Catch restaurant review 

We went to Catch for our anniversary meal the other week and it was so good it’s definitely worth blogging about. 

Catch is based in West Vale, it claims to be modern day fish & seafood restaurant based on the family values, and it doesn’t disappoint. It has a traditional fish and chip takeaway, but also a lovely restuarant. 

Such a popular place that we only had a choice of two times for a table booking, 6.45 or 9.15, this was only a couple of days before so unsurprising, plus it was a Friday, and everyone knows Friday’s are fish days!

I chose the starter special which was Whitby Dressed Crab – see photo below. Whilst hubby had Peri-peri battered squid rings. 

Both dishes were good, perfect portion size and the squid was cooked to perfection. 


For main course I went for the Lobster and Shellfish Risotto, and hubby went for Simply Grilled Lobster with Chippy Chips. 

Photo below of the risotto. 

Again both dishes were perfect. 

Prices were reasonable. We compared the lobster dish to Burger & Lobster’s and value for money and quality at Catch was superior by far. 

The Chippy chips are amazing! Service was friendly and prompt. 

We’ll definitely be back. 

Takeaway looked good too – queue was out the door!

Catch can be found at

Victoria Mills

West Vale, Halifax

West Yorkshire, HX4 8AD

01422 310003

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Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crabshack – Covent Garden

Saturday hubby and I decided to visit Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crab Shack in Covent Garden. With our impending US trip in less than 3 weeks we decided we needed to acclimatise our palates to American Fare. Plus we absolutely love BBQ, Seafood and American cuisine – this place had all 3.

 

We booked a table via TopTable.co.uk for 4pm, when we turned up we were promptly shown to our table. Note: if you have a big butt, lots of shopping or just puffy clothes the tables are tightly packed and you could end up dragging people’s dinner off their tables, or your clothes through their actual dinner. I was lucky that the table next to me was empty – not that I have a big butt mind (see my running posts as proof!)

 

The décor inside was great, very well designed and very in keeping with the crab shack feel, nice touch were the neon lobster signs in cages hanging from the ceiling. Music was a rousing mix of bluegrass, jazzy Americana, not too loud but enough to get your toe tapping.

 

I’d already spent a constructive afternoon before we booked looking at the menu to decide which cocktails to try, I’d whittled it down to 3 and started with the Margarita Slushie that consisted of Cabrito 100% agave white Tequila, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Briottet orange liqueur, lime & white sugar. The tequila had quite a kick, but this was a nice refreshing start.

Hubby started with a Big Easy Larger, which was actually Scottish even with the name Harviestoun Schiehallion.

 

For food we decided to share some Deep Fried Voodoo Shrimp with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce to start. The sauce was red and this confused me, couldn’t tell what it tasted like as was too scared to try too much in case it was spicy 😉

The prawns were good – juicy & tasty, a great way to start.

 

For main we decided to go seafood, as we do BBQ meat a lot, but we love Crab & Lobster too, so we opted for the Lobster Bake consisting of Half 1½ lb Lobster, Peel ‘n’ Eat Jumbo Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws & New Potatoes cooked in Garlic Sauce, and hubby had Crabshack Combo consisting of Peel ‘n’ Eat Shrimp, Crab Claws, Mussels, Clams & New Potatoes cooked in Hot ‘n’ Spicy Sauce. We also ordered a side order of Mash & Gravy – just because!

At this point I also ordered my second cocktail – Boozy Juice Calle 23 100% agave white Tequila with Watermelon juice, fresh-pressed at the bar.

 

When the main dish turned up it was a little overwhelming and I was worried I wouldn’t even make a dent. I shouldn’t have been concerned!

Lobster Combo

Lobster Combo

The Jumbo prawns were MASSIVE, the two in the dish would have been a meal in itself. Everything tasted great.

The plastic bibs came in handy given the amount of claws we had to crack.

Phill needs protection!

Phill needs protection!

 

This dish was very reminiscent of paella, but it had new potatoes and it may have been good to offer rice as an option. The potatoes were the only thing I left.

 

 

We demolished the main course easily. Waiting staff were good at emptying the shell bowls, as we filled them to brimming!

 

When it came to dessert the menu was a little limiting with not a lot of choice, but this was a perfect excuse for cocktail number 3.

X-rated shake Grasshopper comprising of Mozart Dry chocolate spirit, Edmond Briottet mint liqueur, milk & chocolate ice cream.

This was delicious but it pushed me offer the edge from being pleasantly full to stuffed and I couldn’t finish it.

 

At just over £100 for a starter, 2 mains + a side, & 3 drinks each it wasn’t bad value. If I hadn’t had the cocktails it would have been super value, but not as fun!

 

Definitely plan to go back as there were lots of other exciting dishes to try – I have my eye on the Taste-O-Rama!

