I dined at 12 Place du Marche in Antwerp, on a complimentary basis during my Flanders is a Festival blog trip in August 2012.
Place du Marche Antwerp
The restaurant is opposite a garden. There was outdoor seating but as it was a showery, cool evening, I was happy to sit inside. The tables were pretty close together but the four people sitting next to me were very friendly.
Garden opposite 12 Place du Marche
I dined at the Huyze Die Maene Bistro/Brasserie in Bruges on a complimentary basis on my Flanders is a Festival blog trip in August 2012. The restaurant, which is also a bed and breakfast, is in Markt (the main square).
Huyze Die Maene
It was a warm enough evening to sit outside. I dined from the set menu which had a choice of two starters and two main courses. I had the Asparagus Risotto which was very tasty. I’m not a great rice fan but I love asparagus.
Asparagus Risotto at Huyze Die Maene
It’s a puzzle to me why some restaurants in the same area are more popular than others. We’ve had lunch at the Raj on the Shore Indian Restaurant in the Leith area of Edinburgh a couple of times. The restaurant is very close to where one of our sons works, so handy for a quick lunch. I really like the views over the Water of Leith.
On both occasions we’ve eaten from the £7.50 lunch menu and the food’s good.
On our most recent visit my starter was spicy prawns served on nan bread and my main course was mild mango chicken curry. However there was only one other table occupied when we ate lunch. On our previous visit it was another three.
I had lunch at the Hispaniola Restaurant in Edinburgh with Darren Cronian of My Life in Leeds in July 2012, using a Groupon voucher. Groupon gave me credit, to select and try some of their deals. The Hispaniola voucher cost £35 for a six course taster menu for two people, which included a half bottle wine per person. I was able to book a table for lunch on a Saturday, although the voucher said that there was limited availability at the weekends.
The restaurant was formerly the Rutherford Bar, a favourite haunt of Rober Lewis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island. That’s why the Hispaniola has a pirate theme. There were various life size pirates armed with muskets and swords dotted around, a skeleton in a cage suspended from the ceiling and a skeleton with a treasure chest beneath a glass panel on the floor.
Darren in his pirate hat
There was a separate Tasting Menu for Groupon customers, with a choice of two dishes for most of the courses. Neither of us had the wine, we stuck to water. We started with Minestrone Soup which was served with a slice of bread and butter.
This was followed by a selection of topped breads served with a small salad.
I had lunch with one of our sons at the Caffe L’ombrellone in Glasgow in June 2012. I used a Groupon voucher which cost £12 for two courses for two people. Groupon gave me credit to select and try out some of their offers. It was great that you didn’t have to make a booking if you ate before 5pm; I really liked this, as you have to book in advance for the majority of Groupon restaurant vouchers. The caffe is located on the corner of Argyle St and Hope St, close to Central Station.
Exterior of Caffe L’ombrellone Glasgow
Upon entering, I checked that there were no menu exclusions when using a Groupon voucher and was assured that we could have anything from the menu. We decided to sit in the mezzanine floor.
Interior of Caffe L’ombrellone Glsagow
I had lunch with Lola Akinmade Akerstrom and her family at the Mezbaan South Indian Restaurant in Edinburgh in June 2012 using a Groupon voucher. I had previously received credit from Groupon, to choose and try some of their deals. This restaurant deal, priced at £29, included a starter and a main course for four people (although only three of us ate there). The voucher was only valid at lunchtime, so I wondered if I’d be able to get a booking on a Saturday. However, when I phoned to make the reservation, I was offered any time that suited me.
Interior of Mezbaan Edinburgh
The only things not included in the deal were the seafood options which carried a £3.95 supplement on starters and £5.95 on main courses. But that wasn’t an issue, as there were plenty of chicken, lamb and vegetarian options. In fact I was quite bewildered by the choice and asked for recommendations. I started with a Masala Dosa (pancake).
