The Diary of a Foodie

These food blogs are made up entirely from my own personal views. I do not work for, or get paid by any of the establishments that I mention.
It is a personal account based on a personal experience, and should be treated as such.
Please use the search box to search for your favourite style of food.
If you would like to suggest anywhere for me to try, please feel free to get in touch.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Wheatsheaf/Pub Food/Carlisle

We had been told to visit The Wheatsheaf Inn in Wetheral by some friends, who said the food was excellent.

Wetheral is a little village just a few miles out of Carlisle.  Not walk-able and I am unsure of decent bus routes, you would probably need to drive.

There is a good sized car park around the back of the pub.

We first went a few months ago with some friends, we booked a table and on the way there we tried to check out the menu for Vegetarian options.  We were looking on an iPhone and not having much success at all...which leads me onto the website. it's not any better when viewed on a PC either.  Sack the web designer, it's blooming awful!  And NEVER open it at work unless you have your mute button on as it has loud background music.

Walking into the pub you get a feeling of not belonging.  It really is a very "Villagey" pub and is full of locals - which is great in this economic climate.  But if you are wanting a quiet, romantic meal, this is not the place for you.  We booked a table, and actually felt a bit guilty at lots of people standing around staring longingly at this vacant place.

Anyway, despite the lack of Veggie options on the online menu, they actually have a good range of Veggie choices and some interesting dishes, like 'Deep Fried Avocado on a Chick-Pea Pattie'.

I went for a 'Tree Hugger' burger..... obviously all Vegetarians are tree-hugging hippies  :)  slightly condescending.  However, aside from the name it was quite fantastic.

A chick pea burger, topped with a breaded brie, salad and other bits and bobs.  I seem to remember it comes with onion rings and salsa, which I chose not to have.

It is huge, and the home-made chips are out of this world.  Fantastically plump and fluffy and perfectly cooked.  (You can also choose to swap for Sweet Potato Fries, which I did on the previous visit - delicious)

The burger menu is superb, loads of thought has gone into this with burgers such as..... (forgive me if the names are not correct, trying to do it all from memory)....Indian Burger, onion Bhaji and stuff... Scottish Burger which comes with haggis and potato waffle, and loads more.

Hubby went for the home-made chicken kiev, superb flavour with a wonderful breadcrumb which he thinks had a little bit of star anise in it.  One of our guest also went for this and said it was fabulous.

It was served with a lovely salad, with a chunk of watermelon, and chips.

Our other guest chose pork medallions in a blue cheese and mustard sauce.

Presented beautifully and  cooked to perfection, he said.  Served with a bowl of mixed vegetables, but not your usual carrot, peas and broccoli, this was peas, cabbage, courgette, baby onions....  What a lovely change.

The main meals are around £10.00 a head, some might think a little pricey for a pub, but the food is fantastic, worth every penny.  The only thing that would stop me going every week is the establishment itself.  What it needs is a dining room, a conservatory just for dinners, a proper eating experience.  The food would certainly keep people coming back, the loud music, endless loud chatter from the drinkers, and overall 'busyness' of the place would make me always think twice.

And the toilets, although clean enough, could do with a good slap of paint and a tidy up.

Oh... and as a final word, they advertise Sky Sports, and they have some decent sized TV's on the wall.  If you go on a football night, it's going to be manic!

Here is the website and contact details:  Do let us know if you go....

The Wheatsheaf Inn

01228 560 686

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Yew Tree/British/Carlisle

Situated in Crosby Street in Carlisle, there is little parking around, but probably very difficult to find a spot during the day.

We decided to go after seeing a feature in the local paper.

We parked more or less outside the door, in the street, and walked over to the front door.  Here we had to walk into a little conservatory type porch where the Chef (owner?) and two men were sitting smoking.  How nice, having to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke to get into a restaurant.  Because it was a warm night the door was wide open too, so the cigarette smoke was floating into the room.

The waitress was lovely, very accommodating and pleasant.  Brought us the menus and took our drink order.

For a starter I went for Brie.  It was lovely, a huge piece with redcurrant jelly on the side.

My friends had Chicken Coujons from the snack menu, plain frozen chicken bits, just chucked in the deep fat fryer, although they said the sauce that was served with it was lovely.  (Even though it was served in the little square dish you usually get sauce sachets in!!)

