Archive for the 'Restaurants' Category

The Tapas Tree Restaurant- Shipley

Reviewed on October 12th, 2013 by Dina

It was a little daunting to introduce the family to a new cuisine. Personally, I am a big fan of Spanish food but I wasn’t sure if my mom would like it, even though she said that it would be fine.

The entrance to The Tapas Tree looked like it was part of a house but on entering, all the warm colours and decor made it very inviting. The dining area was really spacious and there was a bar area near towards the entrance.

The Tapas Tree menu had a lot of choice and it took us a while to decide on what to order. After ordering, we had to wait slightly longer for the food but the results were freshly prepared hot food. It was delightful to the eye and the portions were big. The expectation of tapas has always been small portions but this was not the case here!

A big plate of crispy corn nachos topped with a thick tomato sauce, sour cream and melted cheese was a good classic combination. Another filling dish was the Pan Con Tomate. This was like a pizza baguette in the sense that the toasted bread quarters were topped with tomato, garlic, butter and cheese.

The Tapas TreeThe Tapas Tree Vegetarian TapasThe Tapas Tree InteriorThe Tapas Tree CheesecakeThe Tapas Tree Hot DrinkThe Tapas Tree Sticky Toffee Pudding

Small button mushrooms coated in garlic and butter made up the Champinones Con Garlic. Lots of flavour for such a simple dish! You can never get tired of Patatas Bravas; cubed, deep fried potatoes and tomato sauce!

To have a combination of vegetables, the Vegetable Chilli was a good choice. Chunky vegetables, beans, sour cream and cheese made up this hearty dish. One choice that did pleasantly surprise us was the Jalapeno Melters. Breadcrumbed jalapeno peppers were filled with soft cheese and green chilli. The peppers were not at all spicy which was to my liking and they were very moreish.

As if all these tapas dishes were not enough, we couldn’t resist having dessert. One of the specials was chosen and on this evening, it was the Ginger and White Chocolate Cheesecake. Again, The Tapas Tree does not skimp on portion size. Pieces of ginger entwined in the creamy cheesecake mixture, all on a good thick biscuit base made up this dessert. There wasn’t too much of the white chocolate flavour coming through but it was still a good dessert.

A big square of Sticky Toffee Pudding surrounded by a creamy butterscotch sauce and topped with vanilla ice cream is how the Tapas Tree does this dessert. This dessert is always a favourite of mine and it went down well!

The staff were really friendly and gave us great service. They made our evening feel relaxed and not at all rushed. The Tapas Tree menu also states the gluten free options which is good for those diners with this dietary requirement.

The Tapas Tree sure did impress us all with its food, atmosphere and service. Spanish food done well and the family did enjoy all the food! Nothing disappointed us and my family are lucky to have such a quality restaurant in their local area. We were that impressed with the food that we took a separate order back home for my dad to enjoy!

If you are in the area, or even if you are not, then The Tapas Tree is a place that you should definitely pay a visit to!

The Tapas Tree Restaurant, Wharf House, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD17 7DW

Rating: ★★★★★

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Hiba Express – Holborn

Reviewed on September 15th, 2013 by Dina

Hiba Express always seemed to me that it was a takeaway place. This is the impression that I got from its name or maybe because at a quick glance, it looks like a really small eatery. But this is definitely not the case. It is a proper restaurant and it also does takeaways.

There is some cordoned off seating by the entrance and inside the restaurant it is a lot bigger than first expected. All the food is cooked fresh and I got the impression that it would be fairly busy at lunchtimes for takeaways, as there were dedicated order points and collection points. At the back of the Hiba Express, was a colourful display of all the fresh fruits that would be used for the fresh juices and for desserts!

A selection of hot and cold mezze were ordered. You can never go wrong with the classic Moutabal Baba Ghanouj with its creamy consistency of the puree of the grilled aubergine with sesame paste and lemon juice. It was topped with the red jewels of pomegranate!  Another favourite was the Grilled Halloumi Cheese. There is the option to have it as a fried dish if that takes your liking!

Hiba ExpressHiba Express InteriorHiba Express Interior 2Hiba Express Grilled Halloumi CheeseHiba Express MezzeHiba Express Bammieh B’ZeitHiba Express Fresh JuiceHiba Express Fruit PlatterHiba Express Mint Tea

The Batata Harara were cubes of sauteed potatoes with garlic, coriander and red pepper strips. The mezze was completed with the Loubieh B’Zeit French beans cooked with tomatoes and onions. It all came with a basket of warm flatbread. The dishes were delicious and very filling so much so that we were not sure if we would be able to manage the main course.

Big chunks of okra in a tomato and onion based sauce made up the Bammieh B’Zeit. It was served with a dish of vermicelli rice. The main course had a lot of flavour to it and it is always nice to have the different type of rice combined with the noodles.

The food at Hiba Express was cooked fresh and there were fairly big portions. The main course was served while we were still having our mezze, so we asked the staff if they could keep it warm until we were ready for it. They kept it covered with foil and on their hot plate until we had finished the starters.

To finish the meal and to have something a little palate cleansing, the Fresh Fruit Platter was chosen. This was a selection of sliced banana, melon, pineapple and orange. It was nice that we could see the staff preparing the fruit at the fruit counter.

For drinks, it had to be one of the fresh juices and the combination chosen was mango and pineapple. Another good drink to end the meal was the mint tea, which was served by the pot!

Hiba Express gave us good service and quality food in a relaxed environment! It will be tempting to go back there for a takeaway meal. One thing to note is that it is open until the late hours!

Hiba Express, 113 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6JQ

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Giovanni Rana Ristorante- Regents Place

Reviewed on August 18th, 2013 by Dina

Catching up with friends is always special even if it is only manageable at times for a weekday lunch! Hence, for this lunchtime, it needed to be somewhere central.

Just off the busy Euston Road and behind the office buildings, lies a quiet area of Regents Place. This is home to Giovanni Rana’s restaurant; the only UK restaurant of this famous pasta chef!

There are other items on the menu apart from the pasta, and these include meat, fish and salads. Usually, I’m not a big pasta person, but I felt on this occasion, it would be just wrong not to have it! So then it was a choice between a normal pasta dish and the filled tortellini.

GiovanniGiovanni Trofiette al PestoGiovanni Interior

Tempting as the mushroom ravioli dish, Ravioli al Porcini sounded, I decided to go for the Trofiette al Pesto. This dish was made of thin fresh pasta twists. The pasta was cooked al dente so that it was still quite firm. The pasta was coated in a basil pesto sauce and topped with spoonfuls of ricotta cheese and sundried tomatoes. There was a real freshness about this dish and the flavours worked well together.

Giovanni Rana Ristorante has a lovely outdoor dining area made up of wooden seating. The interior of the restaurant consists of tables and chairs, but there are also high chairs by the counters and along some of the walls.

The staff gave service with a smile and were friendly. They were attentive and it was nice that they gave a thorough description of the specials dishes!

Giovanni Rana Ristorante, 17-19 Triton Street, Regents Place, London, NW1 3BF

Rating: ★★★★½

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