Friday, 23 July 2010

Battle of the Sandwich Shops

Infusion (611 London Road) vs The Pantry (651 London Road)
DE24 8UQ

On London Road in the Alvaston area of Derby, there are two sandwich shops in close proximity of one another – and of two business parks (three if you count Pride Park), so they’re an obvious choice at lunch for workers in the area. There are people who swear by The Pantry just as there are people swearing by Infusion. Question is – which one’s the best?

Let’s compare a few things...

I like my cobs/baps crusty, and I also really like coronation chicken, and I really want some salad to go with it (no onions, though – can’t stand raw onion).

Infusion: £1.95
The Pantry: £1.90

So obviously, The Pantry comes out on top as it is 5p cheaper. It only works out a 5p difference because of crusty bread and the salad – The Pantry charge extra for both, and have an extra charge for “special” fillings. Infusion class coronation chicken as a standard filling, don’t charge extra for salad or the crusty bread. If you, on the other hand, just want a plain soft bap with ham and salad, The Pantry is 10p cheaper (£1.50 instead of £1.60). Four weeks of having a 10p cheaper bap will save you £2, and it all adds up.


Looking at baked potatoes, it’s a different story altogether.

Let’s say I fancy one with tuna & sweetcorn mayo with some salad. Butter? Yeah, why not.

Infusion: £2.45
The Pantry: £2.80

That’s a 35p difference! I seem to recall getting fewer bits of sweetcorn from Infusion, but who cares? They have a proper potato baking oven, so their potatoes come out with that lovely baked potato skin. They also make sure they have them prepared, so when you come in, you don’t have to wait around for it to warm up.

At The Pantry, you have to wait for them to microwave it, and the skin isn’t much different to that of a boiled potato. There is no information what kind of mayo is used, whereas Infusion have it down as “light mayo”. As mayo is one of the most calorific things ever, getting the lighter option is a definite plus.

Spotted in their window that Infusion have a five star hygiene rating, but Derby City Council isn’t listed yet on the Scores on the Doors website. However, did manage to track down a PDF of all the hygiene scores in the area on the council’s website. The Pantry’s is listed as four stars, but they haven’t chosen to display their certificate. (Hey, a four-star rating still bragworthy!)

Which one gives you the friendliest service? Some insist one of them have grumpy people and that the one they go to is all smiles – and some people say the exact same about the other one! Guess it’s just down to personal preference and how you treat people.

My personal preference? Has to be Infusion. They have a bigger menu (granted, The Pantry has a much bigger selection of cakes!) and it’s easy to find out the cost (The Pantry is all over the place), and it looks nicer. Infusion also have a website, so you can ogle the menu beforehand and decide on what you fancy. They also do menu deals and a loyalty card – and they even know to hold the onions...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Gourmet Burger Kitchen - in Nottingham!

Discovered today that Gourmet Burger Kitchen have opened on Trinity Square (between Cornerhouse and Victoria Centre) in Nottingham! Went there for food tonight. Well nice burgers. Review to follow, at some point.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Gourmet Burger Kitchen (Covent Garden): Review

Gourmet Burger Kitchen
13-14 Maiden Lane
Covent Garden

0207 240 9617
Website | Email

Visit: March 2010
Summary: Big burgers with nice flavours.

We had tickets to the theatre and luckily, this restaurant was on a narrow street just behind the it. We also had a voucher, which made things a little cheaper: two burgers with fries for £10.95. Considering most burgers are around £7.50 to £8, the voucher was very good value. Even if we didn't have a voucher, we'd much rather spend £7.95 on a burger and chips from GBK than the same from one of the major fast food burger chains.

Drinks: The lemonade was very refreshing and not too sour or too sweet. It had zing and a great lemon flavour.

Sides: The chips were nice, if a bit greasy. We ordered the onion rings, which turned out not to be the uniform size breaded things you'd get in most places, but they were of very different sizes, and generously cut. Tasted great as well.

