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: Duke of Sussex

Before we begin discussing food we thought it might be useful to give you some interesting facts – meaning you come away from the blog with knowledge you didn’t have before. You might then share this newly acquired knowledge with your friends – helping to boost our reach.

DID YOU KNOW?: When Prince Harry gets married, his Grandma is going to make him the Duke of Sussex? I know?!

DID YOU KNOW?: The first Duke of Sussex was Prince Augustus Frederick, the sixth son of King George III, back in 1801.

DID YOU KNOW?: The Duke of Sussex is also a pub by  Chiswick Park station / Acton Green.

“How will this help boost your reach?” you ask. Well, allow us to explain.

“You know that Prince Harry?” You say while sat in a pub / on the bus / having a smear test.

“Yes,” responds your friend / the driver / the nurse.

“He’ll become the Duke of Sussex when he gets married.”

“Oh really? Where did you hear that?”

“FoodieBoys.com.”

It really is that simple.

The Duke and tapas

Prince Augustus Frederick absolutely adored tapas and once famously said to his mate John, “John lad, there’s just something proper reassuring about paying £60 for 6 tiny plates of food rather than spending £15 on one actual meal.”

Augustus loved tapas so much that he actually used to spell his surname ‘Frederack’ just so he could say his name contained all the letters that make up the word ‘tapas’.

His dedication was SO great he actually grew giant croquetas in his garden.

The first Duke of Sussex showing off his massive croqueta.

With all this in mind it is of little surprise to find a pub named after the Duke serving up tapas to the eager mouths of West London.

The food

It was a… Tuesday afternoon I believe, possibly a Wednesday or even a Thursday, when we entered the pub (for full disclosure I can’t remember but it could have been any day of the week that wasn’t a Friday, Saturday or Sunday – I remember those days, it’s the others that are all just one long, sad, blurry march towards death).

We entered the pub and ordered various tapas items and a bottle of Rioja – I ordered Rioja as it is from Spain and I wanted to impress the barkeep. “I’ll have one of the SPANISH riojas,” I said, just loud enough for the rest of the pub to hear.

The wine was good, I also had a beer which was most pleasant. The food was, like so much tapas, total and utter ‘meh’ as people on the internet used to say back in the day.

Before we leave you with the all important score, there’s one last fact for you.

DID YOU KNOW?: The first Duke of Sussex invented aioli? 

The first Duke of Sussex discussing aioli with his mate John.

The score

2.5 boys out of 5.

As far as bog standard tapas goes this is well up there. The Duke would have been piiiiiiiiiiised.

Ferdie’s Food Lab – Supper Club

The Foodie Boys have tired of the restaurant scene of late.

“A table for two please.”

“Do you have a reservation?”

“No.”

That sort of thing. Boring.

No! Calm down! Be still your beating dicks/fannys. That doesn’t mean our days of blogging about food are over!

No, we’re branching out down some exciting new avenues – or streets as we say in Britain.

We can often be found wandering down British streets to see if we can find something satisfying to fill our stomachs. Fortunately London is full of people hanging about down streets who are happy to oblige.

One such street was ‘Ethalburga Street’ in Battersea.

“Ethalburga street – Ethal Burger street. A burger made by a woman called Ethal. All women called Ethal are at least 80, would you eat a burger made by an 80 year old? I think it’s too risky to eat anything cooked by anyone over the age of 60.”

This was just a snippet of the conversation we had as we walked down Ethalburga street and towards the London Cooking Project which was hosting Ferdie’s Food Lab.

To sum up, we’d been invited to a supper club. The only supper club we’d ever been to before was in Battersea. Do supper clubs only exist in Battersea? We don’t know, but we were delighted to accept the kind offer of our host Simon.

Ferdie's Food Lab Menu

Menu (taken with an Android)

We’d been sent a list of wine pairings for each course before we attended, meaning we could raid the local Asda for Rollbacks. Our wine strategy consisted of one bubbles, one white and one red.

