Thursday 27 October 2016

Dinner at Ox & Finch, Glasgow

So, I'll start this off by saying, I was nearly afraid to go here ... this place has been on my radar since before I moved over to Scotland. I had been commuting back and forth from Dublin for over a year and it was constantly popping up on my social media accounts... So because it was on my radar for so long I was thinking that maybe I have built it up to be something that it's not. Well I can heave a big sigh of relief... my dinner was EPIC and it totally deserves the reputation it has. One of the main reasons though that it took me so long to get here was that if you want to book for a weekend you need to book well in advance and unfortunately Mr EmmaEats and I are not so good at long term planning. So back in August I decided I just didn't care we were booking the first Friday that we could (bearing in mind that both Mr EE & I do a lot of travelling the first weekend we were both free was in October). Anyway the night came around a lot quicker than I thought it would ... time just seems to be flying by. We arrived into a lovely warm and welcoming restaurant and were seated at our table.

Ox & Finch is a tapas style restaurant - I suppose you could say a 'posh' or 'formal' type of tapas. It is billed as contemporary, relaxed sharing dining. There is plenty to choose from with snacks, desserts and four different 'main' options; raw, cured and cold, seafood, meat and vegetable. Our waitress advised us that four or five dishes between two should be plenty - so I decided we were having six plus a dish from the snacks and two desserts. I wanted to sample as many dishes as possible. So we went for the following and in true tapas style we shared each dish:-

Sourdough and butter

Oh this was just delicious and a huge portion. We got four very big slices of bread.

Buffalo mozzarella, black fig, mint, prosciutto and eight-year-aged balsamic

Delicious - everything worked really well together you could clearly taste that they were using really good quality products.

Lamb merguez kofta, baba ganoush, mint and chickpeas

Everything about this dish was really tasty, even down to the chickpeas. However, I will admit whilst I did have a few bites of the lamb it really wasn't cooked to my liking, it was very pink. I did make myself taste it and will admit it was lovely but my brain wouldn't let me eat any more. Mr EE didn't see anything wrong with the way it was cooked though and demolished it.

Duck leg, Thai yellow curry, shredded salad and peanuts

This is the hands down winner. I had been told by numerous people that this dish was amazing and boy were they right. Each component of the dish was lovely but when you put them all together there was just a complete taste explosion in your mouth. The shredded salad was so zingy, the duck was cooked to perfection and the curry was so subtle. I loved it.

Game sausage, gnocchi, butternut squash, fennel, chilli and sage

I didn't get to taste much of this dish but Mr EE loved it (I know I thought we were sharing too). I did taste the gnocchi and it was lovely and the butternut squash was out of this world tasty. I loved it.

Spiced beer-battered cauliflower, creme fraiche and harissa verde

I got this dish as I was curious to see how cauliflower deserved to be a dish in itself and I think Mr EE wasn't too impressed with my choice but this dish was delicious (I feel like I'm beginning to repeat myself a lot here). I couldn't get enough of it, it was just so tasty and so worthy to be on the menu.

Truffle chips with roast garlic aioli

These chips were lovely but I have to say the garlic aioli was the winner of this dish for me. It was so tasty, I'd nearly just eat it on its own.

Pineapple carpaccio, coconut ice cream, tarragon and lime

If I had to pick my least favourite dish I would say it was this dish - don't get me wrong I actually liked it but for me the unusual flavours in the dessert took a bit to get used to. I eat coconut yoghurt daily but I did find the coconut ice cream a bit too coconutty for me.

Blackberry, coconut and lime millefeuille

This dessert was delicious. It was beautifully presented and it tasted just as nice it looked. The pasty was amazing, melt in your mouth stuff.

To be fair, we did not have one bad dish. Every dish was amazing in its own right. However, I will warn you we did order way too much food but I did want to sample as many dishes as possible. Food rating: 4.5/5.

To be honest at first I was a little indifferent about the service - or I felt that the staff were a little indifferent about us. However, over the night they did seem to warm up and by the time we were leaving there was even a bit of banter between us. Everything was pretty efficient and in true tapas style dishes did come out as and when they were ready (a complete nightmare for a food blogger trying to take photos though). Service rating: 4/5.

