my indigo Restaurant, Salzburg, Austria

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We were staying at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza and were looking for places nearby. The my indigo restaurant is just around the corner and looked like a really good place – and it mostly was.

I thought this was a one-off restaurant but later discovered that it’s actually a chain, with nine locations in Austria and three in Germany.

On our first visit (9th September 2017) the staff were really friendly and also spoke English. There is a limited menu of various curries that sit ready in large pots at the front. The interior is very stylish.

There was a group of girls wearing wedding dresses – no idea why.

We ordered a couple of Red Thai Chicken Curries EUR 6.80 each, a bottle of Merlot EUR 18.50 and a some water.

The waitress brought us two bowls of complimentary nuts.

Very soon after our curries – it was almost too soon, but of course we should have realised that everything is ready to serve immediately.

The curry was very good.

The bathrooms are upstairs where there is also a mezzanine floor with more tables, so I took more pictures.

The bathroom was clean and followed the theme.

There wasn’t much available in the way of pudding and the only strong alcohol available was gin – I think because they offer only gin-based cocktails. So we left and walked around to the Italian Café Tiziana on the next street where we had tiramisu and sambucca.

Our second visit was on the 11th September 2017. All the staff were different. This time we’d decided to slow things down by having starters. The waitress explained that we’d need to go to the front and choose from the various sushi options, or visit the salad buffet. The buffet bowl is weighed at the counter and was EUR 3.30. I had a quinoa coconut roll EUR 3.50 – I had to ask for a plate and some cutlery.

We had another bottle of Merlot and asked for water. This time, I found when I received the bill, we were charged EUR 2.50 for still water and then 2 x EUR 1.00 for something called energy water. We didn’t receive the free nuts this time.

We then ordered Yellow Cashew Chicken EUR 5.90 and Beef Chilli EUR 7.10 – the waitress asked if we wanted extra nuts and we later found EUR 0.80 added to the bill for these.

The food was good, but we were disappointed at the uneven charging. Had we not returned I would have raved about this place and given five stars. But the nickel and diming on our second visit changed my view. I’m also not a fan of the self-serve starter model – I think if you are sitting in to dine, you should be able to order starters from your table and they arrive unwrapped and on plates.

Nonetheless, it’s still a good place to visit and still better value than many of the restaurants in Salzburg.

my indigo Restaurant
Auerspergstraße 10
5020 Salzburg

+43(0)662870642

Mo – Sa: 11:00 –  22:00
So: 12:00 – 21:00

http://www.myindigo.com/

Pasta & Vino Restaurant, Salzburg, Austria

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We were staying at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza and were looking for places nearby. We almost missed this place and only managed to have lunch there on our departure day – I would have gladly had dinner there if I could.

The restaurant is small and resembles an Italian deli; plenty of meat and cheese under glass – I guess you could just visit the counter and buy items just like a deli.

Almost all of the tables were reserved when we arrived – I’d recommend booking.

The staff were almost all Italian and were happy to explain (in English) how the menu worked; antipasto and then a choice of three pastas. We ordered a plate of antipasto to share (EUR 12) – it was a big plate and everything was fresh and delicious.

A glass of red house wine EUR 2.80 and we had several of these. San Pellegrino water EUR 4.90.

We both had mushroom pasta EUR 10 each. Excellent.

I’d recommend Pasta & Vino and would be glad to return if I was in Salzburg again.

Pasta & Vino
Wolf-Dietrich-Straße 31
A-5020 Salzburg

+43 (0)662 873487
info@pastaevinosalzburg.at

http://www.pastaevinosalzburg.at/

Mo – Fr : 11:30 – 21:00
Sa – So : 12:00 – 20:30

Burgerista Restaurant, Salzburg, Austria

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We were in Salzburg for a long weekend. There are plenty of restaurants in the centre of Salzburg, many offering traditional Austrian food, many of them expensive. We were sightseeing and didn’t want to spend a long, potentially expensive, lunch. Burgerista is well reviewed and in a really central location.

It’s a burger place, where you line up and place an order, then collect it when it’s ready. I could have just said ‘fast food’ but that isn’t quite fair as the burgers are much better than that. The closest equivalent is Five Guys or In-n-Out Burger.

The menu is pretty simple; choose a burger then add EUR4 for chunky fries and a drink.

The choice of drinks with free refills includes the regular sodas, plus homemade lemonade – you’re given a glass jar as a cup. They also sell a 0.33l beer for EUR 3. They give you a pager that buzzes when your food is ready and you collect from an open kitchen.

