Wednesday, 20 November 2013

19 November - Las Iguanas, The Malthouse, High Street, Kingston

We had decided to try Las Iguanas on the strength of it being near the Rose Theatre, where later we were going to see Fascinating Aïda - and one of us had been to a sister restaurant in Birmingham, while another had liked the sound of the menu.

There was a friendly welcome and a pleasant atmosphere that set us at ease at once. (Some of us have had less than good experiences at chain restaurants.)

Drinks: We were happy to order caipirinhas for all four of us and - as we were in time for Happy Hour - we got two for the price of one! They were the best caipirinhas we've had - and we've had a few by now in the line of duty. [In case you are unfamiliar with this drink, it is considered Brazil's national cocktail, made with cachaça (sugar cane hard liquor), sugar and lime - very refreshing and moreish.]

We went for starters and main courses to begin with - but were not excluding the possibility of desserts. We had a lot of time to spare before it was theatre time, after all.

Starters: 1x Pato Taquito (duck and caramelised onion in a tortilla, with a delicious cranberry salsa), 1x Prawns in a garlic, lemon and chilli sauce, 1x Chicken wings with the new sweet & spicy guava sauce, 1x Albondigas (lamb meatballs in a spicy tomato & chilli sauce). We enjoyed all the dishes. The cranberry salsa and the guava sauce were particularly delicious. Each dish had a delightful bite of spice.

Main courses: 2x Xinxim (Lime chicken with a crayfish & peanut sauce), 1x Chicken fajitas, 1x Pollo Caruru (chicken and butternut squash in a seafood and coconut milk sauce). The Xinxim was excellent, a mild creamy sauce with plenty of chicken. The fajitas were also good, while the Pollo Caruru, a dish new to us all, was a welcome discovery.

We weakened and had 'just a quick look' at the dessert menu.

Desserts: 2x Creamy caramel cake, 1x Ice cream (vanilla and dulce de leche), 1x Sorbet (lemon, raspberry and mango). All the desserts were finished with relish - by us, not by the chef. The cake was light and sweet, the ice cream was very good and the sorbet refreshing.

We rounded off the meal with more of those excellent caipirinhas.

All the food was delicious and well presented, and every dish (well, not the desserts) was piping hot when it arrived at the table. The service was informal, friendly and excellent. The restaurant itself was pleasant and welcoming.

The cost for all that was a few pence over £34 per head, including 12.5% service.


Friday, 16 August 2013

12 August - The Grumpy Mole at the Inn on the Green, Dorking Road, Tadworth

After an unanticipated and ridiculously long hiatus of more than 2 years (gasp!), the Old Horses' Nose Bag Club reconvened for a trip to the Grumpy Mole in Tadworth.

As we arrived, the restaurant immediately felt cosy and welcoming, the staff were friendly.

Pretending that we are concerned about our waist lines, all four of us decided to avoid the starters. Besides, the desserts looked interesting...

Main courses: 1 x Beef Stroganof, 1 x Venison Wellington, 2 x Rib-Eye Steak. Each of these was perfectly cooked and well presented, as well as delicious. The beef in the Stroganoff was tender and tasty, the venison was properly pink in the centre and melted in the mouth. The steaks, cooked by the chef (rather than on a stone at the table, which was the other choice), were exactly as they were ordered, medium rare, and of excellent quality.

Desserts: 1 x Bread & Butter Pudding, 1 x Squidgy Meringue with red berries, 1 x Key Lime Sundae, 1 x Apple Strudel. Again well presented and each dish was delicious in its own way. Paul was very impressed by the deconstructed Key Lime  Pie/Sundae, and enjoyed the light texture very much. I could taste every ingredient of the strudel, it was a treat to eat.

Drinks: 1 x Pinotage, 1 x Merlot, 1 x Gin & tonic....

All told a very enjoyable meal in pleasant surroundings. The staff were attentive and helpful without being pushy or hovering. The cost was just over £30 per head, with a tip.