Where better to eat fresh seafood than in a seaside town where there are plenty of seafood restaurants abound? I went on a day trip to Whitby last week, and one of my dining companions was adamant on going to this particular seafood restaurant – apparently on his previous trip to Whitby there was a long queue for this place so he didn’t get to try it out then. A good thing we queued up for this restaurant before a longer queue formed shortly after!

Magpie Cafe

One thing that struck me was the strong attention to detail in this restaurant. As I was perusing the menu, I came across this list describing each type of the fish they have on the menu. A very nice touch since I personally know very little about the realms of the seafood world beyond the likes of cod and haddock. Additionally, it actually made me more interested in wanting to try fishes that I’d never eaten before in my life, just to see how true to their descriptions on the menu they were!

Magpie Cafe

Another thing that was nicely done was the use of the TV screen which detailed the availability of the seafood and the specials of the day. If only more restaurants adopted the use of this technique.

Magpie Cafe

Our view from inside the restaurant (upstairs).

Magpie Cafe

Placemats showing the views around Whitby.

The following dishes were starters which were shared between everyone on the table:

Magpie Cafe

In the middle: Crab Parcel Starter (£7.99) – Whitby Crab wrapped in Smoked Salmon and served on Salad Leaves.

On the right: Half a kilo of Mussels (£8.99) – Steamed and served in a liquor of wine, cream, and garlic. Served with a warm ciabatta roll.

Magpie CafeSeafood Pot Starter (£9.99) – A selection of fresh fish and seafood including (subject to availability) clams, crevettes, king scallop, mussels, salmon, and haddock, cooked and served in a liquor of wine, butter and a hint of garlic with warm crusty bread.

Magpie Cafe

Chilled Seafood Taster Starter (£13.99) – A selection of fresh fish and seafood including (subject to availability) oysters, clams, crevettes, mussels, crab, anchovies, salmon, smoked salmon, scallop, prawns, and samphire.

The following are mains:

Magpie Cafe

My dish on the left: Scampi and Chips (£10.99) – served with homemade Tartare sauce.

The dish on the right: Magpie Fish Pie (£11.99) – Poached pieces of succulent white fish, plump prawns and salmon in a cream and tarragon sauce topped with riced potato and cheese.

Magpie Cafe

Regular Lemon Sole (£15.99) – Served with their homemade Tartare sauce, lemon, and thick cut chips (or a salad bowl).

Magpie Cafe

Haddock and Salmon Gratin (£11.99) – Grilled pieces of plump fresh haddock and salmon in Thermidor sauce, topped with breadcrumbs, parmesan and basil. Served with chips, potatoes or green salad.

Magpie Cafe

Haddock and Prawns in a creamy leek sauce (£12.99) – Grilled pieces of plump fresh haddock and prawns in a creamy leek sauce. Served with your choice of potato dish or side salad.

Magpie Cafe

Magpie Medley (£19.99) – Pan fried turbot fillet, salmon, scallops, and king prawns on Magpie Hash (diced potato, samphire, capers, onions, and pancetta) with a creamy garlic sauce.

Magpie Cafe

Small lasagne (£7.99 on the kids menu) – served with chips.

I sampled each dish in addition to my scampi and chips, and deep down in my heart, I can’t fault any of the seafood dishes. Yes the portions are generous, but more importantly, the seafood was cooked to perfection and I could taste just how fresh the seafood was.

Conclusion: what a delightful restaurant this is! If only this was closer to my home (in Manchester) so I could visit it more and try their other dishes.

Magpie Café

14 Pier Road

Whitby

North Yorkshire

YO21 3PU

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Having heard of other people’s visits to the other chains down in London in the past, Burger and Lobster was on my list of restaurants-to-visit at some point. So boy was I glad to hear that Burger and Lobster would be opening in Manchester this summer. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to go to its soft launch earlier this week, which meant that although we had to pay for drinks, all food we had was on the house!

