Restaurant Review: Villandry Grand Cafe, Bicester Village

 

Last weekend I had the pleasure of reviewing the wonderful Villandry Grand Café at world famous tourist attraction Bicester Village, one of the biggest designer retail outlets in the country. I was visiting with my two close friends for a girly day out and all the shopping, gossiping and walking around had left us seriously starving and totally thirsty by the time lunchtime had arrived! Villandry was our first port of call and here’s why…

Known for it’s French and Mediterranean inspired menu, Villandry is a popular choice with locals and tourists alike. With just three restaurants in the entire country, two in London and this one in Bicester, Villandry is a small chain of upmarket eateries offering luxury dining in exclusive locations. We ate at lunch time and it was absolutely HEAVING – pretty much every table was full and there was a queue 0ut the door when we arrived; if that’s not a sign of a good restaurant I don’t know what is!

 

villandry menu

 

Despite the busy lunchtime rush we were seated within around 5 minutes and were shown menus whilst we waited so we could drool over the sumptuous range of dishes that were on offer! We decided to share a couple of pizzas and a couple of portions of fries between us so opted for the French goats cheese, spinach and caramelised onion and the prosciutto, pesto and mushroom pizzas with truffle oil and parmesan fries. The food was INCREDIBLE; the toppings on the pizzas were delicious and the dough was cooked just right. We particularly enjoyed the fries with the truffle oil and parmesan giving an added flavour to the dish.

 

Other options on the menu included small plates, sharing platters, salads and hot sandwiches. Guests looking to enjoy main courses can expect to be treated to a number of impressive dishes including duck confit, lobster linguini,  roast salmon and moules frites as well as ever changing seasonal specials.

 

 

 

Villandry’s décor is beautiful, with elegant touches and classy designs throughout, allowing diners to relax and unwind in luxurious surroundings. The charming conservatory is light and spacious with views across to the rest of Bicester Village and its bustling shopping streets. Outdoor seating is available during the summer months for a true taste of al-fresco dining in the Great British sunshine.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BCaGJAAkCbh/?taken-by=villandry_bicester

 

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BEOjcA9ECUi/?taken-by=villandry_bicester

 

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week from 8.30am – 10pm, and with fantastic themed events including Steak Nights, Pizza and Prosecco nights and Afternoon Tea, Villandry offers something for everyone. Located in the classiest of settings amongst designer stores and high end outlets, Villandry Grand Café should be your number one choice for fresh food and delicious dining at the heart of the luxurious Bicester Village.

To make a reservation or to enquire about catering or private hire please contact Villandry Grand Café directly.

Love Jess x

NB. Some of the photos on this page are courtesy of Villandry’s website and Instagram page.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BDS0Wh-kCaU/?taken-by=villandry_bicester

 

Restaurant Review: Colleys Lechlade, The Cotswolds

 

Last week I had the pleasure of reviewing the fantastic Colleys Restaurant in Lechlade-on-Thames, Gloucestershire. We had booked as a family of five for my sisters 21st birthday and couldn’t wait to treat ourselves to a spot of fine dining in the heart of The Cotswolds. Open every day of the week, serving everything from Sunday lunch to Monday tapas nights and a-la-carte dinner, Colleys is home to over 80 gins from all over the world and also runs themed nights and foodie events monthly throughout the year..

menu

 

As it was a Wednesday evening the restaurant was pretty quiet at first but tables soon started to fill up and the atmosphere was a great balance between being lively but not too busy. The service was great and the wonderful staff ensured that our food and drinks were served promptly.

The décor inside is super sweet, with Georgian style influences and cosy touches making it feel as if you are right at home despite the glamorous surroundings. I’m a sucker for a restaurant toilet so I absolutely LOVED the cute little flowery décor that I found when in the ladies – I want this in my bathroom!

For mains we opted for various dishes; my dad and sister chose the grilled hake loin with patatas bravas and aioli and my mum chose the pan fried duck breast with Jersey Royals, asparagus and pickled cherry jus. My other sister opted for the shredded rib & blue cheese burger with house cut fries and I chose the sliced bavette steak with house cut fries and café de Paris butter – bavette steak was a first for me and it was INSANE!. Although slightly tougher than fillet steak, the slices were so flavoursome and the whole meal was fantastic.

