Round-Up of restaurants visited in November 2014.

 
 
Overview
 

 

Positives


Restaurants are selected for quality of cuisine, service, value, ambience and an overall dining experience.


Bottom Line

Another seven, selected top restaurants, to be enjoyed for Sunday lunches and dinners.

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Posted December 2, 2014 by

 
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The Tabloid Restaurant at The Palace Hotel, Sliema.

Sunday lunch at The Tabloid Restaurant  – Sunday, 9th November, 2014.

The Sunday buffet lunches for the present season have well and truly  taken off in style since the first week of October as these seem to be well sought after by the Maltese public.  Competition is harsh, and every establishment I’m sure endeavours to give better quality as well as different innovative cuisine offerings from one year to the next.

Last Sunday we enjoyed a good buffet lunch at The Tabloid at The Palace Hotel in Sliema. The restaurant was massively fully booked both in the restaurant as well as in the annexed hall, and even a larger table was specially set-up in the adjacent “Talk of the Town Cafe”.

Food stations were set-up in two locations to cater for both halls with antipasti stations; a Lebanese food station and Asian station; soup and pasta stations; children’s corner; carvery with roast beef and roast loin of pork; various main courses of fish; poultry; and meats with accompanying potatoes and vegetables ; a cheese counter and of course the well sought after dessert station with various cakes, gateaux, tarts and pies; a separate ice-cream station and a chocolate fountain. A self-service coffee station  was also available.

These days, I tend to take a leisurely look at the various food stations on offer, and decide at which should I indulge, within reason and to keep to a somewhat healthy diet option, if one can really do this at a lavish buffet. So I started with a sample from the Lebanese station including some very hot dips, which was then followed by pancakes and duck breast from the Asian station. A rest over some wine, and off to the carvery, were I was served with two decent slices of the very pork loin, and two slice of the roast beef which was good but not as good as the pork; some potatoes and a sample of the turkey breast. Others on our table enjoyed some of the lavish antipasti but there is just so much that one can eat.

The dessert station was next, and as usually happens one is at a loss to select two or three bits, (or more in some cases), from the outstanding display . A bit of cheese and coffee.

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Price of The Tabloid Sunday buffet lunch  which also includes a bottle of wine between two persons and water, is EUR32.50 with children between 7 and 12 years of age paying EUR14.

We’ve been dining at The Tabloid for Sunday lunch since the hotel literally opened some years back and has remained a one of the favourites  for various visits during the buffet season.  Very good cuisine; very good service; and very good all inclusive prices.

The Tabloid Restaurant is a Sunday Buffet Lunch WRMC Blue Riband Restaurant.

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Tarragon Restaurant

Dinner at Tarragon Restaurant, St. Paul’s Bay – Friday, 14th November, 2014.

A very good dinner at Tarragon Restaurant.

Selected a degustation menu as starter to share which included scallops; beef carpaccio, smoked tuna, sashimi, stuffed strudel, lamb ravioli, and prawn tempura.

 For main courses selections of the Milk-fed veal porterhouse steak, a very large portion grilled medium to perfection; a USDA beef fillet which at 300gm was very filling, grilled medium-rare; two USDA beef rib-eye steaks; one chicken and quail roulade; and on Duck breast. All served with sauces on the side; and side servings of vegetables and roast potatoes. A serving of linguine with prawn bisque for my granddaughter.

 Desserts:  two servings of the dark chocolate fondant with vanilla ice-cream;  a serving of the fresh almond and amaretti parfait; the Zucchini and cinnamon cup-cake with chantilly cream and ice-cream;  and scoop ice-cream and fruit.

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Two bottles of wine; three bottles of water; espressos and complementary liqueurs.

 Price for the food , water and coffees EUR280 (excluding the wine) viz:  EUR46.7 per person.

Cuisine quality, preparation and presentation as is usual at Tarragon was very good; Service very good + and value reasonable commensurate with the food preparations ordered.

Tarragon Restaurant is a WRMC Silver Spoon Restaurant.

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Fra Martino Restaurant.

 Sunday lunch at Fra Martino at the Corinthia Hotel St. George’s Bay – Sunday, 16th November, 2014 – Buffet Lunch.

