A celebration lunch at The Packhorse Inn, Moulton, near Newmarket, Suffolk : June 2017

Last week I had lunch at the award-winning Packhorse Inn with two friends to celebrate a birthday. It was a glorious summer day and our meal at this five star AA restaurant and hotel owned by the Chestnut Group didn’t disappoint. Moulton is an idyllic village located to the north east of Newmarket, and just beyond “The Gallops” where they exercise the racehorses.

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The Packhorse Inn is located on Bridge Street, in the picturesque village of Moulton near Newmarket, the home of horse-racing 
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These freshly baked rolls and canapes made an excellent appetiser
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A starter of blow-torched mackerel for one of my companions
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For my starter I chose Salmon and dill fishcakes with fennel salad
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Another starter of Quail with pea mash

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I chose a hearty-sized main course of veggie risotto 
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Another main course – Scampi with fries
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Sea trout with globe artichokes was another of our main courses
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Two of us chose the blackcurrant soufflé and raspberry sorbet for dessert
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Another dessert – Coffee and Chocolate bar with Guinness ice cream

We all enjoyed our splendid three-course meal from the a la carte menu which was beautifully presented. The bill came to £40 per person including drinks which I thought was on the pricey side, but then this was a birthday celebration lunch so it was well worth pushing the boat out!

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The picturesque Packhorse Bridge at Moulton, near Newmarket, Suffolk

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This pretty four-arched late medieval bridge spans the River Kennett on the old route from Cambridge to Bury St Edmunds

The Packhorse Inn

Bridge Street

Moulton

Newmarket

Suffolk

CB8 8SP

Tel: 01638751818

http://www.thepackhorseinn.com

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Afternoon Tea and a spa stay at Wyboston Lakes Hotel and SPA, near St Neots, Beds: June 2017

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Last Sunday my daughter and I enjoyed an excellent Afternoon Tea in The Waterfront restaurant at Wyboston Lakes Hotel and SPA, near St. Neots in Bedfordshire. To celebrate my daughters birthday we were booked into the hotel for the *Sunday Runaway spa package, (details below). Set in 350 acres, this modern 4 star hotel and spa, with a golf course and leisure centre is 2.8 miles from the market town of St. Neots.

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The Waterfront restaurant at Wyboston Lakes is in a lovely location
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A choice of loose-leaf tea was available with refills at no extra cost
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We were delighted to receive a glass of bubbly on the house as it was a special occasion
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This traditional Afternoon Tea had everything we would expect and more…..
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The ham on brioche was a delicious twist on the usual sandwich selection
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The food was served on pretty pink floral china
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The plain scones were served warm with strawberry jam and clotted cream
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The Waterfront traditional Afternoon Tea cost a very reasonable £13.95 per person
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My daughter ended her meal with a complimentary cup of coffee 
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The extensive terrace area outside the lounge bar and restaurant

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We enjoyed relaxing in the fabulous outdoor Hydrotherapy pool at Y Spa, Wyboston Lakes

*SUNDAY RUNAWAY Y Spa stay 

This Sunday night break includes dinner, bed and breakfast, and a full day’s use of thermal spa facilities on Monday which includes a two-course buffet lunch and a choice of one of the following treatments.

  • Y Spa Fresh Face
  • Y Spa Soothing Scalp
  • Y Spa Happy Hands

£119 per person

To book call 0333 7007 667 or email reservations@wybostonlakes.co.uk

 (Many thanks to Wyboston Lakes Hotel for use of the Spa photographs)

Wyboston Lakes Hotel and SPA,

Great North Road,

Wyboston,

Bedfordshire

MK44 3AL

http://www.wybostonlakes.co.uk

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Afternoon Tea at Cambridge’s cool new hotel The Tamburlaine

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The Tamburlaine hotel is located on Station Road in Cambridge, very close to the railway station
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We enjoyed our traditional Afternoon Tea in the plush and luxurious Garden Room

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Afternoon Tea was served on pretty bespoke china with linen napkins

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Unusually The Tamburlaine Afternoon Tea was served on a floor-standing three tiered stand

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The finger sandwiches were freshly made with delicious fillings of egg, smoked salmon, ham and cheese and cucumber

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The large freshly baked raisin and plain scones were served warm, and there were two of each

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The top tier held a selection of gorgeous miniature cakes and sweet and tangy Mango Panna Cotta mini desserts

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The scones were light and fluffy and served with strawberry jam and fresh cream

This brand new four-star hotel is the first UK property from the Irish O’Callaghan group, who own four stylish hotels in Dublin. The Tamburlaine is ideally located on Station Road close to the rail station at the heart of the extensive regeneration of this business and residential area, which has now changed out of all recognition. The 155-room hotel had only been open for three weeks when I visited yesterday, and work is still ongoing inside and out. The staff are very friendly and enthusiastic and they gave us a guided tour after our tea. I noticed that the restaurant has an impressive fine dining menu which I intend to sample sometime.