We tried a classic burger EUR 6.90 and 3 mini cheeseburgers EUR 4.90. The burgers were better than they look in my pictures.

The mini burgers were much smaller than I expected – on my next visit I had a double cheeseburger. The chunky fries were really good.

The tables have a selection of sauces.

Our first visit was noon on a Sunday and it wasn’t that busy. Our next visit was around the same time on Monday and the place was packed – lots of teenagers who may have been on their school lunch break. There was a long line to order and only one person behind the counter, it was quite hot and tables were scarce. Burgerista is a victim of its own success.

Despite the busy Monday, we enjoyed the food. The server behind the counter was friendly and spoke to us in English. I would definitely recommend Burgerista if you find yourself in Salzburg or any of their 18 locations across Austria and Germany.

Burgerista
Griesgasse 15
5020 Salzburg

MO – FR & SU: 10:30 – 22.00
FR & SA: 10:30 – 04.00

http://www.burgerista.com/salzburg/

Lazaros Hotel Apartments, Tsilivi, Zakynthos, Greece

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Zakynthos accommodation is quite expensive, so I was pleased to find a studio apartment at the well-reviewed Lazaros in Tsilivi on Expedia at EUR532 for seven nights.

We flew from Prague to Zakynthos so were outside and in the taxi quite quickly – no passport control between Schengen countries. The taxi to the Lazaros took 20 minutes and cost EUR 20.

The staff were really welcoming and showed us to our room on the first floor – although that’s actually the second floor when viewed from the street. Ground floor rooms open onto the pool.

The bathroom was modern, clean and had a shower with both rainwater and regular shower head.

Some toiletries were provided:

And there wasn’t a sign by the toilet to say ‘don’t put paper in the toilet’ – which is common in Greece.

There was a nice balcony with a view to the Sea.

Although this did also look over the Breeze Bar, which is part of the Lazaros Hotel complex:

The room had a keypad safe which was a nice surprise.

There was a small kitchen area with fridge, mini-hob, kettle, coffee maker and sink.

Free wi-fi – although it was tragically slow.

The aircon was modern, quiet and worked really well. I’m assuming the cooling unit is mounted on the roof somewhere.

The flat-screen TV had BBC World News in English plus multiple channels in Greek.

All in all we were impressed with the quality of the room.

The pool was modern and clean. There were always sunbeds available.

Behind the pool are some more apartments that I think are probably the best choice – although I haven’t seen the interior. The reason for that choice is that they are furthest away from the street and the Breeze Bar. There is quite a lot of street noise; Greeks like to sound their car horns and there are a lot of motorbikes and rental trikes.

At night the Breeze Bar is in full swing with music until 1am.

So if you’re not a night person or have small children I’d avoid rooms close to the street and bar.

I did have the odd early beer in the Breeze Bar and the staff were really friendly and beer was served in a chilled glass.

There was a nearby supermarket where we picked up some items for breakfast and bought bottled water – we never tried the hotel breakfast, although it looked quite good.

Tsilivi town has a Brits abroad feel about it. Plenty of sports bars and restaurants offering a full English breakfast. But there are some great Greek restaurants with excellent fish dishes.

The sandy beach was just a short walk away – about 400m I think, not 200m as shown on the hotel site. The sea was clean, blue and warm and stayed shallow for at least 50 metres. I didn’t see any jellyfish. The beach is lined with sunbeds and plenty of bar/restaurants.

Over the seven days we were there, I didn’t see any bugs in our room; no cockroaches, ants, mosquitoes nor wasps – although there was the occasional wasp on our terrace that was immediately zapped with my Executioner racket.

The room was cleaned well every day.

We didn’t need to pay anything until our penultimate day – they took credit cards.

We really enjoyed our week’s holiday – some friends were staying in a nearby hotel and villa – we were all able to meet up for dinner. I’m not sure I’d rush back to Tsilivi, but if I did then I’d be happy to stay at Lazaros again.

Lazaros Hotel Apartments
Tsilivi Admiral, Zakynthos 291 00, Greece
+30 2695 026218

http://zakynthos-lazaros.com/

Cover for the The ExecutionerTM Fly Swat Wasp Bug Mosquito Swatter Zapper

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I previously wrote about the Executioner Fly Swat Wasp Bug Mosquito Swatter Zapper. It’s still working fine and continues to fight back against evil wasps and mosquitoes.

But the racket is quite large and looks a bit strange if you take it to the pub, garden party or BBQ. So I was really happy to find this squash racket cover on Amazon that fits the Executioner nicely:

The Executioner is hiding inside the cover above, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing!

