Restaurant Reviews Arami Bangladeshi Indian Restaurant Newcastle upon Tyne UK

How do you like the sound of some Jimey Bum Bums Puri? Me too! But I’ll have to wait till my next visit to Arami to sample that dish…

Arami is the newest, and definitely the most stylish, addition to the restaurant scene in Newcastle. As it was the Curry Monster’s birthday celebration it had fallen to me – Chutney Mary – to make the arrangements and I certainly made a good choice.

The restaurant is situated on Leazes Park Road, in the shadow of St. James Park. It’s close to two Metro stations and to Eldon Square bus station just a couple of minutes walk from the very center of town.

The exterior is stylish but simple with big picture windows and black woodwork; it is just a taster of the simple decor inside. The bar area is warm and cozy with low lighting and tactile leather and suede cushions on low banquettes. The only thing that seemed a bit out of place and, perhaps a throwback to the more traditional “curry house”, was a plasma television screen on which a Bollywood movie was being shown. Thankfully, that distraction was missing from the dining area.

Over a beer (Kingfisher for the CM) and a gin and tonic (for me) we looked over the menu. Choosing was not easy. Arami describes itself as a Bangladeshi restaurant that specializes in the food of the Sylhet region. According to the notes on the menu this means that a lot of fish is eaten and, indeed, there were more fish dishes than you would normally find on a menu in a typical Indian restaurant. I thought that a choice of seventeen starters was maybe a bit over the top but reading on I found that the menu as a whole was vast – something that always makes me suspicious as I think that if a restaurant can offer all those things, maybe some of them are not made to order and are not fresh. Fourteen chicken dishes, eleven fish dishes, nine tandoori dishes, eleven meat dishes, three veggie dishes….and so it went on and these were just the restaurants specials!

The menu also has a section called “Classics” – the standard dishes you get in most Indian restaurants – dupiaza, vindaloo, pathia, dansak, etc. The vegetable side dishes were also fairly standard but the list was comprehensive.

Once our choices had been taken down we were shown to our table where two popadoms and a pickle tray were waiting for us. A minute later our wine arrived – a beautifully chilled South African chenin blanc (£14.95). As the waiter poured we looked over our surroundings. the dining area is split into two by a partition wall with open sections; both parts were quite small but certainly not cramped and care had been taken not to cram in too many tables.

The soft furnishings were muted coffee and walnut colors, the walls were very plain and off white. Two massive and very modern chandeliers hung from the ceiling. While the decor was not groundbreaking it was definitely modern and finished to a high standard. Above all it was comfortable – and sometimes that is compromised when trying to achieve a contemporary look.

To start I had chosen the Chittagong crab salad (£4.75) which was delicious even though it did not come with the mango dressing nor the garlic croutes that had been mentioned on the menu. The other half’s Tandoori Machli (£4.75) was superb – a good sized fillet of rainbow trout that had been well marinaded in a host of spices and cooked in the tandoor. Both dishes were beautifully presented and even the salad garnishes were imaginative – I especially liked the long spirals of mooli and carrot.

My main course was Bonnani shank (£10,.95) – a decent sized shank of lamb that had been simmered until very tender and then marinaded in hot spices. The flavors were amazing with mint and ginger coming through most. Best of all was the way the meat fell away from the shank with just the slightest touch. The bones were completely clean.

Curry Monster had chosen Machli Chochoree (£11.95) – according to the menu this was a “lightly spiced fish cooked with onion, green chili, mustard seeds and fresh herbs”. According to me it was very spicy indeed, but able to handle hotter dishes quite easily, the Curry Monster declared it just right. We were told that the fish was called “rup chanda” – a freshwater fish that is imported specially from Bangladesh.

Alongside our mains we shared a very fragrant pilau rice and a good-sized naan bread; the latter was perhaps a little too sweet. Finally we had a side dish of Sag Dial – a spinach and lentil dish that was fabulous. The lentils were perfect and the gloopy spinach still had just a little bit of bite.