We were bemused to be asked to leave Asda for refusing to stop singing Take That’s ‘Shine’. It was only after we left that we realised that advertising campaign was for Morrisons. A full apology has been sent to Asda head office.

On arrival we met our fellow diners over a glass of prosecco, which was a nice bonus. ‘Met’ here = Tony asking all of them whether they had an iPhone 6 charger. With every person he asked, the haunting realisation dawned on him; we would have to use my Android phone camera to photograph the supper.

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Lamb rib (not taken with an Android)

To begin Simon presented us with slow cooked lamb rib in a croquette style thing, dip and garlic Afghan bread – just like grandma used to make. If your grandma was Afghanistani, which fortunately neither of ours are/were (some of them are dead).

The cubes of meat were delightful, and would have probably gone down really well with the suggested wine pairing of Pinot Noir. However, we were busy getting as much prosecco as possible in our thirsty, horrible faces.

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Purple salmon

After this out came the purple salmon, beetroot and horseradish parfait.

“This will go nicely with the prosecco,” Tony remarked.

“I’m not eating purple fish.” Toby responded.

Next, a green bomb appeared. We don’t entirely know what this was, but it was nice and the spicy cucumber salad that came with it was a healthy kick in the balls.

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Veal

The highlight of the dinner was the veal. Which if we had a way with words we would describe here, but believe me, it was very nice.

The chocolate cherry dessert had somewhat fallen apart, and frankly the appearance may have put some people off, but they would have been wrong. It was great.

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Cherry tart

Foodie Friendship Boys

Of course, a supper club is FAR from all about the food. It’s a social occasion. We were relieved to be placed near another food blogger. Ordinary people just don’t understand how important what we do is.

Flo, one half of Flo & Elle (we can’t comment on the mysterious absence of Elle) came to the rescue, when she offered to send us her photos of the night. This means, aside from the menu picture, we didn’t have to use Toby’s Android phone.

The conversation with Flo flowed, perhaps where she got her name. We discovered a lot about her, much of which we cannot publish here for fear of repercussions.

What we can publish here is our wine battle. How did our wine choices fare against hers? Bafflingly, she hadn’t gone to Asda.

Our Riesling (name of which we can’t remember) scored a rather respectable 3.6 out of five on Vivino. Poor Flo’s only got a 3.4.

“You can’t trust these shit apps,” she shrieked as she smashed the bottle against the table and lunged at Toby’s neck. Jerking backwards, Toby dodged out the way.

“It’s all kicking off!” we shouted at Simon.

“Erm, this is supper club, not fight club,” Simon roared as he took Tony out with a roundhouse kick.

We all took to our seats again, made our apologies and ate some nuts coated in chocolate and finished our last bottle of wine, which scored a pathetic 2.2.

Thanks to Simon who was a thoroughly welcoming host and chose some fantastic food and wine pairings.

Four boys out of five.

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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.

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.

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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.

Four boys out of five.

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FoodieBoys food tour of Kent #LongRead

“There are only so many London restaurants, we don’t want to run out before our domain registration, www.foodieboys.com, expires.” Tony sighed.

“Too true, perhaps we should go and review some places in Kent. After all, Kent is much like London. They have similar accents, for example.”

“I was thinking the exact same thing.”

And so it was we took the evening train heading East, towards a little place they call Birchington Vale Caravan park.

Friday

To get there we alighted the train, with all our personal belongings, at Westgate-on-Sea.

“Okay Google” shouted Toby at his Android phone, “Westgate-on-Sea foodie locations.”

Next thing you know, we’re standing outside Paul’s, which came complete with a 4.2 Google rating from five reviews. We entered and immediately noticed the delightful outside area.

“It reminds me of a Spanish garden,” Tony mused.

“I knew a girl who had her bum hole licked in a Spanish garden,” Toby shouted slightly too loudly as we pulled the door open.