Burgers: You have the option of customising your burger. If you don't want the bun, you can have it without, and so on. We had a Blue Cheese beef burger ("aged Stilton dressing, salad, mayonnaise & relish") and a Camembert & Cranberry chicken breast burger ("camembert, cranberry sauce, salad, mayonnaise & relish"). Both very generous in size and skewered with a wooden stick to hold them together. There wasn't much of a Stilton flavour in the dressing, but the burger itself was very nice. The chicken burger didn't stand out at all, unfortunately - it wasn't really any different from a standard breaded chicken breast burger from a generic pub, so that was disappointing. Overall, the assembled burgers were very juicy and flavourful.

Service: It was quite busy for an early Wednesday evening (then again, London is different from Nottingham), so it felt a little on the slow side, but considering the place was packed, it was to be expected. You have to place the order at the counter, not at the table. Staff were friendly and happy to help.

Inside: Not a massive place, so a bit cramped when full. Nice and modern décor, big photographs and paintings on the walls.

Outside: Quite a narrow London back street, just behind the theatres on the Strand (one of the nearest is the Adelphi).

We expected some tasty burgers, and what we got wasn't just an upmarket Whopper or Big Mac, but something a bit more distinct, and definitely a lot nicer. You get what you pay for. Would we have gone if we didn't have the voucher? Perhaps, perhaps not. As the restaurant was just behind the theatre we were going to, it meant we didn't have to get lost on the winding streets of the capital, but instead, we had a nice meal and then had plenty of time to leasurely stroll over to the theatre.

Would we go again? I believe so. There are plenty of great-sounding burgers on that menu, and we were both interested in one of the the lamb burgers, so we'll be back. If not to this particular franchise, then to another one.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen is a chain and they have restaurants not just in various parts of London, but all over the UK. See their website for your nearest one to where you are. They also have some restaurants in other countries. You can eat in or take away.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Julmust - time to stock up

Happened to be passing by IKEA on this Wednesday just passed, and noticed that they've brought out not juts the Xmas ornaments but also the food in the food court. Time to stock up on julmust!

Julmust is an old, classic softdrink that keeps outselling Coca-Cola around Xmas time in Sweden. It's bubbly and brown and you might make the mistake in thinking it'll taste like Coke/Pepsi. It doesn't. (I made that mistake the first time I ever tried Dr. Pepper: "it looks like Coke, so it must taste like it" really didn't.) In fact, it has more to do with beer than with anything else, but it doesn't taste of beer either.

Here's what's in it: Carbonated water, sugar, glucose-fructose syrup, food colouring (E150C), aroma (from hops and barley malt, etc.), acidity regulator: citric acid, spice extracts, preservatives E211.

IKEA sell it in 50 cl (0.5 l, i.e about a pint) bottles every Xmas, although they sometimes run out the closer it gets. Probably a lot to do with ex-pat Swedes who think of IKEA's food court as a good (if very limited) source of things from back home. Things you can't get anywhere else, and that's essential if you're celebrating a Swedish Xmas. Such as julmust. The kind they sell is "Nygårda" from Spendrups. (Personally, it's second best. The best one is made by Apotekarnes, but stay clear of the diet/light versions of any brand... they have no depth of flavour!)

The drink was invented in 1910 as an alcohol free alternative to beer, but it would be fairly pointless to just repeat what it says on Wikipedia, when you can just go straight there and read - so if you want to learn more about it, here's a place to go: Wikipedia: Julmust.

Pipers Parsnip Crisps

One of the things we picked up from the food festival was a 40g bag of Pipers Parsnip Crisps of the Biggleswade Sweet Chilli variety. "Made by farmers" the logo says and there's a picture of an old, red tractor on the front. It's freshly sliced parsnips that have been batch fried in sunflower oil with spicing added. All made here in Britain.

We quite like root veg crisps, but they can be a little dull. Not these ones, however! The sweet chilli brings in some good flavours. Not particularly hot, but still nice and warming. Good crunch to them, and we'd recommend them.

Ingredients: Parsnips, Sunflower Oil, Chilli, Paprika, Vinegar Powder (Maltodextrin, Vinegar), Rice Flour, Garlic, Sugar, Salt, Yeast Extract, Maltodextrin, Lemon Juice, Chilli Infused Rapeseed Oil, Natural Colour: Paprika, Oregano.

