Bills Dinner Review St Albans

Last week we were very lucky to visit the newly refurbished Bills in St Albans. St. Albans is one of three specially selected Bill’s restaurants to trial a new restaurant concept alongside Covent Garden and Westfield in London.

Now what is this new concept we hear you ask, well… they have completely changed the interior of the restaurant, the St Albans one had a Morrocan French feel to it and was very chic!

There are super comfy sofas to chill and have a coffee or alcoholic beverage area. There is also an open bar which we absolutely loved. You can sit on bar stools and enjoy a drink whilst you wait for a table. There is also the option the eat at the bar or just pop in for a drink.

We actually commented to the manager that it was very like the Ivy and he then informed us that the Ivy is a sister restaurant to Bills, so that explained that one! It was funny because all through dinner we were commenting on how much like the Ivy it was.

They have also completely changed the menu and vastly improved the quality of the ingredients and overall dishes and we sure did manage to sample a number of them.

We started by ordering a drink, Annie was designated driver so opted for the tropical juice which was so delicious, I would definitely get it again especially at breakfast!

Rachel decided to have a cocktail because the cocktail menu had so much choice, she ended up choosing the English country Garden and absolutely loved it! It would have been the perfect drink to enjoy on a warm summers evening (just like the name suggests).

We didn’t know what to opt for for our starter so asked our extremely friendly and helpful waiter Mario to give us some suggestions. In the end we actually went with all 3 of his suggestions and shared them. We had the crab & avocado toast, beetroot, goats cheese arancini and the warm cheese dip with toasted focaccia.

The crab & avocado toast with chilli and spicy mayo was very light and a good starter for the summer, it was toasted sourdough topped with a large lettuce leaf which was then topped with crab and smashed avo.

The arancini was simply amazing, the starter comes with 4 balls (so we had 2 each) and the balls sat in the most delicious purple basil and pine nut pesto sauce and there was a light sprinkling of Parmesan. The mixture of flavours were perfect. The sauce was so delicious that we even dipped our focaccia in it! However we tried not to do that too much as we needed to save our bread to dip into the cheesiest cheese fondu ever, it was a cheese lovers dream and we were in cheese heaven!

For main it was SO hard to decide what to choose and we both wanted everything on the menu, in the end we picked 2 dishes and shared. We opted for the Bills’s steak and rarebit pie and the ancient grain bowl which we added chicken to. Mario our waiter told us that the ancient grain bowl is his favourite and he always recommends it to his guests. The manager recommended the pie to us and oh my are we glad he did!

The pie was in a shortcrust pastry and was topped with cheese. It came with a gravy jug and was served with root veg mash and greens. We are so glad we shared it because it was MASSIVE, this dish is definitely excellent value for money. The steak was tender and well cooked, the pastry was perfect and the cheese topping finished the dish of nicely, and not to mention the gravy we poured on top too (que a gravy boomerang)!

For the ancient grain bowl we opted for the extra chicken to be added and we asked for the purple basil and coconut yoghurt to be on the side (we had never had coconut yoghurt before and didn’t know what to expect) – we shouldn’t have worried about the yoghurt though as it was delicious. This dish was packed full of flavours and we would most certainly have this again, you can have it on its own or add chicken or halloumi to it, maybe we will have halloumi next time!

Next time we return we will definitely try the vegan Wellington as the manager recommended it to us.

For dessert again we shared, it’s very very good that we both like very similar foods (minus Rachel not being the biggest fan of nuts, but we make it work!) so it makes sharing food easy and means neither gets food envy and we get to try more dishes!

Both the manager and our waiter suggested we had the sticky toffee pudding so of course we just HAD to go for it! It was the most delicious sticky toffee pudding ever, it melted in your mouth and the sauce was perfect. It was served with the creamiest ice cream too. We honestly would return to Bills purely to have the sticky toffee pudding!

We also chose the hot chocolate brownie which is gluten free. We love that Bills has so many options for all dietary requirements and means someone who follows a gluten free diet can still enjoy a very very tasty dessert as the brownie was epic.

Bills actually have an entire allergies menu making sure they are as inclusive as they can be. There is nothing worse than turning up to a restaurant and the only think you can eat on the menu is a salad or steamed veg.

We had to make sure we did a toilet review whilst we were there because is it really a Two Brits review if we don’t? We absolutely loved the way the stair case had been decorated it was really beautiful. Toilets were clean and definitely up to scratch PHEW!

We has the most incredible evening at Bills and we will definitely be returning soon! The food was delicious and the service was impeccable, nothing could have improved our experience we give it a solid 10/10.

The Great Northern Pub Review

We live in Hertfordshire and very close to St Albans. We love St Albans as it’s such a pretty City and also boasts many places to eat not to mention some good bars for a night out too. There are also some lovely walks around St Albans and you can also take a visit to the famous cathedral. St Albans is easy for us to get to by train but also to drive too as well as there is plenty of parking.

We recently visited The Great Northern pub which is located on London road. We walked from St Albans Abbey train station as it was only a 20 minute walk.

The Great Northern pub is an independent restaurant and pub, serving locally sourced food. The menu changes frequently which is inspired by local seasonal produce.

