Archive for the 'Restaurants' Category

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: ★★★★★

Hayloft Restaurant at Boycott Farm on Urbanspoon

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: ★★★★☆

La Brocca on Urbanspoon

Zupperia – Bergen, Norway

Reviewed on September 5th, 2014 by Dina

Bergen is a beautiful and charming city and is known as “The Gateway to the Fjords of Norway”! The old wharf of Bergen called Bryggen has a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Opposite the well known fish market on the harbour, is where Zupperia is located.

On the evening that we went to dine at Zupperia, the outdoor seating area was jam packed with diners. We assumed that the restaurant was probably just as busy inside and weren’t sure if there would be availability. Our plan B was to venture to another one of the four branches of Zupperia if this one was full.

Luck was on our side and we only waited for a few minutes in the bar area before we were taken to a table towards the back of the restaurant. This area was like an alcove with the red brick exposed and soft lighting. It gave a really nice ambiance.

ZupperiaZupperia BreadZupperia InteriorZupperia Herb Baked MonkfishZupperia TeriyakiZupperia Woket ScampiFjords of NorwayBryggenBergen Sunset

As its name suggests, Zupperia is known for its traditional and international soups. But we opted to go straight for the main course. Whilst deciding on what to have, the waitress brought us a basket of seeded brown baguettes and butter. The bread was fresh and it filled our hunger holes.

There were a few vegetarian dishes but the ones that took my interest were stated as spicy. The staff were really helpful and accommodating when I asked if one of the fish main dishes could be made as a vegetarian meal.

The Teriyaki Laks was the one that was chosen. This was supposed to be a salmon teriyaki with rice. Instead, the salmon was omitted and a plate full of vegetables in the teriyaki sauce was served. The portion was huge and all of us with our mains in front of us had wished that we had saved our appetites and not munched away on the bread. As an afterthought, we could have shared a couple of dishes but at least this way, we all got to try different things.

A good selection of vegetables including carrots, courgettes, peppers, mange tout, red onion and mushroom were coated in the dark sauce and garnished with sesame seeds and coriander. The teriyaki sauce had a sweet yet not too salty flavour and the rice soaked up the flavours well.

Both of the seafood dishes that the friends had were equally tasty and went down a treat. The Herb Baked Monkfish was local monkfish in a mussel and white wine sauce. This came with new potatoes and vegetables. The other dish was Woket Scampi made with chilli and garlic langoustine in a creamy sauce. This was served with rice and even though it had chilli, it was not spicy.

On another day, after a day trip exploring the Norwegian Fjords, we did try the branch of Zupperia by the train station. The food was just as good but the restaurant was lacking the atmosphere of the Torget restaurant.

After the wonderful meal at the original Zupperia and with our tummies all full, it had become quite late into the evening. The sun was only just setting as we walked along the harbourside by the Hanseatic wharf. A beautiful end to a wonderful day in Bergen.

Zupperia, Torget 13, 5014 Bergen, Norway

Rating: ★★★★★