Thursday, August 31, 2006

All Mouth And No Knickers

Having heard nothing but good things about Stingi Lulu's, we were eager to give it a try. We were prepared for it to be expensive compared to other local venues (£145 for two courses for five of us and one bottle of wine) but understood it to be worth it.

Sadly, we weren't terribly impressed. The food was mostly ok, but let down by truly woeful service. Catching anyone's attention was incredibly difficult all night, and it was 25 minutes before we got a drink, let alone a chance to order.

To be fair, once the starters were ordered, they came quickly and were very good - I had the duck spring rolls, which came with three dipping sauces and were great (although the starter of olives and bread was felt to be a bit steep at £6).

The mains were ok, but again we all felt there was room for improvement. My sea bass was cooked to perfection, but the potato cake it rested on was supposed to have crab and scallions, of which I could find no trace - only overpowering and unexpected chilli. And with no sauce, it was too dry to finish.

One of the party ordered a curry, and was left without his rice until we could (eventually) attract the attention of a waitress. Fantastic bowls of stir fried vegetables were provided for sharing - but getting them out proved very tricky, as the serving spoon was essentially a soup spoon - have you ever tried doling out beansprouts and mange tout slippery with oil with something that small?

Feeling still peckish, I was the only one to go for a dessert - and I really wish I hadn't bothered. What sounded amazing - "a blueberry and wildberry martini with ice cream" was inedible. A layered jelly in a glass with a scoop of icecream on the large serving plate it rested on, the jelly was set to the consistency of a bouncy castle. I really thought I was in danger of shattering the glass with the spoon as I tried to prise bits out - it was roughly the same thickness of jelly cubes out the box. Lumps of it were passed round the table to unanimous disgust. And the blueberries? Well, I could see half a one trapped like a fly in amber with other bits of sour fruit in the depths. Yuck.

The coffees came, one to be promptly poured into someone's lap by the waitress, with no attempt to come back and clear it up. A cappuccino was deemed to be only luke warm.

Time passed. We eventually attracted enough attention to get the bill. More time passed. We finally gave up and went in search of someone to press money onto, if only so we could leave. We were in there for 3 hours, and I reckon with reasonable service we'd have been out in 2.

The other thing that was pretty out of order in a place that expensive was the fact that there was one loo. For everyone. The seat was broken, the floor was swimming, and there was a manky looking hand towel that I didn't even want to touch. Now I'm sorry, but if you've only got one unisex loo, then the least you can do is send someone in to tart it up every half an hour. Because at those prices you can damn well afford to.

All in all, it's a bit of a shame, because the venue was really nice (although the tables are very crammed in - to get to ours we had to literally squeeze on tiptoes between two sets of chairs - I think I may have caused one gentleman to stab himself in the nose with his fork by inadvertently jogging his elbow with my arse), and the food was really pretty good. The presentation is amazing, but we did feel it was style over substance. If the service had been any good, or the prices had been a few quid a dish cheaper, we'd have been really pleased with the evening, but we left feeling a bit let down. And still peckish.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bank Holiday Ramblings

Random trilithon in Gyllyngdune Gardens in Falmouth, from a walk on the Bank Holiday. A walk which also included the biggest Roskilly's ice cream you've ever seen, two pints in the Chain Locker, chips on the quay, and a dog in sunglasses. Result.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Alas, my toaster is no more
Its duties it has ducked
It won't go up
It won't go off
It's F-U-K-T :

An Old Friend, A New Beard, and A Jeraboam

Another barbeque yesterday, for a friend's 30th, who'd swanned back into town with a new set of face furniture and an enormous bottle of champagne. Hell-ooo.

Fab food, good weather, and entertainment value provided via use of inappropriate jokes in front of his small nephew. It's just as well I haven't got kids you know...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Boo, and - yay!

Home from work to discover one of the cats had barfed on the table (boo, and also, eww - although on second thoughts it did occur that this was easier to clean than on the carpet).

Home from work to discover a box of free tea (happily not barfed on) from Kell - thank youuuuu!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Towering Inferno

I like to think I provide, if not high class entertainment, then at least good comedy value for guests. So there we were, sitting out studiously ignoring the approaching thunder clouds and listening to the sizzle of steaks on the barbie, when the smoke alarm goes off. Gosh, we think, that's sensitive, picking up that from out here. All five of us having up to now missed the rolling clouds of black smoke pouring out of the kitchen door, and, indeed, the upstairs window. Upon investigation, this turns out to be the wok I put on to heat up for onion frying purposes, before returning outside to prod the beef (no that's not a euphemism), sitting back down and forgetting all about it. The oil, in a bid for regaining my attention, having caught fire in the pan. Oops. Fortunately, having bunged the flaming thing outside onto the patio (wooden handle, luckily), no actual damage was caused inside, other than the interesting effect of all the cobwebs in the kitchen now looking like they've been drawn in with pencil. Means I'm going to have to dust. Damn.