For a main there was actually loads of Veggie options, but alas, there is a small print at the bottom saying they need to be pre-ordered......which left two choices.

I went for the Mushroom & Lentil burger.

This had to be the WORST burger I had ever eaten, it was so thin and overcooked (cremated!) that it simply turned to dust in my mouth.  No bread bun, or salad, which would have hidden how bad it was, just a burger slapped on a plate with chips, peas and a touch of salad garnish.  Chips were ok, said they were home-made, not entirely convinced to be honest.

Hubby had a home-made chicken kiev.

It was a large piece of chicken, very very dry to eat, and he didn't even get a hint of garlic or butter until the 2nd last mouthful.  Very disappointing.

Our friends went for Cumberland Sausage & chips - no complaints there at all.

We didn't go for a dessert as by now we were sick of the noise coming from the floor above.  It was a load of banging and crashing, and very distracting.  We asked the waitress what it was and she said "Oh, he's just moving stuff about upstairs"!  HE came down later on and walked through the restaurant carrying a bucket and something else.  Odd.

Our bill was somewhere around £70 for drinks, starter and mains for 4 people.

Wouldn't rush back.

Here are the details for you:

The Yew Tree
2 Crosby Street

Tel: 01228 522785 

Do please comment if you have been.

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Mango Tree/Indian/Carlisle

We were talked into giving this place another go after having a horrible experience about 18 months ago, apparently it has changed hands since then.

Situated on the A595 at Cardewlees, a few miles out of Carlisle towards Wigton.  It is a very busy road, but there is a good sized car park around the back.

We walked in and was shown to a seat in the bar by a lady and given a menu, then ignored somewhat for some time as she chatted with a couple on the next table who were obviously friends.  A waiter then came in and wandered over to take our drinks order.

We ordered and were shown to our table.  The restaurant looks like an old barn - nicely done out I must add, but with lots of old brickwork and little rooms. Nicely set tables and comfortable seating.

We started with some poppadums. They were fine, nice and crisp and the sauces were good.

I asked for a vegetarian starter, there was a couple of options on the menu, Chapati Roll or Veg Chat - I said either would be fine. I think I got Veg Chat.

It was very good, although the carrots were tinned, but the taste was nice and the presentation was lovely.

Hubby had Chicken Pakora - his response was "nothing special", but beautifully presented.

For a main I went for an Okra side dish and a "minted pea" side dish.  Both were ok, but nothing memorable. The "peas" were actually chick peas, for some reason I expected garden peas  :)

I had it with a paratha and we shared rice and chips.

Hubby had Chicken Tikka.  Small portion, tasted fine, but again, nothing memorable.

In a nutshell portions were small, nothing very exciting, and service wasn't the best we've ever had.

Bad points were apart from the Indian menu you would be forgiven for not realising it was an Indian restaurant, the only people we saw (young man and lady) were locals, the restaurant looks very nondescript with not a lot of atmosphere.

There was a book end of an Elephants bum by our table which was covered in cobwebs, and my wine glass was dirty, only realising once I had drank the wine.  The toilets need a good overhaul too.

Not somewhere I would rush back to, but let us know if you have been.

Here are the details for you:

The Mango Tree
Cardewlees, CA5 6LG,

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Eastern Cuisine Express/Chinese/Carlisle

Eastern Chinese Express is situated on Blackfriars Street in Carlisle, directly opposite the back door of Tesco. No parking outside, but there is parking in the main car parks of Carlisle, all of them within walking distance.

They describe themselves as a "Fast Food Restaurant", so don't go if you fancy a romantic meal with tableclothes and candles, it is very basic, but the food is fantastic.  

It has around 10 small tables, not unlike a seaside fish & chip cafe.  There are often "reserved" signs on the table, and you will be asked when you go in if you have booked.  But they soon whip a sign off and seat you - perhaps it's just to stop people seating themselves.

The staff are well presented, friendly and busy, the restaurant is spotlessly clean and tidy.

They do a number of offers at lunch, one being a buffet option for around £4.00, the items on the buffet change from day to day and the menu is shown on the door.  Another option is a lunch deal with a starter and main course for around £6.00.

We decided to choose from the main menu.

I went for a "Big Bowl Noodle" meal, you choose your meat/veg/fish, then your choice of noodles, then your choice of sauce.  This is authentic style Chinese food and tastes fabulous.

