Categories
Cambridge England International

Las Iguanas Restaurant | Lunch

I’ve learned that sometimes when things don’t as planned it can actually work out. While in Cambridge, on a girls day out trip we decided on an impromptu lunch at an Italian spot. Seeing as how we had not made reservations a wait of 30 – 45 minutes seemed reasonable for a party of 5. However, since we had skipped on breakfast both my girlfriends and I were famished. We walked around the corner and saw Las Iguanas. Our initial plan was to grab some drinks while we waited on our table at the other restaurant. After a quick look at the menu, it was decided we’d be staying put and having lunch at Las Iguanas Restaurant.

We arrived at between 12:30 and 1:00pm and we were extremely lucky. We looked up and before we knew it, the place was packed. My unspoken rule is that if it is packed, it’s usually a strong indication that the food is good. And it was good, so I went back a second time and brought my family.

Las Iguanas Restaurant

Las Iguanas Restaurant offers Brazilian, Cuban, and Latin food options. The menu is pretty large offering everything from tapas to start your meal off right to desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth. One of the most amazing things I find about this Las Iguanas is that it digs deep and stays true to the cultural aspect. Right now they are celebrating Carnival. During the month of February you actually get the opportunity to win tickets to Rio de Janiero to go to Carnival, find out more here.

“Carnival dates back to 1723 in Rio de Janiero”

Tapas [Tah-puhs]

Tapas are Spanish appetizers and starters that can be served hot or cold. Usually if you get 2 or 3 you will have yourself a full meal. I’ll start by saying the cheesy Peru Fondue is ooey gooey delicious. Its topped with red chili pepper flakes to give a nice kick at the end. They are typically served with small potato chunks, but ask for curly fries… I promise you won’t regret it. These are great to share with others at your table…similiar to a chips and salsa kind of thing.

 
Next up are the Dadinhos, Albondigas, Smoked Salmon Tiradito, and Jackfruit Tacos. I must admit that sometimes I go a little overboard when ordering. However comma ordering tapas takes away some of the gluttunous guilt I feel because it is an easy way to taste lots of the menu in smaller portions. Many of my option choices were either vegetarian, vegan or gluten free friendly. I’m more flexitarian and I eat what I want but it’s good to know you have options.
The Dadinhos are crispy cheese cubes served with a chili jam. I Loved, loved, loved the crispiness of the cheese cubes and dipping it in the jam one by one. The Dadinhos remind me somewhat of halloumi cheese which is one of my absolute favs. They are a great option for someone who enjoys a vegetarian diet.
The Albondigas are Pantagonian-style lamb meatballs comprised of a mixture of apple, mint, parmesan and nutmeg. They then braise it in a rich tomato, mint and chili sauce and serve it with bread. The flavor hits you immediately and you know it’s not a regular meatball.  I liked it the first time I tried it; but when my kid ordered it and enjoyed it, I knew it was a winner.
Lamb Meatlballs at Las Iguanas
The Smoked Salmon Tiradito is a lot…the flavors, the textures it’s a lot. My recommendation before you order this it to ensure that you like smoked salmon. The slices of salmon are topped with sweet chili pepper pearls, pickled beetroot and onion and then dressed with a combo of fresh ginger and beetroot dressing and avocado aioli and amarillo chilli then topped with candied seeds.  Again, if you like smoked salmon you will really enjoy it.  If you don’t steer clear…that is unless you are feeling a little mettle.

Last but certainly not least are the Jackfruit Tacos. If you’ve never tried Jackfruit you’ve been missing out. I finally pulled the trigger and got a little mettle and ordered Jackfruit. I’ve been on the fence for years with trying it. It is often used as a meat substitute for plant based eaters. I’ve gone as far as picking one up at the market but never actually buying it or trying it for that matter. All of that is in my past because I am a fan! These jackfruit tacos are roasted in a smoky beetroot chipotle sauce and pulled apart almost like pork would be. Then they are topped with a avocado aioli sauce and served on your choice of grilled corn or flour tortillas.

Here are a few other tapas that we all shared. I could go on and on but some things you just have to try yourself.


By now I’m sure you are looking at me like I belong on my 600lb life but honestly, I didn’t take down ALL of these meals myself. I like to refer to it as research, I mean how else can I give you guys the best reviews??