 

Note: if one of your male party need the toilet they may be gone for some time, apparently it’s halfway to china or something 😉

 

Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crab Shack is located at 12 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7NA

Telephone 020 3728 4888

For reservations only – email coventgarden@bigeasy.co.uk

 

Opening hours
Monday to Wednesday
Restaurant 12 noon – 11.30pm
Bar bites until 12am

Thursday to Saturdays

Restaurant 12 noon – 12.30am

Bar bites until 1am

Sunday 12 noon – 11pm

Band of Bakers – Chocolate Theme – Brixton 26th March 2014

Band of Bakers latest event was a chocolate themed extravaganza @ The Chocolate Museum in Brixton.

Much debate was had as to whether we would see any savoury dishes, luckily there was one and it didn’t last long! This did mean that a trip to McDonalds was required by one baker, to enable them to continue consuming the vast amounts of sweet chocolate delights – good call!

Eating that much chocolate meant my sugar rush hangover the next morning was severe, I even woke with a stinker of a headache. But boy was it worth it. Have a look at some of the delights we sampled.

I couldn’t remember all the bakers, so if you would like me to add you and a link to your blog/twitter/etc then just let me know, more than happy to include you. If I don’t have a picture of your bake, and you do, happy to add you in, just send me a message via twitter (@kurbkiss) or comment below!

Can’t believe I didn’t take picture of Aimée’s Meringue kisses!

Bourbon Biscuits made by Eva (@Eva_Beaver)

Bourbon Biscuits made by Eva (@Eva_Beaver)

Chocolate Brownie Cookies baked by @gingergourmand

Chocolate Brownie Cookies baked by Naomi (@gingergourmand)

Double chocolate & salted caramel tart from Gemma (@boozyrouge)

Double chocolate & salted caramel tart from Gemma (@boozyrouge)

Double Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies baked by Giulia (@mulia)

Double Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies baked by Giulia (@mulia)

Sticky Chocolate Gingerbread Cake by Chloe (@clo_bags1)

Sticky Chocolate Gingerbread Cake by Chloe (@clo_bags1)

Brandy Snaps with white chocolate & ginger cream baked by Anne

Brandy Snaps with white chocolate & ginger cream baked by Anne

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Pots by Ben (@ben_mulock)

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Pots by Ben (@ben_mulock)

Chocolate Orange Battenburg baked by Keith

Chocolate Orange Battenburg baked by Keith

Salted Caramel Torte baked by Harley (@kurbkiss)

Salted Caramel Torte baked by Harley (@kurbkiss)

Chocolate Rugelach by @toddlersurvival

Chocolate Rugelach by @toddlersurvival

Estonian Chocolate Liqueur & Stem Ginger Truffles by Chloe (@cedges)

Estonian Chocolate Liqueur & Stem Ginger Truffles by Chloe (@cedges)

Triple Chocolate Millionaires Shortbread

Triple Chocolate Millionaires Shortbread

Salted Rolo brownies baked by Jassy (@ginandcrumpets)

Salted Rolo brownies baked by Jassy (@ginandcrumpets)

Chocolate & Coffee Mocha Cake baked by Heather (@mrsjkitchen)

Chocolate & Coffee Mocha Cake baked by Heather (@mrsjkitchen)

Chocolate Soda Bread

Chocolate Soda Bread

Beef & Chocolate Empandas

Beef & Chocolate Empandas

Chocolate fudge cake with Pedro Ximinez soaked sultanas

Chocolate fudge cake with Pedro Ximinez soaked sultanas made by Lisa (@peckhamryeeats)

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies

Malt Chocolate Brownies baked by Harley (@kurbkiss)

Malt Chocolate Brownies baked by Harley (@kurbkiss)

 

 

 

BAR BBQ ON ICE Review

A day off on Monday saw hubby and I at a loss for lunch. A quick twitter and pop up london search lead us to Bar BBQ on Ice.

Nestled behind Liverpool Street Station next to the Broadgate Ice Rink, BAR BBQ ON ICE is London’s latest pop up restaurant. The menu, inspired through travels to Memphis, promises to bring authentic flavours of smoke and fire alongside craft beers and great cocktails plus something for the kids.

I was excited, as you now probably know I love BBQ & meat! I was also surprised to find that there was an ice rink behind Liverpool Street.

We took quite a convoluted route around Liverpool Street station to find it due to the Cross Rail works blocking the road, but once we did we were promptly seated and looked after.

We decided to share some dishes, so we went for the BBQ Tray – which consisted of Sliders, Ribs, Slaw, BBQ Beans, Chilli, Hotdog & house cut chips; Chipotle-Maple Chicken Wings & Moonshine Shrimp.

