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Fox on the Hill Wetherspoons (Review)

Number 37 on my List Of Things To Do Before I’m 30 is to eat in a restaurant on my own. It sounds like a bit of a weird thing, but when I was younger I always used to think that people who did that were a bit of a loner. Now, my opinion’s changed and I don’t see the problem with it. I think it takes quite a bit of courage to eat out, visit the cinema, etc on your own since there will always be judgemental people, like I used to be, thinking that you have no friends if you sit on your own.

I had the opportunity to go to my local Wetherspoons, the Fox on the Hill, to do a mystery dine, and I thought I’d do it this afternoon to take a bit of a break from work. I went on my own since my friends were all out at uni and thought it would be a good stepping stone to the world of eating alone, since I feel a pub is a slightly less intimidating place to eat on your own as people come and go, and generally do their own thing. I’d been to this pub a few times before in the past, with my mum, and my friends, and each time I’ve received mixed service and mixed food standards. I never really have that high expectations of Wetherspoons since I knew someone who worked there who said that they basically microwaved everything, but I’m not too sure how true that is. But nonetheless, it is pretty cheap and they do a pretty wide range of food!

The pub wasn’t that busy considering it was lunchtime, and I found a spot in one of their booths and made myself comfortable. Since it was Friday, I decided to go for their Fish Friday deal which cost £5.09 for fish and chips and a soft drink. I also debated over onion rings or garlic bread, and opted for the garlic bread at £2.19 since I’d never tried the Wetherspoons ones before. The guy who served me at the bar was a chirpy guy, who was a lot friendlier than any of the other people that have ever served me at that Wetherspoons! Within about 10 minutes, my food was served (which was pretty speedy, so it does make me think whether they do microwave all their food).

I wasn’t expecting too much from my fish and chips as sometimes you get a meager bit of fish covered in really greasy batter. However, this piece of fish exceeded my expectations and was pretty big! I find that the best part of fish and chips is the batter. I’d be pretty happy if all they had was batter on the menu! I tend to scoop out the fish and eat it first, before eating the batter (weird I know…) and this way I saw that there was a pretty decent amount of flaky fish inside which was good! The batter was lovely and crisp too and the menu said that the fish was “freshly battered”. I chose peas over mushy peas and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked them since a lot of the time peas can be overcooked and take that lovely shade of slime green (a bit like my old primary school lunches…). But these peas were bright green and tasty. The chips were…well chips. I got a standard amount and they filled me up quite well.

Fish and chips

I also got two slices of garlic bread which were a bit disappointing. Definitely the worst part of the meal. At first I was quite optimistic since the slices were rather large, but the bread was pretty hard in places, it was quite chewy, and I could barely taste the garlic-ness of the garlic bread, so I left most of it.

Garlic bread

I had also ordered a carrot cake for dessert and went up to the bar to collect it. This time, a lady served me, who seemed in quite a bad mood, and gave me the typical grumpy Wetherspoons service that I was expecting! It cost £1.99, or £2.49 with a large filter coffee, tea, or other small coffee. The size of the cake was pretty average and it tasted quite nice and moist. I wasn’t a big fan of the nuts on the top, but that’s just personal preference.

Carrot cake

Previous times that I’ve visited this pub, I’ve had the original gourmet 6oz beef burger that has bacon and Stilton, Shropshire blue and spring onion sauce, chips, six onion rings, and a soft drink for £5.89. I’d say that it is pretty tasty, although the standard has varied each time I’ve had it. One time, my onion rings were so burnt that they were as crunchy as crisps. They did do me another batch though, which was appreciated. I’ve also had the BBQ pulled pork sandwich with chips, onion rings, and a soft drink, also for £5.89. It sounds rather appetising, although when it did come I was a bit disappointed as the burger itself looked pretty pathetic and anorexic. It was literally bits of pork slopped inside a bun. The pork did taste quite nice though, but the lack of filling in general let it down. I’m also not a big fan of the wooden boards that they serve the gourmet burgers on. They may look all decorative and give a rustic and more upmarket feel, but it’s really hard to keep everything on it and it ends up being quite messy!

