Tag: munch

All that could eat

Today komadori sampled the lunchtime offering from the new all-you-can eat ‘pan-asian’ restaurant in Swindon, Cosmo. At just £5.90 per person (plus £1.30 for whatever beverage one chooses, alcoholic or not), this is certainly not the highest quality authentic oriental cuisine. But for the price it is very good, as evidenced by the fact that by 1 pm the restaurant was full. The lunchtime menu is not as extensive as the evening one (the ‘5 live cooking stations’ that their website boasts were distinctly dead), but there was a good range of ‘Chinese’ food and assorted curries. There was a good range of vegetarian options too, though some that, on face value, one might have expected to be vegetarian were not marked as such. There was also a good range of desserts, though these were not sampled, as after a full plate for starters and a plate-and-a-half for main course, komadori had already reached his all-he-could-eat limit.
Just the starterAll I could eat
Given its proximity to Swindon’s warehouse boozing establishments in Fleet Street, prices are higher on Friday evenings and Saturdays, when the atmosphere is also, apparently, more disco than family-meal-out. As their website suggests, advance booking is advisable, and at the busiest times don’t expect to be allowed to sit and relax after you’ve finished your meal: the staff will be anxious to see you on your way to make space for the next group waiting to be served.

A new Rendezvous

I tried out the new branch of Rendezvous this lunchtime, on the corner of Haydon Street and Corporation Street. The smell of fresh paint was still detectable at the entrance, though fortunately not beyond. The meal, at £7 for three courses plus china tea, was sufficient, though not generous… which is how I like it at lunchtime — an afternoon’s work on a bloated stomach is never the most efficient. The decor also is sufficient, functional and tidy without being overly elaborate. I found all three courses a little sweet for my liking, but still very good for the price. The crispy pancake roll starter was quite mild, to my liking. The main course of beef with green peppers and black bean sauce was good, with tasty thin slices of beef. I would have preferred to have had a choice of fried or boiled rice, rather than it being prescribed on the menu, but that is a minor quibble, and the fried rice was very finely done and not greasy as is often the case, even in much more expensive restaurants. The desert was fine, though slightly crisper batter for the apple fritter would have been nice. Finally, the pot of china tea was very generously sized, though a little weak. Service was a little confused — to many waiters with not enough customers to serve — but I am sure that will improve as trade picks up. In all, the meal was good for the price and the establishment is a welcome addition to this corner of Swindon.

Badgers Bottom

I’ve never really understood the urge brewers apparently have to give strong brews silly names. Despite the folks at Hayles Fruit Farm clearly suffering from this ailment, I’m pleased to say that their Badgers Bottom cider, which I purchased today from their stall at Swindon Farmers’ Market, is a highly drinkable medium cider.

An educational meal

I have previously commented on others’ experiences of the student-run restaurant at Swindon College. Last Thursday I sampled their offerings for myself. Whoever devised the menu clearly had an obsession with orange. That apart, the chicken and bacon salad starter with chive dressing was a succulent start. The dressing in particular was a pleasant change from the vinegar or oil based dressings in which salads are often drowned. The main course of gammon steak was good but nothing exceptional. The dessert of apple and ginger crumble in caramel cream was a delight, with just the merest hint of ginger, the only disappointment being a less than generous covering of caramel cream. These three dishes were rounded off with a pot of tea.

At just £5 for a midday meal, the restaurant appears popular with the local pensioners. I recommend not waiting quite so long.

Lost food

As has been reported both locally and nationally, a survey for Year of Food and Farming in support of the just finished British Food Fortnight has shown that many children do not know where traditional British foods such as pasties, haggis and cheddar cheese originate from. Why would they? Shop in Sainsbury’s and if you read the labels you’ll see cheddar that comes from Canada or Devon and pasties that come from Wales. Until recently protected by law, Melton Mowbray Pork Pies could come from Wiltshire or a similarly named location in Yorkshire.

At least I now know why, for the last two weeks, on the day they normally serve pasta, my works canteen has served ‘prize winning local sausages on a bed of creamed florentine potatoes’. It was their grudging nod to British Food Fortnight and bangers and mash.

A fine lunch

Komadori has just sampled the offerings of the new restaurant on Westcott Place, La Carbonara. Thoroughly enjoyable it was too. The starter of Zuppa Di Minestrone was a subtantial and tasty soup, with the vegetable definitely outweighing the liquid. The butter for the bread was rather too cold, but then it is early days for them yet and komadori was the only customer for them this lunchtime. For the main course, their Vitelo Romano was substantial and nicely seasoned, and accompanied with lightly cooked vegetables and potatoes. All this washed down with draft Peroni Nastro Azzurro beer followed by a fine coffee. The total cost came in at just £22 for one person (komadori is a lonely soul).
La Carbonara does not have a website yet but, whilst komadori was there, a web designer was visiting and photographing the restaurant and staff (all of whom have, to some extent, Italian accents, with the exception of the chef’s partner who is clearly the local influence). As there is no website yet, I have put a copy of the menu here. In addition to the food on the menu, there are also blackboards with daily specials (including some English fare), desserts and the eponymous house speciality.

By my own hand

Having recently changed from doing a job with frequent hotel stays to one with no travel at all, I have had to resort to making my own cooked breakfasts, when time allows… which isn’t very often. This morning’s effort was very enjoyable except in one respect. I had made the mistake of buying some reduced fat sausages. Very silly of me. Like ‘non-alcoholic beer’ and decaffeinated coffee, it is seriously lacking. If you want a non-alcoholic drink, have a soft drink; if you want a caffeine free hot drink, try a malted drink or hot chocolate; and if you want a healthy breakfast, have a bowl of cereals. And as I didn’t want a healthy breakfast (I do that 359 other days of the year, thank you) I’m even more mystified as to why I bought low-fat sausages.

Feeding the children

What extremely generous actions some parents take for the benefit of their children. Take the example of one quoted in the Adver.

The only reason adults go to McDonald’s is for the children.

And as is evident from the photograph in the article, in future years they’ll be grateful for those generous actions with every ounce of their overweight bodies.

A fine cream tea

Having spent much of yesterday walking along the Kennet & Avon Canal, may I commend The Mad Hatter Tearooms at Avoncliff for a most delicious cream tea. All the better for a mistake in their taking my order which lead to it being free. Quite how one can misinterpret ‘A ham, cheese and pineapple hot baguette please.’ (also delicious) for ‘Two cream teas and a ham, cheese and pineapple hot baguette please.’ I am still pondering. The Cross Guns pub just across the way may be better known and have a better range of beers, but the quality of its food and service — of the ‘lets fleece the tourists for all we can get’ type with hurriedly prepared food on paper plates and plastic cutlery — are distinctly second rate. By comparison, at The Mad Hatter china crockery and steel cutlery are the norm and, even on a busy sunny bank holiday weekend, time was taken (tho’ not excessively) over the preparation of the food. The Black Rat Cider was quite good too.