Tuesday, December 30, 2008
36 Sussex Road,
Badgerman and I happened upon Kingfish Restaurant after I visited a Podiatrist at the Foot Care Centre next door and what a great find it was too! Forget your preconceptions about fish and chip shops/restaurants when you visit Kingfish. You can order a take-away from the very clean counter or go further in the foyer and enter the very smartly decorated restaurant with its chic tables and chairs and interesting, themed abstract and realistic artwork a photographs.
We were greeted with a friendly smile and shown to our table. It was just 12 noon and we were the only customers but the restaurant was quite full when we left an hour later.
I chose crevettes cooked in butter, olive oil, garlic and pepper served with French bread for £6.00. Not particularly cheap for a starter but the huge crevettes were beautifully cooked- still plump and flavoursome and nicely presented and worth the cost. Badgerman chose whitebait (£4.30); a brave choice as I have often found this dish to be little than a mess of crispy, oily, overcooked, shrivelled fish. Well not this time! They were plump and fat, lightly battered and cooked to a turn with the flesh still moist and very tasty.
Our ample main dishes of 'small' cod, chips, ratatouille and pickled gherkin (left) and 'small' huss, chips and peas (below)were £6.40 each and arrived soon after our starter dishes were cleared. The chips were good but we both particularly enjoyed the fish. It was perfectly cooked and the batter was really thin and crispy- just as it should be. I liked the home-made ratatouille and found it a nice alternative to peas. We could have had medium sized fish portions for £7.30 or £7.85, depending on the variety of fish or large portions for £8.30 to £9.00. Our small sizes were plenty as we had starters. When I return, and I will, if I don't have a started I will probably order a medium fish portion and save the large for my sons with their hollow legs.
Perusing the menus we found a surprisingly large choice of pasta, pizza, meat, pie and vegetarian dishes; there were also good reasonable children’s selections such as cod bites. Kingfish is fully licenced, notably with imaginative and reasonalby priced wines.
We finished up just with coffee, as we were too full for dessert and our bill for two came to £26.65 excluding tip.
Food Presentation: 2
Food Quality: 4
Value for money: 2.5
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The River Thai Restaurant
45 the Broadway,
Badgerman and I were in the Haywards Heath area on a family errand and Christmas shopping on a Saturday when lunchtime arrived and on recommendations from work colleagues, we found ourselves looking for the River Thai on The Broadway. We were greeted and seated politely and quickly. The interior is strikingly decorated; it’s an elegant mix of modern stylish patterning and traditional opulence.
The £6.50, two-course lunch menu available from 12:00- 3:00, Monday through Saturday brought us in. From the seven, varied starters we both chose Tom Yam Gui: hot chicken soup. It arrived quickly steaming hot, spicy, packed full of delicious chicken breast pieces, slivers of lemon grass, mushrooms and the best, the very best soup stock I have ever tasted! We shared our mains, choosing Gai Muang: chicken with cashews and dry chilli and Nam Man Hoi: stir fried beef in oyster sauce, from the nine mains offered. With the exception of the Pad Thai noodles, each main comes with your choice of noodles or rice. We chose noodles with the chicken and rice with the beef. Both dishes were just delicious. The cashews in the Gai Muang were toasted, complimenting the flavour of the perfectly cooked chicken and vegetables. The chilli beef also had plenty of veg. with it and was yummy, but the jasmine rice was a real treat. It was very small, fine grained, perfectly cooked with a delicate flavour not usually found in plain, accompanying rice.
Perusing the dessert menu, (£3.50 to £4.25) with tempting items such as passion fruit and mango sorbet, coconut ice-cream served in its shell and Thai pancakes; we were pleased that we had both left room. We both chose the caramel parfait (£3.50), caramel ice-cream covered in milk chocolate that was prettily presented with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. For a ‘brought in’ dessert it was really good, and had Badgerman and I unceremoniously scraping our plates to get all the last melty smears.
We drank pots of attentively replenished Jasmin tea, very crisp sparking water served with lime slices and I chose a refreshing glass of medium, white Monsoon Valley Wine (£2.80 for 175ml). The Wine list has an interesting array of New and Old World wines, some served by the glass and ranging from £10.90 –£22.50 a bottle. There are also Champagnes on offer if your tastes and pocket run that way.
