Bill’s Bill’s Bill’s

Do you ever just walk into a restaurant and feel like you’re at home? Well, that’s how I feel about Bill’s Diner.

I had seen the restaurant being built on my route to work every morning, so I was really intrigued and looking forward to the day it opened. I wanted to see what all of the hype was about.

I’m all about supporting local businesses and I know, I know, that they’re a big chain restaurant across the UK but, to me that’s why I’m so impressed I suppose. From their well thought out breakfast, lunch and dinner menu’s to their great customer service and interior design, I’m in love. I feel comfortable, happy and invited every time I have visited the Plymouth branch (4 times so far to be precise), and I would forever recommend friends/family/anyone to visit their local.

They have been able to capture the art of an amazing laid-back approach to food and customer service, whilst being able to maintain a high quality. It’s simple really. Tasty food. Good pricing. Great staff. Warm atmosphere.

So let’s go through the food I’ve tried on my visits shall we?

My first trip to Bill’s was for my 25th birthday in November with my mum and sister. My sister had recently visited Bill’s for breakfast and encouraged us to make dinner reservations. I initially thought there was too much going on with the menu and that it seemed quite busy but, I quickly changed my mind when I found several things I wanted to eat right there and then.

So, I went for deep fried Halloumi sticks to share with my sister and the most amazing buttermilk chicken burger with apple slaw, sweet potato fries and Cajun mayo. I accompanied this with Bill’s own pink lemonade.

Overall, the burger was like something I had never tried before and it was really really delicious. Messy I might add though. You’ll most likely need a knife and fork for this one. Oh and, It was so good that I ordered it on my second visit to Bill’s too by the way.

I loved that the dish overall came with sweet potato fries and that you didn’t have to request them. I also loved the apple slaw. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but it was really refreshing and even though they did use mayo, it didn’t bog down the dish and make it heavy. Oh, and Cajun mayo on the side! Who doesn’t love that.

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In the background you might be able to see my mums dinner. She’s vegetarian so she ordered a Calliflower steak with toasted fregola, roasted tomatoes and veggie gravy. She was very very impressed to say the least.

We even ordered dessert too. My family has a big sweet tooth! We shared their Baked Alaska but unfortunately I was so excited I completely forgot to take any photographs to show you. Rest assured, it was heaven though. If you like all things sweet and are willing to share it’s the perfect treat.

My third visit to Bill’s was another kind of celebration. It was the 28th December and I’d just taken a big step with my work.

I handed in my notice to pursue a new career.

With progression and wellbeing playing on my mind a lot towards the end of 2017 I had definitely made the right choice. So, I arranged for me and two close work friends to go for dinner to talk, celebrate and commiserate me leaving work at the end of Jan.

On the thought of trying things new and making big decisions, I ordered steak and peppercorn sauce for the first time. I had always wanted to try steak but was always a little cautious. I love beef burgers, lasagna, cottage pie etc so I knew I’d enjoy it but, the price had always scared me. I wanted to make sure that when I ordered it that it was perfect and I wouldn’t regret it. I felt confident on that day and decided I trusted Bill’s.

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I was initially a bit confused because I hadn’t ordered a flat iron steak and I had envisioned something more juicy but, it did the trick and was really filling. Now I can say that I like medium steak and will definitely be ordering it again whenever I get the chance.

In addition to our mains, we also had a champagne cocktail or two to celebrate change in 2018. My favourite cocktail was Just Peachy Bellini and Aperol Spritz pictured below.

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ALSO, we ordered desserts and I took a photograph this time. I wanted something a little less chocolaty which is unusual for me, so I went for the apple crumble and my friend ordered the chocolate brownie. Both good choices that left us feeling comfortably full and satisfied.

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Yesterday, I visited Bill’s again but for breakfast this time. I had heard some great things about their breakfast menu and was really excited to take my boyfriend there spontaneously. There was so much choice and all I knew was that I wanted a poached egg with something. I almost ordered the Eggs Benedict but last minute swapped to the veggie breakfast (great choice) but without the pesto roasted tomatoes.

The dish included one slice of toast covered in Guacamole and the other with tomato hummus, topped with two poached eggs, mushrooms and basil. This breakfast took me to my happy place. It was delicious and paired with a strong cappuccino, I felt great.