We arrived to a very busy pub full of atmosphere and people enjoying a Friday evening drink.

We were taken to our table which was in the restaurant area. The restaurant area was a small room adjacent to the pub with about 6 tables in it.

We sat down and were given the set menu, 2 courses for £15 and 3 courses for £18. The menu was pretty small, which we liked as we often struggle to decide what to eat. This time however we picked our choices very quickly.

The struggle lay with the wine list instead which was big and had lots to choose from. We both love red wine so red wine was our firm choice but we were torn between a Montepulciano And a Malbec.

We asked our waiter to advise the wine and he was very helpful! We went with the Italian from montepulciano as we had never had it before. The bottle of wine was £27 but they have an entire range of wines all varying in prices. The cheapest bottle of red was £17.20 whilst the most expensive bottle was £30.00.

We were worried that we wouldn’t like the wine we ended up choosing but we honestly couldn’t have made a better decision, it was absolutely incredible and we would definitely recommend it for when you visit.

For starter Rachel ordered the confit pork with apple and fennel which looked and tasted divine. We would definitely recommend this as a starter if you are a meat eater.

Annie chose the vegetarian option for her starter which was a goats cheese salad with radicchio and pickled cabbage. If you aren’t a lover of goats cheese then this wouldn’t be the starter for you but Annie absolutely loved it.

For main Rach had GN homemade cheese burger with secret sauce (which tasted like burger sauce). This was served with a red cabbage slaw that was incredibly moorish and Rach couldn’t stop talking about it. The burger also came with hand cut chips and the portion size was perfect. You could also add bacon for an extra £1.00 so Rachel did.

Annie went for the confit chicken which was served with aubergine, sweet corn and mash potato. If we are completely honest the dish would have been even better if it was severed with some greens, it just felt like something was missing off the plate. The mash potato was smooth and creamy just the way we like it and the sweet corn was like a purée that tasted divine.

For dessert we both enjoyed the treacle tart which was served with ginger ice cream. The ginger ice cream was absolutely heavenly and completely made the dessert, we couldn’t stop talking about it!

The bar area quietened down at about 9:30pm which we were surprised at seeing as it has been so busy just a couple of hours earlier but it still had a atmosphere.

The Great Northern Pub is located next to the Odyssey cinema, making the perfect date night.

We would highly recommend visiting The Great Northern Pub we had the most perfect evening.

Brunch Review Sopwell House

Your country home from home- Sopwell House

sopwell-1

One Saturday we ventured out to the Hertfordshire countryside (which actually isn’t that far away from us) to enjoy a delicious breakfast at Sopwell House. Sopwell House is a luxury hotel that is set amongst 12 acres of countryside. They have over 100 rooms, two restaurants, bars and a health and wellbeing centre.

We were not able to book breakfast we were just told to turn up before ten o’clock as that is when it is their busiest time. We arrived a little before 9:30AM and were taken to the breakfast restaurant. We were able to pick the table of our choice and as soon as we were seated the impeccable table service began.

The service at Sopwell House was faultless. The waiters and waitresses were very efficient and incredibly polite they really did make our visit even more enjoyable. We were served tea and coffees and were told to help ourselves to the breakfast that was on display in front of us.

There was so much choice including; Yoghurt, berry compote, selection of cereals, dried fruit and seeds, assortment of pastries, smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers, full English breakfast, freshly baked bread to toast, jams and spreads and also an array of hams and cheeses.

As you can imagine we didn’t know where to start and we basically worked our way through the entire selection, we were one of the lasts ones in the restaurant when it reached 11oclock.

We thought the breakfast was charged fairly at £17.50 per person. The only thing we were slightly confused about was the fact you were allowed to dine in your robes but then again it is a spa hotel and they do want you to feel like you are home from home so we will let them off.

We would love to return to Sopwell House for a Spa weekend as we were blown away by the quality of the breakfast. we can only imagine how relaxed and refreshed we would feel after an entire weekend of pure relaxation.

Hitchen Lavender Farm

Now who would’ve thought visiting a field full of lavender could be such fun!?

We came across this farm by chance after seeing some friends visiting we googled lavender farm and found the beautiful farm in Hitchen and just had to go!

Hitchen is about an hours drive from us but it was well worth the trip, you arrive at this farm pretty much in the middle of no where to a car park heaving with cars. We overheard the carpark attendant telling a customer that when he took the job he didn’t ever think it would be this busy. I think this concept has really taken off.

You pay 4 pound fifty and get give a large brown paper bag, pick up (borrow) some scissors and the huge field is yours. You can spend as long as you want and fill your bag with lavender that you have cut yourself. It was soon therapeutic and lovely to walk through the delicious smelling lavender and of course take many instagram worthy pictures!

You can even get married here in a marquee looking out over the fields – imagine the photos!

There was also a cafe, however as it was such a sunny day the cafe was heaving. Instead we headed to the local village and went to the pub.

We cannot wait to return next year (the farm is now closed, season is over!), and I think I might have to treat my mum to a visit, she would love it!

Enjoy the pictures!