Thursday, 31 March 2016

Reflections - Easter fun by Bex

Over the Easter weekend we also went to visit Dadaji & Ma so the twins had a lot of fun with all of their grandparents at once!  I also had a lot of fun taking more photos and discovered that their kitchen table is very reflective with the right light and angle.  I love these photos :)

Kalyan was in a great mood, all the smiles which is quite rare before he's eaten in the morning.  And when the porridge arrived he was even more delighted.

And of course, Priya was hungry too and as usual took advantage of having a twin - extras!  Why have one spoon when you can have two?!


They were both giving me all the smiles and suddenly K turned to Daddy and gave him this look, hilarious!

P.S.  Priya's chosen title for this post:

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Easter Egg Hunt - Weekend fun by Bex

We had a brilliant time at an Easter egg hunt organised by a friend of ours in her garden for a few local toddlers :)

It was a lovely sunny afternoon and everyone had a blast, especially when it was time for the hunt!  Of course, I also dressed Priya in her super cute bunny gilet from H&M and Granny had bought them some little Lindt bunnies which came with ears too.

What do you mean there's no more chocolate??

I hope the rest of our Easter weekend is as fun!  Fingers crossed for more sunshine (although we're expecting rain) and I hope you have a good one too :)

Thursday, 24 March 2016

December - Twin Update by Bex

A few favourites from December, I'm still catching up on quite a few photos I've taken in the last few months.  These are some of my favourites :)  I can definitely confirm that it's easier (for me at least) with twins once they are over 1, just as many twin mums told me it would be.  Phew!  And yay for fun times and getting out more, both with and without them!  I have many many more non-baby related things going on which I can't wait to write about, I've just been too busy doing them all to actually blog!

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Forno Antico - A review by Bex

Forno Antico is a new addition to Uckfield's dining scene and situated down in Bell Walk opposite the dry cleaner's.  Run by Simone & his mother who hail from Sardinia, they serve authentic Italian food with a Sardinian twist and we are big fans!

We first discovered the new restaurant back in December when it was still in it's very early days.  We popped in for a coffee while my Dad was babysitting the twins while Nik and I had a rare couple of hours out together.  We'd walked down to Bell Walk to shelter from the cold wind and spotted the building was now occupied so we went in to investigate.  Simone greeted us and was passionately telling their story as we asked how long they'd been open.  It's clear that they love food and want their customers to enjoy it.  You can read more about their family and business on Uckfield News.

We'd planned just to have a coffee but I saw the sign advertising their potato soup topped with either bacon or salmon and was intrigued (and still a bit hungry after our hog roast roll) so I ordered the soup (£4.50) as well.  I wasn't sure about the salmon on top of soup idea so I went for that option to see what it was like and was pleasantly surprised!  It was a brilliant combination with the thick potato soup, perfectly warming comfort food.

We've since had a takeaway pizza (each!) which we both loved and last weekend, we finally made it back to sit in for a full meal.

We went as soon as they opened for the evening at 6pm as we wanted to take the twins (now 16 months old).  This is a little late for them usually but they'd had a late lunch and a snack so were pretty happy, if a little impatient for food to arrive (we had mini bread sticks and emergency raisins on hand though!)  We weren't sure if they'd have enough high chairs for us in case there were any other families in so we ended up taking one of ours (as they fit easily in our boot anyway since we didn't need the buggy) just in case.  It was lucky that we did as they only own one high chair!  Simone did look a bit panicked when he saw we had two babies and apologised that they only had one high chair but Nik just went to fetch ours from the nearby car park.  They do have plans to buy another one but I think in future we would ring to check that we could book them in case one or both are in use/booked in case we need to take ours again.

Priya perusing the menus

As for the food, it was lovely.  We started by immediately ordering some garlic bread (£3.00) for the twins as they were already shouting for food when we got settled at the table!  Simone double checked we wanted it to be garlicky for the twins and I confirmed that they like it to which he responded, "You're the boss." :)  Luckily it came quite quickly and I could see why he wanted to check the twins would like it as it was very garlicky - just how I and they like it!  We also ordered the Parmigiana (£6.90) for Nik and I to share but the twins wanted some of that too and we were left with very little so asked for the Caprese salad too!

When the Parmigiana arrived on the table, steaming hot, we were a bit doubtful it would be nice.  It didn't look particularly appetising and was very different from any aubergine parmigiana that we've had before but it was actually delicious!  My only criticism was that it was a little too salty but all four of us devoured it pretty quickly!  P & K even took the forks out of our hands to feed themselves!

The Caprese salad (£6.90) was also delicious!  A big full ball of Buffalo mozzarella sat atop five slices of a huge tomato with a sprig of basil.  We really enjoyed it although both thought it could be improved with more fresh basil and none of the dried herbs it was sprinkled with.  The twins apparently don't like mozzarella, even the scrummy, creamy buffalo kind, they just spit it out which meant more mozzarella for us!  Bizarrely they prefer much stronger flavours as they gobbled up Stilton (of all things!) at home the night before, they wouldn't leave me alone until I shared it and kept demanding more!

