Archive for the 'restaurants' Category

Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts & trains from London to Ramsgate

We had a day out of the office and off the tools – it was a Mr & Mrs T P away-day to London.  Started off drinking Pimms on the Fast Train to London St Pancras.

First destination was the RAA for the annual summer Exhib, which we really enjoyed.  Thing about a day out without the kids is that you can miss them and at the RAA I kept thinking about how much our oldest son would enjoy this.  He has come with us in the past and been to many London Art Galleries and I am thinking I must bring him here in the summer holiday.

We then walked across central London and it was interesting to see how empty it was.  We both know London really well, i lived there for many years, and we were surprise at the lack of crowds. Is this due to recession or changing behaviour? Had some lovely Veggie food in Food for Thought at Covent Garden.  The money we saved on food could then be invested in alcohol so we went on to a bit of extravagance, a drink or two in the world famous American Bar at the Savoy Hotel. Seb Coe was there.

Can’t say any more about the evening’s entertainment but it involved us missing the last FAST train to Ramsgate from St Pancras, at the riduculously early time of some few minutes after 10.30! So we went for the fall back of a train from Victoria, only to find it is a bus service from Faversham!  We should have stuck with St Pancras with a change of train at Ashford.

o well, even this couldn’t spoil a lovely day out.

Bon Appétit in Ramsgate

 is walking distance from my house. Based on my one visit on a mums’ night out I would highly recommend the restaurant and so does Mark Palmer in the Daily Telegraph.

It is French, of course, the menu is for the dairy-loving carnivore. With just 2 hours notice they were able to come up with a delicious choice of vegan options for one guest, which is the sign of a good chef. Now, let me tell you, I don’t do food reviews. My vocabulary has no adjectives which can be applied to comestibles. The food was interesting delicious, portions sizes were generous. The food was excellent, fresh, tasty, interesting and well presented. Bon Appétit is expensive (relative to the area), but you get what you pay for (expect to pay £25-£40pp (depending on how much you like your puddings and alcohol), it is worth it. In an elevated position under the Royal Harbour Yacht Club it has a great view over the harbour.

Whenever a large group go to dinner, that tricky issue of the bill with inevitably arise. I hoped someone would say, “Don’t worry everyone, I’ll get this”! I ‘ve been for dinner with strangers many times. I remember once being most impressed by the local lawyer sitting next to me who suddenly produced a tiny note of everything he had, with the price. He had obviously written this, very discretely, through the evening. As a regular member of that group he told me the end of the evening was always chaotic as everyone paid for what they had eaten.

With another group that I regularly eat with we also pay for our own meal. I have no problem doing a quick mental tally of my own consumption, but I’ve always been impressed by the woman who brings her calculator and works it out to the penny (no rounding it up to the nearest pound) she then meticulously adds on 12.5%. Actually she multiplies by 1.125 as she is using a scientific machine. She’s a girl with a math’s degree on a budget!

The mum’s divided the bill equally, always a recipe for confrontation among strangers! Who didn’t have a pudding? Who only drank tap water? Not me – I ate and drank as much as I could! You don’t keep this wobbly tummy without working on it!  How much should we leave as a tip? At least 12.5% is a minimum guideline if you have had good food and good service.

I heard a very interesting programme on Radio 4 this week. Did you know that it is legal and common in the restaurant business to pay staff less than the minimum wage! It is expected that wages will be made up by tips AND income tax is paid on those tips. If you had a good night out, with good service and sat at a table for several hours, the least you can do is reward the low paid staff with the best tip you can afford! 10% is the absolute minimum, in my opinion, 15-20% is quite reasonable. I’m known for being thrifty, so if I don’t feel I can afford the tip then I would eat somewhere cheaper – Beano Cafe have a good reputation! 

I’m sure buffet, eat as much as you can type places thrive because of groups of strangers. At such places the food might be somewhere between awful to palatable. At least there is not much chance of arguing over the bill and a generous tip might not be required.

By the way, if you check out the review for Bon Appétit (link above) you will note Ramsgate is up and coming! The author mentions that we have a Waitrose and a Cafe Nero. Mr Tara Plumbing recalls the Waitrose opening in the early 1980’s and as an apprentice plumber he worked in there at one of its refits in the 1980’s. Apparently it was built on the site of a former brewery.

More :

Great conveniences

Mr T. P. has utilised his plumbing skills all over Thanet. When we eat in the Surin at Ramsgate he will remind me that he did the plumbing in the whole building when he was just a boy, I think it was 1863, but I may have some of the details wrong. We go to Posillipo, in Broadstairs a similar story here (in the twentieth century). Yet again, another report on the plumbing, when I gave birth to our son at Margate Hospital.

At some point in his life he seems to have worked in every street.

One of my birthday treats was dinner at the Tamarind Indian restaurant in Broadstairs. The Niramish was wonderful and smelt exactly the same when on its way out of my system, some 15 hours later!

Mr Tara Plumbing has NEVER worked in this building! Furthermore, he was full of complements for the men’s private facilities. Excellent quality fittings installed by a first class plumber, he said.

Tamarind is a beautiful restaurant, it has stylish, modern decor and they were also playing really nice world music. We were even lucky enough to get a sea view. By the way, there are cloth napkins. We used to frequent another Indian restaurant on this Isle, for many years it served us well. Suddenly, the front of house staff changed, the quality of the food dropped dramatically, and an obvious warning sign was that the cloth napkins had been replaced by PAPER ones!

With a 5 year old we find it’s best to arrive at restaurants as they open, at 6pm, to avoid the little one falling asleep at the table, very messy, with face in dinner. Asian waiters are very child friendly, so our son loves going to Indian/Bengali restaurants, where the staff give him special attention to make him feel welcome. He always orders the same thing: Tarka Dhal & rice.

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