There is a lovely vibe in Ox & Finch, the place is compact and cozy and beautifully decorated. I especially loved the candles in the wall on the stairway, it was a really pretty touch. There is also a lovely private room downstairs, I'd love to have a function here. I must mention the bathrooms, they were really pretty too. In general there was a great buzz around the place. The restaurant is dimly lit which does create a lovely atmosphere however, it is a bloody nightmare for a food blogger who is trying to take photos so please excuse my photos they are not the best and don't do the food much service. Atmosphere rating: 4.5/5.

The total cost of our bill was £93.95 and this included a bottle of wine (£38), 9 dishes and 2 coffees. So the food bill was £55.95 (incl the coffee) and I think that this is totally reasonable for the quality and quantity of food especially given the fact that we went overboard with the amount of food that we ordered (and we ordered over and above what we had been advised by the waitress). Price rating: 5/5.

Last Words
Ok so I really loved this place and I will definitely be back. It has it all and it is totally worth a visit. I suppose the only drawback for me is that you need to book ahead (but for most people I know this isn't a problem). Total rating: 18 out of 20.

To get all the updates on where I've been and to never miss a post check me out on the following social media accounts by clicking on the links: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Thanks a mil for reading.

Emma mai xx

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Dinner at Titchfield's, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire

I’ve been to Titchfield’s a number of times for breakfast/brunch/lunch and had been dying to go back to try out dinner. I wanted to go and do some boring household shopping in Dunelm & I knew I needed to entice Mr EmmaEats to come along, so what better way than the promise of food… So off we went to Titchfield's. If you follow my feed you know that I do love this place and this visit certainly didn’t disappoint (in fact, dare I say it, it even exceeded my expectations).

We arrived around 5.30pm on a Thursday evening and the restaurant wasn’t very busy so we had the pick of seats. We were given both the food and drinks menu and our very friendly waitress went through the nights ‘specials’. Our waitress went into great detail with each dish and the most common word used when describing the food was ‘local’ - they are all about using local produce. I just love the emphasis that they put on this.

Whilst the dinner menu may not be overly extensive, between that menu and the specials you have so much to choose from. And then there is also the market menu which is served Monday - Thursday from 5pm onwards (2 courses £12 and 3 courses £15). Check out the photo below to see how extensive the specials menu is.

As I had done a bit of eating out this week (and have another meal out planned) I just decided to go for a main course. Mr EE went for a starter and a main. So for starter Mr EE went for the Oxtail Slider from the specials menu. This was quite a big portion for a starter. I had a sneaky taste and both Mr EE & I loved it. It was so full of flavour.

For mains I went for the plate of Ayrshire Lamb which is described as a celebration of new season lamb from Jim Nisbet at Sorn Mains Farm, braised lentils, roasted root vegetables, lamb sauce. I also ordered a side of rosemary & smoked paprika hand cut rooster fries. I can certainly confirm that it was a celebration of lamb, the dish was so tasty, everything about it was perfect with just the right amount of sauce, the veg was cooked to perfection as it still had a ‘bite’ to it, the lamb was so tasty and cooked to my liking also. The portion was very generous. My hand cut fries were delicious and tasted just like my mother's homemade chips (and that is a real compliment). Again this portion was very generous - I’d actually say the portion was huge.

Mr EE went for the fish and chips. The fish on the day we visited was haddock. Mr EE loved his dish, like me he can sometimes be funny with fish but he really enjoyed this. I had a little taste of it too and I thought it was delicious. We decided against dessert and just had coffees instead. The coffee here comes with a lovely little square of brownie - which is delicious. Food rating 4.5/5.

Service is exceptional here. There were two waitresses working and both were very helpful. It was so refreshing to have a waitress who was able to talk about the specials, and not only able to talk about it, she was so knowledgeable about it. I felt that the staff had time for their customers, in that I mean there was no running over to a table taking an order and getting away as quick as possible. Neither were they hanging around, they just seemed to have time for us, the customers. Service rating 4.5/5.

I love the look of the place, it’s minimalist, clean and fresh looking. When we first went in there wasn’t many tables full but we were there quite early. However, while we were there a good few people came in which created a great buzz about the place. I really like the atmosphere here, there is such a chilled and relaxed feeling here. Atmosphere rating 4/5.

The total of our meal was £44.10 and this was for 1 starter, 2 mains, 1 side, 1 bottle of sparkling water and 3 coffees. This is amazing value for the quality and quantity of food. Everything is so fresh and tasty and the extra bonus is that where possible it is locally sourced food. Price rating 5/5.

Last Words
WHAT CAN I SAY … I love this place and I think that even if you don’t live in Ayrshire you need to make your way down to Kilmarnock to try out this gem of a place. Everything about this place is practically perfect. Total rating: 18 out of 20.

