Breakfast · Cafe · Cakes and Desserts · Eating out

Game Changer Kitchen (Giffard Park)

We have been meaning to try this lovely little cafe for the longest time; and it’s only round the corner from us, so no more excuses (I said in my head to no one in particular).

Well, I was right, it is all three of those things, a cafe, lovely and little. Little being the downside because it was terribly busy when we visited on a Saturday morning; in fact, there was only a sofa available to us; so we took it and hoped a table would open up…and it did.

What beautiful decor – for me anyway, it is definitely on the girlier side of the spectrum. Like Madonna meets pinkie pie (from My Little Pony) meets boudoir. Sav and I loved it.

Even better is they made her a unicorn milkshake, which was not technically on the menu. Nate had an oreo milkshake, Colin had Biscoff and I had a Biscoff Hot Chocolate. Well, the milkshakes (and the Hot Choc) were special, they all tasted delicious and they really did look the part too; I shall definitely be coming back for more milkshakes.

For brunch (which they serve all day) I had Biscoff pancakes, Nate had Oreo and Sav had Nutella and strawberries. Once again they looked and tasted great, big fluffy, American-style pancakes and the portions were generous, in fact, I couldn’t finish all of mine.

Colin’s breakfast looked delicious too, however, he said that the flavours were not quite right for him, and it was a little under-seasoned. He had the Salmon, avocado, and poached eggs on sourdough toast. I almost wished I had ordered that, it looked so delicious, and I love me some sourdough.

We took some brownies on our way out of the door; Sav’s unicorn brownie looked good and she loved it. However, my Biscoff brownie was fine but nothing out of the ordinary, taste-wise. However, they had a lot on offer, so I definitely plan to try a few more…they look so good and they change the line-up pretty frequently.

Overall I would say it is a lovely little cafe, that I will try to visit again, but on a less busy day. The staff were very friendly and helpfully found us a seat when we arrived and made a special drink for our daughter. If it is not too cold, they also have some outdoor seating. Another bonus if you have kids, is that there is a park right around the corner, you know to burn off 1/8 of a milkshake. 😉

Another bonus is that they do a lot of special events; some that I noticed on their Facebook page included: Princess tea parties, Christmas afternoon tea, Christmas wreath making, dessert night, mummy meet-ups, The Greatest Showman bottomless brunch, and other movie-themed brunches/teas. So it is a must to keep checking their Facebook page because they seem to have a new dessert/new drink or new event almost every week…which is pretty exciting really. In fact, I just saw a Baileys hot chocolate on offer, which I haven’t had in years, so I might just have to pop over soon.

Additional Information

Address: Unit 3, Knebworth Gate, Giffard Park, MK14 5QD

Website: https://www.thegamechangerkitchen.com/

Parking: On site parking, but it gets full at weekends. There is further parking just across the road at the local centre.

Cakes and Desserts · Eating out · Lunch · Street-Food · Uncategorized

Eat Street MK (Stony Stratford)

Ahhh street food. Thank the Lord for street food, and thank you more for whomever had the genius idea to start the food truck craze in Milton Keynes – I would like to shake the hands of this person. Instead, I metaphorically shake the hands with the team over at “The Good Times Cafe” who run the monthly Eat Street MK events.

I have been attending these street food fairs for many years. For those of you who have not been, this is what you can expect: Eat Street MK is a collection of food trucks based at York House in Stony, but they are not just a collection of food trucks. There is an ambiance of a special event; there is food (great food), usually alcohol, music, places to sit both inside and out, and the knowledge that you are supporting small businesses and supporting local. If you love food, this is where you should be. Each vendor specialises so you receive the best of what they have to offer. A whole stall devoted to cheese toasties (for example). There are more options than your stomach will have space for; but if you think of it as tapas, you should be able to enjoy 2 or 3 dishes at least, and if you take some home, even more.

The events usually run on a Friday evening (monthly, but not in Winter) from 5pm, however, sometimes they have random events. It is best to check their Facebook page, as all events are listed there with the list of vendors. Some of my favorite food truckers include: Taco Shack, Good Times Cafe, Eat is Greek, The Rub, Kings Comfort Food, and Chocolate Mill MK.