We looked at the interesting Christmas menu priced at £30.00 a head for starters, soup, mains, noodles or rice, dessert and tea of coffee and thought that this would be an excellent place for a works do or for a gang of friends to visit. They also have a function room for larger parties and what are the cleanest restaurant loos I have seen for a while.
Our bill for three courses and drinks came to £28.75 excluding tip.
Food Presentation: 3
Food Quality: 4
Value for money: 3
Thursday, November 13, 2008
171 London Road,
Some of the best things in life are things you just stumble upon by mistake. One such happy surprise was our visit to Buon Appetito. The Blim was away so Badgerman and I decided to meet in Burgess Hill for dinner and add to our Sussex Ethnic Eats finds. We arrived at Buon Appetito about 7:15; there were already two parties of two in this small (about 40 covers) restaurant. The décor is smart and understated and the welcome was very hospitable and friendly.
We ordered drinks: a glass of house red for Badgerman and sparkling water for me that turned out to be the excellent San Beniditto brand. We perused the superbly varied menu, with over 80 main course choices priced from £6.95 for pasta and pizza dishes to £15.95 for rack of lamb, and were flummoxed so we asked for advice. We were directed to the interesting looking specials, Badgerman chose the Patate e Anatra Croccante- baked potatoes and duck with olive oil garlic and butter (£6.95) and I opted for the Avocado Biancaneve- baked avocado and prawns with béchamel sauce and parmesan (£5.95). There is a very good range of vegatarian and non-vegetarian starters priced from £1.95 for the house garlic bread to £7.25 for Gamberoni Al Limone: king prawns cooked with white wine and lemon sauce. For our mains Badgerman selected Penne alla Siciliana- Penne with pepperoni, mixed roasted peppers chilli and tomato sauce (£6.95) and I chose Tagliatelle Allo Scoglio: Pasta cooked with a fresh selection of seafood, cherry tomatoes and tomato sauce (£7.95). Our drinks arrived promptly and I tucked into the package of very thin, crispy breadsticks and watched all the wonderfully presented dishes go by to the two other tables. Our starters arrived and we were very pleased with both our selections. My avocado dish, pictured above, was just delicious. The avocado was perfectly ripe and the prawns very flavoursome. The plentiful béchamel sauce was smooth and delicate with just a hint of nutmeg. I sent my compliments to the chef. I think that it takes real confidence to present such a simple dish knowing that it could stand alongside dishes with more complicated flavours and construction. Badgerman’s duck (right)was artfully presented and looked far more elegant that the plain, honest menu description. He really enjoyed all elements especially the succulent duck slices.
Around 8:00 p.m. the restaurant was filling up with four more tables arriving, one of them a larger party. There were also a couple of take away orders and a Christmas booking; this seemed quite busy for a Wednesday in early November. All customers, some of whom were greeted by name, received the same great service and attention as we did. After our starter we were actually asked to let the house know when we wanted our main course!
When our main courses arrived they did not disappoint. Our respective pastas were cooked al dente with enough but not too much sauce. Badgerman’s penne was spicy hot and tasty with the heat not obliterating the other flavours. My tagliatelle was delicious- every mouthful was great. I often order seafood pasta and am usually disappointed by the quality and quantity of the seafood that is included- but not this time. There were plenty of clams, mussels, prawns and squid to last until the final twirl of the very fine pasta. Both dishes were very well presented in chic, slanted bowls. I also ordered a mixed salad that was dressed for me at the table. It was very fresh and crunchy, though had just a little too much onion for my tastes.
We were too full to partake in desserts all around £4.50, but the ones being served to other customers looked home-made and quite yummy! Our de-caff coffee arrived with a little biscotti, was very good and really hot.
We congratulated ourselves on finding this gem of a restaurant and happily paid our bill for £44.50 excluding tip.
