Bill’s Breakfast Breakdown (Dale Street Manchester)

This has always been our go to place when travelling around the UK.  So far we have been to Bill’s at Brighton, Cheltenham, Durham, York, Leeds and now Manchester.

We went here for breakfast on Sunday morning instead of having the £20 full English at the Lowery Hotel; we just could not imagine how they could deliver such an outstanding breakfast when the hotel is lacking in its former glory, but that is another review.

We arrived at 10am and were promptly seated.  The restaurant was very quiet; we must have missed the Sunday rush!

We ordered a pot of Tea for one, an Americano,  two of Bill’s Breakfast £7.95 (one with a side/extra of Crispy Potato at £1.25 and one a side/extra of Black Pudding at £1.50) which we would  share.

Drinks arrived soon after with our breakfasts following about 5 minutes later.

When we first started going to Bill’s I am sure you got two of each of  your extras with regards the potato and black pudding (and David assures me it was the case and my memory is not failing me). I’m not sure that at £1.50, a slice even with overheads that is a fair deal for a slice fat!  Especially if it is killed through overcooking!

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The more I think, the more I do not see Bill’s as being good value.  If you took off the black pudding we are paying £8 for two eggs, effectively one sausage, 3 pieces of streaky bacon (the cheapest cut of bacon) the smallest tomato  half, and two pieces of small-ish toasted bread (the eggs are small; so use this as a guide if you require more evidence).

We regularly have breakfast at two beautiful farm shops in Yorkshire that have won awards for their quality and they charge £9.00 for their full english – with no extra’s to pay for (see picture 2).

Quality is hit and miss. Sometimes you get crispy bacon and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you get soft eggs and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you get a soft and juicy tomato and sometimes you get an unripe under-cooked version but most of the time you do get overcooked Black Pudding!

On a positive note the staff were friendly and the toilets are generally spotless.

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Picture 1 Bills Breakfast and Picture 2 Farm Shop Breakfast the latter is cheaper.

My final observation we always have to wait for a table at our local establishments (they both hold about 50 covers) unlike Bill’s which in the last year I have not seen busy at breakfast…now that may be coincidence but I doubt that considering how many branches we have been to.  What is consistent is Bill’s inconsistency which is quickly relegating this from being our  go-to place for breakfast.

 

Cost £22.70 (before service) as at March 2016

If you’d like to read more of my reviews then you could follow me on Twitter @EatBakeBlogUK

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Sunday Chorizo Brunch from Delia Smith

Isn’t it funny how we can forget about dishes in our repitoire and they disappear into fond food memories.  Well today, I decided to revisit this wonderful dish that I disovered via my first food hero Delia.  My bookshelves are full of her books but this new wonder foodie resource DeliaOnline has become a go to for me.

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Delia recommends a shallow gratin dishe measuring 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter, which will hold one or two eggs I use my Falcon enamel round pie dish or the recatangular version.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 75g of Chorizo (today I used a cheat)
  • Red pepper (cut in half, quarters then sliced thinley into lengths)
  • Onion (medium sliced in spears)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic (chopped)
  • 4-5 Really ripe tomatoes *
  • 3-4 free range eggs
  • 50g Cheddar or any good melting cheese
  • Shot of Dry Sherry; this is optional
  • Salt and pepper

 

Method

Step 1 turn your oven on to 180ºc (fan) or gas mark 4.

Step 2 deseed the pepper, remove the white flesh cut in half, then quarters and slice finely into lengths.

Step 3 Peel your onion and cut in half and cut into thin spears.
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Step 4 Boil your kettle and put the tomatoes into a large (1 litre Pyrex jug) and cover the tomatoes.  Within 1 minute they will be ready to be skinned.  Some of the skins might be difficult to remove, I leave the odd bit on.  (Delia removes the seeds I prefer to leave the seeds in; each to their own).

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Peeling tomatoes

Step 5  next chop the tomatoes  into pieces and then finely chop the garlic.
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Step 6 heat a pan (I used a small wok for this dish) with about a tablespoon of oil (I used rapeseed) when the oil is hot add the chorizo pieces to brown them off, I added a slug of Oloroso Sherry just to make it that little bit more spanish.  Once cooked off I then place these into the dish I am going to use.

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Dry sherry

Step 7  Add the onion and pepper to the pan and cook on a high heat, until  they are starting to soft with brown edges – this will take about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickeness of the slices.

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Step 8 add tomatoes

Step 8 add the chopped tomatoes and garlic and cook for 1 minute more and return the browned chorizo to the pan.  Give it a good turn around to meld all the flavours.

Step 9 season well with freshly ground salt and black pepper.

