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Category: Food

Gay Hussar

Two Saturday’s ago we took a trip to Hungarian restaurant Gay Hussar based on a work colleague’s recommendation.

Apart from a goulash cooked for us back in November, we hadn’t tried Hungarian food before so I was quite excited… but then I do get excited about anything to do with food so that isn’t really a surprise!

This was the Saturday it snowed so we had a wet and windy walk up from Charing Cross, making the arrival into the sumptuous surrounds of Gay Hussar all the more welcome.

The restaurant was established in 1953 by Victor Sassie and has been a Soho staple since then with politicians and journalists making it one of their regular haunts. In the main dining room one wall is full of framed caricatures by the cartoonist Martin Rowson and the other is mirrored.

The decor is fairly old fashioned and has the air of a drinking man’s club but it is warm and friendly at the same time. There are also two small dining rooms upstairs and everything feels a bit cramped and wonky but this only adds to the restaurant’s charm.

The main dining area has cushioned panelled benches running along both walls and we were seated in one by the bar where the table was moved out so we could sit down and then was moved back once we sat down. Procedure was repeated when we needed the loo!

Service was pretty good however, and as we were sat in the corner I could have a good nosy at our fellow diners, something I do often and rather too obviously I am told…


Chilis feature on each table


Liba-Sertés Pástétom – Goose and Pork Pate

“Nice but not amazing”


Kapros-Gombás Halgaluska – Fish Dumplings with a Creamy Dill and Mushroom Sauce

I liked the mushrooms and the sauce best in this dish as I found the rice and dumplings a little claggy and boring.


Loved the dinner set


Cheesy shot showing the width of Gay Hussar and the framed caricatures


Resztelt Máj – Duck Liver Sauted with Onions, Bacon and Paprika

He loves liver so he was happy.


Borjúpörkölt Galuskával – Veal Goulash with Galuska

I found this a bit odd to eat at first as the Hungarian gnocchi was thick and the shapes all looked a bit wormy… but I did enjoy it and the veal was nice… but it wasn’t amazing. Bit disappointed.


Dobos Torta – Layered Gateau with Caramel Top

Can’t really mess the desserts up and this was a good one. Far too rich for me, perfect for him.


Makos Retes – Poppy Seed Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream

They had run out of this one but offered me apple strudel instead. I happen to LOVE apple strudel so this was fine by me! It was also completely delicious and very good value.


Leslie Phillips was ‘ere


Outside in the snow

So, we had a nice dinner and the service was good but the starters and mains were only so so and I think I enjoyed the decor more. I have paid less for better food (the total bill was £95 for three courses with two drinks apiece), and I don’t think we would go back but I am glad we came.

It was also nice to be in a restaurant with a bit of history and I did feel it could very easily be the scene of many a political piss up (I possibly spent too many hours reading Private Eye when I was younger), but the old biographies on the shelves by the bar were fairly dusty and it all felt a bit quaint, not the best restaurant recommendation…

Read Toby Young’s 2010 Independent review for another opinion, but it isn’t much better than mine.

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#GreenwichTweetUp 3 at The Big Red Pizza Bus

Another Greenwich Tweet Up was had last Saturday and this time we went to Deptford to experience The Big Red which is a BUS, with PIZZA. Awesome.

We had a smaller crowd this time but still managed to ensnare welcome another newbie, Helen of West Greenwich.

In attendance were:

helstweets
mtcrowe
rikp
samcoles
supajonesy


The Big Red was launched last June and I first heard of it through our local Dame shortly after it opened. They serve pizzas, salad, tapas, starters and various type of booze (including Meantime beer, yay for local products!).

The menu isn’t particularly extensive but extra pizza toppings are available, and I was offered a few more cocktails to choose from when I didn’t fancy the three on offer (I had a few Tequila Sunrises in the end, £3, yum!). Their website also lists upcoming additions to the menu so do ask if you fancy something slightly different, they can only say no.

We had dough balls with garlic butter, garlic bread and bread, olives and dipping oil to start and these were served quickly and were a lovely, light start to the meal. We all ordered pizzas, a few pepperonis, a flamenco and a seaside, and these were also served quickly and were hot on arrival.

As a red onion lover I particularly enjoyed this topping on my pepperoni, and the mozzarella balls were lovely too. The pizza was good, if a little undercooked for my liking, another minute in the oven would haven crisped up the base more, but the flavours were good and all the pizzas arrived within a minute or so, excellent timing.


This lot were happy too.

A few of us had desserts and this was Sam’s tiramasu, official verdict: “really good, delicious”. My chocolate fudge cake with cream was also excellent, lovely and moist and HUGE.