Mains

The tapas are bunched together in one menu, but the mains are sorted out by region. You have the option to choose from the Mexican, Brazilian, Argentinian or Cuban menu. Just like the tapas menu, there are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, nut free and diary free options. The mains menu boasts everything from curries to burgers so there is literally something for everyone. I ordered the Bahian Coconut Chicken with a side of fried plantains. The Bahian Coconut Chicken is strips of chicken breast pan fired in cumin, cayenne and coriander cooked in a creamy coconut sauce with ginger, garlic, coriander and tomatoes. It is served with spring onion, rice, shredded greens and toasted coconut. I am definitely a fan of Korean, Thai and Indian curry, so this Brazilian type curry was a first but not farfetched choice.Bahian Coconut Chicken at Las Iguanas
After eating all that food, you definitely want something to wet your whistle.  Las Iguanas offers a 2 for 1 drink menu that is basically as large as Latin America.  They’ve got Latin classics and classics with a Latin twist.  Here’s a peak at what I got from the 2 for 1 drink menu – Cactus Caipirinha,
Cactus Caipirinha at Las Iguanas
There are several other Las Iguanas Restaurant locations so if you find yourself in the London, Cardiff, Edinburgh or Nottingham area try to find one and enjoy some Latin cuisine. Here is a link to their locations.
 
 
 
Until next time, Forks Up!

Categories
England Lunch

Lunch at Bill's Restaurant

Lunch at Bill’s Restaurant

Today was one of those days that you follow through on a recommendation from a friend.  Wednesdays are usually my burger, fry and milkshake days but today I decided to stop by Bill’s Restaurant and shake up my normal lunch routine. Bill’s restaurant is located in the Rushden Lakes shopping district and boasts an amazing view of a lake with swans. The inside of Bill’s is so inviting with its shabby chic decor.  I loved looking around at the walls while I ate.
Entrance to Bill's restaurant
Bill’s has a lunch and dinner menu to include a separate vegetarian menu. Currently they are celebrating Veganuary and have an entire menu with vegan options for the month of January. I ordered a vegetarian lunch but didn’t get to order off their Veganuary menu.  Don’t worry, I’ll go back soon to bring you guys the deets.
My friend ordered the daily special which was a grilled chicken with Rosemary and Brie cheese on top, served with a side of broccoli and.  She was kind enough to let me take a picture and have a bite. I love a good rosemary chicken and the Brie on top was just the icing on the cake.
Chicken lunch special at Bill's restaurant

Vegetarian lunch options

For my starter, I ordered a sweet potato and ginger soup. I must admit I was skeptical about how the ginger would taste. I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome it was. Not only was it appealing to the eyes it tantalized my tastebuds. It was garnished with micro greens and pink peppercorns.

For my main, I opted for the carrot, cashew nut and mushroom Wellington. It was placed on a bed of mashed butter beans and served with a side of long stem broccoli. There is something about flaky phyllo dough that makes me all happy inside. The broccoli was perfectly cooked and the mashed beans were very reminiscent of mashed potatoes. Once I poured my gravy on them there disappeared..I don’t know what happened.  They were on my plate one minute and the next minute they were gone. Let’s just say mashed beans will be a thing in my house very soon.  My Wellington was outstanding!! The carrots were tender, the mushrooms melded with the cashews and created magic. I highly recommend this dish if you are looking for a vegetarian option at Bill’s. Just don’t do like I did send burn your mouth trying to scarf it down lol.

Overall it was a great dining experience and I honestly don’t know what took me so long to try it.  I’m looking forward to going back already.
Forks Up!

Categories
Dinner England

Tap and Kitchen Oundle

Tap and Kitchen

One of the most adorable towns in England I’ve been to is Oundle. At the request of one of my very best gal pals, I made the journey to Tap and Kitchen in Oundle to say farewell over dinner. I was impressed my very first time so I returned bringing along my family so they could experience a Tap and Kitchen meal. This review is a combination of both experiences which were lovely.
Tap and Kitchen is just on the outskirts of Peterborough. Right as you pull into the town it is on the right hand side and it has it’s own little wharf. Don’t go too fast or you will pass right by. The parking lot is gravel, so on rainy days be sure to have some wellies close by. When you walk inside you are transported to a homey shabby chic place. There are velvet chairs and frilly lampshades hanging from the ceiling. There is also an outside seating area but I don’t suggest outdoor seating during rainy season.
Tap and Kitchen Oundle reminds me of one of my favorite places I like to consider one of the best kept secrets in Tampa – Stein and Vine. The menu changes daily so if you see it and want it get it, because chances are it won’t be there tomorrow. The bar is stocked full of gin and other spirits and flowing from the tap are local beers. Now to the best part…the food.