By the way, the hotel’s name Tamburlaine references a 16th-century play by Christopher Marlowe, who attended Corpus Christi College in the city.

My friend and I were celebrating her birthday and taking Afternoon Tea amid the genteel grandeur of the Colonial-style Garden Room made an excellent start to her celebrations. With ornate Victorian wallpaper and gorgeous silk velvet sofas, this is an exceptionally light and splendid room with a unique style.

The Tamburlaine traditional Afternoon Tea cost £21.50 per person and is priced on the high side for Cambridge, so not the best value for money but the surroundings more than compensate with a strong sense of occasion. One minor quibble though – I was surprised that a selection of loose-leaf tea blends wasn’t available, although we could have unlimited tea or coffee to accompany the food. Highly recommended.

Tamburlaine
27-29 Station Road
Cambridge
CB1 2FB
Tel: 01223 792888

email: z.pearse@ocallaghanhotels.com

http://www.thetamburlaine.co.uk

A delectable Afternoon Tea at the Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa : Newmarket, Suffolk – March 2017

This week I had not one but two good reasons to celebrate as it’s the 2nd anniversary of the date I started my blog and it was a friends birthday, so we treated ourselves to a delicious Full Afternoon Tea at the Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa in Newmarket, Suffolk.

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The Bedford Lodge Hotel is located on Bury Road, close to the centre of Newmarket

 

We ate in the elegant Squires restaurant which although contemporary was the epitome of comfort and luxury that one would expect from a 4 star country house hotel. It was very quiet on a Thursday afternoon so we had the restaurant entirely to ourselves. The service was friendly and attentive, and we were offered limitless refills of pots of tea which I always think is a prerequisite of an Afternoon Tea, but unfortunately this doesn’t happen everywhere.

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The finger sandwiches were served on a 3 tier stand and were very generously filled with smoked salmon, ham and egg mayo

The food was freshly-made and served on attractive Villeroy and Boch china, with white linen napkins and tablecloths. The finger sandwiches had exceptionally tasty fillings and were generously filled. The scones were extremely light and still warm when served with the very best lemon curd I have tasted anywhere. In fact, I liked it so much I asked if they sold it in pots to take home. (They didn’t!) We also had both plain and fruit scones, with plenty of clotted cream and strawberry jam.

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We enjoyed warm freshly baked scones, plain and fruit served with lemon curd, strawberry jam and clotted cream

In addition to a delightful selection of cakes and sweet treats we also enjoyed a refreshing seasonal fruit sundae served with a dark chocolate spoon, which was a lovely touch.

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The next course was a fresh seasonal fruit sundae served with a dark chocolate spoon

Presentation of the Afternoon Tea was especially attractive and appetising. Although we had skipped lunch deliberately we soon ran out of room, so a selection of cakes were boxed up for us to take home to enjoy later.

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An exquisite collection of sweet treats completed our meal

 

 

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The elegant entrance to the Bedford Lodge hotel

We had a guided tour of the elite spa adjacent to the hotel which has superb facilities at surprisingly affordable prices, so we plan to book a spa day there soon.

Newmarket is the ancestral home of British horseracing and a unique town in Suffolk which is well worth a visit. The Bedford Lodge Hotel would be an ideal location to stay, and I’m more than happy to recommend Afternoon Tea at the award-winning Squires restaurant – which is open to non-residents.

Next time I visit I intend to try the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea which was a quirky twist on the traditional. Our Afternoon Tea was £18.95 per person which was exceptionally good value, and is served from 2.30 to 5.30pm, throughout the year. This stylish hotel is set in lovely grounds and there is ample parking.

I only have one minor quibble, and that is the tea was not loose-leaf which one would expect from a hotel of this quality, but a selection of teas were available (or coffee if preferred).

Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa             

Bury Rd

Newmarket

CB8 7BX

http://www.bedfordlodgehotel.co.uk

For reservations call: 0800 6522991

 

The triumphant return of Cotto Restaurant – now at The Gonville Hotel, Cambridge

This week Steve and I dined at Cotto in it’s new home at The Gonville Hotel in Cambridge. The reopening of this highly acclaimed restaurant has been long-awaited and much anticipated, so after reading lots of ecstatic reviews we were very keen to see what has been a triumphant return for ourselves. Readers we weren’t disappointed – as the food, the service and the ambiance were all delightful. The perfectly cooked dishes were well-devised with interesting flavour combinations, and the presentation was nothing less than fine art on a plate. This is special occasion fine dining at it’s absolute best!

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Cotto is located at the front of The Gonville Hotel on Gonville Place, Cambridge
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The splendid and inviting entrance to Cotto can be found on the far side of the hotel’s bar area
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The tables had fresh flowers and I loved the chairs which were upholstered in crushed velvet
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The interior dining area was spacious and classy
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The Amuse-bouche featured mini-tartlets of hummus and Venison wasabi
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Black truffle and plain butter accompanied a delicious range of home-made bread
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This unusual centre-piece was certainly a talking point!
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For my starter I chose a piquant Loch Duart salmon and Cromer crab dish which had robust flavours including Soy, Wasabi, Ginger and Miso
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Steve chose the Gressingham Duck Terrine Parfait, with Spiced Apple and Plum Chutney for his starter ….

 

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and for his main course Steve enjoyed the Rack of Salt Marsh Lamb with Thyme, Rosemary and Natural Jus with seasonal vegetables

 

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For my main course I chose the Halibut with Olive Herb Crumb and Fregula Pearls

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cotto21 I chose ‘Chocolate Time‘ for my dessert – Papouasie Milk, Single Estates Dark and Milk Ice Cream.

The fine detail of this stunning dessert designed by Masterchef and chocolatier Hans Schweitzer was awesome. The plate was covered in a fine chocolate spiral which was so perfect I thought it was actually a design on the china !

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Steve chose to complete his meal with this splendid Cotto British Cheese selection with crackers and fruit. The cheeseboard included Vintage Barber Cheddar from Berks, Organic Meadow Brie from Bath, Wobbly Bottom Goat from Herts, and the Duke of Cambridge Blue from Cambs. As it was a special occasion he treated himself to a glass of Baros Port too !

 

 

Sublime, superb, and supreme are just three of the superlatives I could use to describe the Cotto dining experience. This is an inspirational partnership between The Gonville Hotel  and the restaurant. Now in the perfect location overlooking Parker’s Piece with the welcome additions of the hotel’s bar and car park Cotto can only go from strength to strength. We loved the design of the new restaurant which has been purpose built and is light, bright and welcoming, with décor which oozes taste and class. The attention to detail is obvious and the service is exemplary from a young, well-trained team who are professional, friendly and attentive without being intrusive.

 

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The Bar at The Gonville Hotel

 

We started our evening with a Gin and Tonic at the hotel bar and with dinner Steve chose a dry white wine from Germany – Schloss Johannesburg Yellow Seal, and I drank Prosecco.

Booking in advance is essential  and prices are £65 for three courses (minimum) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and £70 on Fridays and Saturdays. Expensive yes, but well worth it for a special dining experience which never disappoints.

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Cotto Restaurant at The Gonville Hotel

Gonville Place

Cambridge

CB1 1LY

Tel: 01223 302010

info@cottocambridge

Art, Afternoon Tea and Cocktails: London – January 2017

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Last week I had a lovely day out in London with a friend to celebrate her birthday. We started our day with a visit to The Switch House, – the new extension to the Tate Modern gallery in Southwark which opened to the public in June 2016.

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The 360 degree panoramic view from the 10th floor of The Switch House at Tate Modern was a spectacular start to our day

Having skipped lunch we were looking forward to enjoying a full Afternoon Tea at our next destination The Wolseley, a café-restaurant in the grand European tradition located on Piccadilly, London.

