Star and Garter: Pub Grub: Star and Garter
I've had a long history with the Star and Garter. It's location near to the local college made it a popular haunt with students, and I started my first pub crawl from here many, many years ago. These days it's gone through many transitions, and is now a relaxing pub with a reputation for great pub grub in a cosy, wood panelled environment. Service is friendly, the seating is comfortable, and the food is well priced.
The pub used to be student friendly, but these days it attracts people from 18-50.
Favorite Dish: Excellent vegetarian bean burgers.
Saxon Mill: Out of Town: Saxon Mill
It's not easy to get here: you can either walk or drive. But it's worth the effort. You can eat some of the best food in the area, at not unreasonable prices, in a wonderful, original Saxon water mill. The place has been converted into a pub, and later a pub/restaurant, and sits on a serene body of lily draped water.
After enjoying a meal and a pint within earshot of the gushing waters of the mill, you can take a relaxing walk into the countryside. The haunting ruins of Guys Cliffe Lodge overlooks the mill pool, and the beautiful hamlet of Old Milverton is a little further across the idyllic fields of corn.
The food is high quality pub grub: pizzas, pastas and burgers. And they all come with an interesting twist; expect to find ingredient listed that you've never heard of before.
Millenium Balti: Another fine balti house.
On a recent trip to Leamington I had inexplicably forgotten that the Midlands is the home of the balti style of Asian cooking, whereby food is served in Balti dishes. Despite many restaurants claiming an old heritage of the style from Pakistan, the earliest written reference to it is in 1982! Most people believe that it originated in the Birmingham area in the 1980's. I am not overly worried about it's origins, I just know that I am particularly fond of a good balti, and had been delighted by a particularly good one the previous night in Ali's Curry Hose nearby (see seperate tip). Yes, I know the first part of this paragraph is lifted directly from that tip but I make no apoloy for this, people come upon VT tips in different ways and the introduction is as relevant to the Millenium as to the subject of the other tip.
The restaurant is pleasantly furnished as you can see from the image, although not overly busy on an early Saturday evenning which surprised me slightly. I was greeted at the door by the friendly gentleman you can see, seated and served with a drink whlst I perused the fairly extensive menu. Millenium caters to Asian food afficionados of all stripes. It does the balti so typical of the Midlands, serves "standard" curries and also tandoori dishes
. For those of you not au fait with Asian cooking, tandoori dishes are those cooked in a large clay oven whichg imparts a very distinctive taste to meats, fish and breads. I decided on a starter, the name of which eludes me now. I had no idea what it was going to be, there being no descriptions on the menu, but I am always game for trying something new in a curry house. My slight adventuring in this direction was rewarded handsomely when it arrived. It was effectively a Scotch egg but with the traditional meat being replaced round the boiled egg by spiced kebab style meat and the whole wrapped in a delightfully thin and tasty mini omelette. Difficult to describe but I have included images here of it in the complete state and also dissected for your inspection. Yes, I do think about VT readers even whilst eating delightful food which probably says something about me!
This delightful and substantial starter was followed by a meat dhansak balti accompanied by freshly prepared and piping hot naan bread. Strangely, I never eat rice in Asian restaurants as it tends to fill me up and I find the breads so iresistable that I opt for them. The main was spiced perfectly with a good portion of meat in it. It had the slight tartness which I expect from a dhansak and I really wish I knew how to achieve in my home-cooking.
To summarise, it was a delightful meal in very pleasant surroundings and with attentive but not obtrusive service and all for a very reasonable price. What more could you want?
Favorite Dish: The "scotch egg and omelette" starter as described was excellent. If you describe it to the waiter, he will know what you mean. The meat dhansak main was also very well executed.
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Ali's Curry House.: I think I understand now.
On a recent trip to Leamington I had inexplicably forgotten that the Midlands is the home of the balti style of Asian cooking, whereby food is served in Balti dishes. Despite many restaurants claiming an old heritage of the style from Pakistan, the earliest written reference to it is in 1982! Most people believe that it originated in the Birmingham area in the 1980's. I am not overly worried about it's origins, I just know that I am particularly fond of a good balti, and this is exactly what I got in Ali's.
I need to explain a few things here as they fly totally in the face of things that I say often in restaurant tips here on VT. I had had a bit of a wander round town and most of the "Indian" restaurants seemed to be absolutely full, ludicrously so. It was a Friday night and the town was obviously busy. I normally avoid places that aren't as full asthe competition as that usually tells you something about the quality of the establishment. I had earlier passed Ali's on the other side of the road and thought it was just a takeaway place (I should really have read the sign) but a closer examination revealed it to be a nicely appointed restaurant so I decided to take a chance and went in. I'm glad I did.
The only patrons in the restaurant were three Asian gentlemen, evidently friends of the owner / manager behind the bar. I was greeted and seated quickly and brought a drink and the menu. I skipped a starter as I was not overly hungry so just had some popaddam and waited for my main course of lamb pathia which arrived promptly. I suppose the kitchen was pretty quiet really. As is my wont, I didn't have rice but accompanied the meal with some very well-made fresh chapati. The balti was well-spiced although not too hot, and flavoured deliciously with a good portion of tender meat and it was very good.
On leaving, I was still somewhat at a loss as to why Ali's was so poorly attended and it was only today whilst researching this tip that I have come upon a potential answer. Less than six weeks previously, following a meal in the restaurant, a homosexual couple had argued outside the premises and one had thrown the other under a bus, killing him. I can understand that people may not want to visit the premises because of this which seems to be a bit unfair to me. The event was outside and had nothing to do with the restaurant. A bit of further internet research indicates that the place had previously had good reviews. I had an excellent meal here at a competitive price and I would recommend it.