Starters

I ordered something new as a starter.  Pea Kofta with minted paneer, harissa mayonnaise and pickled onion.  The harissa mayonnaise is the perfect dip for both the pea kofta and the minted paneer.  If you ever see this on the menu, order it.

These scallops were featured on my Instagram account and are quite possibly the best scallops I’ve ever had. These king scallops are served on a bed of peas, chorizo, samphire and potato puff. Not only are the colors visually appealing, the texture of the peas, potato puff and chorizo complement the scallops.

Main Courses and Sides

Ever since I had my first bite of sweet potato gnocci, I’ve been hooked. The first time I tried it was at Boca Brandon.  Anytime I see it on a menu I have to order it and this time was no exception. There is just something about the sweet, savory, melts like butter gnocchi that can not be denied. Pair it with some asparagus for that added crunch and voila you’ve got yourself a star dish. I was so convincing with my order, three of my friends ordered the same thing. I’ll just say none of us were disappointed.

On my second trip I got the pork belly for my main.  The pork belly was placed atop of wholegrain mustard mash, savoy cabbage with pan jus. The top of the pork belly was seared just right.  My husband got the salmon with roasted vegetables. The mains were simply amazing!!

I was initially skeptical when I ordered the zucchini, tomato and chorizo side.  I must say that I was pleasantly surprised.  Somehow it worked.  The zucchini was still firm and the chorizo gave it just enough kick.

Desserts

One of the most common desserts in the UK pubs is sticky toffee pudding.  As you can see from the picture below, it’s a monster of a dessert.  If you haven’t had sticky toffee pudding, visit Tap N’ Kitchen for one of the best around.

Me and my one of my best gal pals as we say see you later.  She is the reason that Tap and Kitchen is forever a part of my life. Thanks Brook!

Forks Up!

Categories
Cambridge England

Sushimania buffet in Cambridge

I love a good sushi place so when my friends mentioned driving to Cambridge for a all you can eat sushi buffet, I was game. Our party was fairly large 4 adults and 4 children so when we walked up we were told there was a wait to get in. I usually take this as a good indication. If there is a wait, it is pretty popular and pretty good.

Sushimania menu

There are two options of ordering. You can order from the menu a la carte or you can order from the buffet menu. It’s a little over £17 for the buffet per adult and you can have up to 6 items on the table at once. Basically if you have 6 adults you can only have one item and once you finish that you can request something else from the menu. Oh and you only have an hour and 45 time limit to eat, can’t sit there all day.
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I would love to say that it was a wonderful experience, unfortunately it was not. I’ll paint the experience picture first, don’t worry I’ll be brief. We were seated upstairs, they accommodated our prams being downstairs which was nice. Once we were seated, we were just kind of left for a bit. I had to make eye contact with someone I assumed was our waitress and ask her how we are supposed to order. She brought over menus but failed to explain how to order. A gentleman who I assume was either the owner or manager came over to retrieve our order cards, but immediately questioned our order. In a very accusatory tone, he explained that children could not share our food and that if we were caught sharing we would be charged half price for them. I understand the underlying principle of the policy to ensure that people aren’t just ordering and sharing plates. However he hadn’t even gone over the order to see what order was for who. My children’s order was from the a la carte menu. Our entire service we were being watch to see who was eating what, uncomfortable is putting it lightly. Ready to see what we ate?
Ordering from the sushimania buffet menu as a group isn’t as convenient as one may think, all of our sushi rolls came on a single plate. We were left to guess whose was who’s because well our waitress didn’t explain. I ordered a duck roll that was duck and cucumber with a duck sauce. It was pretty good. I also ordered a Nigri roll one with eel and one with octopus. The texture of the eel was different than I expected and the octopus was good.
Sushi rolls from sushimania buffet
I also ordered chicken udon noodles, a teriyaki chicken skewer and a spicy tuna roll.  The teriyaki chicken skewer was good and my children enjoyed it.  I did not finish the spicy tuna roll, the fish didn’t taste fresh.
 

Here are a few tips to know incase you decide to give Sushimania a try:
The miso soup does not come with a spoon, you are supposed to drink it.
When you are ready to place an order put your menu up in the air (they will come grab it).
As previously mentioned, children are not allowed to share your plate…tell those scavengers to get their own lol.
 
I have not given a bad review in a very long time.  In fact no dining experience I have ever had has been this abysmal.  Perhaps both the food and the service are better if you order from the main menu.  Perhaps it was just an off day.  Whichever the case I will not be returning.  In a sea full of fish, there is literally other sushi out there.
 