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The ornate and beautiful frontage of The Wolseley
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The Wolseley dining room is elegant and sophisticated with a grand atmospheric interior

In a classy and relaxed atmosphere we enjoyed The Wolseley’s full traditional Afternoon Tea, which had a lovely selection of finger sandwiches and small cakes, with freshly baked warm fruit scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam, and a choice of loose-leaf teas. At £28.50 per person I considered this to be excellent value, as we were offered more sandwiches and a second pot of tea at no extra charge. Although this place is always busy the service is remarkably good because they have lots of staff. The ambiance is buzzing and it was a super place for people-watching! It’s good to know that their scones and pastries are made on the premises, with an ever-changing selection of cakes, which typically might include a Battenberg or Sachertorte. Everything was perfection, from the white linen napkins, the marble-topped tables, the silver cutlery and tableware, to the bespoke china. We felt that this Afternoon Tea provided a quality experience and it’s the perfect venue for a special occasion. Highly recommended if you are looking for somewhere to eat in London, but booking is advisable.

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The Wolseley’s traditional Afternoon Tea was perfection and there was plenty of it!
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A nice touch to mark this special occasion – a  birthday tuile for my friend
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We enjoyed a tasty mix of finger sandwiches and were offered seconds!

The sandwiches were freshly-made and especially tasty with fillings of Chicken and tarragon, Smoked Salmon, Celery and Tomato, Cream cheese and cucumber, and Egg and Watercress.

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At The Wolseley the freshly-baked scones were kept warm under a silver cloche

                        

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There was even a bespoke goodie box to take home our left-overs!

A full Afternoon Tea is served from 3.00pm (3.30pm at weekends).

First opened as a prestigious car showroom in 1921 for Wolseley Motors Limited, the venue became The Wolseley in 2003 and soon became the famous institution it is today.

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We ended the day with cocktails at the fabulous bar of The Gilbert Scott, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Kings Cross, London

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The opulent interior of the 19th century Gilbert Scott bar

The Bar at The Gilbert Scott offers flavour, ingredients and theatre and provides the ultimate cocktail experience in show-stopping 19th century surroundings. Guests are welcome for drinks on a drop-in basis, and although I thought it was expensive, it was well worth it for a special occasion.

Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in the Bankside area of the London Borough of Southwark. It’s Britain’s national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group. Based in the former Bankside Power Station, the Tate holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art. Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world, and the new Switch House extension provides one of the best panoramic views over London free of charge, so it’s well worth a visit. As with the UK’s other national galleries and museums, there is no admission charge for access to the collection displays, which take up the majority of the gallery space.

The Wolseley

160 Piccadilly

London

W1J 9EB

Telephone: 020 7499 6996

http://www.thewolseley.com

Scenic Travels along The Upper Middle Rhine: A German Road Trip – Part 2

img_20160906_1323169-2Part 2 of our German road trip along the Middle Rhine area, including Koblenz and Cologne, and a mini-cruise on a boat which was part of the flotilla bound for the spectacular Rhine in Flames Festival at Oberwesel, (more firework pics follow later in this post.)img_20160910_2145332-2

We continued our journey to Koblenz, one of Germany’s oldest and most beautiful cities, situated on both banks of the Rhine at its confluence with the Moselle.

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We enjoyed this awesome cable-car ride which gave stunning panoramic views of Koblenz

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One of our stops was at Rüdesheim on The Rhine, a romantic and picturesque winemaking town in the Rhine Gorge and thereby part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. We found it very busy in September and extremely popular with tourists.

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I enjoyed another iced coffee and Steve had a *Rüdesheimer Kaffee, which he liked so much he brought home both the special cup and a bottle of Asbach brandy!img_20160908_1159542-2

*Rüdesheimer Kaffee is an alcoholic coffee drink from Rudesheim am Rhein in Germany  invented in 1957 by television chef, Hans Karl Adam. A delicious and popular drink in coffee houses, it’s made by adding Asbach Brandy and sugar cubes to a cup specially designed for this beverage. The brandy is flambéed and stirred for a minute until the sugar dissolves. Strong coffee is added, followed by a topping of thickly whipped cream sweetened with vanilla sugar, and finally chocolate flakes are sprinkled on top.

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We couldn’t resist another spectacular cable-car ride to the world-famous Niederwald Denkmal monument topped by the iconic central statue of Germania, from which there is one of the most scenic views over The Rhine Valley. monument

On another day our travels took us to Beilstein, which must surely be one of the Moselle Valley’s most picturesque old towns, nestled on a beautiful stretch of the river.mosel-3moselle-1

Every nook, cranny and corner of Beilstein was visually charming, with it’s magical fairy-tale style architecture.