After explaining ourselves we were granted permission to stay.

“Hi, we’re the FoodieBoys and we’d like to try some of your local, seasonal fare,” we said in unison.

“We’ve got burgers,” the barmaid said.

“That is SO London.We’ll have two.”

“How would you like them cooked?”

“Medium-rare please, we’re foodies from London.”

The burgers arrived, topped with blue cheese and bacon. They were perfectly pleasant, although neither of them were medium-rare. Perhaps to be expected in the sticks.

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Not a medium-rare burger.

After devouring our medium-well burgers we asked at the bar for a cab to take us to the caravan park.

“Call for carriages!” Tony shrieked.

“Sorry?” the barmaid responded.

“We need a taxi to take us to the caravan park.”

“Oh.”

And so the taxi driver came, hunched over, into the bar. “TAXI FOR THE FOODIE BOYS!” He was quite the character and even asked if he could work with us on our website. We of course declined.

The Birchington Vale Caravan park came fully equipped with a bar, full to the brim of drunken men and children high on litres and litres of slush puppy.

We perused the menu to see what sort of culinary delights we might enjoy.

Chicago Town pizza or Chicago Town pizza were the options. Washed down with slush puppy.

“We’re going to need that freak taxi driver again,” Toby said with delight.

Saturday

Sure enough Saturday arrived, how predictable.

During the day we ate Hula Hoops, biscuits and Feast ice creams acquired from the shop, as well as some exquisite flapjacks.

When evening arrived we headed to the bustling, seaside town of Margate – FoodieBuoys more like!!

After a pleasant hour chatting to locals on the seafront, we decided we needed to book a table at a local bistro.

“OKAY GOOGLE,” bellowed Toby, much to the bewilderment of the locals.

But before he could complete the sentence, Tony chimed in, “what about this place?”

The website’s mobile site confusingly hid the menu from us so we decided it must be exclusive. We used our influence on Twitter to acquire a table at Giorgios – an Italian/ Greek / Mediterranean restaurant depending on which site you read.

Walking in, we found that a huge stag party had also found their way into the place, but we recognised the commercial imperative that large venues have to get as many people in as possible to make their restaurant economically viable. Plus, we were hungry and didn’t know anywhere else to go. So we snapped up our table.

Cocktails! Personally, we can’t have a meal without having at least one before. That’s because we’re London foodies, you may feel differently. We ordered espresso martinis but received one more than we asked for*! Whether this was a genuine mistake, or an attempt to butter up #FoodInfluencers we can’t be sure.
(*Full disclosure – we did not request this but these “mistakes” are a perk of the job.)

We ordered our food.

Starters: Tone opted for scallops with bacon and asparagus, while Tobes went for a mozzarella and tomato salad.

“It freaks my nut every time I piss after asparagus,” Tony told the owner.

Mains: Sea Bass with lemon and white wine jus and a ‘Grigliata Mista’ – steak, chicken, sausage, aubergine and chips.

“I can see why you call it a Mista!” Toby said to the waitress as it was placed before him.

“Sorry?” she replied.

“I can see why you call it a Mista!”

“I’m not sure I follow.”

“You wouldn’t called it a Missus, would you?”

“Erm, no. Can I get you any more drinks?”

“Because it’s too big for a woman isn’t it? Really. Unless she had a particularly large appetite, which is fine, I actually like women who eat more than me. Have you ever been in a Spanish garden?”

“JUST some tap water please!” Tony interrupted.

The food was fine. Look at the pictures and taste it for yourself. Do we really have to explain everything to you?

Although we were stuffed, we thought we’d order dessert. Chocolate fudge cake and a chocolate fondant.

Sadly, when thrusting my spoon through the fondant it did not deliver a gooey ending. If this had happened in London I would have demanded to see the chef, but I presumed the ovens in Kent may not work as effectively, so let them off.