Fra Martino is another of our regular seasonal choices for Sunday buffet lunches. This year they have certainly brought the quality of the food on offer up a notch or two. Everything freshly prepared and displayed  on some ten food stations, designed to satisfy every taste and whim.

The antipasti station has been renamed as the  Healthy Corner with selections of the freshest salads, fresh Maltese soft gbejniet (cheeselets); seafood corner; Lebanese corner; sushi corner ; etc.

Soups station with two soup pots  Cream of broccoli and Vegetable minestrone;

And a newly introduced live pasta station;

The Indian Corner- with chicken Tikka Masala; Prawn curry; Indian fritters; Lamb Biryani; naan bread; Pappadoms; etc. another regular station at this restaurant and quite popular too.

Main course and carvery station, with glazed leg of gammon and roast beef rib-eye – succulent and juicy. Other terrines contained garlic fried rabbit; stuffed turkey; sausage with cashew sauce; roast cernia;  vegetables and potato selections.

A huge fresh bread selection with selections of stuffed rolls.

A large array of desserts; waffle station and ice-cream trolley.

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Price per person EUR32.50 . Wine, water and beverages not included.  Very good food preparations and good service. The restaurant was full with diners but amazingly due to the distribution of the stations, there were hardly any queues , and flow was very efficient which made dining here very enjoyable.

Fra Martino Restaurant is a Sunday Buffet Lunch WRMC Blue Riband Restaurant.

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The Blue Elephant 

Dinner at the Blue Elephant Thai Restaurant at the Hilton Malta, on Friday, 21st November, 2014.

A very enjoyable dinner was had at the exotic Blue Elephant Restaurant with the family on Friday. This restaurant was given 10 out of 10 points by my five-year old granddaughter for ambience, and attention by the serving staff.  Her specially cooked egg noodles and ice-cream dessert were very good according to her, and she can be very particular at times.

For us adults, we opted for the Royal Thai Banquet Menu which at EUR42 per person was a feast of exotic Thai food, some hot and some medium hot dishes to suit the various tastes of the five of us.

Starters, main courses and dessert are all illustrated as served and described in the following nine photos which you are invited to view individually to see the descriptive caption. No further elaboration is really needed as each photo tells its own story.

The Blue Elephant offers a full and versatile al a carte menu, as well as four specially selected set-menus including a vegetarian option, with a range of different prices and food selections. We opted for the Royal Thai Banquet which comes at EIR38.50 without the soup or at EUR42 with soup of choice included.

Wine, water, espressos and liqueurs are extra  and can add some EUR76 to the bill depending on choice of wine and liqueurs and of course number of persons. In our case this worked out at EUR15.25 per person (adults), making the all inclusive per person bill at EUR57. Was it worth it? Yes very much so as the food is outstanding, the service very good and the ambience of the place fantastic.

The Blue Elephant Restaurant is a WRMC Silver Spoon Restaurant.

Food description:

Starters

CHICKEN SATAY: Strips of grilled marinated chicken served with a cucumber and peanut sauce.

SPRING ROLL”BLUE ELEPHANT”: Our special recipe of minced lamb stuffing served  with red sweet and sour sauce.

SARIKA: A crisp golden cake from which prawns and juicy sweet corn burst forth in a cascade of flavors. Named after the famous waterfall in central Thailand.

Crispy Fish and Prawn Salad: Salad of crispy minced tuna fish and prawns with organic lemongrass and ginger, tossed in a spicy lime dressing

Thung Pu: All talent of our chef Chang in this favourite stuffed egg pastry with Philadelphia cheese.

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SOUPS

TOM YAM KOONG: Thai’s famous spicy soup prepared in a shrimp bouillon. Refined and powerful.

MENAM CHICKEN SOUP: Chicken and coconut milk soup flavored with lemongrass and herbs.

Tom Kha Seafood: A refreshing soup of seafood with young coconut, flavoured with lemongrass and galangal

MAIN COURSES

BAN CHIANG: Marinated sliced sirloin of beef and stir-fried with onions, mushroom and baby corn in an aromatic oyster sauce.

KAI KATIEM PRIK THAI: Stir-fried chicken supreme; perfumed with coriander, garlic and black pepper.

