Review: Eating food in Bordeaux

This is one of those posts I’m writing weeks after the event happened. Not because I’ve been especially busy, but because I couldn’t think of a title.

Here are some of the options and the reasons they were rejected.

“Brilliant Bordeaux”

It’s a type of Revlon lipstick. Last thing I need is a load of beauty vloggers ending up here and slagging me off on YouTube.

“Boring Bordeaux”

Only really works if I’d had a bad time. Last thing I need is people clicking through thinking, “Ooh, I wonder why he hated Bordeaux?” then discovering I didn’t and thinking I’m a lying, click baiting twat.

“Borderline Bordeaux”

Maybe if I’d gone to the town next to Bordeaux.

“Borated Bordeaux”

A result of Googling ‘Adjectives beginning with BO’. Borated 1. Definition: mixed or impregnated with borax. Borax is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. Last thing I need is people thinking about what they want to impregnate with borax rather than reading the blog.

So, now you know how we ended up where we are.

Le Chien de Pavlov

“Bonjour, un table pour deux people, por favor.” I dazzled the Frenchman at the entrance of the restaurant.

“Do you have a reservation?” he replied.

“Sorry, could you say that in French.”

“Avez-vous une réservation?”

“No, I don’t.”

Fortunately, they could fit us in for lunch. The waiter brought over a chalkboard with the menu. I could decipher the odd word here and there, for example, Risotto and Mojito.

“Can I tell you anything about the menu?” the waiter asked.

“No thanks, mon amis. I’ll take whatever the three in the middle are.”

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The menu. How many French words do you know?

The starter was some sort of fish cake type affair. They were alright, bit of purple broccoli to go with them which really was a lot of fun!!!!!

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Fish cake type things

“Can you explain Pavlov’s dogs theory?” The woman I was dining with asked.

“Of course.” I responded.

“Go on then.” She challenged.

“You know, dogs…”

“Yeah…”

“Well, when they get hungry… they’ll ring a bell… OH LOOK OUR MAINS ARE ALMOST HERE.” I looked towards the kitchen, stopped talking, and pretended to not be able to hear her until they arrived.

I had pork fillet, which was pinker than I’d normally cook myself, but it was delicious and caused me no bowel problems. The pepper sauce accompanying it was also surprisingly good –  considering I don’t massively like peppers. See, ordering things from a menu you don’t understand can be a good thing.

For dessert we shared a fondant au chocolate which turned out to be a chocolate fondant!

4 boys out of five. Top lunching.

Miles

This was the meal I was most excited about. Having done my due diligence on the World Wide Web.

It was €48 euros for a five course meal and €22 for the wine pairing, or in British money £70 in total.

We were sat at the counter so we could see the four (annoyingly young) chefs at work.

FULL DISCLAIMER. I can’t remember everything that was on every plate, and there was no menu, so I can’t check it. You’ll just have to believe me and my memory.

The first course was a tomato and caramel concoction and it was fantastic.

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Tomato and caramel

The second course was barbecued squid with a coconut milk foam and something like chopped up barbecued seaweed. This was the dish of the night it was tres, tres bon.

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Squid’s in!!!

The third course was the least memorable, a fish dish of some description so it doesn’t get a photo. The duck course and the fig dessert were both sublime.

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Go FIGure!!!

This was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten, and I’ve eaten quite a few meals. The only downside was the wine pairing, which was somewhat underwhelming, but it doesn’t matter because the food was parfait (parfait means perfect in French, there was no parfait that I can remember).

Five boys out of five.

L’Entrecote

I spotted a queue out the door of this place, which from my time in London can only mean one thing: TRENDY NEW POP-UP!!!!!

I rushed towards the masses, “coming through, food blogger!” I got to the front and was sat down just half an hour after arriving #influencer.

They only serve one thing here: steak frites with their ‘secret’ sauce. You get a walnut salad to start with, which is a waste of everyone’s time, then the beautifully cooked rib eye steak arrives. I don’t like talk of secret sauces as my imagination is too vivid for my own good, and although it looks pretty rank it was excellent.