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In the middle of our holiday came the highlight of our trip when we embarked on a mini-cruise from Koblenz to Oberwesel bound for The Rhine in Flames event. This firework extravaganza was really special, although it’s almost impossible to capture in photographs the magical atmosphere of being there and seeing the images live ….

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As dusk fell we became aware that we were one amongst dozens of boats which were all headed for Oberwesel where the Rhine in Flames display took place.

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Prominent buildings in Oberwesel were floodlit which added to the spectacle from our vantage point in a boat on the river. The display lasted a full 30 minutes and was accompanied by classical music. We both agreed it was the most impressive firework display we had seen anywhere, and The Rhine in Flames more than lived up to our expectations.

From Koblenz we moved onto the elegant city of Cologne for a few days before returning home…..

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Cologne’s Cathedral – known as The Dom is located in the city centre and a famous example of Gothic architecture in all it’s magnificence

Cologne Cathedral is Germany’s most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day. Currently it’s the tallest twin-spired church at 157 metres, which dominates the skyline. Cologne is the fourth-largest city in Germany, with more than ten million inhabitants. Steve and I had visited Cologne before for the Christmas markets, and liked it so much we had been keen to return in warmer weather.

We found a busy ‘holiday’ atmosphere along the Rhine embankment with lots of river excursions, stunning old town houses, hotels/restaurants galore and a vibrant nightlife.img_20160913_1255494-2

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We stayed at Das kleine Stapelhauschen, a quaint 13th century hotel in the historic Fish Market. A very central location situated on the banks of The Rhine and a big photo opportunity for tourists!

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We ate here….just one of dozens of waterfront restaurants with terraces affording panoramic views of The Rhine

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A final beer and a final nightcap at the end of a memorable road trip! We will be returning to Germany in December to explore the Christmas markets of Hamburg.

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Date night at The River Bar Steakhouse and Grill and Bridge Street Wine Bar

Regular readers will know that it’s very rare for me to write a negative review about anywhere, but our date night last week started with a disappointment and ended with a delight from two very contrasting places in Cambridge. Steve and I tried The River Bar Steakhouse and Grill for dinner because he fancied a steak, and this restaurant had been recommended. Unfortunately it failed to live up to our expectations for several reasons, although the location is excellent as it overlooks Quayside and Magdalene College. The River Bar is one the restaurants of The Cambridge Varsity Hotel located in Thompson’s Lane. Stylish and contemporary it promised much, but the food and delivery could have been better.

 

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For a starter Steve had Pan Fried Mussels with Chilli and Lemon which he enjoyed
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I chose Roasted Artichoke Frittata, with Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onion and Goats Cheese

The combination of flavours worked well in the frittata, but the problem was the egg continued to cook in the hot pan, so it became rubbery in texture.

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Steve chose a 12oz Ribeye Steak with chips for his main, but he wasn’t too keen on eating it from the  pan either
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We shared a Roquefort and Rocket side salad, but the croutons had an odd taste

Unfortunately the food looked better than it tasted, and we weren’t keen on the presentation. All the hot dishes on the menu were served in cast iron frying pans which didn’t work well with my egg-based dish. What’s wrong with plates!

This place is expensive and not good value for money in our opinion, as we paid £70 for three dishes and three drinks. From a high end restaurant we expect at least table linen, and complimentary bread. I asked for a jug of tap water and although our glasses were filled by waiting staff they were very reluctant to leave the water with me. The service was swift and overly attentive, so we felt rushed in and out. I understand that The River Bar focuses on wine and cocktails, but we were surprised that only bottled beer was available. (A small bottle cost an over-priced £4.90!) It is a hotel bar so we can’t be the only ones who would have expected to see at least one draught beer. Needless to say that overall we didn’t enjoy this dining experience, and wouldn’t recommend it as a destination restaurant.

However it was only 9pm and the night was still young when we left the restaurant, so determined to salvage the evening we intended to move onto a pub for more drinks. Walking around the corner from Quayside into Bridge Street we were attracted to the brightly lit Bridge Street Wine Bar, part of the Cambridge Wine Merchant group, which looked very inviting with the red glow of it’s tea-lights.

