Posts Tagged: gluten free


19
Mar 14

Sheen Falls Lodge, Ireland

SHEENFALLS41

County Kerry is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland, for good reason. Its wild and rugged coastline is exquisitely beautiful, with jagged, rocky outcrops and stunning blue seas. The drive around the Ring of Kerry is one of the highlights of the area – a three hour drive around the most beautiful parts of the county is a must for all visitors.

Sheen Falls Lodge Relais & Chateaux is a delightful hotel to visit in the popular town of Kenmare, which is perfectly placed for visitors wishing to navigate the Ring of Kerry, or indeed around the adjacent Beara Peninsula.

Kenmare itself is a charming town – busy and bustling in summer months with visitors keen to see the local attractions for themselves. Sheen Falls Lodge Relais & Châteaux is situated just a few minutes outside the town of Kenmare and is surrounded by purple heather covered mountains and cascading waterfalls.  The hotel is actually situated on the falls, which offer the most dramatic views from guest bedrooms and the dining room, which is appropriately named Le Cascade.

Sheen Falls Lodge is a large, traditional hotel, which offers a wide range of facilities for guests. There is a delightful spa, which uses Voya Organic Irish products, and a large pool and spa area.

Rooms are spacious and many offer fantastic views over the falls. Some rooms have been very tastefully refurbished in a very sophisticated modern style, with large, comfortable beds, huge bathrooms and every comfort you need.

Dinner at La Cascade is a must. Start with a delicious cocktail in the bar first, and make your way into the dining room, where you can enjoy the best views from the property. The food is great and allergies are catered for well.  Sheen Falls also has one of the most significant wine lists in the country, and so guests are able to tour the cellars with Quentin, the sommelier, before dinner, which is a real highlight.

Staff at Sheen Falls are especially helpful and friendly, going way above and beyond the call of duty to make your stay special. We found that they were able to suggest some really memorable trips and excursions to enjoy.

A visit to Sheen Falls is very highly recommended indeed for a most relaxing and enjoyable break and also to enjoy this most beautiful part of Ireland.

 

For reservations call contact Relais & Châteaux: www.relaischateaux.com

Rooms are priced from £185-375 and suites are priced from £200-625 on a per room per night basis; breakfast is €24 per person.  Prices include taxes.

Relais & Châteaux is an association of 515 of the world’s finest hotels and restaurants, in 60 countries.  Established in France in 1954, the Association’s mission is to spread its ‘art de vivre’ across the globe by selecting outstanding character properties.  Each member has its own distinctive personality, but Relais & Chateaux hoteliers and chefs are united in their passion for hospitality, commitment to quality and an aspiration to deliver an ever-higher level of service.


19
Mar 14

Cliff House Hotel, Ireland

Cliff House Hotel

Cliff House Hotel

Cliff House Hotel part of the Relais & Châteaux group, is perched high on the cliff top overlooking Ardmore Bay, and offers one of the most spectacular views in Ireland. What is more, its main restaurant, where chef Martijn Kajuiter works his culinary magic, is one of only a handful to boast a Michelin star in the country.

The Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore is regularly voted one of the best hotels in Ireland. The hotel sits in an ultra modern building, quite literally built into and onto the cliffs in Ardmore, a small town in County Waterford, just a 5 minute drive from the N25 – the main road running from Rosslare to Cork.

The hotel is, in fact split onto seven levels so that practically every room can enjoy the spectacular views from the hotel. The décor is a wonderful blend of seriously cool and ultra chic, and manages all this whilst offering absolute comfort to guests. Gorgeous seaweed artwork is displayed on the walls, and plenty of armchairs are thoughtfully positioned for you to relax and take in the surroundings. Some suites are split-level, with views over the sea from the beds and very private glass-fronted bathrooms, again, allowing you to enjoy the scenery from the bath or shower.

Despite its membership to Relais & Chateaux, the Cliff House Hotel has a very special boutique hotel feel. Staff are super helpful and charming and people drive from all over the country to come and stay here – in fact, the hotel gets booked up very quickly and far in advance.

