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Afternoon Tea at Claridge's Tea Room

Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s

Claridge’s Hotel is a 5 star hotel and one of the oldest Hotels in London.  It’s only proper that they also serve up one of the oldest English Traditions – Afternoon Tea.  Claridge’s has been upholding the Afternoon Tea tradition for 150 years.

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Afternoon Tea in England

Afternoon Tea in England is a long standing tradition that dates back to 1840 a.d. which was introduced by the Dutchess of Bedford. What started out as a way to fend off hunger until dinner time became an English tradition. Every place that serves afternoon tea has it’s own flair.  Many restaurants will serve afternoon tea on the weekends only, some will have a small dedicated menu. Tea rooms on the other hand have a pretty set order of Afternoon Tea.  It has been my experience that every afternoon tea starts with finger sandwiches and end with scones and clotted cream. Many Tea Rooms have a variety of teas to choose from.  Here are a few places that I recommend.

Claridge’s Tea Room

Brook Street, Mayfair, London

W1K 4HR

Betty Bumbles Vintage Tea Room

30 Market Square St. Neots, UK

PE19 2AF

Sandringham Cafe & Restaurant

Sandringham Palace, UK

PE35 6EH

St. Ermin Hotel Tea Lounge

Caxton St. Westminister London, UK

SW1H 0QW

Peacocks Tearoom

65 Waterside Ely, UK

CB7 4AU

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England

First Aid Box Bar showcases a creative and fun cocktail bar concept.

Getting a plaster…no better getting plastered takes on a whole new meaning. I stopped by first aid box bar today which is a medical themed bar.

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England Lunch

Handmade Burger Co.

Handmade Burger Co.

Westgate Arcade Peterborough, UK PE1 1PY

The most exciting words a foodie could probably hear are “the best ever”. It’s written in the foodie code that the best food must be sought out. Imagine my delight when I heard about this burger spot called Handmade Burger Co. that a guy had claimed to be the best burger they had ever had. EVER! That is a huge claim. Burgers are like the All American food and I have had some damn good burgers. Finding good food in England has become somewhat of a scavenger hunt. We sat out on an adventure on a cold and rainy Saturday to visit the mall. Out of pure luck we stumbled upon the Handmade Burger Co. and you know we had to make a pitstop.
The Handmade Burger Co. Has over 40 selections of burgers to choose from. Examples of their choices are a peanut butter and bacon burger or the Milano burger which sports pesto and mozzarella. Some of the same options are included on their chicken burgers also. There is a small feature of vegetarian burgers but one of their biggest sellers are their dirty burgers. It was a hard to decide between a specialty burger or a dirty burger but today the specialty burger won out.
 
 

Starter

Have you ever heard of Halloumi cheese? I hadn’t either until I saw it on a foodnetwork show.  However since it is a mainstay in Britain I suspect I’ll be seeing a lot more of it.  Halloumi cheese is probably the only cheese that you can actually grill, fry or barbecue.  It has a high melting point which allows it to be cooked in ways other cheeses just can not stand up to.  My best reference point for texture is probably tofu but man oh man this cheese is amazing.  I decided to try the Halloumi fries with mango salsa as a starter.  The Halloumi fries were amazing, there was some juice at the bottom of the serving cup that was just heavenly.  The mango salsa on the other hand is more of an acquired taste.  I personally didn’t care for it.  It was a tad bitter and had a nice spicy kick to it.  In my opinion the two didn’t pair well together but the fries stand well on their own.

Hand Pressed

Each burger is made with Scottish beef which is hand pressed and then cooked fresh in house everyday.   After pouring over the menu several times we decided to skip out on all the exciting options and go for something more traditional.  I opted for the avocado and bacon burger and the mister chose the blue cheese and bacon burger.

My avocado Bacon was pretty good.  The avocado tasted fresh, the red onions were nice and the HBC burger relish they used was a nice surprise.  It tasted like a fancy type of ketchup with cherry tomatoes but with the consistency of a jam.  I pulled the bacon off as I didn’t particularly care for it.  It was much too soft for my liking, besides when I think of bacon on my burger it is nice crispy slices slices of bacon.  The burger was stacked pretty good.  In fact I tried to get a solid bite in and couldn’t lol.  We both ordered a side of chips but I had mine dusted with rosemary salt.  Those were some good fries…I mean chips.   My husband loved the caramelized onions on his burger and felt it balanced out pungency of the blue cheese perfectly.

