Blog

Robin’s Oak in Princes Avenue is a great new place to eat – with fantastic discounts

A new restaurant has opened up at the top of my street – and I need everyone who loves steak and pasta to book a table.

Living off Princes Avenue gives you a privileged choice of bars and cuisines, from Moroccan to Indian and seafood to Spanish, and they’re all within walking distance so you don’t have the fear of being a designated driver.

But something even better arrived a couple of months ago, and there is now a fabulous steak restaurant just several doors away at the top of Blenheim Street.

Robin’s Oak took over the former Fudge Café several months ago. The building has undergone a transformation and the meat is superb.

Robins Oak steak house in Princes Avenue. Photo By Richard Addison
Robins Oak steak house in Princes Avenue. Photo By Richard Addison

We booked in on a Wednesday night at 7pm, and there were already two tables in there, which was good considering how quiet the Avenue can be on a hump-day.

We were greeted by a friendly staff member and made our way to a table in the middle of the restaurant.

I had a sneak peek at what other diners were eating as I walked passed, and the lasagne looked sensational – melted cheese and plenty of meat by the looks of it.

We didn’t need any time to order our drinks, and a bottle of cab sav arrived acceptably quick, and then we got down to the important bit of choosing our food.

The sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce at Robin's Oak
The sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce at Robin’s Oak

The starters included garlic mushrooms, chicken liver pate, deep fried squid, baked camembert and gamberoni, and we couldn’t decide to choose.

In the end, we opted for the deep fried squid with lemon aioli (£4.95) and the gamberoni – king prawns on a bed of leaves with chimichurri sauce (£5.95).

It was nice to see the food was homemade – Dave is the only chef in the kitchen I’m told – as we waited about 15 to 20 minutes for our starters.

I would say this is the optimum waiting time for a starter – enough time to have a glass of wine as well as get your tummy to vital grumbling point.

The deep fried squid with aioli at Robin's Oak
The deep fried squid with aioli at Robin’s Oak

The prawns had already been shelled which prevented any messy fingers, and there were about eight or nine plump crustaceans on a bed of green leaves and drizzled with the chimichurri sauce.

Chimichurri is a sauce originating from Argentina, and is traditionally made using finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil. Oregano, chilli flakes and red wine vinegar.

It was full of flavour and really added a zin to the perfectly cooked prawns – the starter was light and fresh.

Rather than rings, the fried quid had been cut into strips, and were accompanied by a large helping of tasty aioli and a whole lemon to squeeze over.

We carried on with the chat and wine-sipping while waiting for our main courses, and within another 20 minutes they had arrived.

The chimichurri gamberoni at Robin's Oak
The chimichurri gamberoni at Robin’s Oak

As Robin’s Oak prides itself on its steaks, it would have been rude not to choose one of the menu.

We both went for a sirloin – rare – with French fries, roasted tomato, grilled mushroom and peppercorn sauce (£17.95).

My dining partner can’t stomach mushrooms, so they gave her an extra few chips to compensate – very kind indeed!

The steaks on the menu included sirloin and rump, with other choices of gammon and lamb steaks, too.

There were pasta options such as the lasagne and also seafood dishes, as well as wild mushroom risotto, a selection of stroganoffs, some divine-sounding burgers and also a selection of salads.

The specials board is ever-changing, and on the Wednesday night it was sirloin en croute, topped with pate and served with Mediterranean vegetables and mushroom sauce.

The sirloin steak without the grilled mushroom at Robin's Oak
The sirloin steak without the grilled mushroom at Robin’s Oak

Our steaks were juicy and plump, and for the size of them, were cooked perfectly.

The peppercorn sauce was also exactly what we wanted – creamy with a fiery bite – and the French fries were as good as you can get.

The portions at Robin’s Oak are deceptively large, and I had to leave most of my chips (something I regretted deeply the next day) because of the amount of meat on my plate.

Our meal at Robin’s Oak was lovely, and it’s so refreshing to have something of quality along that small row of businesses, especially since Fudge and Ray’s Place have shut up shop.

Robins Oak steak house in Princes Avenue. Photo By Richard Addison
Robins Oak steak house in Princes Avenue. Photo By Richard Addison

Our meal came to about £65, but we didn’t realise that on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, there is 30 per cent off all food, meaning our bill was brought down to £51.

So for a really decent bottle of red, two starters and two steaks, we spent £25 a head.

We were extremely pleased, and I can’t wait to go back to try some of the amazing-looking lasagne.

