Saturday, 31 May 2014

Review: Superdrug face masks


Purifying cucumber peel-off mask
Enriched with natural cucumber and lime extracts, Superdrug’s purifying cucumber peel-off mask soothes tired, dull skin and gently lifts away dirt and impurities to reveal a newly revitalised and radiant complexion.
I was a fan of the Cooling cucumber clay mask, so had high expectations of this variety. I was, however, disappointed and I won’t be buying this particular mask again. The mixture was horribly sticky and just as hard to apply to the face, as it was to remove it from the sachet. As I’ve found with a lot of Superdrug masks, it took longer to dry than expected and as result, wouldn’t peel off well. My skin did feel clean and clear once it was removed, but there was no cooling sensation – despite the cucumber. As the mixture was practically clear, it was impossible to see if it had been applied evenly and it dried inconsistently. I’ll definitely be sticking to the clay masks from now on, I think.
Apricot exfoliating mask
A wonderful mix of crushed walnut shell and apricot seeds that gently remove dead skin cells to reveal a d smoother, brighter complexion. Delicately blended with nourishing apricot kernel oil and moisturising aloe vera, this leaves skin feeling luxuriously soft and silky.
While I do try and exfoliate twice a week, I’ve never actually combined that treatment with a face mask. The apricot exfoliating mask smelt lush and compared to previous masks I’ve tried, found it so much easier to apply – probably due to the consistency of the mixture. This wasn’t runny or sticky, easy to remove from the sachet and just as easy to apply to the face. I applied in circular motions to feel the benefits of the scrub – and have to admit, my skin felt so much cleaner and clearer than the average mask. It dried within 10 minutes and only used half the pack. Once I removed, patted dry and moisturised my skin felt so soft. I would definitely purchase this again and recommend it.
Which Superdrug mask is your favourite?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Impulse buy: Lush


Recently when I went to London, I found myself waiting for the train at Liverpool Street for 10 minutes. Rather than get on the train, I decided to quickly run in to Lush and see how much I could get in such a short amount of time. I ended up spending £10 exactly on two products – both ones I’d never tried before but heard good things from bloggers and friends.


Brightside; bubble bar (£4.50)
What Lush say:
Hop in the bath with one of these uplifting bubble bars. Sicilian mandarin, bergamot oil and tangerine essential oils to help you look on the bright side of life. Its jazzy bright colour will create magnificent orange bath water and the sunny citrus fragrance is sure to leave you jolly and refreshed.
What I say:
There is no bath better than a Lush bath and I absolutely love their bubble bars. I’ve only used this one once and I already think it’s my favourite – the colour and fragrance are so summery! Even though they cost £4.50, they last for ages as you cut off a little piece every bath time – it’s such an effective product. The orange smell isn’t artificial, like you get with some fruit-fragrance products and my bath actually reminded me of a Seville orange grove – lush indeed! It even leaves my skin soft.


Bubblegum; lip scrub (£5.50)
What Lush say:
Prep your lips with a buff and polish. Let the exfoliating caster sugar and softening jojoba oil scrub away dead skin and infuse moisture to rejuvenate your smile. Bubblegum lip scrub won’t leave any greasy residue, just a sweet candy taste that you’ll enjoy licking off.
What I say:
I love this product for the smell alone. The only way I can describe it is like Snow Fairy, sickly sweet like candy floss. This makes eating the sugar (’cos let’s face it, that’s all it is) from the pot very tempting. The texture is a bit like damp sand, a little strange but you soon get used to it – and you only need a small amount, I literally brush my finger along the top. I know it’s grim, as you’re technically removing dirt and dead skin, but I can’t help but lick it the excess off my lips. This product stays in my work bag, I can’t get enough of it; it’s the perfect base for lipstick or lacquer as well.
What are your favourite Lush products?

