Friday, 22 June 2018

Cringletie House, Peebles

Cringletie House, Peebles

Why it is great

Peaceful, Relaxing & Tranquillity

Cringletie House is a beautiful former Scottish Baronial Castle, located on the Scottish Borders and only ½ an hour from Edinburgh.  The house is set deep the countryside near the pleasant border town of Peebles, where beautifully landscaped parkland melts into the nearby hills. 

As you approach Cringletie House for the first time, you will get a foretaste of its beautiful grounds and gardens – sweeping manicured lawns, 28 acres of mature woodland, grazing sheep, watchful horses and pitch and putt course.

There is also a walled garden with its 400-year-old yew hedge, reputed to the oldest in Scotland.  Guests can play boules or outdoor chess.

The first thing that strikes you on entry is how warmly decorated the house is with welcoming log fires and service bells which are connected to the original butler panel.   Each room retains its original antique furniture which makes you feel like you are being transported back in time.

The check-in is met with a warm welcome with what seems like your own personal butler.

The Food bit
The Cringletie dining room is the perfect dining experience with high quality which is locally sourced or even grown within the walled garden.

We were spoilt for choice with the menu but eventually managed to decide.  My fiancĂ© and I started the meal with a selection of breads,

For our starters we opted for the charred line caught mackerel with spiced puffed wheat, beetroot infused apple and dill pickled vegetables.   We also tried the Marbled roulade of chicken with goats’ cheese and roast red pepper.

For our mains we had glazed breast of Gartmorn Farm duck with a confit leg croquette.  We also tried the grilled fillet of prime Scottish beef with chunky fries.

For our desserts we tried the Cringletie gardens rhubarb crumble and textures of chocolate and cherries.

The whole meal was outstanding, the flavours delivered, the cooking was deft and you could tell it was locally sourced.

For our breakfast we both chose the traditional Scottish breakfast with locally sourced ingredients.

The staff were attentive, discrete and very welcoming.   We had the opportunity to test the Scottish sense of humour which was excellent.

The Rooms
They have every comfort, from a beautiful bathroom full of every product you could need on an overnight stay.   The rooms featured a four-poster bed, fantastic views of the gardens and rolling hills and very spacious.  Due to its location it was incredibly peaceful.  Our room featured a Nespresso machine and a flask of whisky for a nightcap.

What’s Nearby
If you feel need to leave the wonderful property and gardens then there are a number of experiences at your disposal e.g. bagpipe making, highland dancing, fly fishing, whisky tasting and kilt making.

The Royal Borough of Peebles in Tweed Valley is one of Scotland’s royal and ancient boroughs and only 2 miles away.  The town is surrounded on all sides by beautiful countryside.  The main street is very attractive. with many buildings of historical interest.

The wonderful capital city of Edinburgh is also within easy reach.   We spent the day in Edinburgh exploring the Royal mile, Edinburgh’s magnificent castle and a walk-up Arthurs Seat which is steeper than looks from a distance 😊

In summary

If you’re looking to escape the hectic pace of life for a few days then a stay at Cringletie House is just what the Doctor ordered.  In a nutshell, peace, relaxation & tranquillity in bucket loads. 

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Vicarage - Cheshire

The Vicarage, Cheshire

Why it is great
The Vicarage, Cheshire is a refurbished 17th Century Grade II listed Country Pub & Hotel.

Located in a beautiful part of middle England this charming converted vicarage represents a “home-away-from-home” and your favourite country pub you never wanted to leave. 

The first thing that strikes you on entry is how warmly decorated the conversion is with some interesting artefacts on the walls of the restaurant and hotel for example a shrine to polo through to an interesting collection of violins.

The check-in is met with a warm welcome and then it is straight up to the sizable bedrooms.

Three words sum it up:  warm, welcoming & relaxing

The Food bit
Cheshire is an area of such riches that the chefs at Vicarage, under the watchful eye of Steven Tukes, are spoiled for choice – and this drives their ethos of a locally sourced menu with exciting, magical contemporary twists.