Martijn Kajuiter’s restaurant enjoys a fabulous reputation and uses Irish produce to create an exciting fine dining experience for guests who visit from far and wide. Breakfast is also taken in the dining room looking out over the sea.  There is a great spread on offer to guests, which includes homemade scones, local yoghurt and of course, a delicious Full Irish. Food allergies are very thoughtfully catered for here.

The service is every bit as special as you might expect – genuinely friendly, helpful and charming which completes the experience at Cliff House. A visit is highly recommended for a special occasion, or just because.

For reservations call contact Relais & Châteaux: www.relaischateaux.com

Relais & Châteaux is an association of 515 of the world’s finest hotels and restaurants, in 60 countries.  Established in France in 1954, the Association’s mission is to spread its ‘art de vivre’ across the globe by selecting outstanding character properties.  Each member has its own distinctive personality, but Relais & Chateaux hoteliers and chefs are united in their passion for hospitality, commitment to quality and an aspiration to deliver an ever-higher level of service.  

 

 

 


2
Jan 14

One and Only Royal Mirage, Dubai

1OAO

Dubai is the place to be right now. It is one of the world’s top destinations in November through to January.

The One and Only Royal Mirage is probably the most enchanting beach resort in Dubai. What is particularly special is that is manages to capture the very best of Dubai in its location and surroundings. Set in well-established gardens, there is a dramatic drive up to the resort buildings through the palm tree lined well-established gardens. We stayed in the Arabian Court, but there are also the Palace and the Residence properties available for guests here.

The hotel properties are both luxurious and dramatic in appearance, and sensitively blend traditional regional elements with pure fantasy in their design. The interiors are extremely tastefully decorated, incorporating elements of Arabian and North African design very successfully, but offer the level of luxury guests expect in Dubai, and are decked with 70 foot real palm trees inside, indoor fountains and plenty of marble. The One and Only Royal Mirage feels a very private and relaxed place to stay and is the perfect location for couples to enjoy a romantic break, or to celebrate a special occasion.

The resort owns a kilometre of private beach for guests to enjoy, which is set at the end of beautifully manicured lush, green gardens and two swimming pools. There are plenty of sun loungers available for guests wanting to sunbathe, and guests are well looked after by the staff on handing ensuring you have plenty to drink. For the more adventurous guests, there is a beach house which offers in-house water sports. We tried the water skiing, paddle boarding and kayaking which was great fun. There is a huge range of activities available every day.

The One and Only is a wonderful place for foodies to stay. Breakfast is a special affair. It can be taken inside or out, with an amazing selection of food available. The highlight is the fresh bread and pastries made by the French chef every day. They are as good as the very best you’d find in a French boulangerie, and are made in abundant quantities every morning.

Food allergies are catered for and staff do everything they can to make you feel at ease, as dietary requirements are communicated to all relevant staff in the hotel. The special gluten free bread and cakes we were given were excellent.

Dinner at the hotel’s Celebrities restaurant should feature on every guest’s itinerary. The dining room is sumptuously decorated with chairs you just sink into, enormous sparkling chandeliers and stunning views through the gardens. The food, cooked by French chef Laurent and served by expert French staff is divine. The lobster thermidor, asparagus risotto and wagyu beef are all highly recommended, although the menu offers a great number of tempting options. The wine list again offers a great choice, or just get your waiter to choose for you – the Poilly Fumé we tried was lovely.

If you’re after some rest and relaxation, you must try the Spa here. It is seriously special. Situated adjacent to the Residence building, in an absolutely beautiful building, it offers a really unique selection of treatments including the must-try, completely authentic Oriental Hammam experience which is simply heavenly.

Service is polished, profesional and friendly and there is a genuine desire to look after guests. From surprise gifts sent to the room, to handwritten letters from staff – there is a real sense of care and hospitality at the One and Only, which makes a visit so special and memorable.


