Beyond Fish and Chips – part II

29 Sep

England – September 11 to 17

Our food adventure in England continues…

London – Wimbledon – Café Renshaw – September 11


For those of you who’ve seen the Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany romantic-comedy, this might look familiar…


If you thought of “Wimbledon,” then you thought correctly. Tee-hee. It was rather exciting seeing and being in Wimbledon. Much of the park was closed off but the shop and café along with their surrounding areas (within distance from the courts) remained open.


My pre-dinner (not exactly afternoon tea) consisted of Pea soup with bread.


Ryan’s BLT

London – Wandsworth – The Brewers Inn – September 11


After our excursion to Wimbledon Park and doing our laundry, we were exhausted and famished. We walked around the town to examine our options. The first pub we entered only served drinks but the helpful bartender pointed us to the direction of the Young’s brewery restaurant. So off we went and came upon The Brewers Inn. We figured this restaurant must be it.


It wouldn’t be until much later of our trip that we’ll figure out that we got the wrong restaurant. While driving around town, we discovered the official Young’s brewery restaurant (meaning not just a pub/restaurant that serves the local brew), which was what the bartender recommended. If only we walked a couple of blocks more…


Ryan’s first drink of the night. Mine was sparkling water (I asked for tap water but apparently they don’t serve it).


The appetizer: garlic bread. Praise our intuition that we decided to order an appetizer.


It looks good doesn’t it? But in reality, it wasn’t. My eyes were fooled! My tastebuds overruled what my eyes communicated. The presentation really belied the fresh-from-the-freezer chips, fresh-from-the-freezer peas, and the disappointing fish. Why “disappointing”? The fish was tasteless and the batter was pasty. And to add insult, they were out of malt vinegar.


And Ryan’s burger order looks… looks…


Looks dry. Well, because it is dry. And there goes those bloody fresh-from-the-freezer chips again. What’s unacceptable is that we’ve had great meals in pubs at Central London that cost us the same amount. The meal at The Brewers Inn was sub-par compared to meals we’ve had in other pubs across the country.


You might question what this bowl of chips is doing. More chips? But why? Well, my friend, we were deceived. The menu wasn’t explicit with the descriptions for the dishes so Ryan assumed that the burger didn’t come with chips so he asked for a side-order of it. A £2.50, or roughly $5 side-order of a small bowl of fresh from the freezer chips… which we hardly touched.


My unsatisfactory meal was washed down with a satisfactory drink.


Another satisfactory drink. For us, the only good thing about The Brewers Inn were the drinks.

Reading – Thames Valley Park – Microsoft Campus – September 12


After last night’s meal, the cooks/chefs of Microsoft Reading’s cafeterias are the real heroes.


The Microsoft Reading campus is comprised of 5 attached buildings with each building housing a café and/or cafeteria. We were in building 4’s cafeteria (or so my memory leads me to believe).
Speaking of Microsoft food, a guy named Christian Buckley had a simple dream of visiting (and I presume eating in) all of Microsoft Redmond’s cafeteria, and that dream has taken him abroad as well, visiting and eating in various Microsoft cafeterias. And to borrow a page (and run with it) from Christian B., perhaps, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and the whole Brangelina crew will one day explore Microsoft’s many campus cafeterias also. Perhaps even Madonna, Paris Hilton (never thought I’d ever mention her in relation to food, I wonder if what she eats), Kiera Knightley, David Beckham, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Tom Cruise, Tina Fey, Barack Obama, Al Gore, Prince Charles, the Clintons, the bright minds behind Rock Band and Rock Band 2, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Gates… oh all right, I’m done.
Ahem, ahem. As you can plainly see in the photo Ryan’s order consisted of hotdog and chips. The pie that you see on his tray is our shared dessert.


Mmmm, my lunch consisted of a very tender roasted curried chicken, roasted vegetables, and onion rings. A small but very satisfying meal.


Oooh, and here’s our dessert, a lovely piece of blackcurrant cream pie. I’m salivating just remembering how scrumptious it was.

Reading – Green Park – CostCo – September 12


A CostCo in the UK?! Why, yes indeed! Something I inadvertently stumbled upon while reading up on Reading in wikipedia.


Same look, different menu.


Why look who tried and demolished a CostCo UK fruit sundae! (Ryan’s pizza slice not pictured) We were informed that the ingredients used were all British-based food products.


One of the many things we found in CostCo UK that we probably we’ll never see in Costco US.


Duck! They’ve got duck in their meat section!!! I was quite green with envy when we saw this.


Sure, Costco US might have this but seeing that UK is just a hop, skip, and jump away from the Mediterranean… well, think about it.


My favorite Cadbury chocolate!


Why yes, it’s a giant bag of tea bags!


Here’s another. It’s the UK after all.


As their slogan goes, “You either love it or hate it,” so here’s a large tub of Marmite for those who love it.


