Archive for the ‘Restaurant Reviews’ Category

On this bank holiday weekend, we went to South Wales for hiking.

The hotel we chose was Celtic Manor Resort Hotel and we had dinner at the award winning restaurant “the Crown” below.

Savory Petit Four at 'the Crown'

Savory Petit Four at 'the Crown'

The Savory Petit-Four gave us a perfect expectations to the main dishes. We actually had fryed bream with assortment as starter and fried salmon dish as main.

As I have heard before that at a manor house in South Wales served fish from breakfast and therefore I wondered we could eat fresh fish as well as other fresh food in Wales.

It seems it is right, except for the hotel breakfast and the breakfast we had in a service restaurant on motorway. The only choise we could made was English traditional breakfast we fancy to eat, the grilled fresh tomatoes had so awful taste as if I only imagine that half rotten light colour tomatoes are cooked.

I only finished the half raw fried egg at the motorway restaurant and somehow I was able to finish a little better bread, sausage, half raw fried egg, grilled tomato and orange juice which was not freshly squeezed one with some flesh in there.

Anyway, I wish the Welsh-born Executive Chef James Sommerin, apparently the principal chef of the restaurant prosperous to popularize Welsh dishes more, ideally to London for the start.

The only service I was disappointed was the traditional English breakfast. Even though the hotel was in the 50% off offer period, I do not think the breakfast menu will be different from high season with standard charges.

 We could have expected such English breakfast served in the motorway restaurant, but at least in the 5-star hotel, they should review the quality of the breakfast, eg. adding continental breakfast if they can not improve the English breakfast, in order to balance with the one of the top rated restaurant located next to the breakfast lounge in the Celtic Manor Resort Hotel.

 All other services in the hotel were good for the price. It may be due to the quiet season or period. I will see the improvement of the service at the hotel as I would like to come back to stay in the near future for beautiful forest trips to Wales.

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Oliveto – Sardinian Restaurant

Olivo Restaurants

Olivo Restaurants

Just before the Easter weekend at 8 p.m. we went to eat out for Pizza in Oliveto, the Sardinian Restaurant. The restaurant was already fully packed but the tactful staff had managed to provide us a table for 2 without reservation and they worked efficiently to deal with the fully seated tables.

What we have ordered were:

  • 2 x Sardinian beers – Ichnusa @£3.80×2
  • Pizza Al Funghi – Tomato, Mozzarella, Sauteed mixed mushrooms @£9.50
  • Pizza 4 Stagioni – Tomato, Mozzarella, Sausages, Sardinian ham, Mushrooms & Cougettes @£9.80
  • Gelato Allo – Frozen blueberry yoghurt @£6.00
  • 2 x espresso @£2.30 x 2

Total is £45.00,including 12.5% discretionary service charge at about £4.70 and £3.00 voluntary gratuity.

Provision for Overvalued Products and Services for Money

As in Japan we do not have customs to add tips for this kind of services, I can not really be pleased to give away the extra charge as well as the trickery high rate service charge which is not included in the prices shown in their menus in the UK and perhaps in some other countries.  

The value for money is not reached what we paid definitely not just because of the restaurant itself, but with the need to devalue all services and products in the relevant economies which influence each other in order to be in the fair comparison within the global standard.

For the time being, what we can do to save the overvalued services in this case is below.

  1. Drink or eat some snack at home just before the time booked for a table at the restaurant
  2. Order only 4 Stagioni pizza or other mixed pizza and share, as the pizza is about 30cm in diameter
  3. Refuse to pay the 12.5% discretional service charge and the tip

This makes a new total of £28.00, which is reasonably acceptable for the casual pizza dinner.

As actions and thoughts of people in the world can influence the financial markets, in my opinion, similar actions should be applied to cancel out the excess inflation in the past over the real value of various services and products now. It may take some time to be justified until the transition period passes.

The food in the Restaurant

Now, I can not forget to review on the food in the restaurant. In fact this is not my first time visit to this restaurant, last time I went there was in 2005, I had Small Pasta Shells with sausages and tomato sauce and liked it.

***Pizza ***

I have nothing to complain about the pizza served in the restaurant. We should have ordered just one mixed pizza as we have never finished pizza of 30cm in diameter. If there was visual entertainment such as hot stone oven and the open kitchen are shown to the extended restaurant hall, it would help attract the restaurant.