For more information, see, a company based in Elsham, north Lincolnshire.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Annual beer festival this weekend!

October in Nottingham means the annual CAMRA Real Ale festival, or, the Nottingham Robin Hood Beer Festival, as it's also called. Hundreds of beers, ciders, perries, wines and other tipples available, and it all kicks off on Thursday, on the grounds of Nottingham Castle. The essentials are as follows:

Opening times
Thur 8th October: 11.00am to 11.00pm
Fri 9th October: 11.00am to 11.00pm
Sat 10th October: 11.00am to 11.00pm
Sun 11th October: 12noon to 3.00pm

Admission prices
£5 per person (CAMRA members £2.50)
Souvenir glass tankards £2.50
Beer tokens £1.25 per half pint

More information: CAMRA Nottingham Robin Hood Beer Festival official website

Oh, apparently this year, they're also going to have comedy on Friday and Saturday night. Looking forward to that!

Alpine Restaurant (Ashfordby Hill): Review

Alpine Restaurant
The Grange Village
Asfordby Hill
Melton Mowbray
LE14 3QU

01664 812 802
Website | Email

Visit: October 2009
Summary: Disappointed. Good for a coffee, for food, go visit the farm shop.

Tucked away near a Leicestershire village, the Grange is a collection of little shops, like a garden centre, a gift shop, a sports shop, a gun (!) shop and a farm shop. Attached to it is a restaurant, called the Alpine Restaurant.

We had been there the year before, as we drove from the East Midlands Food Festival - which is exactly what we did this year as well. We had totally forgotten that after last year, we wanted to have lunch at the restaurant, so we shouldn't have bothered having anything proper to eat at the festival... well... we decided to have a coffee and a dessert.

Drinks: Nothing to say about the coffee (actually, it was two mochas, but still... there was coffee involved!), because it was okay, and nice and warm on a chilly day.

Dessert: The dessert we decided on sharing was a rasperry jam crumble pie with custard (£4.50). The custard didn't really have any flavour. The crumble pie was only warm-ish where the warm custard had been poured over it, because the rest was cold. The pastry was quite nice, but the crumble top... it had pools of un-melted caster sugar on top. It really wasn't pleasant.

Service: Felt like it took a bit longer than it should've for what we ordered and how it was delivered (i.e. pie straight from the fridge with what was probably microwaved ready-made custard). Instead of waiting for someone to come by so we could ask for a bill, we went up and paid at the counter instead.

Inside: It's called Alpine for a reason: it's styled in an alpine hut type way: lots and lots of wood. Big, rustic wooden furniture (loooks great!), wooden walls, old, wooden skis on the walls, pictures of alpine resorts and that sort of thing. It looks very cosy and quaint.

Outside: It's quite hidden away, but well signposted. After a bit of a drive through a narrow passage among the trees, it opens up to a gravelled yard with a decent amount of parking spaces. Looks inviting.

The Grange Village: We didn't go to the farm shop this year, but we went last year. Lots of different local food, organic food and such. This is the home of Brockleby's Farm, a producer we like to get lamb meat from at our local farmer's market. That's a post in itself, so won't go into detail here. (Highly recommended, though!) The sports shop has some different clothing options, the gift shop has various gifts and things for the home, and the garden centre didn't seem to have a big indoor selection, but maybe we just didn't look very closely.

All in all, knowing how good the Brockleby's food is, we expected the restaurant food to be just as impressive... and it wasn't. The restaurant does look quite amazing inside, but the chairs aren't that comfortable and they're quite heavy to move. It did seem like you get rather generous portions if you go for a cake slice, and they had plenty of cakes to choose from. The pie wasn't a bad size, it was a pretty standard 2-3 inches wide on the outside, but yeah, we weren't all that impressed with it.

Not sure we'd skip lunch at the food festival next year in order to have proper food at the Alpine Restaurant, because if the dessert is anything to go by, a lunch would leave us wishing we had just bought a Brockleby's pie from the farm shop next door and had it when we got home! There's just no way of knowing, aside from going back next time we're in the area... which is probably in a year's time, when the food festival is next on...
Related Posts with Thumbnails