Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Relentless Steak & Lobster House, Elm Grove, Southsea

New restaurant in town 'Relentless' is a Lobster and Steak House offering freshly cooked seafood caught daily from it's own fishing boats and sourcing it's meat from Buckwells. Any restaurant selling itself on good quality fish and meat is a winner in my book. Having picked up one of their flyer's which has adorned my fridge for the last couple of weeks with a beautiful looking thick sirloin steak on the picture, I couldn't resist any more!!

On arrival we were immediately asked if we would like appetisers, which were a choice of snails or asparagus with hollandaise or bread and olives. We had a quick scan down the starters and decided to skip them, but instead to go for the appetisers of snails and the asparagus. They were a really decent size served on large plates, and we were glad we had not ordered starters too.  Both dishes were prepared well and the asparagus as it is currently in season was huge! It was not made clear if the appetisers were complementary or not. They turned out to be priced around the £3 mark.

The choice of starters and mains were very good, something for everyone including vegetarians. As we couldn't decide on fish or meat we both ordered the surf and turf option of half a lobster and rump steak at £24 each.  This being the most expensive dish on the menu, but a fair price for both lobster and steak I think. The waiter gave me the choice of going up to the tank and actually fishing out my own lobster which all adds to the fun of eating out.  The food is cooked in an 'open kitchen' but from were we were seated it was hard to see anything.  On arrival of the mains the plates were huge with a really good size steak and served with green beans, flat mushrooms, tomatoes and a portion of home cooked chips.  Even those with big appetite's would have been satisfied.

I had a little room for dessert so opted to share a portion of orange cheesecake which appeared to also be home made too.  Nice and rich in the right way, a good finish to the meal.
General comments I have heard from others who have eaten here tend to be that Relentless is good value for money - and I would agree.  My only request  to you is please don't compromise on quality and portion size for profit like so many restaurants often do,  as this may be why many will return in future.
Only thing we didn't like was being sat by the window next to the open front door (although it has been said that's where restaurants seat the good looking people - LOL), and with the door propped open most of the night, I presume due to ventilation issues in the kitchen area,  this made it feel as if we were dining on Elm grove with the smokers and passers by.
Would I recommend?  Yes. Top tip: Try and get a table in the cosy alcove at the back of the restaurant if your booking ahead.

Would I Go again? Yes, and I wish Scott Matthews and his team every success for the future. 


Monday, 24 May 2010

Manna - High Street, Old Portsmouth

I drove past this Tea Room and noticed it had changed.  I'm not sure when this happened, but I liked what I saw and decided to pay a visit for breakfast. The decor has been well thought out, bright, inviting, and sophisticated.  A great addition to Portsmouth.

The breakfast menu I thought was somewhat lacking in options.  Personally I would have liked to have seen things such as poached eggs on toast, bagels or maybe even a smoked salmon option.  This cafe could carry off these kind of chic choices, but the menu was limited to 3 or 4 options.  We ordered 2 full English breakfast's which were ok, but nothing on the plate stood out in terms of quality considering the produce is all locally sourced -(Buckwells, Mislingford Farm). 

Would I go again?  Yes, but not for breakfast, maybe for afternoon tea and cake, as this seems to be their speciality.  A few small hiccups with the service, and no sign of salt or pepper on any tables (even when we asked for it, it never came), which was a shame.

Would I recommend?  Yes, give it a go.  Hopefully the breakfast menu changes from time to time, and it is a great contemporary environment which will hopefully thrive.  More good looking tea rooms/cafes in our area would be fantastic!!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

10th Hampshire Food Festival - July 2010

It's always good when there's foodie events in the local area, so was excited to receive an e-mail from Hampshire Fare outlining the events to be held this July.  They are boasting the likes of Raymond Blanc, James Martin, Atul Kochhar, Ed Baines, John Burton Race, Alex Aitken and Rose Elliot are all taking part in the 10th Hampshire Food Festival throughout July (1st-31st), celebrating food and drink produced here in Hampshire.  This is the pick of what is happening local to us this year:

Southsea Food Festival (19/20 JUNE...not July then...?)
GWQ Food and Real Ale Festival (2-4 July)
Family Chocolate Workshops (17 July Rowlands Castle)
Northney Farm Open Day (18 July Hayling Island)
Hampshire Water Festival (24-25 July Staunton Country Park, Havant)

I have to say I'm disappointed in the about of events happening on our doorstep.   For such a densely populated area, surely we can produce more than this?  It appears Winchester is the place to be, with a lot more variety of events.  I recall looking at this programme last year too and feeling somewhat underwhelmed at the choices.  Having said that I will certainly be popping along to the first two events.  Raymond Himself is due to be appearing at GWQ on the Friday I read somewhere else, so I'm not sure if this is a 2 or 3 day event?

Anyway here's the link: http://www.hampshirefare.co.uk/downloadfile.asp?dID=82
If you're happy to travel a bit further then there are lots of things to try out.  I'd love to hear if any good experiences were had during previous years, and at what events. 

Both the Emsworth and Staunton Country Park food festivals have been axed, Even the one held last year in Brighon is no longer!  What's happening to our food festivals???