America’s Burgers are still the best burgers I’ve ever had, BUT the Handmade Burger Co holds the number one spot in the UK at the moment.  You can’t beat the price or the options they offer.  Next time I visit I’m going to give either the veggie burgers of the chicken burgers a whirl.  Until you can make a trip to HBC here’s a burger for you!20180120_135340.jpg
 
-MettleFork
 

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Dinner England International

Pho Restaurant Cambridge, UK

Pho : Vietnamese Street Food

1 Wheeler Street.  Cambridge, CB2 3QB

Right in the heart of Cambridge is a vibrant and bustling atmosphere.  There are clothing shops and restaurants galore, not to mention the prestigious University of Cambridge.  I found myself joining new friends in a nice hole in the wall type restaurant named Pho a Vietnamese street food restaurant.  And if you hadn’t guessed by the name, the serve Pho (pronounced fuh).   It was down to the bones chilly for this southern belle so a nice big warm bowl of Pho was perfect.  Pho which is the national dish for Vietnam is a big rice noodle soup with herbs and meat (if you choose).  I love soup but I’m no pro at making pho, it is almost an art to get that much flavor packed into a broth.  12 hours of making broth is more than I can usually dedicate unless a crockpot is involved.  I did give it a shot once and it turned out amazing.  You can see my rendition of Homemade Pho by clicking the link.  Now enough about me..let’s get this meal started.

Nem núóng

I started with what I thought would be a small appetizer. Turns out this portion was extremely filling.  I ordered the New Nuong because there was one ingredient that caught my eye – lemongrass.   The nem nuong dish is homemade pork and lemongrass meatballs served with lettuce and herbs to wrap and dip and a side of peanut sauce.  As I’m typing this, I realize I ate them wrong lol.  I never wrapped them in the lettuce or used the mint.  I only dipped them in the peanut sauce.  Perhaps it would have had an effect on the flavor, perhaps not.  What I was really missing was the lemongrass flavor.  I kept waiting for it to hit me and it never did. The meatballs were fried and were a little dry for my liking but that’s the chance you run with pork I suppose.  The peanut sauce was amazing, it has a slight sweetness to it that complemented the peanut flavor very well.  If you are wondering should you order this or would I order it again…well yes.  They weren’t horrible just lacking on the lemongrass flavor a bit and slightly dry.  As a home cook, I understand that each batch will turn out slightly different so next time they could be really moist and full of lemongrass flavor.

Goi con

The second appetizer we ordered were some summer rolls. They were very simple rolls made with herbs, vermicelli and pickle served with a side of peanut sauce and your choice of chicken, prawns or vegetables.  Personally they were mediocre at best.  I’ve had better summer rolls but perhaps that is just the additional sauces that I used.  Unless you love summer or spring rolls, I’d go with a different appetizer.

 

Pho Bo Combo

Dinner was much stronger than the appetizers.  My Pho was warm and delicious.  Pricing was generous here which you don’t always see so I decided to get the most for my money.  I got meatballs, steak and brisket.  I also added enoki, shiitake and button mushrooms because I love mushrooms! I added a few bean sprouts, cilantro and culantro to my pho then topped it off with a squeeze of lime juice, sriracha and hoisin sauce…YUM!  I was given a huge ladle and some chop sticks to eat with.  Since the Pho is served with long rice noodles, things got a little messy but I didn’t mind.  This was my first time trying pho with meatballs, the size of their meatballs is crazy.  It took me two to three bites to finish each one.  I thoroughly enjoyed my pho and I recommend you try it when you visit.  And quite frankly, if your name is Pho and you serve pho, your pho better be off the pho-king chain lol.  Honestly it was great and I would get it again and again and again.

 

 Ca-ri

Ca-ri which translates into curry I suppose was what my husband ordered.  He has been on a bowl kick as of late so this was the closest thing to a bowl they had.  Boy did he hit the lottery with this dish. This picture isn’t the best and it most certainly does not do this dish any justice what so ever.  My husband said this is the best curry he’s ever had in his life.  Sad face, I guess mine just got replaced lol.  Seriously, this curry is freaking amazing.  The flavors literally burst in your mouth.  He was stingy so I only got one big spoonful but it was the best spoonful of curry I have probably ever had.  Throne officially handed over…for now.  I am determined to figure out how they packed in so much flavor. The menu doesn’t offer much of a description other than it is a Vietnamese curry with vegetables and mushrooms, topped with nuts and served with broken rice.  My next visit I will be ordering this dish and I suggest you do too.
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With 25 locations throughout the UK, finding a Pho restaurant shouldn’t be too hard. You can dine in or order out either way I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.  If you’d like a peek at their full menu the link is here.   They offer a vegan, gluten free and kids menu. I love a restaurant with multiple options, especially ones for kids. Go out and give Pho a visit soon.
 
Carlina