Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Worst Meal EVER - Restaurant Marcos Barcelona

So the Hussyband and I have just gotten back from his annual birthday trip, we had lots of amazing meals, a few too many jamon baguettes, and one meal that was so bad we actually left as it made us ill just looking at it.

Friday night we were wandering around the University area of Barcelona, and came across a little restaurant with some nice looking outside tables. It was still early, only 9pm (that is early for dinner in Spain!) Now here we ignored one of what is normally our cardinal rules, we were going to eat in a restaurant that advertised it had an English menu. 

But we hadn't had much for lunch at the beach that day so were famished. We elected to eat inside as there were a few smokers outside....and this is where our trouble starts.

Inside we order a nice bottle of AlbariƱo, Hussy went for a start of beef carpacio, and I went for the calamari. They placed starter plates out for us to share...they were dirty. They we noticed strange red floaters in our white wine. OK.

His beef was covered in so much Parmesan you could not tell what the meat looked like, the condiments container have a couple of millimetres of dust bunnies in the bottom of it so we ignored using them. My calamari came out about 10 mins later - swimming. No, it wasn't still alive, it was swimming in oil as they had obviously not gotten the fryer hot enough before cooking the dish, so it had absorbed the equivalent of the Mediterranean Sea that was leaking out through the paper doilies conveniently hiding another dirty plate.

By this stage we were getting worried, and queasy. Five minutes later our mains came out....Hussybands' was first - hake in a basque specialty sauce. The fish was grey. The sauce was grey. The potatoes were grey. The white asparagus that is not even in season was grey. The clams were grey and more withered than a nuns clitoris. Winter days in London are less grey than this dish was...and Hussybands' face was quickly turning puce to match.
Then out came my lobster and monkfish. The lobster should have been thrown back it was so small - i have seen prawns bigger. The monkfish had been battered and deep fried. It was all swimming in an oily, luminous yellow, gelatinous sauce. I took one look and gagged. How could you do that to monkfish?!?!?!?! IT IS INHUMANE!
We sculled our wine. Called over the waiter, advised him we were not staying as we felt ill (well we did! and we would have been if we had eaten that lot!), paid the complete bill (I am a softie) and left. Quickly.

The thought of food by then was making us ill, so we did the only thing we could do at this stage....we went and consumed our calories for the night via alcohol.

Where not to eat in Barcelona:
Restaurant Marcos
Carrer Disputacio 172, E-08011 Barcelona

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Fable - A Tale of Two Seatings

Despite a few false starts with booking process, Thirsty Thirsday this week see me checking out a new bar at Holborn Viaduct, The Fable. As usual, my trusty sidekick Wife Jacqui is with me, and Hussyband. joined us when he finished work.

Now we had been warned I advance that the kitchen is having a few teething problems by other bloggers who came earlier in the week...but Thirsty Thirsday isn't about the food...it's about the booze. And we came here with a mission in mind...mission impossible in one sitting, maybe, but damn if I am not going to at least TRY to drink the cocktail menu! And we are back with the Lions on Saturday for food anyway. They should have the kitchen sorted out by then right?

Chapter One - Thirsty Thirsday

1: Sugar Plum Fairy (£8.95) Very refreshing, I don't usually go for gin based drinks, but I liked this one! Not sure what the use of the whole frozen solid plum is, it's too solid to eat! Looks nice, but useless. Frozen slices of plum might be better and easier to eat! (MrsLion had two of these on Saturday - and her plums were not frozen...so not sure how they should be now!)

2:Rub a Dub Shrub (sharing cocktail £15.95). Now I am a lover of bathes, long, hot, bubbly, candlelit soaks that leave me wrinkled and relaxed. But this one, while nice, just didnt quite scrub my back. All we could taste was the watermelon, no strawberries, no vodka buzz. I had to stop the Wife from filching the pink rubber duckie, but you can  take a bath tub home...for £20, try buying one for that at B&Q! All up though, dont get into a lather for this one.

3: Double Dirty Grey Goose Martini (£12) This one is not on the menu, but with an incoming Hussyband, I knew he would need to play catchup. Lovely martini (he let me taste!) with wonderfully plump olives (which he wouldn't share).

 4: Prince Charming (£7.45) I do love my rum, and this one swept me off my feet. The chai infused syrup and lemon juice had a zing in my mouth. 

