Friday, 2 December 2011

Chewton Glen, luxury in the forest

Garden´s at Chewton Glen
Situated in New Milton in Hampshire this is very much a 5 star establishment. From the moment you enter the grounds with its well manicured lawns and woodland scenery you know that this is a special place. We were met at the Chewton Glen hotel entrance and foregoing the normal check in formalities were whisked up to our second floor suite.
The room did not disappoint being the epitome of luxury with a well appointed sitting area, ample storage space and a superbly comfortable bed.

The bedroom offers luxury and ample storage behind the mirrored wardrobes
The bathroom was also lavishly appointed with a tv screen above the bath to enjoy during a long soak.
The public areas are equally  well  furnished and are reminiscent of a large country house with burning logs in the ornate fireplaces and oversize armchairs and sofas to soothe relaxation. Nothing is deemed as too much trouble here and service is polite efficient and friendly. The Hotel Manager Ashley Ely and his excellent team ensures that everything runs smoothly. 

Croquet Grounds with main house in the background
The Chewton Glen has numerous indoor and outdoor facilities but this being mid and grey November we decided to make use of the hotels indoor Spa. This is the most incredible complex in the U.K with a large heated swimming pool, hydrotherapy pools, saunas ,steam rooms and gym and areas in which to relax with a light snack or healthy drink. As evening approached we had a drink in the bar followed by a superb 5 course tasting menu in the beautiful restaurant Vetiver. 

Breakfast table with a view
Fresh pastry with local berries

Breakfast the following day was an equally impressive affair after which we took a stroll around the extensive grounds. It was then time to take our leave but we will be back. In my opinion this is the best hotel in England and certain 5 star properties in London would be well advised to visit to see 5 star service in action.

Note1: Chewton Glen hotel has a Green Tourism Business Scheme Golden Awards
Note2: Conde Nast Traveller Gold List 2012 for Best Service in UK

The New Vetiver Restaurant with Luke Matthews Tasting Menu

Table at Vetiver Wine Room
Interior Designer Anita Rosato has created an outstanding restaurant room for a refine dinning experience. The gamble to transform the light conservatory into a more dark area with black wallpaper and provide the dark areas of the rest of the rooms with light pay off, adding also touch of lime and violet to the environment. At the end a perfect setting in which to enjoy the food where you feel in total intimacy that suits the atmosphere of the hotel.

We decided to go for the testing menu and take the wine options with each course and was bowled over by the knowledge and passionate enthusiasm of our Sommelier Andrea newly arrived from Italy. 
The dishes were venison Carpaccio with cous-cous and cauliflower puree, then a very crispy duck salad, afterwards an exiting combination of monkish with wild mushroom and gnocchi potatoes cooked to perfection. A bit disappointing was the grouse with too strong a flavour which left an unpleasant taste. But the dessert, New Forest Blackberry Vacherin with local berries deserved applause.

Also the wine selection was superb with georgous choices for the dishes like a Langhe Arneis from Piedmont a delicate Jumilla from Juan Gil.

The restaurant is not just an a la carte experience, you can go for the lunch menu or even just for very easy dishes. We had some sandwiches with a bowl of french fries in the lounge at lunchtime and they were delicious! 

Overall this is a fantastic dining experience for breakfast, lunch , afternoon tea and dinner!!

Pebble Beach Sea Food Restaurant in Barton-on-Sea

Pebble Beach Oyster Bar
Pebble Beach Restaurant is situated on the seafront above the cliffs at Barton on Sea Pebble Beach offers superb seafood in a lovely setting.
The restaurant is well furnished and there is an oyster bar where diners can enjoy their meals whilst watching the chefs do their culinary magic.
There is an outside terrace with glorious views across Christchurch Bay to the Isle of Wight.
Now about the food , the Head Chef Pierre was for many years based at the Chewton Glen in New Milton.
He and his team produce outstanding food and I cannot recommend this restaurant highly enough as it is on a par with the best seafood restaurants in London such as J Sheekey. As a starter I had scallops served on a bed of peas. They were delicious and cooked to perfection. To follow I had a grilled Dover Sole served with seasonal vegetables.The dish was well presented with the vegetables in a curve around the fillets of sole. Also we had fresh lobster served on a bed of noodles which was equally impressive. The meal was washed down with a reasonably priced bottle of Albariño White wine from Galicia, Spain.

Views from the Restaurant terrace to Isle of Wight
Pebble beach also has a suite of rooms above the restaurant should you wish to stay overnight and the breakfasts served in the morning equal the quality of the evening meal. 