After all this I was not intending to have a dessert but since the waiter brought the sweet menu without being asked to I thought it was most polite to comply. Since I am allergic to nuts I always avoid kulfi even though it looks divine. Instead I plumped for a refreshing sounding “tartufo Limoncello”. When it arrived it was sprinkled with pistachio but the waiter happily took it away and came back with a fresh one with no nuts on it in seconds. I am pretty sure that this is a bought-in dessert but it was fantastic. Rich, tangy lemon ice cream with a Limoncello center, covered with tiny pieces of meringue and drizzled with sweetly scented honey – heavenly…

Overall I would certainly say that I made a good choice in picking Arami. This is one restaurant where the food lives up to the promise of the surroundings. The service was unobtrusive but the waiters were easy to catch if you wanted them.

But the most impressive thing was the excellent value. I do not begrudge splashing out for good food; I would rather eat out less and pay more for quality when I do. However, when we arrived at Arami I had a suspicion that I would be paying somewhere between 80-90 for the meal, so a bill for £67.00 was certainly unexpected and most welcome.

With so much choice and the promise of more fine food, I am already looking forward to our next visit…..

By the way – “Jimey Bum Bums Puri” is “a delicacy of baby potatoes in onion and tomato sauce, tempered with garlic and exotic spices. Served on shallow fried baby chapattis.

6-10 Leazes Park Road, Newcastle upon Tyne

tel 0191 2220659
Opening hours
Mon – Sat Lunch 12.00-2.00pm, Evening 5.30pm – 11.30pm
Fri & Sun – Lunch closed, Evening 5.00pm – 11.30pm

1. 10 Best Indian Restaurants in Newcastle upon Tyne – TripAdvisor
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3. Aramee Bangladeshi & Indian Restaurant, North Shields – TripAdvisor

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Recipes for Students on a Tight Budget

If you crave protein and carbs, this recipe is great on a tight budget and it will fill you up. You will need the following:

1 box of Velveeta macaroni and cheese
1 can of albacore tuna in spring water

Make the macaroni and cheese as directed on the box. Drain the tuna and add it to the macaroni and cheese.
Stir and enjoy!

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Recipes Worlds best Enchiladas

Of course everyone thinks their enchiladas are the world’s best enchiladas. I’ve had many people tell me that mine are superb. What is so wonderful about them is that they are really very easy to make.  They can be made with chicken or ground beef.


Heat oven to 350 degrees

Chicken Variation:

4 chicken breasts

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 10 ounce can of Cream of Chicken soup

Slice chicken into thin strips; add chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Cook in skillet coated with a small amount of oil until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Drain grease and add Cream of Chicken soup.

Ground Beef Variation:

1.5 pounds ground beef

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 can green chilies

1 teaspoon salt

1 10 ounce can of Cream of Chicken soup

Brown ground beef with salt. Drain the grease. Add the minced garlic, green chilies and soup to beef.


6 corn tortillas 6”

2 diced onions (optional)

1 pound of cheddar cheese

1 10 ounce can of Stokes Green Chili sauce

3 cups cooking oil

Pour cooking oil into a skillet and heat at medium heat. Cook corn tortillas one at a time in the oil. They only have to be cooked for a few minutes at a time on each side. Put each tortilla on a plate with a paper towel to absorb the grease.

Once the tortillas are cooked, spray a 9 x 9 pan with cooking spray. Fill the cooked tortillas with either the beef or chicken mixture, add cheese and onions. Roll up and place the filled tortilla in the baking pan. Line five of the tortillas one way and then put the sixth at the end.  Mix any remaining meat mixture with Stokes Green chili and pour over the enchiladas. Cover with cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes or until it is hot and bubbly.

Another really good thing to add to this is fresh diced tomatoes that are sprinkled on after its been removed from the oven. Sour cream is good to put on them and also avocados.

