foodie for thought

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity. ~Voltaire

When I was last home in Bournemouth, my dad introduced me to Winton’s hidden gem of an Italian - Bellagio.

What looks like one of your standard Winton slightly shabby cafes from the outside, Bellagio is home to two of the best chefs that Winton has seen in a while. Not usually choosing to dine out in Winton as a first choice, I was very impressed when I ate here. What’s even better is seeing families with their kids in here and students instead of opting for the Pizza Hut a mere two doors down. It’s great that young people are being introduced to proper, fresh, homemade pizzas that are also a fraction of the price of a takeaway pizza (you can take this away too though if you want). The most expensive pizza on the menu here is £7.95 - The Bellagio - pictured above (parma ham, rocket, mozzarella). You just can’t argue with that can you. That and a healthy glug of the homemade chilli sauce, belissimo.

Pizza isn’t the only thing on the menu however. There are a range of pasta and al forno dishes, along with salads and antipasti. You won’t be stuck for choice here. When I visited, we were lucky enough to come on the day where mussels were a special starter. Served in a garlicky, fiery tomato sauce, the mussels themselves were meaty and juicy and a decent size.

Another great little perk to this place is the ‘bring your own bottle’ ethic. It’s a trend that is growing fast in Winton, and one which definitely has it’s benefits.

I can’t wait till the next time I go now, this could turn into a tradition of mine.

Thank you Bellagio for saving Winton’s dining out reputation! Watch this space and see how this business grows.

homecomfortsfoodieforthought

These beauties are another instalment from the restaurant that is slowly becoming my favourite Mexican haunt, Café Pacifico, situated right in the middle of Covent Garden.

I took my auntie here for her birthday, and quote, ‘these are the best fajitas I’ve ever eaten - and I’ve had a lot in my time’. Can’t really get a much better review than that can you?

Mixing it up a bit and going against my usual chimichanga, we opted for the sharing options - fajitas and tacos. To start, we simply had to order the roasted pork belly tacos served with tamarind jerk sauce and avocado dip (top). These were absolutely heavenly, I’ve never tasted pork belly like it, the sauce was the perfect partner, and you don’t usually see this variety of pork on the menu at a Mexican restaurant. I’d definitely order this again. For main, we decided on the mixed chicken and beef fajitas that came with a wealth of sides - guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, jalapenos, cheese and refried beans. WOW. I’m glad I had my auntie for company, as you can tell by the size of my wraps that it wasn’t the most attractive to eat, but that’s all part of it isn’t it? Stack them high until you cannot physically close the tortilla and hope for the best. And yes, we did manage to polish off everything - two girls. That broke the healthy eating week. You have to pay extra for the cheese and jalapenos but it would feel incomplete without them.

What’s even better about this place is that they don’t charge you an extortionate amount. For the main meal it was £15 each and I certainly did not go hungry. And to top it all off? A delicious range of cocktails, I had the caipirinha and my auntie had a classic mojito.

We left very merry and full. A casual Wednesday night. Oh and by the way, even if you come here mid week the place will be packed (in a good way), you cannot argue with the atmosphere here.

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Lunch last week. Parma ham. Avocado, rocket and mustard mayo all in a sesame seed bagel. Joyous. Everything tastes better in a bagel.

Lunch last week. Parma ham. Avocado, rocket and mustard mayo all in a sesame seed bagel. Joyous. Everything tastes better in a bagel.

If only I wasn’t trying to be healthy this week.
THIS would be on the menu for tomorrow. What a way to start the day.
Breakfast biscuit sandwich - maple Dijon bacon, spinach, runny egg and tomato.
Breakfast of champions.

If only I wasn’t trying to be healthy this week.

THIS would be on the menu for tomorrow. What a way to start the day.

Breakfast biscuit sandwich - maple Dijon bacon, spinach, runny egg and tomato.

Breakfast of champions.

(Source: cherryonmysundae.com)

I haven’t had good Indian food in ages and I’m craving it massively.
Palak Tofu Paneer (Tofu in Spinach Curry). And what’s even better, this is a vegan gluten free recipe!