Food Presentation: 4
Food Quality: 4
Value for money: 2
There is also a sister Buon Appetito restaurant at: 81 Western Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 2JQ 01273 204444.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
83 High Street,
I was very glad to have the excuse of reviewing the Shanaz in Lewes High Street for my S.E.E. blog. We have been patrons for 15 or more years. I’ve visited all the Indian restaurants in and around Lewes, but I keep returning the Shanaz as I like it the best of the Punjabi restaurants. I have tried many of the dishes over the years; obviously some have been more to my taste than others, but I have always found the food in the Shanaz to be consistently well-seasoned and well-prepared. Recently the menu has had a revamp and many dishes are grouped by the sauce base rather than by the meat base. I find this a better way to lead customers’ tastes. I know what sauce bases I like: which are too hot or too sweet for me, so I choose a sauce base and then decide if I feel like chicken, lamb, prawns etc… There are also many stand-alone dishes and excellent chef’s specials.
We started with popadums(two each) and the chutney tray pictured. The popadums are always crispy and light. Included in the chutney tray are mild onion slices, sweet mango chutney, seasoned yoghurt and our favourite- a sweet coconut-based spread. From the extensive list of starters priced around £3.00-£5.00, Badgerman and I chose our favourites: Onion bhajies (£2.95) and Dahl Soup (£2.95) with lemon, respectively. As Blim was having the Non-Vegetarian Thali, he skipped the starter on the waiter’s advice. My soup came with the extra lemon I ordered and was it’s usual tasty, warm self. I had a bite of Bagerman’s bhajies and was surprised to find how non-greasy and light they were and that there was other vegetables with the onions in the bhaji; they came with a small salad and lemon wedge.
Our main courses arrived soon after our starter plates were cleared. Blim’s Mixed Thali was a veritible platter of small portions of Chicken Bhuna, Lamb Bhuna, Chicken Tikka, Sag Aloo, Peshwari Nan and Special Rice for £13.95. He is a relatively big eater and he found this to be plenty of food and was glad he had not had a starter. Blim particularly enjoy the sag aloo (potatoes and spinach) dish, as it was well seasoned and “interesting”. The meat dishes had different textures, were well flavoured and were not too hot. He was able to substitute a fruity Peshwari Naan for the plain naan, which also added to the dish’s interest and range of tastes. Badgerman’s chicken jalfrezzi (£7.95) arrived sizzling in a cast iron dish on a wooden platter pictured right. The combination of the bell peppers, onions, herbs, thick spicy sauce and the succulent chicken make this a really enjoyable dish- watch out for the small green chillies though- some are just a bit hot but others are scorching! My Chicken Peshwar (£9.95)was cooked in a rich sauce with sour cream, coconut, fresh cream, flaked almonds and green chillies, was very well presented and just delicious. The sauce had been cooked down beautifully with the flavours of the cream and coconut intensified and clung to every side of each chicken piece. The green chillies cut through the sweetness of the sauce and the chicken was superbly cooked. I would have liked more coriander than just a garnish though as I thought that this would have moved a very good dish to outstanding.
We resisted the desserts, as we were quite full- though, in the past, I have had many a delicious ice-cream bombe, pistachio or mango kulfi and lemon or mango sorbet.
The service was very attentive, though it was a fairly quiet, post Bonfire Night Thursday, early evening. Service at the Shanaz is always good with a reasonable number of staff on to cope with customers and the brisk take-away trade. As is their custom, we were brought hot towels after our main course and a complimentary Irish cream liqueur and mint chocolate with our bill.
The room, and even the loos, are decorated with a huge array of artificial flowers, leaves and fruit so you get the feeling of being somewhere exotic and warm like a jungle floor, rather than in the basement of a large building on Lewes High street.
Blim and I had pineapple juice each and Badgerman had a Bangla Beer; our bill came to £57.15, excluding tip.
Food Presentation: 3
Food Quality: 4
Value for Money: 2
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Cliffe High Street Precinct
First Saturday of the Month
Now Mother Bhumi's Pakora and Bhajia caravan does not strictly adhere to the Sussex Ethnic Eats criteria as it does not have a sit-in area, but hey- it's my blog so I can break my own rules! : )
I have included this tiny purveyor of delicious fare because I find their wares and ethos to be a delight. The ingredients are organic, serving platters are made from recycled paper pulp and what can be recycled is; they even accept the Lewes Pound.