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Graze: 03.02.14


In this box, I got:
  • Wholegrain banoffee dippers
  • Eleanor’s apple crumble
  • Bakewell tart
  • Honeycomb flapjack
I could not wait to try Graze’s latest collection of new snacks, plus a favourite of mine – so everything in this box was requested with ‘send soon’.
I’d had Eleanor’s apple crumble before and absolutely loved it – it’s definitely in my Graze top three, so I just had to have it again. The cinnamon honeyed almonds are amazing and the cinnamon is only subtle. Team that with apple and raisins and it’s a definite winner – and it taste exactly like apple crumble, just minus the calories! If only they could replicate my other favourite dessert, crème brûlée...
As soon as I saw the wholegrain banoffee dippers, I knew they’d receive an instant LOVE and I had to try them straight away. True to form, this punnet didn’t disappoint and I think it’s stolen the dipping crown from the summer berry compote. It’s a shame there are only three shortbread fingers as it’s so moreish and there’s plenty of toffee dipping sauce.
Bakewell tart is a dry mix of cranberries, almonds and raisins. I mixed mine with natural yogurt for a healthy dessert. While I liked it, I don’t think I could eat it plain as it’d be far too dry. I would have it again though – with yogurt.
The honeycomb flapjack was another new snack which instantly got a LOVE rating. It wasn’t too sweet considering the golden syrup, honeycomb and chocolate drizzle. I love the flapjacks because they come in three finger servings and although the nutritional information is based on a punnet, it’s easy enough to work out a third or two, should you not wish to eat it all. If I’m trying to be good, I’ll have one piece at 10, another at 3 and take the third home for my mum or dad; although most of the time, I can’t help but eat it all in one go.
Follow this link to receive three complimentary boxes – remember you can pick any snacks you like and can also cancel at any time. There are so many new treats to try – and you can even search by ingredients you like!

Friday, 23 May 2014

City hopping: Barcelona


I stayed near to Plaça de Catalunya, which was lovely in the evening – it wasn’t so busy as in the daytime and the weather was a lot cooler, making it easier to walk around. Like any other Spanish square, there were fountains and monuments, so it was an ideal meeting point. It was nice to relax and it helped that were many bars and restaurants to dive into
I was lucky enough to go to a Barcelona game while in the city and actually got to go to the Nou Camp twice! The match was on Saturday evening and I then did the stadium tour on the Monday. On match day, there were over 81,000 people – but it really didn’t feel that busy at all and the metro service was quick (so much better than London!)
Imo, the best way to see the city is to the hop on the open top bus. You can buy one day or two day tickets and get on and off as many times as you like – you can even change which route you wish to take and there are three options. I chose the blue route which was the longest and had most stops. I’d definitely recommend researching the places you want to go to, particularly to see when they’re open and to pre-book tickets if you have a vague idea when you’re going to visit. There is a queue at some stops though and sometimes you have to wait longer if you want the top deck
No trip to Barcelona is complete without seeing La Sagrada Família (The Holy Family), the basilica designed by Antonio Gaudi. Despite construction commencing in 1882, the building is still unfinished but that adds to the charm. It’s just as impressive on the inside as it is from the outside. The detailing of the columns and roof of the nave are truly spectacular, but I loved the stained glass windows best
Park Güell is another Gaudi masterpiece and is perfect for a serene couple of hours... in fact, I could easily spend all day there, with a picnic and bottle of sangria! There are two zones: there’s a fee for the main park, while the surrounding grounds are free and vast. As I hadn’t booked, I only visited the free zone – I recommend booking as they only release something like 300 tickets every hour; it’s incredibly popular
The blue tram is a great way to travel and although the transport dates back to 1901, the journey is smooth and very enjoyable. Going through a residential area initially, you end up 1,726m higher and the views when you reach the top are breathtaking. There are a couple of bars and the one I went to offered 270o views – I happily sat and watched the world go by for half an hour. You can even take the cable car and go higher
A visit to the Royal Palace (Palau Reial de Pedralbes) culminated in sitting in the grounds for hours and listening to the birds. It was so peaceful, I ended up visiting twice! The palace used to house the royal family, which ended up being a museum, but this was closed when I went. The gardens were huge, with joggers, people enjoying picnics and nature enthusiasts. The bamboo gardens were my favourite and the benches sheltered by the canopy were an ideal spot
A walk down Las Ramblas meant looking at all the little shops and stalls, taking free samples and stopping for an ice cream (watermelon and kiwi – wow!).  Of course when walking, you need to keep an eye on your bag, particularly as it’s always so busy. There wasn’t as much entertainment as I remembered from the last time I went, but these days you need a permit and the area is pretty well policed. The gold lady was my favourite as she wasn’t as weird or scary as some of the other buskers. There were a lot of street artists, some more impressive than others
After getting to the end, we were at the port, where the cruise ships dock when in the city. The Christopher Columbus monument is also at this point and is popular spot as well as a good meeting place. The column was built in honour of his first voyage to the Americas. One of my favourite things about Barcelona is all the monuments and statues, which have unique stories from history; it’s all so interesting