Burgerandlobster

Drinks / “Soft shells” (£4.50 each):

–  My BL Iced Tea (L) – Earl grey, watermelon, and lemon. And an Orange Cream Soda (R) – Orange sherbet, vanilla, lime, and soda.

Hands down, these drinks were some of the best mocktails I had had in quite some time. It really was a good start to the meal when I ran my eyes down the drinks’ menu and saw some distinctive non-alcoholic drinks to pick from. I much preferred the BL Iced Tea, but that is really down to what you personally like to drink.

In terms of the food, the concept is simple: £20 for either a burger, lobster roll, or a whole lobster. All served with fries and salad. To the best of my knowledge, there are no starter offerings, but they do offer a limited choice of desserts (more on that later). Although there were no starters, I was absolutely stuffed after my main, drink, and dessert.

Burgerandlobster

My Lobster roll – Cool lobster meat dressed in a light Japanese mayonnaise, served in a warm, toasted brioche bun.

I’m so glad I opted for the lobster roll over the whole lobster. I imagine some people would be put off by the cold lobster meat; however I felt that this was perfectly complemented by the toasted brioche bread. Moreover, a few squeezes of lemon juice to the lobster meat (courtesy of the slice of lemon served beside the roll) did wonders to this dish.

Note: Don’t worry about dirtying your hands as wet wipes are provided. And plastic aprons are offered to you too – a nice touch I thought.

Burgerandlobster

The whole lobster – A 1.5lb lobster served steamed or grilled. Served with plain or lemon and garlic butter. The lobster in the above picture was served steamed, whereas the lobster in the below picture came grilled.

Burgerandlobster

I sampled both lobsters, and I suspect that people would much prefer having their lobster steamed rather than grilled. I thought that the steamed lobster meat was more soft, succulent, and not as dry as the grilled lobster. And more true to what lobster is naturally supposed to taste.

Burgerandlobster

A 10oz corn-fed Nebraskan beef burger.

I’m sure many people would agree with me in that this burger is probably the most expensive beef burger in town. Lobster is definitely better value for money than the beef burger. Side-note: my dining companion had to rush elsewhere before she could finish this so we got a doggy bag to put this in. Another nice touch how there were sachets of Heinz ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard in the bag.

Burgerandlobster

One of my dining companions ordered hot water and this was the cup it came in. She experienced a bit of a shock when every time she took a sip she would see this printed imprint at the bottom of the cup. Perhaps not the best choice of design ..

Anyway, moving on to the last part of the meal – dessert time!

Burgerandlobster

From left to right: Eton Mess, Baileys ice cream, and Strawberry cheesecake.

To be honest, I wasn’t overly fond of the desserts. The Eton Mess was reminiscent of the ice-cream factory dessert I used to have at Pizza Hut when I was a child, and the strawberry cheesecake was far from the cheesecakes I am normally used to. Out of these three limited choices on the dessert menu, I was looking forward to the cheesecake the most; however the cream cheese mixture was much too soft, like melted ice cream. So this was a shame. If I had to pick, I would say that the Baileys ice cream was the best offering. A shock, since I’m hardly a fan of Baileys in the first place.

So my advice to you if you visit Burger and Lobster – order either the whole lobster or lobster roll option, and skip the desserts. Unless you like Baileys, in which case you would most likely be a fan of their ice cream.

Burgerandlobster

On our way out of the restaurant, we stopped for a minute to admire the lobsters in their tanks. I wonder if you can actually select your own lobster from one of the tanks?

Burger and Lobster

98 King Street

Manchester

M2 4WU

http://www.burgerandlobster.com/home/

Francesinha originates from Oporto (Porto), and is the Portuguese version of the French dish, the croque-monsieur. Sure, it may be a sandwich; however what makes this a pretty special sandwich is that in between the slices of bread, there is an indulgent combination of steak, cheese, ham, and sausage. The sandwich is then covered in melted cheese and placed on a base of beer sauce. To meat-lovers (and fans of beer), who can say no to this?