Outside area, a wee bit nippy for January but the bus itself was lovely and warm.


The gang.

I asked if we were allowed to sit in the driver’s seat… and the answer was yes. YAY!!!










We all had a great time on the bus and enjoyed the food and drink. Service was friendly and quick and we each spent about £27 including food, a number of drinks each and tip. And! We got a lift home in Richard’s flash car! Woo hoo!

More photos of the pizza fun can be found here.

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Bianco 43 Delivery

Pizza options in East Greenwich are somewhat limited so I was quite excited to hear that our newest independent pizzeria Bianco 43 were expanding into my bit of Greenwich. Bianco 43 opened on Greenwich Church Street last year and seems to do a good trade, hopefully beating Pizza Express for the best pizzeria in central Greenwich!

Bianco 43 Delivery opened on Lassell Street the Monday just gone and we ordered dinner from them on Friday night. I wanted to order soon after their opening to see what the delivery service would be like on their first weekend night.

We ordered at 8.30pm and the food arrived at 9.25pm, we were told to expect a 45 minute wait so I was a little disappointed about the long wait in comparison to other other takeaways locally. However, I have heard that they only have one delivery driver at moment so I guess a long wait is to be expected until the takeaway is more established.


Nice packaging


Arancini, fried rice balls filled with minced meat, tomato sauce and mozzarella, £2.90


Focaccia garlic bread, £4.90


Please hold pizza flat. 🙂


4 Stagioni, tomatoes sauce, artichokes, cooked ham, sausages and mozzarella, £10.90

So, was the food hot on arrival? Not really, warm would be a better description. But, all the flavours were good and the food is miles better than any Dominos/Pizza Go Go takeaway so this is easily improved with quicker delivery.

The takeaway menu is different and varied from your bog standard pizza menu, I had never heard of arancini before but it was pretty good and padded out the meal nicely. The toppings and the chunky pieces of mozzarella were lovely and it was nice to have a well seasoned garlic bread with actual chunks of garlic on it.

We spent 18.70 in total and if we had just got a 12″ pizza it would have only been £10.90, much cheaper than a local rival.

Bianco 43 Delivery is a welcome addition to the local area and I look forward to our next order, but we will collect this time, not just to speed up delivery, but to also see the wood fired oven and our pizza being made.

Here’s hoping Bianco 43 Delivery is a permanent East Greenwich fixture.

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Christmas Day Lunch at Bella Vista

This Christmas my boyfriend and I invited his parents to Greenwich for a few days. As this was our first Christmas together at our home we decided to minimise everyone’s stress and go out for Christmas lunch.

So everyone could drink we looked about locally and decided that Blackheath was the place to be. I also fancied a good Christmas Day stroll up and down Maze Hill and across the heath because I am a nutter!

We first looked at going to Chapters in Blackheath as we had heard good things and as it is featured in the Michelin Guide as a Bib Gourmand recommended restaurant. Unfortunately it was already booked up for the 25th by the first week of November so we asked if Chapters could recommend somewhere else to go.

Chapters recommended Bella Vista, an Italian around the corner where Head Chef Alex Tyndall was formerly the Sous Chef at Chapters. Bella Vista had a table for four at 3.15pm so I said yes please!

This turned about to be an excellent second choice as the food, service and value for money was excellent. Cost for the three course dinner was £45 each plus a 12.5% service charge. Including quite a few drinks and two decent bottles of wine we spent £300 between the four of us.

Whilst some might baulk at £75 each for one dinner I would say that we had a very relaxed and enjoyable time, got to dress up in our glad rags and didn’t have to do any washing up! AND we didn’t argue once!

On Christmas Day that is…


Sam’s ‘Vitello Tonnato, Sliced Veal, Tuna Sauce, Fried Capers’


Myself and the in-laws couldn’t resist the ‘Baked Tiger Prawns With Garlic & Herbs’. I LOVE PRAWNS


Three of us had ‘Italian Style Roast Turkey With All The Trimmings’, well cooked and moist turkey with excellent stuffing and vegetables


The turkey dish came with a lovely side dish of brussels sprouts and pancetta


Sam had ‘Roasted Sea Bass, Crispy Potato, Anchovy & Caper Dressing’, it was gorgeous and came with calamari too


Sam’s mum had ‘Christmas Pudding, Brandy Sauce & Brandy Butter’ whilst the men opted for Tiramisu (the poorly focused photo has been binned, I blame him and the booze)


I had ‘Vanilla Pannacotta, Amarene Cherry, Panettone Crostino’ and it was frigging awesome!!! It was stunning, mmm raisins

This was followed my coffee and mince pies and a few silly photos outside the restaurant with us dancing about. They are on Google+ if you want to see…


Thank you Bella Vista for a lovely Christmas Day! Merry Christmas from Jem, Cinny, Lara and Sam!*

 

*A bit late of course!