I have seen (and smelt) this caravan of culinary delights in many a farmer's market and festival in Sussex, but mostly I look for them at the Lewes Farmers' Market, held on the first Saturday of each month. You'll find Mother Bhumi's by its enticing aroma and by looking for the long queue of salivating customers. They are in place for the early opening of the market and stay late into the afternoon, long after the other stalls have gone home.
On offer is a range of expertly cooked organic veg. such as: aubergine (eggplant), sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, spinach, kale, and of course onions that are made into Badgerman’s favourite bhajias. The batter is garam (chickpea) flour based so is very healthy and has a low glycaemic loading. The freshly made pakoras are crunchy on the outside with the batter a little cakey on the inside and the vegetables are always perfectly cooked. As the advertising says: "This is real food with love in it." Badgerman, Blim, Little Will and I have had hundreds of pakoras and bhajias over the years and every one has been good. We have enjoyed Mother Bhumi’s for breakfast, lunch and tea- not on the same day of course, but it shows how we love them. My children have been bribed to do many a household chore with the promise of a take-home bag (£3.00) from the ‘Pakora Lady’ on my return.
A large order with two dips is £5.00 and a small with one dip is £3.00. There are many dips to choose from; some are firey, some are mild and others are sweet.
Ambience: not applicable
Service: not applicable but the staff are always friendly
Food Presentation: 2
Food Quality: 4
Value for Money: 3
Thursday, October 30, 2008
78 North Street,
Continuing Christmas shopping ‘til we dropped in Chichester, we found ourselves visiting Macari’s looking for a hot drink and a sit down. I went in to order our hot chocolates and was very pleased to witness the care with which these simple drinks were made. A liquid chocolate was mixed with warn milk and shot through with steam and topped with real whipped cream and a shower of chocolate powder. It was just delicious.
I realised from talking to the friendly gentleman behind the counter that this was a family owned business and so qualified for inclusion as a Sussex Ethnic Eat. I had a good look at the wares in the counters, on the menu and, most importantly, on peoples’ plates. There was a good range on offer. Here’s a sample: paninnis, toasties and baguettes with assorted fillings for £3.45, pastries from 80 pence to £1.45, Lasagne and salad for £3.65 Gateaux from £1.95 to £2.45 and of course, ice creams and sundaes priced from £1.20 to £3.50, depending on how indulgent you were feeling.
Macari’s was quite busy for a weekday mid-afternoon and with plenty of local competition, I’d take this to vouch for its popularity. We’ll sample the food next time we are in Chishester.
Two yummy, warming hot chocolates were £3.60.
Presentation of Drinks: 3
Quality of Drinks: 4
Value for Money: 3
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
56 South St
Having seen the skilfully made pastries and sweetmeats in the window of Maison Blanc the previous day, we returned when we needed an R and R break from our Christmas shopping. The subtly decorated seating area with its Toulouse Lautrec prints, just beyond the temptingly stocked pastry counter, is a little haven of gentility and calm. There is quite an interesting menu that would appeal to most tastes. Items include Saucisson Mozzarella with thinly sliced rosette pork saucisson from Lyon, slices of mozzarella and French dressing and Fromage de Chèvre et Salade (goats’ cheese salad) both for £4.30 to Quiche Saumon et Poireaux (salmon and leek quiche) for £3.95.
We were seated very promptly. I chose a Mèditerenéen (£3.95) a puff pastry oblong with loads of sun-blushed tomatoes sitting on a thick, well-seasoned tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese and basil. It was served piping hot, was very tasty and with a fresh accompanying salad, made a very good light lunch. I particularly enjoyed the light, tarragon-laced salad dressing. Badgerman chose a cherry danish for £1.90 and it arrived lovely and warm, was intensely flavoured and packed with black cherries. We rounded off out light lunch with pots of Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea and happily paid our £9.55 bill (excluding tip) and returned to our shopping revived and fortified.