Fruits de Mer “Phuket”: Stir fried seafood with fried chilli paste and tamarind juice.

PED MAKARM: Slices of marinated magret of duck grilled “saignant” and served on a bed of seaweed, topped with exotic sweet and sour tamarind sauce.

MASSAMAN: A typical dish from South of Thailand, a lamb curry dish of spices in coconut milk, Thai sweet potatoes, roasted peanuts and cashew nuts.

ACCOMPANIMENTS

PHAD THAI “BLUE ELEPHANT”:

Stir Fried Thai Asparagus with fresh mushrooms in garlic sauce:

Steamed Jasmine rice.

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DESSERT Selection of our Homemade desserts:

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The Blue Elephant Restaurant is a WRMC Silver Spoon Restaurant.

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Brown’s Malta 

Sunday lunch at Brown’s at the Valletta Waterfront – Sunday, 23rd November, 2014.

The Valletta Waterfront is always a good location to go to for Sunday lunch, especially on a beautiful Autumn day, when  the sun is shining, the weather cool, and gone is the humidity of Summer.  Our restaurant selection today was Brown’s, an old favourite since having been taken over by Sandro and Diane Mamo some two or three years ago.

We were seated at a good corner table at the outside dining area, overlooking the Grand Harbour. There were no cruise liners berthed today as the season seems to have come to an end, but although a beautiful cruise liner or two might enhance the prestige of this location, the view of the Senglea and Vittoriosa bastions across the harbour were awesome in their own right.

Brown’s operate two restaurants adjoined to each other, with two menus but which clients can pick and choose from any depending on one’s fancy on the day. The  menu for the fine dining section offers selections of antipasti, pasta, seafood, poultry, fresh fish and meat dishes, whereas the menu for the family-casual dining section also offers pizza, pasta,  burgers, children specialities, fish and grills.  Items and prices are designed and intended to suit all tastes and appetites on any particular day.

A short scan of the fine dining menu and a short discussion with the charming restaurant manageress, and we were convinced to forget a typical starter, and go for a combined platter of seafood antipasti and a selected fish from the display, all served together to create a  seafood and fish feast on one’s plate. This proved to be a very good selection.

 An amuse bouche of savoury sausage on mashed potatoes with beef jus was served with the wine and the water, and after a while, the antipasti are prepared fresh,  the food was served. A large dish of the seafood antipasti which is better described on the attached photos hereunder, consisted of freshly made or freshly cooked salmon roulade and salmon chunks; razaor clams, langoustine; red king prawns; fish neonati, raw fish and prawn ceviche; octopus in garlic; deep fried, stuffed calamari;  potato bases stuffed with sea urchin (rizzi) roe, and a separate serving of mussels and clams cooked in white wine. The fish suggested to us was a fresh, 800gm bronze bream (bazuga), which was poach-baked to perfection and served with side servings of roasted potatoes and veg etables in season.

Dessert choice was a chocolate fondant with ice cream and a praline  parfait.

Brown's November 2014 -IMG_2323 (1)Brown's November 2014 -IMG_2323 (2)Brown's November 2014 -IMG_2323 (3)Brown's November 2014 -IMG_2323 (4)Brown's November 2014 -IMG_2323 (5)Brown's November 2014 -IMG_2323 (6)Brown's November 2014 -IMG_2323 (8)Brown's November 2014 -IMG_2323 (9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A good bottle of a chilled Chablis, one bottle of water, espressos and complementary liqueurs complemented the lunch.

 Price for the food  came up to about EUR70 with an all inclusive price for the food, wine, water etc., netting in at EUR94 between two persons (EUR47 per person).

Food and service were very good indeed, and value for money very reasonable for the food ordered, quality and presentation wise.

There are eight photos in the photo album in this review. To view the descriptive caption, click on any photo and move sideways with the arrows. Enjoy.

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Mamma Mia Restaurant

Dinner at Mamma Mia Restaurant – Thursday, 27th November, 2014.