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Nevada Street Deli

Slightly an odd post this one, but as the nights’ get colder and Christmas gets closer, I start thinking about the year nearly gone and this encourages a scour through old photos.

Tonight’s find is a folder from the 14th of May when him and I went to the Nevada Street Deli for breakfast one Saturday morning. We had been intending to go for a while and as my birthday is the 11th of May this was a good excuse. We had a lovely stroll through the park from our place by Maze Hill also, such a lovely day.

However, the Nevada Street Deli is no more as very shortly after our visit the deli became Heaps Sausages and we still haven’t been to see the change six months later! Oops!

I have heard nothing but good about Martin Heap and his bangers so I am sure it is well worth a trip. What I would like to say is that we had a splendid breakfast that day in May and I hope the menu hasn’t changed too much.

I don’t quite understand the relationship between the deli and Heaps, can someone explain? The change from the deli to Heaps was being advertised in the shop that day so I would assume the change is a positive one!

Anyway, the food was ace, and as I never got round to putting up these photos I am glad to now.








Not the largest deli in the world, but it was perfectly formed


Lovely utensil jar, I do like a nice one


The deli’s version of Gravadlax for him


Heaven on earth for me, mushrooms, bacon and and gorgeous bread, plus a pot of tea for two


Lovely looking sarnies, lovely presentation


Lovely spot too!

So if you fancy a sausage or two, pop down to Heaps. I think we might have to take a trip to stock up for Christmas now! Mmmmmm sausages!

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Gurkha’s Inn

The boyfriend and I both love Gurkha’s Inn on Colomb Street in East Greenwich. We have been getting takeaways and eating in the restaurant for about six months now, even getting food once a week during the summer! It’s that good!

I always get the lamb jalfrezi and he loves the butter chicken. Poppadoms and a chutney come free with a meal and we always get a garlic naan too. At some point in the future we will explore the menu further, just not yet!

My lamb is always soft and tender, and the sauce is amazingly infused with flavour and is full of onion and yellow and green peppers to chow down. I tend to spend most of the meal shovelling the veg and sauce down my throat and then I remember to eat the meat! The poppadoms are also a delight and no Indian meal is complete without a naan to scoop up the lovely sauce.

The butter chicken is intensely sweet and thick and luxurious. I cannot eat much myself but he always wolfs it down in ten minutes so it must be good!
 

We have also enjoyed eating in the restaurant as the atmosphere is relaxing and the service isn’t pushy, just attentive. A full bar is available, and Gurkha’s Inn is just off Trafalgar Road next door to the Iceland. Takeaway orders also receive a 10% discount if collected.

It is a wonderful local restaurant, go eat!

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Trafalgar Cafe

If you fancy a full English Breakfast and you live in Greenwich, look no further than the Trafalgar Cafe at 98 Trafalagar Road. If you live in west Greenwich you will have to enter the scary environs of east Greenwich, but have no fear, the ‘trip’ is worth it.


The cafe was refurbished last year and is fresh and clean with a nice green paint job inside and out. The menu is varied, and the four times I have been there the food has been well cooked and the service quick and friendly. Each of the breakfast set menus cost about £5.50 and come with tea or coffee and two slices of lovely thick bread. Good value for money says I.

My only criticism is that there are too many tables inside, making the seating area seem squashed and a bit uncomfortable. Taking out one row of tables would give everyone plenty of space to sit comfortably and this way the tables could be filled properly. You often see people looking through the window wanting to come in but turning away from the cafe as there doesn’t seem to be enough space.

Here a few shots from two recent trips to the cafe:


Set Menu A, so much bacon (yum yum yum), sausages are a bit average, excellent fried egg, good farty beans


Two lovely thick slices of bread with Set Menu A


Set menus include tea or coffee


Set Menu C, really good mushrooms, lovely tommies, more stupendous bacon and lovely egg

Go on, have that naughty breakfast this weekend, you won’t regret it. Go for a walk down to the river afterwards to walk off the calories, that will make you feel less guilty, promise.

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Rivington Grill

I went to the Rivington Grill in Greenwich for dinner on Thursday night as my boyfriend and I have decided to start visiting restaurants in our local area more regularly. We like our expensive Michelin starred restaurants but one or twice a year is the limit if we want to stay in the black. During March the restaurant had been running a 30% offer for certain lunch and dinner services so I booked a table last weekend just in time to take advantage of the offer. The Rivington is part of restaurant group Caprice Holdings and counts The Ivy, J. Sheeky and the original Rivington in Shoreditch among its sister restaurants. It is also featured in the 2010 London Michelin guide, and it was this recommendation and its location that promoted me to book a table for two.