I aim to try anything once, provided that I’m not convinced or have a deep-sated belief that it could harm me (I find that a necessary clause). I’ve never had a pickled egg but I’m interested in trying it. My first introduction to pickled egg was thanks to Homer Simpson. I don’t recall which episode it was when a depressed Homer gorged on pickled eggs while sharing his sorrow with Moe.


A selection of European cheeses (sigh)

Reading – Caversham – The Griffin – September 12


Refresing!


Our appetizing appetizer


A smashing Sausage and mash for Ryan


They were out of bacon-wrapped, Camembert-stuffed chicken breast so I had to settle for a roasted chicken and pasta dish. What I learned: when in a pub, be a traditionalist and order pub food. Though my dinner wasn’t bad, it wasn’t anything to sing home about.


Surprisingly, we had no room for dessert, but Ryan ordered coffee to stave off a creeping sleepiness.

London – The Riverside – Strada – September 13


This busker is one of the many living statues who performed at the River Thames Festival.


View of outside the restaurant


Ryan had pizza rustica (first half) and I had pizza cotto (Charlotte’s, Dennis’, and their kids’ lunch, not pictured)

London – Islington – The Crown – September 13


Nice light trails


Ahhhh, a nice cold bottle of cider


Ryan can’t get enough of sausage and mash so he ordered it again.


I didn’t want anything too heavy so I ordered a duck liver pate with chutney. (Charlotte’s and Dennis’ dinner not pictured)

London – Wandsworth – M & S Simply Food – September 14


We missed breakfast so we went to a nearby Marks & Spencer for food. We didn’t want anything heavy since we had dinner plans with Shajeda, my friend from grad school and a fantastic cook.

London – Redbridge – chez Shajeda and family – September 14


Dates for our appetizer


A dinner of traditional Bangladeshi dishes prepared by Shajeda with help from her lovely daughters and cousin.


Mmm, rice. No Asian meal is complete without rice or noodles.


A cool cucumber, carrot, and tomato salad


I’m in love with Shajeda’s lentil soup.


Ooh, these fritters are incredibly tasty. Wrapped within the squash leaves is ground fish with spices, the parcel is then battered and fried. Oh it was sooo good!


According to Shajeda, she let the chicken simmer for about 5 hours. The result is a succulent and spicy chicken dish.

London – Wandsworth – Holiday Inn Express – September 15


Complimentary continental breakfast at our hotel

Cambridge -Cambridgeshire – Café Rouge – September 15


This joint is just lovely. It has a warm atmosphere and if I didn’t know I was in Cambridge, I’d have thought I was in Paris.


Oh I cleaned up this Moules Provencale. The mussels were succulent and the sauce was delectable. We got a side-order of bread just to get every last bit of the tomato and herb sauce.


Ryan’s tasty Terrine de poulet (chicken liver pate)


My plate of Filet de Colin au Ratatoulie


Ryan’s plate of Omelette aux champignons

Cambridge – Cambridgeshire – The Mitre – September 15


Food was decent (at least for us at the night we were there; it appears that there are bad reviews for The Mitre) but the service was slow which there wasn’t any excuse for since the place wasn’t packed.


Cider again for me (Ryan opted not to drink to be extra alert since he’s driving)


Ryan’s Steak ale pie


My Duck confit and vegetables

London – Wandsworth – Holiday Inn Express – September 16


Ryan has been eating the Coco Pops because of the surprisingly uncomplicated list of ingredients (examine next photo).


Buttered toasts, croissant, fruits, and cheeses to start my day.

London – Chingford – CostCo – September 16


We found out at CostCo-Reading that the system won’t allow them to retrieve US member information so without a card or member information, we weren’t allowed to make any purchases save for food. Ryan left his card at home but I had mine with me (though I left it in the hotel the first time) so we decided to check out a CostCo-London.


A jacket potato with tuna salad


A pizza slice (as if the photo doesn’t make that clear enough)

London – Wandsworth – Sainsbury’s – September 16


We weren’t totally hungry, just peckish, and we didn’t feel like doing a sit-down so we picked up snacks in Sainsbury’s, located at a shopping centre not far from our hotel.


Our last dinner of tikka chicken bites, satay chicken, sunflower crispbread, and canned sardines must seem anticlimactic, but in truth we were a bit tired of eating out, felt too lazy at the time to hunt for a place to eat in, weren’t all that hungry except for a homecooked meal. The dinner at Charlotte’s and Dennis’, and at Shajeda’s were delightful and welcomed breaks.
We left on September 17 with our last meal being our hotel’s complimentary breakfast, we had the camera but sans memory card. Ooops. Overall, it was a memorable trip and we definitely plan on crossing the pond again for more good British eats.

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3 Responses to “Beyond Fish and Chips – part II”

  1. ryanr 3, October 2008 at 1:06 am #

    If only we had known to avoid the Brewers Inn prior to that meal. The Griffin’s bangers and mash won this round of restaurants easily.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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