Cambridge Wine Merchants Bridge Street Wine Bar

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We were greeted warmly on arrival and shown to a table where we found a lovely ambiance, knowledgeable staff and an interesting and eclectic drinks menu. I drank a local cider, Side-R Strawberry from Glebe Farm, Steve chose a glass of Les Sablières Cotes Du Rhone, and we tried a couple of the more obscure gins. I enjoyed a glass of Mason’s Yorkshire Tea Gin, and Steve sampled Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin from Germany, which he liked so much he ended up buying a bottle to take home!

The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly and along with our drinks we shared a cheese plate  (White Lady and Suffolk Blue from a selection) with red onion chutney and crackers. It’s table service and the staff are very happy to help with drink recommendations and answer any questions.

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It was the perfect way to end the evening and we will definitely return to the Bridge Street Wine Bar for a drink next time we are in the area. It doesn’t surprise me that Cambridge Wine Merchants have been voted the UK’s no.1 Independent Drinks Retailer no less than three times, and they have other shops in Cambridge on Cherry Hinton Road, Mill Road and Kings Parade. It’s worth checking out their website for ‘tasting’ events too.

Cambridge Wine Merchants Bridge Street Wine Bar

31, Bridge Street

Cambridge

CB2 1UJ

Tel: 01223 568989

http://www.cambridgewine.com   

                     

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The Wine Bar area is at the front of the retail shop with plenty of outdoor seating

 

The Upper Middle Rhine – a memorable German road trip Part 1 : September 2016

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This month Steve and I visited the picturesque Upper Middle Rhine Valley area of Germany for a road trip incorporating the spectacular “Rhine in Flames”. We flew to Cologne Bonn Airport, picked up a hire car and drove to Oberwesel, staying at the delightful Gasthaus Weingut Stahl, (a hotel, restaurant and winery) which was our base for the first three days.030a-550x400

Oberwesel is a town situated on the River Rhine’s left bank in the Rhine Gorge, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, between the neighbouring towns of St Goar and Bacharach. I had often wondered why there are so many Rhine river cruises and now I know why! The scenery is absolutely spectacular along this busy stretch of the river, so we enjoyed boat trips and several cable car rides to take full advantage of the views.

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Whilst sightseeing in the exceptionally hot sunny weather for the time of year we enjoyed an early lunch, usually accompanied by a beer for Steve and an iced coffee for me, and lots of surprisingly expensive bottled water!
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Just one of several Flammkuchen I enjoyed over the holiday, – like this sweet one with apples, raisons, and crème fraiche
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Steve tucked into Bratwurst, Mustard (senf), and Pommes Frittes and of course a Bitburger, Germany’s No 1 draft beer at the Biergarten am Pegelhaus in Kaub

Kaub is a picturesque town located on the right bank of the Rhine, a short distance down river from Oberwesel. We found it was easy and inexpensive to travel across The Rhine by the ferries which operate between the towns on either side.

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The ferry to Kaub, followed by some images of the historic and colourful town’s architecture

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In the evening on the first night we walked into Oberwesel town and had a lovely meal at the Historische Weinwirtschaft, a traditional German restaurant where we also enjoyed some local beers seated outside on the terrace.

For dinner we ate delicious trout fillets cooked in butter with almonds and fried potatoes (Bratkartoffeln) accompanied by a crisp house salad.IMG_20160905_1826477 (2).jpgoIMG_20160905_1826404 (2).jpg

On our second day of sightseeing we drove to the chocolate-box pretty town of Bacharach with it’s many fine examples of timber-frame houses, where we enjoyed more iced coffees and shared a slice of chocolate gateau in a little café off the main square. (I wasn’t counting the calories on this holiday!)img_20160907_1132176-2

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The Rathaus (Town Hall) in Bacharach was an impressively decorative building

In the afternoon we climbed to the top of Lorelei Rock, a place of folklore, myth and legend for more stunning views …..800px-loreley_rhine_valley_wp_d_schmidt_08_07

The Lorelei (in German Loreley) is a 132 metre high, steep slate rock on the right bank of the River Rhine in the Rhine Gorge at St Goar. It’s famous for the legend of The Lady of Lorelei, and statue and the rock are major tourist attractions in the area.lady

The “Lorelei” statue sits on a narrow arm of land jutting out into the Rhine River between St. Goar and St. Goarshausen.The tales of a woman named Lorelei in Germany’s Rhine River Valley date back several centuries, and according to legend, many boats lie at the bottom of the Rhine River because of her.img_20160906_1629431

Back at Gasthaus Stahl on the second evening we enjoyed an excellent meal followed by a tasting in the wine cellar which was one of the highlights of our stay, along with the most lavish and substantial buffet spread at breakfast, which was second to none.

