Baltzersen’s, Harrogate 

Baltzersen’s in Harrogate has been around for a while now and I’ve read plenty of reviews but never made it inside, despite wanting to every time I walked past, I always ended up too busy or persuaded by the boyfriend to visit one of our regular favourites. This was mainly down to the assumption that they vegetarian options wouldn’t be great- Scandinavian food does have a reputation for being fish and smoked meat heavy. However yesterday we took the plunge and were pleasantly surprised by the choice available- so much so that I even went for a veggie option myself!

Once inside we only had to wait a minute or so to get a table- this was about 2.30 on a Saturday so not surprisingly it was fairly busy for a small café. We were then seated and managed to choose our lunch fairly quickly before returning to the tills to order. The drinks service was a little slow but I forgive them in their lunchtime rush. The interior is quite minimalist but cosy, with tables in a few nooks and crannys, plus cushions and newspapers provided to keep you happy while you wait.

I ordered a bowl of Lapskaus-a Norwegian lentil and root vegetable stew which came with warm bread and butter, and the boyfriend opted for an open sandwich with grilled halloumi, beetroot and an apple and radish relish which looked good but not as good as my warming and hearty stew! It was a little like a soup as there was quite a lot of liquid but was definitely a good choice for a December lunch.

We couldn’t resist the window of sweet treats on the way out, and what could be more Scandinavian than cinnamon buns? (ok Baltzersen’s is Norwegian and cinnamon buns are Danish but its close enough!) We got two to take away and enjoy for breakfast this morning. They were huge and the amount of cinnamon was just right all the way through, with a soft, sticky middle. The perfect way to start the day!

They also do adorable heart shaped waffles with jam and cream or chocolate spread, which are even half price after 3pm Monday-Friday so I will defiantly be back to indulge my sweet tooth!

Baltzersen’s transforms at night into Norse– a restaurant that describes itself as ‘relaxed fine dining’ with a Scandinavian inspired 8 course menu. While perhaps a little expensive and decidedly less vegetarian friendly menu it probably won’t be one the boyfriend and I try out, but it certainly looks like a very interesting foodie experience! While I can’t speak for Norse, Baltzersen’s is certainly worth a visit.





Guy Fawkes Inn, Scotton

wp-image-1038755jpg.jpgLast weekend we took a trip to the Guy Fawkes Arms in Scotton, just outside of Knaresborough. We’d heard great things about it but had never managed to go as we weren’t organised enough to book a table in their small but very popular restaurant, so when our neighbours suggested going for Sunday/early Christmas dinner we jumped at the chance! For those who are interested, Guy Fawkes himself was born in York but spent most of his youth in Scotton, hence the name.

We were sat in the cosy bar area while we waited for the rest of our group to arrive, sipping our drinks near a real wood fire which was lovely! The drinks are a little expensive but they have some great ales on offer and the house wine was very nice. We chose our food while waiting here to speed up the process. Sunday seems to be an amazing day price wise, as you could have two courses for £16 or three for £19! There’s a pretty good choice for vegetarians considering it’s a small pub in a tiny village- we were a little concerned as the sample menu on their website didn’t list any veggie main options but when we called they assured us there would actually be three choices. They change their menu regularly depending on the ingredients available and the season so if you have any dietary requirements, I would definitely phone ahead.

The table was given a huge platter of breads, some plain and some with olives or sundried tomatoes which were really soft and tasty. For starters, most of our group opted for the baked camembert for two which was a full sized, creamy, oozing camembert (some places give you piddly little ones!) with plenty of bread, celery, grapes, apple and some weird pink fruit with a white centre and tiny black seeds which was a complete mystery but very nice! They even gave us more bread when we asked for it. This in itself was filling and I could have left it there but there was more to come! Others in our group had the seafood platter and the pigeon breast which looked equally good.

My main course was slices of roast sirloin beef with a huge Yorkshire pudding and proper gravy. The table was given two trays of seasonal veg (this picture is from the internet as I ate mine too quickly to snap, so the veg is slightly different- we had carrots, broccoli and peas) and either crisp yet soft in the middle roast potatoes or super indulgent and creamy dauphinoise potatoes. The meat was so tender and moist it really was the best roast dinner I have had in years…. sorry mum! The boyfriend’s cheese, spinach and pepper wellington with garlic pesto also looked amazing and even tempted one of the meat eaters in our group to go veggie for the night!

Some people had pudding but I was so stuffed by this point I was nearly bursting! The lemon posset looked lovely, and my one spoonful of the white chocolate Eton mess was amazing but very, very rich- there was no way I could manage a full one!

