Le Banthai, Nice

Even here in the labyrinths of old town Nice, all I can crave is noodles and/or rice. I attribute that to my Asian household upbringing. It’s quick, cheap and a lot more fuss-free than some of the other options. I headed into a popular little Thai haunt called Le Banthai. The kitchen is definitely Thai, even if all the staff are perfectly French! The couple who started it all is in fact, Thai. I went with the Pad Thai option and it makes for an authentic experience, the usual much revered South-Eastern Asia flavours on offer. All the lunch specials are at 12€ but I’d say the curries may have been a better bet. They looked impressive. The noodle dish is alright but tastes a bit flat (excuse the pun). It wasn’t the biggest portion and lacked a kick that I’ve found in other Thai restaurants. More sweetness? More grill-age? Also, the menu font is Papyrus. I feel like that is important information to consider.

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7/10

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Nando’s, Fitzrovia, London

I can never get enough of Nando’s and a recent Nando’s sauce retail promotion that offers a free quarter chicken had me clicking at my heels to get back in. The store in Fitzrovia was closed a painfully long time, so I had to make a few attempts to get in. One of my favourite parts of the (British) Nando’s experience is the sauces at the ready. I don’t recall this feature in Australia or New Zealand ever being so strong. And onto the food. I had the Peri-Peri fries (£2.45) and the fino coleslaw (£3.25) sides along with my mango lime chicken (£3.95). Before you throw me out, this sauce is nice. The sweet and sour make a perfect pairing for this cop out basting. Chips – amazing as always. Coleslaw, way overdressed and not as special as I was hoping for. This was the fancier coleslaw option with beetroot and a yoghurt dressing, so at least it wasn’t too calorific. Chicken – good as always. A quarter isn’t enough of a portion but the meat’s well, the skin’s crisp and that sauce. Until the next Nando’s review!

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7/10

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Maitre Choux, South Kensington, London

So this is a very good eclair. But it’s also outrageously expensive. It’s £4.90 – £5.80 PER eclair, with another pound slapped on if you dine in. That was more than my lunch. Yes, Joakim Prat is a three Michelin star pastry chef, but these weren’t the best eclairs I’ve had to date. That title would go to Christophe Adam’s L’éclair de génie (for now). These are some of the prettiest I’ve seen and the shops in a fitting suburb for the aesthetics. This was a busy store and there were plenty of people more than happy to try them out too. I went for the perfectly pink and feminine Delice Rose A La Framboise (Spanish Raspberry Pink) and this was delicious. A good eclair, a fruity, full-on filling. The mousse has a slight sourness which balances out the sweetness of the fresh raspberries, as well as undertones of rose water. At Maitre Choix they go all out with custom printed chocolates, edible pearls and gold leaf. There’s no expense spared. How fitting.

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7.5/10

Maitre Choux Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Tim Horton’s, Glasgow

I’m not Canadian, and I only spent a week in Toronto, but still, something about seeing Tim Horton’s in Glasgow, Scotland brings a smile to my face. The food’s not even good but there’s some charm that I instinctively associate with Canadian things. And I’m not alone there. It’s proper busy. We went to this branch, which happens to be first store in Europe, twice over our Scottish weekend too. The menu is a bit smaller, but otherwise features the same Tim Horton’s Classic. Donuts, Timbits, fruit explosion muffins, mediocre coffee, it’s all here in identical form. The prices maintain their reasonable level and the staff are even quicker than the ones in Canada: I had my box of Tibits before I even finished paying. I’m not sure if you really ever come to Tim Horton’s for the food – the sausage egg muffin is a bit blah, the coffee blah, the donuts alright. I think I hope to see a few more around (but not too many more).

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7/10

Cacao, Nové Město, Prague

The busiest place on any hot day (and there’s a lot of them here in Prague) is always the ice-cream parlour. Cacao in Nové Město seems to one of the pre-eminent ones in this city. I learnt a lesson on this day. When a menu items states XL, they are not kidding. I ordered the Peru XL for 135 CZK which features chocolate and vanilla ice-cream, chocolate cream, biscuits, roasted almonds, oh, and more cream. This glass vessel was gigantic. This is a family-size feed. At Cacao the ice-cream is home-made and it’s of a very good make. I wouldn’t say it’s the most striking in isolation, but here in this sundae with everything else, it works a treat. There’s no way I could manage to eat my way out of this situation but I did what I could and happily moved on.

cacao-gelato

8/10

Cacao Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Restaurant Hyggestund, Copenhagen