Monday, 19 May 2014

Afternoon tea: Flemings Hotel


Over a month ago, I booked afternoon tea at Flemings Hotel in Mayfair – thanks to Emerald Street who had a number of 2-for-1 deals on their website, which meant we only paid £12.50 (plus service charge) for. Down Half Moon Street, it wasn’t until we were outside that I realised I had eaten at Tiger Green, the brasserie at the Hilton opposite.
I booked for 1:30pm, which for me is a good time. I’d much rather substitute lunch than turn up at 3pm and be totally full up before we even get started. Upon arrival, we were told to go down straight through the foyer and down the stairs where the waiting staff will take us to the table. We were the first couple to arrive, but by the time we started eating, there were a couple of other tables occupied – luckily it wasn’t busy.
The decor was a lot more modern than I was expecting, particularly given the Georgian-style exterior. There was a lot of velvet, including velvet wallpaper with kitsch stripes. There was plenty of space between tables; however, the tables were far too small, considering space was needed for the cake stand, teapots, strainers, plates and cutlery. I felt as though every time I moved, something would get knocked over and because of this, felt awkward and cramped.
We  began by looking at the tea menu, which included a number of varieties I had never heard of before. I opted for Assam and as Laura did the same, we shared a pot. As it was just leaves in the pot, there was a need for a tea strainer and the staff were very attentive in refilling the pot every so often. I don’t think I’ve ever drank so much tea in such a short space of time! The waiter then brought over the three-tier stand and thoughtfully went through every delight. Then it was time to dig in!
We began with the sandwiches – in four different kinds of bread and varying fillings. There was an egg mayonnaise and watercress sandwich on rye, a cream cheese and cucumber on oat – I found both of these rather bland. Of course there was a traditional ham and English mustard on white, while my favourite was the smoked salmon and cream cheese on beetroot bread, which was a bright purple. I have to admit, in comparison to afternoon tea at Threadneedles, the sandwiches didn’t wow me and I was rather disappointed – it was as though they’d been sitting in the fridge for a good couple of hours; dense and stodgy.
Next up were the scones – a plain sweet one and the other, with raisins. These were served with homemade strawberry jam, clotted cream and a lovely lemon curd preserve. I chose to have the plain scone first, but in both instances I ate one half with the traditional cream and jam, and the other with the lemon curd. The homemade jam was lush – not too sweet and with just the right size chunks of fruit – while the clotted cream wasn’t too heavy either. Both scones were incredible and still hot by the time we got round to eating them. The outsides were crisp and baked to perfection, while the insides were fluffy – not doughy or too much. I could have quite happily just had a whole stand of scones! If I was to compare the scones to my previous afternoon tea experience, Flemings would win hands down.

We finished with the top tier, a selection of petits fours: a selection of little cakes, pastries and desserts. There was a mini orange cupcake with orange buttercream icing and chocolate flower decoration, which I ate first. I continued the citrus theme with a mini lemon meringue pie, which I didn’t like as the pastry case was oddly savoury, almost like a vol-au-vent. The centrepiece was a lemon syllabub, topped with pistachios, which was lovely – very light but also very boozy!  The strawberry and white chocolate macaron was my favourite though – it was my first experience of a macaron and while the texture wasn’t what I was expecting, I loved it! I finished off with the raspberry and almond friande which was very sweet and dense – I couldn’t finish it. In all, I was impressed with the variety of mini treats on display, but was surprised by the lack of chocolate and amount of lemon.
I have since seen that Flemings offer a chocoholics afternoon tea, which sounds right up my street – with chocolate and cream or caramel teas – and an array of chocolate scones and other themed delights. A little more pricy at £39 a head, I’m still desperate to book up, even if I am still caked out!
Thank you Emerald Street for such a great promotion, which I definitely took advantage of – I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for the next time it comes around.
Have you ever been to Flemings for afternoon tea? Which hotels do you recommend? 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

OOTD: Afternoon Tea in Mayfair


After receiving a number of emails from AX Paris over the last couple of weeks, I finally gave in and started buying for my summer wardrobe. With pay day this week, it meant I couldn’t splurge, but there are so many cute bits and pieces I have my eye on. I only bought a dress and a playsuit and on Saturday I wore one of my new purchases. I went for afternoon tea in Mayfair with my friend Laura – this is what I wore:
Dress – AX Paris *** Jacket – AX Paris *** Boots – Boohoo *** Bag – Ted Baker
I am totally in love with collar and cuff dresses on AX Paris, there’s such a great choice of colours, prints and styles. I blogged about my other dress here. I could not resist this little number – it’s pastel pink and floral print; win/win! The material is a lot thicker than I was expecting, but I didn’t feel too hot in it, despite walking around London for hours. I love the fact it’s stretchy as well and it fits perfectly. I won’t lie, I was a bit disappointed that this dress doesn’t have white cuffs like some of the others I’d seen online, but I am really happy with the print and know I’ll be wearing it loads. I love the Peter Pan-esque collar and luckily, this one doesn’t do up at the back (the elastic fastening on my other dress recently perished – devo’d!) so is a lot easier to put on as well.

