No Consideration for Dieting Food Bloggers

A review of Royal Teas, Greenwich.

Royal teas has always sounded like an intriguing name for a vegetarian cafe. The ‘royal’ bit, yep well it is located on Royal Hill, the teas bit, yep full of teas (more about that later) but the combination of royal and teas sounds like a cream tea destination, and yes it does do cream tea… which is vegetarian…. But it isn’t Vegetarian (that’s a capital ‘V’ there just in case it’s too early in the morning to tell) in the way that is indicative of the aubergine hanging over the words Royal Teas on the logo. Get what I’m saying?

IMG_0835-1.JPG

You know what else? Being located very close to my beloved Buenous Ares cafe, It has taken me 11 years of Greenwich, Blackheath living to get thought the front door. This is not just because the Argentinian location is definitely not vegetarian, but that it has cake and a sofa that I know about.

There were some fabulous looking all day breakfast options, including an Americana tortilla of beans and cheese and eggs. My only reason for passing this by, was that I had already had 2 eggs for breakfast.

We ordered smoked salmon baguette,

IMG_0836-1.JPG

houmous and crudities and deep fried halloumi.

IMG_0837-1.JPG
Where are we on deep fried halloumi? My personal opinion is that cheese is mostly fat, so putting extra fat on the outside can’t really change that too much. Have a smaller piece if it bothers you? We had a long wait for both of these items, but they were delivered with the most gorgeous fresh and colourful salad, which given the affordability of the meal was impressive.

The lapsang souchong we ordered along side was very watery to the extent I could taste water more that I could taste lapsang. Tea should never taste of water right? One might consider its ability to make water taste of something other than water to bite the raison d’être of tea. The charming proprietor balked not at actually opening a new packet for us, from which new cups were filled.

IMG_0831.JPG

And here is the best part: A Cake Filing System.

IMG_0834-0.JPG

What a great way to showcase cake! Especially in a quaint cottage interior like this one. I want one of these built into my quaint cottage rectory fields. I might have to throw out the washing machine to make room for it, but it needs no plumbing.

We went for ginger cake. This was full of dried fruit and was unexpectedly offered hot with ice cream. The heat made the ginger creep into your nose (this was a good thing). Despite sharing we were given 2 scoops of ice cream (no consideration for dieting food bloggers), which seemed to me to be dairy vanilla, but to my husband clotted cream. Enlightenment welcome.

Royal Teas
76 Royal Hill, SE10

IMG_0838-1.JPG

The mixed Colours of the Meze Glowed At Us

A review of Efe’s Meze, Trafalgar Road

Heard of imambayildi? Me neither. It sounded really interesting the way that Efe’s Meze’s extremely eager to please new management described it. It seemed to feature wrapping and baking and re-wrapping and oil and stuff like that. I wish I had taken notes, because when I went back to pre-book my order (we were a large group) I was bowled over by the meat and fish options. I figured I’d nick some off my friends plates.

Mirror reflecting restaurant lights

Efe’s in Greenwich mirror interior

As we arrived to eat the 6 cold Meze starters were already laid. The mixed colours of kisir, feta/beetroot, acilia ezme) glowed at us, but there was no bread. And there would be no bread until all of my friends turned up. My friends were very late. The dishes carried on glowing at us. I think that this is cruelty to customers, but when I try to find where to report it, I can’t find anyone who will listen.

Efe's Meze table

Glowing Meze

In the end, hunger won over and we just asked for bread, which arrived warm and spongy. The dishes were delicious and unfortunately filling . Round 2 (hot Meze) was petite but enjoyable -falafel, halloumi and cheese borek.

During this time, I have been asked to observe that the wine was served in professional manner, with pre-taste, and then decanted into a carafe. Profuse apologies were also offered for the lack of non-alcoholic beer. This is unusual to me. Normally I find myself apologising for ordering it.

As I think you can probably tell from the state of my blog photos (you’re supposed to love me for my quirky dippiness. You do get that right?), I don’t really go into these restaurants with a sign on my forehead saying ‘I am a local food blogger’, but you would not nave guessed this from the nervous-dash-eager-to-please reception we received. As at that weekend (mid October) Sayit, the manger was very new management.

The best bits, however were undoubtedly the greasy spicy kofte with a kicking after taste and the crispy, spiced seabass, both accompanied by huge bowls of feta salad. At this point the food reached the rarely achieved level of, so-good -I -forgot-to-take -photos. Which I do appreciate is very unfair on you guys. Sorry. See if you can find yourselves a cruelty to blog readers complain line. (Actually also, post me the number, I want to complain to http://helengraves.co.uk for infrequent posting.) The only moussaka was ordered down at the other end of the table so I never saw it, but I was reliably told it had to be prepared from 7am in the morning.

IMG_0818.JPG

The only disappointing thing was the dessert selection. Despite details of their preparation sounding mouthwatering, I did not fancy apple pie or tiramisu after that meal. Maybe deserts aren’t that turkish, but what about Helva and baklava? We asked specifically about baklava and were sent on our way with 2 pieces that we weren’t charged for. Honest, I am sure they didn’t know I was planing to blog about them.

And no one, in a party of twenty had the decency to order imambayildi so that I could taste/oggle it. No gratitude. New friends are on order.

170 Trafalgar Rd, London SE10 9TZ
As at the time of this blog, the online menu is ‘in progress’ following the mangement change.

IMG_0822.JPG

An Update on the Nespresso Machine

A while ago, I updated you on what felt like the highly decadent step of buying a Nespresso machine. And the irony of making this purchase on a camping holiday.