Date visited: Thursday, 20 October 2016

Restaurant Details:

To get all the updates on where I’ve been and to never miss a post check me out on the following social media accounts by clicking on the links Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.

Thanks a mil for reading.

Emma mai xx

Thursday 20 October 2016

Interview with David Banks, Masterchef contestant, owner Turtle Dove Catering

As you know I’m trying to get to know the people behind the Glasgow food scene and I’ve started a series of interviews. I recently had the pleasure of meeting David Banks who you will know as a participant in Masterchef. David has his hand in a few different aspects of the Glasgow foodie scene so I thought he was the perfect person to interview. David’s introduction to the food scene came from his participation in Masterchef where he narrowly missed out on a place in the quarter finals in 2015. Next up was the launch of David’s catering company called Turtle Dove Catering and finally David now regularly cooks on STV’s Live at Five show.

David is a mechanical engineer by trade, working in wind power, and he still works in this industry Monday - Friday. His catering company can cater for events on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday’s. It was David’s experience on Masterchef that became the impetus to establish his catering company. Turtle Dove is based in the southside of Glasgow and is growing in and around the city and caters for parties, private dinners, hunting parties and afternoon teas. Turtle Dove catering is more about providing a luxurious dining experience rather than mass producing food to cater for a crowd and not worrying about the taste or the look of the food. You can see from the photo’s below that so much love and attention goes into each dish. Could you imagine having your nearest and dearest friends or family around for dinner and wowing them with these amazing dishes. I’m just dying to have an excuse to use Turtle Dove.

As I mentioned David also regularly cooks on STV’s Live at Five show. In the unlikely event that you haven’t come across this show, the Live at Five show is a family friendly show with hosts David Farrell and Jennifer Reoch and it is aired every weekday at 5pm. It reflects life in Glasgow and Edinburgh and is packed with great guests, cooking from local chef’s, live performances by local bands and features on local history (as you can see it is focused on local issues and people so it is really worth a watch). Live at Five is broadcast from STV Glasgow’s studios and this is where I got to meet David.

When David asked me to go along to the live broadcast of Live at Five to say that I was super excited is a bit of an understatement. I got to sit back and not only watch David prepare a meal live on air, I also got to see behind the scenes of the entire show. It really was a great experience. After the show David and I spent some time chatting and getting to know each other.

So first up I asked David about Masterchef and in particular what inspired him to enter the competition. David said that he has always been pretty obsessed with food and probably since his mum had him stand on a stool in the kitchen when he was a tiny boy. He does state however, that it was when he became a poor student, living in a flat near Kelvin Bridge that he was forced to try and make cheap cuts of meat tasty. He wasn’t into takeaways or microwaveable meals so he got loads of practice at cooking for himself. So that is where David’s passion for food came from. Next up was Masterchef, he applied for Masterchef a number of times before getting selected. I asked about the high’s and low’s of his Masterchef experience, to which David responded by saying; “It’s the best thing I have ever done. The high was that first moment you walk into the studio that you have seen so many times on the TV. Before they start filming with John and Greg, you go to your station and make sure everything you had requested (for the invention test) was there – it’s called ‘blocking’. You find yourself looking around at everything knowing that very shortly you’ll be filming something that’s going to be watched by millions on the BBC, completely bizarre! The low point was when Greg asked me what I was making (off the camera) and I couldn’t remember the word “bonbon” so ended up just fluffing my words – he looked at me like I was an idiot and patted me on the back! Also, the phone calls to my family as I was walking home from the studio after being evicted weren’t exactly much fun”.

I asked David where does he take inspiration from for his dishes? “Watching cooking on youtube is my porn. I have taken more inspiration from videos on there than any restaurant I have been to. The best channel without a doubt is Staff Canteen which consists of 5 minutes clips from Michelin star chefs in their own kitchens using really clever techniques and plating things up so elegantly without even thinking about it”.

So an obvious question (which I’m sure most chef’s get asked) is who does the cooking at home, David or his wife Michelle? David said he does the cooking at home as he just really enjoys plating up amazing food. The next obvious question was - does the food he cooks at home look as amazing as the food he produces at Turtle Dove Catering and his response was yes. I will admit it was at this point that I asked could I move in with his family?? How lucky is his wife Michelle and daughter Wendy??? So jealous. Another obvious question was - what is your favourite dish and why. David said "there is nothing quite like getting a fresh piece of tuna or salmon on a Saturday morning and cutting into sashimi. Keep it simple with a couple of dipping bowls with soya sauce and lemon juice. A little tip is to put your fish in the freezer for 5 minutes as soon as you get home so that it is firm enough to cut uniformly”.

