Milan Restaurant

Salmon Tagliatelle

Salmon Tagliatelle

A wander round town in search of dinner for under a tenner revealed very few choices. Not more than a hundred yards from where all of the students live in the Polygon, I stumbled upon a small Italian restaurant with a slightly garish exterior but neatly finished and surprisingly welcoming interior.

I was greeted by a very enthusiastic Italian restaurateur who managed to squeeze us in to what was a completely deserted room with about fifty covers. This was slightly unnerving as it was just after seven on a Friday night but we persevered.

After a quick scan of the menu, I found a substantial number of dishes in my price bracket. I was starving so I was very grateful when a complimentary bread roll and delicious olives were placed in front of me. Sadly, the bread was a tad dry and could have benefited from a few minutes warming in the oven.

I was not waiting long (although, the noisy drinks fridge was starting to bug me) before my Salmon Tagliatelle arrived before me. I very much enjoyed the first half of the meal before the richness of the cream sauce overwhelmed my palate and I became very full, very quickly and struggled to finish.

My total bill came to £13 which included a bottle of Peroni at £3 which I was very satisfied with seeing as most of the other restaurants along Southampton’s main street would have cost substantially more.

  • Food: 6.5/10
  • Service: 6.5/10
  • Atmosphere: 5.5/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Overall: 6.6/10

Have you eaten at the Milan Restaurant? Tweet us your experience @FongtasticFood

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Zizzi Ristorante

Rustica Pizza with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomato

Rustica Pizza with Parma Ham and Rocket

A cheeky weekend trip to Bristol was enhanced by an excellent evening meal at Zizzi, a popular Italian chain of restaurants in the UK.

The restaurants appearance was typically chic with dark wooden furniture, dimmed lighting and perfectly laid out tableware. An incredible, fiery masonry oven towered over the open kitchen, ensuring in my mind that the pizzas would be of a high quality. I was not proved wrong.

The menu featured classic Italian dishes with an abundance of olives, breads, pastas and pizzas.

We began our meal with a selection of mixed olives which were delicious. More interestingly however, was the unique, little, wooden bowl the olives arrived in. It had a main bowl for the olives and a smaller bowl attached to the side to leave the olive stones in. I don’t know why we were only given two toothpicks when there were clearly four of us though.

Calzone with Chicken, Meatballs, Bolognese, Mushrooms, Chilli, Mozzarella and Tomato

Calzone with Chicken and Meatballs

Two ordered the newly featured ‘Rustica’ pizzas which are supposedly thinner, crispier and loaded with more toppings. Myself and another chose to have the calzone, ‘carne piccante’, which contained chicken, meatballs, bolognese, mushrooms, chilli, mozzarella and tomato.

The calzone was spectacular. It was great to find that the dough was crisp and full of flavour because it can sometimes be very dry and bland. The filling was tasty and packed with different herbs and spices. I do feel however that the chefs were a little bit stingy with the meats and a little bit too generous with the chillies. I found myself searching for the one piece of chicken I was given for the entire course of the meal and my final mouthful was ruined by an overload of chilli. This was unfortunate as I did not have much Sicilian lemonade left to help calm my flaming mouth.

Overall, the meal was very good value because we were able to claim a promotional code from VoucherCodes.co.uk which gave us 2 mains for £12.95. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the restaurant which was definitely a highlight of my Bristol adventure.

The Verdict:

  • Food: 7/10
  • Service: 7/10
  • Atmosphere: 8/10
  • Price: 7.5/10
  • Overall: 7.1/10

If you think Zizzi should open up a restaurant in Southampton, tweet them @WeAreZizzi

FONGTASTIC Black Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut Cream

Mango Rice

Helene Ng mixed things up by making this traditional Thai dessert, black sticky rice with mango and coconut cream.

If you cooked something you’re particularly proud of, please e-mail it to fongtasticfood@gmail.com

Healthy Pizza

Everyone seems to have this odd perception that pizzas are one of the most fattening, unhealthy meals you could possibly ever eat. If you order one from a late night takeaway, this may well be the case, but there are a few simple tricks that you can put in place to make sure that your own homemade pizzas don’t add inches to the waist:

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Serves: 4
  • Prep: 30 minutes
  • Cook: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 250g wholemeal flour
  • 1 sachet dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250ml luke warm water
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • handful chopped ham
  • handful spinach
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • handful sweetcorn
  • handful cheddar, grated

Method:

  1. Put the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and mix together. Stir in olive oil and water to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a well floured surface and knead for approximately 5 minutes. Leave to rest in a warm place for roughly 1 hour.
  3. Once the dough has risen, roll it out to a 30cm circle and bake in the oven (220°C, 200°C fan, Gas 7) for 5 minutes to crisp off.
  4. Remove from the oven and spread over the tomato purée. Top with as many ingredients as you like but remember not to go overboard with the cheese! Bake for another 10 minutes.