I also like the name of the cover as it unintentionally has some bug connection.

Here are the links to the racket on UK (£10.80) and US ($ 19 98 + $7.50 shipping) Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000JL0ERO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/Unsquashable-racket-cover-squash-rackets/dp/B000JL0ERO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1504100453&sr=8-2&keywords=Unsquashable+3%2F4+racket+cover+for+squash+rackets

 

18,000 Avios for EUR 160 – plus a digital subscription to the Irish Independent

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18th September 2017 uodate: looks like the offer has been downgraded and now offers only 9000 avios – so not worth going for unless you actually want a subscription.

30th August 2017 update: I received an email with a voucher code. It was easy to visit avioisvouchers.com and enter my British Airways card details plus the voucher code. I then had another email to say my account would be credited in 5 days.

The Irish Independent has an offer whereby you they’ll give you 18,000 Avios (BA, Iberia, Avios.com) if you take out a year’s digital subscription to the Irish Independent Newspaper. That’s a pretty good deal – I’ll use London Heathrow to Prague as an example:

  • Average cost of an LHR-PRG economy ticket £80 (EUR86) – this ticket is likely to be a hand-baggage only fare and almost impossible to change or refund. But you would earn BA tier points and Avios points.
  • Typical Avios redemption for a LHR-PRG economy ticket 4500 plus £17 fee – on this ticket you can check in luggage and also cancel for £17. Changing the flight might even be free.

So for EUR 40 plus £17 you’ll have a better ticket for less cost. The downsides are; don’t earn status nor Avios, award tickets aren’t always available, especially on popular flights.

I just purchased a subscription. I had to enter my email, create a password, enter my  address (can be anywhere in the World) and credit card details. I received email confirmation with a PIN that can be used to access my subscription – which I’ll pass on to an Irish friend of mine.

https://www.reachhomedelivery.ie/newspapers-magazines/home/index/BUNDLE_AVIOS_OFFER

The Gunton Arms Restaurant, Norfolk, England

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This is the third of three guest posts from, Phil, a good friend of mine – all restaurants visited while on holiday in Norfolk, England.

Located in a 1000 (that’s a thousand) acre deer park on the Cromer Road, Norfolk The Gunton Arms is one of our favourite restaurants.

I say restaurant but it’s actually a hotel, pub and restaurant.

The pub serves bar snacks and has a huge range of whiskies and gins as well as the local brew but it’s the restaurant that attracts people from all over.

It serves local, seasonal produce (yes, including venison from the deer park) and all the seafood is caught by local fishermen.

A quirky bonus is that there are works of art from, among others, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and Lucien Freud dotted all around the interior – the surrounding park has sculptures seemingly planted at random everywhere you look.

The first picture below is from the ladies’ loo. So I am told, so I am told!

 

But enough of that cultural stuff, we were here for food. Meat food!

First though you will, almost certainly, need to book well in advance and ask to be seated in the Elk Room. We booked a month before our trip and could only get a 6:30pm booking on the Saturday. This didn’t bother us though as we just made sure we had an early breakfast and skipped lunch!

The menu is extensive (venison from the park is seasonal) and they also have a specials board.

For starter we chose Queenies from the specials board (£10) I say “we” but I didn’t get a look in. Oh, ‘Queenies’ are scallops by the way and were served in garlic and herb butter. According to reports and the wrap on the knuckles with a fork they were ‘absolutely superb’

I didn’t have a starter, partly because I thought I may have been in with a chance of a 12.5% share of the Queenies but mainly because I was here for the meat.

The Elk Room in the Gunton Arms has a focal point you see. Sure, there’s a huge pair of elk antlers and the works of art stuck on the wall but it’s the fireplace below them that’s the main attraction. All the steaks, sausages and pork chops are cooked over an open fire by a chef who has fireproof skin. His name is Stuart and he’s a really nice guy. Buy him a pint of cider to say thanks. There’s something very caveman about the whole experience. Fire, smoke, meat. Man make fire! Man need food!

Did I mention the Bob Carlos Clarke photograph in the gentlemen’s loos by the way?

And so, to dinner.

The Queenie guzzler ordered suckling pig (£18 from the specials board) it came with spinach and potato and ‘amazing’ crackling. NB – You could be really greedy and order more sides at £2.95 each.

I ordered the fillet steak from the very same board (£28 with a peppercorn sauce).

Oh, I also ordered the pork chop (£16.50).