Food Presentation: 2
Food Quality: 3
Value for Money: 3
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Smith and Western
Continuing our stay in the charming town of Chichester we visited Smith and Western, just north of the train station. We were greeted warmly, ushered to our table and told our waitress’ name. Smith and Western is based on the American mid-west in the 1800s. The former train station had been transformed into a saloon, complete with cartwheel chandeliers and a jail room. The décor in fun, interesting and well thought out and is reinforced by touches such as the cactus-shaped drinks menu and the cowboy hats and sheriff’s badges for sale, but somehow does not become too clichéd.
The varied, extensive menu has something to suit all tastes and appetites from caesar salads for £7.95, chilli beef taco salad for £11.85, salmon fillet for £11.25 to 100% beef burgers priced £8.65- £11.95. At first glance the prices may look a little high- but the portions are enormous!
We shared the loaded potato skins with chilli, cheese and sour cream (£5.95) and the shell-on king prawns (£8.25) pictures right. The skins were perfectly cooked, lovely and moist. The chilli tasted home-made and was flavoursome but not too hot; the cheese was all beautifully melted and the salad was crisp and well garnished. This dish alone would be a very adequate lunch choice. The five, massive prawns, served cold with a warm ciabatta and thousand island dressing, lived up to their ‘giant’ title. They were succulent and tender and again, came with plenty of salad. Packets of ‘Hoof Wipes’, thin flannels for tidying up fingers and faces, were thoughtfully provided.
We gasped when the Combo Feast for Two (pictured) arrived! ‘Feast’ is an accurate way to describe this huge platter of hickory smoked ribs, chicken wings, spicy onion rings, corn on the cob, mushroom boats, creamy coleslaw and spicy curly fries served with your choice of two dips all for £22.55. The meaty ribs were well basted in plenty of good, not too sweet, smoky sauce and the chicken wings were excellent. All the other items on the platter were tasty and cooked well except for Badgerman’s corn which was soft and overdone.
Foolishly, we ordered a side of stuffed jallapenos. They were great, well presented with a spicy and flavoursome sauce- but greedy us- it really was too much food. We ate more than our fill and thought ourselves lucky that we had not ordered the Belly Buster dessert- a veritable goldfish bowl of chocolate brownies, ice cream, marshmallows, hot fudge sauce, M&M’s and whipped cream. Parties order this for the birthday boy or girl for £11.95 complete with a hat and balloons. It did look really good though.
Had we left enough room for dessert, we could have chosen from a superbly tempting assortment that included good old Banoffee Pie, correctly credited to have been invented in Sussex, Cherry ‘O’- a handmade waffle topped with cherries and vanilla ice cream for £4.95 and even Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. We perused the lunchtime ‘Boot Skootin’ menu with its “finger licking” bites served between 12 and 4 p.m. Again, a very good selection was on offer with a particularly good “meal and a drink” deal for £7.50.
There were a variety of party sizes from our modest table for two, to families and work colleagues to larger birthday parties for all ages. Smith and Western has been skilfully designed so that dinners have plenty of room but the restaurant, with its well placed décor, feels cosy and comfortably.
Rare for me, I had a Cactus Juice, a large tumbler of vodka, Midori, Malibu and pineapple juice (£4.50) from the impressive cocktail list. The cocktails range form £4.50 to $5.50 and with pitchers priced £17.95 for two pints and £29.50 for four pints.
Smith and Westerns is a well above average themed restaurant. It’s a family business and you can feel they are hands-on management who work as a team with their competent staff who, in turn, clearly understand the ethos and direction of the business. It was a real pleasure to eat at Smith and Westerns and chat with their staff.
Our bill for too much food- even for us big eaters, drinks, coffee and hot chocolate came to £60.25 excluding tip.
Food Presentation: 4
Food Quality: 3
Value for Money:4
Monday, October 27, 2008
24 St Pancras Street,
Chichester, West Sussex
Sometimes a bit of a search makes the discovery even more rewarding. Such was the experience Badgerman and I had trying to find El Castizo, a Spanish tapas restaurant just off the eastern side of the Chichester ring road. The restaurant, while clearly marked by and illuminated pub-style sign on St Pancras Street, is cloistered in a compound of buildings and is not immediately obvious. Look for the menu in a lit box on the wall to the right as you enter Victoria Court. The above-ground entrance looks like conservatory or summerhouse. Once inside, you immediately go down a wide flight of stairs to the restaurant proper, charmingly sited in a former wine cellar that is roomy and bright and informally decorated with Spanish artefacts. Unfortunately, it does smell a little damp and musty.
