Sunday, 29 July 2012

Review: The Viceroy, Buntingford


The Viceroy



Date of visit: 28th  July 2012



I bet you all think that I spend my life eating out, well maybe just a little.  Saturday evening was no exception.  It was a group of six of us that went to what is usually our favourite Indian restaurant, The Viceroy in Buntingford.  I went there fully expecting to give them a raving review, unfortunately as you will read that was not the case.  We called a couple of days ahead to book, to make sure we have a table on arrival.  When we got there, they have placed us in a very awkward place, and the person on the end, kept getting knocked by the waiters and other patrons going to use the toilets.  Normally from the time we arrive and till we leave we have a great time at The Viceroy, this time we found the service to be very abrupt and almost trying to rush us.   They have changed from offering a variety of beers to only offering one type (can’t remember the name), you could have it draft or in a bottle.  One of our guests ordered a bottle and the other two men had draft.  The bottle beer tasted soapy (we all had a taste), the draft was ok, but nothing to write home about.  The ladies had two bottles of the white house wine (reasonably priced and the taste is pleasant), I always ask for another glass with ice, as I like very cold wine.  I had to remind them three times to bring me the ice.  We ordered poppadoms for starters.
  
Condiments that go with the poppadoms, always tasty



As they arrived and we were still trying to settle along with a bit of chatter, they already wanted to take our mains orders.  By this time I had barely had a sip of my wine.  One of our guests was still eating the starters and the waiter asked if we were finished and started to clear away (it was very ovibous that we were not), we had to say quite sternly that we were not and stopped him from clearing away.   I don’t know why the felt the need to push us as the restaurant was not over flowing and it was still a reasonable hour.  The food is always good at The Viceroy, you can’t fault that and they are one of the better priced Indian Restaurants in our area.  I managed to find a link to their menu, click on menu.


Onion bhaji


We ordered a variety of dishes for mains, as you will see from the photos.  But every time we ordered chicken they suddenly wanted us to order organic chicken (a new thing with them).  As David said later at home, he wanted to ask “organic as opposed to what, rubbish chicken, you should only offer the best”.  

Bombay aloo and mushroom rice



When they brought a plate of mushroom rice that they forgot to bring in the first instance the waiter lent over David while he was trying to eat to hand it to another guest at our table, nearly knocking his knife and fork.  The company was brilliant, the food good but the service ruined the whole evening, our waiter I think had just arrived in the UK and could hardly understand what we were saying.  They gave us their complementary cream liqueurs for the ladies and brandy for the men, but did not bring for one for one of the ladies, I had to ask for her and tell them that she was actually in her twenties.  Normally with the bill we used to get chocolates and small liquorish flavoured sweets, not this time, even though they kept them right behind us on the counter.  The whole evening just felt awkward, and according to our others guests they had the same experience the last time they went there.  Our bill for six of us including drinks was £123.00, not bad at all, one of the reasons we have gone there so often in the past.





Overall Experience


I think we will be on the lookout for another Indian Restaurant to become our regular.  To me service is as important as the food.

53 Hight Street, Buntingford, Herts, SG9 9AD
Tel: (01763) 271307



Rating Guide


5 Stars - Perfect
4.5 Stars - Exceptional
4 Stars - Excellent
3.5 Stars - Very good
3 Stars - Good
2.5 Stars - Average
2 Stars - Bad
1.5 Stars - Very bad
1 Star - Dire

Friday, 27 July 2012

Review: The Hertford House Kitchen

Date of visit: 24th July 2012

Where to start?  I purchased a voucher from JackFM’sTop Town Deals, which gave me £50 worth of dining for the price of £25 for The Hertford House Kitchen .  We have bought these vouchers before as it offers good value for money and gets us to try a new restaurant.   On Tuesday evening after hard day at the office I got home and suggested that we use the voucher for a meal out, as the last thing I felt like doing was cooking. You have to book in advance when using the voucher, called and made a booking for 7pm.  I know we usually like to eat early, but 7pm seemed like a reasonable time to eat out and there should be other dinners as well to help create a good atmosphere.  We arrived to a very empty restaurant and had a choice of where we would like to sit.  They offer a walled garden outside as well.  We chose to eat inside, as we did not want the hassle of fly’s as it was quite hot.
The waiter was pleasant enough and gave us the menu’s and took our drinks orders.  The menu is not very large, but offers something for everyone.  I did find them to be a bit on the pricey side, an example for a Rib Eye steak they charge £19, whereas Cafe Rouge across the road charge £16 for the same size.  The decor is clean and modern, but not very warm and welcoming, can’t really put my finger on it, perhaps it was because they were empty, had there been more diners it might have felt more welcoming. 