22
Nov 13

The Magdalen Chapter

2MC

At nearly 18 months old, The Magdalen Chapter hotel has quickly established itself as the place to go in Exeter. Formerly the West England Eye Hospital, the hotel how occupies the large red brick building situated just five minutes by foot from the heart of the city centre. The building has been sympathetically renovated, retaining many original features whilst adding plenty of twenty-first century comforts.

The Magdalen Chapter is owned by Chapter Hotels, who have a sister hotel in Cheltenham. Down in Exeter, there are 59 bedrooms, a library, a bar, a spa, pool and gym, and of course, the dining room. We arrived at around 9pm on a Friday night and found the hotel buzzing. The bar was lively, with the evening in full swing, and plenty of people coming into the hotel to drink and dine.

We stayed in a feature room – one of the largest rooms in the hotel. We were shown up to our room by Richard, one of the duty managers who was very welcoming. Once we’d been shown around the room, we were handed an iPad which would be ours for the duration of the stay, and can be used to play music and find out most things you need to know about the hotel.

Our room was large with two bathrooms – one with a bath and the other with a shower, which were particularly luxurious and equipped with REN products, which are made locally in Devon.  Technology is a feature of the rooms, as we were able to listen to the TV and music in the shower room. We also had a control panel through which we could play our own music. Our room had a complimentary mini bar, containing some beer (which we swapped for wine, being wheat free), soft drinks and chocolate, and we had a Nespresso coffee machine, too.

The Magdalen Chapter restaurant sits at the back of the hotel in a large conservatory overlooking the gardens. Head chef Ben Bulger, formerly Head Chef at Riverford Field Kitchen, is guided by TV chef and restaurateur Simon Hopkinson, who acts as a consultant at Chapter Hotels. Their focus is on cooking locally sourced, seasonal British food.

Whilst we stayed, we enjoyed an evening meal and breakfast.  We did find breakfast a bit chaotic whilst we were staying, but the food was very good indeed. The choices available for breakfast offer a wide selection of interesting and tasty hot dishes. The food was very good indeed – great quality ingredients cooked really well. The service did let down the experience though – unfortunately when we visited, it was rather un-coordinated and a waitress took our menus away from us within five minutes of us having sat down, without taking our order. We had to then get up and retrieve our menus from the table on the side of the dining room. We also had to intercept our breakfast items from being served to other tables twice.

Our dinner experience was a lot better – the food was absolutely delicious and the service was charming. Technology weaves its way into the dining room here too, as diners are presented with an iPad wine list. It may sound gimmicky, but it was quite a straightforward way of choosing wine – by the glass, by price and so on.

I finished our stay with a 30 minute massage at the in-house spa with Jade, one of the therapists. It was absolutely lovely and Jade was a delight, running me through the range of REN products in great detail.

All in all, we had a very pleasant visit to the Magdalen Chapter. The communal rooms are lovely spaces in which to relax and the restaurant and spa are excellent. It is worth noting that there is very little parking – the car park was full and double-parked for the duration of our stay, and if you can’t get in, parking is around £7 a day in a nearby car park. We would recommend it as a comfortable and relaxing place to stay.


19
Nov 13

L’Eto

L'Eto

L’Eto on the King’s Road in London is a smart, chic cafe open all day long for breakfast, lunch and dinner, both to take away and eat in.

As you walk in you are greeted with enormous platters of delicious looking salads in front of you alongside delicately decorated cakes and gorgeous chocolate truffles piled onto silver platters. It all looks very inviting and is available to takeaway throughout the day. Not only would it make an excellent lunch, they do a brisk trade in takeaway quiches and meats for supper, too.

I decided to sit in and try the restaurant menu. To start, I tried a Crab and Avocado salad with soy and lime dressing, made with generous chunks of avocado, crab, black sesame seeds, fresh coriander leaves and finely chopped red chilli. It was vibrant and fresh tasting but substantial for a starter.

For the main course, I tried the Steak marinated in garlic and rosemary. The flavour of the steak was superb. It was juicy and tender, and full of flavour. With this, I tried a side of spring greens, which was a mixture of Tenderstem broccoli with kale, cooked al dente and topped with toasted flakes almonds. It was a really substantial side and would be enough for two people to share.