We received a friendly greeting and received very attentive service throughout our stay. As we arrived just as they opened at 6:00 p.m., we were asked if we were going to the theatre so they could make sure our food would arrive promptly. It did and we left in plenty of time to walk to the Festival Theatre for the 7:30 performance.
Our waitress brought a complimentary basket of bread and some olives as she took our drinks orders. The menu, clearly set out, has over 40 tapas dishes grouped into meat, seafood and vegetable sections, all priced between £3.00 and £5.00, with English translations of the dishes’ Spanish names. We ordered Tortilla de Patata on Chorize, a traditional Spanish omelette with “ even more personality”. The light, tasty omelette, at the right of the food picture below, came in three slices topped with crispy fried chorizo (£3.00). These elements complemented each other well in texture and taste. We also had Almejas en Salsa Verdi: clams cooked in a cream, wine and parsley sauce that was a delight, Verdiras a la Parmilla on Sel Marina, a artistically arrangement of perfectly grilled asparagus, mushroom and other vegetables seasoned with sea salt. The Pimientos del Padron, a ‘new’ item on the menu, was assorted sizes of smallish green peppers that were fried in fine olive oil. They were perfectly cooked so the pepper flesh came away readily from the stalk. The menu’s warning that: “some are hot, some are not” was quite true- thought even the hottest was not too violent for most palettes. The Calamares (£4.00) were expertly cooked and made a good foil for the other higher spiced dishes. We also had a simple green salad. The undoudted highlight of the meal was the stunning Albondigas en Salsa de Tomate (£3.85), Spanish meatballs in a tomato and cream sauce. The meatballs were light, firm but crumbly and the velvety sauce stopped conversation and had Badgerman and I reaching for the bread to mop up every drop! All our dishes were traditional in format, but they were not heavy, rustic food but more sophisticated and modern in their construction, ingredients, presentations and taste.
We finished by sharing a delicious, honey-laced, baked custard called Natilla from the small dessert selection. We did not imbibe in the interesting wine list, realistically priced with bottles up to £17.00, but just had sparkling water.
Our bill with coffee and excluding tip was £32.90.
Although this was only the third Sussex Ethnic Eats review, El Castizo will go into the Top Pick section of the SEE blog, as it is, without a doubt, the best tapas Badgerman and I have ever tasted.
Food Presentation: 3
Food Quality: 4
Value for Money: 3
Sunday, October 12, 2008
71 Boundary Road,
We found this small, family run Polish restaurant as it is near our favourite pet shop: Fishey Business, in Portslade. Having a penchant for perogies we ventured in and so enjoyed our experience, we returned with some Sussex Ethnic Eats reviewers in tow.
Sami Swoi translates to 'All Friends Here'; the atmosphere is business-like, courteous and pleasant but not over familliar. The decor is 'smart casual'- modern, clean and relaxed with some of the most comfortable restaurant chairs you'll find. A pleasant haven off busy Boundary Road.
We perused the extensive daytime ‘Café’ and evening ‘Polish’ menus with their tempting mixture of British favourites, some with a Polish twist, to traditional, hearty Polish dishes. The three vegetatians in our party were pleased with the selection from which they had to choose. They chose a traditional dish of perogies with cheese and onions, (pictured right) a hearty portion of eight for £6.00; a starter sized Krokiet, a pancake with mushrooms and cheese for £3.50 and Placki Ziemniaczane, potato fritters with mushrooms or sour cream for £6.00. All were very pleased with the quality and quantity of their dishes but found the fritters (pictured below) and pancake would have benefited from being drained a bit more before serving. The mushroom sauce with the potato fritters was a bit bland and uninspiring but the dish as a whole was tasty and “...good for a winter's day to keep you warm”. The roasted buckwheat with vegetables and polish sausage stew was extremely tasty, well seasoned and piquant and the buckwheat had a smoky flavour, lifting the taste of the grain.