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I’m not vegetarian but I love vegetables and never ate much meat until recently (hence my curiousness about steak). Honestly, this is probably the best vegetarian alternative to a fry up I have seen in any restaurant, independent or chain. Usually there’s lots of egg options and veggie fry ups but they aren’t always very creative. This one felt uplifting. I wasn’t missing out because I wasn’t eating meat.

My breakfast yesterday has inspired me I suppose. I’ve never been a breakfast person and was always a fussy child when it came to food. If/when I do eat breakfast it’s always so dull and boring. Basically toast or porridge. Until 2017 I barely knew how to make a fried egg. Still don’t, not really. But, I’m willing now. I have found a love for eggs and hummus both together and as separate meals and the combination together made me very happy. I need to be more adventurous with breakfast in 2018 and I need to learn to poach an egg, else I’ll be visiting Bill’s every weekend for this breakfast.

So, there you have it. That’s my review on Bill’s! Generally just feeling really pleased to see such a huge chain like Bill’s come to Plymouth. Everytime I’ve visited it’s been super busy and every table around me has loved their food. It’s great to see Plymouth growing and getting the attention it deserves from Nationwide restaurants and shops.

So go check out Bill’s if you haven’t already. You’ll probably find something you like and will leave feeling all sorts of satisfied.

 

Visiting the Cotwolds

If you’re looking for somewhere to visit this Winter I’d highly recommend taking a trip to the Cotswolds. Whether you’re looking for a countryside day trip, a mini break or long holiday, Cirencester has plenty to offer you.

At the end of November, we travelled to the Cotswolds for a two day short break, staying at the Stratton House Hotel. The hotel has new owners and is currently going through a refurbishment period however; there are plenty of high quality standard and comfy rooms to choose from. Not only are some of the bedrooms beautiful but, both the breakfast and evening meals were outstanding.

On our first night, we had dinner included with our Groupon deal so went all out, ordering starters, mains and a dessert. I tried mushroom risotto with a quail’s egg to start, pan fried duck for main and a chocolate and caramel lava cake to finish. I had never eaten duck before or tried a quails egg, and I was truly impressed. I’ll certainly be trying both again when the next opportunity presents itself.

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After devouring our meal and repeatedly commenting on how amazing everything tasted, “just like you see of Masterchef Professionals” to be exact, it was time to rest and make a plan over wine and a warm fire.

It was decided that visiting Bourton on the Water would be a great start to our first day after a big hearty free fry up. Our first stop, the vintage car museum was a must and roughly only cost £6 each to enter. If you want to travel back in time, reliving some historical moments though transportation history AND meet the original Brum, this is the place for you.

I was also very much excited to attend the model village only a short walk away from the high street, also in Bourton on the Water. I was amazed at the detail that went into recreating the village of Bourton. Every shop matched and was up to date with the current village, every sign was identical and, the buildings I believe were also made from sandstone, just like the golden coloured building you expect to find in the Cotswolds. They even had a mini village inside of the village model, which I was very impressed to find.

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For our next stop we travelled to to Morton on the Marsh, which has a great high street full of rustic pubs like the White Hart, which I would highly recommend for their big portioned sandwiches, burgers and sharing platters. The town also has lots of little independent confectionery shops selling homemade, chocolates, fudge, honey, jam etc. I purchased several indulgent chocolates from an amazing little cafe including white chocolate and champagne truffles, which were presented beautifully and eaten that night with a glass of wine and monopoly back in the hotel room.

On our final day we attended the Morton Arboretum with my camera to take in the vast landscapes and autumnal scenery. The weather was crisp and sunny at only 2 degrees in temperature.

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There are still so many little villages and incredible landscapes I’m sure I didn’t get around to seeing so, I’d definitely love to go back in the NY.  The Cotswolds is one of those places that will look beautiful no matter what the season I can imagine. It’s looked after all year round, their residents and shop owners are nothing but friendly and helpful, and their buildings are restricted in terms of modernization. It simply feels like you’re really visiting somewhere unique and truly special.

If you’re looking to plan a break to the Cotswolds I would definitely recommend having a look on Groupon or, head straight to the Stratton House Hotel website for more info.