Sunday, November 25, 2007

Restaurant Review - Cafe Guru

Last Friday night Victoria and I (plus 12 others) went to Cafe Guru. This is an Indian restaurant in the centre of Sheffield and is a 'proper' restaurant instead of the usual curry house that we English love to frequent so often.

The interior is very modern, looking like many other contemporary restaurants. Wooden floors, white walls, lots of wood. All very nice and clean.

We arrived at 9pm and it was quite busy but it seemed to get quieter as the night went on with only 2 other people there when we eventually left. As this is the first time we have been here I don't know if it would fill up again later or not but I can't see it appealing to drunk students as much as a normal curry house would.

As there were 14 of us we had obviously pre-booked and were shown to our table immediately. The staff were all very attentive and polite and didn't seem to mind that most of the people on our table had been drinking for an hour or so before we arrived and were busy talking rather than telling the waitress what we would like to order. They were all smiles all night.

After the obligatory poppadoms Victoria and I had starters. We were actually the only ones in our group who had a starter for some reason. I don't know why as I think starters can be the best part of a meal.

Anyway, Victoria had Paneer Tikka Kebab which is 'cubes of authentic indian cheese coated with tikka masaala and char grilled' and I had Shami Kebabs which are 'minced lamb and lentil pate coated in egg and pan fried'. Both were excellent. The presentation was second to none and the food tasted amazing.

For main courses I had a Chicken Balti and Victoria had a Chicken Tikka Masaala, both with Pillau rice and Peshwari nan. We both agreed that it was the best curry we had ever had. The sauces were outstanding but the main thing that struck us both was the quality of the chicken in our dishes. There was none of the usual stringy bits of meat that you normally get, this chicken was the most tender I had ever tasted. It literally fell apart in my mouth. Amazing.

The bill for 14 people came to £238 including all the beers that the blokes were drinking. That is £17 a head!! Amazing value. I would have happily paid much more for such an excellent meal. Obviously we left a generous tip!

If you want a curry in a restaurant using the best ingredients cooked by people who obviously know what they are doing and have a passion for their job then this is the place for you. Brilliant service, amazing food and fantastic value. 10/10

As a little postscript, I feel that I must comment on Sheffield town centre on a Friday night. We got there at about 19:30 and there were already people sat on the floor drunkenly hugging bins, people throwing up, and it seems like every homeless person for miles around was begging for money. Every cash machine had a beggar sat next to it asking the people using it for cash. Intimidating and annoying. When we left the restaurant we were accosted by some loser asking for help. I didn't ask but I bet the help involved me giving him money. When we refused he started ranting something about 'people like us...'. What? People with a job?

Anyway, town was disgusting. I'm sure it was never that bad when I used to go out, at least not until later in the evening.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hidden Talents

On Saturday night I went to the Castle on Twentywell Road. Victoria sadly didn't come along as in her pregnant state she normally needs to go to bed at 9:30 ish so it was me, Rob, Lucy, others from school and a whole bunch of people I'd never met.

We went to the Castle to see a friend from school who was playing there. Ian plays guitar and sings. He plays his own songs as well as a few well chosen covers.

Now the Castle may be just a local pub in Bradway but the previous landlady, Danielle, had managed to build up a really good music scene which attracts local musicians from around Sheffield. This meant that there were others playing as well as Ian.

First on stage was a guy called Tom. I didn't know him until last Saturday but he's a really nice chap. He sang and played guitar and did about 5 or 6 songs, all written by himself, all good and all surrounded by witty banter with the appreciative crowd.

Next up was Ian. I've heard Ian play and sing before and he was always good but tonight he was extremely good. His guitar playing was excellent but the biggest improvement was his voice. He really is very good. He sang 10 or 12 songs over the evening, mostly his own but with covers of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'The Power Of Love' and Snow Patrol's 'Chasing Cars'. Brilliant!

He was joined (I would say on stage but it was really in the corner!) at certain points by Danielle on backing vocals and Tom on Bongo. It was actually pointed out that it was not a bongo but in my universe that's what it was :-). There was also a small 3 piece band there who joined in with some bass guitar at certain points played by a far too talented 15 year old.

After Ian the three piece band ( I wish I knew their name) played a few songs. Their singer/bass player/lead guitar player was ,as I said, about 15 and was VERY good.

Then more musical types got up and played. It was like an open mike night. I was a little drunk by this point so didn't get the name of the next guy to get up with a guitar and sing but he was really good. Very good voice and a great guitarist.

Finally a girl got up and played who I later found out was called Charlie Barker. She was very pregnant so must have had trouble reaching round her guitar but she was brilliant. When speaking to her afterwards I found out that she had an album out which I have just purchased from play. Check out her website to have a listen.

We were then kicked out as the pub was closed. It was decided that this was not good but fortunately the owner of another public house (which shall remain nameless in case he gets into trouble) was in the Castle and suggested we carry on at his place. So, we all got into taxis, people, guitars, bongo and all and changed the venue. Then it was more drinking, guitars, bongo's etc until stupid o'clock when I got a taxi home rather drunk.

What a great night. I felt very poorly the next day. There would have been photos but some buffoon (me) forgot to pick up his camera on the way out the door!

My entire point in writing this post is that it is amazing how many very talented people there are in the most unlikely of places. Not only the brilliant musicians but I also met Maya and her husband Matt on Saturday night. Maya makes brilliant silverwear and you can see her work here.

I'm already looking forward to the next musical night at the Crown.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Nothing To See Here.....

Sorry for the lack of posts recently but not a lot has happened. It's kind of been a go to work, come home, play with Alice, go to bed and repeat few weeks.

We have prepared the new nursery for the new baby. I did the prep work (stripping wallpaper, sanding, filling and sanding again) and Victoria did the fun painting part. She did a great job though and the new room looks great. Our new baby will be very snug indeed.

Victoria is all prepared for Christmas. She has bought most of the pressies and done whatever other stuff women do when preparing for Christmas. All men do is look for the best offer on beer at your local supermarket!!! :-)

Alice and I also had a birthday. I turned 38 but I think I actually look a year younger! I got lots of DVD's, Whiskey etc and drank lots over the weekend. All good fun. Alice turned 3 and got LOTS of pressies and had cake and a party. Also lots of fun. You can see her birthday pics here.

We are now just waiting for Christmas (where I once again have a designated pregnant driver) and after that the birth of baby number 2. If it is a boy we have decided to call him Muad'Dib Picard Briddon. It is a good strong name. :-)

We are also looking forwards to the next British Grand Prix (yes I know it is 8 months away!) where this year we have the best seats in the house.

I guess it kind of sounds like I am wishing my life away but I'm really not. It's just that there is nothing going on at the moment.

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