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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Gravesend, England: A Proper, Quaint English Tea Room In Not So Charming Gravesend

Marie’s Tea Room
23 High Street
Gravesend DA11 0BA
United Kingdom
Phone number +44 1474 335149
Website: mariestearoom.co.uk
Prices: ££££

A quaint little tea room with a great selection of teas, coffee, savories and sweets, and reasonable prices just next to the Victorian market and down the hill toward the River Thames from Gravesend's main shopping street.


Old, mismatched furniture and similarly unique cups, saucers, plates and teapots match the cute Victorian corner building that house them. The prices are right with a Cream Tea (scone, clotted cream, jam and tea of your choice) just £4.20 ($5.95) and a large caffe latte just £2.50 ($3.50). 
The Daily Special the day we were in was Truffle Risotto (£5.95/$8.40), quite a bargain by British standards, but with dinner just a couple hours away, I did not sample it and, therefore, cannot comment on the taste or quality. The tea and coffee, however, were plentiful and tasty and the scones (plain, cheese, or fruit) large, fresh and scrumptious.
The staff are very friendly, efficient, inviting and professional. A sign of quality and proper sanitation, the toilet (bathroom - one unisex) is spic and span and properly stocked with TP, hand soap, hot water, and plenty of paper hand towels. I was told they just finished renovating the kitchen, having installed 100% stainless steel counters and equipment.
A delightful little place, appropriately enough there was a large group of sweet, older ladies having High Tea (finger sandwiches, cakes, pastries, scones, clotted cream, jams, and tea) when we were there. If in Gravesend and in need of a drink, snack, or meal, Marie's is a good bet and a GREAT TravelValue!

CombatCritic Gives Marie's Tea Room A well Deserved 10 Bombs Out Of 10 And A Spot On My "WALL OF FAME" ... More Bombs Are Better!
Ten Bombs Equates To:


Translation for Civilians: 

HOOAH!: "Phonetic spelling of the acronym HUA, which stands for 'Heard Understood Acknowledged.' Originally used by the British in the late 1800's in Afghanistan. More recently adopted by the United States Army to indicate an affirmative or a pleased response." - Urban Dictionary

"The Department of Military Science and Leadership, University of Tennessee claim HOOAH 'refers to or means anything except no' ... Regardless of its meaning ... the term is an expression of high morale, confidence, motivation and spirit." - WarChronicle.com

"The U.S. Air Force stole 'HOOAH' from the Army because we were part of the Army until 1947 and rather than waste a bunch of time coming up with something new and unique like "ROO-YAH" or "HAL-A-LOO-YAH", we said 'screw it, let's go with HOOAH' ... thanks Army ... HOOAH!" - CombatCritic
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Title: Gravesend, England: A Proper, Quaint English Tea Room In Not So Charming Gravesend

Key Words: Marie's Tea Room, Gravesend, England, English, Tea Room, tea, scone, cream tea, cream, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Google, Facebook


Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Gravesend, England: Dry The Pudding Was Dry, But These "Hacks" Offer A Decent Sunday Roast

Toby Carvery
Coldharbour Road
Gravesend DA11 8AB, United Kingdom
Phone number: +44 1474 535286
Prices: ££££

I had my doubts after reading the sole "2-Star" review on Yelp, but the place was packed whenever we drove by, so we made a reservation for a traditional English Sunday roast, but with a twist, this place is a buffet. They apparently fixed the problems they had when they first opened, not uncommon.
The place is new and tastefully furnished with a small bar and John Smiths, unfortunately, as their sole ale. We made a reservation for 6:45PM on a Sunday, being seated at 6:48PM, not bad. The service was friendly and efficient as it should be.

You can "Trade-Up to a King Size" at a cost of around £12 ($16.25), so the small ones must be £10.50 ($14.25) or so. I am guessing because I did not see the prices anywhere, not having looked at the menu (why order a starter at a buffet?) and because our friends treated us. The rule is (for any size plate) - one trip for meat and as many as you want for the sides dishes.

