Chutneys – Euston

Reviewed on October 22nd, 2014 by Dina

Towards the upper end of Drummond Street, there is the big burgundy sign of Chutneys. It is an Indian vegetarian restaurant. The interior is fairly simple with wooden chairs and tables and lime green walls. The restaurant was very popular and got really busy as the evening progressed.

Lots of starter dishes that were coming out for the other diners looked freshly cooked and the aromas were wonderful. The temptation to have starters had to be resisted as there would be no room for a main dish. There is a good range of street food starters on the menu including bhel puri, pani puri, samosas and dahi vada. For the drink selection, there are freshly squeezed juices, coconut water, lassis and hot drinks.

The staff were attentive and polite but they seemed to hover around the tables. On a positive note, this meant that service was efficient and it was easy to ask for extra items and drinks.

ChutneysChutneys Gujarati ThaliChutneys Interior

The Gujarati Thali was the perfect complete meal for the evening. Five small silver bowls filled with the mouthwatering delights came in the classic stainless steel tray.

The portion of rice was quite big and was enough to have with the curries. The mixed vegetable curry had lots paneer in a thick tomato based sauce. The slightly sour and sweet flavour of the sauce was great. The dal was just like a homemade one and nothing goes better than dal and rice together. There was also the yogurt raita and salad for added freshness to the meal.

Even though the menu stated that the thali came with either chapatti or pooris, the staff did not mind changing it for a paratha. The paratha was flaky, soft and buttery.

Chutneys is a no nonsense Indian restaurant with good quality food. Further up the road, Massala Hut had been reviewed previously but Chutneys seem to have better cuisine.

http://www.ratemybistro.co.uk/masala-hut-euston/

You can take your pick from the array of Indian restaurants on Drummond Street but Chutneys is a good pick from them.

Chutneys, 124 Drummond Street, Euston, London, NW1 2Pa

Rating: ★★★★☆

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The Hayloft Restaurant, Boycott Farm – Stowe

Reviewed on October 12th, 2014 by Dina

A year has passed by fast and with another bambino in our group, it was that time of year for an annual outing with friends. After a wonderful morning at the National Trust Stowe Landscape Gardens, an Afternoon Tea was our indulgence.

A short drive from the gardens, Boycott Farm was the where the Hayloft Restaurant was located. The Hayloft Restaurant is on the upper level of the converted barn. Wooden beams, fairy lights and hay pictured tablecloths make this a magical dining area.

Vintage style rose patterned teapots, teacups and saucers started off the Afternoon Tea. The Traditional Tea was plentiful and there was enough for a few cups of tea for the whole afternoon. Three tiers of triangle sandwiches, scones and cakes made up the food selection.

Hayloft RestaurantHayloft Restaurant InteriorHayloft Restaurant EntranceHayloft Restaurant TeaHayloft Restaurant Tea and SconesHayloft Restaurant Afternoon TeaHayloft Restaurant SconesHayloft Restaurant CakeHayloft Restaurant Farm ShopStowe Landscape GardensStowe Landscape Gardens 2Stowe Landscape Gardens 3

Cheese and cucumber was on white bread and the ham and mustard was on brown granary bread. The ham was Boycott home cured and went well with the mustard mayonnaise. Thick cheese slices and slices of cucumber was the other classic sandwich.

The scones were fresh, big and had a good amount of fruit in them. These came with deep dishes of homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream. The perfect combination of scones, cream and jam; a mouth watering treat!

To complete the Afternoon Tea, the top tier had slices of Victoria sponge cake and rich fruit cake. The cakes were moist and had a lovely flavour. As the Hayloft is part of the farm, the produce and food is of top quality.

One thing to note is that the Hayloft Restaurant does accommodate for gluten free diners. The Afternoon Tea is available with gluten free sandwiches, scones and cakes with no compromise on the taste.

The staff were really friendly and gave us great service with a smile. They allowed us plenty of time to enjoy our Afternoon Tea and the whole afternoon was very relaxed.

It is hard to resist all the fresh produce, savoury and sweet pastries, vegetables and cakes in the farm shop on the way out from the restaurant.

A special day out was had with all of us. Precious friendships are strong no matter how many years go by. This quote says it all  “Friends are like stars. You don’t have to see them to know they are there”. The Hayloft Restaurant made for the perfect place for the gathering and a delicious Afternoon Tea.

The Hayloft Restaurant, Boycott Farm, Welsh Lane, Stowe, Buckinghamshire, MK18 5DJ

Rating: ★★★★★

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La Brocca – West Hampstead

Reviewed on September 22nd, 2014 by Dina

It had been many years ago that I had been to La Brocca and I remember it to have been a lovely restaurant. It was going to be interesting to see if it would still be just as good this time round. The hope was that it would be especially as it was a belated birthday meal for my friend.

La Brocca is split into the bar and the restaurant, with the bar on the street level and the restaurant on the lower level. The restaurant entrance is separate and it is down the steep stairs. The bar was heaving the evening we went and we had to squeeze past the customers to get to the restaurant entrance.

The staff welcomed us into the restaurant and we were given a table towards the back of La Brocca. The restaurant was fairly dimly lit and it looked that the outside area had been decorated with lots of greenery and plants.

La Brocca Pumpkin RavioliLa BroccaLa Brocca PizzaLa Brocca InteriorLa Brocca Mint TeaLa Brocca Interior 2

Pizza and pasta was our meal for the evening and it was all freshly cooked. The staff were really friendly and let us customise the San Remo pizza into a vegetarian one. Originally, the San Remo pizza had toppings of baby spinach, mushrooms, egg and Parma ham. The ham and the egg were replaced with roasted red peppers and onion. A crisp base, an intense flavoursome tomato sauce, lots of vegetables, all topped with fresh baby spinach made this a perfect pizza.

Big pillows of the fresh pasta ravioli were stuffed with the orange pumpkin and served steaming hot. The sauce was made of plenty of juicy cherry tomatoes and was fairly spicy. The sweet soft pumpkin was a great contrast to the spicy heat of the sauce.

Fresh mint leaves steeped in hot water made the mint tea. It was served with slices of lemon.

La Brocca was just as good as it had been many years ago and it seems like this restaurant is a timeless place. It does simple no fuss Italian cuisine with big bold flavours and great freshness.

La Brocca, 273 West End Lane, West Hampstead, London, NW6 1QS

Rating: ★★★★☆

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