I was so happy to see a Saturday event in October (it usually runs on a Friday), it meant I could take my kids, I love to share good food with them.

This month between the four of us we tried: a hamburger from Sizzlers, nachos and tacos from Baja Cantina, Biscoff brownies from Jo’s Cake Co, Beef Rendang, Chickpea curry from Banana Leaf and finally the Raclette from Good Times Cafe.

I was very pleased to try the raclette, I mean its cheese and potatoes, you can’t go wrong. It was delicious, my only piece of advice, particularly if you have kids; eat it straight away, eat it hot. I haven’t eaten anything hot since 2011 (my son was born in 2011). However it was still delicious, and their cheese toasties, just in case you haven’t tried them; are a small piece of heaven.

My husband had two dishes from the Banana Leaf (over the weekend) and declared them to be exceptional.

My kids shared some nachos and a beef burger between them. This is my only tiny peeve; many of the vendors do not have child-sized portions; even though this was a daytime event and a lot of children were present. It was difficult to find something for them, so they had to share an adult-sized burger. They did have, however, a sweet vendor – Sweet Sinsations and a brownie stall, so my kids were delighted to try both. The sweet vendor lady was particularly kind to my children; and chatted away with them amiably. My 5-year daughter will talk endlessly if I allow it, so I had to drag her away.

I also had a taco from Baja Cantina – delicious, and the Biscoff Brownie I had from Jo’s Cake Co almost blew my socks off it was so good. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I wished I had bought another one. Savvy enjoyed her Halloween swiss roll from them too.

We were lucky to arrive early and grabbed one of the seats in the middle, which is well needed with young kids. The inside wasn’t open on this occasion, but it usually is, and I prefer it because it’s warmer in the winter, they have a bar and they have toilet facilities.

I like that you can have amazing food but spend far less than in a restaurant; in the summer it is a dream to be able to sit outside in the sunshine and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere. In the past they have not run these in the winter; but it appears that there will be a Christmas Market this year, which is exciting.

Upcoming events:

Friday 5th November 5-9pm

Saturday 27th November 12-5pm

March 2022 – TBC

For more information:

Website: Eat Street MK – Facebook

Address: York House, London Road, Stony Stratford,

Bookings not required.

Parking: Just down the road, off London road, is Hawkins Close car park.

Dinner · Eating out · Sunday roast dinner

Black Horse Pub (Great Linford)

I have been to this pub many times over the years for dinner, and have found the food consistently good, sometimes outstanding, though the service used to be very slow. Service is definitely not slow any more; and they have expanded their outdoor eating areas and have decorated it beautifully inside.

A beautiful pub, large with a wide assortment of seating inside and out in a gorgeous location on the canal. I think the only reason we do not visit more is simply the price being too high for regular visits.

Our recent visit was for a sunday roast. We arrived at 3:30pm which is a perfect sunday roast time (in my book).

We all ordered roast dinners, except for my son. My roast dinner was lovely, the beef in particular was so flavourful (it mentions that it is 21 day aged beef, yum). I felt that it was a good portion size, and the yorkshire pudding was huge, crispy and delicious (£15.95). Just a few minor notes if one was to strive for perfection:

Firstly, I would have loved to have had mash as an option, as a side order; I simply love mash with my roast and really missed it. Secondly, I don’t think Kale is a good vegetable option on a roast dinner; its definitely an acquired taste; I would have preferred brocolli, cauliflower or courgettes, finally it mentions on the menu that the roast comes with bottomless gravy, but I wasn’t even provided with a gravy boat; I had to request more gravy, which I don’t think I should have needed to do. Just want to stress again that these are minor points; the meal was delicious.

They also offer a trio of meat roast selection, which I might try next time. This comes with pork, beef and chicken. Though this is a few pounds more than the one meat roast (Trio £17.95).

My husband, who has become fussier in his later years, absolutely loved his nut roast (£12.95); and I must say it did look good. Although he did wish to point out that it does not mention nuts on the menu. It actually said it was a fig and dolcelatte roast. Not mentioning nuts in the age of allergies is probably not the best idea, so again a small note.