This quiet country pub is genuinely amazing and we will defiantly be heading back, especially if we have guests over! The Sunday menu is such good value and is the perfect cross between good old fashioned pub grub but with a good restaurant style twist. The staff were lovely and helpful and the whole atmosphere just lent itself to having a good time with friends and family. If you are in the area, I would definitely recommend a visit, just remember to book a table as its so popular with the locals!


Stuzzi, Harrogate 

It was the boyfriend’s birthday last weekend and we decided to celebrate at Stuzzi in Harrogate. We had been once before for a drink outside after a meal somewhere else but after reading several rave reviews of the restaurant, I had to give it a try.

Stuzzi is an Italian restaurant that works on the idea of stuzzichini which is like the Italian version of tapas with lots of small plates designed to be shared. Everything is made fresh on the day depending on the ingredients delivered, so the menu is constantly changing which gives you a huge variety of flavours from different areas of Italy, but also unfortunately means you can’t have a favourite to always return to!

We had a vegetarian and a lactose intolerant in our group and the staff were so helpful with checking what was suitable, as well as recommending a good wine “with a bit of ooomph”- the midle one from Puglia. They also explained each dish- where it came from and the ingredients used which was a really nice touch to have such knowledgeable staff on hand.

We started with the antipasti platter to share as there was something for everyone- the spicy salami was delicious and the turnip tops fried in butter an unexpected bonus.

We then moved onto the stuzzi, ordering 7 between 5 of us, plus an Italian cheese platter to finish with. Although the plates are small they are very tasty and suprisingly filling so don’t panic when they appear- we found ordering one each then sharing, and then ordering more when we wanted worked well.

Unfortunately the menu will have no doubt changed by now, here’s a quick run down of what we had:

  • Roast belly pork on crushed garlic and rosemary cannollini beans (amazing!!)
  • Sardine and saffron tagliatelle with raisins and pine nuts
  • Pickled sea trout with fennel, radish and orange
  • Aubergine and ricotta croquettes
  • Tomato bruschetta
  • Bronze di linguine with fresh pesto
  • Fried seafood selection- king prawns, squid and sardines with lemon and garlic aoili.

The 5 cheese selection I cannot remember the names of but there was an incredibly creamy mozzarella, one a bit like parmigiano reggiano which was great with honey, another hard cheese that went really well with the spicy chutney, and a very strong blue cheese soaked in red wine and berries which I could have eaten whole blocks of! (the 5th one has completely escaped me….)

Stuzzi also operate as an Italian deli during the day and you can buy many of the staple ingredients used plus fresh baked bread and pastries. I would recommend booking in advance as it was very busy on a Saturday night, and I’ve heard most nights and lunches too! The whole meal for 5 people and a bottle of wine (it was so nice you only really sip it rather than knock it back like a cheap bottle of plonk) came to about £20 each which is very good value for such a nice dinner and amazing service!

All the photos are from their Facebook page as I took none of my own- I was enjoying it too much to get the phone out! 

Top 3 Tavernas in Mandria 

There are several restaurants in Mandria, 3 traditional tavernas, a fish and chip restaurant and a Chinese and Indian restaurant. We felt that it would be silly to eat English food we could get at home while on holiday so stuck to the 3 more traditional tavernas. Here’s what we thought of each:

1. Kentpoikon 

By far our favourite, we ate here almost every night. It’s a family run business and all of the staff are so friendly and welcoming. While they do have some English dishes available, we tried nearly all of their Cypriot ones- halloumi and fig salad, moussaka, kleftiko, stifado, lamb meatballs, pork kebabs and sheftalia pittas. Every portion is enormous and all reasonably priced, from around €5 for a pitta to €10 for the kleftiko. All their ingredients are locally sourced and delivered fresh daily. Their cocktails are also amazing- €4 each and just enough kick of alcohol to them for a pleasant buzz in the evening sun! They also do delicious desserts- we tried their waffle with chocolate and icecream. Their breakfast sandwich is also perfect for setting you up for a big day sightseeing. Absolutely 5* review!

2. Klimataria 

We ate here twice, trying out pizza, a lamb burger and a village salad. All these meals were tasty and again were very filling portions, but unfortunately he pizza base was a little soggy and the service was not quite as friendly as Kentpoikon. Also, it was slightly more expensive. All of these things are little niggles and wouldn’t prevent me from eating there again, but I would give it a decent 4* review.

3. Maria’s Taverna

We only ate here once- having a village salad with chips and a halloumi, lountza and spicy sausage pitta. The pitta was huge and very tasty but the salad was a little disappointing and there wasn’t  really any other choice for a vegetarian. A decent enough meal at a very good price, but being a bit off the main road meant it was very quiet and maybe because of this the menu was smaller. Still a solid 4* though.