I chose to accessorise with my mini Ted Baker shopper bag, which is also a pastel pink with grey bow. It was also just the right size for the day’s event... until I realised I needed a couple of bits in Superdrug at Westfield and ended up raided the Lush at Liverpool Street on my way home. I always use my work bag on a daily basis, so it was lovely to give this one a little outing again.
For comfort, I wore my Boohoo boots – and I love them! The studs instantly add attitude to any outfit. I also wore my quilted jacket from AX Paris, as I didn’t know what the weather would be like. Luckily we missed the rain, but this was light enough to wear while walking around the city – although I did take it off when we were on tube.
What did you wear at the weekend and where did you go?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Restaurant review: Chimichanga


Where I ate:
Chimichanga, High Street, Brentwood
On Friday night, I head to Brentwood for dinner and drinks with my friend Laura. I’d never been to Chimichanga before and the one in Brentwood high street is reasonably new. I’m not really a fan of Mexican food, it has to be said, but after looking at the menu online, I did manage to find a few things I knew I’d like. They do burgers as well!
Even though it was a Friday, we didn’t book and when we turned up, there were plenty of tables free. It was half-full at best, so I was surprised when the waitress told us to go upstairs, even more so when it meant going via the toilets. I would have much rather sat downstairs as there were two large parties who made a lot of noise, making conversation fairly difficult. The parents of one party couldn’t control their children either – there was five of them running riot in the restaurant, throwing paddies and screaming. Not the most ideal dinner atmosphere. I felt a bit sorry for the two other couples to our right, who were clearly on a date.
The restaurant interior was vibrant and airy, perfect for the Mexican theme. There was just enough space between tables; however, the tables for two were far too small, especially when you consider the space needed for fajita making! Luckily we had enough space. There was no chance of bad service when there were so many waiting staff, but they were attentive, without being too over the top.
What I drank:
Cocktails
The menu was reasonably priced and extensive and while I had my eye on one of the sharing options (for myself, of course), Laura and I opted for the same. I can’t remember what it was called or what specifically was in it and it’s not on the website because it’s ‘new’ but it was basically a very boozy orange fanta! It went down far too easily as well, but I only had the one.
What I ate:
Steak fajita wrap
I chose the steak fajita wrap before I even arrived as it was one of a handful of things on the menu I knew I’d actually like and enjoy. With a choice of three sauces ranging in heat, I opted for mild, which in truth was very bland (next time I’d go hotter). The steak was cooked to perfection and the wrap was stuffed with filling – peppers, onions and jack cheese which was lovely. The accompanying fries were also good and I loved the spicy seasoning, there just wasn’t enough for me... I’m dying to know what the seasoning is made from as well!
The couple next to us had fajitas which looked incredible – although the smoke coming from the hot plate was a bit much. I normally get full after one fajita, but I think I’ll try those next time...

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Sunday Snapshots #28


I love that I’ve finally managed to stop biting my nails, which means I can finally use all the nail polishes I’ve collected – this means a pretty colour every week (they never seem to last any longer). Last week I used the polish I got in my Latest in Beauty box and I’m so pleased with the quality and finish. The colour is so vibrant and it brightened up many a dull work outfit. I have since repainted them – Ciaté’s Sugared Almond shade is my favourite at the mo.

Tuesday, as you can, was an awful day. I was driving to work when I got a puncture. I eventually managed to find somewhere to stop and pull over but I was in a complete state of panic – made worse when someone, who tried to help, said I could have quite easily crashed! Luckily the AA came and sorted it all out, but I was left without the car for two days, meaning I had to get the train into work (Greater Anglia, £19 from Shenfield to Colchester is pretty much daylight robbery, btw...). Thankfully, it was all fine for Friday, so I definitely had the Friday feeling!

I cheered myself up by finally opening my Hotel Chocolat chocolate collection box – how cute are these? I got a leaflet in an AX Paris (or similar) parcel about joining their club and I got these bad boys for £6 – I know, I’m easily impressed! I’m surprised by the self-control, but I’ve only had five so far and my current fave is the crème brûlée inspired choc.