It is not very often that one  can find a restaurant that is literally always full for lunch and dinner, every day of the week, with people waiting for a table on some days. One restaurant that seems to be achieving this day-in-day-out is without a shadow of doubt Mamma Mia at the Ta’ Xbiex Waterfront. This is due to a number of factors, mainly:  very good food in more than decent portions at  even more decent menu prices; an acceptable mark-up on wines;  a varied menu that caters for all tastes and pockets; very good service; ambience;  no hassle, free parking at the yacht marina parking lot. There is no need really, to keep on going about this place, as I’m sure everyone has been there on one or more occasions.

Dinner orders this time consisted of :

Starters: ravioli with porcini stuffing and truffle sauce; a serving of spicy chicken wings; deep fried calamari; and  tortellini in Sarcofago (enclosed in puff pastry).

 For main courses the orders were for:

One beef fillet Chef charcoal grilled and served with fresh mushrooms, onions,  bacon and fresh cream; one beef fillet Rustica topped with onions, tomatoes and melted cheese;  one Angus beef tib-eye  charcoal grilled, medium rare with pepper sauce served on the side;  and a rack of barbecue ribs served with bbq sauce, coleslaw and chips. Vegetables in season chips and jacket potatoes were served on the side with the main courses.

 Dessert: One chocolate fondant with ice-cream; one warm apple pie slice; and two sorbets/ice-creams.

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One bottle of St Emilion, two bottles of water.

 Price overall for the above excluding the wine came up to EUR119.45 between four persons or EUR29.86 per person. Price of the wine was EUR21.95. Very reasonable for very good food.

 

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Pintonino Restaurant

 Paella dinner at Pintonino Restaurant at the Valletta Waterfront – Friday, 28th November, 2014.

Pintonino Restaurant at the Valletta Waterfront, has always been marketed as an Italian/Mediterranean style restaurant, serving lobsters and seafood which are fished live from the various aquariums in the restaurant, seafood delicacies; fresh fish as well as meat cuts from the best available USDA Black Angus  beef. Charlie DeManuele the Chef-Patron has decided to go one better this time to introduce his version of Paella Valenciana outside the normal menu and by special order when a table reservation is made a day or more before.  We got to know about this when we phoned for a table booking a couple of days before, and Charlie told us about it. Having been to this establishment several times before, and had tried out his various offerings, we were game for something new, so we agreed to place an order for the paella Valenciana for four persons.

This proved to be a very good dining experience, as everything is prepared fresh.  One has to wait for a few minutes before paella  is served, but that has to be accepted as the paella is finished off once the client is seated.  That did not cause any problems for us, as Friday dinner is always enjoyed out at a selected restaurant, and serves as a good evening out, so a good bottle of a chilled chardonnay from Umbria was enjoyed over the normal antipasto of bigilla and water bistcuits, as well as a starter/amuse bouche of an excellent deep fried crab claw meat chunk and a plate of the freshest tuna carpaccio to share.

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Pintonino Paella November 2014 -DSCN4402 (4)For a description of the ingredients used in the Paella, check out the photos. Click on any photo to enlarge and to see the descriptive caption. The ingredients in the Paella Valenciana as served at Pintonino were described by the Chef-Patron who took pride in his excellent presentation, which was enjoyed by us. This Paella is being served, as already said above, by pre-ordering with one’s table booking a day or more before. The paella can be ordered for a minimum of two persons sharing at a very reasonable cost of EUR23 per person. Naturally, any additional antipasti ordered; wine; beverages; water; coffees, dessert; are charged extra as per menu prices.  Worth a try, but make sure that you pre-book it.

 

 

 

Paella Valenciana Pintonino:

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Takes about 1hour and 15minutes to prepare so pre-ordering is essential.

Contains a vast amount of ingredients which includes:

Main ingredients: pork loin, cut in chunks; chicken drumsticks, cut in chunks;  calamari;; uncooked Valencia or other short grain rice; freshly made chicken stock;  peeled and deveined medium shrimp; whole local red king prawns; clams and  mussels; prawn stock;

Other ingredients used in the preparation: cooked green peas; pimento strips;  extra-virgin olive oil; garlic cloves;  bay leaf;  juliened onion;  green pepper, cut in strips; white wine;  peeled and seeded tomatoes; pinch of real saffron strips; salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Pintonino Restaurant is a WRMC Blue Riband Restaurant.

 

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