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Steak

Enjoyed with their house Bordeaux and a mountain of fries you can’t really go wrong.

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“Congratulations on a successful pop-up,” I said to the waitress as I pad the bill.

She replied with something about 1962, but I didn’t understand her so just laughed until my card had been removed from the machine and I could leave.

Four boys out of five.

Review: Cafe Loetje (Amsterdam)

Picture the scene: I arrived in Amsterdam on Monday evening, dropped my bag at my weird AirBnB and headed out into the night in search of food.

Speaking no Dutch other than “hallo,” which means “hello,” I hoped to find a guiding light towards somewhere to dine.

I turned a corner, crossed a bridge and there it was – a road illuminated with red lights coming from doorways and windows.

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Red lights of the tourist information booths in the distance

*tap tap tap* went the lady knocking on the glass of the door to attract my attention. “Oh, terrific,” I thought, a tourist information booth.

“Hey, baby. What would you like?”

“Good evening, I’m looking for something to eat.”

“You can eat for 100 euros.”

“Wow, I presume that’s for two courses?”

“For two courses you pay 150 euros.”

“Mmm, I’d really want dessert and a bottle of wine for that amount. Sounds like a fancy place, although I suppose I would get some good photos for the blog.”

“NO PHOTOS!” she shouted as she slammed the door.

Disappointed that I’d clearly just blown my chance to attend an exclusive Dutch supper club, I continued to wander the streets.

What’s that I spy in the distance? It looks like a series of tables and chairs with people sat eating and drinking, my spidey senses began to tingle. “If that’s not a restaurant, then I’m not a food blogger!” I said to the elderly Dutch man who I’d just knocked off his bicycle.

I entered the courtyard of Café Loetje and a waiter approached me.

“For how many people? he asked.

“Hang on a second buddy! I need to make sure you’ve got over  4.0 rating on Google first. Sorry, two seconds my 3G is going really slow. OK, now we’re down to GPRS, this is really very embarrassing. Let me just click in and out of airplane mode, see if that does the trick. HAHA, my phone must think I’ve just been on the shortest flight ever. Aaaaaaaaaand… 4G! Now we’re cooking my friend. I mean obviously we’re not cooking just yet, but hopefully we will be soon. When I say ‘we’ I mean ‘you’, well, not ‘you’, the chef, unless of course you’re also the chef? 4.2! Bingo! A table for one please.”

I took a table outside as the temperature was a decent temperature for sitting outside. The waiter brought over a menu.

“Can I get you a drink?”

“A beer I think.”

“Heineken?”

“Is that a craft beer?”

“It’s a lager.”

“Perfect! I’ll take two!”

Despite the menu being in Dutch (I never ask for an English menu, I refuse to look stupid in these places and give them an advantage) it became clear to me (a seasoned foodie) that this place was very much known for its steak,

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The options that presented themselves were:

Biefstuk ossenhaas – house steak?

Biefstuk ossenhaas ‘Bali’ – house steak with an Australian accent?

Biefstuk ossenhaas ‘De Roode Waard’ – house steak that might swear at me?

I opted for the ‘De Roode Waard’ option. Next thing you know, this is put in front of me.

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Biefstuk ossenhaas ‘De Roode Waard’

“What the shitting hell is that?” I hear you cry, (strangely the exact words I shouted at the waiter).

“It’s steak, liver, onions and bacon.” The waiter replied.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I didn’t have high hopes for this, but I was incorrect.

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From red lights to red meat.

The fillet steak was cooked perfectly, as was the liver. To be honest, with this plate of food, a lager and some chips in front of me I’ve never felt more of a man – well, apart from the time I went into one of the tourist booths with blue lights.

Five boys out of five!

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Review: Dirty Bones

“Mucky penis, more like!”

“Bones, not boners.”

“That’s a shame. Do these people not know anything about viral marketing?”

This was the conversation I had while discussing where to go for lunch on Saturday. We had planned to go to the Rum Kitchen but a truly baffling conversation about trying to book a table for three people left me so exasperated that I’ve decided I can never eat jerk chicken ever again.

