Sunday, January 22, 2012

Metrocentre - Gateshead

Our family spent all day yesterday at this amazing Mall in the North of England about 2 hours drive from here. Its supposedly the biggest Mall in Europe and I think the people up there are very proud of it and justifiably so. It has in fact 4 malls within one with a central exchange area, plus over 50 restaurants and a Imax movie theatre with 12 screens. Its huge and there are some excellent restaurants unlike most Malls.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Blairgowrie, Perthshire

My wife and I visited this lovely little town yesterday in glorious sunshine. What a lovely place and at a critical place as one must pass through it to get to Glenshee for skiing. A nice old fashioned town with a good centre, and plenty of local shops. We were very impressed. If you are planning a vist stay away from Rattray over the river as its not as nice and a long walk to the shops. They have a good range of restaurants, we had lunch in a tea shop on the high street and it was pleasant but not spectacular. But overal one of the nicest little places.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

China Palace, Duns

Tried this little restaurant on the square in Duns for the first time this week. Mixed results unfortunately. The salt and pepper king prawns were quite good, but the salt and pepper chicken wings were awful and we had to throw them away. They used a light batter on the prawns but on the chicken a heavy batter with raw cornstarch in evidence in the skin and the chicken tasted old and tired and not fresh. The prawns were juiy and very large so they get an A for these.

Like most small Chinese restaurants in the Borders they have a over ambitious menu with 60+ dishes, obviously they cannot cook them all well so one plays roulette when one orders, some OK some awful. Why they don't stick to a dozen dishes they have perfected. They also claim to do Japanese and Thai dishes which is patently silly as Japanese requires a level of chef work far above their capability, and Thai relies on fresh ingredients carefull balanced for heat, again well beyond their ability. They close Tuesday all day but otherwise open 11-2 and 4.30 -11.
If the opportunity arises we may try them again and see if they can at least cook rice, a capability well beyond most Chinese restaurants in the Borders in our opinion.

Early January 2012

The weather has been astonishing, not only well above norms at 8-10 degrees but a lot of lovely sunshine. We have had some high winds on and off but this is just not the winter weather we have become used to, this is actually good touring weather.