Posts Tagged ‘Chowder’

Working away from home always presents me with the dilemma of what to eat. At home, I know what I’m eating and what’s gone into the meal. When I’m away I’ve learned to be very wary about what I eat.

This week, whilst working in Cheltenham, my hotel was next to a TGI Friday – hell on earth for me and my digestive system! Most Premier Inns are next to a pub/restaurant where I can usually find a dish or two I don’t mind eating or at the very least, a decent pint. But TGI? No chance – huge slabs of meat with sticky, chemical ridden sauces scare me, and therefore have to be avoided.

I solved this problem on my way down to Cheltenham last Sunday by buying a sandwich at a service station. It wasn’t Marks and Spencer, which would have been my first choice, but it was OK and with a packet of crisps and the bottle of beer I’d packed in ice and brought with me, it sufficed.

On Monday evening, James and I went into Cheltenham and settled for eatng at the Brasserie Blanc. James tells me that this is one of Raymond Blanc’s small chain of restaurants – but I’ve not seen one anywhere else. The food was recognisably French, as was the draught beer (1664) – but for whatever reason, the bottled beers were not French. My first course was Mamman Blanc’s mixed salad starter, which was fine and I followed this with the Tartiflette. This was disappointing. I knew that I was ordering ‘blind’ inasmuch as I’ve seen it served in a number of ways, but this was, well – as I say – disappointing. We then shared a cheese plate. We were first asked to guess which cheese on the board wasn’t French. Er! That’d be the Shropshire Blue then! The young waiter was aghast, really surprised that we knew. He then proceeded to tell us exactly what I’d put in #sugsnip 73b (Click here to learn more about #sugsnip)

[#SugSnip BONUS Shropshire Blue cheese was invented in Scotland, is now made in the east Midlands but never in Shropshire! http://fur.ly/59i1]

I found a ‘local’ pub in the estate behind the hotel on Tuesday evening and had a wonderful Rump Steak (with a pint) for less than £8.00. Fair enough, it had the usual peas and onion ring accompaniment and my 50p upgrade from chips to wedges was a mistake, but compare that to the £27.50 each we paid on the previous night! Well done The National Hunt.

picture of a butter pat from Netherend FarmOn Wednesday night James and I searched out the Royal Well Tavern and had the most enjoyable meal of the week. It’s not the sort of place where you don’t notice the prices (visit the site and look at the steaks!) but we had some good stuff. James had Sautéed Lambs Kidneys with peas and pancetta and I had a Clam and Mussel Chowder, which was splendid. We also ordered a portion of Pork Rillettes to share! This was the only disappointment and didn’t get finished. The texture was too tight and too ‘potted meat’ ish. However this didn’t spoil the other dishes, which were themselves supplemented throughout with warm, fresh and tasty home-made bread – with Netherend Farm unsalted butter.

For mains we both had the ‘before 7.00pm special’ beefburger, which was delightful, a real pleasure to eat. It was served on a breadboard (which led to some discussion) with a pile of fries and a grilled tomato. I liked the flavour and the texture (slightly pink): essentially everything about the burger was good except the bread bun – but that’s my own peculiarity, I don’t like sweet white rolls (even if they’re home made, which they may have been). Well done Royal Well Tavern.

During my long trip back home (delayed for the best part of an hour around Worcester) I stopped off at a Marks and Sparks for a proper sandwich. Their Pastrami and whatever is fabulous and with a £1.00 pack of grapes was a real pleasure.

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