Monterey Jack cheese can be used in place of cheddar or a mixture of both can be used. If a person likes a cheesier enchilada he or she can add more cheese than the recipe calls for. I don’t usually follow the recipe exactly. I have a tendency to make everything to taste. My family loves it when I make these enchiladas and they can be made ahead of time and cooked in the oven at a later date. It’s a wonderful meal. 

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Recipes Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe: Stuffed Garlic Mushrooms

This recipe is so easy to put together, I often let my kids make them, under my supervision of course! I tend to make them for take on picnics, or if we have visitors coming over around afternoon tea time, I generally serve these up. So far, there has never been enough to go around!

Serves 4-5


350g large field mushrooms

4 cloves of garlic

175g unsalted butter

50g white bread crumbs

1 egg

salt and cayenne pepper (for seasoning)


Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius

Clean and remove stem from each mushroom.

Peel and crush garlic cloves. Make sure the pieces are small so that the garlic taste is not too strong.

Arrange your mushrooms top down (brown section up) on a lined baking tray.

Mix your crushed garlic and butter in a small bowl and divide half of it off, distribute this amount evenly between the mushroom heads. (only half fill your mushroom heads as you will be adding extra ingredients to them).

Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan and lightly fry your bread crumbs. They should be golden brown when done. Once done, move your bread crumbs into a separate bowl and season with salt and cayenne pepper.

To this mix, add your egg (that has been beaten) and mix through well. Scoop this mixture out and use it to fill the mushrooms the rest of the way.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the topping has browned nicely and the mushrooms are soft.

Allow to cool and serve.

Notes: Eggs – try to use a 650g or 700g egg if possible. Garlic – although fresh garlic is best, if you do not have any, you can use ¾ tablespoon of minced garlic. Salt – although you don’t need to use much, you might as well pick a nice salt. Although table salt is just fine, we prefer to use ground sea salt and mix that with the Cayenne pepper.

If you are planning on taking these stuffed mushrooms for a picnic or outing, you can make them up the day before and put them in the refrigerator overnight. Then all you have to do is pull them out and bake them, and they are ready to go.

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Polynesian Mahi Mahi with South Sea Dipping Sauce

Mahi Mahi is a fantastic, flavorful fish that is slightly fatty and firm. The flaky flesh is tender and succulent. Also known as Dorado or Dolphinfish (not the mammal, dolphin, as we know it), this beauty can be found in many parts of the world in warm water.

The fish is tasty when simply baked, grilled or broiled. It can also be fried nicely and made into a thick, hearty sandwich. This recipe is for Polynesian Mahi Mahi, which is broiled, but it can easily be adapted for the grill as well.

1 tablespoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1 green pepper, sliced thin
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/4 cup dark rum
1 cup minced white onion
1 cup olive oil

4 Mahi Mahi fillets (each about 6 ounces)

Combine the allspice, rosemary, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic powder, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, green pepper and jalapeno peppers, rum and onion and stir to combine. Fold in the olive oil and gently whisk to blend all of the ingredients.

Slice the Mahi Mahi fillets in thin strips (about one inch wide) and arrange in a baking pan and top with all of the marinade. Cover the fish and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

In an oven preheated at 400 degrees Farenheit, arrange the fish on a baking sheet that has been sprayed or coated with olive oil, and bake until they are golden brown on both sides (carefully turn midway, making sure you do not break the fillets apart) for 12 to 15 minutes.

Serve the Mahi Mahi strips with sliced mango, avocado and a green salad, with the following South Sea Dipping Sauce:

1 cup water

1 cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon red onion, minced

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, minced

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

2 teaspoons hot chile (or jalapeno) pepper, minced

2 teaspoons ketchup

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Pour water and vinegar into a saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in sugar, onion, ginger, garlic, chile pepper, and ketchup; simmer for 8 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch, then remove the saucepan from the stove to cool for a few minutes. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve with the fish strips.