On Friday, my friend Laura came to mine after work and we went out in Brentwood for dinner and drinks. I’d not been into town for a night out in ages and it’s usually best to avoid, what with the whole TOWIE thing. We got some food in Chimichanga, before settling on the 2-for-1 cocktails at Slug & Lettuce. After starting on a weird concoction called Solero (it was like an alcoholic actimel!), I stuck to Dune Bugs, which were lush. It was so nice to go out as the last time we did, Laura was ill and could barely speak.

On Saturday, we both spent the day in London and had afternoon tea at Flemings Hotel in Mayfair. The hotel was really lovely and while I enjoyed the savouries, scones and pastries on offer, I could help but make comparisons with my previous experience. On our way back, we walked through Hyde Park, before seeing Buckingham Palace and made our way to Charing Cross, where we got the tube. Thankfully we missed the rain all day and had a great time. I love spending time with my good friends.

I hope you had an enjoyable weekend,

Friday, 9 May 2014

Review: Superdrug face masks


Cucumber cooling clay mask
Superdrug's Cucumber Cooling Mask awakens skin with a blast of cucumber freshness. Enriched with cucumber fruit and Dead Sea Minerals this clay mask will eliminate impurities and soothe skin for a vibrant fresh faced look.
I love clay masks and having previously tried the dead sea purifying variety, I opted for this cooling cucumber one to refresh my skin. I seem to have a thing about cucumber at the moment, whether it’s cucumber in products, or snacking on batons – it’s so hydrating and such a great natural product.
Like all of Superdrug’s sachet, this mask contained 15ml – which I find more than enough, but not sufficient for two treatments. The cooling effect could be felt as soon as I started to liberally apply the mixture to my face. It was almost similar to the feeling you get when putting cucumber slices on your eyes – a slight tingle/stinging sensation. The dead sea minerals in this mask helped cleanse my pores and once removed, my skin felt cleaner and looked more radiant.
I would definitely use this variety again.
Deep cleansing fruit mask
The ultimate fruity pick me up! Superdrug's Deep Cleansing Fruit Mask is a delightful concoction of raspberry, blueberry and cranberry fruit extracts. Combined with Peach Kernel Oil to hydrate, smooth and protect the skin. With a delicate fruity-floral scent, natural clay gently cleanses the skin from dirt, oil and impurities, leaving it silky soft and radiant.
I chose this mask as it’s suitable for all skin types and as I wore make up every day last week, I felt as though I could do with a cleanse to remove all the impurities and open my pores.
With its fruit fragrance, this mask was good enough to eat – the peach kernel oil made it smell just like a peach yogurt... yummy! It also contains extract of raspberry, blueberry and cranberry, making it the perfect spring/summer treat.
As I said before, I always find there to be a bit too much product in the sachet and as a result, this mask didn’t set within the recommended time. While it dried around my jaw line and nose, on my forehead and cheeks, it felt as though it had only just been applied. However, it was easy to remove and with minimum fuss – warm water and a flannel does the job.
This variety left my skin soft to the touch and smooth – even the following morning. After I applied my make up, it looked more flawless, which can only be a good thing? Even though this isn’t one of my favourites, I’m sure I’d use it again.
Have you ever tried out a Superdrug branded mask? What were your thoughts?

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Latest in Beauty: create your box