Step 10 take the pan off the heat heat and place the mixture  in the dish.  Break your eggs into the dish (as I am using a one pot I space these out equally) .  If you use indiviudal dishes then sit you eggs side by side on top of the mixture.

Step 11 now you should have the mixture with eggs sat on top so season and sprinkle each one with your grated cheese.

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Ready to bake

Step 12  place the dish or dishes on the baking sheet on the top shelf of the oven to cook for 12-15 minutes (or a little longer, depending on how you like your eggs).

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Thanks for reading my blog and I would love to read your comments. If you like my blog then you can follow me on Twitter @EatBakeBlogGB or read my restaurant reviews on TripAdvisor.

Happy blogging.

Louise x

© EatBakeBlogGB / Louise Winder Food & Travel all rights reserved.

#EatBakeBlog Lush leftover luncheon fuels a blog

How annoying is it when you throw out of date food away?  I’ll be honest, the first thing that crops up in my mind is how much did that cost, what else could I have spent that money on?

For me it would probably have been a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, chilled of course.

Of course it bothers me that it will end up in landfill (I have no compost bin right now) and anyone who knows me well understands that recycling matters to me and I hope it matters to you too.

So today I foraged (well I am a blogger got to use the odd creative word) around the wilds of our fridges and found some baked salmon, kale, broccoli and some cream that all needed using today – so rather than the lush beef sandwich I really wanted, I got my trusty Tefal pan out and started chopping.

20160119_Roast beef from Thorncliffe

I diced half an onion (organic, hey that’s how I roll), crushed a clove of garlic, split the remaining broccoli into a handful of florets, grabbed a handful of kale, flaked the salmon fillet (fending of Leia – our tabby – with my steely glare)  and the remainder of the Elmlea double cream (I know a DCA hardly a foodies go to but I know I had no choice).

I sweated the onion, added the garlic, and the broccoli frying it for 3 minutes, followed by  a generous glug of dry white wine.  Letting it reduce slightly before I added the cream  I next flaked the salmon into the sauce.  Meanwhile the kale was steaming on the spaghetti, once done I tossed this into the pan and grated some parmesan over the top.

Hey presto, within under 10 minutes I had a delicious and creamy, although slightly naughty, dish using leftovers.

20160119_ Leftovers for Lunch

Thanks for reading and if you like my blog then please show your support and comment below or maybe you could retweet if you follow me on twitter.

Louise x

 

 

Ego at The Beverly Arms

It’s no Ego trip (Donaster Road, Ackworth)

This review focuses on our first impression of Ego at the Beverley Arms  and a few comments on our subsequent visits.

We booked in on day 3 of trading at the newly opened Ego at the Beverley Arms.   We arrived at 730pm and were quickly seated our drinks order was taken about 15 minutes later.  There is a lovely buzz about the place with a hint of chaos from a new team which added to the excitement and anticipation.  I am craving an excellent restaurant locally and hope this fits the bill.  However they clearly can seat over 100 covers so I hope they have the experienced team to handle this with their extensive menu.

Around 745pm we placed our order from the a la carte menu ordering the Chicken and Rosemary Pate and Moules Marinieres to start. Followed by Moroccan Lamb  Tanjine and Iberian Belly Pork, served on a bed of spinach with black pudding.

The starters arrived around 15 minutes, they were nicely presented (although no finger bowl for the Moules!). The Pate was very chilled so the flavour was lost and the toasted bread  was not really toasted.  The moules, a starter portion was served in a main course bowl #disappointment. The upside was they were juicy and the mariniere sauce was creamy with just enough garlic so they can be forgiven what I see as teething problems.  I do hope the Head Chef orders some small pots to avoid disappointing their diners.

The main course arrived an hour after our initial order.  The Moroccan Lamb was well presented in the Tajine.

Ego at The Beverly Arms
Lamb Tajine

The was no shortage of olives in this dish, the cous-cous, as promised was lightly buttered (and very fluffy), the vegetables were tasty in the rich sauce, the lamb however as tougher than you’d expect for a slow cooked dish.  There was plenty of tzatziki and corriander to compliment.  Overall this dish was tasty – however – I think it is overpriced at £15.95 considering the lack of provenance and the average quality of the lamb.

David enjoyed his belly pork – the sauce was rich and pork was tender and had a wonderfully crisp top. Again though the pricing is high, you can find similar dishes and more plentiful plates for less (consider this is not served with any vegetables or carbohydrates).

The Dauphinoise Gratin was a fraud it was more like Lyonnaise Potatoes; in summary it was cheesy potatoes – not the wonderfully rich creamy garlic dish you’d expect.

Dauphinoise Potatoes
Dauphinoise Potatoes at £3,25 (that’s a desert spoon for reference)!

It was quite late by the time we finished our mains so we did not order a further course or coffee.