Robin’s Oak

  • 93 Princes Avenue, Hull
  • 01482 349301
  • Disabled access
  • On-street parking
  • Vegetarian options available

Beverley’s Sessions Spa is an oasis of calm right on our doorstep

After a weekend in Beverley celebrating our anniversary, the boyfriend and I knew we needed one more thing to look forward to before the morning phone alarms were turned back on, so we headed straight to Sessions Spa.

Located through Beverley’s North Bar Without, just before getting to Molescroft, it’s amazing to think such a grand, former courthouse could leave you feeling so isolated from the rest of the world, and I left feeling like a new woman.

The spa has recently undergone an amazing transformation, creating an incredible atmosphere that left us untied from our phones and diaries, and the opportunity to spend quality time doing the thing we love best – absolutely nothing.

New_HURA20180504B-013_C.jpg

We were shown to the changing areas where we got into our cozzies and the most luxurious, over-sized dressing gowns in any spa I’ve been to.

Hotels take note, I do not want small dressing gowns in rooms, I want the robes straight from Sessions.

We began our relaxation retreat in the lounge area with a coffee and magazines, shying away from any outside light and noise.

We had full use of the steam room and tropical shower, and we laid like vegetables in the 45 minutes leading up to our treatments.

New_HURA20180504B-017_C.jpg

When it was time, we were collected by the beauty therapists and before the words “Do you want to be in a joint treatment room” even left the staff member’s mouth, my head was shaking with defiance and I knew I needed to be left alone.

My treatment room was palatial and magnificent.

The scents of a spa wafted through the air and I could already hear the crashing sounds of waves humming across the speakers.

After a swift consultation, I had my swimming costume rolled down and was lying on the warmed bed ready for my hot stone massage.

New_HURA20180504B-010_C.jpg

It was incredible. One hour of being stretched and unwound with hot stones left my body completely limp, and I could hear every creak and crack being alleviated.

Then it was onto the yoga facial, something I had never experienced before, and I cannot wait to book in again for another.

My face was nourished with countless creams and toners, as well as exfoliated, and my cheeks and forehead were massaged until my face resembled that of a newborn baby.

My neck was also massaged, and my head was gently moved from side to side to really get rid of the knots and aches.

New_HURA20180504B-015_C.jpg

After almost two hours of pure bliss, the therapist performed several minutes of meditation in order to wake my body up, and I felt like I was floating on air.

With magical oils running through my air from the facial, I was so glad we had been booked in for a wash and blow-dry before we left.

With further head massaging throughout the conditioning process, I looked as if I had had a full colour as my hair felt so shiny and soft.

I can see how the stars become so accustomed to having personal hairdressers making them look fabulous every day.

New_HURA20180504B-002_C.jpg

We left elated, with the boyfriend exclaiming it was the best massage he had ever had, and after our four hours of pure relaxation it was back into the outside world and onto measuring for some new kitchen cabinets.

Sessions Spa is a true oasis of calm right on our doorstep, and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

Sessions Spa

  • New Walk, Beverley, HU17 7AE
  • Visit www.sessionsspa.co.uk
  • Call 01482 873000
  • Email info@sessionsspa.co.uk

Lincoln’s Bomber Command Centre is a fantastic weapon of education

During a fun-filled, wine-fuelled weekend in Lincoln, we were brought down to earth with a fabulous visit to the city’s new International Bomber Command Centre.

Located just several minutes from the city centre, this interactive education centre is also a poignant memorial to everyone lost in the Second World War in the bomber command services.

2-e1497344587878.jpg

At the heart of the centre are the Memorial Spire and Walls of Names. The Spire commands stunning views across Lincoln, with a focus on the city’s ancient cathedral, which served as a sighting point for crews flying from Lincolnshire. For many of the men named on the accompanying walls, the cathedral provided their last sight of Britain.

It is now recognised as the UK’s tallest war memorial and was awarded the 2016 Structural Steel Design Award, with its height representing the wingspan of a Lancaster bomber.

These peace gardens are eerily beautiful, and it is hard to keep down the lump in your throat watching veterans pay tribute to their friends, as well as children learning about the heroics of their forefathers with volunteer tour guides.

20180103_135457_Film1-1024x576.jpg

Men and women are honoured here, as are those who served and died throughout the commonwealth. Those who survived their impossible task during the conflict are also represented, with families laying their names to rest with their long-gone comrades.

Inside the centre is the exhibition, which is fantastically interactive and moving.

In no way is this command centre a museum. It is an educational experience with artefacts and personal stories, as well as actors portraying the lives of those involved.