The shrimp were amazing! Cooked just perfectly and they came with a nice bloody mary dip. The chicken wings were succulent, couldn’t really taste the chipotle very much. The BBQ tray was substantial, ribs nice and soft, there was just too much for me to eat my share so I skipped on the slider, I didn’t really like the hot dog.

It all comes served in cool metal crockery lined with printed greaseproof paper.

BBQ Tray

BBQ Tray

BBQ Tray & Moonshine Shrimps

BBQ Tray & Moonshine Shrimps

The atmosphere was quiet for a Monday lunch, but they had a few tables full. I guess BBQ meat is not everyones go to meal for a Monday lunch time – certainly did the trick for me.

Even though it’s just a pop up the detail to the decor was well thought out. It was a bit strange eating with wooden cutlery – guess it saves on washing up! The floor of the structure is extremely ‘bouncy’ so you find yourself vibrating whenever someone passes your table.

It was a great find by hubby, and reasonable given the portions. I’d go again, still need to try the Mac n Cheese. Have I ever told you about the time I ate Mac n Cheese for 3 meals in one day….???

Since publishing this post I discovered that Bar BBQ on Ice is only around until the 28th February, so best get there while you can.

BROADGATE ICE RINK
exchange square
broadgate
london ec2a 2bq
0203 011 1185
INFO@BARBBQONICE.COM

Smokehouse, Islington – A birthday celebration

For my impending 35th Birthday hubby treated me to a meal at Smokehouse in Islington. I love meat and smoked meat is even better!

We had a reservation for 6pm on a Saturday, just a short walk from Highbury & Islington station and we were promptly seated in an empty restaurant, evening sittings start from 6pm.

Our waitress was very friendly, talked us through the specials and made recommendations which we followed. The menu had a Korean infusion twist, and we chose the following…

Starters

Chopped Brisket Roll + Gochujang

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Chopped Brisket Roll + Gochujang

This was amazing. I got very giddy when it was placed in front of me as it looked like my second favourite food – croquette potatoes! Sorry, I know, but I can’t help it – I love them!

This was not a croquette potato, it was just a deep fried brisket roll, but it was delicious. Before I ordered I checked what gochujang was, and it is a spice Korean mayonnaise. It complimented the roll well, and was very tasty. I was reluctant to share this dish with hubby, but I knew I just had to try what he had.

Thai Chicken Livers, Toast & Duck Hearts

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Thai Chicken Livers, Toast & Duck Hearts

I only had a little taste of this, but it did include a duck heart. This was the first time I have ever tried one, it was a little chewy! The chicken liver pate was tasty but looked like it the dish would have benefitted from having more on the toast.

Main Courses

Hubby & I chose these together to we could share half & half.

Smoked Duck, Kimchi & Potato Cake

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Smoked Duck, Kimchi & Potato Cake

This was delicious, the duck looks like it is mainly cooked through the smoking process. (I was initially worried it was raw!). I had tried Kimchi when I was in China once, and this version was far superior giving the dish a nice little kick. The egg was a nice touch on the top. I was reluctant to share the other half of this.

“The Sphere” Smoked Hame Hock, Pigs Cheek & Cuttlefish Romesco

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“The Sphere” Smoked Ham Hock, Pigs Cheek & Cuttlefish Romesco

The Sphere looked like a giant arancini, it came on a bed of pasta, and was extremely tasty. By the time I moved onto my half I was getting stuffed. This dish was quite rich, and the smoked pig cheek lardons were to die for.

Side Dish

This dish was recommended by our waitress and we heard a few of the other servers recommending to tables around us. I’d never had goat before, so was game to try it.

Goat Bolognese

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Goat Bolognese

The goat was slow cooked and was so soft and stringy it melted in the mouth. It tasted quite similar to lamb (in my opinion), and I really liked this dish. Again it was quite rich, and this would have been nice as a meal on it’s own. Perhaps with the Lamb Stovies, another side that I lusted after, but was glad we didn’t succumb as I was almost beat by the end of the main course…

However, I just had to try a desert!

Double D Tart

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Double D Tart

Similar to a Double Decker (but for legal reasons abbreviated to Double D) this had a rice crispie base, nougat middle, peanut butter(?) and a chocolate top. Accompanied by pistachio ice cream. I was a little disappointed with this as it didn’t really taste of anything, and was troublesome to get through the crispy base without catapulting a piece across the table.

Drinks

Hubby loves a good craft beer, so he sampled at least 3 different beers all served in 2/3 pints, including the Redhook Longhammer & Rogue Dead Guy Ale. He finished his evening with an aperitif of Express Coffee Liqueur, which he discovered was basically Tia Maria – oh how I laughed!

I had a couple of glasses of the Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2008, which was lovely, and an Aperol Spritz.