I actually first tried Francesinha when I went to Lisbon a few years ago. However, with this being a Porto dish first and foremost, I had to try it again in Porto. Sadly for me, this dish at this particular cafe was not as nice as the one I tried in Lisbon, and the fries were a bit too salty. To put it bluntly, I honestly think that there are other restaurants in Porto which do a better Francesinha. One word of advice, it may be best to split a Francesinha between at least 2 people as it is so filling!

I wasn’t a fan of the Gooseberry drink as well – a small measure of Gooseberry flavoured squash in a glass which came accompanied with a bottle of water. Let’s just say it’s an overly sweet version of Calpol – a children’s medicine. Don’t get me wrong, I love Calpol (one of my favourite medicines haha), but this drink was just too much.

On a positive note though, Café do Cais have their riverside location going for them – the view overlooking the River Duoro is pretty amazing, especially on a hot day. My dining companion and I spent a couple of hours there, but I could’ve easily spent a whole day basking in the view (and sunshine if it were not for the fact that we wanted to explore this city.

So when it’s a nice day, go there for a drink (or two) at least!

Café do Cais

Francesinha A Cafe Do Cais (€8.50)

Café do Cais

Café do Cais 

Cais da Estiva

Porto 4050-243

Portugal

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Caf%C3%A9-do-Cais/166432916724824?sk=timeline

I’m sure I’m not the first one (and certainly won’t be the last person) to ever say that whenever one goes abroad to another country, sometimes sightseeing takes precedence over a sit-down meal. We did consider going to a bakery to purchase baked goods to tide us over for another good few hours but with the hot climate (I got sunburnt later on that day – first day of my holiday, how gutting), my holiday companion wanted to try some of the ice-cream flavours from this place.

Image2 scoops of ice-cream (€2,50) – one scoop of cream of sweet eggs of Aveiro, and one scoop of blueberry with raspberry and chocolate.

Both scoops of ice-cream were creamy; however I much preferred the ice-cream from Farggi – the place we went to for dessert the night before. If this had been our last day in Porto before coming back home, I would’ve purchased chocolate bars and tins of sardines. We didn’t purchase any for fear that they would melt or go off as we still had another couple more days in Porto, and then a few more in Barcelona to go.

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Bombonaria Bonitos Baixa

Rua 31 de Janeiro, 235

4000-543 Porto

Portugal

https://www.facebook.com/bonitosbaixa

It was past 11pm by the time we had touched down in Porto, Portugal that evening and checked into our hotel. Rather than having a rushed sit-down meal in a restaurant, we decided to skip having a proper dinner, and so we had dessert instead.

Image2 scoops of gelato or sorbet (4€) – We went for a scoop of raspberry mango sorbet and a scoop of strawberry gelato with strawberry bits. The next best thing to authentic Italian gelato.

ImageNuts & Honey Crepe (4.70€)

This was hands down the best dessert place I had been to in a very long time. I’m a fan of both desserts, wish we had a Farggi in Manchester! I liked the crepe in particular, I adored the combination of the ice-cream with the crunchiness of the nuts and the sweetness of the honey.

Farggi Baixa Porto

Rua Elisio de Melo 51
Porto
Porto 4000-196
Portugal

We went to this restaurant ahead of their official opening last month for a preview of their lunch service. After all, who can say no to a 50% discount off the food bill? Miller & Carter Steakhouse is a newly-opened (well, relatively new now) restaurant located on King Street in Manchester City Centre. I’d heard good things about this brand before my visit so I went in with relatively high expectations. Perhaps this was the wrong attitude to go in with, because although the service was brilliant, the food wasn’t as good.

ImageSharing Platter (£12.95) – Bourbon glazed pork belly bites, barbecue chicken wings, dusted calamari, crispy onion loaf, nachos, spinach & mozzarella dip and toasted ciabatta bread.