 
This picture is from their website and does look better with more people in it.  We ordered olives and Mozzarella garlic bread for starters. 





For mains I ordered fish and chips, David ordered the Rib Eye and Danielle ordered a chicken Caesar salad.  My fish and chips was pleasant enough, just got a little irritated with the fact that the fish was put on top of the chips (tower food), never been a fan of building towers on my plate.  It was not a very large piece of fish, but it was very tasty, almost creamy in texture.  There were two little bowls on the plate both the same size one with Tartar sauce and one with mushy peas (barely a fork full).  For £10.95 one would like a bit more on the plate. 



David’s Rib Eye looked lovely and presented attractively as well.  He said it was very tender and cooked as he requested (medium). 




As for Danielle she ordered the salad and also liked it.  In total our bill came to £55.60, so with our voucher we only had to pay in £5.60.

Overall Experience

There is nothing that I can put my finger on, but we were rather underwhelmed by the restaurant.  The food was nice, service pleasant enough (not exceptional at all).  Will we rush back there, no.



1 Fore Street, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG14 1DA
Tel: 08444 119 476



Rating Guide


5 Stars - Perfect
4.5 Stars - Exceptional
4 Stars - Excellent
3.5 Stars - Very good
3 Stars - Good
2.5 Stars - Average
2 Stars - Bad
1.5 Stars - Very bad
1 Star - Dire



Monday, 9 July 2012

Review: The Ferry (Cookham, Berkshire)


(cookham, berkshire)


From Brigitte’s perspective



Date of visit: 24th June 2012

Time had come for us to celebrate Danielle’s Sixteenth Birthday with the family from Basingstoke.  So it was decided to choose a venue that was half way between Hertford and Basingstoke.  My sister in-law suggested The Ferry in Cookham (Maidenhead) as she had eaten there in the past and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The Ferry is right on the banks of the River Thames, and as an added bonus we had the pleasure of seeing the glorious Gloriana from the Diamond Jubilee parade row past. 

Sunday Roast Turkey
The Ferry’s subtle lighting and spacious layout give it a comfortable and unpretentious ambiance. Expect to find no one single cuisine, but a blend designed to provide something for everybody, no matter what your tastes may be.  The service was cheerful, brisk and totally in keeping with the friendly nature of a good English pub.  They were also more than happy for us to provide our own Birthday cake, and made a big fuss for Danielle when they brought it to the table.  Modern day pubs usually share a number of characteristics and an important feature is space, preferably a restaurant where you are comfortable, not over-awed, and not sharing elbow space with the next table, however sociable they may be. Good, too, to have a garden, in this case a riverside one adjacent to the bridge at Cookham.   The term 'gastropub' covers a multitude of blessings and it is possible to see influences of brasserie, bistro, restaurant and even cafĂ© at work within the great gastro umbrella.


Calves Liver


They have a extensive menu, with a nice choice of different meals to appeal to most people.  David, Danielle and myself had their classic burger with nice thick chips.  The burger comes with gherkin, mustard mayo, cheese, relish.. My Mum-in-law had the calves liver, brother-in-law fish and chips, the freshly battered haddock came with minted mushy peas, chips and tartar sauce (looking at the picture, they were a bit mean with the peas and chips) and my sister-in-law the Sunday Roast turkey.  

Fish and Chips

From Danielle’s perspective


The Ferry was lovely, I must say that the waitress was hilarious, and made it all the more entertaining! The food was standard really, rather tastey and all that but really what you would expect from a resurant with their selectons.  Would like to go back but it is a tad far away in Berkshire. The surroundings are beautiful and after lunch we went for a walk and that was really nice! 

Classic Burger



Overall Experience

Very pleasant pub, if you are in the area, worth a visit.  For six of us including two bottles of wine our bill came to £134.65.  We only had mains, and coffees at the end.  I think that is quite reasonably priced.



The Ferry Sutton Road, Cookham, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 9SN

Tel: 01628 525123


Ferry on Urbanspoon


Rating Guide


5 Stars - Perfect
4.5 Stars - Exceptional
4 Stars - Excellent
3.5 Stars - Very good
3 Stars - Good
2.5 Stars - Average
2 Stars - Bad
1.5 Stars - Very bad
1 Star - Dire