After buying the Glamour Edit Beauty box for myself and the Pamper box for my mum on Mother’s Day (you can read about that, here), it was only a matter of time until I was sucked in to create my own box. When Latest in Beauty offered free delivery and a chance to win a full-sized product and a Lindt Lindor Maxi Ball over the Easter weekend, I simply couldn’t resist.
I set myself a budget of £10, to see how much I could get – and although I ended up spending £11.50, I was pleased with the products I chose and have tested them all out... Hence the long wait for this post. I chose:
L’OCCITANE REPARING SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
These were included in my mum’s box and I’ve been lusting over them ever since. Because of colouring my hair (which I’ve not done since November – eeek!) and blow drying/straightening my hair regularly, my ends are often dry and split, so I consider these a necessity, rather than a treat. The smell at first was a little strange – I normally opt for hair products with a fruity fragrance. However, even after the first use, my locks felt soft and looked shiny. Three washes later and my hair is generally a lot less dry and repaired – it’s even given it a bit more body.
MIRANESSE LIP LIFT MOISTURE SHINE
I’m always on the lookout for a new gloss and these minis are the perfect size for my handbag. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when this arrived, as you don’t choose the colour and I was given this one that looked horribly brown. The colour online and in the wand is deceiving though – this shade is quite nude, with hues of pastel pink. It went perfectly with my outfit the day I tested it as well. The only negative is, it’s quite sticky, particularly in hot weather. It’s easy to apply, provided even coverage and also gave a slight plump for that fuller pout. It’s no Sexy Mother Pucker, but I’m still pleased with it.
INIKA LIQUID MINERAL FOUNDATION
I’ve never actually used a mineral foundation before, but on this basis, it’s something I’d consider purchasing in the future. The essential oils and natural products in this give it a really nice smell – something foundation doesn’t normally have. It’s light and easy to apply, has great staying power and leaves my makeup looking flawless. My only complaint is that is says it doesn’t leave oily residue, which simply isn’t the case after a long working day!
WELEDA SKIN FOOD
Nothing will ever beat Soap & Glory’s Hand Food for the title of best hand cream, but for a £1, I thought this would be worth a try. Probably most suited for those who use their hands a lot – whether it’s washing up, gardening or working with abrasive substances – it’s also great for dry skin. This cream is rich and quite concentrate so you only need a small amount, which goes a long way. At first it felt a little greasy but once it has absorbed, it left my skin soft and supple.
Q FINE FRAGRANCE BODY SPRAY
I don’t often use body spray and haven’t since my stash of Soap & Glory’s Mist you Madly ran out. After a little research this 100ml can was an absolute steal at a £1, particularly when it’s on sale in Boots and Sainsbury for well over twice that amount! Light and floral, it’s the perfect scent for spring/summer and probably the pick of my box – I’m definitely going to be stocking up on this product!
Have you tried any of these products? What will you choose for your Latest in Beauty box?

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Pub review: The Brewery Tap


Where I ate:
The Brewery Tap, Cliff Road, Ipswich
Situated close to the docks, The Brewery Tap is a gastropub with its own brewery. It’s sort of in the middle of nowhere, but you can’t miss it once you do find it – the pastel pink exterior is unmissable, even if it could do with a wash. At this point, I was sold. Not that I saw any, but there are even chickens, ducks, quails and guinea fowl on the premises – and real ale lovers are in for a treat as kegs can be purchased in bulk (18, 36 or 72 pints).
I’m glad we booked a table as the two restaurant areas are quite small and midway through the meal, a group who had initially popped in for a drink, were unable to get a table as they were all taken or reserved. The place had a real country feel, with its dimmed lighting, roaring fire (which wasn’t lit) and old wooden beams. It’s the perfect place to simply enjoy a drink en route to the docks, but the food was also very good – more about that in a bit.
There was a dining area by the entrance, which had a lot more natural lighting, but we sat towards the far end of the bar, in the corner. It was a little bit pokey, but more cosy than cramped or uncomfortable. Candlelight was needed as there was no natural lighting and a couple of the lamps weren’t bright at all. Everything was really rustic – from the tables and chairs, to the old fashioned glass bottles on display.
What I ate:
Cod and chips with mushy peas and homemade tartare sauce, followed by strawberry and custard frangipane tart
I’d heard good things about the fish and chips and being so close the river, there was no excuses for it to be anything but fresh and of good quality. I wasn’t disappointed and would definitely recommend it – one of the best fish and chips I’ve had and I’ve been to a number of excellent places. The piece of cod was huge and chunky, probably enough for two, while the batter was crisp and light – not at all greasy. I really enjoyed the chips as well, proper thick cut chips, perfect for dunking into the homemade ketchup. It was almost like a relish or chutney, slightly sweet and tangy. The tartare – which I’m not usually a fan of – was very good too, not too vinegary and I enjoyed the mushy peas, particularly with added lemon. I washed it all down with a large glass of Pinot Grigio, which complemented the meal well.
Dessert was a tough choice as soon as I saw the menu, I wanted the tarte tatin. On second observation of the menu, I had a look at the other options and was drawn to the strawberry and custard frangipane tart, which I eventually went for. On reflection, I wish I had gone with my gut feeling. The tart was nice, but a little dry – luckily the plate was laced with pureed strawberry. I was expecting a lot more custard as well.
The service started off well, but as soon as the bar started to get busier, the restaurant service suffered a bit. On the whole, it was a good evening, with good food so I don’t have any complaints. And I’d definitely return – I’m already anticipating summer, so I can sit out in the garden with a doorstep sandwich and glass of Pimm’s or fruit cider!