Favorite Dish: The meat pathia balti as described.
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Piccolino’s Pizzeria: Pizza at Piccolino’s
Piccolino’s Pizzeria is the best Italian restaurant in town. Great food and super service in a relaxed atmosphere and all at excellent value. The restaurant has recently undergone an expansion and makeover so it is now more spacious and airy. The Pizzeria and Restaurant is well known across the region for their fabulous (fresh) pizza bases, pasta and seafood. Sicilian cooking that really is good enough to eat.
Favorite Dish: Garlic Bread followed by Half Spit Roast Chicken or choose from the 15 pasta dishes or 21 pizzas.
Piccolino's: Taste the experience
My wife have been eating here on a monthly basis for a number of years. We are never let down by the quality of food. The service is what you should expect from a family run restaurant so if you want someone hovering on your shoulder this is not the place for you. You can, however, linger over your meal and enjoy the experience. That is what it is for us every time we eat there. Enjoyed by all age ranges. Superb.
Favorite Dish: Caesar salad, tagliatelle alla marinara or spahgetti conne salmone. Flavour all the way.
The Three Horseshoes: Christmas Lunch
Bed & Breakfast Accommodation & Public House situated in the picturesque village of Bubbenhall that serves Excellent Food
Monday to Saturday: 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm to 10:30 pm
Favorite Dish: Glass of Mulled Wine
Homemade Parsnip & Cider Soup
Roast Crown of Norfolk Turkey
Homemade Rhubarb & Apple Crumble
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Five Rivers Restaurant: South Side: Indian
This is Indian food with a difference. You still get the same taste, music and friendly service, but the restaurant is attempting a sleeker, more modern experience than your typical cosy Indian, with its tinny speakers and garish decor. The menu is still traditional, but you will find a few inventive ideas here. But the best thing is the quality: excellent Indian food. Might be a bit pricier than other places, but you won't find many drunks in here either. Quite family friendly too.
Bombay Tandoori: North Side: Indian
There's a lot of Indian restaurants in Leamington, and many of them cater for the drunks who pour out of the pubs late into the night. The quality can often be a bit dubious, as their customers aren't always discerning. But Bombay Tandoori is a restaurant aiming a higher, and from my experience the quality meets that.
You can still enjoy a beer, and it has that traditional Indian feel to it that you will get elsewhere for less money, but the food and experience is worth the mid-range pricing.
Benjamin Satchwell: Breakfast at Benjamin’s
This is a large popular town centre pub. It has a wide selection of food that is served all day. It stocks all the usual top brand labels and offers them at JD Wetherspoon value for money prices. Being a recognised 'Cask Marque' accredited pub there are always 6 or 7 traditional ales available at any time.
Sunday to Thursday: 9 am to midnight
Friday to Saturday: 9 am to 1 am
Favorite Dish: The Benjamin Satchwell is ranked one of the top five places by the Leamington Spa Courier to enjoy a first-class breakfast.
Two of the most popular dishes on the breakfast menu are the traditional breakfast and the farmhouse breakfast.
The traditional breakfast, popular during the week, features a fried egg, bacon, sausage, baked beans, hash brown, a large flat mushroom and half a grilled tomato.
At weekends, the farmhouse breakfast is a favourite with customers, offering two fried eggs, two rashers of bacon, two sausages, baked beans, three hash brown, a large flat mushroom and half a grilled tomato, served with two slices of toast.
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Bar Forty Four (44): All Bar the Rabble
Bar and light restaurant with live jazz each Sunday, good business lunch menu and well located, just far enough from the centre of town to prevent the bar being too boisterous at weekends.
Favorite Dish: Modern Bistro Style Food
Café Rouge: Crocque at the Cafe
Café Rouge is about as perfect an example of cafe culture as you can think of. Food is gloriously French, coffee, tea and wine are as at home on the menu as all the beers and the outside tables in Summer can make you wonder whether you really are in England. A great place to people watch.
Favorite Dish: The Crocque Madame and Monsieur are particular treats.
The Lounge: Great place to Lounge
Great place to chill, superb atmosphere and the music relaxing, the beers are excellent if not slightly above average prices (you pay for what you get) The variety of food is second to none along with the vast amounts on the plate.
Favorite Dish: Cod in beer batter, served with a chilli sauce and home-made chunky chips;
Oscar's Bistro: A Touch of France
Oscars Bistro is a little bit of France in the middle of Leamington Spa, offering a rich selection of Gaelic delights. The laid back feel is charming but it's the ambience and café culture that makes Oscars really shine. Tuesday is Auberge night where a single choice three course meal is only £12.50 a head.
Favorite Dish: 2 Courses for £16.00
3 Courses for £20.00
Aberdeenshire Steak with Cafe de Paris Butter
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The Emperors: Fabulous Cantonese/ Peking food and furnishings
I have eaten in many Chinese restaurants around Europe and this is truly one of the best, that I have been to about a dozen times, over the past 4 years.
The set meals are very good value at between £15 - 28(seafood) gbp per person, and offer good portions.
The house wine is perfectly drinkable and at £10gbp a bottle is very good value.
I would recommend Dim Sum appetizer, Hot and Sour soup (ask for it to be hot), Duck with Prawns as a main, if you are going main menu.
This really is an excellent experience whether you are native to England or travelling nearby.
Favorite Dish: Set menu for 4 £17gbp per person - Because you get Aromatic Crispy Duck, which people I have been there with, have just not been able to get enough of.
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