 
 

Categories
Breakfast and Brunch Florida

Best Benedict's in Tampa Bay

Eggs Benedict has to be the King of Brunch.  It is featured on almost every brunch menu and if it’s not then you should get up and leave.  I’ve been on a quest to try as many brunch spots as I can in Tampa.  These aren’t just your basic eggs Benedict, the chef’s at these places have spent time thinking of how to creatively craft together masterpieces.  This  is a list of the places in Tampa that have the BEST Eggs Benedict.

Boca Brandon

20170722_120210BBQ Pork on toast with perfectly poached eggs with a side of potatoes. It’s so rustic and southern comfort on a plate.

Noble Crust

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Smoked salmon, sautéed spinach and a perfect poach on a biscuit. Jaw dropping and mouthwatering.

Timpano Tampa

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Smoked Salmon and bacon that is served on top of Na’an bread. Everything about this is yes, yes, yes.

The Lodge

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Sautéed shrimp, Asparagus, Tomato topped with a little tempura asparagus served on a sourdough muffin.  This eggs benny means serious business.

 
If you have a place you would like to nominate then submit it to here.

Categories
Dinner Lunch

NaruOne

My travels have taught me that most major cities have a Chinatown somewhere. Some are big and some are really small, regardless you are instantly immersed in the Asian food and culture right away. During my recent visit to Sydney, Australia I happened to stumble upon their Chinatown (which really pales in comparison to London’s) while we were out exploring and I felt instantly transported. What I didn’t expect to find to in Sydney was Koreatown because usually Chinatown covers everything Asian, yet here I was standing on the corner of Pitt St. heading into Koreatown. If you are anything like me, just the thought of Korean bulgogi puts my tastebuds in a frenzy and I’m instantly salivating. As with any “town” there are multiple food options to choose from and if you aren’t a local you depend heavily on reviews similar to this one for an unbiased opinion. We ultimately chose Naruone because it was rated extremely high for its Korean style fried chicken and it was open late.

Categories
Dinner International Lunch

Nick's Seafood Sydney Darling Harbour

Nestled right in the middle in the Sydney’s Darling Harbour is Nick’s Seafood Restaurant. With so many food options, it would be easy to walk right past this place and chalk it up to another seafood restaurant. I’m here to advise you that if you ever visit Darling Harbor, a meal at Nick’s Seafood Restaraunt is a must. Nick’s has both indoor and outdoor seating, however in the midst of the Australian summer indoor seating is the better of the two options. You are able to enjoy beautiful views, live entertainment, fireworks at night and a nice breeze from the harbor. We were leaving the Sydney aquarium and decided to stop and eat before going back to our hotel. We arrived just before the lunch service was about to end so it wasn’t crowded and the wait staff were very attentive. As usual my husband and I ordered appetizers and mains to give ourselves a broader and better taste of the menu to complete our reviews.
For our entrée, I ordered the Hervey Bay Queensland Scallops. One of the benefits of eating seafood on an Island or in a coastal area is that the seafood is often fresh. Australia is a huge continent/country and here seafood is a part of life. These scallops were seared to perfections and drizzled with a honey soy dressing. A serving of five will cost you $24.00 which may seem expensive but I’ve learned that with food sometimes you really do get what you pay for. If you’ve ever eaten scallops before you know it can go one of three ways. The scallops are either not cooked, too chewy or just right. These scallops literally melted when I bit into them. The honey soy drizzle was perfectly balanced with just the right amount of sweet and salty.

“When in Rome, do as the Romans.

When in Australia, be as wild and adventurous as the outback”.

As I prepared for this trip, I told myself I was going to try some kangaroo. It’s the one thing that you will not be able to get authentically anywhere else. Up until coming to Nick’s seafood, I hadn’t been able to get my hands on some kangaroo and I was afraid as the trip was coming to an end I’d miss my opportunity. However, our impromptu lunch stop provided the chance for this foodie to treat her palette to something exotic. Funny thing is, right when it was time for me to order I almost backed out and went with a safer choice. To be honest I was a little afraid I wouldn’t like it, but boy oh boy am I glad I didn’t let fear keep me from this delicacy. With full mettle, I ordered the Kangaroo Fillet with Tomato Chutney and Chargrilled Herb Polenta and hoped for the best. The picture may or may not do this dish justice depending on if you think it looks delicious.

