Total Pageviews

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

#9 Good Old Steak and Chips

Firstly, I would just like to say thank you for the fantastic response and feedback i got on last weeks blog.

Since I wrote last weeks I have had a quiet week. But last night had the amazing opportunity to visit London for my partners little sisters 18th birthday, So this weeks entry will be more of a review of the meal i had at Gauchos Argentinian Steak House in Swallow Street, Picadilly. 

Walking down from the hustle and bustle of Regents Street down towards Picadilly Circus you stumble across this hidden gem tucked away in a little side street. A unassuming street with a few outdoors seating areas, its not until you walk through the front door you realise what a little gem you have stumbled across. From the main entrance with cowhide all along the walls you could be one for questioning whether you just walked in the right entrance for a steak house. But once you get inside you are greeted with a smile which is always a great thing in my opinion. We had our coats taken to the coat room and then were escorted into the bar area. This bar is your normal trendy, sexy London evening bar type destination with comfy seats and nuts to nibble on whilst awaiting your drink. The drinks menu is nicely varied with something for everyone.
My girlfriend ordered her usual, a mojito,or as they call it, a San Lucas, whilst I tried something new, a Salta Sling, This to be honest tasted of an adult version of a slush puppy. However there is certainly not anything wrong with that at all, very refreshing,

When the rest of our party arrived we were escorted to our table on the first floor. Again with smiles and greetings from the extremely friend staff. To be honest we had a little wait on our drinks as the bar was so busy and had not received them before we went upstairs, Because of this inconvenience the staff were extremely apologetic and put the drinks on the house.

The next tricky job was to choose the wine, certainly not an easy choice especially when I don't, to be honest, really drink much Argentinian wine. The father in law chose the wine and chose a fantastic Bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon called Finca Sophenia. This wine was incredible, a very soft mellow red but have just enough sharpness to just give the steak an extra dimension. 

A member of the waiting staff came up and really turned the night into performance. As with her she had a board of meats. All the cuts we could choose between. A phenomenal selection that left everyone on our table salivating at the prospect of what was to come.
Due to it being my girlfriends sisters 18th we all decided to have starters to whet our appetite for those delicious steaks. I searched the menu for something a bit different and to be honest i could have chosen a selection of things but went for the Octopus with olives, This dish was incredible. The subtle flavours and spices worked a treat and were perfect for a light starter. For my main I went for a 300g Rib Eye, Medium Rare of Course. I was undecided whether to go Rib eye of Fillet but decided on the Rib eye as for me the Rib eye is more flavoursome and nicely marbled, 

When the meals came out. There was a silence around the table as we all delved in. Then one by one you could just hear us all trying to put into words how amazing the steak was, even now I am struggling for words to describe it with the justice it deserves. My steak was like a extremely slow cooked joint of meat with a grilled crispiness on the outside.Incredible Flavour.  I must confess I did try a bit of fillet too, And that just melted in my mouth like an ice lolly on a hot summers day. 

To really do this place justice all i can say is everything about is just first class, formal yet relaxed. A restaurant that hasn't sold out to the bigger picture, has its beliefs in its own countries produce and sells these beliefs to you at an incredibly high level. I for one will definitely go back and recommend it to you all through this blog entry.

Friday, 24 June 2011

#8 Leaving on a Jet plane

So with this shocking weather this week it has made me and the girlfriend start thinking about booking a holiday away. She really wants to go visit Mexico. But there is one place I would love to take her. Somewhere I visited when I was young, free and single. But gave me the most rewarding month of my life. The place the locals call Ceylon or how we know it better, Sri Lanka. 

Back in 2006 i had the Opportunity to visit perhaps the most beautiful country in the world for a friends wedding, They had come over to the UK to save money so they could afford an amazing wedding, and my oh my was it amazing. Me and my friend at the time were the guests of honour at this wedding. 2 of only 4 Westerners at the wedding it was quite daunting an experience. But ill tell you something. A Buddhist Wedding, there really is nothing like it. From the extravagant frocks we all wore. To the amazing feast we all devoured. My personal memory of the night is bringing the capital city, Colombo to a standstill whilst we dispatched the newly weds onto their honeymoon, in a home made cart.

After the wedding we visited many a place around the island off the beaten track. Staying at basic hostels and local peoples spare rooms and floors. The people were so welcoming and friendly. And its so horrid to think all they have gone through in the civil war since. The War between the Tamils and the government is a horrific story and really tarnishes a beautiful beautiful country. Along our travels we visited many towns and villages. And the one thing we picked up on was the incredible foods you get in Sri Lankan cooking. There curries are sort of a fusion of Thai and Indian, and out favourite thing was the fact that its seen as rude to use cutlery with a curry as we learned ourselves within a couple of days. Its not all Curries and Dahl in Sri Lanka though, Maybe my favourite dish i learnt about whilst there was a Sambal. Which is a mix of chilli, garlic onion and coconut, a must try for any spice lover. 