 

For puddings we shared a couple of Cinheti platters, beautiful tiny desserts from Italy including mini meringues, pannacotta, macarons and sorbets. The staff brought one of the plates out with a candle and a ‘Happy Birthday’ in chocolate icing which was then followed by a birthday cake we had dropped off at the restaurant before we had the meal.

 

 

A big THANKYOU to everyone at Colleys for making our evening so lovely, and for making my sisters 21st so special! We already cannot wait to return!

Next time you’re looking to enjoy a delicious dinner in the heart of The Cotswolds choose Colleys – you won’t be disappointed!  For bookings please contact the restaurant directly.

Love Jess x

 

Had an amazing evening @colleys_lechlade for my sister's 21st birthday dinner and drinks.. blog post and review coming soon! 🍴🍹

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

Restaurant Review: Alma de Cuba, Liverpool

 

Last Saturday night I had the opportunity to dine at one of the best restaurants in Liverpool, the fantastic Alma de Cuba, a South American and Caribbean themed eatery set in a reformed Catholic Church. We dined as a group of 30 – it was my cousins hen do and, yes, the girls were out in force!

I’ve never eaten in a place like Alma de Cuba before, the setting and the atmosphere was electric and the surroundings were beautiful. The reformed Church has been decorated in the most stunning way, with elegant touches and carefully thought out seating from booths to tables. We were on the restaurant’s top floor overlooking the lively bar and stage areas below.

alma_high_res_13_22

Photo courtesy of www.alma-de-cuba.com

The menu offers a brilliant range of dishes catering for every palette. As we were dining in a party, we ate from the 3 course set menu with starters including duck spring rolls and pigeon breast, mains including jerk chicken and fillet steak, and desserts including Bailey’s cheesecake and raspberry tart.

menu

We all hugely enjoyed our meals, the food was superb and the whole evening was delightful. Live music played below as we devoured our three courses, and the entertainment went on late into the night. Every weekend Alma de Cuba is famous for its samba dancing finale which is sure to get everyone up on their feet – unfortunately we were leaving early so didn’t get to experience this, but I’ve been told it’s a sight well worth seeing!

samba

Photo courtesy of www.alma-de-cuba.com

 

Until next time Alma de Cuba!

Love Jess x

💃🎉👯 #liverpool #hendo

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

Afternoon tea at Oxford's Patisserie Valerie

 

Happy Easter everyone!

So this post is a little overdue considering Mother’s Day was a good few weeks ago now, but I’ve decided to write up my review of a fantastic afternoon tea we had at Patisserie Valerie in Oxford for Mother’s Day…

When searching for an alternative Mother’s Day present myself and my sisters came across Patisserie Valerie’s fantastic afternoon tea vouchers and thought it would make a brilliant day out for us girls! We bought two lots of £25 vouchers so that the four of us could be suitably catered for and we certainly were, we were absolutely stuffed by the time we made our way through the three tiers of sumptuous sandwiches, scones and cakes!

The afternoon tea was served on beautiful silverware, with a three tiered platter and delicate teapots, cups and plates. The first tier comprised of a small selection of sandwiches and quiches including salmon and cream cheese and chicken and tomato.  The next tier was home to the delicious homemade scones with your choice of fruit jam and thick clotted cream – this was my FAVOURITE tier as I just love scones! Finally, we finished off our feast with a selection of beautiful little cakes including éclairs, cream sponges and chocolate delights.

The café itself is beautifully decorated inside and it is perfectly positioned close to the centre of Oxford on the high street, but a little further away from the hustle and bustle of the busy shops – perfect for escaping and watching the world go by for a few hours!

Thank you Patisserie Valerie for a wonderful Mother’s Day… we will be back next year!

Love Jess x

Canary Wharf: Best Restaurants

Cabot_Square,_Canary_Wharf_-_June_2008.jpg

Image courtesy of Google Images

 

I usually write these London restaurant guides for The Culture Trip but I’ve decided to publish this one on my own as I’m currently undertaking a different style of project for the site. Here’s my take on the best restaurants in the lively Canary Wharf..

Located in one of the most exclusive areas in London, Canary Wharf is a modern, cutting edge business district surrounded by skyscraper hotels, boutique shops, restaurants and, of course, the waterside Docklands. This handy guide rounds up the top restaurants in the area and caters for every palette with a range of international cuisine from Japanese sushi to Mexican burritos… Bon Appetite!

