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.

Sunday, 15 January 2012


Rafiks is situated on Botchergate in Carlisle, in the restaurant what was recently The Jade Garden Chinese.

This restaurant has a really interesting history, having actually started off in the same building in 1976.  (You can read all about it on their website -

I heard a rumour that a new Indian Restaurant had opened, so thought I should go an check it out.

What a surprise when walking in, it is nothing like the restaurant it once was, very modern, contemporary, beautiful decor and furniture - a total transformation.

We were seated at a low table near the bar, then offered a choice of dining tables.

The menu was very good, with some interesting offerings on it, nice to see something different.

I went for Tokri Chaat - Traditional Indian street food, puffed rice, sev, rice flakes, chickpeas and tomato served in a poppadum basket with dips.

It was unbelievably delicious.  I loved it.  It was one of those tastes that you "fancy" when deciding to go out for a meal.

Hubby had Chicken Pakora - chicken in spicy chickpea batter, fried.

He said it was 'very enjoyable'.

For a main course I couldn't choose, so I went for two side dishes instead - Kurkuri - Crispy spiced coated okra with chilli.... and Palak Paneer - Spinach and Indian cheese.

They were quite small portions, but very nice.  The Okra wasn't quite as crispy as I would have liked, but it had a lovely flavour and the paneer was nice and creamy.

Hubby went for his usual Chicken Tikka.  He was a little disappointed to get just 6 small pieces for £7.50 though especially when you have to order your sides extra, but the flavour was nice.

We shared rice, chips and bread for accompaniments.  Bread was nice and fluffy, and the chips were fat and fluffy  :)

I have to say though, the sauces and dips that were served with different courses were lovely, something very different and added to the enjoyment of the meal.

I would definitely go back again and recommend Rafiks to others, but you will need a starter if you are hungry, so it's not a cheap night out.  At the time of writing they only open for dinner and not for lunch.

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

141 – 145 Botchergate,
Tel: 01228 599889

Monday, 9 January 2012

Pompeii Steakhouse/Carlisle

It is with a little trepidation that I write this blog, for a Vegetarian visiting a Steak house is probably not the most ideal situation, however....... I was in a group of people who wanted to go so I toddled along.

There are no  photos as it was too dark in the restaurant to take any without industrial flash, and I didn't have the camera with me with the flash on.

So, we had a table booked, and we were seated on a little table behind the main doorway.  As mentioned before it was very dark, so dark in fact that our friend could not manage to read the menu, which was printed on black & red paper.  The waitress was very good, however, and read it out to her.

I chose to have....Portobello mushroom and beef tomato: cooked on the stone served with red onion, rocket and a Dijon mustard and balsamic dressing on toasted ciabatta.

I asked for it without red onion and was told this was fine.  However the side vegetables served with the meal was red onions, mushrooms, peppers and courgettes mixed together, and I couldn't have that without the onions.  As my husband wouldn't eat this either, we asked if it could be swapped for a garlic mushroom side dish.  This was ok.

The others all went for a steak.

The steaks arrived first, carried one at a time, as I imagine the lava stones are quite heavy, and mine arrived last.  I was quite surprised to find a total of three regular sized mushrooms, sliced and cooking on the stone, and six slices of small salad tomato.  The  red onion was very present and had flavoured all the ciabatta on which it lay.   No one came back to do a satisfaction check, there was a large party (perhaps two) in the other room, resulting in us being abandoned somewhat.  Our friends did not get their vegetables either, they had also ordered some garlic mushrooms so presumed they had been swapped as ours was.

The concept of the stone is good for steak, however, trying to eat a boiling hot tomato that doesn't cool down any is not the easiest of things, I had to rest the tomato slices on my bread to cool them down.  The mushrooms just shrivelled up.  But really, I have seen more food as a garnish on a pub food plate.

Finally, at the end of the meal the waitress returned to take our plates, at this point I decided to question the small amount of food.  It went something along the lines of this......

"Food was nice, but I expected a Portobello Mushroom?"

"Oh, yes, sorry meant to say, we ran out"

"And the Beef Tomato?"

"We ran out of those too"

"And I asked for no onions, the salad (as in rocket) was covered in it"

"You didn't ask for salad"

No, the salad that came with the ciabatta and meal, it had onion on it, I asked for no onion"

LOUDER: "You didn't order salad!"

"The salad, comes with the meal, it's on the menu"

SNOTTY "Well, I don't know what comes out of the kitchen"

"Fair enough, well to be honest, I am not happy with paying £9.00 for three small mushrooms and a small tomato"

"I'll speak to the Chef"

With this she left. Ten minutes later she returned and said the Chef said I could have it for £4.50 - which I agreed too.  When the bill arrived the deduction was made, but my friends had been charged for their mushroom dish, by this time we just wanted to leave.

Our friends actually enjoyed their food, but due to the attitude of the waitress it ruined a good night out.

As I said at the start, it seems a bit unfair for a Vegetarian to criticize a Steak House, but you know, there are times, especially if they have to welcome parties, that Vegetarians will have to be catered for, that's why I decided to go ahead and write up my blog.

Feel free to add your own views, would be interested to read them.

Contact details below:

The Pompeii Steakhouse

1-3 Abbey Street
Phone: 01228 402440

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Ship Inn/Pub Food/Carlisle

We trotted along to The Ship Inn on a recommendation that "the chips are excellent".  Well, how could we resist?

Situated in a little Village called Thursby, just a few miles outside of Carlisle towards Wigton.  Not walkable really from Carlisle, there are buses that stop close to the pub, but you would need to check times. There is a large car park behind the pub.

If you park in the car park you can enter the building via the back door, you have to walk through a waft of cigarette smoke though if you are unlucky enough to arrive at a fag break time :)

From here you can turn to the right to go into the bar, or left & down a few stairs to the restaurant area.

Nicely set up, in Pub food style rather than restaurant, but having a separate dining area deserves a big "well-done", it makes all the difference to a nice eating experience.  We sat close to the bar, unfortunately right next to a speaker which was screaming out loud pop music.  We did ask for it to be turned down as we could hardly hear ourselves speak, and it was, but a good 10 minutes later.

The menu had plenty of choice and a good few veggie options  (although these are not featured on the online menu at all)

I went for Vegetable Kiev, served with a lovely side salad and a generous portion of home-made chips.  The recommendation pointing us towards the chips was spot on, they were delicious.  The kiev was just a 'drop in the frier' type, but that' ok, the effort was there to put something different on the menu for a Veggie, and that's always appreciated.

Hubby went for his usual Gammon, served with egg, coleslaw, salad & veg, the chips were served separately and it was a rather generous meal.

The waitress was lovely, I tend to think she is perhaps the owner, very friendly and full of chatter.

A nice meal, and the chips are definitely worth going to try.

They have a website.....

The Ship Inn
The Green, 
Telephone: 01228 710600

Let us know if you go....