Dirty bones – when someone says let’s go and eat at ‘Dirty Bones’, the first thing that comes to mind is of course Richard III and his skeleton found having a nap in a council car park in Leicester.

Richard’s boozy brunches

Not a lot of people know, but one of the reasons Richard III was defeated, and killed, at the battle of Bosworth was because he was a bit pissed.

He and a few of the other House of York lads had gone for one of their infamous ‘Boozy Brunches’. Here they’d drink shit loads of Prosecco and eat hundreds of tubes of Pringles.

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Dickie suffering from Pringles hand

It is perhaps with this in mind that Dirty Bones offer their:

“BOOZY BRUNCH: Feel the weekend vibes at London’s best boozy brunch.

Our Boozy Brunch Flights get you up to four dirty drinks for £19pp, with options including the Lexy cocktail, Dirty Mary cocktail, Spiked Ice Coffee or prosecco by the glass. Mix n’ match, or pick your poison and stick to it.”

The Dirty Mary cocktail a clear nod to Richard and his exploits, with the rim of the glass adorned with with sour cream Pringles.

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Dirty Mary cocktail

I enjoyed the Dirty Mary and the Spiked Coffee had a decent amount of booze in it. Congratulations everyone.

Coffee cocktail Foodie Boys

Spiked coffee

FOOD

Now, as it was the weekend the restaurant were only offering their Weekend Brunch menu. I searched the menu for something with bones in it.

“Excuse me, waiter! I have a bone to pick with you. Does the chicken and waffles have any bones in it?”

“We hope not!” the waiter laughed.

“Oh, that’s a shame. The caramelised banana waffles?”

“Erm, I wouldn’t have thought so.

With no bones for me to chew on I decided on the short rib hash.

14 hour slow-cooked pulled short rib finished with caramelised shallots and mustard seeds. Served with potatoes and two eggs.

Maybe it’s because I was very hungry, maybe it’s because I’m a fat man, but there wasn’t enough rib for my liking, however, it was very tasty.

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Short rib hash

Fortunately, the others had ordered burgers and fries, so I ate their incredibly addictive skinny fries with onion and garlic salt like a man possessed.

I had a dessert ‘milk and cookie’ which was milk gelato and a soft baked cookie. The milk gelato was alright, and the cookie was hard. The fact a fat man who is desperate to be morbidly obese, and to achieve type two diabetes, didn’t finish it – speaks volumes.

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All in all, you’d have to say:

3.75 boys out of 5.

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Review: Little Social

I’ve seen Jason Atherton on Saturday Kitchen quite a few times, he wears tight t-shirts in that: “Yeah, I’m a middle aged man, sure, I look after myself. I like a couple of pints with the boys but I’m equally happy with a kale smoothie? Absolutely. What’s the big deal?” kind of way. And fair play to him.

Jason has 74,000 restaurants spread across the world. Many of them have the word ‘social’ attached to them.

City Social – you’re only allowed in if you had a part to play in the financial crash.

Social Eating House – the menu is inspired by bricks.

Pollen Street Social – the waiting staff all buzz constantly, only stopping once they’ve stabbed you and they perish.

And then there’s Little Social where the chef is a midget. It was here we went for a birthday lunch back in January! I know! So many questions, like: How has it taken me so long to write this up? Why didn’t I take a photo of the menu so I could remember what I ate? Aren’t professional kitchens potentially hazardous to midgets?

What I can tell you is that I had a cocktail, here’s a picture of it. It was very nice indeed.

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Here’s a photo of some butter, which I almost certainly had with some bread. If memory serves me correctly this was also perfectly pleasant.

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Here is my starter. Now, this was a beetroot based starter, and I do remember it as it was very nice.

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Here’s a mackerel. I think it was alright, I mean mackerel is always alright isn’t it really. Cheers mackerel.

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Here’s a bottle of wine we drunk. Notice the butter in the background, it’s been partly eaten. This lends weight to my earlier point about having consumed the butter with some bread.

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What can you say? A lunch time menu – 3 courses for £30 (I think, it was in that ball park) enjoyed in the knowledge that you’re helping a midget. Perfect.

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3.5 boys out of 5.

