Just Cars, Food & IT

Owns @Cleartext Systems IT Management Consultancy. Baker, classic cars (Vitesse 6), motorsport. @Kop_Hill_Climb Entrants co-ordinator.

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I totally forgot to get any photo’s at Kop Hill the other weekend, so here is one of the hill the week before (our 197 in the background) and two Marlins spotted on the Saturday in the Cherished Vehicles area. Seems like the Cabrio is the Treasurers… :)

My Triumph Vitesse 6 sold to a nice couple from Bracknell today, sad to see it go but I don’t have the time or cash to carry on restoring it. Looking for a nice Triumph 6 cylinder based Marlin now… with no work needed! 

Rust in Progress is looking good. Had a quote for a lot of work today, totalled £5k with the gearbox and £2k for a new headlining. Will probably just get the bodywork rust and gearbox done at £2k all up.  Otherwise I may as well sell for £2k+ put £2k in the pot and buy a Marlin that doesn’t need any serious work.      High-res

Rust in Progress is looking good. Had a quote for a lot of work today, totalled £5k with the gearbox and £2k for a new headlining. Will probably just get the bodywork rust and gearbox done at £2k all up.  Otherwise I may as well sell for £2k+ put £2k in the pot and buy a Marlin that doesn’t need any serious work.   

My birthday treat.

Louise took me to Brasserie Blanc in Beaconsfield last night, it was exciting heading off to a real foodies place. We had a good time and would go again, but would we recommend it? Find out at the end of this article.

First some background. We lived in central Sydney for more than ten years up until late 2010 and I’m sure you’ve all heard about the excellent quality of most Australian food outlets. It doesn’t seem to matter if you’re at a top end restaurant or a sandwich bar it’s very difficult to get a bad meal in Australia’s towns and cities. Since we’ve been back in the UK the reverse has been true, it’s hard to find good food.

So back to Brasserie Blanc. I’d heard about the opening via local press and my brother in law had been saying it was ‘good’. That flagged up a dim warning light immediately! We’ve worked for large food chains and I am a keen cook and baker. At 54 I like to think I know the difference between good and bad food, for example we use fresh produce from Able & Cole and I bake bread several times a week.

Our initial impression was great, the Beaconsfield venue is in a great location, it’s well furnished, well lit and very clean and tidy. To be expected from a new venue. We were sat at a small table next to a glass panel separating us from the open kitchen. That’s a great spot for me as I could see the activity the only downside being the continual, and overly aggressive use of the service bell.  As the brasserie got busier the bell became louder and more frequent. That’s a small gripe, but we’ll ask not to sit there next time. Throughout the evening the place felt great and had a good buzz. 5/5 for ‘atmosphere’.

On to service. The staff welcomed us in a genuinely friendly manner, were all smart and tidy and there was an air of friendly efficiency about the meet and greet whilst taking us to our table. Service throughout the meal was friendly and efficient almost without fault, in fact I will say without fault. Overall a 5/5 for the service.

Now the food, the menu looked great with some interesting dishes which was to be expected. However it quickly dropped a notch. You may think I’m being picky but remember that we’re food people, well me more than Louise, going to a brasserie with the Blanc name attached to it, so the food was the main reason for going.

Drinks came quickly, all good. We asked for the BASKET OF STONE-BAKED ARTISANAL BAGUETTE, what arrived was best described as five very small slices of tough to chew baguette of dubious vintage.

Louise had the COASTAL CHEDDAR CHEESE SOUFFLÉ warm Cheddar sauce which looked, smelt and tasted great, faultless. I ordered the POTTED SHRIMPS, nutmeg butter, toasted baguette and I was disappointed. Not very flavoursome, apparently no nutmeg present and the baguette had obviously been sliced, toasted, gone cold and had a weird chewy texture to it. I’d expected a crisp warm piece of toast. As a keen amateur bread maker the baguette’s here leave a lot to be desired, odd for a french themed eating experience.

On to the main courses. We’d been offered the specials but decided to order off the menu with the exception that I ordered the special vegetable side. These arrived within the expected time frame despite the ever increasing number of new arrivals looking for dinner. The kitchen could be seen upping the ante with the frequency and volume of the service bell matching.

Louise ordered NEW SEASON LAMB NAVARIN, Château potato, Chantenay carrots, cherry tomatoes & courgettes. This looked great, apparently tasted good. I had a piece of the lamb, she chose well. I had the ROAST ATLANTIC COD FILLET. salt cod brandade, red pepper & tomato sauce with the afore mentioned vegetable side. My meal was very good, excellent flavours and a good portion size. However the vegetable side of leeks, courgettes and pees had seen better days. Soggy, luke warm british veg had been served.

Onwards to the next course. By this time we had both had sufficient but it’s my birthday so I ordered the EXOTIC FRUIT SALAD, mango sorbet, coconut meringue & macaroon which was good. Louise went for a coffee because she couldn’t find anything she fancied, and she’s got a big sweet tooth.  The coffee arrived warm not hot. We’ve realised that unlike the French and Australians the Brits just don’t understand what a good coffee is. After a lot of thinking we’d given 3/5 for the food. The three being for the excellent main courses let down by the bread, starter, choice of desserts  and coffee.

So would we recommend Brasserie Blanc in Beaconsfield? Well interestingly, whilst I haven’t written this up we did score the ‘new’ Wagammama in High Wycombe a 4.3 from 5 based on 5/5 for food, 4/5 for both service and atmosphere. Using the same equation for Brasserie Blanc we also get 4.3 from 5.

So the answer is yes I would recommend Brasserie Blanc. On this occasion the food let it down, which is disappointing given the ‘Blanc’ theme but we still had a great evening out which is what counts. 

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Aircraft Sound

OK, what was this that just flew over us. #sound 

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Really happy with the Mini Clubvan, but a shame quality control appears to have slipped. Panel gap is reminiscent of a 1960’s Triumph or BL in the 80’s. It was assembled in Oxford so maybe that explains it, same gene pool!