We were spoilt for choice with the menu but eventually managed to decide.  My fiancĂ© and I started the meal with a selection of breads, balsamic reduction, olive oil infused with garlic and freshly ground Dukkah.  Such a simple selection but it tasted amazing, there wasn’t a crumb left! 

For starters I opted for Tempura King Prawns with pineapple, chilli & coriander sauce and my fiancĂ© chose Confit duck; a crisp leg pickled broccoli, golden sultana slaw & sticky plums.  For mains I eventually decided upon Pork Belly; slow confit, pearl barley, braised pig’s cheek, pancetta, black pudding and glazed honey carrots.  David had steak & chips; a flat iron rump, rocket & balsamic dressing, confit tomato with parmesan & white truffe fries.

The whole meal was outstanding, the flavours delivered, the cooking was deft and the produce outstanding.

The breakfast featured fine local bacon and sausages, vivid yolk eggs and pastries that tasted so good we wanted to take them all home.

The service
The staff are attentive ensuring that your every need is met but more importantly discrete which allows for you relax away.

The Rooms
They have every comfort, from a beautiful bathroom full of every product you could need on an overnight stay, a selection of tea and coffee with delicious home-made cookies and a ginormous and comfortable bed.  It has an ambience where you could also be in your own home with lovely creature comforts enhancing your overall stay.

What’s Nearby
The Vicarage is positioned in a beautiful Cheshire setting.  5 minutes walk from the village of Holmes Chapel, on the A50 heading north. It is conveniently located for easy access to the North West and Manchester airport – just 1 mile from Holmes chapel train station, which has direct links to/from Crewe, Manchester and Manchester Airport

Holmes Chapel is an attractive village overlooking the Dane Valley, a picturesque region that is popular with walkers and cyclists. If you enjoy walking in the freshest air, you couldn’t be in a better place. 

The area is also home to the world-famous Jodrell Bank Science Centre, which houses the Lovell Radio Telescope, one of the biggest and most powerful radio telescopes in the world complete with new Space Pavilion, Galaxy Garden, gift shop and cafe.

The cost
Dinner, Bed & Breakfast starts from £165; includes a 3 course dinner to the value of £25 per person (excluding drinks),a cracking freshly cooked breakfast, overnight accommodation, wifi and free parking.

Check out great deals here: The Vicarage Cheshire 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Olde Hansa, Tallinn

Olde Hansa, Tallinn
Vana Turg 1, Kesklinna Linnaosa, Tallinn, Estonia
(+372) 627 9020

With its gothic spires and conical roofs, cosy beer halls and  vintage look bars, Tallinn is a beautiful Medieval city that should never be dismissed. 

Olde Hasna is the perfect place to dine to soak up the atmosphere of this city and indulge in a glutinous feast.  Set in a 15th century building in the old town. The restaurant recreates medieval times with waiters in period costume, candlelit tables and a historic Eastern European menu.

You can choose from a selection of Medieval Feasts or the a la Carte menu and a great selection of wines and beers.  The menu at a glance takes you back in time.

We dined here on Valentine’s Day - on entering the restaurant we were greeted by attentive staff who all spoke brilliant English.  The food was amazing; if you go for the feast make sure you have a very light lunch.  We have huge appetites and struggled with the final course but it was too delicious to decline.

The staff make this dining experience as they recreate the Medieval atmosphere and my boyfriend even had to complete the breaking of the bread ceremony with the waitress which was fun to watch.  We were also told if there were any dishes from the feast that we wanted more of we were allowed to request more free of charge.  We were tempted to ask for more of the starters but in hindsight we are glad we declined. 

What we ordered:
We chose the Town Councillors’ Game Feast which is;

First Course:   Juniper flavoured beef with horseradish sour cream & quail eggs
                        French royal poultry liver pate with lovely Onion jam
                        Andalusian salmon
                        Earl’s pickled cucumbers Livonian style
  London merchant’s saffron picles
  Berries of the Highly Blessed Olive Tree
  Spice merchants berry sauce, Herb-bread with nuts
  Rye bread with lard
  Castle’s fresh cheese

Main Course: Smoke-grilled salmon with nut sauce
The Honourable Cook Frederic’s game sausages made with Bear, Wild Boar & Elk
Grandmerchant von Hueck’s mild game pot
Grandmerchant von Wehren’s
Hunting company’s wonderful Rabbit roast
Wild Boar plate favoured by Earl von Uexkyll

Dessert:           Velvet delight of the nobility – Rose pudding savoury

The food and dining experience was fantastic, you could not fault it in anyway.

