I know I’ve been quiet on the blog recently…there’s no excuse really! So when my OH told me that he had booked us a table at The Flowing Well for a free meal to taste their new menu, I knew I had my next post!
The Flowing Well has undergone a facelift recently. While before it felt like a pub you might get a bite to eat it, it’s now a lovely open restaurant with a comfy bar area, complete with lush sofa’s & a woodburning stove.
Upon arrival we were given a menu & quite an extensive wine list. I was very pleased to see more than one option for veggies and plenty of options for pescatarians & carnivores alike. I had a large glass of merlot, which went down a treat! And it was quite reasonable at about £5. I opted for the roasted beetroot & creamed goat’s cheese starter. It was delicious! And it was the perfect size starter. I was so excited to eat it that I forgot to take a picture of it! My OH had the crispy fried chilli squid & thought it was delicious.
There was just enough time between the starter and the main course. There was quite a bit of choice on the menu – from pizza to pasta & risotto. This time I opted for the roasted aubergine, pepper & chickpea tagine with couscous & minted yoghurt. It was really tasty and very filling. Everything worked well and it was cooked to perfection. My OH had the burger & chips (which were super tasty!) and he really liked it, though felt that the burger could’ve done with a minute longer on the grill. The atmosphere was fab & I really like the feel of the place.
Then the waitress returned to take our pudding order. They did have my ultimate pudding, crème brulee, on the menu. But they’d broken one of my rules & flavoured it with lemon! Noooooo! So I opted for my second favourite pudding – Brownie with chocolate sauce & cream. It was a most excellent choice. The brownie was huge & warm. I was delighted! The cream was perfect and there was just enough to go with the brownie. My OH ordered the crème brulee. Traitor. It came with a handful of rasperries & a small shortbread. He really liked it. I tried it and while it’s fine, it’s not for me. Them’s the rules!
I really like this place & am already thinking of when I can go back and who I can take there. I have pretty much decided on what to have next! I am so impressed with the changes they’ve made & it’s really a lovely dining experience.
As I was in Oxford Tuesday night & my OH was going to pick me up, we thought that we could have a bit of dinner in Oxford. It’s something that we used to do quite a bit when we lived there so I was looking forward to it. We couldn’t decide where to go – Wagamama or Turl Street Kitchen. We both love Wagamama & find that their food is filling & reasonable. But Turl Street Kitchen is new & has been all over Twitter. All we had to do was wait for their menu.
TS Kitchen uses local produce as much as possible & therefore only decide what they’re cooking on that day. I completely support this because then you know that you’re getting fresh produce that’s supporting local producers. The downside is, if, like me, you like to know what’s available in advance, you have to stick to Twitter like glue for the release of the menu. In my case, this isn’t a huge problem. I’m a Twitter addict!
We went in after 8.30pm & it was still quite busy. The restaurant has been decorated amazingly well. It has a lovely feel about the place. There is a nice small bar area, a little ‘snug’ with big comfy chairs & a larger space with tables. We were met by a pleasant waiter, asked to wait for a bit while they cleared a table so we got some drinks. I had a Dandelion & Burdock – Love this! – while my OH had a pint of local lager. We didn’t have to wait too long & soon we were sitting at our table. There were a few veggie options & I went for the red onion, tomato & red pepper tart. My OH opted for the lamb hotpot. We also asked for two portions of the bread & butter to start.
We didn’t have to wait long for the mains, but the bread (& only one portion of it) came with the main course. The portions were quite small. I’ve seen that size of portion served as a starter. But this didn’t bother me as it was enough & it came with a side salad. What did bother me was the price. My small slice of tart was £8. The lamb hotpot was £9.50. Now I know that good quality meat is expensive so I wasn’t surprised by that. But £8 for a small slice of tart & a salad?! That did surprise me! And, as I’m watching my pennies, it’ll put me off going back for an evening meal.
After my disgusting visit to the loos at The Rose, I knew I had to visit them at TS Kitchen. Well, they were amazing. Freshly decorated, clean & with the original parts of the buildings exposed, they were impressive. The Rose could learn a thing or two from here!
You may have noticed from some of my previous food posts that I am quite the fussy veggie. I am. Very fussy. This is why I like to look at a restaurants menu in advance. It’s not just so I can check that there’s a veggie option on it, it’s so that I’ll like the veggie option on it. My OH suggested I do a post about my weird food rules so that when I write about food, it all becomes clear! So here goes!
- Don’t put any kind of flavouring into my chocolate. I love chocolate. I like orange but I do not like them together. The same applies to mint, raspberries, anything. The only possible exception I can think of is chai. I can’t tell you why. It just is.
