Sunday, 14 September 2014

Is the New U2 Album Out Yet?

Well, um, yes it is! Unexpectedly and released free on itunes on 9th September and available until 13th October. Called Songs of Innocence, and possibly part of a trilogy with the next album to come later this year (maybe, we know what U2 are like!)

It is a look back at the genesis of the band and the relationships,events and experiences that formed them - especially Bono, whose lyrics are achingly honest.

I'm still letting the music sink in and settle, but I can say, though it is not a classic, I do like what I've heard. A full review will follow in time.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Review - Afternoon Tea at The George Hotel, Penrith, Cumbria *****

My cousin and I bought a voucher from Travelzoo for £25 for two for a Champagne Afternoon Tea at The George Hotel in Penrith. I am a big fan of afternoon tea, I think it is one of the best British institutions!

The Dining Room
We arrived at 2pm and entered via the mahogany rotating door which had gleaming brass bars on it. Inside is one of those typical Victorian hotels, lots of wood paneling, plush furnishing, many original features. I love these old hotels, they are cosy and haven't changed massively over the years and there is a real sense of permanence.

As we came in through the door and were immediately greeted and shown to a beautiful dining room to our right. It had ornate original stucco work on the ceilings and original stained glass in some of the windows. Yet it was also tastefully modernised, lovely light fittings and the most comfortable chairs! It was spotlessly clean and quiet and relaxing.

Our Afternoon Tea
We were served our glass of champagne and shortly after our afternoon tea arrived. There were lots of generously filled sandwiches (no crusts of course!) of smoked salmon and cream cheese, ham and egg mayonnaise. Fruit scones with butter, jam and double cream. There were also three cakes each, a custard slice, Victoria sandwich and a summer fruit cream torte, all lovely, plus a piece of millionaire's shortcake. And finally, a little glass of Eton mess which was light, tasty and absolutely yummy!

Service was excellent, staff made conversation with us and we were asked if we wanted our tea topped up and if everything was ok. They made us feel special and they were attentive without being annoying and I couldn't fault them.

So, in conclusion, I would highly recommend the afternoon tea at The George Hotel, everything was perfect, there was so much we could not eat it all and went home with delicious doggie bags.  With the Travelzoo offer the tea was very good value for money and we would definitely go again.

Address:  The George Hotel, Devonshire Street, Penrith CA11 7SU, Cumbria

There does not appear to be a website for this hotel.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Restaurant Review - Martone, Waterloo Place, Edinburgh

My cousin and I had a day trip to Edinburgh last month, we were dropped off at lunchtime in Waterloo Place, we were hungry and immediately looked for somewhere to eat. We didn't have to look far, nearby we saw an Italian restaurant called Martone and as we both love Italian food we decided to give it a try.

From the Martone Website
There was a downstairs floor and an upstairs gallery level at the back. The place was not fancy, but clean and had a relaxed atmosphere, and it had the most amazing red glass lampshades, impossible to describe but you can see them on the photo to the left. On entering I noticed some delectable looking ice cream on the counter. It was obviously a real Italian restaurant so we were expecting great food!

We ordered a glass of prosecco each and I ordered a Margherita Pizza with Ham and Mushrooms and Janet ordered Pappadelle Nonna (which was a flat pasta with beef, shallots, roast peppers in a tomato and wine sauce). My pizza was huge and gorgeous, as well as the obvious ingredients, there was also a lovely herbal taste to it. Janet loved her dish and I tried a little of it and it was very good indeed.
My Pizza

After a bit of a break we just had to try that delicious looking ice cream. Apparently Martone's ice cream is home made at Ciao Roma, which I think is a sister restaurant. I'm a bit boring when it comes to ice cream, I don't like the fancy ones, my favourites are good old plain vanilla and chocolate, and that's what I chose. It was creamy and tasty, and the chocolate was one of nicest I've ever had.

The price was the meal was very reasonable, especially considering how central it was (just off Princes Street) and the service friendly and efficient. It's open from 8am to 11pm and has an extensive menu. Martone's is a great place for a real Italian meal and I'll certainly be back next time I'm in Edinburgh.

Address:  1 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3BG
Website:  Martone