Reviews: Shedding light on Bath and London

Did you know that we are not just the Foodie Boys, but we are also Foodie Boyfriends? As in, we both have girlfriends – not that we are going out with each other. Tony actually feels uncomfortable when a man comes within two feet of him. As in, stands near, not ejaculates. I think a stranger ejaculating within two feet of you would be disturbing for anyone.

We digress. With girlfriends (did we mention we have girlfriends?) come commitments (as in commitments arise, not ejaculating commitments – although that is sort of part of the package) including trips away for the weekend (or “minibreaks”) and visits from their friends and relatives to London.

So while Tony explored Bath, Toby played tour guide in London.

Tony does Bath

Ah, Bath! Who doesn’t love a bath? Well, me for one, I prefer a shower. I actually find the idea of baths quite horrid – sitting for an hour in hot water surrounded by your own muck. Vile.

The city itself is far from vile, it’s actually rather pleasant.

Review Olive Tree restaurant Bath

On Friday night we headed to the Olive Tree restaurant. I’d enjoyed some excellent banter with them on Twitter.com so was really looking forward to this.

Thinking that our online friendship might buy me favour when it came to the bill we ordered Chris Cleghorn’s signature menu with wine pairing.

Unfortunately I was mistaken and received the full priced bill. Even more unfortunate is that I can’t seek revenge by writing a scathing review because it was really bloody great. #BloggerFail.

The standout dishes were: the turbot with smoked eel and fried mushrooms; and the veal pictured below.

They also let us swap the dessert we were supposed to receive for one on the other menu. The muscovado mousse, milk chocolate sorbet and salted caramel.

“The mousse is lovely. The thing encasing it reminds me of an Aero.” I remarked.

“Yes, I suppose you’re right.” My GIRLFRIEND answered enthusiastically.

“I like Aeros,” I continued.

“Yes, I know you do.”

“I watched a thing about how they get the bubbles in them on TV recently.”

“Yes, I was sat next to you.”

“Were you? Are you sure?”

“Can we get the bill please?”

This was the veal dish

This was the veal dish

Aero type chocolate dish

Aero type chocolate dish

This meal really was excellent and the wine and service were great too.

Four and a half boys out of five.

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Toby Stays in London

Toby went to the TRAMshed! You can’t spell this without the word “meat” which perhaps goes some way to explaining their approach. Diners have two main options; steak or chicken, with a few different approaches.

IMG_20160520_183821And, despite the massive Damien Hirst cow in a box artwork suspended above me, I fancied the half chicken with fries. It would normally come with stuffing but I can’t have onion so I had to do without. It really knocked the stuffing out of me!

Here’s all the things I had. Half of a massive chicken, including a foot. Apparently they’re not battery hens but they must be genetically modified, as we all know, chickens do not have feet. Not a problem for me though.

It came with plentiful fries and a decent gravy. I also ordered, off the waitress’ recommendation, a tomato salad.

“What’s tomato with you?” I asked jokingly.

“Nothing,” she said, “I just think you’d like the salad.”

“No, I meant… don’t worry, I’ll have the tomato salad.”

“Oh what’s tomato! Like what’s the matter! Very good.” She laughed unconvincingly.

Eagle eyed readers may have noticed I got an Innis & Gunn beer. This was extremely tasty and our guests were impressed with my selection, as I expanded on the history of East London and its gentrification. After speaking at some length, it became apparent they didn’t know what gentrification meant, as this not a common word in Denmark.

IMG_20160520_193404But overall, the meal went rather well.  I even high-fived the chicken. I wonder if the freakishly large chicken ever knew its body would be used for physical comedy after it died? I like to think it would find that comforting.

My girlfriend didn’t think the steak was too good.  We accepted the waitress’ offer of dessert menus.

“You’ll get your just desserts,” she winked.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I snIMG_20160520_201202apped back before remembering our previous exchange. The tension was quickly defused and I ordered the chocolate mousse.

This came with honeycomb pieces, which gave it the taste of a fancy Crunchie bar. The flaky chocolate on top was much like a Twirl. A real selection pack of a dessert.

Three boys out of five.

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