They start by literally tossing a Yorkshire pudding on the plate and the choice of meats included roast pork, turkey, ham and beef in that order. I assume you get "about" the same weight in meat no matter how many you choose, so I asked for the pork and beef. The serving size was adequate, not too much and not too little. The Yorkshire pudding was a bit too dry in the middle, consequence of making so many at once and leaving them sitting under a heat lamp for so long.

Then there were the choices of sides: rosemary roasted potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes (plain and with mustard seed), green beans, peas, some orange things I never heard of, scalloped potatoes, creamed cauliflower, brown gravy, and horseradish, mint and cranberry sauces. Beside the pudding, I had the roasted and mashed potatoes (I did not care for the mustard variety), some stuffing, scalloped potatoes and cauliflower with brown gravy on nearly everything and horseradish sauce on the beef.


"Brilliant" as the locals would say. The food was very good and a decent TravelValue for the price. Make sure you trade-up to the "large plate" for an extra €1.50 and extra meat, including a couple of sausages. Traditional Sunday roast buffet-style ... HOOAH!

The downside: 1) The parking lot is not big enough for the number of cars .... the place was packed; 2) Beer/ale selection was inadequate; and 3) the Yorkshire pudding was not fresh - too dry.

CombatCritic Gives Toby Carvery 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


Seven Bombs Equates To:

Translation for Civilians: "Shits & Grins"

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Title: Gravesend, England: Dry The Pudding Was Dry, But These "Hacks" Offer A Decent Sunday Roast

Key Words: Toby Carvery, Toby, carvery, Gravesend, England, Kent, Yorkshire, Sunday, roast, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Google, Facebook


Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group, LLC and CombatCritic - All Rights Reserved

Stratford-Upon-Avon, England: WAY Overpriced, Unprofessional Staff, And Nonexistent "Free Wi-Fi" Left Us Feeling Underwhelmed

The New Inn
Clifford Chambers
Stratford Upon Avon CV37 8HR
United Kingdom
Phone number: +44 178-929-3402
Prices: ££££

For the price, the place is a bit of a dump and their "Free Wi-Fi" may as well have been nonexistent, slow as a snail if you were able to connect at all, which we were not.

Breakfast, a mediocre buffet, is only served from 8:30 to 9:30 AM and checkout is at 10 AM, so pre-planning is essential, especially if you have an early morning departure (you must notify them by 9PM the night before). As you will see below, their policies seem to favor themselves rather than the paying customer.




 When I asked the bartender why there was no internet in our room and unable to connect in the common areas, she threw up her hands and told me "what do you want me to do about it?". Explaining to her that "free Wi-Fi" was advertised when we booked the room and that I needed it for work, she looked at the local standing next to me and said "what would people do without internet these days?". When I commented on her rude and unhelpful response, she said she would do something about it, but never followed through. We were unable to connect that night and the next morning before leaving.





 At £65 ($92) per night, the small room was plain with mismatched furniture, a tiny TV, and a bathroom desperately in need of repairs (see photos). We stayed at much nicer places in both central London and Chester for $12 less than this shithole in the middle of nowhere.




The sole highlight was their "carvery" (£8.95/small plate - £10.95/large plate) dinner with sliced beef, turkey and gammon (ham) as well as roasted and mashed potatoes, parsnips, stuffing, Yorkshire pudding, gravy and several veggies, but when I asked about the policy for seconds on sides, the carver told me "read the sign mate, one trip only". Like the bartender, not very professional. Actually, nobody was friendly, neither staff nor customers, which had not been our experience in London, Cambridgeshire, Manchester, Chester, Nuneaton, Stratford Upon Avon, or Windsor. Maybe they simply do not like "Yanks" or outsiders in Clifford Chambers. In any event, we did not feel welcome and were extremely disappointed by our experience.




CombatCritic Gives The New Inn 2 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
Two Bombs Equates To:

Translation for Civilians: "Tits Up" 

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Read Chris S.'s review of New Inn on Yelp
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Title: Stratford-Upon-Avon, England: WAY Overpriced, Unprofessional Staff, And Nonexistent "Free Wi-Fi" Left Us Feeling Underwhelmed

Key Words: The New Inn, New Inn, new, inn, Clifford Chambers, Clifford, chambers, Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon, England, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, pub, menu, review, Yelp, Google, Facebook

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