To finish, I managed around half a piece of the 73% chocolate cake. It’s described as chocolate fudge cake, but I’d say it is more of a deep and dense flourless chocolate cake. It was very rich and intensely flavoured and was a great way to finish a meal with coffee.

L’Eto is a lovely place to stop for a drink and food at any time of the day, and is highly recommended for its fresh, delicious food served in generous portions.  Lunch will set you back around £10-15 if you eat in, £7-10 for takeaway and dinner varies from £15-40 per head.


14
Nov 13

Meluha, Bristol

1Meluha

 Meluha opened in Bristol earlier this year, and is the second restaurant from Chef Stephen Gomes and Jay Miah. Moksh was opened in Cardiff Bay in 2007, offering a more modern interpretation of Indian food. Stephen’s cooking style is a twist on the classics – traditional flavours and spices, but presented in a more modern way.

Cooking is in Stephen’s blood. He is, in fact, the third generation of chefs in his family, and has cooked all over the world in many top restaurants. The influence of his extensive travels can be found in his award-winning cooking. Stephen has been voted Best UK Indian Chef several times, including most recently, 2012-3.

Meluha is situated on Park Street in Bristol. It is a light, slick and modern restaurant with a few nods to Asia in the decor. We sat in the window, which was a great spot from which to watch the world go by on a Saturday night in Bristol.

The menu offers plenty of choice – from the more adventurous dishes, including a five course tasting menu, which seemed to be the popular choice on our visit, to plenty of choice for customers wanting a more traditional curry. We started our meal with a delicious glass of Malbec. The wine list offers plenty of choice, both of bottles and wines by the glass, which we chose. It is very fairly priced, too. To accompany our wine, we had to have some poppadoms with Meluha’s chutney tray, which included a delicious mint yoghurt, mango chutney, tamarind sauce and sweet chilli sauce packed with kaffir lime leaves. All accompaniments were superb the tamarind and sweet chilli sauces were particularly good, making a pleasant change from some of the more predictable offerings at many Indian restaurants.

To start, we tried a Maya ‘Magic’ starter called ‘With a Little Twist’, which involved three pieces of chicken cooked in different ways: chocolate and orange chicken tikka, Moksh jerk chicken tikka and lemongrass and pepper chicken tikka. The starter arrived beautifully presented with the three different types of chicken on one plate. The flavours of each piece were absolutely delectable and the chicken was superbly tender. The portion was perfectly sized, too – a generous quantity of chicken, but not too much to spoil your appetite.

Moving on to the main course, we shared the Lamb Shank Roganjosh, a Kashmiri curry, made with whole lamb shanks cooked in a rich onion and fresh tomato puree sauce with cardamom and whole spices. The sauce was deep in flavour and the meat was meltingly tender with the shank served whole. It was topped with really tiny baby plum tomatoes, which added a lovely extra layer of texture. We thought it was superb.

We also tried the Ratinagiri Mango Lamb, a lamb curry made with mangoes, coconut milk and black pepper, and loved this too. The meat was generous and tender with a wonderfully flavoursome thick, smooth, tangy sauce.

Rices at Meluha were lovely and a little different.  The Pilau rice with caramelised onions was delicious – very savoury in flavour and complemented the curry very well. We also tried the Green tea rice, which was a basmati rice flavoured with green tea leaves. The rice was dark green in colour and had a wonderfully subtle green tea flavour. It worked particularly well with the sweeter Ratinagiri curry.

Not content with rice alone, we tried the garlic butter naan and garlic butter gluten free naan. There are a wide variety of interesting naan flavours, including Chilli chocolate and honey and rosemary and chicken tikka, which sound delicious. What is even better is that all breads can be made gluten free at Meluha, without even pre-ordering. In fact, as all dishes are made fresh from the menu, pretty much all dishes can be made gluten free. It was a particularly lovely experience being told you can have any dish or bread you like from the menu made gluten free – something we’ve not experienced at an Indian restaurant before.