The conversation moved back to his appearance on the Live at Five show. From watching David during the show it was clear to see that he really loved doing this. He really seemed at ease and what I loved most was the dish that he cooked on the day was easily reproduced at home by ‘normal’ people. He really seemed to understand his audience and wanted them to be able to enjoy cooking as much as he does. I asked David how did his stint of the Live at Five show come about? David responded by saying that he started chatting with David Farrell on twitter after he hosted a wind energy awards ceremony at the Science Centre. Unfortunately I hadn’t got far enough on Masterchef to justify a full blown interview on the show so had to make do with showing them how to do the wedding classic Chicken Balmoral”! David has been on the show a number of times now and says that he loves it and really enjoys having a bit of fun with the presenters. As I type this David is already scheduled to appear on Live at Five on Friday, 28 October so keep an eye out for him.

As I said above David has his hands in a few different Glasgow foodie pots and it looks like he is doing really well for himself. I wish him continued success.

Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to David for allowing me to interview him (& for bringing me to the Live at Five show) and hopefully in the future we can work together again if an opportunity arises.

Useful Links:-
Click HERE for the Turtle Dove Catering website
Click HERE for the Turtle Dove Catering Facebook page
Click HERE for David's Twitter feed

Thanks a mil for reading.

Emma mai xx

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Dinner at Marco Pierre White, Steakhouse Bar & Grill, Glasgow

I recently received an invitation from Marco Pierre White, Steakhouse Bar & Grill ("Marco's") to come along and try out their a la carte menu. I've been to Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill on Dawson Street in Dublin a few times and loved it so I was really excited about this invitation. My good friend and fellow food blogger, Little Ms Glasgow Girl (aka Lisa) came along with me to try it. I love bringing a fellow foodie to this kind of thing as I know they won't be bored out of their minds talking about my favourite topic ... Food (and it also makes taking food pics so much easier). So we arrived in and were greeted with a very friendly welcome and shown to our table. 

I will admit, I had looked at the menu before I went so I kinda knew what I was going to have but I still spent some time looking over it. There is loads to choose from. Chris, our waiter spoke through the menu with us and as a result I changed my main course. Lisa and I decided that one of us would have steak and the other would have a different dish just to try out as many dishes as possible. As Lisa loves her steak medium and I love mine cremated I decided that maybe she was best placed to try the steak in a Steakhouse and I'd have the chicken. For starters we had the salad of beetroot, goats' cheese and the warm baked Camembert. Both dishes looked really really pretty - mind you the portion sizes were very different. Lisa's goat's cheese salad was a little on the small side and my Camembert was huge. Lisa loved her goats' cheese and thought it was really tasty. My Camembert was just delicious - so tasty. I love cheese and especially love Camembert. 

For mains Lisa went for the ribeye, medium with peppercorn sauce and I went for the Chicken A La Forestiere. Lisa's steak came with homemade pomme frites and a classic steakhouse green salad with merlot dressing. Lisa loved her steak and it was cooked to her satisfaction, she thought the chips were really tasty as well. The only drawback was the very depressed looking salad ... I know it was billed as a classic steakhouse green salad but seriously it really looked very very rustic and not the cool and hip rustic that we have become used to (or for a Mary Berry ism - it was very informal). My chicken was billed as a roast chicken supreme, wild mushrooms, wilted baby spinach, potatoes Dauphinoise. I really loved my dish, the chicken was so moist and tasty. The spinach, which sometimes can be nondescript, was delicious, I loved it. The potatoes Dauphinoise were great. Everything on my plate was cooked really well and whilst it wasn't a fancy dish it was very well executed.

So next up was dessert - we didn't really have a lot of room but for the sake of research we forced ourselves to have a dessert each (yes it was in the name of research). Lisa went for Mr White's Rice Pudding - which she thought was tasty and that it was a huge portion, I thought it lacked a lot on presentation though. I must admit I'm not the biggest fan of rice pudding though but seriously nothing about it appealed to me. I went for Mr Coulson's Sticky Toffee Pudding, I thought the dessert was nice, nothing special but nice. The presentation was lovely with a little jug of butterscotch sauce so I could have as much or as little of the sauce as I wanted. 