This kangaroo dish will knock you out. The kangaroo was cooked perfectly, not too tough and not too tender. My suggestion would be to order it cooked medium because well done would make it much too tough. I was able to cut through the fillet with ease with my steak knife. The meat itself had a slight gamey flavor but it wasn’t overbearing. I can honestly say it doesn’t taste like steak. The tomato chutney was amazing and paired well with the meat. It had the perfect amount of sweetness which elevated the kangaroo’s flavor. Lastly, the polenta was fantastic and the perfect compliment to the kangaroo. An complete oxymoron, the polenta was firm yet buttery. When I add the two together it was the perfect harmony. As you can tell from my face, I was in pure bliss. The kangaroo not only met but completely exceeded my expectations.
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FUN FACT: Only 14% of Australians report they eat Kangaroo.

It is a close battle between the squid and the octopus when it comes to who tastes better. It comes as no surprise that calamari will be on a seafood menu, at a minimum as an appetizer. I must admit calamari is always a fan favorite but I think octopus can give calamari a good run for its money. Rarely have I found that octopus is a staple on many restaurant’s menu and I’m not sure why. Whenever we get the chance to eat octopus we take full advantage because it is just that delicious. Lucky for us, Nick’s spared no expense with the portions and we were able to enjoy a hearty size. I mean look at the size of the octopus I’m trying to scarf down LOL!

It’s okay to drool over this mound of octopus… and if you listen closely enough you can practically hear the sizzle on those chargrill marks. Looks scrumptious right? The chargrilled octopus is served with cherry tomatoes atop a basil rocket salad and topped with a balsamic reduction sauce. The main portion is a whopping $38.00 so if you don’t want to spend that much on your meal you are in luck. Nick’s offers the octopus as either an entrée or a main so if you want to try it but wish to go easier on the pockets you have the option. For what it’s worth, this octopus is the second best octopus I’ve had in my life.
Overall, Nick’s Seafood Restaurant in Darling Harbour was a great experience. It was clean, the wait staff helped with recommendations and were very attentive and the view was great. Moreover, it was kid friendly. I’d go back and dine there in a heartbeat.

Categories
Dinner England International

The Brampton Mill

The Brampton Mill is a nice gastropub and restaurant tucked away in Huntingdon.  It backs up to the River Great Ouse which offers a great scenic backdrop.  Built into the building is this really cool water mill which I didn’t get a pic of because it was sooo dark. My husband found this little gem while searching for places that offered a Christmas reveillon (pronounced rev-ee-on) meal.  Last year while visiting New Orleans we had our first experience of a Christmas Reveillon which is a really fancy dinner that usually includes 3-4 courses.  To prevent me from misquoting how the tradition started, you can learn more about it by reading this article.  Considering that our first experience was so wonderful, my husband started the hunt to find a restaurant that offered the meal  (seeing as how we are so close to France and all).
The setting in The Brampton Mill was perfect, intimate yet homey.  There was a bar with lounge seating in front of a fireplace.  The smell of burning wood really set the holiday feeling in motion.  The restaurant was extremely family friendly as there were quite a few children dining and they offered a children’s menu- a huge thumbs up.  We chose to order from the Holiday Menu as opposed to their regular menu well because that was the point of the trip right?

First Course

My husband and I always order different meals, mostly because he is a weirdo and doesn’t like people to order the same thing as him.  I also order separate because it allows me to try more of the menu when I stick my fork in his dish too lol.  I decided to go with the thyme-roasted portobello mushrooms and he chose the severn & Wye smoked salmon.
 

The dish name is deceiving because it doesn’t include all of the scrumptious deliciousness that is in that mini cast iron skillet.  Aside from the fact that the mushrooms are roasted with thyme which makes them awesome in itself.  The mushrooms are basking in a chestnut puree with melted raclette cheese.  I’ve never had raclette cheese let alone chestnut puree but man oh man I could have kissed the chef. Served on the side are toasted ciabatta slices to sop up all that yummy sauce.
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My husband was gracious enough to allow me to taste his appetizer. It is really hard to describe the taste other than creamy and fresh.  The salmon was mixed in a cute glass mason type jar and was more like a spread, hence the reason I added it to some ciabatta. It was mixed in a Devon crab creme fraiche with pickled beetroot. I’ve had a few salmon dips/spreads in my time but none like this.  I am not sure if this is included on their regular menu but it was a light and refreshing way to start the course.
The Brampton Mill will most definitely be placed in our “go-to” restaurant categories.  I cannot wait until Spring comes around and we can dine outside next to the river.

Categories
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
 

Categories
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