My 5 year old daughter ordered the kids roast, which I was surprised and delighted by. She enjoyed it all except for the kale; again I don’t know any children who eat Kale; its hard enough getting them to eat brocolli! Although it was on the pricier side for a kids meal (£7.95) it was a large kids portion and the quality was extremely high.

My son enjoyed his cheeseburger sliders and ate every last morsel, so that is a good sign (£5.95).

For dessert my daughter had a scoop of strawberry icecream, my son had a cookie and icecream and my husband and I both ordered a mini dessert with a hot drink.

The prices are on the higher side for pub food, but you do get what you pay for; you get gorgeous surroundings and a delicious high-quality meal in a great location, so what more could you ask for.

Additional Information

Parking: They have a large on-site car park.

Address: Wolverton Road, Great Linford, MK14 5AJ (not to be confused with the Black Horse in Woburn).

Booking: Online

Dinner · Eating out

Mini Review: Greek Affaire (Stony Stratford)

We only stayed for one course so this will be a mini review to give a quick oversight on the Greek Affaire in Stony.

I have to say that on first impressions, even the outside of Green Affaire is welcoming. Odells Yard where the Affaire’s are located (French and Greek Affaire) is tastefully decorated and has an abundance of outdoor seating.

Inside it is even more beautiful, I love the teal-coloured suede chairs, very comfortable and we loved the golden cutlery, its a nice touch.

I would say, however, that the decor is somewhat incongruous because your expectations are that you will receive fine dining, and though the food was nice, it was not really in keeping with the beautiful decor. That being said I only tasted two dishes, so perhaps I am being slightly unfair here.

I took my 9 year old son, and therefore we were also able to try out the kids menu (though I use that term loosely as they only had main courses for children). They did not have starters for children so we both just ordered a main meal. My son ordered the Margerita Pitta Pizza, I thought that was a good idea that they tried to keep the kids menu greek, and kids love pizza. He loved it and said it was just as nice as a normal pizza.

I ordered the Moussaka and a side of fries, both were very nice. The Moussaka was cooked perfectly and was delightfully creamy, though the portion size (I believe) was a bit small, so I ordered some fries too. The side salad however looked a bit sad.

I would have liked to have ordered a dessert but they did not have a dessert menu for children. Therefore we had to leave after only a main course. I think if they could have provided even just icecream for children, then families will be more likely to stay for 2 or 3 courses.

If you have been to the French Affaire, you may be slightly disappointed coming here, unless you know what to expect, so I guess this is a review to manage your expectations.

Dinner · Eating out · Pub

Review: Navigation Pub – Stoke Bruerne

I’m a big foodie, but sometimes a pub or restaurant is not so much known for their food but for their location. The Navigation at Stoke Bruerne is that kind of place for me. Stoke Bruerne is a beautiful little village, 10 minutes outside of Milton Keynes and the Navigation is situated right on the canal between a lock and a bridge. It is a picturesque place to have a drink and a little wander.

They have a large and well equiped outdoor area (including an outdoor bar) and they have a lovely little play area for the kids; which my 4 year in old, in particular, enjoyed.

The pub is very large and has lots of nooks and hidden tables in corners, it also has a lot of tables outside, some under cover and tables right next to the canal. It is a nice family pub, ten minutes out from Milton Keynes.

I have to be honest and say that the food was about on par with the cost. It was low cost pub food, and tasted fine but not special (in general). The standout would probably be the desserts, which everyone enjoyed.

The kids and I had nachos to start, then mum and I both had lasagne and chips. Dad had scampi and chips. The kids had sausages and chips and chicken nuggets and chips. I found the menu quite limited, but it has been a reduced menu since Covid.

For dessert we had a sicilian lemon muffin cheesecake, a chocolate icecream sundae and my little girl had a SpongeBob icecream pot. The desserts were well received by all.

Overall I would recommend this as a low cost eating out option, great for kids and lovely on a beautiful day if you can sit outside and have a drink by the canal.

Note: There are two pubs called “Navigation (Inn)” within 10 minutes drive of each other, both next to the canal! The other one is in cosgrove, this one is in Stoke Bruerne.