5: Aesops Fable (£7.45) Wifey originally wanted a Gold Fish in a Bag - but they were out of bags, but she really liked this one, especially its presentation in the small bottle. Said it was like drinking milk....although she was rather tipsy by this stage!

6: Zombieland (sharing cocktail £15.95) as The Cranberries sang, Zombie, Zombie, Zombie-ie-ie.This was the voted the best by the table that we all agreed on. To quote Wife "Squeezing my passion fruit is not a euphemism" (yes I do remember these things through the haze).

Next we went for Barmans Choice (as we couldnt decide). 

7: El Presidente - dark rum and made Hussyband very happy
8: Dark and Stormy - dark rum and one of the nicest gingers I have had in a long time
9: French Martini - Vodka and chambord for the Wife, who by this time was giggling lots!

Now, in case you are thinking we were not responsible adults and had refrained from eating, we did indeed try two of the sharing boards (which are quite huge!)

The first one was to share or not to share (£15.95) - garlic bread, potato & sweet potato wedges, thai crackers, chicken satay, mini burgers, mini hotdogs & marinated olives. This puppy was highs and low - the satay sauce was wonderful and we loved that they used Thai crackers rather than Chinese. The hotdogs had a nice bite and we loved the olives. The burgers had a nice meaty taste but need something else to make them special. Wife LOVED the brioche garlic bread.

Still having the munchies, we went for The Fable Deli Board (£15.95) a nice selection of cured meats & cheeses including a wonderful Yarg.

Now you would expect that after all this we would be done...but no. We finished ourselves off with one last Zombieland for good measure to make our journeys home painless. 

A twist to the tale - there really are happy endings! A new stash of Goldfish bags were found so Wife caught her fishy! Goldfish in a Bag (£8.95) - tasty gin based cocktail with an edible lilypad and everything!

Here ends Chapter One.

Chapter Two - Saturday Session
We really are suckers for punishment (of our livers) and Saturday afternoon saw us back here for lunch with our friends TheLions, and WifeFiona and EmmaLiscious joining us for drinks. Of yes, there was more drinking.

We started proceedings with Bloody Decisive (Marys) (£7.50) - nice kick to these babies and what we needed to kickstart our juices.

Food was the order of today, I went for the Reef, Beef & Bubbles (£15.95) a juicy perfectly rare piece of rump with half a lobster dripping with garlic butter, a side of onions rings (£2.95) that were hot crisp and perfectly seasoned and a bowl of unctuous bernaise sauce (£2) for dunking everything in. Oh and a glass of prosecco to wash it all down!

Hussyband opted for the cote de boeuf (£20.95) again, it was perfectly rare, and he even had a chomp on the bone (my fella he is a classy bloke!)

MrsLion opted for the Seabass and Crayfish Risotto and scrapped her plate clean. The seabass had a lovely crispy skin, and the risotto was sublime.

MrLion chose an Asian Salad with Seared Salmon which had him in a happy place.

There was also a side of the Trio of Fries (£9.95) - one was slathered in katsu curry, one in"Cowboy" BBQ sauce, and the third parmesan, rosemary and truffle oil. The third was our favorite!

Wife Fiona arrived just as we infilttrated the Book Nook, and she was hungering for a burger. She went for the Lamb Burger w/ feta, piquillo peppers & tzatziki (£9.95) which set her up well for the next few hours of silliness. The meat was moist and really tasty.

After this the afternoon degenerated into cocktail craziness. New ones we tried and loved included the Pornstar Martini (£9.95) with very generous pours of prosecco and only 109 calories! The Singapore Sling (£15.95) sharer which Emmaliscious and I devoured with just two straws,  was also rather delicious.

Here ends Chapter Two.

There were a lot of cocktails consumed yesterday afternoon, and we spent a couple of hours happily ensconced in the book nook laughing and spinning tales. Service was good, but it was taking a lot longer to get our drinks on Saturday than it did on Thursday, with it taking about 33 mins to get our last round which was a tad disappointing. There was a distinct change in the attitudes of the staff as well with the shift change on Saturday being halfway through our visit - service pre-change was brilliant, after change, slow and not so steady.

We will be back as the cocktails are brilliant, and the food now that the kitchen has settled down pretty bloody tasty. 
We spent about £70 each on food and booze on Saturday and were stuffed and slightly silly. I would like to say we were sensible and that we went home...but we didn't. And that is a bedtime story for another day.