Yes, I know, but I didn’t have a starter remember?!

Anyway, this isn’t any pork chop, it’s a Blythburgh pork chop and the man with the asbestos skin was gonna cook it on the fire!

Actually, the waiter mentioned very politely “that’s quite a lot of meat sir” follow by “so you want the chips and roast potatoes?”.

Did I mention the potatoes are cooked in goose fat? A wonderful crunchy coated creation.

We ordered a bottle of Valpolicella Classico (£26). Very nice.

The food was all delicious, it is the best meat meal either of us have experienced. If you are in the area it’s a must.

PS – They do a Rib of Beef to share. It’s £62. I’ve seen couples share it.

TIP – Trust me, it will feed 3 easily and you may even have some left over for a sandwich the next day.

PPS – Nearly forgot amidst my salivating. We had dessert, well one of us did!

White chocolate and strawberry cheesecake £7 for the scallop stuffer. Ok, maybe I squeezed in a little cheeseboard £7 too!

We will, of course, return.

The Gunton Arms
Cromer Rd, Thorpe Market,
Norwich NR11 8TZ
01263 832010
Restaurant: 12–3pm, 6–10pm | Bar food served: 12pm–10pm
Please note we do not cook on the Elk Room fire on a Sunday

The Grove Restaurant, Cromer, Norfolk, England

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This is the second of three guest posts from, Phil, a good friend of mine – all restaurants visited while on holiday in Norfolk, England.

The Grove is attached to The Grove Hotel (review to follow separately) but operates as a restaurant in the evenings.

We were based at the hotel during our Norfolk foodie trip so decided to eat in the restaurant on our first night.

NB – Even though we had booked a room for three nights we still had to book a table in the restaurant.

On arrival, we were shown to the bar area and given our menus to peruse whilst partaking in a postprandial gin and tonic. We tried the local brand of gin, Black Shuck with Fever-tree tonic £7.50 a pop. Nice but not the most flavoursome gin and we both prefer Norfolk Gin (although it’s not widely available so we always buy a bottle or two when we visit).

Anyway, it was something to sip while we looked at the wooden menus. Yes, wooden. Quite a nice touch but you wouldn’t want to drop one on your foot.

The Grove’s menu is British through and through, well mostly British as I’m pretty sure that “Muntjac faggot open lasagne” (which was a starter) is half Chinese deer half Italian carbohydrate.

We quite like the idea of having a good old peruse and booze before being shown to your table as it avoids having to keep telling the waiter you need another 5 minutes to choose and then waiting 15 minutes for them to come back and take your order from your table.

As we finished our drinks, a waiter appeared took our food and wine order then showed us through to our table.

The restaurant is nicely laid out although, oddly, there were two separate dining rooms.

We were seated at the leftmost table in the picture directly above.

The other half won the battle for best PWP (People Watching Position).

We ordered some handmade sourdough bread which came with olive oil and balsamic glaze £3.95 and olives again £3.95. Not sure I like paying for bread (in restaurants, I don’t mind paying for it at Simmons!) but it was tasty as were the olives.

I also went for a chicken satay starter. There were three to choose from. Here’s the one with the coriander. A bit pricey at £8.95 but the chicken was tender and very well-seasoned.

We ordered two glasses of Malbec (£4.75 a glass) to have with our meals.

The PW (People Watcher) ordered Mrs Beeton’s lamb shoulder (£19.95) while I went for the pan-fried halibut (£19.95).

Most of the menu was gluten free.

The lamb shoulder got the thumbs up from PW. I didn’t enjoy the halibut. There was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on taste-wise (perhaps the lemongrass) the accompanying smoked paprika risotto was very good although it overpowered the fish. Overall, it just didn’t work for me, so much so, I forgot to take a photo but here’s the lamb.

Desserts were delicious. Salted Caramel Tart with Chocolate Ice Cream and Grove Cheesecake which came with passion fruit, sweet cicely (yep, we had to ask too) and garden elderflower sorbet. £7.25 each (as were all desserts, cheeseboard was £9.95.

As an aside, the hotel has extensive grounds (there’s even glamping) and a lot of the produce used comes straight from the kitchen garden and large vegetable patch (not the fish obviously) and it really does taste better for it.

We’ll be back but not for the halibut.

The Grove
95 Overstrand Road,
Cromer,
Norfolk,
NR27 0DJ.

http://thegrovecromer.co.uk/restaurant/

01263 512412

enquiries@thegrovecromer.co.uk

Upstairs at No 1 Cromer Restaurant, Norfolk, England

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I have three guest posts from, Phil, a good friend of mine – all restaurants visited while on holiday in Norfolk, England. Here is the first and the following two will appear over the next week.

