“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Monday, April 29, 2013

On The Lookout For Good Food

On a trip to Ramsgate today, to visit my sister's stepdaughter Kylie who is 34 weeks pregnant. When we arrived in Ramsgate she was still at the hospital having a blood test and we were hungry and needed the loo, so how fortuitous was it that just down the street from where Kylie lives is a little place called the Lookout Cafe.

Situated on Government Acre recreation ground beside Prince Edward's promenade on top of West Cliff, the Lookout sure doesn't look promising to begin with, but I have always been a firm believer that you can't judge a book (or restaurant) by its cover (or its peeling paint and faded signage).

How true that is. There's an extensive menu for starters.

Lots of homemade cakes on the counter, and really reasonable prices! Click on the pic to enlarge and read the menu.

It seems the Lookout has a lot of fans who appreciate good food made fresh and fast. There were a lot of people coming in for teas, bacon sandwiches and ice creams, the tables outside were busy, and we all looked at the menu with rumbling tummies. We decided on the large breakfast. This has to be one of the best value for money meals I have ever partaken of.

For £5 (yes, five pounds!!) you get two sausage, two bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, eggs, beans and toast or fried bread. Here's mine...

I got fried bread. There are two slices under the eggs, and they also gave me two more pieces on the side.
Laura and Sis got theirs with toast, and the toast came on two side plates.

We ate this around lunchtime and I didn't feel the urge to eat anything else until about 8pm. For sheer value for money you can't beat it, but I have to say it was bloody tasty too. The mushrooms were epic - properly cooked but still semi-firm, not limp. The bacon was well cooked but still moist and juicy. The sausages were nice, the beans were great, and the hash browns perfectly crispy on the outside and light and fluffy inside. The tomatoes held together but weren't too firm (unlike the ones I ate at the White Lion the other week). Laura and Sis couldn't manage all their toast so after I'd polished off all my fried bread (which was light and crispy and not soggy with grease) I had a bite or two of the toast.

Incredible value for five quid a pop and a heck of a nice view of the seafront as well. I do have to say, next time I'm in Ramsgate, I'm coming here. There is so much more yummy stuff to try...

If I could give it more than 5 yums out of 5 I would.  Rock on!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Night On The Town

A few months ago Laura and I were at a quiz night. Not only did our team win, but we also won a prize in the raffle, which was a voucher for a free night's stay at The White Lion Hotel, in a four-poster suite. Well, since I had this week off work and the voucher had to be used before the end of May, we figured last night would be an opportune time to use it.

We planned on checking in first and then going out to dinner. The room was lovely and Kris was very helpful in getting us into the room with baby Rosie and her stroller.

Rosie tests out the bed.

Travel cot provided for a small fee.

Seems good to me!

I had a Café Rouge voucher for 25% off, and so we went there for dinner.

One thing I love about Cafe Rouge is the decor, the lighting and the generally relaxed atmosphere. First we ordered drinks - we stuck to tea and coffee as we were going back to The White Lion and would have a drink there.

I ordered the special - Sausages Toulouse. These exquisite French sausages are usually made with pork, smoked bacon, wine, and garlic. There were two whopping great sausages, caramelised onions, a pile of mash and a red wine gravy to die for.

Laura had the Poulet Breton, which consisted of strips of chicken breast, leeks & mushrooms sautéed with fresh herbs in a cream & white wine sauce served with herb mash. Very nice (she let me taste a bit).

We weren't sure whether to have dessert but eventually we thought, yeah, why not. Laura chose the Chocolate Ganache which is served with creme fraiche.

I had the Crêpe au Chocolat et Banane which I've had before. It is simply too good not to repeat.

After dinner we had a wander round the town and then repaired to the Hotel for a nightcap. Laura chose a small Rekorderlig cider (Swedish cider - who knew?) which is on tap at the bar, and I had a large whisky - a Monkey Shoulder. Monkey Shoulder is a mix of three different Single Malts - Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie. It's very smooth and easy to drink.

After a pleasant night in the hotel room we went downstairs this morning to partake in the complimentary breakfast. One can either choose from the breakfast buffet - a selection of cereals, fruit, juices, yogurts etc. or have a cooked breakfast made fresh to order. We both plumped for a full English, she with fried eggs, I with scrambled.

Now, I don't want to complain about the food as it didn't cost us anything, but I must nitpick a little bit.

First, why are the beans in a bowl? When I've had baked beans on a full English before they weren't in a bowl - it's superfluous.
The sausage - well, it was hot, it was cooked but it had no seasoning - no flavour.
By contrast, the scrambled eggs had a bit too much pepper.
The tomatoes were perfectly grilled, but they weren't ripe enough and therefore not very juicy, too firm and a bit bland.
The bacon, beans and mushrooms, however, I couldn't fault. Laura said she felt the bacon was too salty, but I found it OK.

Overall though, we found the White Lion a good experience. Pleasant and friendly staff and prompt service.

Café Rouge though, lovely food, friendly service, and a definite 4.5 yums out of 5. I've reviewed them before on this blog and they are very consistent.

Kooshti sante!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


 It's been a while since I've done a food review, mainly because I haven't been eating out as much recently, due partly to the foul weather we've endured these last few months and partly to the fact that prices seem to be shooting up - either that or I'm not getting paid enough! Either way, it's been a stay-at-home chilly old time.

Recently one of the many coffee shops in town changed hands, and went from being called Seasons to HunnyBeez. Laura and I went in there recently and liked it so much we went back twice! 

To quote their website, "HunnyBeez is a new cafe in the heart of Tenterden, Kent. Run by mother and son team Tracy and Scott, HunnyBeez specialises in delicious home cooked food, fantastic drinks, and a warm friendly service." We can agree on that!
On the third visit I used my noggin and actually took some pictures, so here we go.

Carrot cake... my fave.

Toffee Apple cake. Interesting flavour, quite subtle.

My latte

Nice light and airy interior

One of the helpful staff
I particularly enjoy the mix of regular tables and low leather sofas, the decor and the fact that everything is obviously freshly made. The prices are affordable, everything from sausage rolls and sandwiches to baked potatoes and fajita wraps. Oh, and did I mention cakes?

I recommend you visit this place and tell 'em I sent you. A hearty 5 out of 5 yums!

Follow these folks on Facebook  and Twitter @HunnyBeezTenter.

Kooshti sante!


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