We had a family lunch at The Italian Job restaurant in Glasgow in June 2012. It’s located close to Trongate. We used a Groupon voucher which cost £27 for four people to have a starter, main course (excluding specials) and either a glass of wine or a beer each. I was given credit by Groupon to select and roadtest a variety of their offers.
Now I always read the fine print carefully before buying a Groupon voucher, that’s why I was so annoyed when we weren’t able to order two of the main courses on the standard menu. Prawns with Pasta was unavailable, as the restaurant said that they had run out of prawns and Florentine Pizza, no explanation given for this. We tried to say to the owner that it was only the Specials that were supposed to be excluded from the Groupon offer, to which she replied that she thought we were getting a good choice of items. Now I just don’t think this is acceptable. But you are left feeling rather impotent if restaurants refuse to honour the terms of the Groupon voucher. It really is a pity that the meal got off to a bad start, as the food was very good.
We all tasted each other’s food and our favourite starter was the Red Pepper with Feta & Pinenuts. The salad dressing was excellent.
Red Pepper with Feta & Pinenuts starter
When planning our budget break to Scotland, I spotted a Groupon deal for Afternoon Tea for two for £9 (standard price £11.75 per person) at Hettie’s Tearoom, in either Pitlochry or Perth. The downside was that you had to phone to book a table, rather than turn up when it suited you. As I wasn’t sure of our exact intinerary, I couldn’t book in advance. As we hit Dalwhinnie on our drive back from Inverness, I phoned Hettie’s Tearoom in Pitlochry to book a table for 4pm, but I was told they were too busy and had used up the Groupon allocation for that day. It was quite annoying, but we were able to book a table at Hettie’s Tearoom in Perth the following day. So if you have a Group voucher for any restaurant or hotel deals, book as early as possible to try to secure the day and time of your choice.
Hettie’s Tearoom Perth
As we approached Hettie’s Tearoom Perth the cakes on display in the window looked very yummy.
Window of Hettie’s Tearoom Perth using Singe photo effects in Flickr’s Aviary editor
I am left wondering if gourmet restaurants serve better food, after eating at a variety of establishments during my recent visit to Portugal. I freely admit I’m no foodie with a refined palate. I really enjoyed lunch in Tomar which cost 13 Euro for two. Mary Goudie of Your Lisbon Guide and I both had the dish of the day, 2 pork chops with potato, served with tomato and lettuce salad and collard greens. Mary had a beer and a coffee and I had water to drink. The food was really tasty and the waitress a very pleasant young woman, who was working all the tables single handedly. I also had a good two course set menu meal which included a drink for 7.5 Euro in Faro in the Algarve.
The main course of the 13 Euro for 2 lunch in Tomar
I had Afternoon Tea in the Cabin Bar at the Glasgow Thistle Hotel with Dougie of BairdsTravel in June 2012. I used a Groupon voucher priced at £18. Groupon asked me to roadtest their offers, giving me credit to make my own selections, so I wanted to share some the treats on offer with Europe a la Carte readers.
The Cabin Bar was comfortable and the waitress was very sweet. I asked if I could substitute one of the glasses of Prosecco for a cup of tea, as I’m a teetotaller, but was told that wasn’t possible. I’m not sure why, as surely it’d have been cheaper to give me a pot of tea than a glass of wine.
Cabin Bar at the Glasgow Thistle
It was probably the most bland, in taste and presentation, Afternnon Tea I’ve ever had.
Very poor Afternoon Tea at the 4 star Glasgow Thistle
Everthing was a creamy colour, the sandwiches were very unimaginative, I couldn’t discern any banana taste in my banana cake, the egg custard tarts were a waste of space and the scones were tiny.
Dougie Baird unimpressed by Afternoon Tea at the Glasgow Thistle
The £18 price tag claimed to represent a saving of 60%. Well, all I can say is I very much doubt if they’d get any takers at £43.90 for that Afternoon Tea for two people. It smacked to me of a grossly inflated initial price in order for the Glasgow Thistle to claim that they were offering a decent discount. This sort of practice gives Groupon a bad name and they need to do more checking to see that the supposed standard price quoted by suppliers’ offers is real.