Food cooking and eating – stories and ideas from a passionate foodie

Archive for January, 2016

Cote, Eton

We were having a committee ‘thank-you and get to know you better’ meet up.  As we are Windsor Speakers – part of The Toastmasters group of clubs (Worldwide, American originally, aiming to improve Public Speaking confidence and leadership skills), we met just over the bridge , on the Thames, the Eton (or Slough Comprehensive) side.

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Dean – excited at the offering!

There’s more to Eton than the school.  Parking is a nightmare – because the school roads take up about 50% of the available spaces.  I bet they don’t own them, just make out they do…very annoying.

It got worse.  Jeannie, our chairman, runs an Event business.  She is good at organising stuff.  Cote weren’t.  We were 8 people.  They put half of us on one table, miles away from the other 4.  And we didn’t find each other for 25 minutes.  So a half 7 start, became a 9:30 main course.

Jean has much experience of sorting stuff like this. And she assertively (Geordie, little, sharp and feisty – and hates lack of professionalism) told the maître D just as it was.  When stuff goes wrong – in any organisation – the mark of the business is how they fix it.  Complaints are golden nuggets to improve from.  And they did sort it well.  Free starters, some bubbles, free bottle of wine and other nibbles meant the final bill – all dry, no wet – was remarkably small.  Well done to the team here.  Well led, well rescued.  And he put his best waiters – most experienced – onto our table.

Do you know, after that the food was actually excellent.  We have one colleague who is French and Italian extraction.  She ordered steak tartare as a starter.  Dean joined her.  Brave. He managed – but it looked hard!  Ironically, his lamb was served very rare (after asking for medium – but sorted quickly too) – so we assumed he had become a little hyper carnivore almost in the Vampire sense.  Once re-done – his lamb was really tasty and succulent – looked good.

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Just scrummy Mussels…mmm!

 

Simple stuff was great – one had fillet steak, another home made fish pie.  Cassoulet created plate envy from me.  But I had Moules Frite – just one of my favourite meals (OK – I was still garlicky on Sunday from the Friday night – but hey…).  And they brought a hunk of bread to dip into the stunning creamy liquor after I had scoffed the mussels.  And the skinny chips – easy to do wrong – but these were immensely hot, steamy and crisp – and not overdone (as seems to happen a lot).  Loved it!

All too full to eat pud.  But we did.  A big fight over ice creams.  The chocolate puds looked to hit the spot (Tony was very quiet indeed – and didn’t offer it around for tasting…).

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Lamb – pre re cooking!

It is a restaurant chain – yes – but feels franchised?  The staff resurrected what could have been a bad start going down hill very well.  And we had a rare old time (Somewhat too rare for Dean, at first!)  It is in a great position, right on the river – and has many fun, higgidly-piggidly, interconnecting rooms.  I will go again – but park in Windsor and walk over the bridge next time.  Worth a visit…

The Coach, Marlow

I’ve written about The Coach before, here.  Described in one colour supplement as “Tom Kerridge’s gift to Marlow”, I think I have to agree with the Independent once more.

We tried at Lunch time yesterday – a Saturday between Christmas and New Year?  Were we mad?  It’s a fast service small plate place.  You order and the food comes to you in whatever order it is ready in.  Perfect for sharing and prevents plate envy.  Their other rules?  Exquisitely and lovingly prepared excellent ingredients.  Nothing they wouldn’t eat themselves! An open kitchen. (See below – old photo – but shows the proximity).  No booking system – look on the web site – not an e mail or phone number in sight.

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The open kitchen

And you need to be patient!

We decided lunch time was too mad, so went home for a lovely snack (part of an M&S £20 meal deal – soft boiled / runny scotch eggs.  We had this with some jarlsberg cheese and lots of leaves, a bit of tomato and baked cheesy field mushrooms…lovely…

Went out early. Didn’t want to miss out on The Coach experience!  So, 6:10, we were seated.

Beer, burger, chips and fish.  Not exciting?  Look, also had some excellent rotisserie beetroot (with nuts horseradish and mushroom – chef like 3D as ever).  And the chips are £4 worth of heaven – with béarnaise sauce.  The Burger?  Plate envy personified. A stack.  Small.  Perfectly formed.  Skewered.  And pink.  yes, they would sue the big M company if their kids saw that – this is adult burger at it’s best.  Not quite tartar…but cooked.  And it does have cheese and mushroom and a gherkin…but just in a different class.  The fish was a little fritter or unctuous fishiness.

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Posh, scrummy Chips. Have them…

This is not a lot of food, you may think? We had some wine (250ml in a carafe – how sweet!).  We wanted no pud, as we were very satisfied.  That’s how a food experience should be – just fun, full of love and a bit different.  Not our last visit…

The staff patently love it – and it really shows in the food.  A lesson for all organisations?

 

 

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