Rocca – Bradford

Reviewed on September 13th, 2015 by Dina

It was super special when the whole family was able to get together and go out for a meal. Rocca was the perfect place. It gave us good quality food, lovely staff, superb service and a wonderful dining experience. It made us feel like going out for dinner was a special occasion. Rocca let us savour every moment at its restaurant and did not rush us in the slightest.

The feasting began with a range of starters. Rocca gave us focaccia bread and an olive tapenade dip to munch on while we decided on our order. Button mushrooms in a creamy garlic sauce made the baked Funghi al Aglio. The Mozzarella in Carrozza was a big piece of deep fried breaded mozzarella served with a tomato and basil sauce.

The favourite had to be the Bocce Di Patate which were thin strips of fried potato skins; great to dip into the garlic mayonnaise and chilli dip. To complete the starters, a Garlic Pizza Bread was had with the pizza base topped with a tomato sauce, garlic and oregano. All of the starters went down a treat and we were impressed with the food which made us look forward to the rest of the meal.

A couple of pasta dishes were chosen for the mains. The first was the Pappardelle con Agnello. Pappardelle pasta was combined with slow cooked shoulder of lamb. This was a rich meaty dish with a strong depth of flavours coming from the lamb chunks and the tomato, white wine and garlic sauce. The second Rocca pasta dish was the Rigatoni Vegetariana. Roasted tomatoes, grilled courgettes together with a tomato, mascarpone and balsamic vinegar sauce made for a tasty dish with the al dente rigatoni pasta.

The creamy Wild Mushroom Risotto did not disappoint. The intensity of the mushroom flavour came from the mushrooms but also from the truffle oil. Plenty of chopped roasted Mediterranean vegetables and onions topped the Vegetarian Pizza. The base was soft and fluffy and everybody loves a pizza that is made well, just like it was at Rocca.

Rocca also does meat and fish dishes. The Merluzzo Parmigano was a succulent piece of cod which had been baked with a parmesan and herb crust. The sauce to go with it was a roasted tomato one. Fish, parmesan, herbs and tomatoes were flavours that worked well together. The Maiale was a complete dish of pan fried pork loin steak topped with mozzarella, parma ham and roasted cherry tomatoes. Both of the dishes came with sides of potatoes and vegetables.

To end the meal, it had to be the Hot Desserts. A big slice of Hot Chocolate Fudge Cake was rich with the addition of the chocolate sauce. A scoop of ice cream balanced well with the chocolate. A light date sponge with a toffee sauce and ice cream made the delightful Sticky Toffee Pudding. Both of the desserts made a perfect end to this meal at Rocca.

Rocca showed us that all if its food was of top quality and thoroughly enjoyable. The staff were attentive but not intrusive. The dining area has a striking stained glass sectioned ceiling. Brick walls, black and white pictures and wooden ornaments create a warming atmosphere to the restaurant.

There was absolutely nothing to fault at Rocca. It has to be one of the best meals out and the food quality stands out as well as everything else about this amazing Italian restaurant.

Rocca, 1519 Thornton Road, Thornton, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD13 3AS

Rating: ★★★★★

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Number Twelve at Ambassadors Hotel – Euston

Reviewed on September 7th, 2015 by Dina

Afternoon Tea at Number Twelve started off with the presentation of a tray of neatly arranged tea pyramids. The Tea Forte teas ranged from the classic English Breakfast and Earl Grey to fruit green tea and also herbal camomile and mint teas. There is something about Afternoon Tea that more often than not makes me choose the Earl Grey tea.

The tea came in a translucent tea pot with the signature green leaf of Tea Forte coming out of the top. A small white jug of milk came on the side.

The fresh finger sandwiches were on a separate plate. The scones and sweet treats were given their own three tiered stand. As we requested vegetarian sandwiches, they were cucumber sandwiches on white bread and egg mayonnaise sandwiches on brown bread.

The scones were enclosed in a heavy white napkin to keep them warm. It was a lovely surprise to find that the scones were chocolate chip and not raisins. Three little ramekins on the top tier were generously filled with Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry and raspberry preserve. The strawberry preserve had big fruit pieces in it. The warm chocolate scones with the cream and preserves were delicious.

Fresh fruit tartlets were topped with berries and filled with creme patissiere. Other delights were fruit cake and chocolate filled buns. It was refreshing to have the fresh strawberries to cleanse the palate even though they were coated in chocolate.

There was lovely and friendly service given by the staff at Number Twelve. The dining area is separate from the bar area.

Number Twelve provides a relaxed Afternoon Tea with extra special delights with the chocolate based treats!

Number Twelve, Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel, 12 Upper Woburn Place, London, WC1H 0XH

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Pho – Farringdon

Reviewed on August 31st, 2015 by Dina

There is only one thing that had to be tried when visiting Pho and it had to be the Vietnamese national dish of the noodle soup, Pho. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of other items on the menu that sounded just as tasty such as the vermicelli noodles Bun, broken rice Com Tam and the various starters.

The Pho Nam Rom was made of enoki, shitake and button mushrooms in a vegetable broth. It was a superb fresh tasting soup with a light flavour and there was a real depth to the mushrooms. So many mushrooms, spring onions and rice noodles made this wholesome soup. It was a bonus that it had my favourite of enoki mushrooms too. A side plate of fresh herbs, lime, chilli and beansprouts came with the Pho. Extra condiments of fish sauce, garlic vinegar and chilli paste were on the table.

Even though there was enough flavour with the Pho Nam Rom, it was great that you were able to add the herbs and sauces to your liking. A much needed wooden spoon together with the chopsticks was the only way to delve into the big steaming bowl of Pho.

Pho is quite a small restaurant with wooden tables and red chairs. There is a big illuminated “Pho” sign at one end of the restaurant. All of the food was made fresh and it seemed that the kitchen was on the lower level. There was fairly loud music playing in the background mostly from the 80s and 90s. The staff explained the menu really well and they were friendly and gave service with a smile.

Having a hearty bowl of Pho at Pho was really satisfying. The portions are big so definitely go there on an empty stomach.

Pho, 86 St John Street, London, EC1M 4EH

Rating: ★★★★☆

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