I went for  mixed vegetable, thin egg noodle and sweetcorn soup.

When it arrived it just looked like a massive bowl of soup, but on digging into the sauce it was jam packed with veg and noodles and absolutely gorgeous.

Hubby had chicken fried rice, which he says was very nice and well seasoned.

Had it with a pot of Chinese tea.

I went back a little while later and had the Vegetable Chow Mien, which was equally as good.

The bill was around £15 for two large meals, tea and coke.

Opening hours are odd, they close at 3.00pm weekdays and 4.30pm Saturdays, but they do home deliveries up until 10.00pm.  Its a pity they are not open on evenings as I think they would be very busy.

Here are the details...

49-53 Blackfriars Street, 
Tel: 01228-512100

Please comment if you have been.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Ashora/Indian/Glasgow

Found this restaurant on Google while looking for a nice place to eat near the Theatres in Glasgow.  This statement made up our minds as it sounded totally unique...

Awarded the best food in Glasgow by BBC's good food guide magazine. The only indian restaurant in Scotland to use the method of oven bake cooking, without the use of oil. Arguably the most unique cooking in Britain.

Situated on Elderslie Street in Glasgow's West End, it was easy enough to find, not far from Charing Cross Station.  Didn't seem to be any parking outside or nearby though.

Walking into the Ashora the first impression was it was a little dark and dismal.  Some very ornate carved chairs with very high backs and different heavy print material on them. Some were animal print and others were kind of greek patterned print.  Odd.

The tables were set with very huge heavy charger plates and ornate tableware.  Looked very medieval.

There was just one more couple in the restaurant. We arrived at 6.30pm and had two hours until we needed to be at our show at 8.30pm.

We were shown to our seat by a waiter with very very limited English.

We sat quite a while before a drink order was taken, the house wine was very nice though.  

A couple of poppadums arrived, which we had not ordered, which was nice. Then our orders were taken.

For a starter I chose....COMBO ADRAK.  Which was a button mushroom, breaded and topped with a ginger curry.

It was delicious, the ginger curry topping was a fabulous addition to the mushrooms and it was a large sized portion.

Hubby went for....ONION BHAJI.  These were patties rather than than the usual balls, tasty he said, but a bit soggy inside. Again, a huge portion for a starter.

The starters took ages to arrive, at this time we were the only people left in the restaurant.  As a joke I suggested to my Hubby that we would have to leave if the main courses were not delivered by 7.45pm.  It was now 7.15pm and we had been in the restaurant for 3/4 of an hour.  Unfortunately it turned out not to be a joke as by 7.45pm the main course still had not arrived.  The waiter with limited English came over and apologised for the food being late, but because it was a "quiet night" there wasn't many staff in and they had to concentrate on the take-aways!!!

After explaining we had a show to go to, he nipped off to the kitchen and came back immediately with the food - strange, or good timing, who knows.

For a main course I had opted for another starter of Panneer in a sauce.  I can't remember exactly what I ordered and cannot find it on the online menu, but I remember it wasn't as what I expected, but it was ok. 

I had it with a stuffed Paratha which was nice.

Hubby ordered Chicken Tikka with Fried Rice, but actually got Chicken Tikka Massala.  We had no time to get it changed so he painstakenly scraped the sauce off the chicken.  Obviously it spoiled his meal slightly.

By now we were rushing, and asked the restaurant to book us a taxi, the owner came over to tell us a taxi was booked, but if by chance it was late he would "get one of his delivery drivers to run us down", which I thought was a lovely touch.  He also knocked off a couple of pounds for getting one of the meals wrong. 

Would we go back?  Probably not, there are better places to eat in Glasgow and the waiting times were pretty bad.

Here are the details for you....

The Ashoka,
108 Elderslie Street,West End, G3 7AR. Phone: 0141 221 1761

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Bella Italia/American Italian/Glasgow

A newly discovered favourite is Bella Italia in Hope Street, Glasgow.

No parking outside, but there are multi-story car parks around the station which is just a few minutes away.

Bella Italia is an American style Italian, with waiting staff in oversized aprons.

We were seated and a delivered an extensive menu with loads of choice on it.  A drinks order was taken and I fancied a "Big Tom" which was a spiced tomato juice.  I asked what it was spiced with as being a Vegetarian I don't have Worcester Sauce which tomato juice is usually spiced with, and the waitress brought the bottle over for me to check, which was lovely.  It was fine so I had that. It was gorgeous, a really nice refreshing drink with a kick.