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Solid fondant

Sunday

Another day of eating like four year old children left to their own devices for the first time at the caravan park left us hungry for more of Kent’s foodie scene.

So, obviously we went to Broadstairs.

We were busy debating our favourite type of sausage in the back of the taxi when the driver began to talk.

“Charles Dickens used to live here you know.”

“I think the Lincolnshire is better than the Cumberland and you’re never going to be able to persuade me otherwise.” Tony declared.

“Charles Dickens used to eat sausages here.” Said the driver, desperately.

“Bollocks.” Toby said, we threw a tenner at him and jumped out. He shouted, “THIS HAS GOT CHARLES DICKENS ON IT” as he drove away.

We walked around the corner and BAM! The Charles Dickens pub.

“He was right!”

What does Sunday say to you? To some it would say “church,” others would say “The Observer,” but to Tobes it would say “Roast.”

So he ordered the lamb roast but Tony went for the fish and chips, as he’d spent the day looking at the sea and wondering if fish eat potatoes.

We had a top seat, right next to the kitchen. An exclusive spot! We saw our food being plated up which was a real treat.

“HEY! What are you doing to his fish?” Toby yelled.

“I’m just checking its temperature,” the chef said as he removed the metal thermometer from the cod.

“Bit late for that, mate, it’s already dead!” Tony quipped, but sadly they’d disappeared around the back of the kitchen so they couldn’t hear it.

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Fish with lemon in a little bag, “the best invention I’ve ever seen,” – Toby.

Monday

Time to go home.

We bid farewell to the oddballs at the caravan park ( including the topless man shouting “this is the life eh mate?” as he drove past on a sit on mower) and headed back to Westgate-on-Sea. With an hour to kill before our train we spotted an opportunity for one last foodie adventure.

We approached the man working at the train station.

“Hello, do you know anywhere we can get a coffee?”

“I’m not from here,” he barked at us.

“Oh, so you don’t know anywhere that sells coffee near the station where you work?”

“No.”

With this horrid interaction ringing in our ears we disconsolately trundled up the street. Fortunately, about 200 metres from the station were three cafes.

“Perhaps he’s blind?” Toby tried to justify the station master’s actions.

“He wasn’t blind! He was just a massive twat.” Tony shouted as we flung the door to the Beano cafe open.

“I’ll have the breakfast special and a flat white please.”

“A flat what?”

“White.”

“Make it two coca cola, a special breakfast and a sausage and chips please, buddy?” Toby interrupted, bored of this second difficult interaction of the day.

“Look at that plastic washing-up bowl full of bacon,” Tony said, for there was one.

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Mmm special

We speculated as to why the cafe was called the Beano cafe, and settled on the fact there must have been a character who made shit breakfasts, maybe one of the minor ones in the middle you didn’t read. Like Beryl the Peril.

Kent’s food scene clearly wasn’t prepared for us and we’ve come to the conclusion that London is better than Kent.

Kent gets two boys out of five.

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Review: Henry VIII (Hever)

To celebrate the day of birth of my lady friend, I decided to take her to a castle. I chose Hever Castle – the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. If the childhood home of a woman executed by her husband doesn’t scream: “ROMANCE!” I don’t know what does.

We enjoyed a picnic in the grounds during the day, this included: bread, pâté and of course, Quavers – Quavers being Thomas Cromwell’s favourite snack.

Thomas Cromwell enjoying some Quavers

Thomas Cromwell enjoying some Quavers

After enjoying the grounds and the spacious room we had acquired for the evening we headed off for dinner at the Henry VIII pub a short walk down the road.

Thomas Wolsey enjoying a cold can of Oranjeboom.

Thomas Wolsey enjoying a cold can of Oranjeboom.

We ordered a bottle of wine and of course a pint of Oranjeboom – Oranjeboom being Thomas Wolsey’s favourite lager.

We perused the menu for a short while before I had a brainwave.

What struck me was a missed opportunity to use the name’s of Henry’s wives to create dishes.

