Savages Fish & Chips, Caistor, May 2018

It’s a quick fish’n’chip shop post. It’s been a lovely sunny day, and we are in Caistor for the long weekend to enjoy a few lovely walks in the sunshine. We started this afternoon, walking around Mausoleum Woods on the Brocklesby Estate. I don’t think we’ve ever seen so many mausolea in one place.

We finished our walk around 6pm and then headed back to Caistor to pick up some fish’n’chips and then take them back to the campsite for some al fresco dining.

We were starving and everyone had soon wolfed down their fish’n’chips (and other non fish items). So fast in fact that there are no photos of this fabled meal, so instead here’s a sunset photo.

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All you need to know is that the fish’n’chips were lovely, freshly cooked, crisp batter and still piping hot when we got back. The added bonus was the overheard awkward conversation in the chip shop. It is sandwiched between a Co-op and a Co-op funeral directors. A small child was asking their grandparent what a funeral was, and specifically “do we need one?” The response came back, quick as a flash, “let’s talk about that later…”

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Plank & Leggit, Sawley Marina, March 2018

Another night out with walking friends, where someone else chooses the pub and we’re really just there for the chat and a bite to eat. Same story tonight, a chance to catch up with a few people who we’ve not seen for a while, and a few who are regulars in these pages.

Tonight, the pub classic of fish’n’chips, which was nothing special and Mrs MOFAD had a pub curry, which was better.

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You might just catch a glimpse of my pint of lime and soda. Because despite being just a few hundred yards from an actual brewery, there’s only Greene King filth available here. Lime and soda it is. Every time.

The Marquis Cornwallis, Bloomsbury, March 2018

A lunch stop in London. The Marquis, affectionately known (by Mrs MOFAD and I at least) as the Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames’ character from Pulp Fiction) is a pub that has featured here before. Having stayed at the hotel opposite a number of times, it’s somewhere I’ve been to quite a bit.

As I was in the area, I popped in for lunch, and there was time for a drink and a sandwich. The drink was another Thornbridge beer, thanks to their craft beer residency also being here. This was Ena, a nitro milk stout that was smooth, sweet and creamy. Little coffee hint and plenty of roastiness.

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Lunch was a posh fish finger sandwich (I love a posh fish finger) and chips, and was perfectly pleasant.

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It’s good to see that the Marquis is still on good form after a recent refit. More than can be said for our more local Marquis Wellington, which we are still boycotting.

The Crown and Two Chairmen, Soho, February 2018

It’s another “pre-show dining” post, but with a difference. This is London pre-show dining, and a rather special show. I’ll get on to that in a minute.

Trying to find somewhere to eat before a show at the Soho Theatre can be a tricky proposition. At the weekend, you really need to have booked somewhere if you want to guarantee getting in to the place that you chose in advance. On a snowy midweek evening you might just be in with a better chance of finding a table, and I managed to grab one and order some food and drink.

Part of my reason for choosing this pub was that it was part of the Thornbridge “craft beer residency” running between the last week of January and the middle of March. This essentially means that those nice Thornbridge folks are invading lots of London pubs for seven and a bit weeks, and there will always be some Thornbridge beers in cask, keg or bottles (they are still can refuseniks).

Yes, I know that there are plenty of local (London) breweries around, but you don’t always find them in London pubs (too much Greene King estate around for my liking). So I’m happy to support some beer that has made a very similar journey to the one that I took to get here.

So, with all that preamble over, a Thornbridge Versa (left) kicks things off, a wheat beer with that classic profile of banana and clove, and a slight sweetness. Very nice.

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Also pictured is my other drink, more local this time, Fine and Dandy (right) from Truman’s Brewery, a famous London name which died in 1989 but came back in 2010, with a new brewery opening in Hackney Wick in 2013. It’s not quite heyday Truman’s (which was once the biggest brewery in the world) but it’s good to see this big name back in London. A good old fashioned brown ale too, sweet and malty, evoking memories of the past.

On to dinner next, lots of interesting pub grub to choose from which is exactly what you want to see. My choice was southern fried chicken with cherry BBQ sauce, fries & slaw (and a single unadvertised leaf).

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It was really nice, a good spicy kick to the wonderfully crisp batter, a nice sweet/sour/sticky balance to the cherry BBQ sauce and some good chips (complete with pointless tin cup). A decent meal in a cracking pub.

A cracking pub that is ideally situated for visitors to the Soho Theatre, which is where I was off to next, to see the band formerly known as “New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo”, but now known as as “the almost award-winning fourth-most-popular folk duo in New Zealand”, aka Flight of the Conchords.

These were last minute warm up gigs for their forthcoming arena tour. We didn’t get tickets for that (having given arena comedy a few goes, it just doesn’t work for me), and I was rather happy to snap up the last ticket for tonight’s gig. The new songs still need a bit more practice, and there won’t be any crowd surfing after a recorder solo at the O2, but it was a brilliant night, certainly helped by a good pub trip beforehand!

Ruby’s Fish and Chips, Thringstone, February 2018

It’s another “no photo” post (the header picture is the best sea photo I could find at short notice).

We were out for a night of planning with regular MOFAD companions Karon & John, and needed some food for the brain. Luckily they live just around the corner from one of Leicestershire’s nine best fish’n’chip shops, according to some lazy local journalism in the Leicester Mercury. In the “article” they just quoted bits of the reviews of various establishments from TripAdvisor and called that a comprehensive round up.

I maintain that Rothley Fisheries (where Sven-Göran Eriksson allegedly used to go for fish’n’chips when he was Leicester City manager) is the best one, but Ruby’s should rank prettly highly on the list. I had a massive whale (cod) and some chips and it was very nice indeed. Crisp batter, nice fluffy chips and all perfectly cooked. I’m sure we’ll be back again.

Syston Fish Bar, January 2018

This was not in our plans. However, due to some timing errors, we didn’t have time to eat at another pub before “My Pointless Friend Richard” attempted to reclaim their Intercare quiz crown at The Victoria Inn. So an emergency executive decision was executed and we popped in to the Syston Fish Bar for some fish’n’chips. However, no-one had explained to the staff that they would need to serve customers and learn how to operate a till. It took the guy serving at least 5 minutes to ring up 2 meals.

The fish’n’chips was ok, nothing very special. It filled a hole and fed the brains in advance of quizzing. It was hoovered up quickly, so no photo.

Centro Lounge, Loughborough, January 2018

The latest in the series of “cinema and dinner” posts. Tonight’s film was the fantastic Early Man, and whilst there were very few people in the cinema, this was no reflection on the excellence of the film.

Our go to pre/post cinema dining place is Centro Lounge, not least because it is next door to the cinema. That often leads to familiar menu choices, and occasional dalliances with the monthly specials. Familiar tonight, Mrs MOFAD went for some tapas, and I went for the Buttermilk Fried Chicken with skin on fries, chipotle mayo and “house slaw”. Recipes that use buttermilk will tell you that its acid content tenderises the chicken, and that certainly was the case here, very moist chicken with a nice crispy coating.

The chipotle mayo has a nice warm kick to it, but the slaw was another one that was heavy on the red onion. The trend nowadays seems to be that slaw (aka red slaw) represents a dish with either a light vinaigrette or no dressing and coleslaw (aka white slaw) comes with mayonnaise.