Three things to do around Chewton Glen

1. Go for a coastal walk to Barton-on-Sea (15 minutes walk from the hotel). Lands slide cliff and great views to Isle of Wight and the needle. Recharge energies in the Pebble Beach Oyster Bar.

2. Visit the New Forest National Park, once the hunting ground of William the Conqueror this wild woodland park offer several walk and bikes routes where you can see new forest ponies, cattle and with a bit of luck some deer.

3. A day out to Beaulieu. The area offer plenty of towns and farms to visit but Beaulieu has the famous Britain National motor museum with vintage car to F1 and the village has also a 13th century Abbey and plenty of shops and restaurants to have a gourmet experience.


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

How to book a trouble free Christmas Party

Brighton Sea front offer a lot of options for have a dinner party
The level of hygiene in a restaurant always is very important as well how they manipulate the food in the kitchen, but maybe  when you are choosing your office Christmas party have a special relevance because this time is not just about your healthy is about you team or office and if some people of the team have been sick due  a poor option in the booking that can be a trouble in the future in the work relationship and also with your boss that can see the workload decline given that half of the office was sick at home for a week after the office dinner party. Check out all ours Brighton Restaurants Reviews

How to check if restaurants have high hygiene standards.

When you have decided which restaurant to go for celebrate, before booking go to have a lunch with another colleague to find out how the restaurant is dealing with the hygiene and check out the following recommendations.

1.    The restaurant. Don’t run risks; book early a restaurant with good reputation or places that are used to work with a full house. If you choose a quiet restaurant probably they find at busy times the stress situation makes them vulnerable to mistakes in the food manipulation. Even if they hire enough staff to manage a full house the personnel may be inexperienced.
2.    Check the floor and seats. Rest of food on the floor, dust, spilled drinks or pieces of paper napkins can be an attraction point for bacteria or insects. In any case if they can’t keep the restaurant area clean, you can easy imagine the kitchen state.
3.    Take a look of the personal hygiene of the waitress of the rest of the personal and the common areas that they use like the bar and bathrooms. Arrive early to your lunch can give you an opportunity to see some of the kitchen staff. How they look can give you a good idea how the things are in the kitchen. If you don´t want to run the risk, book a restaurant with an open kitchen and you can have a real look how clean it is.
4.    If you see a fruit flies around that is sign that the environment is not clean and insects thinks the restaurant is a nice place to live.
5.    Check the temperature. If the restaurant is a bit warm or hot can be a problem, high temperature is good for insect and bacteria and is a real risk for certain kind of food.
6.    The table. Any sign of dirtiness in the cutlery, glasses, napkins or tablecloth mean that the dishwasher or wash machine has a bad maintenance. Also take a look to the menu, too much fingerprints is also a bad sign.
7.    The food. Try to book a place that work with local food, just not for the ecological point of view, if the food is local it is mean that was more easy to keep it fresh and less chance to suffer bad food manipulation
8.  The kind of food. Avoid in the menu selection any dishes that contain home-made mayonnaise, dairy sauces, raw fish,  running eggs or dishes that even are properly cook but  are consumed cold like fish-cakes.

Check out all ours Brighton Restaurants Reviews


The Ginger Pig, Best Gastro Pub in East Sussex


Ginger Pig Restaurant in Hove
Since moving to Hove 2 years ago this establishment, part of the Ginger group of restaurants has become a firm favourite of ours.
The food is always superb, the ambience very welcoming and the service attentive.
We have dined here at least 20 times and have never had a bad experience.
Sunday lunches are a firm favourite for probably the best roast beef in Hove. The meat is always cooked to perfection and the portions of vegetables more than generous with enormous yorkshire puddings crowning the plates.

Salmon Fish Cakes. Even is not a fish restaurant they cook fish to perfection
Duck and Guinea Fowl are always the best choice in this venue

Weekday lunches and dinners are equally well executed with a great selection of starters, mains and scrumptious deserts.
A selection of specials is also available as well as an inexpensive menu of the day which is excellent value.

The wine list is extensive offering bottles from both the old and new worlds as well as sparkling wines sourced locally from Ditchling.

Menus change regularly and your palette will never be jaded.

Monday, 28 November 2011

How to prepare the perfect pan fried steak.

Pan fried steak "milanesas" are a classic in bar and restaurants in Buenos Aires
 and  Montevideo. Photo by Tatito from Skyscrapercity
Pan fried steaks are the kind of comfort food with many ways to serve but to have the perfect one you need to follow some steps. Originally this is an Austrian recipe popular also in its neighbouring countries, but more or less in every European country pan fried steaks are popular and as well have become very popular in south American countries mainly in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay known as Milanesas (“from Milano”). The Milanesa Napolitana (pan-fried steak napolitan style) is claimed from the Argentinian, but we know that they use to claim to be the inventors of the barbed wire or that Maradona first goal against England in Mexico´86 was legal.