To finish, we tried a trio of desserts put together for us by the chef. All were excellent. Our meal at Meluha was superb. The food was divine and the service just lovely from everyone who served us. It was, without question, the best curry we’ve ever had.


12
Aug 13

Pescheria Mattiucci

PM

I had a bit of a tourist moment on my way to Pescheria Mattiucci. It’s actually situated on one of the most recognizable roads in North London and is slap bang opposite the travel bookshop, made famous by the film, Notting Hill. It’s also next door but one or two from the foodie heaven: Books for Cooks.

Stepping into Pescheria Mattiucci is like being welcomed into a cosy vintage-filled home. It is a family business owned by Luigi Mattiucci, with branches in Naples and Milan, it’s certainly a very unique restaurant in London – unlike no other I’ve visited.

The menu changes daily according to the catch of the day, and all dishes are cooked to authentic recipes mastered by the fisherman’s wives in Southern Italy. All fish used is wild and sustainable, with some caught in Italy, and some from the British Isles.

To start, we tried the Crudo Mediterraneo – otherwise known as the raw fish platter. It simply was a plate of thinly sliced raw fish, all beautifully fresh, serves with olive oil, fresh lemon and orange juice and a little salad. We tried tuna, ricciola, swordfish and prawns. It was really unusual but absolutely delicious and superbly fresh fish, making a really light start to the meal.

We then moved on to try the razor clams with garlic and chilli which were extremely tasty, and I found myself mopping up the delicious juices from my plate.  We also tried the Blue Scottish lobster served grilled with mashed potato. The lobster was absolutely stunning – meltingly soft and tender and fragrant with lemon and orange zest on top, and was served with some great garlicky mash.

Dining at Pescheria Mattiucci is a unique experience set in the heart of Notting Hill and well worth a visit and is an absolute must if you are a fish lover, like me. Dinner for two is around £60-75 including wine.


24
Jul 13

The Lido Cafe

L2

Brockwell Lido is one of the few original London Lidos which are still running and open to the public. Whilst you might think of going there for a swim, you might not have thought of going there to eat. The Lido Cafe is an award-winning modern British restaurant which is situated overlooking the Lido and is a seriously popular local haunt which is well worth a visit. 

The Lido Cafe runs parallel to the pool and has a large number of poolside outdoor tables which offer an absolutely gorgeous place to sit and enjoy a meal. A friend and I recently visited for a weeknight dinner and were able to sit out and enjoy the sunshine whilst we ate, which was really lovely. There aren’t many places apart from pubs where you can sit out and eat, particularly in London, and the Lido Cafe offers a lovely relaxed atmosphere with very friendly staff.

The food, too is great; simple, seasonal and delicious. We started with a really excellent glass of Prosecco Silvola Frizzante, priced at £5.50 per glass. For our starters, I went for half a pint of prawns with roast garlic aioli and lemon which was an absolutely perfect starter for a hot day. My friend chose the whole globe artichoke with dijon vinaigrette which was really, really good too. It is rare to find a whole artichoke served in the UK, and we really enjoyed it. Starters are priced at around £6 each.

For our mains, my friend tried a courgette, stuffed with pine nuts, olives, ricotta and peppers which she thought was excellent. It was a tasty and unusual main and was a really good light choice. I tried their steak, which is supposed to be their best selling dish. It is a 35 day dry aged longhorn sirloin steak and was very good indeed. Mains are priced between £10-£18.50 and all offer excellent cooking and great quality ingredients for the price.

We finished with a delicious cup of coffee and headed off as the sun was setting. If you live nearby, The Lido Cafe is an absolute must visit, and is very strongly recommended for a special visit, too.


18
Jul 13

Les Deux Salons

Les Deux Salons

Les Deux Salons

Les Deux Salons has been running in London’s West end since 2010 and is the third London restaurant set up my Michelin-starred chefs Anthony Demetre and Will Smith.
Styled on a Parisien brasserie, it aims to offer good value quality robust French cooking from the centre of Paris to the centre of London.