The interior of the restaurant has large floor to ceiling windows, cream walls, dark wooden tables, bar and staircase, and the room is lit with ceiling lamps giving the room a soft glow. I felt relaxed and at ease upon entry and we were shown to a nicely sized table near the window so we could see the street outside and the long bar inside. The menus are on printed A3 sheets that are pre-laid so there was no faffing with menus and a wine list etc. We were then given a fresh crusty loaf served on an old wooden board – no side plates taking up table space, simple presentation.

Our orders were taken and we were told about the specials as well as being directed to the large boards above the bar showing this information, catch of the day was Monkfish. We went for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and sardines for starters, and then scallops and lamp chop for mains (really enjoyed all the different fish options on the menu, fits in well with the local area). The Rivington has a large well-stocked bar and also does cocktail specials, a big tick in my book. I went for a Cherry Daiquiri and the other half went for a Meantime beer. Meantime are a local brewing company on the Peninsular, a nice local touch, and another thumbs up from me.

Service was quick but not rushed, my eggs arrived perfectly scrambled with no indication that they were sat under a heat lamp slowly turning to rubber – very pleased. The smoked salmon was lovely and the sardines were light and tasty with a nice kick of flavour from the chilli, garlic, shallots and lemon juice. There was a nice break between courses, plenty of time for the boyfriend to order a glass of house red that he very much enjoyed.

The lamb was ordered rare and rare it was, possibly blue in parts. Our normal trick is to order our meat rare because we always expect it to be cooked more than requested – but not at The Rivington. Rare is rare, be warned if you also do this trick in other establishments! Saying this, the lamb, kidneys and bubble and squeak were enjoyed immensely. My scallops were cooked just right, as above, no rubbery taste and the bacon was full of flavour so it contrasted well with the delicate taste of the scallops. The mash was very rich and creamy and delicious, I had to push myself to eat it all. I really enjoyed the presentation, bed of mash, scallop in the middle and then bacon bits on top. Fun to eat, and very filling when you consider you are ‘only’ eating four scallops.

We felt stuffed so we skipped dessert. The desserts on the menu looked lovely and filling but we knew when to resist. I would have ordered the Bramley apple and cinnamon crumble with custard. Next time I will as I fully recommend The Rivington as a good local restaurant that serves well-cooked and simple food. It is not a ‘cheap’ restaurant but you won’t pay much more than the Gourmet Burger King/Pizza Express/Café Rouge chains that dominate Greenwich and that serve boring over-priced uninteresting dishes. The atmosphere is also lovely and the staff are attentive and informative. The bar area also serves food and looks like a good spot for a nice post-work pint/cocktail. Must get out at Greenwich station one night and head down.

Photos of the dishes are below…


Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs from the ‘On Toast’ part of the menu


Cornish sardines with chilli, garlic, shallots and lemon


Lyme Bay scallops with bacon and hedgerow garlic on a bed of creamy mash


Barnsley lamb chop with kidneys and bubble and squeak


Satisfied customer

P.S. South-east London blogger throughlygood posted a review of the brand-spanking new Bianco 43 yesterday (so new Google has not caught up yet). Looks like the Taste of India didn’t last, and its replacement is a good ‘un. Support your local area! :).

………

I know it is only October but…

…I am excited about Christmas already!

This year it will be even better as my boyfriend and I now live together in our own flat. We are planning to buy a real Christmas tree and will get to decorate it together. Last year I bought a rubbish pop-up tinsel tree from Sainsburys so anything is an improvement. He hasn’t promised to put any presents under it for me though. Bah humbug.

Co-ordination is also required to visit each set of parents, this is a task that requires organisation at least two months in advance to save money on train tickets and to get a slot in everyone’s social calendar. You know you are getting old when Christmas is planned in October. Days off work were also booked in September, rock and roll.

Being anally organised is a plus in any relationship. It means the boyfriend can be a lazy so-and-so and you can take command of the relationship. This is a win win situation for myself, and I get my way most of the time. What more could a girl ask for?

Back to Christmas, we are saving for a goose this year. We also have permission from my in-laws to do the Christmas dinner. Woo! So exciting, we are going to do lots of research and cook all sorts of exciting side dishes as well as the one and only side dish pigs-in-blankets. Yum yum yum. We will do our best to not argue. Promise.

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