How to prepare the perfect pan fried steak.

1. Is very important to choose the correct kind of meat. It is recommended using beef round, sirloin bottom or silverside. I have been using Hereford beef sirloin steak from Waitrose, because Hereford cattle is the most consumed in Argentina and Uruguay and also like my aunt said to me, “any steak with a bit of fat on the top is good enough for milanesas”.
2. Between 6-8 mm will be the perfect thickness, if you can get it just flatten the steak with a meat mallet.
3. The breadcrumbs are also very important, for the perfect pan fried steak the best is grate bakery stale bread with the most little side of the grater. If you use industrial one you are at risk to have a too dry pan fried steak.
4. You can use a light flavour olive oil or sunflower oil. Be sure is very hot before to start cooking (180ºC). Also you don’t need use too much, just enough to cover the steak.  Cook the steak by batches and remove the breadcrumbs that still  in the frying pan before the next batch so they do not burn and wont contaminate the oil flavour

Classic Pan fried steak

Classic Pan fried steak with french fries
You need:  1 thin cut steak by serve – 2 eggs - 150g White breadcrumbs – ½ tsp lemon juice – 1tbsp fresh parsley (chopped) – 1 garlic clove (thinly chopped or garlic crushed) -  Oil for frying

1. In a bowl beat the 2 eggs and season. Add the parsley and garlic and finally put in the steaks.  Chill in the fridge for half an hour.
2. In another bowl or recipient spread the breadcrumbs. Remove the steaks from the fridge and coat one by one on both side until the steak is totally covered. Shake for remove any breadcrumbs excess.
3. Heat the oil, when is very hot fry the steak by batches, be sure they have enough space in the pan. Cook 2 minutes each side. Keep them warm until you finish with the rest.

Milanesa a la Napolitana

First add the tomato sauce and then the ham
Milanesa Napolitana with baked vegetables

You need:  1 thin cut steak by serve – 2 eggs - 150g White breadcrumbs – ½ tsp lemon juice – 1tbsp fresh parsley (chopped) – 1 garlic clove (thinly chopped or garlic crushed) -  Oil for frying – 200 ml tomato passata – 150g mozzarella (grated) – 1 slice of ham by steak – 1 tsp dried oregano. Oven at 160ºC

1. In a bowl beat the 2 eggs and season. Add the parsley and garlic and finally put in the steaks.  Chill in the fridge for half an hour.
2. In another bowl or recipient spread the breadcrumbs. Remove the steaks from the fridge and coat one by one on both side until the steak is totally covered. Shake for remove any breadcrumbs excess.
3. Heat the oil, when is very hot fry the steak by batches, be sure they have enough space in the pan. Cook 2 minutes each side. Keep them warm until you finish with the rest.
4. When you finish put the steak in a baking tray, spread over them some tomato sauce, cover with the ham slices and top with mozzarella.
5. Bring to the pre-heated oven until the mozzarella has smelt and bubbling.
6. Before to serve sprinkle over some pepper and dried oregano.

Oven Chicken Schnitzel

You need: 1 Small chicken breasts by serve (halved and flatten with a mullet)- 150g White breadcrumbs – 2 eggs - 1½ tsp Paprika -50ml Milk - 150g Plain flour - 40g Butter. Oven at 220ºC

Chicken Schnitzel with sweet-potatoes mash
1. In a bowl beat the 2 eggs and stir in the milk. Add the chicken steaks.  Chill in the fridge for half an hour.
2. In another bowl or recipient spread the breadcrumbs and stir in the paprika, mix very well. In another bowl put the flour and season with salt.
3. Remove the chicken from the fridge. Coat them in the flour, shake to remove any excess. Coat again in the egg mixture, remove and coat now in the paprika breadcrumbs.
4. Put the escalope’s in a baking tray previously oiled with a little butter dollop on the top. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes each side, until the chicken steaks are golden brown and no pink meat.

The most popular side dish for this 3 recipes are French fries, but also work very well any kind of mash or green salad with tomatoes.
For a healthy approach to the dish is recommended follow the oven chicken schnitzel for the steak as well but you need to be careful to don´t over dry the meat.  For avoid it, just cover the baking tray with a humid greaseproof paper and cook for 10-12 minutes at 180ºC

More Photos by Tatito at