The Basin, Loughborough, August 2016

A quick post. Regular MOFAD drinking companion Alec usually organises a summer meal of some sort, usually to coincide with increasing age by a year. A bit later than usual this year, but we find ourselves in The Basin, a minimalist restaurant serving Chinese, Thai and Japanese cuisine.

We were supposed to go to the awesome Needle & Pin first for a drink but Arriva buses had other ideas, leaving us hanging around at the bus stop for around half an hour’s valuable drinking time.

So when we eventually got to town, it was straight to the Basin for a drink first. And despite interesting things like Hitachino Nest being available at Wagamama, The Basin haven’t really caught up with this modern thinking, and have a very average selection. So Hoegaarden is the best choice, a fruity witbier with a touch of coriander and orange that works well with the food. A few of these were consumed.

A hoisin duck temaki to start, a hand roll of sticky rice, shredded duck, cucumber, spring onion and sweet hoisin sauce. Classic Oriental starter stuff. A nice little pea of wasabi on the side, not for the faint hearted.

To the main course. Salmon teryaki, a Japanese classic served with simple boiled rice. Yay! And pointless iceberg lettuce. Boo! What a waste of space that lettuce is, taking up valuable real estate on the plate where something much tastier could be sitting.

A pleasant meal certainly, but that unadvertised iceberg rather leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

Jintana Thai Restaurant, Ambleside, December 2015

New Year’s Eve is a traditional takeaway night for us. Who wants to pay 5 quid to get in to a pub that is free to enter on 364 days of the year? So it’s an easy night in, no cooking, and the drink of your choice. And no queue to get to the bar. And no drunken idiots yelling in your ear.

For most of the last 15 years, we’ve been opting for a Chinese takeaway, but in the last couple of years, we have switched allegiances to Thai. As usual over the festive period, Doi Intanon was closed, so it was off to Jintana, our Thai of choice for New Year’s Eve. Mr Predictable strikes again – a starter of chicken satay with peanut chilli sauce and a chicken mussaman curry:-

The mussaman is probably one of the most consistent curries across different venues, with meat, potato, carrot, onion and peanuts almost always present. Jintana’s mussaman is a good one, with a nice hint of chilli.

One other item of note, the last beer of 2015, this Bibble from The Wild Beer Co – a fruity pale ale that cans well, and a very tasty way to finish off a year of lovely beers…

Happy new year!

Jintana Thai Restaurant, Ambleside

New Year’s Eve has a few simple traditions for us. One of those is a takeaway. This started back in about 2001 and has continued pretty much every year since. For most years, this has involved a Chinese takeaway from Jade Garden, but after a few uninspiring efforts, and even finding it closed one year, we have switched allegiance to Thailand.

Perhaps surprisingly for such a small village, Ambleside has two Thai restaurants, but one (Doi Intanon) is often closed over the festive period. Despite visiting Ambleside countless times, we’ve never visited Doi.

However, we have now had a few good meals from Jintana, so it is our Thai of choice for New Year’s Eve. I have become very predictable at Thai restaurants. I almost always go for the predictable starter of chicken satay with peanut chilli sauce and a mussaman curry, usually beef. Tonight, slightly different, the chicken version:-

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The mussaman is probably one of the most consistent curries across different venues, with meat, potato, carrot, onion and peanuts almost always present. Jintana’s mussaman is a good one. The accompanying Scarborough Fair IPA was a distinct let down. I like a big hoppy IPA to go with my curry. I also tried a Broughton Ales Merlin’s Ale, “a pale, mystical hoppy brew”. The mystery is where the hops were, because they seemed to have been magically removed from this beer. Approval for Jintana, NMH (needs more hops) for both beers…