Thursday, 5 February 2015

Casa Italia - Southampton

                              Some peoples idea of heaven.......all you can eat Italian buffet!

After visiting Casa Brasil previously and falling for its charms, we were intrigued when Dave decided to take us to Southampton to try the Italian version of the chain. Many of the group did not even know that they did Italian all you can eat buffet as well as Brazilian, and it was to be received fairly well!

We all opted for the all you can eat option, with the use of a card to indicate when we wanted more and when we have had enough. The red side indicates no more, the green continue! There was a pizza cooking on the pizza oven and meats cooking away for us to the colourful buffet bar full of carbonara, salads, gnocchi and olives to name but a few of the dishes! The dishes which went down most with the gang was the gammon, pork, sausages, meatballs, gnocchi and the famous Casa pineapple with cinnamon! The fact we were there doing a quiet midweek evening meant that perhaps there was not as much meat selection as we would have preferred, some of the gang noted that they would like to see if things were different on a busy night.

The service was friendly but Pete did feel that as there was only us and another table in use, the staff were a bit eager to get us fed and out so they could go home. Having said this, they were helpful enough to whip us up a fresh pizza when they had run out so that we could have some more. The decor was fresh and to the theme of Italian culture, using old Ferrari cars as a source of conversation and decoration on the walls. The whole restaurant was clean and vibrant, the toilets being very clean also.

If anyone has room for dessert, be aware that they are on the pricey side and not really very "Italian" in nature. Three of the group opted for the chocolate brownie, which was tasty but nothing amazing. Gemma had hoped to have tried the "Dessert pizza" which was advertised on the website and the menu in the venue, but was told they were not available. The manager tried to tell us on departing that it was because chef had no bananas, which Gemma does not even like anyway!! We did feel this was perhaps an excuse to make up for the fact perhaps they just wanted to shut up shop for the evening, it did not feel too genuine to be honest!!

Despite this little set back and the small selection of meats on offer, the group did have an enjoyable evening and would love to go back, though perhaps on a day when dessert pizza is an option and there are more meats to try!

Marks out of 10............................................. 7.5 (Dave Graham)

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Ranchos Steak house Fareham

      A tasty meal in a popular setting

This month was Gemma's choice in celebration for her 30th birthday! We dined this month at Ranchos, a chain we have been to before but this time we tried out the newer branch in Fareham.

The atmosphere was lively and busy for the popular Wednesday deal of unlimited ribs. We were seated in a cosy corner where we could admire the bar and the cosy decor which fit the venue nicely. This month we are taking the ladies view on things (the men have been a little slack with their review this time!)

Clair started with the nachos which she was a little picky about and ordered them without guacamole or salsa, something which the staff were happy to entertain! Thetvwere very crunchy and what you would expect from nachos! Gemma hadctge chicken pasties which were delicious.

For mains, Clair had a  burger which was verybmeaty and delicious and definitely worth a try, whilst Gemna and Dave both opted for the unlimited ribs deal. Gemma felt they were beautifully cooked as the meat just fell off the bone! So filling too that they only managed one round!!

For dessert, Clair tried one of her favourite desserts, a cheesecake which was tasty but nithingbiutvof this world. Gemma opted to be a little different and had the sticky toffee pudding which soon disappeared!!

All in all, the meal itself was pleasant and although busy and noisy, the experience was pleasant enough to make us feel that perhaps we could return again at some point

Marks out of 10.............................................7 (Gemma Wickens)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Jags @ 119 - Southsea, Portsmouth

                      An American Diner with defeat on its menu for one of our Grubgang team!!

Got a big appetite? Fancy a bit of a challenge? Well, as the Grubgang turned up at this months venue of Jags @119 in Elm Grove, Southsea, Dave was intrigued by the sign outside challenging people to try their massive meal challenge for the price tag of £25. The prize? A T-shirt and a free meal! Never one to turn down the chance of a free meal, Dave opted to give it a go!! More on that later.........

The rest of the group decided against the HUGE challenge, and chose to have starters and mains! Clair and Pete both tried the potato skins. Clair tried the cheese and chive deep filled skins, which were creamy and delicious but a little sickly towards the end, whereas Pete tried the pulled pork ones which he found surprisingly nice and not in the least bit greasy! Gemma had the "Meaty Ribs" which she found disappointing and falsely advertised as they were mostly grease, gristle and bone.

For mains, Clair had the southern fried chicken and sweet potato fries. The chicken was cooked well and was moist, but not as tasty as she expected as most southern fried chicken pieces are full of flavour! The sweet potato fries were tasty however, a point echoed by Gemma who found them tasty, if no different from what she is used to having in other restaurants. She had the fries on the side of her Hotdog special, a mixture of pork and beef sausage with pulled pork and cheese served in a sour dough bun. She thought this was amazing!! The flavours complimented themselves well and it was refreshing having a hotdog in a bun which was not toasted and stale.

Peter opted for the 12oz southern fried chicken burger which he thought was amazing and huge! He too had a sour dough roll with his meal which went down very well! And so to the man of the hour........Dave trying the challenge! The challenge included a 12oz burger, full rack of ribs,onion rings, garlic bread, coleslaw and 2 portions of fries. He had 45 mins to eat the whole lot to get the prize, but he wasn't quite able to make it! There was just too much food! The burger was homemade and tasty, the ribs were meaty but the whole thing was a little too greasy to handle towards the end! Obviously, Dave did not have a starter or dessert because of the size of his meal!!

Gemma and Pete did opt for a taste of the desserts........Gemma tried the New York Cheesecake with a scoop of strawberry ice cream. This was nice, but nothing overwhelming. Simple crunchy base with a creamy topping. Pete had the apple pie and ice cream, opting for the hot pie so the ice cream could melt on the top. This went down very well!

The restaurant itself has lovely decor, with sketches of Hollywood greats on the walls. The seating did get a little uncomfortable after a while, as both ladies found. Although clean and tidy in the restaurant, Clair did feel the toilets had a funny smell which made her feel not so great about visiting them! Dave mentioned that the gents toilets were not as offensive as he expected them to be, so mixed thoughts here. The service was friendly, if a little slow despite there being hardly anyone in the restaurant it being a weekday.

Marks out of ten ........................................................ 6 (Peter Hall)