Whilst there i consumed a lot of Arrack, The Sri Lankan Spirit which is made from coconut flower sap and is similar to rum in taste. A lovely summer drink if mixed with Lemonade. However it certainly knows how to destroy your head and you pay for that the next morning, But within a week we had discovered the perfect hangover cure, The king coconut. The juice from the king coconut in my opinion is the perfect start to a day after a heavy night before. Within an hour the said hangover would vanish then you would be ready for lunch. Mango with Salt and pepper is not to everyone's taste but there was something strangely interesting about the taste.

Half way through the month we treated ourselves to some 5 Star living. At only £50ph per night we stayed at the beautiful Kandalama Hotel. A Honeymoon hot spot as we discovered, this hotel is set into the Hills and is one of the most eco-friendly hotels in the world, with views to die for. 

The food was incredible here. Fine Dining at its best at an all inclusive all you can eat style of dining. Certainly not like London restaurants ideas of fine dining when you get minimal amounts of food.

But to be honest over the whole month the greatest meal we consumed was the cheapest. We
had booked into a elephant sanctuary for two nights. Having outside bedrooms this was always going to be an experience.

I remember waking up one night to find a wild monkey sitting on the end of my bed. Not a calm situation as you can imagine.

At the bottom of our accommodation there was a river. Which we spent many an hour at. This is where we found our best meal of the journey, walking up the river we found a couple of local fisherman who had caught some fish for a small fee we got them to catch a couple of fish. I cant say the type because to be honest i cant remember but all i can remember is that when we barbecued them they were by far the best fish i have to this day ever eaten.

To finish this all I have to say is after writing this is,  I WANT TO GO BACK!!!!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

#7 Hello Mr Blue Sky???????? Oh maybe not, Here comes Wimbledon!!!

So summer is well and truly here then I see. We had our preview of what possibilities we could have from a glorious summer back in April. But once again it appears that we were led along a path of complete deception by the weather gods. And to be honest it doesn't look like its going to improve any time soon With Glastonbury this weekend and Wimbledon the following fortnight it seems we are well truly in for another British summer.

But I must admit I love this time of year even though the weather is usually awful, Its the perfect time of year for the countries greatest fresh produce. I am talking about the sweet juicy and red fruit that we all know as the strawberry. Around our way there are many strawberry picking farms. And it is such a good morning out. Watching generations of families all together picking their fresh fruit, taking a sneaky strawberry for testing purposes. I love it. Its so much more enjoyable than just going to your local supermarket and gettin some punnet off of their shelves, certainly not as fresh as picking them straight of the plants is it. And I for one can taste the difference. It is a great way to introduce yourself to shopping locally. These days it has become a buzz topic hasn't it. And this is the perfect excuse to try local farmers products. Because when it comes to taking punnets of Strawberries home along with some cold pimms, does it get any better? 

Even if the sun never appears. Summer is well and truly here. My tip for the perfect strawberries and cream though is a sneaky shot of white rum in there. Or add a crunch and add a little broken meringue to make it an Eton mess style strawberries and cream. 

Hopefully With a bit of warm weather to go with it, would be nice though.

But as I mentioned earlier, what with Wimbledon on the horizon I think I can just dream about that sun for the foreseeable future. 

Oh well whilst we wait for that sun, lets all go and support our local farmers. Because they for one are certainly loving the wet weather aren't they ;) So lets get out there and pick their strawberries and see if you can taste the difference, I'm sure you can!!!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

#6 Let me Just Google that

When was the last time you got something for nothing? That happened to me last Friday as when i got home from work there was a letter from google sitting on the door mat. With a voucher for a free £50 advertising program. 
Brilliant. So off I went to start my advertising campaign. I logged onto googleads. And a world of Jargon hit me, what are keywords, how do I work out how much i need to spend on CPC? whatever CPC is. Then you get impressions and CTRs too. Its safe to say my head was working overtime just to make sense of all these words. But eventually I worked my way through it and had to come up with some keywords that would attract people to the website. 
So there I was with the obvious ones; Catering, Buffet, Food, Parties, Herts, Beds, Cambs. Ect,Ect
However looking back now as where the majority of the traffic is coming from it appears that  Dresses and Cake Decorations are the main keywords being used. I am still not quite sure how dresses has been my top recommendatory but oh well. 

So I have got a month of this advertising then I need other ideas. So have been trying extra hard this week to hand out business cards to the local community. And the local bus have said they would be happy for me to put a poster on there bus which would be great advertising. With a few enquiries coming in it seems business is looking up. So much so that I have decided to finally give up my full time job and claim for self employment and have set up the business account too, So from before when it was a sort of helping out friends and family it has all of a sudden became an actually business. Scary times ahead but such a nice feeling knowing your your own boss :)

Without football on this summer, Playing or supporting. And with my partner just opening her own shop, Marmalade Boutique in Hertford, then I have had extra time on my hands and have come up with a whole new set of menus on the website including a brand new children's menu. So go and take a look at my new seasonal menus and if interested feel free to send me an email and I will see what I can do for you. No party to big or small and we can work at any budget you require.