Wahaca CW © Amy Murrell-4.jpg

Image courtesy of Wahaca.com

 

Wahaca’s Mexican Street Kitchen

For a little bit of Mexico in the heart of London head to the fantastic Wahaca Restaurant in Canada Square. Boasting over 20 chains across the UK, Wahaca is popular with guests from all corners of the globe and their eclectic menu serves dishes to suit every palette. Diners can choose from traditional Mexican dishes including tacos, burritos and taquitos as well as picking from a range of sumptuous sides such as sweet potato fries and spicy ‘slaw from the extensive menus. The interior décor is vibrant and colourful with a brilliant roof top terrace bar serving classic cocktails whilst offering stunning views across the city. Wahaca’s also offers a speedy takeaway service for those looking for a quick and convenient lunch or evening meal. Wahaca’s is open daily from 11.45am-11pm Mon-Fri, 12noon – 11pm on Saturdays and 12noon – 10.30pm on Sundays.

Amerigo-Vespucci

Image courtesy of Google Images

 

Amerigo Vespucci

Located on the corner of Cabot Square, with stunning views across to the Docks and surrounding Canary Wharf area, Amerigo Vespucci is a traditional Italian restaurant offering a selection of dishes from four corners of Italy. The superb a la carte menu boasts daily specials including handmade pasta, fillet steaks, veal medallions, fresh fish and king prawns. The extensive wine list serves a range of different tipples from all regions of France and Italy as well as boasting classic cocktails, Champagne and Prosecco. Dinner and drinks can be served Alfresco for a unique dining experience in one of London’s most sophisticated and glamorous settings.

Exrkfu7D.png

Image courtesy of Wagamama.com

 

Wagamama

Perfectly positioned on a mezzanine level of Jubilee Place, standing next to the iconic Canary Wharf tower, this branch of the popular high street chain stands in the vibrant, bustling area of London’s Docklands. Bringing traditional Japanese cuisine to the heart of the city’s financial district, Wagamama offers fast, fresh food at an affordable price and is perfect for business people looking for a speedy lunchtime treat! Boasting an extensive menu serving everything from snacks and sides to lunch and evening dinner, specialities include wok fried noodles, steamed rice, a range of curries and fresh salads. Open daily from 11am-10pm, and from 11.30 – 9pm on Sundays, Wagamama also runs a take-out service so you can enjoy excellent Japanese cuisine from the comfort of your own home.

_MRC1375blend.jpg

Image courtesy of Gaucho.com

 

Gaucho

For a taste of luxury in the midst of Canary Wharf’s formal business district, Gaucho brings a touch of Argentina to savvy central London. In a fantastic location, with stunning views of the River Thames, Gaucho welcomes diners from all across the world for every imaginable occasion from stylish business lunches to intimate dinner parties. Boasting an extensive menu with the freshest ingredients cooked from the open kitchen, Gaucho’s authentic Argentine dishes include sea bream tiraditos, acorn fed Iberico pork and tenderised fillet steak. An eclectic range of brunch, Sunday dinner, sharing platter and canape menus are also available for the discerning diner. For the ultimate glamorous ambience, Gaucho even offers sommelier service, a PA reward scheme, alfresco dining for up to 190 guests on the fantastic outdoor terrace, and an exclusive lounge bar serving expertly crafted cocktails and fine wines. Gaucho is open every day from 12noon until 11pm.

8473506566_4401c60ac4_z

Image courtesy of Google Images

 

Browns Brasserie & Bar

Built in the 19th century by Napoleonic prisoners of war, and once used as an old sugar warehouse, this historic building is now part of the popular Browns chain and offers a relaxed atmosphere in the heart of London’s Docklands. Browns boasts a number of fantastic menus with popular offers including 2 courses for £11.95 Mon-Fri, afternoon tea, Sunday roast dinners and even luxury Lobster nights every Thursday. Browns is well known for its signature dishes, most notably their hand pressed British beef burgers and classic expertly mixed cocktails. Browns is also famous for the elegant sound of its onsite piano- a live pianist plays every Sunday from 1pm-5pm- the perfect accompaniment for dinner and drinks in the most relaxed of atmospheres. Browns is open daily from 8.30-11pm Mon to Thurs, 8.30-midnight Fri-Sat and from 9am-10.30pm on Sundays.

1280px-London,_Canary_Wharf_from_Thames_2011-03-05

Image courtesy of Google Images