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Restaurant Reviews Johnnie Foxes Pub Restaurant in Glencullen Ireland

Johnnie Foxes is located in Glencullen, a small sleepy village in the southern suburbs of Dublin, perched high on the top of the Dublin Mountains.

It makes great emphasis of the fact that it is the “highest pub in Ireland” but this is not strictly true, as there is a place on the Beara Peninsula called “The Top of the Coomb” that is higher still.

That said, Johnnie Foxes is an Irish institution, and is renowned throughout the world both for the food in its excellent restaurant, and for the “mighty crack” (fun) that is to be enjoyed at its Irish “hooley nights”.

Foxes is the original Irish boozer that all others throughout the world try so desperately to copy. Built about 1750, many of the original fixtures and fittings are still in place!

From the moment you arrive, you realize straight away that this place is something special. The outside is decorated with all types of old fashioned engraved enamel signs, (original, off course) there is an old traditional Irish country shop and Post Office, and an assortment of old wheelbarrows and farming implements.

Walk through the front door and you are met with a scene that could have come from the 1800’s, with old rickety chairs and tables (few of which match), and old wooden benches pulled up in front of roaring peat and log fires. (None of your fake modern gas ones here!)The ceilings are all oak beamed, and the floor is covered in a layer of lovely smelling fresh sawdust.

Old pictures, antiques and memorabilia line all the walls; pictures, photographs, strange looking tools and implements, (used for God knows what) old cigarette packets, jugs and bottles, and, off course, pictures of Ireland’s most famous son, John F. Kennedy.

The whole place fairly hums, with bar boys and waiters at every turn, organizing the seating for you, and making sure that your every whim is answered on request.

The interior is sectioned off into three areas. You have the main bar, the large hall off it where the “hooley” sessions take place, and the restaurant.

The “hooley” sessions take place every night of the week.
There is the usual Irish folk and country bands, (usually very good) and they even have their own mini version of “Riverdance”, with an assortment of Irish dancers jigging around for your entertainment. If all this sounds very “touristy” it’s because it is. The place is invariably packed to the doors with visitors from every corner of the globe, but don’t let this put you off. It is truly Irish, and unquestionably the “real thing”, which is the main reason for its continued popularity and high reputation.

The restaurant is called the “Famous Seafood Kitchen”.
This may seem a bit strange for a place situated so high in the mountains, but you must remember that you are never very far from the water in the “Emerald Isle”.

You can, off course, choose from a very extensive menu, but my advice would be to stick with the fish in any of its various forms, as this is what Foxes do best.

The odd strange delicacy is thrown in to tempt you, such as alligator steaks and fresh Beluga Caviar with blinis. (At over 100 a pop!)There is an extensive (and expensive) wine list as well, if you are not content to stick with the Guinness.

The price of a good meal here will usually be about 75 per head, which may or may not seem expensive depending on your wallet, but is not unreasonable as Irish prices go.

Johnnie Foxes is one of the most popular bar/restaurants in the whole of Ireland.

I’ve lost count of the number of tourists I’ve ferried up to here in my taxi, and at a fare of about 40 it’s been fairly lucrative for me over the years. (My email is on my profile if you want to book your taxi!)

Try it if you get the chance. I guarantee you a night to remember.

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Review and Tasting Notes of Hop Back Summer Lightning

“Summer Lightning in your eyes, it keeps on dancing”

No, this isn’t about throwing a pint of beer in someone’s face (though I’m sometimes tempted). It’s a line from a song that only an old ‘head’ would recognise or remember (although given the alleged effects of smoking too much weed, they probably wouldn’t remember).


Review? What review?

Oh, right.

Anyway, ’tis zummer me dears, that is plain. And speaking of plains, I had myself a bottle of beer last night which hailed all the way from the plain…Salisbury Plain.

The Hop Back Brewery (named after the vessel used to remove the leafy hop cones from the brew after boiling) started life as a brew-pub in Salisbury in 1986. They now make a range of half-a-dozen or so cask ales and a similar number of bottled ales, including Crop Circle.
The best known, and the one this review is about, is undoubtedly Summer Lightning.