Gourmet beef burger

On the whole, Wetherspoons is pretty cheap with a good range of food, but the food standards and service do vary. It’s one of those pubs that I would return to, but wouldn’t be my first choice of places to visit if I was to eat out. As for eating in a restaurant on my own…doing it at Wetherspoons was fine as everyone tends to keep to themselves, but I can’t see myself having the courage to dine alone in a more upmarket restaurant just yet!

Fox on the Hill on Urbanspoon

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100 Happy Days – Day 14

Whenever I wander around London I always end up discovering new things that I never realised were there before, especially street art. A lot of people would say that it just the same as graffiti which is just tags and names, but I think that street art is totally different and can look really intricate and detailed, and really adds a bit of personality to the area. When I worked in Shoreditch last summer, there was a lot of really cool stuff there and I’d love to go for a proper wander around to discover even more. The rose below is near where I live and I must have walked past it so many times before I even realised it was there! I like the variation in street art with some being really big and colourful, and others, like this piece, which are more subtle and can transform an otherwise plain wall, into a piece of art. I’ve taken a lot of photos of stuff I’ve seen when just wandering around, so I’ll have to dig them out and I’ll make a proper blog post on it another day!

Rose street art

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Wuli Wuli (Review)

So last night we decided to go out for a house meal and went to Wuli Wuli, which is a Sichuan style Chinese restaurant. We had originally planned to go to a Greek restaurant that we’d never been too, and never thought of booking ahead since every time we pass, it is virtually empty. Little did we know, Saturday night in Camberwell turns into a thriving community and everyone ventures out from hiding and into the surrounding restaurants and pubs! When we arrived and said that we hadn’t booked, we were given a disapproving tut and said that we’d either have to eat fast or come back in over an hour since they were full. Not wanting to rush or wait a stone age, we decided to venture on and seek out another restaurant. We headed out the restaurant in a state of disbelief and couldn’t quite comprehend where all those diners had come from!

After we’d gathered ourselves a little bit, we racked our brains to think of where we could visit. We walked along the main road with most of the restaurants and found that they were all pretty much full to the brim! We then neared the end of the road and saw that Wuli Wuli only had a few diners inside! Was this because they were really rubbish and everyone else in Camberwell knew this? Or was it that it was simply too early for the regulars to start streaming in? After a bit of hesitation, we decided to take our chances and headed in. We were greeted on arrival and asked whether we had booked. “Not again…” we all thought, but thankfully they were able to accommodate us.

The menu was reasonable and I decided to go for the fried aubergine in minced pork for £7.20, since it is a dish that I always love when I’m in Hong Kong, so I wanted to see what the Sichuan style would be like. I also shared a special fried rice for £5. The lady who came to take our order was pretty friendly and was keen to give us recommendations and asked if we wanted dumplings to start.

The food didn’t take that long to arrive and my friends had ordered chicken in black bean sauce, twice cooked pork, and Kung Pao chicken. We were all pleased with the portion sizes and the food was pretty tasty too. I felt mine was a little bit salty, and could have done with some more pork, but overall I was happy with it as there was a good amount of large aubergine. The others seemed pretty content with their meals and the Sichuan style Kung Pao chicken was spicy enough to give my friend’s “top lip a tingle”, although he seemed less happy with the abundance of peanuts in his meal!

During the course of our meal, the restaurant got steadily busier, with many takeaways going out for delivery too. Our total bill came to about £45 which was reasonable for four mains, two egg fried rice, a special fried rice, and three beers. I would return again to Wuli Wuli as it was a pretty standard Chinese, with decent service and reasonable prices. However, there is another Chinese restaurant down the road, Silk Road, which I endeavor to try one day (along with the other hundred restaurants that I still haven’t made it round to yet!). That too seems rather popular as it was full when we walked past, and two diners came into Wuli Wuli asking whether they were in Silk Road and were met with a face of thunder and a stern “no, down the road!” All in all, a lovely house night out, but we definitely learnt our lesson to book ahead, or to just visit on a weekday, if we want to avoid the problem of being turned away!

Wuli Wuli on Urbanspoon