We ordered some .............

Garlic Dough Bastoni 

Mini bread batons with melted garlic & parsley butter to dip

They were delicious, baked to perfection and so soft and light, and a great big basket full to share.

For a main I went for ............

Legumi Calzone

Red pesto with roasted peppers and onions, black olives, baby plum tomatoes and field mushrooms with creamy mascarpone and mozzarella

I asked if I could swap the pepper and onions for artichokes, and this was fine.
The pizza was superb, the mascarpone cheese made it so creamy and tasty, and the crust was crispy and lightweight.

Hubby had a simple margarita pizza, he said it was a really good pizza with a lovely crust and nice flavour.
Prices are around £8-£10 for a main course, but the food is worth it.
They have a viewable menu on their website - 
The address is...

Bella Italia Glasgow

96 Hope Street
G2 6PH
Tel: 0141 2215321

Monday, 6 June 2011

Bombay Blues/Indian/Glasgow

Well, what a little find this place was.  We were heading up towards the Theatre in Glasgow, having already searched on Trip Advisor for a recommended Indian restaurant when we walked past this place.

Situated in Hope Street, right opposite the side entrance to Glasgow Central Station. There is no street parking close by, so you would need to use one of the City's multi-story Car Parks.

It is a modern looking establishment, very contemporary, with twinkling lights in the windows.

On the door was a 'Pre-Theatre' offer of a three course meal for just £8.50!  Decision made, and so we popped in.

It looked a little "cafe like" on first impressions, if you didn't know what style of food it served you would possibly think it was an up-market pizza place.

We asked for a table for 4, there was only two other tables occupied, but we were asked if we had booked.  We were then told we could have a table but it would need to be vacated at 6.45pm, this was ok as it was only 5.30pm and we needed to get to the Theatre anyway.  Having said that, when we did leave at 6.50pm, there was only 3 more tables occupied!  It could have been because we had the Theatre menu and the buffet was starting perhaps.

We were seated and given some horribly tatty menus, as they were only paper/card it would have been nice to have some clean fresh ones.

The table settings were clean and tidy and the glasses sparkling.

I chose a Cauliflower Pakora to start, it came served on the sauce already, which was fine for me, but Hubby doesn't 'do' dairy, so having yoghurt smeared all over his plate was not the best start for him.

However, it was a perfect amount of sauce for me, the pakoras were crisp and tasty with a good amount of spice.  Very nice.

Hubby had Chicken Pakora, which once he had dodged the sauce, said was really good.

Another of our group had Masala Garlic Mushroom, which he said was delicious.

For a main I asked one waiter if I could change any of the meat for Paneer, he said it was fine, but when I came to order the waiter taking the order said I couldn't, which was dissapointing. 
As I don't care for mixed veg dishes I went for the Tarka Dall, which is a lentil dish.  Whenever I have had this in the past it has always been a bit boring so I wasn't holding out much hope, but in fact it was absolutely delicious, the best Tarka Dall I have ever tasted! 

 And even better, the waiter must have felt a bit sorry for me and sneaked me over a little pot of Saag Paneer from the buffet !  Result  :)

Hubby had Garlic Chilli Chicken, he always scraps the sauce off and eats just the meat.  Apparently the chicken was lovely, with just the right spices and a nice flavour.

Our guest had Nihari Lamb Methi.  I have never come across this dish before, but he said it was magnificent, the lamb was tender and the sauce was very good.

Between us we also got two portions of Saffron rice and two baskets of Garlic Naan to share.

The Naan was just fabulous, with big chunks of garlic and plenty of naughty garlic butter.

Then there was a desert, to be honest we had no room for desert, but as I love Gulab Jamin, I just had to try it.  Luckily it was a small desert with just two little balls, but plenty enough after that great meal. 

Or the other option was ice-cream, coffee or tea.

The whole bill, for 4 'dinners' a bottle of wine and a soft drink came to just £55 - can't beat that for value.

Would definately return when next in Glasgow, we were still talking about how good the food was the following day.

Here are the details for you, let us know if you go.

Bombay Blues
41 Hope Street
G2 6AE

0141 221 0817