Blim and I had Kotlet Mielony, beef and pork meatballs (pictured top), good portions at £6.00 each with pickled beet and your choice of four salads. We both thoroughly enjoyed these; they were well seasoned, lean and generous. The mashed potatoes, quaintly served in scooped portions, were fluffy and creamy. Blim had a classics Greek salad and was pleased with its freshness and overall taste. The Saltka Jarzynowa I chose, was a traditional salad of cooked carrots, potatoes, eggs, peas, sweet corn seasoned with gherkins, parsley and Polish mustard in a light mayonnaise. This was crunchy, well balanced and complimented the meatballs and mashed potato perfectly.
Those of us, who wisely left room for dessert, made choices from a tempting array of familiar and traditional home-made cakes and puddings, most priced at £2.00 for good-sized portions. Blim thought his coffee and walnut cake was: “ Fit for a king and all his servants!” K. commented that it was the best she had ever tasted. The icing sugar-dusted apple cake was very good with beautifully cooked, well-seasoned, shredded apple filling sandwiched between cakey layers that were reminiscent of scones or American biscuits. One of us commented that she would be happy drive over (from Lewes) just to have coffee and one of the cakes all by herself.
I finished with a special Polish hot chocolate that was frothy, medium dark, not too sweet and full of rich cocoa taste- one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had! The coffee, served with a little chocolatey wafer roll, is of a very good, consistent quality; even the decaf is good! Worth trying is the interesting array of soft drinks: juice blends and detox mixes- very healthy, refreshing and unusual. I especially like the apple and mint juice; the mint cuts the apple’s sweetness very well.
Though this is only the second of the Sussex Ethnic Eats reviews, Badgerman and I agree that it is fast becoming one of our favourite places to eat.
With soft drinks and coffees, the bill for lunch for six came to £55.50 plus tip.
Food Presentation: 2
Food Quality :3
Value for Money: 4
Fort Road (at Gibson Road)
Following a review in the Sussex Express newspaper, we booked to visit this establishment in the up and coming Newhaven wharf area. The newspaper article gave the reader the impression that there were many Greek dishes to choose from. There were, in reality, just a few: Moussaka, Greek Salad, Calimari and Lamb Kleftico. This really is a Newhaven pub with a few Greek dishes, so we will be reviewing a traditional Greek restaurant in the future. This issue aside, we had a good dining experience.
We recieved a warm welcome and settled down to look at the menu. There is a children's menu at £3.95. This seems to be a fairly popular place but when we arrived, there was only one other table of diners at 6:00 p.m. on a Sunday (the Karaoke starts at 7:00). Orders are placed at the bar. Our very generous plate of nachos arrived reasonably quickly and was expertly constructed with the sauce, guacamole, cheese and jalapenos lasting until we greedily gobbled the final, tangy tortilla chip. A good deal for £5.45. Blim had a quarter-pound burger with bacon, cheese and onions with chips and a salad on the side (£5.95) and just able to get that last of the lovely, chunky chips down. I had moussaka and Greek salad; a good, filling plate for £7.95. The moussaka is obviously homemade and was very tasty- not at all greasy as is often the case. The Greek salad was refreshing with some of the best feta I have tasted: not too salty and very creamy. I would, however, have liked the hot moussaka and the chilled salad on separate plates. Badgerman had the only traditional main course the Lamb Kleftico, served with tomato, mushrooms, fried onions and a choice of jacket or sautéed potatoes. He chose sautéed which were beautifully cooked and yummy. The lamb was very tender and tasty and again the portion was generous.
There is a standard, limited assortment of desserts on the menu, though the apple crumble is homemade. Badgerman and I managed to find room to share one of the special desserts, the homemade brownie in 'choccy' sauce. It was a delight! Soft, lightly cooked, packed with cocoa and smothered in velvety dark chocolate sauce, really worth saving some room for at £3.95.
The bill for three, excluding tip, was £48.95 for food and drinks- at usual bar prices.
Though the Harbourside Inn would not really qualify as a true 'ethnic eat' it certainly was well worth the drive.
Food Presentation : 2
Food Quality : 3
Value for Money: 3