Lincoln_Memorial09-768x1151.jpg

The best part was the sudden start of a film inside the exhibition, with sound and light coming from all angles of the room.

It coincides with a “live map” of the bombings that took place across Europe throughout the Second World War, and is a vital reminder that we weren’t the “good guys”.

The command centre honours everyone who was involved with the bomber command.

It shows the devastation and heroics on both sides of the atrocious battles, and reminds you that just several generations ago these men and women had to stare death in the face to protect their families and friends.

Open-day-2016-11-13-09-1024x331.jpg

I will be taking my grandparents to see this masterpiece of a centre, so they too can pay tributes to the generation before them.

This is not a government-funded project, and every ticket purchase and donation helps keep every memory alive for the next generation.

International Bomber Command Centre

Why our fun-packed, fact-filled day at Lincoln Castle was fab

If you have ever wanted to experience life in a Victorian prison and see the Magna Carta all in one place, then Lincoln Castle is the destination for you.

Built by William the Conqueror in 1068 on a site occupied since Roman times, the castle has dominated the Lincoln skyline for almost 1,000 years.  Inside the castle walls is also a Victorian prison giving an insight into crime and punishment in the Lincoln of the past.

The grounds are free to enter, apart from the functioning court buildings, but we decided to pay the £13 entrance fee for a further delve into the archaeology and history of the site.

Lincoln-Castle (1).jpg

Before reaching the prison, several offshoots of rooms display archaeological finds from the castle site, ranging from the Roman period through to the Elizabethan and later. Just seeing the bone combs, drinking jugs, jewellery and myriad of coins through a thousand year period kept us glued to the castle’s information boards.

Deeper into the castle walls we reached the old prison, where we learnt about particular prisoners through interactive films inside the cells, as well as harrowing stories of life in this separate system – keeping prisoners isolated to encourage them to reflect, repent and reform.

We even got to see a taxidermy dog, which came to a rather sad end after dying from a broken heart when his owner was executed.

images.jpg

We spent a good deal of time reading all of the information and taking part in the interactive activities in the prison, with children’s activities also available throughout so they don’t get too bored.

Be careful when going into the prison chapel, though, as I had the fright of my life upon seeing mannequins nestled in the segmented pews, showing how they were kept apart at all times.

We then made our way into the David PJ Ross Magna Carta Vault, which is home to Lincoln’s own Magna Carta – one of four original copies dating to 1215, as well as the 1217 Charter of the Forest.

Lincoln-castle.jpg

Unfortunately, the cinema room was closed, but we got up, close and personal with medieval chain-mail and pages from one of the most important documents ever created.

We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon at Lincoln Castle, and we can’t wait to return to try out the medieval wall walk through the grounds.

Lincoln Castle

  • Castle Hill, Lincoln, LN1 3AA
  • Open every day of the year except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day.
  • Visit www.visitlincoln.com
  • Call 01522 782040

Washingborough Hall was the perfect place for us to stay in Lincoln

It is just an hour down the road, but no events or people had ever led me to entering Lincoln’s historic borders.  But thank goodness I did.

Luckily, it was also the hottest weather April had ever seen when we set off, and we couldn’t wait to explore everything in store.

Nestled in the village of Washingborough, Washingborough Hall is a small stately home straight from the pages of a Jane Austen novel, but a mere five-minute drive from the centre of Lincoln.

$R92VHJ4

We arrived at 11am, so too early for our room to be ready, but we were given access to one of the other bedrooms in order to freshen up before our day of exploring.

After a reapplication of make-up and a change into a more suitable, flowy summer dress, we left our bags at reception and went on the five-minute drive to our next stop – Bar Unico.

Parking was available in the NCP car park just two seconds away, so we took full advantage as we knew our day would leave us with little time to wander freely around.

$RX8X64N.jpg

Bar Unico is a Mediterranean-style café in St Benedict’s Square, just off Lincoln’s main high street, and it was great to see all but one table full.

We took a look at the menu of homemade pizzas and salads, as well as sandwiches and ice creams, and made the decision to order the Burrata specials – with an Americano and a Bierra Moretti.

The Burrata mozzarella was stunning and melt in the mouth, and the encasing prosciutto was of equal excellent quality. With the sun beating down, the delicious ingredients straight from Italy and surrounded by historic buildings, we could have easily been in a Spanish old town.

$R1VQOFG.jpg

After our tasty pitstop, we jumped back in the car and made another short, five-minute journey up to Lincoln Castle, where again parking was extremely efficient.

