Kings Head Napton-on-the-Hill

Living out in the country we are pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to gastropubs.
After feeling very let down by the service at the local fine dining restaurant we vowed never to return, well unless someone else is paying anyway, and needed somewhere to go with friends at short notice.
I booked The Kings Head at Napton as it was slap bang in the middle of both our villages. I’d read some good things about it and the menu looked great, being able to book on Opentable was also a plus.
Food is gastropub style, think horseradish ice cream and pheasant spring rolls and you will be on the right track, but not at extortionate gastropub prices. The wine list is also very reasonably priced.
We all started with champagne, why not, we hadn’t seen each other for 9 months and at that price it would have been rude not to!

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I had figs wrapped in Parma ham and stuffed with cheese while the Gin Whisperer went for the scotch egg and soldiers. One of our friends went for the salmon and prawns with horseradish ice cream. The jury is still out on the ice cream if I’m going to be honest. I’m obsessed with figs, I buy them by the carrier bag full in Turkey but can’t say I’ve ever had them hot before but I loved these! And the scotch egg was fab! Perfectly runny to dip the Brioche soldiers in!

For mains I had the Slow Cooked Blade of Beef Wellington. I wasn’t expecting a Wellington, that’s because I was too lazy to read the whole menu, saw the words blade of beef and Stilton and knew that was the one for me. It was delicious. The beef melted in my mouth, no soggy bottom on this Wellington either, perfectly crisp puff pastry and a little pan of jus next to it on the plate. Amazing!

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I went for cheese cake for dessert and again this was delicious.

On our next visit I was delighted to see that the Beef Wellington was still on the menu. I’ve made the mistake or ordering the same thing twice in a restaurant and been disappointed the second time round. Not this time, the Wellington was just as good as the first time!

The only problem we have had with the King Head is getting the bill. The first time we gave them a bit of slack, the staff were busy clearing up after a large fancy dress party. It took us about 20 minutes to even get anyone’s attention to ask for the bill. On our second visit it turned into a bit of a joke. We asked for desserts and said we would have coffees afterwards. We waited 20 mins for someone to clear our plates and take our order for coffee. We asked for the bill at the same time, remembering how long it took on our first visit. Coffees came. No bill though. Half an hour later and still no bill, we couldn’t even get the attention of a member of staff, we had clearly been forgotten. It wasn’t even that busy, the waitress kept walking towards the table to go to the kitchen but didn’t even acknowledge we were still there.

We won’t let this put us off though. We’ve booked in for Valentines Day on Saturday. Maybe we will just ask for the bill when they take our initial order this time!

http://www.thekingsheadnapton.co.uk

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Holy Crêpe! This place is amazing!

In the past 72 hours I have had the pleasure of not one but two visits to The Works in Aylesbury.
Opened just 3 months ago in the Market Square the restaurant was absolutely buzzing when we first visited on Friday afternoon. They serve crêpes and waffles, sweet and savoury, amazing ice cream sundaes with home-made ice cream, a huge variety of coffees, milkshakes and drinks and even Prosecco on tap!
We went over to the freezer to choose the ice creams for our milkshakes. You can mix and match any of the flavours to create your own shake. I went for Top Of The Milk and Salted Caramel while the Gin Whisperer went for Deep Chocolate and Coconut Bounty. Serve in a milk bottle both were delicious. The Gin Whisperer’s tasted just like a Bounty bar.

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Now for the food. Pulled Pork and Slaw Crêpe and Chipotle Chicken Crêpe.

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The crêpes are amazingly light. The Pulled Pork filling was to die for, just the right amount of bbq sauce so it wasn’t over powering. The Chipotle Chicken was not too spicy, and also had Swiss cheese and rocket with slaw on the side. As we had both gone for Crêpes Roger, the Gaffer, brought us a waffle to share, served simply with Maple syrup and icing sugar. I’m not going to lie, I’ve never been a waffle fan. I’ve only ever had them when they’ve been sickly sweet and mass produced. But these waffles converted me! Light and fluffy, not sickly at all, I could see how they could be served both savoury and sweet. We were full to busting, well we had room for a coffee each.

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So we came home and raved about it on Facebook. And then arranged to visit again with friends today and try the Prosecco on tap!

This time it was savoury all round again, two crêpes and two waffles. I asked the server which I should go for, either the Grilled Cheese and Ham or the Antipasto. He said Antipasto so I went with his decision. This time the Gin Whisperer had a waffle filled with Mediterranean Tuna. The Antipasto Crêpe was filled with Prosciutto, mozzarella, peppers and olives and was, as predicted, beautiful. I managed to sneak a bit of the waffle too, delicious!

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We lied to our friend and told her that the sundaes were only small, we had seen them on Friday and knew that they were nearly the size of a human head!

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All the ice creams, sorbets and frozen yoghurts are made in the restaurant and the team take the time to develop the flavours so they are perfect before they go on sale to the customers. I had the Bakewell Tart. Two scoops of Bakewell tart ice cream, one scoop of strawberry topped with cherries, cherry syrup, flaked almonds and whipped cream. To die for! In fact, I was the only one to finish the mammoth sundaes!

If you are ever in Aylesbury or anywhere near, I urge you to visit The Works. Top quality staff, top quality ingredients and a top quality concept. I wish them the very best of luck!

http://www.eatattheworks.co.uk

Five Guys Burger and Fries

Black Friday. Birmingham. Hectic shops but nowhere seems to be as busy as Five Guys and I am about to find out why!

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I went for a cheese burger. £8 for a plain burger but all the toppings are free. And plentiful! I had Mayo, BBQ sauce, grilled mushrooms, lettuce and grilled onions and we shared a regular fries which was enormous. And there are over 100 different flavours of Coca Cola drinks to try. I was quite boring and went for Cherry Zero, should have had a raspberry Zero instead but maybe next time.

The queuing system is pretty chaotic, everybody waiting for their brown bag of burgers crammed up against people trying to use the two badly positioned drinks dispensers.

Were the burgers worth the wait? Most definitely! Two juicy hand formed beef patties in a sesame bun squashed into foil didn’t look particularly appetising but it was delicious.

I’d probably rank the burgers third in my all-time list, behind Byron and BRGR Soho where you can choose how well done your burgers are. The atmosphere in the restaurant itself was not great and due to being self-service there are constantly people pushing past to find a table and refill drinks but I wouldn’t let that put me off going again. Definitely the best burger in Birmingham!

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So we tried to go to Five Guys just off Leicester Sq, London and a rude member of staff made us queue outside in the freezing cold even though there was no queue inside. Maybe we won’t be back after all!