Marigold Ice Cream, Knaresborough 

This is the best ice cream shop I have been to in the UK by a long way! Located on the edge of the River Nidd in Knaresborough, it is a small shop owned by the same people as the Marigold Café and just 30 seconds away it provides a welcome treat every time!

untitled.pngIt is the range of flavours that really makes this place amazing, as well as the quality of the ice cream itself. You can tell that they are all made with the actual ingredients mentioned, rather than just flavourings so you do get little chunks of all sorts throughout which is amazing. So far I have sampled:

  • Jaffa Cake
  • Banoffee Pie
  • Lemon Curd
  • Rhubarb and Custard
  • Honey and Ginger
  • Marmalade Cheesecake
  • Snickers

13592626_10154416415853534_4521603519435254117_nI cannot recommend this place enough, it is so much better than the other ice cream shops along the riverside (I have tried them all, in the interests of research of course…) The only thing is that they don’t take card so remember to bring your pocket money!


Honey Bees at Hannah’s, Knaresborough 

After a few friends came over last weekend to celebrate my birthday, we headed into Knaresborough to get some fresh air and brunch to make us feel a bit more alive after a night on the town! My friends had never been to Knaresborough before and were suitable impressed by the stunning scenery by the river and the pretty town, but after walking from Starbeck and climbing up the steep steps to the Castle and Bebra Gardens, it was time for brunch!

13537549_10154416123578534_1907136590205375221_nWe spotted Honey Bee’s at Hannah’s and knew this was the place for us as it just looked so cute and cosy, and the menu looked amazing! The service was quick and nothing was too much for our waitress (who I presume was Hannah herself).

13528870_10154416123593534_5611133224133013921_nI ordered the Brunch stack, but our group also tried the Veggie Stack and the Scrambled Eggs and Smoked Salmon on Toast options. The food was quick and amazing- proper bacon and black pudding with a beautifully poached egg, all on top of some of the best bubble and squeak I have had recently. Hannah herself is veggie, and so the veggie options have been really well thought out too which was good to see, as the boyfriend is also veggie. The tea came in very generous pot and very cute, dainty tea cups which I loved.

This little café could be easily walked past without entering as it is off the main square of Knaresborough, but it will now be one of my go-to places as we were too full to try the delicious looking homemade cakes on this occasion!


China Palace, Brandesburton

China Palace is officially my favourite place to eat, ever. I cannot even begin to tell you how good the food is, and how fab the owner Danny, his dad and Chef Jimmy and the team are. I have been going to this restaurant for as long as I can remember, and every single time it has been perfect. Due to the fact that I’ve been so many times, this will be a run down of their best dishes and an overall review, rather than just one visit.

As you enter you are shown to small tables to wait and make your choice from the extensive menu. Danny and the bar team are great her- they take your coat, take drinks orders (and memorise them for every time you return) and give you tips on what to order from the menu. You are then taken through to the main restaurant when your table is ready to nibble on prawn crackers and wait for the starters. Don’t be fooled if the restaurant is a bit empty like it often is- it’s not down to them being unpopular at all, but having a spacious dining room and an amazing takeaway next door that the locals often prefer for ease! For a small village with another restaurant and two food-serving pubs, there are always a few families in and it makes you feel like you’re really being looked after by the staff who have the time to focus on you.

My personal favourite is the duck pancakes- they have the perfect combination of soft silky pancakes, succulent and crispy duck and tangy plum sauce. This one really does make a special occasion feel special, but if you’re after something smaller I would recommend the Salt and Pepper king prawns or chicken wings which come served with lashings of chilli and garlic too, and are just heavenly finger food! I am also reliably informed by the boyfriend that their tofu in Peking sauce really hits the spot for vegetarians!

The mains are the tricky part as there is such a huge amount to choose from but it is all good- and I have tried most of the dishes over the years! I can particularly recommend the duck in soy sauce with a hint of orange, anything in the Satay sauce as it’s the best I’ve ever had, and the crispy beef in OK sauce which is sweet and crunchy and spicy and oh so good! Trust me, none of my family or friends have ever had a bad word to say about the food, and it all comes in generously sized portions that they are more than happy to box up for you if you can’t finish it all. We usually order one main each but then share as we just can’t resist trying what somebody else has got!

The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, as it’s never too busy and the music playing in the background is exactly that- background music you can enjoy while eating but it won’t take over your conversations. If like us you are regulars, you get to know the staff well and they look after you properly- we’ve had drinks on the house, birthday ice cream sundaes and flowers for my mum’s 50th birthday, which all goes to show how good they are!

I really cannot do this place justice in a written review, so if you’re ever in East Yorkshire make sure you drop by and sample the best Chinese food Yorkshire can offer!