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Our meal was accompanied by a glass Sparkling Riesling for me and Muller-Thurgau wine for Steve

For dinner at Gasthaus Stahl I enjoyed a hearty meal of pan-fried salmon with risotto, and Steve had a Sirloin steak with herb butter and fried potatoes, accompanied by sparkling Riesling for me, and a bottle of Muller-Thurgau wine for him. (Steve is a BIG fan of German wines, and I discovered a real liking for Sparkling Riesling on this holiday – which was new to me.)

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The wine cellar at Gasthaus Stahl generously offered unsupervised tastings to guests, which we fully appreciated!

 

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We ended our stay at this excellent hotel with a glass of their homemade elderflower liquer

For a superb place to stay which is an ideal base for touring the area I highly recommend….

Gasthaus Weingut Stahl

Am Talblick 6

55430 Oberwesel-Dellhofen

Rhineland-Palatinate

Germany

Tel:  06744 / 416

email: info@gasthaus-stahl

http://www.gasthaus-stahl

I’m also happy to recommend this excellent restaurant in Oberwesel…..

Historische Weinwirtschaft

Liebfrauenstr. 17, 55430 Oberwesel

Tel: 06744/8186 

email:info@historischeweinwirtschaft.de

http://www.historische-weinwirtschaft.de

Part 2 of our road trip in the Middle Rhine area coming soon…..

My birthday Afternoon Tea at Poets House Hotel, in Ely, Cambs

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Happy Birthday Granny Apples! My daughter had arranged this birthday greeting and the candles
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The Poets House Afternoon Tea arrived on the traditional 3 tier cake stand
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These exceptionally good finger sandwiches with classic fillings were freshly made
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We both felt that these were possibly the best scones we had come across in an Afternoon Tea. The Poets House plain and fruit scones were warm, light, and had a melt in the mouth consistency. 
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Unfortunately the cakes, and mini-dessert promised much but looked better than they tasted, so were a disappointing element.

For one of my birthday treats this week my daughter took me for Afternoon Tea at Poets House, which is a charming hotel in the heart of historic Ely, in Cambridgeshire.

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Poets House hotel is located on St Mary’s Street, Ely, Cambs with views of Ely Cathedral

Originally consisting of three Grade II listed properties of the early 1900s, Poets House is a uniquely stylish hotel, restaurant and event venue. A blend of original charm with innovative contemporary interiors, this hotel combines luxury and comfort. We both felt that this would be a lovely hotel for tourists to stay in.

The Study is a light, airy, relaxing lounge and bar where we sank into the sofas and ate from low marble topped tables, whilst sampling the Poets House traditional afternoon tea.

 We chose a pot of tea each from an extensive range to accompany a selection of finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and jam, and mini-cakes and a dessert. Fresh pots of tea were available at no extra charge, and we drank copious amounts of iced water, as it was one of the hottest days of the year.

The finger sandwiches were filled with smoked salmon and lemon creme fraiche, cucumber with dill cream cheese, honey roast ham and mustard, and egg with peppery watercress. They were extremely fresh and obviously made to order as we had quite a wait before the food arrived. Likewise the scones were warm from the oven and freshly-baked, and probably tasted better than any other ‘afternoon tea scones’ we had eaten anywhere. The scone recipe was different and my daughter (who is a baker) described the texture as resembling a sponge. These melt in the mouth scones were accompanied by a very generous amount of Devonshire clotted cream, and a choice of preserve.

The top tier held a lovely-looking selection of sweet treats which were a disappointment upon tasting. The blackcurrant panna cotta dessert hadn’t set properly, (possibly due to the heat) and the macarons had a peanut butter filling, which we found quite an odd combination.

Service was on the slow side, but efficient and friendly. A nice leisurely way to spend an afternoon in elegant surroundings, and a birthday treat for me, complete with a greeting and candles!

I noticed that unusually a Childrens Afternoon Tea was available at £4.25.

This Afternoon Tea cost £15 a per person, and needs to be pre-booked

Poets House Hotel and Restaurant
40 St Mary’s St
Ely
Cambs
CB7 4EY

Tel: 01353 887777 or e-mail reception@poetshouse.uk.com

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The very splendid frontage of Ely Cathedral