I came up with one immediately and called for the waitress to come quickly.

“Is there anything I can help you with, sir?” She enquired.

“Catherine of Tarragon!” I shouted at her.

“Sorry?”

“Catherine of Tarragon! You should have a chicken and tarragon pie on the menu called ‘the Catherine of Tarragon pie’.”

“Oh, I see. I’ll pass that on to the manager.”

“No! Wait, there are five more! Fetch a pen and paper or something.”

Now, in my haste I hadn’t thought about the others. When she returned I rather meekly muttered, “Anne of…Cloves – perhaps a pork dish with cloves.”

As not to hurt my feelings she wrote this down and asked if we were ready to order. I went for the garlic king prawns and the lamb’s liver from the specials board.

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I very deliberately ordered the king prawns as I had a plan to humour my wench.

I held the first prawn aloft and bellowed: “YOU HAVE FAILED TO GIVE ME A SON! OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!” as I pulled its head off.

The next prawn: “MY PRIVY CHAMBER RECKON YOU’VE BEEN SHAGGING ABOUT! DIE!”

I enjoyed this all so much that I actually can hardly remember eating the lamb’s liver. Although I’m sure it was excellent.

As I paid the bill I found myself struck once again by inspiration: “Katherine Parr-ma ham!”

I look forward to returning and seeing the new menu in all its glory.

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Review: Rockfish (Dartmouth)

To celebrate Easter 2016 I decided to take a trip to Devon, as Jesus might have done had he been born in Birmingham rather than Bethlehem.

On the Friday I decided to celebrate the death of the big JC by eating his favourite meal – fish, chips and curry sauce.

I settled on the Dartmouth branch of seafood chain Rockfish.

I took my seat and the waiter began to circle the fish they had available on the placemat in front of me.

“WHOA! I shouted. “Don’t write on the placemat!”

“It’s paper, sir.”

“My mistake. Please continue.”

He circled the gurnard, whiting and hake.

I grabbed the felt tip pen from him and wrote, ‘WWJH?’.

He looked at me, confused. I wrote it again, this time slightly bigger. I wrote it a third time – yet still he didn’t grasp what was happening.

“What would Jesus have?”

“Oh, I’m not sure. Perhaps the Whiting?”

“No! He’d have had the Gurnard, obviously. He would also have had a bottle of cider and some curry sauce.”

“I see, and what can I get you?”

‘WJWHH!’ I scrawled on the last remaining bit of space on the mat.

“What…Jesus…would…have…had?” The waiter nervously uttered.

“CORRECT!”

Fish and chips

Fish and chips

My cider was crisp and refreshing – just as Jesus would have liked.

The chips were chippy, and were ‘eat as many as you like’, so I ordered a second portion as Jesus would have wanted me to be obese.

The fish was very good. I’ve often heard people say, “Oooh, what a meaty fish,” and I’ve often thought, “what a load of bollocks.” However, I can confirm that this Gurnard was a meaty fish.

All in all, I felt full and a littler closer to our Lord and Saviour.

Four boys out of five.

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Review: The Grey Horse (BBQ Whisky Beer)

Back in 2013, yeah, remember then? The Lib Dems still existed, King Richard III’s skeleton was discovered under a Leicester car park and BBQ Whisky Beer won Ribstock.

I was at Ribstock on that day – where 10 different types of rib competed for the crown of ‘best rib’.

I tried the BBQ Whisky Beer entry first. After eating it I turned to Toby and said, “Tobes, we might as well go home now, that’s the winner.”

Toby looked disappointed and began walking towards the exit, before I explained that the whole “going home thing” was mere hyperbole and we shouldn’t actually go home.

For a short while we had a confusing conversation about what ‘hyperbole’ means until we realised we had to try nine types of rib within an hour.

Anyway, long story long, BBQ Whisky Beer did indeed win.