I haven’t had good Indian food in ages and I’m craving it massively.

Palak Tofu Paneer (Tofu in Spinach Curry). And what’s even better, this is a vegan gluten free recipe!

(Source: veganricha.com)

Saltyard - Noho

The older sister restaurant to Opera Tavern, Saltyard, was one which had been on my list of places to eat for a while. Although the menu is vaguely similar to the latter, I did enjoy the cosy but chic downstairs seating area where you felt like you were tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the extremely rainy outside world.

Pictured above are my highlights of the meal:

A selection of Spanish cheeses and cured meats (you can never go wrong with this, especially when sharing with a large group of people)

Soft shell crab - the special of the day

Chargrilled Chorizo with Chickpea, Cumin and Garlic

Aside from that we also enjoyed the Crispy Baby Squid, Squid Ink Alioli and Baby Chard and the Classic Tortilla.

This meal did not however help when I had to fit into a size 8 dress for a black tie event that same evening. Oh well, it was worth it.

http://www.saltyard.co.uk/restaurant/

foodcomesfirstfoodieforthought

Thai Chicken with Cashew Nuts. Loving Thai food right now.

Thai Chicken with Cashew Nuts. Loving Thai food right now.

I revisted one of my favourite tapas restuarants the other day - Opera Tavern, Covent Garden.

From top to bottom here’s just a handful of the dishes we ate:

Cold Chocolate Fondant with Salted PX Caramel and Espresso Ice Cream

Crispy Ibérico Pigs’ Ears - definitely a must try - basically posh pork scratching’s - don’t be put off by the name!

Courgette Flowers Stuffed with Goats’ Cheese and Drizzled with Honey - a personal favourite of mine here

Pan Roasted Cornish Scallop with Squash Purée and Smoked Caper Butter

Grilled Monkfish with Choricero Pepper, Mussels, Orzo Pasta and Sea Purslane

On top of this we also consumed Deep Fried Salt Cod with Jerusalem Artichoke, Roasted Apple and Chorizo; Pan Fried Wood Pigeon Breast with Black Fig, Fried Scamorza and Sweet Onion; Confit of Old Spot Pork Belly with Rosemary Scented Cannellini Beans (I get this every time as it’s a firm favourite); Jamon Croquettes with Alioli (the best I’ve had) and a classic Patatas Fritas with Alioli and Bravas Sauce (this sauce is to die for)

Go here when you can afford it, as this tapas doesn’t come cheap and with a big group of you. Between you you’ll be able to sample most of the menu and treat yourself.

tapaslovingfoodieforthought

Colombian eggs at Duck and Waffle for breakfast.
Scrambled eggs on toast with avocado, spring onions, tomato and grilled chorizo.
Not only was this amazing but we were there on a beautiful clear morning. And got a wave from the head chef.
Living the dream.
40floorsupfoodieforthough

Colombian eggs at Duck and Waffle for breakfast.

Scrambled eggs on toast with avocado, spring onions, tomato and grilled chorizo.

Not only was this amazing but we were there on a beautiful clear morning. And got a wave from the head chef.

Living the dream.

40floorsupfoodieforthough

When I came home for the weekend last month, my mother cooked up a storm. Drool at your leisure.

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Frito Misto de Pesce to start Saturday lunch with homemade mayonnaise

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Then for the main lunch, Chargrilled Mackerel with Rocket salad - tres healthy

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For dinner’s starter, Grilled Pears with Cornish Blue Cheese and Walnuts. A light way to kick off a three course meal, and interesting flavour combinations here.

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For the main, Pan-fried Duck Breasts with Summer Vegetables and Prosciutto. I would normally have had the duck a little more pink to my ideal taste but the skin was deliciously crispy, and was complemented well with the accompaniments. If I was being picky, I potentially would have added a drizzle of a jus here just to moisten up the meal even further.

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As I thought I was about to burst of fullness, out came the Strawberry Semifredo, perfectly half frozen, which really cleansed the palette, which was gobbled up very speedily by both of us.

And that was just one day of eating…I definitely don’t leave home hungry that’s for sure.

Until next time.

fulltothebrimfoodieforthought