Monday, 28 December 2015

The New Lahore, Newport

Today, I'm going to let you in on a little family secret. There are all sorts of fantastic new openings in Newport at the moment, including a hefty dose of your average chain restaurants, but in my humble opinion the best has been in town since 1961.

The New Lahore is situated on Lower Dock Street, which is only a five minute walk around the corner from the new Friars Walk development. Conveniently for us, in perfect position from Rodney Parade, where we spent our traditional Christmas derby day watching the Newport Gwent Dragons get robbed by the Blues.

In need of cheering up, five of us headed on over after the match. Pre-booking is recommended as the restaurant only seats forty. Perfectly sized for good service, which is a guarantee at the LH (as it's known in our house).

The traditional recipes are kept secret, and have been handed down through the generations of chefs since Mr Islam opened up over fifty years ago. These curry sauces are known as the 'Old Style' on the menu, and are a thicker, spicier gravy style sauce.

It's not to everyone's taste, but the waiters are so knowledgeable and proud of their curry, that they will help you choose the right one. If you're not sure if it's the one for you, they will very often bring an old style sauce for you to try along with your meal.

I've had the old style before, which I absolutely adore, but something different caught my eye and I went for the Pudina Lamb. This consisted of long strips of tender lamb, in a mint, ginger and red chilli sauce. I'd definitely put it up there above a madras on the heat scale, and it was wonderful. Really thick, chunky gravy, and the mint gives it an unexpected coolness which cuts through the heat.

Between the five of us, we covered an extensive range of the menu. From the mild King Prawn Summerkand to the chef's special, to the winner of the night, the Jhal Monipuri Chicken. Mr P went for this on the recommendation of a regular, and was not disappointed. Chicken and herbs with green chillis cooked to the owner's own recipe. I had a fair few mouthfuls too, and I was a little jealous. Such depth of flavour, spicy, thick and with an almost BBQ style sweetness coming from the onions.

There was a perfectly crispy array of naans, including garlic, keema and peshwari. Sides also came in the form of a saag aloo, saag paneer and a tarkaa daal, which I definitely stole most of. I had no idea that lentils could taste so good, almost like a garlic mashed potato.

The service really is second to none at the LH. The staff are always on hand but not interfering, and they will offer advice if you're stuck on choices. They're polite and knowledgeable, and incredibly friendly. 

I haven't put the prices on each item here, but here's a link to their website menu. This is because they knocked a few bits and bobs off our bill, and I still cannot get over the value. The bill came to about £25 per person (with tip), and the amount of food we had was staggering.

Numerous glasses of wine and a couple of Cobras, a curry and rice each, plus three naans and three sides. Not to mention the poppadom tray that we demolished while perusing the menu. Plus a chocolate and a complimentary drink (whiskies and brandies all round) on departure. These guys look after you from the moment you walk in.

It's all I can do to hold myself popping back down tonight, so when you've had enough of the turkey sandwiches, wander outside your comfort zone and pop down to the Lahore. Trust me, you won't regret it.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Locke & Remedy, Cardiff

If you're looking for somewhere to fill your boots and recuperate after a mad last minute Christmas shop, then look no further than Locke & Remedy. Having taken over the old Cardiff Library, it is currently surrounded by the cute Christmas huts that adorn Cardiff each year.

The lovely folks at Locke & Remedy invited me and a few other blogger friends to spend an evening with them to check out their new Christmas menu. A night of festive food is not something to be missed, so I headed on down and grabbed a cocktail.

This Christmassy concoction was a beauty, a spicy take on a traditional favourite, a cinammon old fashioned (£7.95) Garnished with dried orange and served in the most amazing (and surprisingly heavy) glass tumblers, this is just what I needed to get me in the Christmas spirit. I'd imagine it'll be just what you need too, after an afternoon fighting the crowds.

The food started to arrive thick and fast, and we all clambered to grab a slice or two (or three...) of the newest winter addition, the festive pizza.

A crisp thin crust, topped with plenty of cheese, maple bacon, chestnuts, cranberry sauce, pork & sage stuffing and some parmesan crisps. Phew. If I'm completely honest, I wasn't exactly sure how well a festive pizza would work. But oh man, it does.

It's a hefty pizza, piled high and filled to the edges. The sweetness is counteracted perfectly with the chunky stuffing balls and salty bacon, and I had to hold myself back from eating until I burst. At £10.95, I think this is great value, considering it's enough for two and practically an entire Christmas dinner on a pizza.

It's a good job I had a little restraint with the pizza, as no sooner were they polished off the burgers came flying out of the kitchen.

The festive burger is probably my favourite Christmas themed food item I've ever eaten. Sometimes the "Christmas sandwiches" get a little samey this time of year, and by January 1st I never want to see a cranberry again. However, I don't think I'd ever get bored of this one...

A spiced buttermilk fried turkey breast and a bacon-wrapped pork and sage stuffing patty on a bed of lettuce and cranberry mayo (£9.95) It just about passed my burger test of fitting in your mouth in one go, with a bit of squishing.

It really is a thing of beauty, and I can't wait to go back and get another one. The crunchy coating surrounding the turkey breast is by far the best thing about the burger. The spices are just enough to give it that hint of ginger, cinnamon and all things Christmas without being overpowering. Colonel Sanders has got nothing on this batter.

After all that food, I needed something to cut through it all, and the fab mixologists behind the bar have come up with the perfect mocktail. This passion fruit cooler is not only one of the prettiest drinks around, but also the right amount of sharpness after all those carbs (£3.95)! Great for after dinner, but also for on those nights where you want to join in with the fun, without the headache the next day!

L&R's cocktail menu takes some beating. I've made my way through a few by now, and I've not come across a bad one yet. So far, my favourite is a Sailor Hydration (£7.95), which is basically a Caribbean holiday in a glass.

What I love most about Locke & Remedy is their short and succinct menu. It consists of a handful of burgers, pizzas and fries, and it does them all extremely well. There are so many places with an extensive menu but an average taste, so L&R really shines. There's also great deals on throughout the week, and they're currently running a deal of a pizza and a bottle of wine for £15. Perfect date night!

And they do the best sweet potato fries in ALL THE LAND. Period. How are they so crunchy?

DISCLAIMER: I was invited to Locke & Remedy as a guest, and all food and drink was complimentary. However, all opinions are my own and unbiased.