Restaurant Reviews

Roulas Ribs - Rhodes GreeceWell I’m back from my sunny holiday in Greece reaching well into 40 degrees. Not the greatest of temperatures when you have 2 ginger kids but they loved it. The island of Rhodes where my wife lived for about 3 years gets frequently visited by our family due to its blue waters and sandy beaches. But not only that, they also have Roulas.

Now anyone who has been to Rhodes knows that Roulas is the restaurant of restaurants situated in the laid back town of Lardos. It is family run and has been for over 25 years and if you ask anyone in the area about where to eat, they all say Roulas. I have been there myself 20+ times and tried many of their dishes. But one seemed to have escaped me, but not this time. BBQ chilli ribs by the rack or half rack. Didn’t seem like a typical Greek dish, as most of the menus over in Greece are Kleftiko or moussaka for example. But I thought I’d give it a try purely as it had the word chilli in (sad hey). But come on crack out the ribs and lets see what they have to offer.

They come out on a large silver platter with chips and salad. A golden coating drizzled over the ribs with a sweet yet peppery aroma. Pretty thick and sticky sauce as I dip my finger in timidly. Immediately I get a sweetness and simply amazing bbq taste. Napkin on! This is going to get messy.

The first time I had the ribs I had already had a huge dinner so I ordered the half rack as I was still quite full. But the ribs have this weird tendency to make your feel hungrier the more you eat. I ate the half rack wanting more. So the following 3 nights (that’s 4 in total and I was only there for a week) I had the full rack. The heat was a touch over mild but built as you went through the rack. Tingling more and more with a more than perfect balance of heat and flavour. I found my self several times picking up a rib laden with meat and sauce, taking a bit only to find that the meat which had been slowly double cooked had fallen off the bone it was cooked that great.

This is without a shadow of a doubt the best rib I have had to date. After speaking with the head chef about the recipe, his words were, ‘I will give you any recipe on the menu, but not this one, and I shall take it with me when I go’. You can imagine I was not impressed grrrrrrrrr I want to know his secret. In all honesty he was right to keep it to himself. I mean if you knew the winning lottery numbers for the next draw you wouldn’t pass them onto anyone right?

Sweet bbq flavour with a kick to please any palate. But don’t take my word for it, http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk l and see for yourself. Roulas is THE place to eat and if you go there and not try the ribs then you need to seek help. They are amazing!!!!!

Flavour
(11/10)
Value
(10/10)

I believe the full rack was 13.70euro so about £11-12.

Until next time guys, if it burns going in, it will burn coming out.

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A long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away..i organised and event known as “The Chilli Boys Outing” whereby a bunch of us likeminded chilliheads (lets call them padawans!) decided to get together and attempt a chilli themed challenge somewhere in the UK.

Red Dog Saloon

Red Dog Saloon

After much deliberation, numerous polls and a little discussion, we decided to hit the “Red Dog Saloon” in hoxton square, London. An “American BBQ restaurant” famous for their eating challenges, however we were only interested in their “Hot wing challenge” and a place on the “wall of fame” where *hopefully* our names would be forever engraved…oh how foolish we were!

Ingredients: 10 idiots, 60 wings o’ doom, 10 minutes and lots of gloves.

So there we sat, all chatting with each other, some of us probably trying to hide the nerves as we knew what awaited us, 24 of us squeezed into an area that blatantly only sat 20. A few of us (myself included) jumping the gun and getting our gloves on ready, people started to get a little edgy as we saw a few waitresses coming out of the kitchen with their hands full of wings..then the smell hit us…and hit us hard…

SO there you have it, 10 attempted..7 failed..3 victorious people later we left the restaurant, a little dejected at failure, the guys had this to say:

TheLurch: The naga viper wings challenge was something I was looking forward to having done one chilli challenge already that week, so I was confident.

But when they brought the wings out I was hit by a smell that took my breath away, to be honest it wasn’t a nice smell! The taste went with the smell, not the nicest chilli sauce I’ve ever eaten even with extract in. I was on wing number 6 when I ran out of time, 1 more minute and I would have nailed it!