You can’t miss this stuff on your supermarket shelf, the label is a very bright yellow with an image of some Greek-god-type guy in the middle; it’s also got the name written on the label…that’s always a dead give away. Expect to pay £1.50-70 for a 500ml, dark brown bottle.
“Terrific straw coloured beer with a fresh, hoppy aroma and a well-rounded, malty flavour with an intense bitterness that leads to a long, dry finish.”

This beer pours a clear, pale golden-yellow colour which is topped by an impressively frothy, white foamy head that sadly shrinks to a thin wisp within a minute. It doesn’t disappear altogether though, and manages to leave a respectable amount of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is very herbal and leafy, with plenty of spicy hop notes too. There’s lots of fragrant, perfumey tones, and a quite noticeable slice of citrus, most especially lemon. Not a lot from the malt though, perhaps a little sweet caramel.

It’s light-to-medium bodied with a quite sharp and zingy mouth feel – though it’s not particularly gassy. The initial taste is, quite surprisingly, roasted malt which gives it an almost stout-like flavour. This soon sweetens a little, before the sharp and tangy, lemony flavours kick in. there’s some leafiness from the hops, but I think there’s more flavour from the malt with this one.To be fair, the hops make a bit of a late flourish in the finish, which is fairly dry, and there’s a slightly oily, leafiness in the aftertaste.

At 5% ABV, I’d hesitate to call this a session ale, although essentially that’s what it is. It’s a decent, light, easy-drinking ale that would certainly be refreshing on a summer day…or any other day, for that matter. It’s not the most complex of beers, and I actually thought it was a little disappointing flavour-wise considering the aroma promised so much. Still, there’s very little to criticise about it and I’m sure it would be a fantastic pint from the cask.
It’s not exactly overpowering in the flavour department, so I can’t see it clashing with any particular food.

Would I drink it again? – Probably, although they say lightning never strikes twice.

1. Hopback Summer Lightning | Hop Back Brewery plc | BeerAdvocate
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3. Summer Lightning – ABV 5% – Hop Back Brewery

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Restaurant Reviews the Vujon Indian Restaurant Newcastle upon Tyne UK

The Vujon is widely regarded as the best Indian restaurant in Newcastle. It should be stressed that this is fine dining and not your typical “curry house” – Newcastle has plenty of those if that is what you want but the Vujon is several grades above. This is apparent as soon as you walk through the door. It’s housed in an old stately building by the quayside; it has high ceilings and a sweeping staircase next to the waiting area. You are treated well from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave. You are invited to have a drink while you look at the menu or you can usually go straight to your table if you wish.

Since this is a high class restaurant you can expect to find some different things on the menu and the Vujon does not disappoint. We regularly eat in Indian restaurants so welcomed the change.

I plumped for the main course of venison which was described as a Goan inspired dish. It came in a rich, dark red stew which was delicately spiced. My partner had the monkfish which he said was nicely spicy without overpowering the delicate flavor of the monkfish. We chose side dishes of okra and aubergine which were both faultless.

More recognizable dishes are also featured on the menu but only a couple – a dopiaza and a tikka masala, for example. At one point, two couples came into the restaurant and were seated near us. They ordered drinks as they looked through the menu but once the drinks were finished they left; I suspect that they had been out for an evening’s drinking on the nearby quayside and had thought this was just a basic “curry house” the menu had told them otherwise.

Our starters were fine – a prawn dish and some pakora – nicely spiced with a good kick and we also ordered some freshly made naan bread to go with our main courses. The bread was light and not so oily as often they are and nicely flavored with mustard seeds.

The Vujon offers a shortish but wide enough wine list. We opted for a new world Chardonnay and found it had been well described and was just as suggested. Bottles start from around £15.