Otherwise, the evening went without incident, although a sprinkle of rain did drive us back inside (now smoke free) to finish the meal. Rump steaks and onions (having dug out an alternative pan), pork steaks and homemade apple sauce & potato salad,followed by hot chocolate fudge cake (ok I cheated and bought that) with homemade blackcurrant ice cream. And lashings of wine. Hurrah!

(That cobweb picture works better if you click on it for the larger version)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Plan A

We're having a barbeque this evening. Naturally, it is currently hissing it down with rain. It's so dark, we've had to put the light on, and it's still lunchtime. At this rate, we're gong to need umbrellas to prevent the drinks being diluted...

(And adding insult to injury, why, why, why, have I got "Delilah" stuck in my head?)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Treyarnon and the Nine Maidens

Final day off work, and took advantage of the sun to go to the beach. Headed for the north coast, and Treyarnon. Sun, sea, sand, ice cream, picnic - what could be better.

On the way back, stopped off to visit the Nine Maidens stone row near Winnards Perch. This is a very pretty alignment with views over the valley to Castle-an-Dinas hillfort, and beyond that in the distance, the hills of the clay district. The horizon must have been a very different shape when they were first erected. The stones have beautiful veins of quartz running through them.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

...And Back Again

On the way home, saw this Virgin balloon taking off next to Stonehenge.

Other sights: stopping for a coffee at a petrol station where lots of small aeroplanes were coming into land right over the roof to a strip on the far side of the dual carriageway. Not sure I'd want to work in that spot!

Looking into a hedge to see a beautiful leaping deer and fawn woven from tree branches.

Finally, some signs from the weekend that caught my eye:
On an office building: "Saturn Professional Risks Ltd". That HAS to be something like the Avengers, or U.N.C.L.E...
On a yoof's T-shirt with a picture of a bike: "My other ride's your mum".
For a courtyard tearoom: "Serenity is in the yard." Neat bit of parking by Mal Reynolds there...
On a church carpark wall: "Pray and Display".

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Garden Party Of The Year

After a good fried breakfast and lashings of coffee we waddled into Chesham to wander about until the party at 2. Visited possibly the noisest coffee bar I've ever been in - clashing crockery, loud music, screeching children, whirring grinders and blenders (and manky loos). The iced coffee was nice, although they could conceivably have given me something better to drink it out of than the plastic pot the mix originally came in, given that I was 'eating in'. With still an hour to spare, we tried out the George and Dragon inn, which had the nicest character and the cleanest loos, but sadly the mankiest beer.

Finally 2pm arrived, and we toddled off to the marquee we'd scoped out from a distance earlier. The first to arrive, we were welcomed in by a waiter and handed champagne, so assuming that we'd found the right place (or at least a place worth staying in) we settled in to wait for more guests and the happy couple (who were actually married in May, I think, but obviously waiting for warmer weather...).

It was the most amazing bash I think I've ever seen. Swans made of ice, full of strawberries and cherries. Enormous glass urns and jars filled with sweets and biscuits. Table loads of beautiful food. A massive 4-tier wedding cake, festooned in roses and ivy. A string quartet. Even more food, in a second wave of beautiful sushi, followed by yet more trays of iced biscuits and mini-cakes. Unlimited champagne, distributed by a team (flock? batallion?) of waiters (plus, a bottle to take home).

Friday, August 04, 2006


Had the day off work (hurrah) to travel up to Bucks for a wedding celebration/garden party on Saturday. Uneventful up until the M25, which was set largely at stop, although this meant we got to sit and watch all the big planes taking off over our head from Heathrow (ooh, yes, we Cornish are easy to please in the big city). We then had to find our way up the 404 ('road not found'? No, didn't get a laugh then either...) and various pretty lanes, made slightly more complicated by turning down a road that wasn't on the map. Next time, I'm downloading in smaller scale...

We stayed on Broomstick Lane, near Ley Hill, and ate in the Misty Moon pub. I felt this covered things nicely...The B&B Katsina and landlady were lovely, we had a nice view over the garden, and a pleasing absence of other guests to share the shared bathroom with.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Today is Lammas - loaf-mass - the first harvest festival of the year, and a time for sitting back and considering the fruits of your labours so far in the year.

After heavy showers this morning, it's turned into a beautiful evening - just right for wandering through the fields of barley (took this picture in front of Budock Church) and looking out for the ripening hazel nuts, rowan berries and blackberries in the hedgerows.

A very happy and fruitful Lammas-tide to all Rambler readers!