We wandered the Victorian prison cells hiding in the castle, saw the Magna Carta and even managed to fit in a coffee and cake in the café – it was the best coffee cake we had ever eaten.

At about 5pm, we made our way back to Washingborough Hall to get ready for dinner, and we were in for a treat.

Our room was finally ready – The Ingleby Room – and we could have moved in straight away. Huge curved windows allowed you to soak in the surrounding scenery, and a bathroom about half the size of our giant bedroom meant we had space for a walk-in shower and a standalone bath tub.

$RGBP1JU.png

We made ourselves at home before making our way down to the bar for our dinner reservation at 7.30pm.

With a rhubarb gin in hand, I ordered the twice-baked Lincolnshire poacher soufflé to start, the grilled bream for main and the most divine hot banana soufflé with salted caramel ice cream.

I’m not ashamed to have doubled up on the souffles – they were stunning.

The boyfriend also seemed to enjoy my food, as he kept trying to sneak in a mouthful or two throughout.

30725582_1041914295959294_487334309691129856_n.jpg

After a beautiful night’s sleep in our gorgeous room, we were up and ready for a homemade breakfast of eggs benedict, to set ourselves up for the day.

We headed to the newly opened Bomber Command Centre, a memorial to the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the RAF during the Second World War, and stopped for a spot of lunch at The Cheese Society in St Martins Lane, where I had the most incredible halloumi ever.

It was soft and melt-in-the-mouth, atop chilli-filled avocado on sourdough, and my lunch partner indulged in Lincolnshire sausages drenched in homemade rarebit.

cheesesociety.jpg

The lunch was sublime, as was a visit to the cheese counter afterwards, and we walked away with faces like cats that had really got the cream.

With other cheese-themed dishes on the menu, I couldn’t recommend this deli high enough.

Our next stop was the nearby Lincolnshire cathedral, with a walk up that almost ripped my unused calf muscles.

the-cheese-society.jpg

Once up there, however, the walk is well worth it, and we made our way around the inexplicably beautiful building that was originally built by William the Conquerer.

It was breathtaking.

We loved our second day out, but couldn’t wait to kick off our shoes in the hotel room and get ready for another scrumptious meal.

This time we were in a smaller, more intimate dining room, and for some reason the second meal truly outshone the lovely food we had eaten the night before.

30826233_10160155748475265_1850107222_o.jpg

We gazed out onto the lawns while tasting salt and pepper squid, creamed spinach soup, chimichurri rib-eye steak and soy-marinated pork fillet, and indulged in another incredible hot banana soufflé for dessert – as well as a bowl of mango sorbet.

By the second morning, we were like lord and lady of the castle, floating around this fabulous hotel as if we owned the place.

After a beautiful breakfast including free range, local eggs, delicious black pudding and Lincolnshire sausages, we had to say our sad goodbyes to our incredible room and the super-friendly staff.

We will definitely be back to Washingborough Hall soon, for a taste of high class-living in the heart of historic Lincoln.

Woodside Wildlife Park was a fantastic day out in the sun

Animals are better than people. Fact. My perfect idea of getting away from it all is spending my day whistling and cooing at the better members of Earth’s Animal Kingdom, and perhaps having little chats with them on the way. I’m not crazy, just passionate.

So imagine my excitement when driving home from a couple of days in Lincoln to stumble upon signs for a wildlife park, on the hottest day of the year so far.

otter

Located in the Lincolnshire countryside, a mere 25 minutes from Lincoln city centre, Woodside has it all – otters, meerkats, lynx, crocodiles, eagles, parrots and Julia the ex-circus tiger.

We couldn’t miss the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with beautiful animals, so we immediately made our way there and bought a couple of cups of dried mealworms to feed the otters and meerkats.

It was potentially the most beautiful moment of my life so far. The otters cupped our hands to nibble the mealworms from our fingers, while squeeking with excitement and joy, and the meerkats waited patiently in line for their opportunity at a mid-morning snack.

parrot

Wandering around this wildlife park, we met Monster the tortoise grazing in the sun, Saska, Nuna, Toba and Mr Hudson the white wolves, parrots, owls, racoons, racoon dogs, capybaras, marmosets, Siberian lynx, Treacle the fallow deer and a very excitable Tapir called Tulia.

We saw the big cats being fed their daily dose of protein, the tapir snacking on bread and fruit and, if we had longer to spare, we would have caught the falconry display at 3pm.

There is a large conservatory full of butterflies and birds, a natural pond with storks, ducks and geese, a chicken coop filled with talkative hens and so much more.

tort

I loved every minute of it.