Binbagz: Being honest, these wings do not taste nice, and certainly do not play well with others. As the taste of the viper is hugley over whelmed by the extract used. to the point where, 12 hours after I still had the bitter metallic taste in my mouth that the sauce offers. After the second bite of the first wing, my face literally felt like it was on fire, and this sensation kept on buliding right until the last mouthful.Even though the wings tasted horrible, I would certainly visit the place again. but may skip on the wings next time.

House: After the first bite, my mouth was on fire and strategy went out the window – I knew I would just have to go for it and hope for the best. I finished the first 4 wings in around a minute, but then hit a wall. I felt nauseous and knew that a single burp or hiccup could be disastrous. After a brief pause, I continued and managed to finish in around 2 minutes. The 5 minutes which followed were filled with pain ñ My whole mouth felt like it was on fire and I remember thinking that a pint of boiling water might have been a more pleasant challenge.

Dave: Unfortunately I didnít get to try any food other than the Hot Wings Challenge and some fries. However from what I saw the burgers and ribs looked really nice, but as we all know the wings tasted foul (no pun intended) ñ I would have hoped a restaurant couldíve added some other stuff to at least give them some flavour! The Hot Wings Challenge was a bitter disappointment too. Not for me, as I didnít pass but for the guys who did. The should have been a lot more ra-ra about it, if you get what I mean ñ we had 10 people doing the challenge after all. Itís pathetic really that they (Red Dag Saloon) promote it, yet did even have a bloody Polaroid to add winnerís images to the wall. Whatís the point in having a challenge for people if thereís no kudos on offer from the staff / restaurant if you do it.

Danny: Ok so as i work in the food service industry my 1st thought would be that they can’t be to hot as surely your paying for them they have to eat-able. However this theory was smashed. We could smell the hot sauce from across the restaurant. Seriously they were so hot, by the 2nd wing i thought i was going to die, i was on the tail end of a cold, running nose, chilly sweats and hiccups didn’t help. The sauce was so hot i couldn’t taste the other food i ate that day but it did look good and it felt nice in my mouth. I think i would go back again.

Tone: I felt the restaurant was really well laid out and ready for large groups (like ourselves). The food SMELT Really nice but wasn’t willing to try any after the challenge. I really want to go back to try out more of the menu, and possibly the challenge again. Possibly. Service was okay. Nothing special. Drinks menu needed more to it but felt what they offered was a bit pricey.

Kristian: Well what a day it turned out to be! met loads of chilli heads and endured the worst chilli inflicted pain of my life! Im no stranger to extreme heat sauces but these wings proved too hot to handle! As they came out of the kitchen and placed under our nose’s the deep pungent smell of chilli extract was so strong, then we realised why are we doing this?? With the first bite the heat was instant, I had never expericened anything like this before, 2 wings down I stopped for a breather what a bad idea! The 3rd wing would prove to be my fall!! If you are stupid enough to take on this challenge don’t do it!

So there you have it, honest words from the mouth’s of several chilli heads who attended that day, as for me? In all honesty i thought the wings were grim, too much extract and not enough other flavours to make the challenge worth attempting more than once, plus they were straight out of the fryer too, my tongue and roof of my mouth were burnt and i couldn’t taste properly for about three days after. The challenge is worth it for only the most EXTREME of chilli heads, of which we were blessed with three!!

Well done guys, a cracking day was had by all and it was nice to meet so many like minded people in one place!

Until next time my chilli padawans, may the sauce be with you, always!!

 

Wing Challenge:

Flavour
(2/10)
Heat
(11/10)
Packaging
(3/10)
Value
(5/10)
Overall
(5/10)

 

Restaurant:

Flavour
(6/10)
Heat
(6/10)
Packaging
(6/10)
Value
(5/10)
Overall
(6/10)

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A year ago I never thought I would be sat here typing out a review having completed an extreme food challenge but here I am…. and I survived victorious.

This particular Challenge is based in Saltdean, a suburb, just to the east of Brighton. In the past Saltdean has only really been famous for one thing, it’s outdoor Lido which has seen significant restoration in recent years.

