Dining out in a Cafe…???

Ever thought about dining out in a cafe??

I’ll be honest, it’s not something I would jump for joy at the thought of. But and that’s a big BUT, I would now!! Well certainly at this little gem!

I visited Marcos of Hayes on a Friday night for an informal get together with the school mums and was pleasantly surprised.

For those of you who aren’t local, Hayes is set just outside Bromley, Kent. It’s villagey and a lovely community to live in, I know I might be biased but there we are. Not so long ago the local cafe changed hands and became Marcos of Hayes. I popped in with my bud Regan from What I Ate Last Night to sample cake and coffee (which was gorgeous by the way!) and met the new owner; Marco (funnily enough!). The cafe has been given a makeover and has the mixture of Italian deli and comfortable coffee shop down to a tee.

Anyway I digress, an added string to the bow was the introduction of evening meals on a Friday and Saturday night and Sunday lunches, obviously on a Sunday! It works on a BYOB basis meaning an evening meal out with friends or the other half doesn’t have to break the bank.

Atmosphere

The cafe is lovely upon an evening, soft lighting, checked table clothes and a mixture of diners. It was relaxed and comfortable, the perfect place for an intimate dinner or casual catch up.

Food

The evening menus are a 3 course set menu priced at £26.95 at the time of my visit.

Starter: Antipasto

Gorgeous olives, sundried tomato’s, cured meats, artichoke, mozzarella and bread.

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Main : Sea Bass

Stuffed with prawns, crab meat and herbs in a tomato sauce, served with vegetables and sauteed potatoesmarco3

Desert : Carrot Cake

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Drink : I took along a bottle of Prosecco that was kept chilled in the fridge.

It was all absolutely beautiful. I could not fault anything and the portions were a perfect size. There is lots more to choose from on the menu that my fellow diners sampled and looked scrumptious but I guess you’ll have to pop along and have a look for yourself 🙂

Overview

If you are looking for a reasonably priced meal in a comfortable and relaxed environment with quality food and ingredients, this is it.

The staff are attentive without being annoying, they readily keep your wine topped up (if you’ve taken it) and the food was served in a timely manner where we didn’t feel rushed.

Would I recommend it? Yes

Would I return? Yes Yes!

Find out more and book on their Twitter and Facebook pages.

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The Little Life of Ickle Pickle

Delights Week 1

I’ve decided to try and write a series of posts entitled Delights. My lovely Blog colleagues, Katy & Jenna run a linky called Happy Days which I try to link up with of a similar ilk seen as there are many things that are a struggle week on week its important to make note of the good things. I have great intentions to link this up religiously so here goes 🙂

So what delights have we had this week?

Food

After two fast days this week on Monday & Wednesday there had to be a treat on Thursday. (Weigh in post coming soon) And no before you ask it doesn’t mean all my hard work was for nothing as the benefits of the fasting fat burn has already been done 🙂 I took my inspiration from a favourite M&S food to go option I like to have which is pulled pork bun. I bought some freshly baked Ciabatta and added pulled pork, Creamy coleslaw and pickles, hummmmmmmmmmmm…

Pulled pork sandwich

Friends

This week I have managed to see 3 of my besties – you may of seen one of them on our abs & squats video post after a couple of vinos. Very funny! I also got to go to another friends baby shower yesterday which was beautifully done, you can see the pictures on my Instagram.

Family

My eldest was super brave this week when he had to have his blister popped on his hand by the nurse as he had got an infection. Not really a delight but I was so proud of him. He was inconsolable initially but has taken his medicine religiously with no battles and had his second skin dressing changed daily with no upsets.

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Today we are spending the day at home playing games and having a sit down family roast dinner. Love these days 🙂

What Katy Said

Mummy’s Gin Day Out

So I took some time out this weekend for myself. Yes, just me and my lovely friend Regan from What I Ate Last Night and NO kids!!

It was lush! I love my kids as much as the next person but a day trip out without them is a very rare occasion so I was excited all week! If you fancy somewhere funky and original and you’re in or around London then Ropewalk in Bermondsey is where to head. There are some lovely pubs, restaurants and quaint shops on Bermondsey Street worth a look too. So after a stroll down there we headed into Ropewalk.