If you would like to see more videos like this one, tweet your requests @FongtasticFood

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

As you can probably tell, I’m big into puddings at the moment and the only way I can justify eating this much pudding is by making it myself. There aren’t that many healthy desserts out there but I decided that a Lemon Meringue Pie had to be one of the kindest to the waist. This BBC Good Food recipe turned out a superb looking pie that impressed everyone with it’s perfectly bronzed and spiky meringue topping.

Unfortunately, the taste test ended up being a little bit of a flop. The filling was ruined by an orange that had somehow managed to squeeze its way into the recipe. Instead of tasting like a lemon meringue pie, the orange overpowered the flavour of the lemon and transformed it into an unwanted orange meringue pie. It’s such a shame because this pie could have easily been able to match up to its stellar appearance and scrumptious meringue if only it didn’t include one of its key ingredients; the orange. Although I may have a sad face on this time round, at least I can sleep well tonight knowing exactly how to make my next lemon meringue pie the best it can possibly be.

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mousse Cake

BBC Good FoodWhen BBC Good Food called this Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mousse Cake ‘decadent’, they really meant it! I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much money on ingredients to make a cake before, but this might just have to be one of my very own proudest bakes.

I’m not going to lie though, this wasn’t one of the easiest cakes to execute so I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who hasn’t got that much experience (especially considering how I’m away from home and had to conjure this beast up without my beloved electronic scales, absolute #nightmare)!!!

Now on to the actual recipe review. This recipe does not, I repeat, does not, need nearly as much light brown soft sugar, cocoa powder or finely chopped dark chocolate (for the ganache) as it suggests. Unless, of course, you’re hoping to live a short but happy life. 500g of sugar is just ridiculous and I’m sure I only put in about half of this and my cake turned out fine, same goes for the cocoa and chocolate.

Chocolate and Caramel Cake

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mousse Cake

My one disappointment with this cake was that I couldn’t taste the salted caramel. Even though the recipe overindulges in regards to the cake mixture and ganache, it leaves you having to spread across your caramel rather sparingly. More caramel is a definite must if you want to try baking this beauty. Otherwise, you will end up wasting your time patiently standing by the cooker to make sure your sugar doesn’t burn, for absolutely nothing.

Overall though, I have to say this was the ultimate guilty pleasure and it’s so enormous that I still have leftovers four days later (and it hasn’t even gone as dry as a boot yet)! It stays moist, it’s full of chocolate and double cream, and it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. If only I knew, I would’ve saved it for Easter lunch to have with friends and family (and to show off, of course). Oh well, I guess I’ll have to finish it off all on my own!

If you baked something you’re particularly proud of, tweet it @FongtasticFood with the hash-tag ‘#proudbakes‘.

Trago Lounge

(L-R) Falafels with red onion and coriander yoghurt dip, hummus with extra virgin olive oil and smoked paprika, crayfish and prawns with tomato and chilli, honey glaze shredded 5 spice pork, roasted sweet potato and butternut squash with goats' cheese.

(L-R) Falafels with red onion and coriander yoghurt dip, hummus with extra virgin olive oil and smoked paprika, crayfish and prawns with tomato and chilli, garlic and parsley mushrooms with smoked paprika, honey glazed shredded 5 spice pork, roasted sweet potato and butternut squash with goats’ cheese.

Trago Lounge is just one part of a large chain of cafés/bars called ‘The Lounges‘. It is the ideal place for an impromptu, upmarket meal, without having to go through all of the fuss of making a reservation, having someone constantly waiting on you and then worrying about who’s turn it is to pay the bill.

The restaurant reminds me of a smart, but friendly, gastropub with its classic leather and solid wood furniture. Just enough character has been splashed across the room to make it interesting and individual, I especially like the vintage wall hangings and large blackboard-style menus.

Opting for their signature tapas (a choice of 3 for for just £7.95), I hesitantly waited for it to arrive at my table after I was left incredibly disappointed when I first tried it on a trip to Seville, Spain, last year.

Fortunately, the UK’s take on the traditional Spanish cuisine seemed to do the trick. The six mini dishes arrived at the table looking vibrant as ever and were served with a nice helping of ciabatta bread.

On to the critique. I definitely enjoyed the hummus, pork, and mushrooms but I wasn’t too keen on the falafel or the crayfish (I’m undecided as to whether or not I liked the roasted veg because I think it could’ve done with a little bit longer in the oven!). The shredded pork was my favourite, it was beautifully tender and melted in the mouth, and you can never go wrong with garlic mushrooms. The tomato and chilli sadly overpowered the seafood and you couldn’t taste the subtle flavours of the crayfish at all and the falafel is just plain difficult to perfect so I’m sure I can find it in my heart to forgive them for that minor dry blunder.

All in all though, I honestly think the Lounge has one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat in, and the food was delicious considering how affordable it was. I will definitely be making another visit sometime soon and you should too!

The Verdict:

  • Food: 7/10
  • Service: 7/10
  • Atmosphere: 10/10
  • Value: 8.5/10
  • Overall: 8.1/10

Did you enjoy your last visit to one of the Lounges? Tweet your feedback @TheLoungers