It’s a place I have always driven past, and have never had cause to actually visit, I’m glad to say that this has now changed. There is now another reason for visiting Saltdean and placing it firmly on the map.

Thelurch Attempts The Saltdean Sizzler Pizza Challenge

Thelurch Attempts The Saltdean Sizzler Pizza Challenge

The place I am talking about is called Paul’s Pizza, which is the home of a wealth of great handmade pizzas including “The Saltdean Sizzler” pizza challenge.

Before I get on to that, I must just talk a little about Paul and his business.

Paul Brayshaw is the man behind the dough, the master of the ovens. Since opening the restaurant and takeaway in November 2011, it has gone from strength to strength producing some of the best pizzas I have ever tasted; forget the nationwide pizza delivery companies who mass produce their pizza’s. These pizzas are completely different and frankly like nothing else I have ever tried.

Paul trained as a baker and pastry chef in North Yorkshire for a number of years, learning the trade, which was to stand him in good stead for his new business. He has spent time researching the pizza business in New York, and has dealt with some internationally renowned pizza experts, to enable him to create 10 very different pizzas, based on the traditional but with special extras.

He and his wife are local people, he grew up in Saltdean, so who better to know whether this business would work, I am very impressed with anyone who pursues a dream and launches a business, especially as so many shops and restaurants are closing their doors each day for the last time due to the recession, but here is a success story, reversing the trend.

But what makes this venture any different to other restaurants that are failing? Pauls Pizza is fresh, inviting and serving a community. The pizzas are different too, mainly because Paul hand makes the dough himself, it comprises only 4 ingredients, so you can forget all the chemicals that usually go into dough, Paul just doesn’t need to use them. The dough is slow fermented over a few days, which gives it a wonderful light and bubbly texture.

Also handmade is the mozzarella, which Paul uses, so you can see that quality of ingredients are important here. The pepperoni is Sussex made, as is the bacon and the Cheddar. Food providence is important to Paul, knowing where your produce comes from and trying wherever possible to source them locally.

As I’ve said, he has a range of 10 pizzas to choose from which should cater for any taste. Pricing is very competitive, ranging from £9.50 – £13.99 for a large, and especially as you are getting quality ingredients.

So, on to my visit, I had heard about Pauls Pizza through Darth Naga and heard that he did an extremely hot pizza, as I only live 30 minutes’ drive away, I had to try it.

A couple of weeks ago armed with yoghurt and milk, I visited Paul to try out the challenge. Paul is a very welcoming host, it was made very clear to me early on that he is clearly part of the community as everyone who passed seem to wave, and people would pop in for their usual takeaway.

I was first offered some taster slices of other pizzas from the menus, which were excellent, and then it was on to the Sizzler!

I took my place, set up my camera and waited nervously, although not a long wait as pizzas cook very quickly in a 1000 degree oven! I peered over my shoulder at the “Wall of Flame” with 4 photos on it. Nearly 700 people have attempted it and failed, I suddenly didn’t fancy my chances! The Challenge is simple, no time limit, and no restrictions, just finish it.

And there it was in front of me, looking so innocent, the smell was amazing. The pizza has Paul’s fresh tomato sauce, homemade mozzarella cheese, grand padano cheese, Sussex made pepperoni and a unique blend of chilli sauce!  Oh and a chopped up ChilliPepperPete Naga on top for good measure!

Paul sets his camera up and we are off, needless to say the heat is instant, I would imagine like licking the surface of the sun!

As you will see from the video, I did have milk on hand and only had some from slice two onwards, no one has ever completed it without milk, although that nearly became my downfall as I drank too much, about ½ a gallon during the challenge!

Being this was my first extreme food challenge, I had nothing to compare it to, but it hurt, oh boy did it hurt, you have to sign the usual “I am an idiot” disclaimer to declare you are fit enough to take part.

So I did it, my picture now is number 5 on the wall, and I take pride in the fastest time of 25 minutes.

So if you find yourself in Brighton or passing along the coast road and need a chilli fix or a very tasty lunch/dinner then pay Paul a visit. Opening hours are on the website, and they are closed on Mondays.