After a wander past the gorgeous stalls which sell handmade produce including some spicy beef jerky, Bad Brownies, gorgeous breads and much more we headed straight to Montys Deli for the infamous Salt beef sandwich. Monty’s has moved into a big arch now so don’t be put off walking through a tiny door and in past all the ovens etc. We had to wait as it was so busy but it was well worth it!

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We obviously needed a drink to go with our sandwich so carried it out to the Little Bird Gin arch. One of my favs. Seated outside in the cold we managed to purloin some blankets and a hot water bottle and ordered a rhubarb gin fizz and a bloody mary. Watch out for the latter it is particularly spicy 🙂 We tried a warm negroni and a breakfast Martini after these which were both amazing. I was tempted to top up my empty bottle of Little Bird at home but having gone up to £30 a bottle I’ll just have to hope Santa brings one!

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The next stop on our free mummy trip was Bar Tozino. This place is open till 10 ish whereas the rest of the market packs up about 4 and trust me when I say it genuinely feels like you are stepping in to a little piece of Spain in the middle of London. There are hanging serrano hams, olives, prawns, octopus and more (yuk loved by Regan!) and a dish I have replicated a number of times at home, do it yourself garlic bread.

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You simply pour on some oil, rub in the garlic, put on some tomatoes and top off with course salt. All this was joined by one sweet sherry and one dry sherry. I can categorically now say I don’t like sherry! haha! So poor Regan had to drink them both whilst I got a lovely spanish beer instead 🙂

A trip to Maltby Street wouldn’t be complete without some takeaways so we returned home laden with fresh olive foccacia bread, a tub of ‘raping olives’ from Tozino (you’ll have to go and try some to find out what that’s about!) and a Salted Caramel Brownie from the Bad Brownie company. Yummy Yummy!

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A little piece of Italy in Petts Wood?

So I was lucky enough to be asked along to review at a local restaurant Murinci’s  in Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent. Of course I jumped at the chance of a free dinner and wine and skipped off out the door 🙂 The restaurant is located in Petts Wood Station Square tucked around the back and so pretty to look at, it’s a lovely quiet spot away from the busy road making it a lovely choice for summer dining or even a cheeky glass of wine outside after a hot train ride from London. murinci Atmosphere It wasn’t overly busy being a Wednesday but we were greeted enthusiastically by the manager and shown to a lovely table in the window by the other diners. Food To start an amuse-bouche of spinach and ricotta cannelloni: IMG_0510 Starter: Huge tasty garlic chilli prawns beautifully presented with asparagus tips and red pepper pesto: IMG_0515 Main: Pan fried Duck breast, served with sweet potato, parsnip. red cabbage, broad beans and Grand Marnier sauce IMG_0520 Dessert: Passion fruit cheese cake… IMG_0521 Drinks Gin & Tonic for an aperitif (obviously!). Dinner was accompanied by a bottle of Castello del Poggio…

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Dessert was accompanied by some beautifully cold Limoncello:

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Decor

Fabulous, bright, colourful and funky – I loved it! The perfect mix of shabby chic and vintage. (maybe apart from the funky lights at the bar area ;)…) I personally think it would be an ideal place for a nice dancing area as well after dinner (meze bar style)

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Overview

The menu is lovely, the descriptions of the meals will have you salivating as soon as you begin to read. The A la Carte menu ranged from approx £5 for a starter to £15-£20 for a main but with a comprehensive fixed menu set a £15.50 for 2 courses or £17.50 for 3 it offers great value plus a selection of wines ranging in price for all budgets.

The staff are fun, engaging and you can see yourself being part of the family after only a couple of visits. My only criticism may be that the meal could of been served a little slower with some time to chat etc in between but to be fair we sat down at 8.30 on a Wednesday and were the last there so who can blame them.

 At Christmas they are offering a 3 course meal and arrival prosecco for only £50! Plus another Christmas Fayre Menu that runs Monday-Thursday that is real value. With New Years Eve only £60 for a 3 course meal and DJ after how could you go wrong..?

Would I recommend it? YES

Would I return? YES – when are we going?!

