Prima Pizza & Kebab: At Midnight After An 8 Hour Pub Crawl...
...it was definitely kebab time!
My eight hour journey cross-country from Appledore to Northampton involved two buses and three trains with varying connection times between them. I do actually enjoy my journeys almost as much as the destinations and so this trip provided the opportunity for a cross-country pub crawl.
A quick beer after work, here in Appledore, and then on the way to the bus stop I picked up a nicely chilled 4-pack from my local Co-op for the journey. The ten past four bus got me to the station at Barnstaple with a twenty minute wait for the Exeter train. But there's no pub near the station - probably the only minor fault that oh-so-useful Barnstaple has - hence the 4-pack!
Arriving at Exeter with about an hour before my Birmingham train was an ideal opportunity to check-out the beers at The Great Western Hotel - a minute or so's walk from the station and which always has an excellent selection of proper beer. One of my absolute favourites, the Princetown Brewery's "Jail Ale" was on offer and a couple of those were more than enjoyed.
Then on to Birmingham and the little bar at New Street Station, the Shakespear (if I remember correctly). This used to be a great little bar in the old days when New Street was a non-smoking station because this was the only place that you could! Not quite the same atmosphere now though as it too is non-smoking but a pleasant room-temperature Newcastle Brown (with a half-pint glass, of course) quenched the thirst before heading on to Rugby.
The 4-pack has been consumed by now and so a couple of cans of Boddington's from the train's trolley buffet were the order of the day.
Unfortunately only ten minutes at Rugby and so no time to go in search of a beer before the train-replacement bus departed (due to engineering works and scheduled) - good job I've still got one of the Boddington's!!
Arrive Northampton just after midnight, found the hotel easy enough and spotted the kebab place immediately across the road. Perfect end to an eight hour, six town, pub crawl!
Favorite Dish: Well of course it has to be the greasy Donner, not too much salad, a couple of pickled chillies and a good splash of their homemade chilli sauce - that was me set up for a good night's sleep!
Should also mention - this is a very friendly little kebab place and at just over three quid for a well-stuffed pitta is well worth seeking out.
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
Fox & Hounds - Althorp Coaching Inn: an old pub with good food
The staff were friendly, went out of their way to serve us a meal when the kitchen was closed. We had a full plate for a very reasonable price and the pub itself is beautiful inside and out. We sat in the garden surrounded by blooming flower pots and lush ivy.
Favorite Dish: Sandwich with a salad. Only tried one but would love to go back and try more.
- Historical Travel
All Saints Bistro: Comfortable place, excellent value
All Saints Bistro/coffeeshop/cafe is in the entrance and portico of All Saints Church, right in the heart of Northampton town centre.
It offers simple food at very good prices: sandwiches (including fish finger sandwiches!), toasties, soup, pasties, cakes and so on.
I ordered a BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) sandwich with a salad garnish and crisps (US chips). With a black coffee it came to less than 5GBP, so you can imagine my amazement when it turned up...a huge sandwich made of thick, fresh bread with loads of salad and loads of crisps.
The bacon was freshly cooked and both sandwich and salad were very tasty indeed.
I sat outside on the portico (there are heaters): an ideal spot for people-watching. Inside there are comfortable seats in a church-architecture setting.
Very friendly, very enjoyble and excellent value for a spot of lunch or a cup of coffee (or tea).
- Family Travel
TGI Friday: Boring Burgers
During our stay in Northampton we decided to have a meal in TGI Friday. It was very busy and there was a constant stream of background music. We have previously tried one in Orlando where the food was nice but the service was OTT. This time Lin started with Mushroom Alfredo which she really liked. I had loaded potato skins which were alright to start with but became boring as the drip ran out. We both had double Monterey Burgers. There was plenty to eat but both found the taste of the burger itself very bland and left a lot. The service was good and friendly but for a soft drink and a meal costing nearly £50 we were disappointed.
Red hot world Buffet: yummy buffet!
‘a very busy, top quality food in upmarket surroundings but at best value prices... a unique new dining experience’
Favorite Dish: you have to enjoy tasting the different kinds of foods..a lot of choices because it is 110 dishes from six different world cuisines (Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Thailand, Mexican and Indian) or simply spend all night sipping wine in there beautifull stylish bar...great service and some of the finest chefs in town.
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
'Ortega' - Spanish Tapas Bar & Cantina: A Good Substitute For Tapas Outside Of Spain
This restaurant which is one in a 'chain' stands on it's own, just off a busy Northampton ring road on a leisure complex. Billed as a 'Spanish Tapas Bar and Cantina offering authentic tapas in a fun setting'. There is a large parking area right outside the door.
