Finest Wine Words

Friday, August 29, 2014

What's the first thing you look at when selecting wine: The label? The vintage? The discription?

The words on the back of a bottle don't mean much to me. After much deliberation I could pick 'a rich and smooth red with hints of summer berries' only to get it home to discover it's sharp and floral.

So, on Wednesday I attended a tasting event hosted by Tesco, who I believe have a great approach to wine. 

As part of the Tesco wine team’s continued efforts to help customers better understand wine, Tesco invited bloggers, journalists and wine lovers to create customer friendly descriptions for each of its 100 *finest wines. 

These descriptions were then translated into ‘word clouds’ and will be used in a variety of ways in store and online to help customers when selecting wine.

With over 100 wines on offer, I perched myself firmly at the dessert wine. Here I found the star of the show: a deliciously sweet tipple with hints of orange - perfect for pairing with cheese and rich chocolate desserts.

Hopefully my novice wine descriptions will be of some use to the Tesco wine team ('smells like Christmas' was accurate, afterall...). 

The Boat Yard

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Over the bank holiday weekend the family and I visited The Boat Yard in Leigh-on-sea. 

Set along the seafront next to the cockle sheds, the restaurant enjoys views across the eastry. 

Whilst we had lunch, we watched the tide go out to reveal the surprisingly pretty mud flats. This, teamed with upbeat (but not overbearing) live music set the perfect scene for lunch beside the sea side. 

As we visited on a Sunday, we chose a meal from the set menu. The whole family enjoyed freshly prepared food, including roast beef and the 'fish of the day' salmon, served with a lobster sauce. 

The 3 fish tartlet in particular was delicious, with a crumbly pastry case and flavoursome filling, and the cheese platter was served with a sweet rosemary chutney that we're still thinking of... 

The Boat Yard is somewhere special, yet very responsibly priced - ideal for both lazy Sunday afternoons or livley Friday nights. 

Water Revelution

Sunday, June 15, 2014

So, I've joined the water revelation and bought myself a Bobble. 

The mission? To reduce plastic waste by starting a revolution around stigmatising single-serve water bottles and the outrageous waste they create. 

To entice myself to drink more water, I've been flavouring my Bobble with sliced cucumber, mint, lemon, camomile and orange slices - flavoured filter water, without costing the earth. 

Join the revolution. Hashtag your bobble photos with taste the #waterrevolution 

The Dead Dolls House

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I recently visited the Dead Dolls house to celebrate my 23rd birthday. 

Upon entering the club house was impressive - drawings of fireplaces and windows adorned the walls, an array of gin based cocktails were on offer and candelabras airily lit the dinning room. 

Having booked for a large party, we chose off a set menu before our visit. 

Our run-of-the-mill starters consisted of ham hock terrine, red pepper soup and prawn cocktail. All were edible, but somewhat uninspiring for a concept resaurant - where was that heston-esque touch portrayed on its Instagram? 

The main courses were delicious - salmon with olives and tomatoes, chicken with black pudding and duck egg with truffle potatoes.

Unfortunately the freezer was broken on the night we visited, so we didn't get to try the Terry's Chocolate Orange concoction. We did however try the infamous 'eggs and soldiers', which was fun!  

Disappointingly the service took the glimmer off our evening. The waitress 'looking after us' was cringely awful, and numberous service disasters left me and my guests simply frustrated.  

After complaining we were offered a discount (after much persuasion) and complementry presseco, but this took an extrodinary amount of time to arrange. 

In theory this venue could have made a fantastic setting for Friday night dinner - their cocktails and drink selection were superb, as was the decor and music. 

However, the poor service dominated the evening, and lack of attention to detail failed to rescue the celebration. 

For such a hyped up venue, I think you can find better places to eat around Hoxton. 

If you're hell bent on visiting, I'd recommend The Dead Dolls House for lazy afternoon drinks on their roof terrace - skip the food. 

Simply Seafood

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The simply seafood stall next to the Warren Wood pub in Buckhurst Hill is causal dinning at its best. 

This no frills hidden gem is based on the outskirts of Epping Forest, making it the perfect place to grab a bite after a walk around Connaught Waters. 

The Eastend styled stall may not be pretty to look at, but serves up an array of seafood such as dressed crabs, king prawn kebabs, jellied eels and hot smoked salmon. 

My favourites include their fresh water Oysters (£1 each), scallop and bacon roll (£3.50), chorizo halloumi and scallop salad (£5) and hot mackerel with horseradish (£2.50). 

If you live locally it's defiantly worth a visit on a warm day - but be prepared for queues around lunch time. 

There's pleanty of benches to sit on outside, and there's the pub next door to grab a pint from. 

The stall is open Thursday - Sunday until 11pm.