Desserts are available but we could not eat any more. Disappointingly, the only Indian dessert was kulfi – I felt that this kind of establishment should have offered more Indian desserts. Judging by the names, I suspect that most of the desserts were bought in and mass-produced; I really would expect more homemade things at a restaurant of this level.

Although the main room is big and does not have any nooks and crannies, I still felt that the ambiance was intimate. You don’t feel that the next table is too close, though some more intimate spots would be appreciated. Decor is rather plush without being over the top; linens are stylish and simple but crisp and pristine too. The staff were friendly and helpful without being pushy. They did one check back but would always be aware if someone wanted something.

Recommended for a special occasion, not for the after the match curry with the lads.

£70.00 should cover three courses for two people with drinks.

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Restaurant Reviews Jimmys Killer Prawns Cape Town

Jimmy’s Killer Prawns – another well-known seafood franchise. Their specialty, is of course prawn and seafood dishes. They have also expanded their menu to include sushi and much to my girlfriend’s dislike, a hearty selection of “Buffalo-Bill” portioned meaty (red meat) dishes.

We recently attended a birthday party at the Kloof Street franchise. Not everyone will appreciate the home-restaurant feel about the place and seating is sometimes a little awkward, especially if you are a party of more than 6 people. Finding parking is also at times an issue. The venue does feel a little cramped, or as some estate agents will debate, somewhat “intimate”. Personally, overhearing echoes of personal gossip and insider-company information from my neighbours table is a little awkward. Made me wonder if they in turn, could hear my imaginary shrieking with respect to the red wine a particular group were savouring with their garlic-buttered prawns. A sinful combination really. But folks, my apologies, I digress as our primary concern here is the quality and presentation of the sushi at Jimmy’s Prawns.

The Jimmy’s selection of sushi platters is fairly broad and well presented. Unfortunately no particular platter bowled us over with much excitement. We decided to add a bit of “pizazz” to the standard platter by opting for additional complimentary orders of salmon roses, salmon rainbow rolls and salmon sashami. Yes, that’s quite an omega boost for one evening – I’m sure my friends at Men’s Health would have been proud, or disgusted with the excess kilojoule intake. But hey, “tis the season…” as the saying goes.
Our sushi arrived in good time and was very well presented on a large round wooden serving board. As hungry as we were, we took a moment to appreciate the intricacy and effort that was taken to prepare such an eye-catching, tasty feast. Our excitement was shared by the rest of our party, who sat and stared in awe of our sushi delights. If dining protocol was unfounded, the lesser reserved would have stopped what they were already eating to order a similar main dish.
The sushi and sushi rice was very good. The salmon and prawn was of course very fresh. However, the salmon lacked a little of that “melt-in-your-mouth” quality that is often followed by an explosion of fresh, tasty, deep-sea, woody aroma’s, all concluding in a buttered avocado aftertaste. Notwithstanding, the sushi overall were quite good, and the prices were fairly reasonable.
For some reason, it appeared as if the sushi-items as offered by the platter we ordered had more salmon and prawn portions as opposed to equal tuna portions. This could have been from the influence we may have had on the Sushi-Chef due to our additional “side” orders of salmon sushi. We have to mention that the tuna portions we had, were not the best. It tasted somewhat lumpy, and its texture was far too soft.

Presentation and condiments are often overlooked by many sushi bars and restaurants. We already gave praises for Jimmy’s presentation, however when it comes to condiments, they were somewhat lacking. In my opinion, we had just about enough pickled ginger for the entire platter, which we already started using sparingly since the first bite. The surprise to our condiment-selection included mayonnaise and needle-strip sliced cucumber. The only other sushi bar or restaurant where I have seen these “extras” is at Balducci’s Royal Sushi Bar.