Nespresso capsules

Delicious Nespresso capsules

But I really have to add some more information in hindsight:

I love it.

I have not purchased a commuter coffee since. When I worked form home the other day, instead of worrying about whether a trip out for a cappuccino was taking too much time out of work, I just pressed a couple of buttons. I actively missed it when we spent 2 weeks in France lately and each morning I respond to my alarm with the thought of, at least I get a nespresso shortly.

Also fabulous is the decaf range, restoring my ability to have a good coffee after a good evening meal. And look at this amazing crema.

Espresso shot from a Nespresso machine

Crema that I day dream about

There are limits to my new love. I still refer to which ‘choice of coffee’, rather than which ‘grand cru’.

I also complained at Nepsresso’s presumption that it could improve my palate. And I would like to point out that my palate is exactly the same as it was, thank you very much. This of course is not due to the fact that I just don’t have the metabolism to queue up espresso’s and compare their relative high notes, but because I am a coffee shop blogger, and I would not admit to deficiencies in palate.

Oh, and to the gentleman on twitter who pointed out that I should not hold back from Clooney bashing on the mention of Nespresso because ‘I am not on his radar’ so I shouldn’t worry about being mean. Errr, duh! I’m Blackheath coffee shops, how would I not be on his radar?

Yes I do want a cobra

A review of eating at the Royal Nepalese, Westcombe Park

Now you might have noticed that I don’t review a lot of takeaways on this blog. This is partially because often by the time I grab a takeaway (rather than cook) I am pretty fed up and not really ready to voice opinion beyond, ‘smells great’, ‘yes I do want a cobra,’ and ‘we should have bought ice cream, shouldn’t we?’. In fact, the only curry I have ever reviewed on here was Everest Inn – and even then I felt out of my depth. The fact is, I eat more cake than curry. Even as I say that, I’m not sure that I wouldn’t happily rebalance the divide.

However I have to say that after a little trawling through the local curry shops, I have landed on a place that I can whole-heartedly recommend Royal Nepalese near Westcombe Park Station.

I have found that it is easy to find a blast your ears out curry; and easy to find an elegantly perfumed curry, but not easy to find one that quite achieves a good kick of hot, whilst being backed up with genuine depth of flavour.

We ordered..Lamb Gorkhali (coriander, mint, green chilli and yogurt) described as ‘hot’ and throughout the meal as ‘that green stuff’. We used it to supplement the other dishes with heat. My favourite flavour in the whole meal.
Vegetable jalfrezi, (ordered for the vegetable part … to justify the cream and butter.)
Royal Mismass Karahi, which despite being described as medium heat, did not compare to the Gorkhali
And well spotted, that was 3 dishes between 2 people. This didn’t prevent us ordering naan and basmati rice. Sometimes I am a bit cynical about naan, that it is just extra stodgy, but this naan was excellent, strangely dry and reminiscent of a good pastry.
Service was quick and smart. I watched stuff on iplayer at the same time as eating. I should have bought ice cream, though.

As an aside, if you love curry as much as me, but also prefer to cook, or watch the waistline, I can totally recommend Jamie Oliver’s curry paste recipes, that I normally fry up if I have left over coriander and freeze to be mixed up quickly with whatever I fancy later down the line. They are not quite Royal Nepalese, but they are certainly enjoyable.

Just because I don’t like his Italian, doesn’t mean that I dont’t have anything nice to say about him. I’m a balanced blogger, me.

http://www.royalnepalese.com
2-4 station crescent
Blackheath, London
SE3 7EQ
tel:(0208)269 0505/ (0208)269 0553
email:info@royalnepalese.com

The last coffee shop in Blackheath

Morden’s, Tranquil Vale Blackheath SE3.
(Not strictly a coffee shop, but this was the angle I was reviewing from)

Morden’s has had day time patisserie and coffee advertised outside of it for ages. The last time I attempted to go in, I was tweeted not to do it, that Morden’s was the most trashy place in the village, but I committed to unbias and ploughed ahead anyway, after all, it was only for coffee.

It should be borne in mind for the duration of this review, that it mostly sells cocktails and wine.

Metal outdoor table and chairs

Morden’s definitely looks pretty enough and its garden outside is a very secret garden, ignoring the advert for it on the road outside. It advertises coffee and patisserie during the day. Soooo my thing. And the garden is really pretty, just they could do with clearing the bird poo off the seats a bit more often.

On ordering a cappuccino, the waiter asked for a reminder as to what exactly constituted a cappuccino. Three cappuccinos arrived… None of them quite the same as the others. To the credit of the gentlemen I was with they made sure that I had the one where the foam on the sides was tinted with the caramel colours of coffee. The others were with the wiped out grey of dirty dish water. All came accompanied by plastic teaspoons.

And l the patisserie? Well, they had muffins. Not only were they muffins, the ultimate insult to cake, but they were prewrapped muffins.

Picture of capuccino

You and I have talked about this before.

Only one of the party was prepared I stay put, so we forced ourselves to finish the frothy dishwater and encamped next door to Tziagno’s which ins bursting in options for unusual cakes.

Greenery on an arch

Pretty outside

Look Morden’s, I am imploring you here. I know you are a wine bar, not a coffee shop, but there is lack of custom in Blackheath to warm your funky seats and fill your secret garden. IF you offer good cake and coffee… Source it locally? Buzz me if you ever change and I will update the blog.

The fact is, I believe that Morden’s is the last coffee shop that I have not reviewed in the whole village.
Where do I go from here? Will I never buy a coffee again?

7-9 Montpelier Vale, London
020 8852 0492