Category Archives: Reviews

What I think about stuff

Loch Fyne, a fine seafood restaurant

Fish and chips, fish fingers or fish cakes are mostly the only fish-based dishes known to your average English person. You could include tinned tuna or salmon, maybe smoked mackerel and prawns as well. But no, English people are not great “fish-people”. Me however, coming from the south of Spain (where my mum goes almost everyday to the fish market to buy real, fresh fish), am used to eating all kinds of different types of fish and seafood very often – or at least, I was!

I’ve been a few times to the Loch Fyne Restaurants and I’ve always had a very good experience. Most of those times I’ve been with family and, I don’t know why, I always had the preconception that it is a very expensive restaurant. But it is not. They always have special offers, set menus, vouchers, etc, and if not, you can always have just one main dish and go home!

Jon and I have gone to one near home today (we were actually surprised how near home it actually is!) and had the lot: starter, main dish and bottle of wine (we would have gone for pudding as well had we not been sooo full!) We both had Mussels for main dish. I had had mussels for starter before and knew they are delicious, but the size of the starter is not huge, so nothing had prepared me for the surprise that was expecting me when I saw the main dish! It was huge! It was, basically, a pot full of mussels.

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I had already had squid for starter, so I was feeling pretty much full. I have to say it. I must admit it… I couldn’t finish my meal! I was beaten by mussels! I left about ten or twelve, that may not seem like many, but it is… oh yes, especially when you’ve already eaten like two hundred!

The Loch Fyne we went to today was the one in Cobham. I must say that for a busy Sunday lunchtime, and having turned up without a reservation, the service was very good. Definitely somewhere to go to again!

Reading, reading… in English!

I remember when I “got into reading”. I must have been 15 or so when I read Suskind’s Perfume. That book blew me away. It’s not that I didn’t use to read before that, I did, but never so passionately. Since then, my love for books has become greater and greater, and I never go more than a couple of days without reading some book or other.

In the last couple of months I’ve read all kinds of books, from The Pillars of the Earth and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time, to Catcher in the Rye and Ines of my Soul.

It is Isabel Allende’s Ines of my soul that I am reading at the moment. And I am reading it in English! After having read Arturo Perez Reverte’s Capitan Alatriste in English last year, I promised myself that I would never ever again read a Spanish author in English. The translation for Alatriste was aweful. I spent more time translating back to the Spanish than actually paying any attention to what I was reading. So I decided that I would wait until I could buy the books in their original language before doing something like that again. But then… I was in the bookshop… I saw that book… I couldn’t resist myself. And yes, I did it again. I bought a Spanish-language book, in English!

BUT. Big but. This one is actually translated properly. You can actually read fluently without stopping at every sentence thinking to yourself “Oh, that actually makes no sense translated like that from Spanish, the translator should have written….”. Of course, as it happens with every book based in real places with real names, you get lots of references to places and people that you can’t translate, and people without either the geographical or historical knowledge wouldn’t know what the book is talking about (but you can always use your imagination in those cases)

15187523.jpg The first Isabel Allende’s book I ever read was “The House of the Spirits” and I thought it was a magical book, so well written, with so much life on it. Ines of my Soul uses the same writing technique, that very special style of Allende. This is what the book is about (I’ve copied this from her website, which will explain the plot in better words than mine): It is the beginning of the Spanish conquest of the Americans, and when Inés’s shiftless husband disappears to the New World, she uses the opportunity to search for him as an excuse to flee her stifling homeland and seek adventure. After a treacherous journey to Peru, she learns of his death in battle. She meets and begins a passionate love affair with a man who seeks only honor and glory: Pedro Valdivia, war hero and field marshal to the famed Francisco Pizarro. Together, Inés and Valdivia will build the new city of Santiago and wage a ruthless war against the indigenous Chileans. The horrific struggle will change them forever, pulling each toward their separate destinies.

I can’t wait to keep on reading a bit more! I’m off to bed, to read… Good night!

Rajput – Indian restaurant

Rajput

Byfleet has two local indian restaurants: The Red Rose and Rajput.

We’ve only been once to the Red Rose, though. People keep talking about it, how good it is, how good the food is, etc. So we went about a year ago, but we weren’t that impressed. The food was okay – just okay – but the service wasn’t that amazing either!

So we decided to stick with our “really” local indian (it’s less than 50 metres away): Rajput.

Rajput could be described as an average local restaurant: medium size, quiet atmosphere, friendly staff, etc. But there is something else about it, something that really makes it special. First of all, the food is amazing. It’s one of the best Indians I’ve ever eaten. From King Prawn Dupiaza, to Lamb Bhoona and the very common Chicken and Mushroom Curry, which has nothing “common” about it! Delicious Bombay Aloo and Chana Massala to go with your meal, and don’t forget the rice. The Popadoms are ALWAYS fresh and crisp, and chutneys and sauces that go with them are always lip-licking good!

You come in the restaurant and you are welcomed by very friendly staff. Even in busy days like Saturday nights, they take the time to serve you well and never rush you out. They will shake your hand as you come in, and as you leave. Although sometimes I wonder if that is just special treatment to failthful customers (and we are)!

So, yes, Rajput is one of my favourite restaurants and I do recommend it to everyone.

Check out their website and give them a go! www.rajput-byfleet.co.uk

Panic Room

I had already seen Panic Room when it originally came out, but I watched it again last night on DVD.

And I liked it again, I mean, it was okay. It is not one of the titles I would put under “My 100 favourite films of all time” but it was an enjoyable watch. Especially because of the very good performance of Jodie Foster.

The plot is very basic: Divorced (or separated) middle aged woman and teenage daughter move into this four-storey house which has got a “panic room”: a room where to hide if someone breaks into the house. And guess what. Yes, three guys break in. They are looking for some money (a few million dollars) that are hidden guess where, yes, in the panic room. And the rest you can imagine: The mother and daughter go and hide in the panic room, the thieves try and try to get into the room, the daughter happens to be a diabetic and suffers a fit when she’s all stressed and deshydrated.

Out of the three thieves worth mentioning the perfomance of Forest Whitaker, who is meant to be the good one among the bad ones. Also worth mentioning how ugly Jared Leto looked in the film (I won’t mention his acting, there’s not much to mention about it). Those plaits in his hair were just aweful. C’mon, he was meant to be a rich guy in the film, the grandson of a multimillionaire… You would have thought that the costume/art department would have something better in mind for a such an attractive guy.

The film is directed by David Fincher, who is the director or Se7en. I think Se7en is the type of film that one would never repeat the success of. Fincher makes a very good attempt at trying with Panic room, but I’m not a film critic so I won’t get into technical details.

An interesting bit of trivia is that Maynard James Keenan (singer of Tool and A Perfect Circle) was offered the role of Raoul (one of the baddies) but he turned it down due to other commitments. Shame, it would have been interesting to see him.