·         Excellent service
·         Wonderful ambience and surroundings
·         Quality ingredients
·         The staff recreate a Medieval theme throughout the meal.


Highly Recommend – a definite must when you visit the beautiful Tallinn.  If you don’t have time to dine at Olde Hansa I would definitely visit for a drink to soak up the atmosphere.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Elisabets Bar-Restaurant, Barcelona

Elisabets Bar-Restaurant, Barcelona
Carrer d'Elisabets, 2, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Tel: +34 933 17 58 26

Elisabets is a traditional bar restaurant that is full of authenticity that is set in the middle of the trendy and grungy El Raval area.  The bar-Restaurant has shelves and shelves of antique radios and an old racing bike casually hung on the wall, this gives Elisabets a curiosity shop air.  

The menu del dia, however, is Elisabets’ real forte, especially for those who would like to try a little more traditional Catalan food but have no idea where to start.  This is a set menu that they have every lunchtime for €13.50 but we settled for the tapas menu which is all in Spanish but the staff are very helpful in translating and offering suggestions.  You have to try the patatas con bolonesa “rabiatta”  (chunky fried potato wedges with bolognese meat sauce)  – only € 3.10, and almost a meal in its own right.  This has a certain (very good) reputation among locals.

This is a little gem – get there early as it fills up quickly every lunchtime and evening for customers hungry for home-cooked, authentic and local food.  The prices are respectable and are extremely competitive. 

If you love food and want to experience local, home-cooked food that is extremely delicious and authentic you have to visit Elisabets in Barcelona.  It is a must – definitely the BEST Tapas we tasted in Barcelona.

What we ordered:
We ordered a selection of tapas which included;


Patatas con bolonesa “rabiatta” Tomato Bread, Iberico Ham & Calamari 

Garlic Prawns


Every single dish was absolutely delicious, authentic and value for money.  We washed down this amazing meal with a litre jug of beer for €4.55.

·         Great service
·         Great ambiance with lots of history and character
·         A great casual dining experience with authentic, traditional and local dishes
·         Extremely value for money especially for a restaurant so central
·         The BEST tapas in Barcelona


You have to visit Elisabets when you visit Barcelona – this can’t be missed!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Fuego at Fenwick Newcastle - the BEST Pizza in Toon

Fuego at Fenwick - Newcastle upon Tyne
39 Northumberland Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 1AR
 0191 2325100

Fuego is situated in the fantastic brand new multi million pound re-vamped Food Hall within Fenwick Newcastle. Fuego is a Mediterranean wine bar and restaurant which serves tapas, charcuterie and hand-stretched pizzas.

I’ve been to the wine bar many times whilst shopping in the amazing Food Hall with Fenwick  but have never ate within the restaurant however I’ve always left with my mouth watering after looking at other customers meals. 

The wine bar and restaurant has an excellent vibe – it is a great place to visit for lunch, after work drinks or evening meal.  Actually it is a great place to visit whenever you go to Newcastle. The restaurant is centred on a wood-stone oven, its name inspired by the feature stone at the centre of the impressive dining space.  
The menu has a great selection of dishes that would suit anyone whether they just wanted a bite to eat with a glass of wine or an evening meal.  I could’ve ate everything on the menu so it did take some time for us to finally decide on our dishes.  I will definitely have to re-visit Fuego very soon to order the dishes that I didn’t.

The food was amazing; my pizza was the best that I have had in years – it was absolutely delicious.  Also the staff are extremely professional, very friendly and attentive; they never let my glass go empty.

It is definitely a restaurant that I will be visiting again very soon. 

What we ordered:
For starter we shared Paela Arancini and Crispy Calamari with Saffron Aioli.  This could not have been better.