I recently popped along with a friend for lunch to try it out for myself. Les Deux Salons is a large and busy restaurant which seems to attract a mix of tourist and business clientele over lunch. Service was loud and bustling when we arrived just after 1pm, but the tables are very nicely spaced apart, meaning my friend and I could have a proper catch up, without being distracted by the conversation on the next table.

We each started with a glass of the superb Gosset Brut Excellence Champagne which was recommended by our waiter. And what a lovely choice it was, too. As we met for lunch, my friend and I decided to opt for two courses each; a starter and a main. To start, I chose the Grilled Cornish sardines which were served simply with capers, lemon, chilli and olive oil. Priced at £5.50, it was a superb starter – really fresh, and light. I loved the fact that the sardines were still really hot when they arrived on the table. My guest opted for the Beetroot and goats cheese salad for £4.50 which was really tasty and a light start to our meal.

Moving on to the main course, my guest tried the spring vegetable risotto (£11.50) as, being a vegetarian, there wasn’t too much choice for her. She really enjoyed it and pronounced it to be perfectly cooked and included lots of lovely vegetables. My choice was the whole lemon sole cooked with a caper and parsley butter (£18) and was really excellent.

We finished with a quick coffee and dashed back to reality. Les Deux Salons is a lovely restaurant for lunch and dinner. The food is fairly simple but delicious brasserie fare cooked extremely well and priced sensibly. The dining room is also beautiful – you feel as though you have just stepped into France for lunch, which for me, really appealed. I’m really looking forward to returning.


8
Jul 13

Clockjack Oven

CJO

Clockjack Oven is a chicken restaurant, a name which really doesn’t do it justice. This is a restaurant which focuses on one thing, but does it really, really well.  The menu is short and offers a small number of dishes using their home cooked rotisserie chickens. The difference between Clockjack Oven and other chicken restaurants is that all chickens are delicious, plump and free-range, and are cooked in the rotisserie oven situated behind the bar, where the meat is prepared.

The restaurant itself is small and cosy with the bar and rotisserie oven running along the side wall. We visited on a Saturday evening and the restaurant had a lovely relaxed feel which was due, in the large part, to the lovely staff, who were genuinely really friendly, helpful and chatty.

The weather was warm and so we decided to start with a glass of Pimms which was extremely welcome and really well-made, which so often is not when buying it out as opposed to making it at home. To start, we tried the Chicken Bites and Barbeque Wings. Both were outstanding. The chicken bites were small chunks of chicken cooked in a type of southern coating. The coating was made using gram flour and was absolutely delicious, so they are a great wheat free option, too. The Barbeque wings were a triumph, too, with a gorgeously smoky and sticky sauce and crispy skin. We’d never usually choose these types of dishes in a restaurant but completely loved them here – they were so delicious.

Next we moved on to our main course. You choose how much chicken you would like by the number of pieces and which pieces you would like. We went for four pieces to share between two and for those to be chicken breast pieces. There are some very lovely looking salads and vegetarian options on the menu, too. The chicken was exceptional – really, really juicy and tender with the most delicious salty, crisp skin. It really was outstanding.

To accompany our mains we chose the fries, coleslaw and a tomato and onion salad. All of which were excellent. The coleslaw was seriously good – made using very finely sliced vegetables and an incredibly light but creamy dressing. The tomato salad was great, too, using a selection of sweet heritage tomatoes.

To finish, we had some delicious Purbeck ice cream and some homemade Chocolate and Bailey’s truffles, made to Operations Director Cieran’s own recipe and using the deliciously fruity Valrhona 64% chocolate.

We absolutely loved the food at Clockjack Oven. We thought every component was really delicious and cooked perfectly. What’s more, is it is clear to see that this is a company that chooses its raw ingredients well and serves them simply and priced reasonably. Dinner for two including a lovely glass of Malbec each came in at under £50. We had a really excellent meal and look forward to returning very soon indeed. Very highly recommended indeed.

 

Featuring WPMU Bloglist Widget by YD WordPress Developer