- Don’t ever give me soup, a smoothie or a yoghurt. I don’t like liquid and lumps mixed together. Once, on a meal out, I was unwell & fancied soup. I asked the waitress if the tomato soup had any lumps in. She didn’t really get it. I blame my mother for this. She force fed me vegetable soup when I was a child. It didn’t stay down. Unpleasant. Food & drink should be distinctively different.
- I don’t drink anything during a meal. I will before & after, but not during. Not quite sure why. * Exception: If I do drink during the meal, it’s probably because I don’t like something on my plate.
- Broccoli, water chestnuts & bamboo shoots are the food of the devil. I will not eat these. My (very patient) OH has had to tell people that I won’t eat broccoli for fear of me having to leave it when we’ve been going round to someones house for dinner. Yes I’ve eaten them & no I just don’t like them. Broccoli is quite a tricky one, as it is a staple for some veggie food. I will leave food if it’s got broccoli in. Those of you who know me know how unheard of this is!
- Creme brulee & cheesecake should only ever be vanilla flavour. If creme brulee is on the menu, I will have it unless it’s been RUINED by being flavoured. I have seen it made with orange. Mucky. If I wanted an orange flavour, I’d eat an orange. I don’t mind if there’s a little fruit on the plate or a little fruit sauce, but that’s as far as it goes. And don’t even get me started on lemon cheesecake!
- Lemon. I like lemons, especially a slice in my diet coke on a warm day. But don’t flavour cakes or pudding with them! What a waste!
- Sponge. Vanilla cake. Victoria sponge. Whatever you want to call, I think it’s far too sweet. Just give me a plate of the mixture & that’s all I need.
- Spiced chai is my favourite drink of all time. I like the vanilla too but I will never try the Peppermint or Mango. Why? See the above points. Don’t mix my food/drinks up! Mint should only be used in toothpaste and mango…well, it just isn’t for me.
- Fruit. It’s not a pudding. Don’t offer me fruit & try to get me to think that it’s a treat, as all puddings should be. Fruit is something I have to have so that I can reach my 5 a day. It’s not a treat or a splurge.
- I am a creature of habit. Once I find something I like, I will always have it. For example, ever since I was a teenager & started eating Chinese takeaway, I would always have the sweet & sour chicken. This has simply turned into sweet & sour tofu. If I ever changed & went for something else, it was always a huge let down. As takeaway is a bit of treat, I don’t want to be wasting this treat on some mucky disappointment. Hence the same choice. I know I’m not alone on this!
There is always one safe food with me – chips. I will always be happy eating chips no matter what (as long as they’re not cooked in beef dripping. Mucky!).
So. There you have it. Please note that these are MY food rules & not ones that I imagine people should start implementing on their lives!
I’d love to know what food rules you have, if any and what you think about mine! x
In case you hadn’t noticed, good vegetarian food is important to me. I am a vegetarian because of ethical reasons and have been since 2003. I don’t want animals to die for me to eat. This is my choice & I don’t impose it on anyone (well, maybe my OH because I won’t touch meat!)If people want to eat meat, that’s their choice. If they must, I’d rather they ate organic, free-range meat. I also wish that ‘vegetarians who eat fish’ wouldn’t call themselves vegetarians because they aren’t. They’re pescatarians. Anyway, I digress.
I do agree that meat-eaters should know & respect where their meat comes from. When I found out about the living conditions of mass-produced meat (this is pre-Jamie & Hugh F-W), it put me off eating anything like that. I know not all meat is grown in those conditions now, but when I think of tucking into a bacon sarnie, all I can see is something like the image below & I feel sick. No meat for me.
So when I saw that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was making a programme about veggie food & was going to be meat-free, naturally I was intrigued. As a veggie, you often feel like you’re an after thought in restaurants, which is why I like Atomic Burger, Atomic Pizza & Big Bang so much. There was actual choice. Sometimes you feel lucky to have anything that’s not just a broccoli & cauliflower bake (Gross!) I watched last nights episode and was really pleased with the food that they produced. I think that Hugh & River Cottage showed that being veggie isn’t about lentils & evangelising about the woes of meat.
The show has certainly encouraged me to eat a wider variety of vegetables (am in somewhat of a food rut) & I’d like to have a go at growing them too. I hope this show encourages restaurants to offer more choice for everyone, not just vegetarians. The meat industry is having an impact on the environment, health & people’s bank balances. As a nation we don’t eat enough veg so hopefully this will encourage us all to look at our diets and see if we’re eating the right things for us, for the planet & for the super-cute farm yard animals. x