Food rating: 4/5.

The service here was very attentive, mind you the restaurant wasn't very busy but I would expect it to be the same on a busy night. My water was kept topped up all the time (you know if you read my blog regularly that this is a big issue for me). Chris our waiter was great and thoroughly went through the menu with us, answering all our questions. Service rating: 4/5.  

Atmosphere wise, this is a funny place - it is very pretty but it does seem to be lacking something on the atmosphere front - I don't know if it is the high ceilings or what but it certainly does lack something. The decor is lovely and elegant but I get a 'vanilla' kind of feel from the place. When we first went in there was only one other table occupied but as the night went on more and more people arrived in but this still didn't do anything for the atmosphere. I've been here before and felt the same about it. I do actually feel bad saying this as the restaurant is beautiful and it is kept lovely and clean but ... Atmosphere rating 3/5.

As I was invited to sample Marco’s dishes I did not pay for my meal so I'm not going to rate the price aspect of it. However from looking at the menu I would say that everything is very reasonably priced, certainly for the quality and quantity of food.

Last Words
The food here was lovely, I do feel that they are stronger on starters and mains and not as strong on desserts. And I still can't put my finger on what it is about the atmosphere that I find bland, but in saying all that I did really enjoy my meal and the service was really good so I think it is worth visiting. Total rating: 15 out of 20 (I converted 11 out of 15 into a figure out of 20 (and rounded it) so it is in line with all my other reviews).  

Date Visited: Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Restaurant Details:-
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Bar & Grill,
75 Waterloo Street,
G2 7DA

Website: click HERE
Telephone: 0141 226 7726 

Finally, whilst I was invited to try out the Marco's and did not have to pay for my meal my review is unbiased and independent and a true reflection of my experience on the night. 

Thanks a mil for reading.

Emma mai xx

To get all the updates on where I've been and to never miss a post check me out on the following social media accounts by clicking on the links  FacebookInstagram & Twitter

Friday 7 October 2016

Launch Party Bread Meats Bread, West End, Glasgow

If you are a regular to my blog you will know that I love Bread Meats Bread so you can only imagine the excitement when I received an email inviting me to the launch party of BMB West End. The launch party was the night before they officially opened on Friday, 7 October 2016. I'm not going to do a full and proper review as it was a taster night, however I do think it is extremely worthy of a post.

First impressions - I'm slow to make this statement as a burger joint is a burger joint however, BMB West seems to be a stylish/upmarket burger joint. There are no communal tables here, there are stylish booths as well as your normal tables. The decor is very stylish with lovely quirky wall features .... who knew trays would look so good on the wall and ceiling. A special mention must be made of the ladies bathrooms - they are so pretty & I love the tiles (I know it's kinda weird talking about toilets in a blog about food but they really are pretty).

So onto the main event - the food! I didn't sample a huge amount as I was there on my own (ya billy no mates) so there was only so much I could eat and the food that was put in front of me was amazing so I had to eat it all and left no room for seconds. Firstly lets have a look at the menu ... You will see your favourites from BMB on the menu (thankfully the Luther is on this menu too) together with some new additions.
On the night I had two sliders, one was the brisket patty and other was pulled pork - both of which I loved. But if I had to pick one I would say the brisket was the winner on the night for me. The flavour was amazing, so delicious. But really the port was awesome too. With my sliders I also had the Maple Bacon Sweet Fries and oh my god these were absolutely amazing. My normal side of choice is the poutine however this dish is now a very strong contender for my favourite side. I thought to myself that I'd only have a few of the fries to leave room to sample another dish but they were so tasty I just kept on eating them (I clearly have no self restraint). 

If you have read my review of BMB you will know that I think the staff are amazing and I'm glad to say they are just as good in BMB West.

If you are a regular to BMB you know you can sometimes (or most of the time because it is so popular) stand in a queue waiting for a table, now I never mind standing in a queue because the food is totally worth it but one exciting difference in BMB West is that it appears groups will be able to book a table in advance #excitement.

Finally, just in case you haven't gathered, I love this place and I can't wait to go back to try it out.

To see my review of Bread Meats Bread where I gave it a 19/20 click HERE

Date visited: 6 October 2016

Restaurant Details:
Bread Meats Bread West,
701 Great Western Road,
G12 8RA,

Website: click HERE
Telephone Number: 0141 648 0399

Thanks a mil for reading.

Emma mai xx