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.




Monday, 28 February 2011

Bluerare/Restaurant/Carlisle

We have driven past this restaurant many many times, and every time we do we state that we "must go there sometime", but one thing was putting us off - full-sized posters of Roy Chubby Brown & other comedy events always made the place look a bit odd and cheap.

But one evening while deciding where to eat we took the bull by the horns and decided to visit.  Not a comedy poster in sight.

Situated on Carleton Road, Carlisle (Following on from London Road towards the M6) it is a stand alone building - you can't miss it.



Plenty of car parking around the back and I believe it is on a bus route too, although a little too far to walk from the City centre.

We had booked a table earlier in the day and although the 'conservatory room' was quite busy, there was plenty of space in the front room.

We walked in to a lovely ambience, soft colourful lighting, beautiful furnishings and glass topped tables, nicely set.  The only downside was the music was a little too fast and too loud.  A more gentle music (in the background, rather than being in your face) would have been much nicer.



We were sat down in the lounge area, comfy armchairs and coffee tables, and were given the menus.  We ordered drinks and a  few minutes later our order was taken for food.

I fancied the Flat Cap Mushroom, topped with spinach and blue cheese, served on a toasted brioche.  Problem being I hate blue cheese so I asked if it could be substituted.  The server went off to the kitchen to find out and came back with a list of 4 of 5 cheeses I could choose from.  Very nice, I thought.  I chose smoked cheese.



It was nice - nothing wrong with it, quite tasty, but lacking 'something' (probably the blue cheese!!)  I would have it again if it wasn't for the cost, I thought it was a little pricey at nearly £7.00 for a mushroom on toast!

Hubby went for Garlic Bread (on the side order section) 



It came beautifully served, draped over a bed of dressed salad, and was delicious (I know, I stole a bit)

For a main course I was delighted to have the choice of 4 gorgeous sounding Veggie options - my issue was having to choose which one !  In the end I went for pan fried Gnocci with spinach, cherry tomatoes, olives and feta cheese.



It wasn't a massive portion, but perfectly adequate and goodness me, it was divine, I loved it, beautiful.

Hubby had his usual Gammon & Eggs. It was 'centre-cut' Gammon, so it arrived without a scrap of fat on it.  Served with two fried eggs and a ring of fresh pineapple (you could tell it was fresh as it still had the skin on)  It should have also come with tomatoes and mushrooms but he asked for them to be left off.



He was offered chips OR vegetables with it.  He went for the home-made chips.

On the next table we overheard the couple placing their order, the lady wanted chips AND vegetables but was told she would have to pay extra for that as they just served one or the other.  She questioned it quite strongly and a compromise was offered that she could have some peas, which she seemed quite happy with.  So if you order vegetables I am not sure if you get a potatoes with that or you would have to pay extra.  Worth checking when you order.

As the portions were not massive there was room for a pudding.  Chocolate Brownie.  It came served with both cream and ice-cream, and the little slice of brownie was quite well hidden underneath it all.  Having said that, it was very gorgeous indeed, although the ice-cream was left on the side due to eyes being bigger than bellies !!!



Staff were great, very attentive.  The only (small) complaint is that we were asked 4 times within a few minutes by different members off staff if everything was ok.  Once would have been enough.

The bill, without a tip, came to just very slightly under £50.00, this was for 1 starter, 1 side, 2 mains, 2 large wines, 1 soft drink and 1 pudding.

Will definately be back.

Here is their website, but please do add another £1.00 - £2.00 onto the menu prices ( at time of posting this blog) as it seems to need updated.


And their contact details:

Bluerare Restaurant
London Road
Carlisle,
CA1 3DP
Phone: 01228 524433

Feel free to comment if you have been.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Little Frankies/American Italian/Carlisle









Little Frankies in Carlisle is part of the Frankie & Benny chain.  Situated in Lowther Street, Carlisle, just on the outside of The Lanes Shopping centre.







It is an American style Italian Diner, with booths and bits of memorability as decoration.

We went on a Wednesday night at around 8pm, and it was empty. 

We were shown to a seat in the window, but asked if we could get a seat further inside the restaurant (hate sitting in the window) which was fine.