We ordered the twins chicken strips with vegetables (£5.50) for their main course.  These also arrived quickly and went down a treat.  They came with potatoes, green beans, broccoli and carrots, all coated in butter, they loved them.  Again it was a little saltier than I would have preferred for the kids but only because they're still so young.  I'm trying to be a bit more relaxed about this when we're eating out as it's not very often and won't do them any harm in the long run.

Nik ordered the Forno Antico house pizza (£11.50) with a topping of tomato, mozzarella, ham, mushrooms, Lugane sausage, onions and fresh chilli .  We REALLY like their pizzas.  The home-made bases and tasty toppings are so authentic and the closest I've had to pizzas in Italy.  Kalyan and Priya also appreciated the pizza and had a few bites of Daddy's!

Forno Antico pizza

I went for the Pollo Piemontese (£11.95), chicken in a white wine, garlic and blue cheese sauce served with vegetables.  It actually came with a side salad too, but again, I thought it was a bit too salty.

As the twins were being so good, we decided to treat ourselves to pud and ordered the Tiramisu (£4.50) for us and vanilla ice cream as a wee treat for K & P.  (We're pretty strict with sugary things and they usually only get fruit for pudding.  We actually received the ice cream on the house as a lovely gesture from Simone when we asked for just a little.)  Again, they hoovered it up and were soon eyeing up our desserts too!  As for ours, wow!  It was definitely the best bit and I usually prefer the savoury options to pudding.  It was fresh and light without a strong coffee taste and not too sweet,  thick or overly creamy, just how I like it.  Definitely the best Tiramisu I've tasted.

Determined to get it ALL!

We passed on coffees as we didn't want to push our luck with the twins since it was already their bedtime.  All in all, we had a great evening out and Forno Antico is somewhere we'll definitely go back to again.

As far as being family friendly, they definitely are trying with a good kids menu, soon to be two high chairs and very friendly staff.  They could definitely improve though with the addition of extra high chairs and a baby changing facility in the toilet.  I had to change my daughter with our mat on the floor in the disabled toilet as there was nowhere else to do it.  Luckily the floor was very clean and the toilet spacious so we were far away from the actual toilet but it's still not the most pleasant thing to have to kneel on a public toilet floor!

Atmosphere wise, it is a little lacking although Simone himself brings much of the atmosphere with his enthusiastic personality.  Of course, we were there very early, just as they opened for the evening, so the restaurant was pretty empty.  The lighting is good, the tables are nicely laid and the building itself is interesting so it wouldn't take much to improve the overall ambiance, maybe some flowers on the tables or some artwork.

The food was fantastic.  Although I've mentioned that I felt a few things were a little over-seasoned, it didn't ruin the experience and I still enjoyed all of the food.  I like that the menu is simple and all freshly home made.  I think they often have home made sweets like Cannolis as well.  Our bill came to £58.15 which is pretty reasonable for a 3 course meal for a family of four.  The starters we chose were a bit pricey but great for sharing as the portion sizes are decent.  I really want to try the Lasagne next time we go.

In summary  - we love Forno Antico!  It's a lovely family run, family friendly trattoria and pizzeria serving authentic Italian food and GREAT pizzas!  They are very friendly, accommodating and reasonably priced with a real passion for good food.  There are a few small improvements that could be made but it's still early days for this new local restaurant which we hope will do well.

You can see their menu and like their page on facebook here.  They are currently open Tuesday through Saturday 12-3pm and 6-10pm.

Olive Dragonfly Rating - Forno Antico
Food & Drink - 7/10
Atmosphere - 6/10
Service - 8/10
Overall - 7/10

Update: We went back again the following Saturday with my parents and found the restaurant a little busier and with the addition of candles on the tables as it got darker.  Again, we enjoyed Simone's enthusiasm and warm welcome although we unfortunately found the food even more salty than last week.  My Mum had the Parmigiana and commented how very salty it tasted, Nik and I both tried it and thought it was definitely worse than the previous week and we wouldn't have fed it to the twins with this much salt.  Sadly we have to say the same about all of our choices this time, each of us had something with the tomato sauce base and wished it had much less salt in.  Even the pizzas tasted salty, we think also due to the tomato.  It's such a shame as otherwise we would have enjoyed it even more than our last visit.

The lasagne was the same, although not to the extent of the parmigiana.  The portion size was absolutely massive and had such thick layers of pasta we struggled to eat much at all.  We asked for a doggy bag as we hate to waste food and Simone assured us it was very fresh and would keep no problem.  We didn't mention the saltiness to him as we were honestly worried about upsetting him as he obviously cared so much about us enjoying it.

What I had to leave.

We were told about the specials this evening (these weren't mentioned last time) and Nik and Dad both opted for the Carpaccio Bresaola to start - we all liked this.  I chose the marinated mussels to start (despite some confusion about what they were marinated in - I was told red wine when I asked but given it's colour I'm pretty sure it was white wine).

Dad agreed with me about the pizzas and tiramisu both being the most authentic tasting we've had outside of Italy.  We'd still go back for pizza and dessert but I'm not sure I'd risk any of the saltier tomato based dishes again.  Unfortunately it was a bit disappointing, I've therefore updated our rating accordingly.

Olive Dragonfly Rating - Forno Antico
Food & Drink - 6/10
Atmosphere - 6/10
Service - 8/10
Overall - 6.5/10

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