The Crow and I went to Spice Merchant in Henley the other day for supper. Having already been to Spice Merchant in Beaconsfield and Cookham, I had a fair idea of what to expect, however I wasn’t expecting the decor to be quite so “city”, especially for quaint little Henley, and it was quite impressive (especially when you have seen the more cosy look and feel of the other two restaurants).
Anyway, the popadums and the sauce they serve it with were fantastic – I could have kept eating them all night long. We skipped starters as it was quite late already and went straight onto main. I had sikindari badi lamb – my absolute favourite of Spice Merchant’s dishes. They always give such a large portion and every bit of it is so delicious and it’s always a bit of a challenge to finish it (but I have no qualms about taking leftovers home in a doggy bag – things always taste better the next day, anyway).
The Spice Merchant in Henley is a bit pricier than your average Indian curry house, but definitely worth it, in my opinion.
a flaming birthday brownie
Saturday night saw me celebrating RP’s birthday at Brinkley’s in Chelsea. There was a good atmosphere there and I think we all had a good time. As there were quite a few of us we were given a limited menu to choose from – which is to be expected really. I had a starter of fig, prosciutto and mozzarella, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. The fig was good – perfectly ripe, although too cold – it felt as though it had been taken straight from the fridge. The proscuitto was as expected – although only one slice! How stingy! The mozzarella was pretty average – not as tasty as it could be and a little on the rubbery side – it tasted like supermarket standard. The whole plate was fair, but could have done with a touch of olive oil to finish it off.
My main was a rack of lamb. It wasn’t too bad – slightly overdone for my liking, but it was a good-sized portion, and was quite tasty. For dessert I chose a selection of Italian cheeses. I received 4 small slices of cheese and 4 biscuits (again, slightly stingy IMO). The cheeses weren’t anything amazing, but perfectly good. But actually all in all, for the amount it cost us for food and for drink (and we certainly consumed a lot of wine), I think it was very good value for money, especially as I was expecting “Chelsea” prices. And sometimes, just sometimes, a good night out with friends can more than make up for any lackings in the food department!
Old Luxters Barn
Went to a lovely wedding yesterday for my friend DB. In fact it was one of the loveliest weddings that I’ve ever been to. It was intimate, friendly and really good fun. The ceremony took place in Frieth Church – a pretty little village church in Buckinghamshire, and then the reception was 3 miles away, crossing the Bucks/ Oxon border, at Old Luxters Barn, which was set within the grounds of the Chiltern Valley Vineyard.
It always amazes me on the occasions when caterers, can turn out consistently good food when looking after so many people. The canapes were delicious and included mini fish and chips, wrapped up in a newspaper cone.
For the main event, we had a starter of red mullet, a main of (rare) lamb and a dessert of a strawberry torte (I managed to snaffle a second torte). The quality of the food was very impressive.
At around 10pm some bacon sandwiches were served, which apparently were very good. Unfortunately by then, I was far more interested in consuming liquids, so missed out!