Housed in a large modern purpose built building but with a surprisingly cosy atmosphere inside. Plenty of space between tables on 2 levels; a good attempt at emulating a lively, typical Spanish Tapas bar, but perhaps a little too new looking as it's not long been fitted out. Given time I'm sure the decor will start to look as 'authentically old' as intended!
We dropped by for a light, late afternoon, Sunday lunch. The 2 drinks were quite slow in coming and the food even slower - it was at least 40 minutes before we were eating anything. Considering the restaurant was just around 20% occupied, this was pretty irritating as we were fairly hungry on arrival!
None of the staff appeared rushed; maybe it was all supposed to add to the laid back authentic Spanish atmosphere but it didn't help our hunger pangs! The trendy & very English young staff had obviously been trained to cheerfully greet guests with their very best attempts at Spanish which we found quite amusing as their Northamptonshire accents tended to creep through!
The music could have been better, it was disappointingly monotonous considering the vast choice of fabulous Spanish music that they could have opted for.
Favorite Dish: We chose 3 tapas dishes and some cheese topped garlic bread between us. The dishes appeared small at first sight (even for tapas!) but by the end of our light meal we agreed we had had quite enough. The food was very good (fish stew, beans with sausage, stuffed aubergine) but perhaps could have been served hotter.
Sadly the dessert menu was a let-down. We decided not to have anything to finish as nothing really sounded that exciting and at £3.95 for the cheapest on the menu (vanilla ice-cream topped with sherry soaked raisins) it just wasn't worth it.
I would eat at an Ortega's Cantina again but would not go out of my way to do so.
Take a look at the trendy website for details of other branches around the UK!
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Food and Dining
- Family Travel
Aroma: Chinese buffet
Buffet cChinese restaurant very close to our hotel, so an obvious choice to eat. Early Saturday evening so pretty busy but still plenty of dishes to choose from, bit of a scrum down to get near some of them but all part of the fun!
Big variety including many vegetarian options. I found some dishes a little lacking in spices but I'm sure not everyone would agree, overall well worth a visit.
Indian Paradise: Good curry
So, just back from India one week ago and fancy a curry and have to say the food here is as good, if not better than anything we were served while away.
Some unusual dishes on the menu so, the chance to experiment - I often go vegetarian in Indians these days - the variety is great, and very tasty.
A well cooked, tasty meal at a good price, recommended,
No alcohol on sale here, bring your own if you need to - no extra charge.
Buddies: Average Meal
We tried Buddies for the first time. I was hoping it was going to be the dinner menu but we had to settle for the breakfast menu instead. The staff were friendly and topped up our cups with coffee. The restaurant was busy and full by the time we left. It was decked out with American memorabilia and was clean and tidy. It was also popular with families and screaming children may get on some peoples nerves. I had corn beef hash & fired eggs and Lin had ham, eggs and fries. The meals were well presented, the ham was a ¼ inch thick but it’s difficult to mess up a meal like this.
Red Hot World Buffet: Went back for second time
This was the first time we tried Red Hot World Buffet and we enjoyed it so much we went back the next night and we intend to visit it again in the future but probably at lunchtime as it is cheaper. It is a buffet with popular dishes from different world locations, salads, really nice desserts and a chocolate fountain. The waiting staff only get the drinks and clear the tables. We went again on a Saturday night and it was packed. There were a lot of children in the restaurant who were running around, not only annoying for some people but dangerous if they ran into someone with a hot dish.
I have just been back during a Tuesday lunchtime. It was much quieter, no children, the same dishes available and a discount for over the 50s. I combined lunch with the cinema, so it made a great experience.
- Budget Travel
Buddies American Diner/Joes Diner: The best restaurant, ever!
it is very very yummy! its a huge menu with everything american, especially burgers. they are huge portions, definitely value for money! each meal has an american/film name to go with it, eg. the hulk, cat woman, chewbacca. the actual Buddies restaurant (not joes diner) itself is small but cosy, and is decorated floor to roof with american novelties, like blow up donald duck, cuddly toys, signs, and as you eat your dinner you can watch the video of the american streets on one of the many tvs.
Favorite Dish: my favourite would probably be crunchies, they are huge chicken nuggets with salad and chips (the best chips ever). you can also choose your own dressing for the salad and your fries, eg. thousand island for your salad, melted cheese/chilli for your fries!
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
The Lamplighter: Good pub grub!
Backstreet pub, close to the towncentre, great pub food and a good choice of beers too.
Most impressive for Mrs Bonio was the vegetarian menu displayed in the window, a rarity she says.
Anyway, looking for tasty food at a good price in Northampton, here is a good choice, and don't forget, good beer too!
Bonio's good beer guide
Three pubs I've visited recently served an excellent pint, they are,
Racehorse on Abington Square, Romany on Trinity Avenue and Malt Shovel on Bridge Street.
all three are definately worth a visit if you enjoy real ale.
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