No 1 is a Restaurant in Cromer, Norfolk.

It gets its name from being at, err, Number 1, New Street in, err, Cromer.

It has a traditional fish and chip takeaway and restaurant on the lower floor but also has “Upstairs at No1” which, offers a Modern British menu and fish and chips!

The restaurant is the latest venture of Michelin starred chef Galton Blackiston, a regular on Saturday Morning Kitchen and owner of Morston Hall which, if you can afford it, is well worth a visit for the tasting menu evenings they hold there.

No 1 isn’t quite in the same league (all the lightbulbs work at Morston Hall) but is worth a visit if you are on a trip to the Norfolk coast.

We were booked in ‘Upstairs’ which has its own entrance and two flights of (yup, you guessed) stairs that lead to the restaurant. Once inside and upstairs we were welcomed and shown straight to our table. It’s a nice clean restaurant with a modern feel. Light and airy with plenty of window seats which afford a good view of the sea and Cromer Pier, people frolicking in the waves and (if you get lucky) the chance of a stunning sunset.

For our meal we chose, wait for it… fish and chips! Not very adventurous, especially as there were some more, potentially, interesting offerings such as Cromer Crab Burger or Sri Lankan Monkfish & Prawn Curry on offer (menu here) and some of the dishes being served looked and smelled great. But we had heard these were the best fish and chips around so it had to be done if only to see if it could possibly be worth £12 a head for cod or haddock and chips!  Still, before we got stuck in to the mains, we thought it would be rude not to try a few dishes from the Bites Menu. All the dishes were £6.50 or you could pick three for £18. We went for the Popcorn Cockles, Mushy Pea Fritters and Grilled Mackerel.

All three were very well cooked and tasty with the Mackerel, which was chargrilled and served with a pickled cabbage being our favourite. The cockles were good too as were the pea fritters although there were three of them when two would have done as they were quite filling. Afterwards we did think that maybe we could have had six dishes from the Bites menu and ate ‘tapas style’.

Anyway, we had our mains to look forward to. I chose haddock and chips while my partner opted for the traditional cod. Both portions were huge. Both portions cooked to perfection. Both portions polished off. Were they worth £12? Well the equivalent from my favourite local chippy would come in at £8 or £9 so I’d say yes given the quality and the fact you’re eating in and don’t have to do the washing up (or open the dishwasher door).

Oh yes, nearly forgot. We decided to share a dessert. We were too full to get one each and I’m not a huge fan of the pudding. The closest thing to strawberries and cream they had (the dessert menu is constantly changing) was this.

It was delicious. Strawberries, mango panna cotta with the compulsory jus and tarragon

All in all, a very good meal, nice relaxed setting, good service and a pleasant view of the sea. Only gripe was the wine. Call me picky, but when does it ever make sense for 3 x 250ml glasses of a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon to be cheaper than buying a 750ml bottle?! Other than that, the wine tasted very smooth – as it should have done at £21.50 (or £7.10 a glass).

Definitely one to visit if you’re ever in the area but, unless you have a real craving for cod (or haddock) and chips, maybe go mad on the Bites Menu or choose something more adventurous from the main menu. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

No 1 Cromer
1 New Street,
Cromer
Norfolk NR27 9HP

http://www.no1cromer.com/

Opening Times 2017
Fish & Chip Restaurant Downstairs – 01263 512 316

Out of Season: (This is non school and bank holidays)
Monday to Saturday 12 – 8.00pm
Sunday: 12 – 7.00pm

Holiday Season:
Monday to Thursday 12 – 8.30pm
Friday and Saturday 12 – 9.00pm
Sunday 12 – 8.00pm

Upstairs at No1 – For bookings
call 01263 515983 or email eat@no1cromer.com

Out of Season: (This is non school and bank holidays)
Closed Monday and Tuesday (except in School or Bank holidays)

From June 27th Open Tuesdays 12 – 3pm & 5.00 – 8.30pm
Wednesday – Friday : 12 – 3pm & 5.00 – 8.30pm
Saturday: 12 – 8.30pm
Sunday: 12 – 7.00pm

Holiday Season: From 17th July
Monday – Thursday: 12 – 3.00 pm & 5.8.30 pm
Friday – 12-3.00 pm    5 -9.00 pm
Saturday: 12 – 9.00 pm
Sunday: 12 – 8.00pm