Small Jacobs Ladder Beef Rib

Small Jacobs Ladder Beef Rib

Then three years on I was on, soon to be extinct, social networking site ‘Twitter ‘ and saw that BBQ Whisky Beer were now in a pub in Kingston.

I gathered my things and jumped on a bus.

“Driver, take me to the ribs!”
“What?” he replied.
“The ribs! The Ribstock winning beef ribs!”
“What?”
“MOVE THE FUCKING BUS!” Shouted an elderly lady from one of the priority seats.

And with that we were on our way.

Macaroni cheese with parmesan crumb

Macaroni cheese with parmesan crumb

I ordered a large beef rib, Mac and cheese, and some fries.

The Mac and cheese was rich and garlicky, the fries were fryey…and the beef rib was sent to earth by baby Jesus himself.

Who knew cows had ribs? Who knew those ribs had delicious meat on them?

Smothered in a smoky BBQ sauce, and finished so it’s got a delicious, slightly burnt aroma I had to order a second small one.

Jacobs Ladder Beef Rib

Large Jacobs Ladder Beef Rib

I washed this down with an old fashioned – the Grey Horse has an excellent selection of whisky.

Amazing. I haven’t been able to look at a cow the same since.

Five boys out of five.

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Review: William Blue College of Hospitality Management (Sydney)

As some of you may remember, towards the end of last year Tony took an ill-fated business trip to Sydney to scope out the viability of starting a food blog in Australia.

It was ill-fated for two reasons:

1) I got food poisoning on the first night of a week long trip to the other side of the world.
2) It turns out the vast majority of Australians can’t actually read – rendering a potential food blog redundant.

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Sydney rock oysters

On my last full day in Sydney, with my bowel back to full working order, I decided I should treat myself to a nice lunch.

After some Googling my options seemed to be:

1) Eat a packet of chicken flavoured Twisties
2) Leave my hotel.

I opted for the latter. I ended up at the William Blue college of hospitality management. I think I was drawn in by the catchy name.

It’s a restaurant run by hospitality students. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to inspire the next generation of hospitality workers.

Anyway, I got a table for one and an eager young man fetched me some water and some bread. Bless him, he was so nervous he was shaking. He was obviously clued up on the foodie world and knew he was serving a FoodieBoy!

To begin I ordered the  Sydney rock oysters with red wine, shallot (they called it ‘eschallot’ for some reason – bloody Australians) and tomato vinaigrette. The vinaigrette offered a sharp contrast to the (insert adjective for texture which can apply to oysters here) of the oysters.

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Roast pork loin

My main of roast pork loin, crackling, crispy kale, colcannon croquette and apple cider jus was tender and very tasty. The colcannon croquette was a treat.

I asked the waiter to sing me the colcannon song while I ate, but sadly he was unaware of the lyrics. Upon hearing this I leapt from the table, adopted my best ‘Oirish’ accent and sang, merrily:

Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?
With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.
Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake
Of the creamy, flavoured butter that your mother used to make?

The chorus:

Yes you did, so you did, so did he and so did I.
And the more I think about it sure the nearer I’m to cry.
Oh, wasn’t it the happy days when troubles we had not,
And our mothers made Colcannon in the little skillet pot.

Repeat to fade:

Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream?
With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream.
Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake
Of the creamy, flavoured butter that your mother used to make?

Blushing, the waiter said, “Crikey mate, that’s one of the most bloody moving things that’s every happened to me, mate.”

I said, “mate, stop calling me ‘mate’, mate.”

We embraced, I sat back down, and told him to bring me dessert and a glass of shiraz.

The dessert was a chocolate delice, orange and cardamom ice cream, pop rocks and orange sherbet.

Chocolate delice

Chocolate delice

This was most pleasant.

I asked the waiter to sing me the orange and cardamom ice cream song while I ate. He looked worried. “Only joking, there isn’t one!” I said, as I laughed myself to tears.

A very nice meal indeed.

Four boys out of five.

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