All you need to say is “chicken waffle” and I’m on your table ready to devour. That’s what happened at Restaurant Hyggestund, which happened to be my first meal in Copenhagen. It had a nice level of crowd as well as the mentioned chicken and waffle. Other American-type cuisine is also available, cool to see biscuits and gravy as an option. The setup at Hyggestund means you order at the counter before the food arrives to you. The waffle comes to 130 DKK, the donut 25 DKK, and the juice 40 DKK. Copenhagen prices did seem a little out of whack, the drinks are always expensive. The twist on the waffles here is a cheddar cheese sauce. This didn’t quite do it for me, it wasn’t straight cheese and means a heavy dish feel even heavier. It’s a thick sauce so almost solidifies in a way. The rest of the dish is great. The chicken (about three small pieces) is enough with the maple syrup offering her good sugary self. The waffle itself is crisp and ranks alright. I had two Danish girls declare their orders of the same dish looked nothing like mine so perhaps there’s a consistency issue. I dunno.

hyggestund

7.5/10

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Oberweis, Luxembourg

Not to be confused with the American fast-food chain, Oberweis is a national treasure in Luxembourg city. The patisserie will lure you in, but even the a la carte meals are something special too. Initially, I was bummed to have missed out sampling the sweet stuff, but to my prayers, Oberweis also have a store in the airport. This speaks to how generous these serves are. And they do have six stores in total, so there’s no excuse to miss out. For this Lunchtime I ordered the hefty chicken vol-au-vent, and my counterpart went for the omelette with fries and salad. Unlike the one I sampled in Brussels this was miles better. The pastry is golden, buttery and crisp and the overflowing filling is creamy with chunks of chicken and mushroom. There’s plenty here and the dish has a balance of those classical French tastes. There’s a touch of sweetness from the white wine that hits the back of your tongue in a pleasing way. And then if you’re ready for more, there’s a whole five or so cabinets waiting for you.

oberweis

8.5/10

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Chicken Cottage, Kilburn, London

What’s clucking near you? Today’s review is of the Kilburn branch of the Chicken Cottage chain. Britain has such a curious obsession with these cute cut-priced eateries. It’s laughably cheap how it all is, though one must wonder how they keep those prices down. For £3.89 the two piece cottage meal comes with two wings, fries and drink. There’s a lot of fries too, these guys ain’t playin’. The batter on the chicken is quite enjoyable, it’s very clearly emulating that KFC taste. But I didn’t find the quality of meat up to scratch. The wings are a bit weirdly small and the full pieces don’t do it either. The fries are average but are served fresh from the fryer and with peri-peri salt if you asked nicely. There are better than the ones at Eden’s Cottage, which are the only thing that let down that store.

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6/10

Chicken Cottage Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ballanger Confiserie Creperie, Nice

The pinkest store I’ve been to do date. And quite intoxicating. Not unlike the food. Which is sweet treats like waffles, crepes, ice-cream, candy floss and cakes. It’s an adorable venue at the Ballanger Confiserie Creperie and it’s open long hours. So it can be both either a good start to the morning or the evening or anything else in between. The queues do get long, as you can imagine it seems a popular haunt for the local adolescents. I went for the cinnamon/ chocolate/ cream waffle which is a very big serve. But you would already know this as there are display models presented in the window. Hmm. It wasn’t my favourite waffle, tasted a bit dry and the toppings are heavy-handed. Something more buttery, rich or delicate would have been memorable. I also don’t need quite so much cream but it sure does leave an impression. One on my diet that is. Even though it’s not the best tasting food, it’s a cool little experience at Ballanger in a very bright store.

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7/10

Cottonrake Bakery, West End, Glasgow

I had spent my morning at the Botanical Gardens and after a unfriendly Uber experience, I was in need of some more sunshiny times. Luckily I found that in my breakfast stop at the Cottonrake Bakery. Something about the people of Glasgow made my time such an enjoyable one, and the service from the get go is up to par here too. There’s just the one store and they offer some incredible baking in a relaxed atmosphere. Surprised there isn’t more hype. The food looked so good in the cabinet and as prayed for, they delivered to their aesthetics. I had the pork and black pudding sausage roll and one of the raspberry, fig and pistachio tarts. One of the best for both categories actually. The black pudding was a distinct but not overpowering element and the roll in totality was highly satisfactory. I was very happy to have finished on the tart, which had a buttery, sweet filling. The presentation of all items was fab and as such would highly recommend the Cottonrake Bakery.

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9/10

Cottonrake Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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