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The meal for two came to around £120 including a 12.5% service charge. The staff were very friendly, knowledgable and helpful that I had no qualm with the level of the service charge. The restaurant is small and intimate and a nice atmosphere. It has a bar area, and with over 20 craft beers definitely worth a revisit  for hubby to try a few more. Plenty of other dishes on the menu to try on a future visit too. Can’t wait!

Rock Lobsta @ Mahiki – Soft Launch Review

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I’ll admit that I am no culinary reviewer, but thought I would give my views on our visit to Rock Lobsta @ Mahiki last night.

Hubby managed to bag a table for 19.45 last night as we have a new found love for lobster. They had great pre-dinner customer service, phoning to confirm reservation, and re-iterating that this was a soft launch so our patience and understanding would be appreciated.

We arrived early so headed downstairs to the cocktail bar for an aperitif. I had never heard of Mahiki before, hubby tells me this could be the bar Prince Harry got kicked out of, I haven’t googled to confirm or deny this info. The bar is quite a strange concept for Mayfair, I was expecting more sophistication rather than a full on cheesy tiki affair. What can I say I loved it!

Cocktails were reasonably priced, although at that early hour could benefit from a happy hour to draw more people in, and all cocktails are served in novelty vessels such as heads, shells etc!

The restaurant was situated up a floor. We had a nice table in the corner, although the table was a little too high for my short stature, and the lighting a little too ambient.

We were served promptly from a friendly waiter.

Initially we ordered two snacks for starter Soft Shell Crab & Lobster Corndogs, and a for main course we were going to share a whole Native lobster with extras of salad & dripping chips. Whilst our starter came we debated as to whether a whole lobster would be enough to share, so relented and ordered another Half lobster just in case.

The starters were delicious with the soft shell crab beating the corndogs.

Our main courses came out separately, but the waiter was very apologetic and kept advising that it wouldn’t be long. I finished the half before the whole came out, but this was not a major issue. The chips didn’t seem very dripping like, and our salad turned into greens. Not major issues given it was a soft launch, and hubby really liked the Greens so that was an extra bonus.

How was the lobster? Fantastic, if a little small. It had a nice smoked chilli butter which made it so tasty. We are relative lobster novices so never sure if we get the most out of a lobster, unlike the lady on the table next to use that sucked every last bit!

We were full from all the savoury so didn’t try a dessert.

As it was a soft launch the bill had 50% off food, and this made the meal good value, had it been full price I probably would have been disappointed as you can get Lobster for £20 at Burger & Lobster, whereas they charge £32 for a lobster.

Always surprises me that you only get one claw, but guess they have to make the corndogs out of something 😉

I would recommend it for the experience and atmosphere. Really attentive staff and good grub. I hope it does well!

STK London – Anniversary Meal

For our 2nd anniversary we decided to try STK at the ME hotel on The Strand.

The hotel and restaurant are part of The One Group who are also the owners of The Cosmopolitan, where we stayed for our honeymoon in Vegas, so it was an apt choice to go for our meal.

We reserved around 2 weeks in advance and could only get an early sitting of 6pm, with a 2 hour time limit for the table.

The hotel is quite understated from the outside, so not easy to spot, but sits on the island between Aldwych and The Strand, so not too difficult really.

The restaurant is very stylish, with a dark and glitzy look. A nice selection of booths and tables, with ample space, so you don’t feel like your all squished in together.

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Our waiter was very attentive and took great pride in telling us how lively the place got later, with dancing on the tables when the DJ cranked up the volume. Seeing as we had to leave by 8pm this was a cunning ploy to pique our interest and maybe try for a later sitting next time.

We ordered a Cocktail for me, Oh L’Amour, and Beer for Hubby.

For food we chose the Chateaubriand to share, Lobster Mac & Cheese and Parmesan Truffle Chips. The main also came with Foie Gras and Spinach. The meat was cooked perfectly and there was plenty of it, so much we took home a doggy bag! The mac & cheese was delicious, and chips super tasty!

With my steak I had a glass of white wine and hubby a glass of Malbec.

Hubby had spotted a Cheese & Champagne restaurant earlier in Coventry Garden, so he already had dessert sorted, so I opted for the Cold Chocolate Fondant. It was amazing! The base had popping candy in it, and the orange sauce was lovely.

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At every course the waiter had some interesting fact to share about what we were eating or drinking, and was a great host for the evening, always ensuring we had enough water etc.

The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable. Food was perfect, and not too unreasonable for central London.

We have seen how lively The Cosmopolitan got as the evening drew on, so can only imagine what STK London could be like after dark.

Only negatives would be the distance to the toilets – around 4 flights downstairs. And the fact that the service charge doesn’t go just to your waiter/waitress, but to the restaurant. This isn’t a big surprise, it was more the fact that they point this out on the bill, which almost guilts you into adding extra to the 12.5% already on your bill.

We would definitely go back to try some of the other items on the menu, especially their great choice of cocktails.