***Wine and Beer***

As we can see the wine list on their website, I do not think it is worth ordering wine there at the high price shown, in the rather casual style pizza restaurant. The beer, again typically happen in the UK and may be in other countries as well, that they were not served cold enough. I miss the refreshment when the cold, freshly poured beer in a cooled beer glass pass through my throat, especially when thirsty, or in the hot weather. Probably in Europe with the dry, cooler climate in the Summer, it is not really the matter.

***Frozen Yogurt***

The blueberry frozen yogurt reminded me of Italian Gelato. I used to love the sherbet sold in Carluccio’s, London several years ago.  The frozen yogurt is also sold in their delicatessen Olivino nearby. I would like  take a look to find other food as well.

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Byron – Hamburger Restraurant

Perhaps it is one of the most delicious ways to eat hamburger at barbecue party with friends.

byron Proper Hamburger

Byron Proper Hamburger

But I can not wait for the barbecue in nice weather, so I sometimes eat at Byron, contemporary style hamburger restaurant for lunch, particularly when I am hungry after completing a good series of work.

Classic hamburger with fresh juice cost about £8 and with french fried potatoes it cost about £13 without service charge which is supposed to be charged for tables of 8 or more @10%. Take out will cost the same or similar to eat in.


Byron Proper Hamburger Card

Byron Proper Hamburger Card

It seems so far they have some restaurants in London and outer London. In their website they explain detailed selection of ingredients, such as Aberdeen Angus from Scotland and fresh buns from a selected family baker in London.

When you fancy to eat hamburgers in a little formal style, this restaurant is the most decent one in London I recommend.

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Hotel Terme di Saturnia

Terme di Saturnia

Terme di Saturnia

Terme di Saturnia – mineral hot spring in Maremma, Italy

Between Toscana district and Rome, there is an interesting hot spring called ‘Terme di Saturnia’.

I produced the document below based on the leaflet of Hotel Terme di Saturnia.

About 1km away from the hotel, we can enjoy the tiers of limestone with sulfur hot spring streams, which is called ‘Cascata del Mulino’ for free. The video below is for you to see atmosphere of the local hot springs and the day spa of the hotel. 

The golf in Tuscan scenery, spa treatments with medical advice/products and warm enough 37℃ mineral hot springs may help us relieve from everyday routine fetters temporarily and it is ideally a good refreshments.

The hotel is perfect as very elegant and highly rated. However, personally I expect a little more sophistcated spa treatment and dinner.

If esthetitians become a little more enthuthiatic and chefs manage to cook more local natural foods, there will be more people coming back more often to this hot spring heaven.

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Yoshino Restaurant

Yoshino Restraurant

Yoshino Restraurant

As in their website it explains, they use super fresh fish and other ingredients in very authentic Japanese cuisine. The most important thing that we can not ignore is that the prices. Currently as of 20 Mar 09, the menu page is under construction, however, as far as I know the cheapest lunch/dinner set start from only GBP5.80 at least until about a year ago. I can definitely recommend this restaurant as we can experience the fair value for money, which is very rare to seek in the UK. Their dedicated chefs and food workers are also studying hard to learn in the UK.

 I fancy I will go for dinner at some night to see what the current futures.

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Dining on the Hill and Dining on the Rock are the top rated international cuisine restaurants located in the 5-star Six Senses Hideaway Samui Resort in Thailand. As well as serving for the guests who stay their rooms over nights, they offer Thai food cooking experience classes which can be liberally arranged to the preferences of visitors with advance reservations.

I recommend the most remarkable feature of the Dining on the Hill restaurant, which is around the open air area covered with Thai-taste eaves and is surrounded with lively tropical trees. Even it is so impressively adding another feature that the happy ever tamed birds are welcoming with their cheerful songs here and there all the time. With the specious sea view in front, the guests can enjoy cooking popular Thai food such as Thai green curry and other Thai Curry, spicy soups, coconut deserts, etc, taught by the chefs with their professional demonstrations and super fresh, celebrity-like selected ingredients.

Probably it is better to have cooking experience class in the air like that during the cooler season between November and February, when the temperature is between 26 and 28, otherwise you would better arrange cooking class in the evening if it is expected to be less crowded.

Tasting local fresh food in such resorts would be one of the most memorable moments in life outweighing frequent eat-outs and budget holiday packages over a few years, which could total within the same range of costs.

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William Curley

I recommend the cake cafe called William Curley in Richmond, outer London. The owner of the cafe, William Curley and his Japanese wife are patissier.

You can notice the beautiful cakes like jewels by just visiting their website. I guarantee the taste does not betray you.

I miss the Mont-blanc cake as they are not sold in this country, except for this cake cafe as far as I know. Sooner or later I could try baking the cake, or go ahead there when the weather is nice.

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