So come on Portsmouth there is so much to offer - let's see a little more events happening here next year please!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Yo! Sushi for lunch

People have mixed views about Yo! Sushi, but as it's recently opened at Gun Wharf  it seemed rude not to give this branch a try.  We arrived at 1.15pm to be told that they were not fully stocked on the belt and to return again in half an hour!  Most people I speak to make noise about Yo! Sushi's high prices and the fact they don't like eating raw food!  Both statements have a level of truth, but for many who are regulars I think the uniqueness of the set up and the quality of food is what keeps people coming back.  On all previous occasions of eating in a Yo! Sushi I've opted for just eating items from the belt, but today I ordered from the menu too.  We ordered Chicken Yakisoba noodles and a Seafood Rice dish and was not disappointed.  These hot dishes are the same price as some of the dishes that come straight off the belt but with a lot more substance, so I was glad we sampled these dishes and they were both filling too.  Some other dishes sampled today were Vegetable Tempura, Endame beans & Kaiso Salad.  My Bill £23.70 for 2 people with a total of 8 dishes and 1 glass of water.

I did sign up a couple of months ago to the Yo! Love Club for news and promotions, but as yet have not received any correspondence.

The Manager told me today that in a couple of months time once they have found their feet they will be introducing their 'Blue Monday' promotion to the branch where dishes are all £2.20 which many will look forward to(including myself), because as much as I love the quirkiness and speed which you can eat at Yo! Sushi, I always come out feeling rather light in the pocket department.

What does everyone else think?  It was amusing to see lots intrigued faces pressed up against the glass every few minutes.  This is the closest I'm likely to ever know how animals in zoo's feel - LOL!!!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Gordon Ramsay Bamix

I have been after a new blender/food processor/whisk for some time now as gradually the individual ones I had seem to give up the ghost after a year or so.  My food processor was too bulky and was taking up too much work space in my kitchen also, so when a vital plastic part sheered off, it was finally time to shop about.

Completely by accident I came across the Bamix on a shopping channel.  It claimed in the infomercial that it can do almost everything a large food processor can do - and it does it in any receptacle, even in a pot on the stove. It mixes, pur√©es, emulsifies, aerates, chops, grinds etc.. It works extremely small but also large quantities. With more than 11 million units sold in all 5 continents, they claim it is certainly the most successful kitchen machine of its kind.

At a cost of £120 it is by no means cheap, but the item comes with a 10 year warranty, so I thought I would give it a whirl.  Gordon Ramsay is not the kind of chef to put his name to a product if he is not serious about it, and since purchasing the item I have found out from a chef who has been in his kitchens that he has them at every work station in his restaurant now, so not just empty words.  I have also seen the Bamix used on Saturday Kitchen and in the Professional kitchens in the final episodes of Masterchef.

My verdict: I love it!!! It is extremely handy, amazingly light-weight, requires a minimum of space... and it is cleaned in seconds!  It looks like a hand held blender with various attachments that clip on and off to perform the various functions.  It will turn skimmed milk and a few berries into a wonderful thick shake and I love the whisk for making meringues.

I opted for the Gordon Ramsay version (other models also available) as it came with a small mill for grinding and chopping too. 

It is still early days for me and my Bamix but that aside, I hope I continue to love it just as much for the next 10 years!!  Most independent reviews praise it highly too.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Fire & Stone...The verdict!!

Always looking forward to trying any new eateries in my area, and after an offer on opening night of pizza's for £2 it had to be done!   I'm not a big fan of eating out in pizza establishments but the menu with it's unusual combo's look like it could be worth a shot.  We ordered pizza's from differing continents.  From the 'Americas' menu we had Acapulco & New York, from the 'Asia' menu we had Koh Samui, and from the 'Europe' menu we had the San Sebastian.  Acapulco was the most flavoursome of the 'Americas' with ground chilli beef, jalapenos, red onions and topped with sour cream and guacamole.  New York was a let down we gave it 5 out of 10 as it was bland and rather like an average Domino's pizza.  The Koh Samui was very unusual, all the flavours of Asia we have come to like on a pizza - yellow coconut sauce, red chilli, Thai basil, toasted sesame to name a few.  It was topped with sweet potato cubes which was interesting an unusual and worked, as some of the other pizza's come topped with roasted potatoes and I'm not sure this works on a pizza - makes it somewhat stodgy and carries no real flavour enhancements. 

Service was excellent, you could not tell it was opening night as on the surface from a customer point of view it all seemed to run smoothly. 

Definitely worth a try, especially if you like pizza.  The location is excellent, especially during the long summer nights as it is situated in the part of Gun Wharf that gets the late sun and they have outdoor seating with heat lamps too!  Inside the restaurant looks the part, very well thought out.  I'd not bother with the starters unless you have a huge appetite, as the two we tried were pretty bland - the 'mixed marinated olives' came with Italian bread sticks which were those long thin cheap ones you get in supermarkets - yuck! 

If you enjoy it and want to return then don't miss out on the privilege card that is on offer as it gives you a 15% off A La Carte and a free pizza when you have paid full price for 6.