I have to say the staff in there are always superb, the staff training must be excellent as they can never do enough for you.

We started with some stuffed skins to start - cheddar & sweetcorn.















Could have done with a little more seasoning, but altogether very nice.

I went on to have a Pizza Calzone - loaded with saut√©ed garlic mushrooms, creamy cheese sauce and a blend of mozzarella and goat’s cheese.
















It was delicious, crisp tasty pizza crust with a wonderful creamy filling.  Divine.

Hubby went for a regular  Burger & Fries.
















He said it was very enjoyable.

We had no room for puddings which was a shame as some of them sounded lovely.  Maybe next time.

The only thing is that is a little overpriced in my opinion. Nearly £10 for a pizza and £9 for a burger & fries is a touch expensive.

The total bill, not including a tip, was around  £30 for 2 starter, 2 mains, 1 large wine & 1 soft drink.

Here are the details:

Frankies
81-85 Lowther St
Carlisle,
Cumbria
CA3 8ED
01228 518 130

Let us know if you go...

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Shaha/Indian/Carlisle

We try to visit this restaurant once a year to celebrate an anniversary.  Looking back on notes I took last year we perhaps shouldn't be so sentimental  ;)

Situated on Tate Street, just off Botchergate, parking can occasionally be found on Tait Street if you are lucky, otherwise use "William Street" Car Park at the beginning of Tate Street and walk down the road.



It is a first floor restaurant, you have to walk up a set of stairs to get in, so no good for people with mobility issues. The stairs, carpet, and walls on the way up look quite tired and don't give off the best impression.

However, inside is nice.  It used to be a very open plan restaurant, but a few years ago they put in lots of dividing walls making lots of little rooms and alcoves.  We had booked ahead, but we were a bit early so we sat in the bar area for a few minutes before being shown to our table.

We went for some poppadums to start, served cold - I do prefer a warm poppadum, it makes all the difference.  The mint sauce and mango chutney tasted nice, but were so thin it was hard to get them to stay on the poppadom without dripping everywhere.



For a starter I went for Vegetable Pakoras. 


They were "ok", nothing special, and a bit soggy in the middle.

Hubby had Chicken Pakora, he again said nothing special, the chicken was very plain (unspiced) and tasted more like a Sweet & Sour Chicken ball from a Chinese Restaurant.


For a main I went for a Creamy Vegetable Curry (sorry the name of the dish escapes me)  I asked for no onions and peppers, but was told there wouldn't be any in there anyway - which was fine.

I have to say I was a little dissapointed as it was basically a potato curry. Lots of potato, one piece of cauliflower, a few tiny bits of carrot (like frozen diced carrot) and a handful of cabbage.  The sauce was lovely though.  I had forgotten to ask for no onions in the Egg Rice that Hubby and I was sharing, so I asked if I could get just half a portion freshly cooked.  This was done quickly, with no fuss, and wasn't even added to the bill.  Excellent service.


Hubby had Chicken Tikka Garlic.


He said "It was ok, but you can get better in Carlisle".


An hour later I was suffering from tummy issues that I have only ever experienced in Egypt !  I wondered if it was coincidence, but that was the only food I had had for hours.

I had taken the leftovers home (as I often do) and after having them for lunch the next day, was suffering the same symptoms within an hour.  Reading on Trip Advisor, this doesn't seem to be an isolated case sadly.

I have heard they are planning another re-vamp.  New menu and decorating.

Our bill, not including a tip, was around £45 for 2 poppadums, 2 starters, 2 mains, 1 rice, 1 chips, a bottle of wine and a soft drink.

Here are the details should you wish to go, please comment and let us know if you do visit.

Shaha
89 Botchergate
Carlisle,
Cumbria
CA1 1RS
01228 520 050

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Filling Station/American/Glasgow

We found this place in a "Good Food Guide" in our Glasgow Hotel, so having had enough of Chinese, Indian, Thai, we thought and American style diner would be a nice change.  In the write up in the guide it stated there were good Vegetarian options.

Situated on Bath Street, central Glasgow, there is no parking directly outside but there are car parks scattered around.


An "Americanised" Diner with booths and licence plates.  We walked in and asked for a table for four.  We were told there was a 20 minute wait and directed to sit at the bar with a buzzer, we were 'buzzed' after only 10 minutes and shown to our seat.