Thanks must go to Paul for his hospitality.

You can contact him via his website www.paulspizza.co.uk or email info@paulspizza.co.uk  Twitter : @PaulsPizzaUK or Facebook :PaulsPizza

Thanks must also go to Darth Naga for his video editing skills

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{ 6 comments }

wahaca

wahaca

Wahaca is a smallish restaurant chain at the moment 6 sites around London plus a street kitchen, it was started by Thomasina Miers and her Husband, I hope you will all remember Thomasina as she won the BBC cookery competition Masterchef in 2005 (Which I think was the only time I watched a complete series).

We decided to start do early as we has two children with us, who had been on the go all day, so just after 6 we arrived, the place was not full but was still busy, after a few moment we where show to our table and our waitress explained the options and then while we decided she brought us some nibbles.

Yummie

Yummie

We has the Fresh Tomato salsa, Guacamole, which my wife raved about, she is a but of an expert on eating Guacamole if left unwatched, and Frijoles which is a dip made with twice cooked black beans that has to be tried to be believed, it is served with a topping of finely grated cheese, all of these came with tortilla chips.

On the table we has a couple of Chilli Sauces which we have now got in our schedule for review, so more about them later.

We decided we would try all the street foods, it recommend we order 2-3 dishes each, so we has the lot:-

Tacos – Soft corn tortilla with:-

  • Port Pibil – Slow cooked pork with a Yucatecan marinade
  • Chicken Mole – Chicken in a Poblano Mole Sauce
  • Grilled  British Steak – Steak with a Chipltle Salsa
  • Winter Veg –  Veg with Mushrooms, Savoy Cabbage and Borlotti beans with a Pasilla Salsa

Tostadas – Crips tortilla with:-

  • MSC Herring – Smoke Herrings with Tomato Salsa and Lime Juice
  • Chicken Guajillo – Chicken , Lettuce, Guacamolewith Smokey Guajilli Oil
  • Black Bean – Refried beans, with Avacado Salsa, Cheese and Tomato Salsa

Taquitos- Corn tortillas wrapped around:-

  • Marinated Chicken – Lettuce, Cheese and Tomato Salsa
  • Savoy and Pasilla – Savoy Cabbage, Mushrooms, Pasilla Salsa with Lettuce, Feta and Chipotle Salsa.

Quesadillas – Large toasted tortillas folded over a filling of:-

  • Black Beans & Cheese
  • Chorizo & Potato
  • Chipotle Chicken
  • Huitlacoche – Mushrooms, corn, and melted cheese

There is no special children’s menu, but our waitress arranged some dishes to come without any spicy accompaniments, but most of the food was not overly spicy and while our five year old (Mary) did not eat a lot she liked the tortilla chips and Antony (11) loved it all

Churros Y Chocolate

Taste my Churros Y Chocolate at your own risk!

And then there was the puddings, but after so much we almost passed on this, but the “Churros Y Chocolate” was so tempting we order 3, two with Chocolate and one with Caramel sauce. As you can see Antony was very taken with these.

With drinks for 4 adults and 2 children the bill came to about £150, but we did not so short measures on anything and the street food ranged from £3.50 to £4.50 per plate.

This restaurant is not for the intimate romantic meal the place is noisy with little in the way of soft furnishing to deaden the sounds, if you closed you eyes you could be in a noisy street market. I understand that each of the other in the chain has it own individual ambience.

On the way out (and in) there was a large bowl full of what looked like  match books, but turned out to be promotional packs of seedsticks make by a company called Sow Easy , each contains 5 seedsticks with Serrano chilli seeds ready to plant and grown your own Mexican experience.

Over the weekend we visited a number of restaurants, some that included a service charge in the bill, but provided very little service, wahaca was not one of these we had a great time and we would like to thank Ed Rebelo and all the staff at wahaca for a great meal, we will be back to try more very soon.

Food & Drink
(9/10)
Service
(8/10)
Ambience
(7/10)
Value
(8/10)
Overall
(8/10)

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