As a pair of adults, we were able to walk around at our leisure and even enjoyed a couple of beers in the sun-drenched picnic area, but there is plenty for the younger visitors to do besides learning about wildlife.

There is a large adventure playground and an indoor picnic area, and timings throughout the day in the large barn with animal talks including Basil the fox and many of his friends.

snow

Woodside Wildlife Park cost £10.95 for an adult entry, and is well worth the money with the amount of animals on offer, and it is especially fantastic to see them being cared for so well.

Woodside Wildlife Park

Why No 6 Kitchenette is the No 1 romantic hotspot in Newland Avenue

It used to be a bright and airy eatery where friends would gather for a mid-week tea, now it is the most romantic spot in Newland Avenue, and the perfect place for a luxury meal without the price tag.
No 6 Kitchenette has gone back to its roots as the popular Henry Yeast & Co, and the entire restaurant has had a makeover – including the menu.
The outside is now a gothic matte black which still manages to catch your eye while the warm glow of the chandelier softly drags you in.
WhatsApp Image 2018-04-12 at 19.23.14
The pastel wooden boards that hung around the interior walls are now a scratched, antique black, and there is a nod to the restaurants residential past with 1913 homeowner Mr Moody given pride of place on the wall.
Dried hops hang from the ceiling, tangled with soft fairy lights, and each table has its own coats peg for your convenience.
We sat down to peruse the menu and noticed immediately its likeness to Butler Whites, the restaurants cousin in Humber Street.
However, I truly think Kitchenette emits a more romantic and ethereal atmosphere, and the food is just as good, if not better than.
WhatsApp Image 2018-04-12 at 19.22.37
Our starters included potted pork, served with pork crackling, toast, apple and raisin chutney, cranberry chutney and salad, chorizo and cod fishcakes accompanied by homemade tartare sauce, and the king prawn thermidor swimming in cheese fondue.
The potted pork was succulently soft, and the apple chutney was define with the pork crackling, which I was told is slow-cooked at the bottom of the oven for several hours.
The chorizo and cod fishcakes were piping hot, but fluffy and full of flavour, and the accompanying sauce was perfect.
The most luxurious and indulgent starter is the king prawn thermidor. Large, meaty prawns nestled in a piping hot skillet with cheese/thermidor sauce, which cries out to be mopped up with the toasted bread.
WhatsApp Image 2018-04-12 at 19.22.38
To wash our starters down, I had a bottled beer and we also ordered the house sauvignon blanc, which was well worth the £18 price. A New Zealand Marlborough,  it was crisp and fresh, and worked perfectly with the main courses.
We were greeted with a plentiful portion of fresh halibut, perched atop mashed potato with a moat of a bearnaise veloute. The fish was just cooked and flaked apart beautifully, and the mash was creamy and flavoured with chives and herbs. The bearnaise veloute created the perfect sauce, and the dish was soon wolfed down without any hesitation.
It was possibly the best halibut we had ever had.
Our other choice was the panfried duck breast with dauphinoise potatoes, with carrot and orange puree and a port and cherry sauce.
WhatsApp Image 2018-04-12 at 20.33.30
Over-cooked, unrested duck is an absolute sin, and this meat was like pate. Requiring little chewing, the rendered fat was perfectly crisp and the flavour of the duck was distinct amid the other parts of the dish.
The potatoes in the dauphinoise had been sliced within an inch of their lives, creating a mille-feuille of layers with perfect flavours, and the carrot and orange puree was well-spiced.
However, the star of the show was the cherry sauce.
Plump cherries steeped in port and spices, their flavour really shone through, and their sharp yet sweet notes really partnered with the duck brilliantly.
By this point, we were too full to move, but I had to end the evening with Kitchenette’s divine rum & raisin ice cream. This boozy dessert is certainly strong, but packed with flavour and plenty of raisins.
WhatsApp Image 2018-04-12 at 19.22.38 (1)
The starters range around £7, while the mains hover around the £13 to £15 mark, but if you’re looking to dine on a budget, I would suggest heading their midweek. They will also be opening for lunch over the graduation period.
The market menu offers two courses for just £13.95, with the same quality dishes and flavours as on the main menu.
While we were dining, families and couples also arrived to try the delicious food.
Kitchenette is a now a true food destination in Newland Avenue, and the perfect atmosphere for a romantic evening or for an intimate meal with friends.
No 6 Kitchenette
  • 6 Newland Avenue
  • Call 01482 440091
  • Search No 6 Kitchenette on Facebook