Book & find out more here: http://www.murinci.com/

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Turkish, Conkers & Keith Lemon

Last week I visited Havet Restaurant in Bromley. It always surprises me how busy this restaurant is on any day of the week! It’s a tasty Turkish restaurant which has an open grill (behind a screen) with fresh salads and tasty starters (their hummus is to die for!) with friendly efficient service. I accompanied my Meal which consisted of a lamb kebab/chicken kebab combo, tomato salad and bulger rice with a bottle of the tasty house white wine (or 2 🙂 )

Over the road The Barrel and Horn provided us with some after dinner Gin & Tonics – I love the vintage theme in this bar which usually accommodates the over 25 clientèle – a nice respite from the 18 year old drinkers that Bromley tends to attract in many places. Although it wasn’t that busy seen as it was a Tuesday night I have been here before when it’s rammed, sometimes with a live singer or band. My friends even gave us a quick rendition of chop sticks on the piano – perhaps best left to the professionals they have in!!

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In kiddie world this week we collected plenty of conkers to thread Daddies old shoe laces through and have conker wars – it’s easy peasy – just get a screwdriver and run the lace through the middle with a knot underneath and take turns to hit each others conker off first. My (nearly) 4 year old loved it and couldn’t wait to ask every person who stepped over the threshold for a match – simple things 🙂

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Lastly I had the pleasure of attending the JSA boat party down the Thames on Sunday. It’s a yearly event which includes the families of their clients rather than an evening event. This year they surpassed themselves! The entertainment which ranged from face painting and tattoos to balloon men, caricaturists and magicians to George Michael and Keith Lemon kept everyone entertained whilst taking in the sites of London. The Keith Lemon impersonator was soooo good and really engaging, we met him as Tim nice but dim when we first boarded 🙂 My facebook video of George Michael has had friends asking if it really was George which speaks for itself really!

I’m awaiting the twitter handles for the entertainment team as I highly recommend every single one of them! – UPDATE: All the entertainers were brought together by Zap Magic .  The caricaturists are Simon & Sheba of www.bitterandtwisted.org

With a paid for bar i sampled the fizz on arrival and a nice dry white wine aboard and sampled a very nice white from Laithwaites on my arrival home which i will let you know the name of when I get home!

What wine have you tried this week??

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Pub lunches & #tallships2014

So kiddie time began with just one on Thursday whilst my other was in pre school so a pub lunch was on the cards at The Crown & Anchor in Bromley. This pub has always been a favourite of mine as I used to live round the corner and frequented it plenty of times before I had children! Saying that it is kiddie friendly having a little tikes climbing set in the garden and the staff are super friendly so I highly recommend it for mums, dads and kids. Apart from the lovely internal decoration the pub has an added area adjacent to the garden which is open plan in the summer and closed in for the winter so perfect for hiring for events and parties.
My friend and I both had burgers from the menu which is all very reasonably priced (£5/£6 for a main) and my Union Jack burger which included a fat home made burger, blue cheese, tomato and onion chutney was lush and served with fries and coleslaw. Yummer yummer!
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As I mentioned in my previous blog I had a work event in the evening which was held at Jewel Bar, Covent Garden and I must say the staff there were fantastic and the evening was a huge success. I tried a porn star martini and another personally made cocktail by my amazing event manager Natalia. If you need a function place with a fun atmosphere and yummy cocktails this is the place for you!

On Saturday we were all excited to go to the tall ships festival in Greenwich. The festival celebrates tall ships (hence the name!) and we saw plenty sailing up and down the Thames. The DLR was the start of the fun for my eldest seen as there’s no drivers so that was his job 🙂
image It was rammed in Greenwich which was hard going with a 3 year old and a baby in a buggy but the festival village was quite cool with people dressed in reenactment costumes, a band stand with live music, and the usual beer and food tents. Highlights included giant fighting lobsters!, Captain Jack Sparrow and helter skelters (which the other half loved more than the 3 year old I reckon!)
We couldn’t stay for fireworks but I heard they were spectacular.
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It was exhausting though so I was so relieved to get home for a nice glass of centro plaza prosecco (currently on offer at tescos!)
So Sunday is here already and all I can wonder is what wine I can try this week when it’s wine o’clock 🙂 what do you recommend??
Have a good one peeps!