I wasn't hugely impressed with the Veggie options to be honest - a wrap, a pizza, a burger (peppers - bleurgh) and a pasta.  Not very imaginative.

I opted for Macaroni Cheese (served with rocket and Garlic Bread)



The macaroni cheese was actually quite nice, but for around £9.00 it was quite a small portion.  The rocket side serving wasn't worth having on the plate, it was merely a decoration.  Garlic bread was nice though.

My friend had duck wrap, quite fatty lumps of duck and again £9.00 for a wrap and a few skinny chips was a bit overpriced.



The menfolk had fish & chips.  Two small bits of fish, a few chips and some mushy peas.  They both said it was lovely fish, and the chunky chips looked nice.



All in all it was 'ok', but at £9.00 each meal it was well overpriced in my opinion.  Service however, was spot on.

Here are the details for you..

The Filling Station
Tara House,
46 Bath St
Glasgow
G2 1HG

0141 331 2391

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Pizza Express/Italian/Glasgow


I do like a Pizza Express pizza, so while visiting Glasgow and with a voucher for a bargain meal, we decided to pay it a visit.

(It's always worth Googling for vouchers before going to chains, especially Pizza restaurants, as you can often find a bargain)

Situated at 436 Sauchiehall Street, there is no parking outside, but there are car parks around the area.



We went on a Saturday afternoon, it was quite busy but strangely there only seemed to be three staff on - one waitress, one chef and a waiter that swapped between waiting on tables and making pizzas.

As you might imagine, service was quite slow.  Even a simple jug of water took some time to arrive, and there was a long long wait inbetween having our sharing starter of Dough Balls and the pizzas.

Other tables were looking a little disgruntled, but we were in no hurry so just sat it out.

Pizzas were great, as usual.  Never had a bad pizza in pizza express.  The staff, although rushed off their feet, were very pleasant.

May I recommend the Giardiniera (Asparagus, artichokes, mushrooms, red peppers, santos tomatoes, olives, garlic oil, tomato & pesto base)  I did skip the peppers, but the rest was delicious.



Hubby had a chicken & onion pizza, always good quality 'proper' chicken.



This is the website for the Pizza Express chain.  (Don't forget to Google for vouchers)



Thai Orchid/Thai/Glasgow

I have been to this restaurant a few times and always found it excellent.



Situated on Argyle Street, literally just minutes from Central Station close to the Alexander Thompson hotel.  Hard to park outside, but there is a multi-story NCP close by.

A small restaurant, but beautifully decorated with nicely set tables.



Staff are very attentive, even to the point of being slightly intrusive, and you wine glass is topped up every time you drink a couple of mouthfuls.

We were given complimentary spicy prawn crackers with a satay dip, and a spicy thai vegetable salad to nibble on while we chose our food.

Menus extensive with plenty of choice, with a decent vegetarian section too.

I went for Tempura Battered Vegetables.



The request for no onions or peppers was noted, and the selection was lovely, with crisp fresh batter and a lovely chilli sauce dip.

My companions had Honey King Prawns...



Chicken Satay....



and Coconut Prawns.



No complaints anywhere, all starters were delicious.

For a main course I went for Stir-Fried Spicy Vegetables with cashew nuts & pineapple. 



Again, it arrived as requested minus the onions and peppers, although the pineapple seemed to be missing too.  The taste was gorgeous though, and it was complimented perfectly by the ribbon noodles and egg fried rice.

My companions had Tangerine Chicken (which was supposidly fabulous, very "tangeriney")



.... and a Thai curry, which smelt particularly gorgeous.



Slight issue in that the rice and noodle dishes which we wanted to share at our leisure was dished onto our plates at the beginning as the waitress wanted to remove the serving plates.  Would have much prefered to get our own when and if we wanted more.

No room for a dessert.

The bill for four people, for 4 starters, 4 mains, 4 sides, two soft drinks and a bottle of wine was around £110 not including a tip.

Here are the details for you.

Thai Orchid Restaurant
336 Argyle Street
Glasgow
G2 8LY

Tel: 0141 847 0315

Feel free to add a comment.