“Nothing prosecco can’t fix”
Last week, to celebrate a couple of family birthdays, we went to OXBO Bankside (http://www.oxbobankside.co.uk). Of course we went for the bottomless prosecco option – it would be rude not to when it’s only an additional £12 each… I’d definitely recommend booking as it was fairly busy when we went, with lots of big groups and is definitely a good location for a celebration.
With a bottomless booking, you have two hours to help yourself to unlimited starters and desserts and then a choice of mains. Your main is served to you. Last Sunday, we had a choice of roasted sirloin of beef, grilled corn fed chicken, roasted stone bass or thanet cauliflower, broccoli lentil dahl. Unsurprisingly, I opted for the beef and was rather pleased that this came with a Yorkshire pudding (the chicken didn’t). We had a choice of well done or rare but our larger group size meant that I could swap to one which was more to my tastes (medium rare). The vegetables were broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and green beams. Even though we only got one roast potato, it was large and delicious. High points also go to the meat with both the beef and chicken rating highly. The only downside was that we could have done with a little more gravy between us.
The bottomless roast is £42 per head with unlimited prosecco (£30 for just the food). This is an absolute bargain for the amount of food on offer. The highlight is of course the tables full of starters and desserts. To start, there was a variety of salads, seafood, meat etc. My favourites were the smoked duck breast, coated salmon and beef. I have to confess that we all went up for seconds and could easily have had thirds if we hadn’t been saving ourselves some rooms for the mains!
Dessert wise, there was everything ranging from sweets, cakes, trifles and meringues, with a cheese board as well. I had spotted the prosecco jelly early on so made sure to grab one of those and a couple of the mini fruit meringues. Sadly, there wasn’t much cheese left by the time we got there as we had gone for one of the last sittings. I’m not sure I could have fitted much more in anyway!
We had a great meal and definitely got our moneys worth on the prosecco front! The staff were friendly and attentive. There was live music, which was excellent but a little loud if you were sitting close by. But of course, the best thing was spending time with my lovely family.
“Gin & Tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives and minds than all the doctors in the Empire”
This week, we went to the Punch Tavern on Fleet Street (www.punchtavern.com) for our roast and I have to say we were impressed! It’s a historic site, having been a former gin palace and was named due to its proximity to Punch magazine. It is charming inside – we were lucky enough to get a banquet seat with a view of the whole pub area.
As per usual, we started off with beers. I had a guest ale which was served in a traditional dimpled glass tankard. I always think beer tastes better out of them!
Roast wise, we had a choice of roast beef or chicken. Obviously I had the beef. It was served with parsnip, cabbage, carrots and bonus cauliflower cheese. The cauliflower cheese was delicious – nicely cheesy but not overdone. The beef was thinly sliced and cooked to our personal taste, which is unusual with a pub roast and meant that the meat scored very highly! The roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding were also good. It was a decent portion size but didn’t look like much when it arrived with all the veg hidden from sight!
I had the Malbec to drink and really enjoyed it. The rioja was not quite so good however. Sadly there was no cheese board option but the chocolate and caramel torte was lovely with a good mix of textures and flavours.
The rest of the menu looks interesting, with some decent veggie options so with the relaxed atmosphere and staff who were friendly and helpful, i’m sure we’ll be back again soon.
(Quote was displayed in the pub entrance and I quite liked it)
“Roast beef, medium, is not only a food. It is a philosophy”
A traditional Sunday roast has long been one of my favourite meals, probably because I was blessed with a Mum who was a fabulous cook and made us one very week! For over a year, I have been on a mission to find the best pub roast in London… Unfortunately with working weekends etc, we probably only manage to venture out around once a month so we still have many more to try!
Much to the boys amusement, I have 18 categories, focusing on every aspect of the roast dinner, as well as the location in general. The rules are simple: a beer whilst we peruse the menu, before we order roast beef (i’m a traditionalist and can’t risk not getting a Yorkshire pudding!), red wine with the meal (followed by another glass or two…) and dessert- opting for the cheese board wherever possible.
No reviews of the best roast in London would be complete without a visit to Roast in Borough Market (www.roast-restaurant.com). So I’ve finally made it there!
We opted for the 3 courses for £37.50 deal, which offered a choice of chicken, lamb shoulder, pork belly or roast sirloin of beef as their roast options, alongside a wide range of other dishes. We were definitely tempted by the roast chateaubriand for two but weren’t sure if it justified the additional cost.
For starters, we ordered the scotch egg and fish cake, both had roast beef and then apple crumble and cheese for dessert. The starters were fantastic! The roast beef was great too- thinly sliced and cooked medium to our request, with the horseradish being refreshingly different. The Yorkshire was presented as it should be- large and rustic. More gravy came at our request and the staff were attentive without being intrusive. The only slight disappointment for me was the apple crumble – it just wasn’t as good as Mums! The three cheeses were all tasty with two hard cheeses and one blue however a better cracker range would be nice. We opted for the Ruca Malen Malbec, which has been produced exclusively for Roast and it complimented the meal beautifully.
Overall, a good start to our roast ratings this year but not a front runner. However the rest of the menu looks good so we’ll undoubtedly be back soon!
“Penicillin cures but wine makes people happy”
My friend, who has lived in Australia for the last four years, has been back in the UK over the festive period so we thought we’d use one of our catch-ups to get out of London and do something fun. After much deliberation, we settled on Dorking due to its close proximity to London and the presence of Denbies and a large number of pubs!
We stayed in the newly refurbished White Horse (bespokehotels.com/dorking-white-horse), which had lots of lovely touches in the room such as Dickens books and horse shaped shortbread. The bed was super soft and we loved all the equine touches in the bar/restaurant.
The next morning, we headed off to Denbies, which is one of the largest wine producers in the UK. I am a member of the loyalty club – well worth the £25 annual fee. We had an informative tour which included a film on the history of the vineyard, followed by a tour of the working winery and then a tasting. We had opted for the classic tasting, trying two whites and a rose in the cellar room, with beautiful barrels as the decoration. I am definitely going to return in warmer weather when you can have an outdoor train tour through the beautiful vineyard setting. After our tour we treated ourselves to a glass of Denbies award winning sparkling wine in the cafe.
We then had a lovely lunch before strolling through Dorking, browsing the antique shops with a quick pit stop in a pub or two… The museum was closed as it was midweek so it looks like I have a few good excuses to pop to Dorking again soon!