After enjoying some good sushi, we still felt as if something was missing in terms of the overall experience. It took us a while to figure it out, and that was that we had no view or contact with any of the Sushi-Chefs. At most sushi bars and restaurants, patrons would have some direct or indirect contact with their chef. This we believe adds tons of enjoyment to the overall experience. Regardless of if you strike up a conversation with the Chef or not, or if you quietly and tentatively appreciate the skill that goes into the preparation. This is certainly an oversight on the part of Jimmy’s management in terms of their floor planning. Every Sushi-Chef, whether they want to admit it or not, wants patrons to appreciate their skill and experienced hand. Critics would argue that watching an experienced Sushi-Chef at work, is certainly a performance of fine art.

After enjoying some good sushi, why not treat yourself, or preferably your better half to an exhilarating head, neck and back massage for R30 (10 – 15 minutes long) from the resident masseuse. Try ignoring the stares and grins from your jealous neighbours, as you will be receiving an enjoyable, rejuvenating massage.

Overall Jimmy’s managed to serve up some good quality sushi, barring the poor sushi tuna portions we had. Their sushi menu is passable and their prices are very reasonable. On the evening, and thanks to a well presented platter, we managed to baptise some more friends into sushi-lovin-newbies. Jimmy’s Killer Prawns in Kloof Street should definitely be on your shortlist, amongst all the other, ever increasing sushi-establishments in Cape Town’s central business district.

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Review and Tasting Noted Thwaites Lancaster Bomber

My first thought walking into Wetherspoons on a Friday evening usually revolves around trying to decide which of the many beers on offer I’m going to have. My second thought is usually wondering why they have so many different ‘unavailable’ at any given time, thereby narrowing the choice considerably. My third thought, some time later after realising that either I’m invisible, or the bar is seriously understaffed, is usually along the lines of, ‘Help ma Boab! Just pour the slops from the drip tray into a tumbler for me, I’m spitting feathers here!”

The folowing review, fortunately, does not concern such desperate measures. A modicum of patience, and I was soon the proud owner, albeit temporarily, of a cool pint of foaming ale.

Daniel Thwaite’s Brewery is located in the Lancashire town of Blackburn where they’ve been brewing ales using traditional recipes since 1807. They’ve remained a family concern and one of the larger, independent brewers in the country. I learned this from their website. I also learned that they’re “a vertically integrated company.”
Does this make any difference to the beer? Does it make any sense, even?

They brew a range of cask ales, kegs, lagers and cider, but the one I’m discussing is a beer which was originally brewed by another, now defunct local brewery. It was reintroduced on the 6th of June 1994 to mark the 50th anniversary of D-Day. That beer is Lancaster Bomber.

“A very easy drinking rich amber beer with an inviting malty aroma. It has a finely balanced hop character with a prominent floral hop aroma and warming aftertaste.”

This beer pours a deep and dark rusty-red colour which is crystal clear and topped by a half-inch or so of thinnish, tan-coloured foam. The head soon dissipates and leaves only the suggestion of a lace effect on the glass.

The aroma is predominantly malty, mainly sweet and biscuity, but there’s also plenty of grassy hops poking through. There’s a faint woody tone, and lots of pleasant, fruity notes – mainly dark, but possibly apples too.

It’s medium-bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and the initial taste is all about hops. Grassy and floral, there’s a fair smack of bitterness to this beer, but the soft malt character soon kicks in. The fruit isn’t as noticeable on the palate – it’s all about the contest between hops and malt. There’s a bit of to’n’fro-ing going on, but neither really dominates. it finishes on the dry side, with a creeping bitterness in the aftertaste.

At 4.4% ABV, this is a classic session ale. It’s neither too complex, nor too pretentious, but is still a pretty impressive brew. It’s not the most memorable of beers, but it’s one of those that you enjoy without really thinking about it, yanno? Easy-drinking and very satisfying, it’s a beer that you could happily drink a few of and, as it’s only 4.4%, not get too squiffy. It’s also the type of beer that compliments pub grub beautifully – not overpowering or gassy.

Would I drink it again? – Yes but, don’t know where – don’t know when.

1. Thwaites Brewery
2. How Inuit Eat
3. Lancaster Bomber | Daniel Thwaites Brewery PLC | BeerAdvocate

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