheon Temptation" for 6500HUF. This included:

Starter - pike-perch terrine with sage oil and arugula leaves
Main - grilled breast of guinea hen with basil seasoned layered vegetables
Dessert - caramel cake with caramel walnut

The food was outstanding from start to finish. My main was the star of the show, the chicken was cooked to perfection and was flavoured so well. Throughout the meal I appreciated the small details like the elephant moulded butter, the sugar icicle stick and the faultless presentation. I'm glad we made the trip to Gundel

My only negatives is that it was quite expensive and the service was quite slow between the dishes. 

Selection of warm bread and decorative butter
Complimentary dish from the chef
Pike-perch terrine with sage oil and arugula leaves
My friend's vegetarian strudel
Grilled breast of guinea hen with basil seasoned layered vegetables
Caramel cake with caramelised walnut
Mix selection of desserts

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Huzar - Budapest

Huzar was the end product after rummaging through our hotel leaflets looking for a place to eat. The restaurant was only a stone throw away from our hotel and was highly recommended by the staff.

The menu has traditional Hungarian dishes for a reasonable price. I chose the filet mignons of pork medallions coated with bacon and paprika, tomato with new potatoes. The food was good and portion size was decent, although the food and plate did look like it came straight out my aunt's kitchen. A slap on the plate type job.

There was some lovely live classical music being played on the accordion and violin whilst we ate dinner. They even took requests from the customers and serenaded us as we ate until the awkward moment came when the violinist took out his CD and asked if we were interested in purchasing it. I could see in my friend's eye across the table thinking of how to get out of this situation. We politely declined and I could tell how disappointed the man was and he said something to his friend in Hungarian but I heard the word "Angol", which obviously meant English, which made the whole thing more uncomfortable. Luckily by then we had finished our meal and were ready to swiftly move on.

I wouldn't come back to Huzar again, as there are other restaurants in the neighbourhood which were recommended to us that have the potential to be better. 

Filet mignons of pork medallions with new potatoes

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gellert Brasserie - Budapest

The Gellert Brasserie not only it shares its building with the Danubius Hotel but also the famous Gellert Spa, which is well worth a visit. The brasserie is located at the foot of Gellert Hill opposite Liberty Bridge and serves contemporary Hungarian food. 

For lunch I chose oxtail and beef cheeks with grilled quince and parsley bread dumplings. I know there is an unwritten rule where the food on your plate should not be one colour but this had to be one of my favourite meals in Budapest. I have a big love for oxtail but it was the beef cheeks that took my breath away. It had such a unique texture and meat just melted in my mouth, it was so tender you could eat it with a spoon. I was surprised to see a pear on top, but all the ingredients just went so well together, I couldn't get enough of the gravy. I really enjoyed my meal here and thought it was a great place to fuel up before heading to Gellert Spa.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Central Cafe/ Kávéház - Budapest

My friend and I definitely treated ourselves on this holiday, not only with spa days but also dessert days. Central Cafe is a place not to be overlooked, expect to pay a bit more than in your usual Hungarian cafe but this coffee house has an old style Eastern European feel to it with brass lighting hanging down from the high ceilings and a grand clock overhanging on the wall. I enjoyed the ambience here, its a great place to hang out in the late afternoon and let your mind wander.

I sat down with a cafe latte and a flodni shortbread filled with homemade plum jam, poppy seeds and steamed apple. My friend chose to have a cronut filled with jam. For those who don't know what a cronut is, it's a croissant crossed with a donut and it is delicious!

I would recommend Cafe Central, it was a great way to spend a lazy afternoon and plan out the rest of the holiday.

Cronut filled with jam

Friday, February 14, 2014

Gelarto Rosa - Budapest

Before going to Budapest I Google searched places to eat gelato and found Gelarto Rosa, which sits right by St Stephen's Basillica. What drew my attention was how they sculpt the gelato into a shape of a rose. 

The flavours I tried were delicious; mango and strawberry and elderflower. Not only did they make gelato but also sold cakes and cute pieces of chocolate. The gelateria is so cosy and cute, it had a really feminine feel to it.
Entrance to Gelarto Rosa
Variety of flavours
Rose shaped gelato

Lego chocolate

Thursday, February 13, 2014

New York Cafe - Budapest

I spent a couple days in Budapest with my best friend who is a great travel companion as she always manages to find some great eateries and New York Cafe was one of them. The most striking thing about this cafe is the interior, it is just absolutely breathtaking. Everywhere you look just oozes luxury and elegance. 

The menu is made up of different cuisines from Hungarian to Italian. I chose the New York sandwich with home smoked “Mangalica” spare ribs, which came with homemade crisps. The sandwich was filling, but I loved the crisps. It was crunchy and well seasoned, my only annoyance was that a third of the crisps was soggy. As for the drinks I tried the hot chocolate with roasted hazelnut and whipped cream, this I didn't like. It had a really strange after taste.

After a pleasant main my friend and I decided to share a crunchy peanut cake, this was so decadent and rich but worth the calories. I didn't hesitate for a moment. 

I think New York Cafe is definitely worth a visit, especially if you have a sweet tooth. It is on the pricier side, but you get what you pay for. I was impressed by the service and how attentive the waiters were. My highlight would be the eye candy interior and the fact there was a pianist playing us beautiful music as we sipped back on our hot drunks and indulged on cake. 

Incredible interior
Hazelnut hot chocolate with whipped cream 
New York sandwich with home smoked “Mangalica” spare ribs and crisps
Peanut cake

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Bridge House - Paddington

With our netball season finished the team and I decided to catch up over wine and food at The Bridge House in Little Venice. I’ve never ventured on foot towards this side of Paddington before and wish I had during the day because it was so pretty and quaint.
The Bridge House sits beside the canal and was the perfect place to catch up with friends. For dinner I chose the pork and chorizo burger with caramelised red onion and fries. This was delicious, the bun had been lightly toasted and there was a lot of meat in the pork patty. But the star of the show was the caramelised onion topping. It was sweet, rich and complimented the pork so well. The bun to burger ratio was perfect, only it was quite messy to eat with my hands.
The fries came with a creamy chilli mayo, but one peeve was half the fries served were an inch or shorter in length. I prefer when they are longer so you can dip it in the sauce without getting your fingers messy.
Aside from that I would definitely return to The Bridge House, it’s the type of pub you could easily spend a whole afternoon lounging on the sofas in front of the fire. I loved the atmosphere and the staff were really friendly and polite.
Pork and chorizo burger with skinny fries

The Bridge House on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Dim T - London Bridge

I love Oriental food especially coming from a Vietnamese background but I'm yet to find a restaurant which has swept me off my feet and wanting more. I partly blame my mum's cooking, which is at such a high standard and the bar is definitely raised when comparing to other Oriental restaurants, either that or I am visiting the wrong places.

This weekend my friends and I stopped by London Bridge and ate lunch at Dim T. The service was pretty slow considering the restaurant wasn't overly busy. I chose the prawn, peanut and coriander dim sum and chicken curried udon noodles. I really liked the curry sauce in the udon and would have given it full marks if it was spicy. 

Food was pretty average and nothing special to rave about.