This was an average sharing platter in my opinion. If I had to pick my favourites, it would be the pork belly and the chicken wings. I was also more infatuated with the spinach and mozzarella dip than I should’ve been – those of you who know me know I’m a fan of mozzarella. I would recommend that you stay away from the nachos; I’ve had better nachos elsewhere, and these were a bit burnt as well. The onion loaf was rather greasy.

ImageA dining companion’s Chicken Soup for the soul (£3; ordered with the gammon & egg dish as a lunch dish) – With corn, potato and a hint of chilli. Served with ciabatta bread and butter.

ImageFree drink on the house: Mango Melba (normally priced at £2.45) – Mango and strawberry purée, topped with lemonade.

The waitress presented me with this drink out of the blue, saying that it was her first time making it. She knew that I couldn’t drink alcohol as I was driving that day, so made this mocktail for me instead. If only this happened more often in restaurants! -I wish. This was an alright drink, I just thought that the description sounded nicer than the actual drink.

ImageLettuce wedges with dressing that were served with 2 steaks: Classic cocktail with croutons, and Bacon and honey mustard.

Are lettuce wedges becoming the norm for sides in restaurants? Giraffe and T.G.I Fridays do this too.

ImageMy T-Bone (14oz) with Bordelaise sauce. All steaks are served with: a slice of M&C’s “famous” onion loaf, seasoned fries or jacket potato, an iceberg lettuce wedge with dressing, along with steak sauce or butter.

I ordered mine medium-rare; however this was more well done so I sent it back to the kitchen so a new steak could be cooked for me to my specifications. Despite the fact that you get the sauce included in the price of the steak at this place, The Grill on The Alley still remains to be the place I’ve had the best steak at in Manchester.

ImageAnd voilá, this was my new steak. Not quite medium-rare, more medium, but I didn’t have the heart to send another steak back to the kitchen.

My dining companions’ mains:

Image7oz Gammon & Free-Range Egg (£7.50; lunch dish) 

I know that gammon is salty in nature, but my goodness, this was incredibly salty!

ImageGrilled Chicken Breast (£7.75; lunch dish) – On herb crushed baby potatoes, served with green beans.

ImageAnother companion’s T-Bone steak (cooked medium-well done) but with Peppercorn sauce. I ordered Mac & Cheese (£3.50) to “complement” my steak as well, which I shared with the others.

ImageAnd for dessert, the four of us shared the Indulgent Tasting Plate (£8.95) – A selection of white chocolate & pistachio iced parfait, rich chocolate brownie and sticky toffee pudding, served with vanilla bean ice cream.

Not the best desserts I’ve ever tasted, but the toffee pudding and chocolate brownie were indeed rather indulgent. I’d probably say that the brownie was the best out of the lot. 

Miller & Carter Manchester
King Street
Manchester
M2 4LQ

After a day of shopping at Cheshire Oaks, food was on the agenda. Ed’s Easy Diner is one of those places that tries to evoke the spirit of the old-school American dining scene. Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to work; probably because 1. It wasn’t that busy, 2. It was filled with mostly Brits – somehow being served by English waitresses doesn’t fulfil this American illusion – and 3. Cheesy props were used such as the jukebox – as you can see in the below pic. It probably would’ve been better if old-school American music was blasted out at a loud volume too.

Ed's Easy Diner

Ed's Easy Diner

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My Chilli Cheese Burger (£10.90 Ed’s Plate) – Topped with Chilli Con Carne and American Cheese, served with fries, onion rings, and coleslaw. And a Mint Chocolate Shake (£4.50) to share amongst the two of us.

Now, in regards to the food, the chips and onion rings were surprisingly good. I can’t say the same for the burger though, I can think of better burger places, but this certainly wasn’t the worse burger I’ve ever had. The milkshake was rather nice too, and filled up more than 2 glasses’ worth – as stated on their menu.

Ed’s Easy Diner – Cheshire Oaks

Unit 60a

Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet

Kinsey Road

Ellesmere Port

South Wirral, CH65 9JJ

http://www.edseasydiner.com