For main I had the Marino Pizza; Tiger Prawns, Calamari, Chilli, Black Olives and Capers (my mouth is watering at the thought, if I was not in York at the moment I would be heading straight to Fuego to get another pizza)

My friend had the Carbonara pizza; Pancetta, egg and shaved parmesan.

All the dishes were absolutely delicious – especially my pizza, next time I may try the Finochiona Pizza; Tuscan Fennel Salami (this was highly recommended by our waiter).  If it is as good as the Marino Pizza I thinking I will be dining at Fuego extremely frequently.

·         Brilliant service
·         Excellent value for money
·         A great casual dining experience
·         A great excuse to pop into the fantastic Food Hall


Highly Recommend – The BEST PIZZA in a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Guy Fawkes Inn - York

Guy Fawkes Inn - York
25 High Petergate, York, YO1 7HO
 01904 466674

Guy Fawkes Inn is a historic, medieval inn in York that stands in the shadow of York Minster and was the very birth place of the notorious plotter Guido Fawkes.  The Inn is a traditional real ale pub in York city centre with an abundance of history and character.  Gas lamps on walls, candlelit tables, roaring open fires and timber floors are all the features that combine with a truly unique heritage to create a wonderful setting for Sunday lunch.

This little gem has to be our favourite place in the whole of York for a Sunday roast. We have dined in many places in York city centre for Sunday lunch but this has to be the best. The staff are very friendly and after ordering at the bar our meals came super-fast.  We both ordered roast beef and were presented with two large slices of beef, mashed and roast potatoes and a huge Yorkshire pudding.  Alongside we were given a bowl full of seasonal vegetables and a large jug of gravy.  My boyfriend and I both love lashings of gravy with our roast and were definitely not disappointed.

The food was amazing as always; locally sourced ingredients cooked to perfection.

What we ordered:
Roast Beef served with mashed and roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and seasonal vegetables with a good jug of gravy £12.95

·         Super-fast service
·         Great ambiance with lots of history and character
·         A great casual dining experience
·         The BEST Sunday Roast in York

Highly Recommend – great food in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Osaka – Newcastle upon Tyne
69 Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6EF
 0191 261 5300

Osaka is situated on Grey Street, Newcastle, one of the most beautiful streets in Britain.  This restaurant has been on my to-do-list for quite a while but last night I tried it out for the first time.

Osaka is a contemporary Japanese, Sushi and Noodle Restaurant which prides itself on serving FRESH, BEAUTIFUL & DELICIOUS food – It certainly did deliver!

This little gem brings Japanese food at its best to Newcastle city centre.  The staff greeted us with a smile and promptly took us to our table.  It may have been a Tuesday evening but the restaurant was fully booked so we were glad that we had booked ahead.

The menu has a great selection of dishes and also has a set menu; we chose to dine from the main menu.  There was so much to choose from that we were spoilt for choice.  It did take some time for us to finally decide on our dishes.  I will definitely have to re-visit Osaka very soon to order the dishes that I didn’t.

The food was amazing; it definitely provides what it promises – the food was fresh, beautiful and delicious and excellent value for money.

The staff were extremely friendly and very attentive and helped with our final decisions for menu choices.  It is definitely a restaurant that I will be visiting again very soon. 

What we ordered:

Chicken Katsu £6.20

Salmon, Tuna & Eel Sushi £6.40

Eel & Tobiko Fried Rice £11.80

Teriyaki Salmon Bento Box – this includes; salad, Japanese pickles, salmon sashimi 3pcs, maki 2pcs, sushi 2pcs, rice and miso soup. £15.50

 All the dishes were absolutely delicious – I eat sushi a lot and this has to be the best that I have tasted.   I ordered the Chicken Katsu and the Bento Box but really I should have just ordered the box as there was a lot of food.  However I did manage to eat every last grain of rice.

·         Excellent service
·         Excellent value for money
·         Fantastic presentation and attention to detail
·         A great casual dining experience
·         If you can’t eat it all they allow you to take home ‘doggy bags’


Highly Recommend – great food in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.