Overall we were not bowled over by Ego at the Beverley Arms, I think  the Ego brand may think they are stronger than they are. In my opinion they have some evolving to do.   We paid over £50 (inlcuding a small carafe of red wine) and in my experience I have paid less for more.  In future, we will dine on their special nights as their main course prices match that of a an established city restaurant with great service.

Our second experience was on the steak night this improved upon our first visit. The latest visit was for a family meal for 8 which was better than our first trip but still a long way off, stronger service is needed again the gap between starters and mains was noticible with no apologies and we were left alone far too long with regards to drinks orders as not all the party were wine drinkers.

I give Ego 3 out of 5 and hope that this soon will improve and would recommend you try but if you are too a keen cook you may wish to book in for a specials night first.

If you like my reviews you will find more on Trip Advisor or follow me on Twitter @LouiseWinder

Louise x

#EatBakeBlog

Greater things to come (Cote – 115-116 Church Street, Brighton)

We came to Cote for my fathers 70th birthday on 23rd, as my brother has been here previously and recommended the restaurant.

Upon arrival we were greeted warmly and shown to our table on the terrace but as it was a little scruffy looking and the smokers had adopted the table next to ours we decided to dine inside; which was no issue as the restaurant was not busy.

We ordered drinks and soon after ordered food with all bar one, having two courses (there is nothing suitable for a 3 year old diner).

We were served bread which was deliciously warm and crispy, but this brassiere chose not to offer side plates – and at their prices and their discretionary service charge this is not what you’d expect… where does one place their bread!?

The starters arrived we were all pleased with our choices.  I had the prawns but they were a lacking chilli which was one of the reasons I chose them but there was plenty of garlic so the dish had flavour and well presented.

The main courses: the majority ordered fillet steak in various guises with one rib eye and a sausage and mash for my nephew.  I chose fillet with Garlic butter and a side of minted peas. The fillet steak was well presented and hot and had been served on a hot plate (refreshing as so many restaurants serve hot food on cold or tepid plates).  It had been cooked to my liking medium-rare, it was tender and very flavours some, top marks.   The peas however, were wrinkled and were lacking in mint but had been seasoned.

Medium-rare fillet steak with garlic butter
Medium-rare fillet steak with garlic butter

Desserts were ordered and I will always order Crème Brule which was a good standard.

We asked for an Irish coffee for the Birthday boy, but the waiter advised this  was not something Cote offered and without much fuss the waiter then rescinded and offered to make one which we appreciated.  However, our gratitude soon did a U-turn as they chose to use a small wine glass and what should have been a steaming hot Irish coffee was a tepid rocket fuelled coffee.  When we got the bill they had also charged for a double Jameson’s which we did not doubt had been used. I spoke to the manager as we concerned the staff were using doubles without saying especially after a few wines. She apologised and insisted in refunding – which was appreciated.

Overall the steak was excellent, the service was good but I suspect their could be issues on a busy service; the waiting staff were not keep an eye on the “bus boys” who bring the food up from the kitchen. It is a wonder to me why do many restaurants sacrifice service over profit which can only lead to a downturn in business when it fails.

Cost was  just under £300 for 6 adults.

This could be a Winder Winner; but for now it is three out of five until I see the team in action on a busy Saturday night.

Best Itailian in Wakefield – Felice’s Bella Roma (63 Northgate)

We booked here on spec early on a Saturday night for a late dinner. We arrived and were warmly greeted and seating at the bar whilst our table was prepared.

We had a couple of Martin Rouge’s and perused the menu; which was a great delight to us as there is a really breadth of choice with authentic dishes.

We were seated and not long after our orders were taken; Caprese and Gameroni All Aglio (prawns with cannellini beans and fresh chilli) followed by Sea Bass and Veal with a side of Zucchini. The starters arrived and were well presented, my prawns however were overcooked and the chilli had been left out of the dish; the waiter was quick to resolve this and the new dish was tasty; I would say if I could improve this dish it needed a dash more sauce to make it richer.

Main course was again well presented, the Sea Bass was tasty but the sauce could have taken some more seasoning and a further reduction. The veal dish was tasty enough however the escallops were well done and the sage flavour was too subtle. The Zuchinni was cooked to perfection.

For desert there was only once choice the Tiramisu – which was a slice of heaven, hats off to the pastry chef for this beauty.

Atmosphere was great in the restaurant, a really lovely buzz, while the staff were really busy there was no drama or fuss. They checked on us regularly and corrected the issues to took feedback well.

Cost: three courses with aperitif, bottle of wine and coffees was £73Prawns

Winder winner…  3/5  service was excellent, a lot of restaurants could learn from this team although there is still room for improvement. We will be back and hope that we become regulars at Felice’s Bella Roma.