The Smashed Gourmet

Food, Wine ,Travel

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Lunch at Northcote

It was a leisurely Saturday afternoon dining at the new Northcote restaurant treating our lovely mothers to lunch. The May weather was wet and it felt almost like an autumn day in the Ribble Valley.

First impressions – The new design bar/lounge area is striking in both textures and colours and really makes the place feel up market and cosmopolitan.   A bottle of Prosecco was taken in the bar area whilst we digested the menus and wine list. Canapés came for other tables but we were forgotten this time around.

Choices made – We made our way to the new & extended dining room with seated “booths” and a more open plan and airy feel than the old restaurant.   The bread was served and, as usual it was excellent served with local salty butter.

Starters were – Wye Valley Asparagus, Slow Cooked Bantam Egg, Blue Cheese, Crisp Onion Shavings, Scottish Mackerel, Ashcrofts Beets, Horseradish Snow & a Faggot of Bowland Venison. All were excellent and eaten with gusto washed down with a bottle of the House New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  Although the mackerel dish lacked a little as there was a distinct lack of horseradish flavour coming through and the fish was served luke warm which did take the shine away from what could have been a great dish.

Mains –  Chargrilled Hanger Steak, Beef Fat English Onion, Broccoli Salad, Bernaise, Seared Scottish Salmon, Potato & Onion, Wild Garlic & a pork loin dish with liver parfait were all excellent, well presented and thoroughly enjoyed.

Desserts – Yorkshire Rhubarb, Meringue, Hint of Rosemary, Blood Orange Sorbet, Chilled Vanilla Rice Pudding, Alphonso Mango, Sorbet, Basil,  & the Northcote cheese selection. All delicious and moriesh however, I did feel that the rice pudding dish lacked any texture and, maybe a coconut tuile would have really complimented the dish. 

Finally – Coffee & mini Eccles cakes were taken in the lounge next to the fire and we watched the rain pouring outside the window.  Service by the young team was great, and the wine list is comprehensive with some great wines on there representing excellent value.  We are visiting again early September for our anniversary dinner so I look forward to more quality food from the team. 4/5

Lunch £28 for three courses with coffee & Eccles cakes (£5 off per person with voucher on the site)

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The Greenhouse – Dublin, Ireland (January 2014)


We booked the Greenhouse very late in the day  and  managed to grab a table for our 1st evenings dining on our visit to Dublin. On arrival at the restaurant we were seated and given the menus. The waiter explained how the menus worked and left us to make our choices.


We opted for the chef’s 5 course surprise tasting menu along with a bottle of Spanish Godello wine. The chef Mickael  Viljanen cooks modern British Food in a small busy city centre restaurant.  Our canapés appeared firstly along with the bread selection – 5 different canapés which were all amazing both in taste and presentation. The bread was also top class with a “hoppy” Guinness loaf being our choice.
The 1st course was a foie Gras dish with an apple jelly, foie gras snow and walnuts.. Sublime and light. Scallops with textures of beetroot and an oyster emulsion was the second course. Beautifully cooked scallop complimented by earthy beetroot.
Next up was the fish course Halibut accompanied with Dublin Bay prawns, textures of cauliflower and blood orange.


Main course was pine smoked Sika deer loin and braised shoulder  and, the dessert was a chocolate terrine with smoked milk and passion fruit sorbet.
All dishes were stunning in their presentation, taste and textures and the wine choice was amazing.  Service was very friendly and relaxed.  A top end experience and up there with the one starred restaurants out there that we have visited. Highly recommended and I think very reasonably priced in comparison to other eateries in the city. 5*


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Time to make your pee smell again !!


It’s here the start of the British Asparagus season 2014. Just over a month of the worlds best asparagus. Check out the official

webpage for ideas and recipes and get cooking today. BUT, why does it make your pee smell so much well, are you sitting comfortably ?

Asparagus contains a sulphurous compound called mercaptan (which is also found in rotten eggs, onions and garlic). When your digestive system breaks down mercaptan, by-products are released that cause the strange smell. The process is so quick that your urine can develop the distinctive smell within 15 to 30 minutes of eating asparagus. Not everyone suffers this effect; your genetic makeup may determine whether your urine has the odour — or whether you can actually smell it. Only some people appear to have the gene for the enzyme that breaks down mercaptan into its more pungent parts.

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Save Water, Drink Nyetimber !!!



Having tasted a couple of the Nyetimber wines over the last few months I have become seriously addicted to this fine English sparkler indeed. They can’t call it Champagne as it does not hail from the French countryside however, tasted blind it seems to outweigh it’s French rivals ten fold and I agree.

Southern England is perfect for the production of sparkling wine. The chalk seam that supplies Champagne grapes with the perfect green sand and chalky soil to flourish is the very same that runs under the lee of the South Downs. This is where, sheltered from the coastal winds, their vines are planted across eight separate sites.

The climate here allows for the slow ripening of the grapes, allowing them to achieve the optimum level of acidity for the wine, as well as complexity and finesse.

Unlike most other Houses, at Nyetimber they use only their own grapes from their own vineyards. Prior to harvest, the grapes are tasted to ensure the best flavour development before picking. And they say at the winery “If they aren’t up to standard? They simply won’t use them”

Support our unique wines by buying a bottle or three today – Search the net for offers (There are some out there) and quaff one down chilled with your dinner !!!

up to standard? We simply won’t use them