Additional Information

Address: Stoke Bruerne, Towcester, NN12 7SY

Website: https://www.navigationpubtowcester.co.uk/

Booking: Online

Cafe · Cakes and Desserts · Eating out

L’Atelier by French Affaire (Stony Stratford)

I remember hearing that this great new place opened up during Easter this year; and all I could see on social media was crazy long queus for the “waffles on a stick”. I waited until the crowds calmed down a little and realised that this little cafe is more than just waffles. They have taken the best from French Affaire (in my opinion) and opened up a cafe selling the one thing that truly makes them special – pattiserie. Every time I have eaten at French Affaire it was always the desserts that stood out for me. Therefore it is exciting so see a little spot that sells only their incredible desserts.

I have been for a take-away and I have sat inside, both are great. Though the inside is small it is worth it, if you can get a table, as the seating is classy and very comfortable. They have even managed to fit a small toilet into this quaint space.

I took my kids along at the weekend recently as a little treat. I had the strawberry, white chocolate and pistachio delice dessert with the strawberry mousse filling (which I have had before) and it is was absolutely devine, utter perfection. In fact it looked so good I almost felt bad for cutting into it, but it does indeed look as good as it tastes.

My husband had the brioche feuilletee with a caramel filling (they also had nutella and raspberry filling), which he enjoyed. It’s kind of like a brioche donut. The fillings are generous with all the desserts.

The kids shared a waffle on a stick, which after tasting I almost, almost wished I had ordered. They had a waffle with chocolate sauce and smarties and chocolate balls. You only get one topping included, so I paid extra so they could choose a topping each.

The price tag here is higher than a traditional (english) cafe, but I believe the price reflects the level of skill and French artisan that goes into the cakes and pattiseries. The price range on the cake stand was from £3.95 to £4.95 per pattiserie.

It looks elegant and it tastes elegant. This is a place to go for a little taste of French luxury.

Afternoon Tea · Cakes and Desserts · Eating out · Lunch

Review: Teapots (Olney)

Teapots is an institution. Even though I live in Milton Keynes I have been hearing about Teapots my whole adult life. Any time any grown up had a birthday or special occasion, Teapots would often feature, okay not everyone, obviously, but everyone I know loves Teapots. So I guess this is a review for those who have not heard of Teapots – though I don’t know who you are or where you have been living – maybe you are new to the area…welcome!

Anyway, it is impossible to sum up 15 years or so of what I have experienced, so I will simply base this review on my latest visit. However, I do have to say that I have never had a bad meal here, and their cream teas/afternoon teas are epic and never disappointing. Plus their home-made cakes that they bake fresh every day, are so good that we almost always go home with a bag full and a much lighter bank balance. Cakes freeze well.

Today we stopped by for lunch. The kids had pancakes, husband had a savoury pancake and I had a toasted cheese and ham sandwich. I do not normally like sandwiches, as anyone who knows me well will tell you, but I absolutely love their toasted sandwiches, they are thick and lushious and full to overflowing with filling. The ham is super thick and the cheese is strong. It also comes with a side salad.

My husband had a mushroom pancake; and he is super fussy (when we eat out). He said, “ahhhh that is why I love mushrooms”. He also described the sauce as carbonara-like, very creamy.

My son ate his chocolate pancakes very quickly, and he would have finished of his sisters pancakes if I had let him. My daughter has a smaller tummy so she only ate half, though we took it home and she ate the rest later; they both loved them.

After lunch we had a cream tea. I had a plain scone, which is a treat, because usually I have to take the raisins out. It arrived still warm and moist. They provide a generous portion of cream and jam. Husband ordered a cherry scone and a blueberry and lemon scone. He was offered lemon curd, which worked well with the blueberry scone. The tea was nice but I should have requested loose-leaf tea. I thought it would come as standard, but alas it did not, so a note to self for next time.

Service was very good, the owner interacted with my children, which I appreciated, and played a little joke “So these chocolate pancakes are for mum and dad?”.

Before we paid the bill we took some cake home with us. If you see the cabinet full of home-made cakes, you just cannot say no, so even though we were full, we took some home. I have had their chocolate cake before, so I went for that again, and it was absolutely delicious. My husband chose a whole bunch of cakes.

We absolutely love Teapots and it will continue to be one of our regular haunts for random treats as well as special occasions. If you have never been to Teapots, I advise you to give it a try, you will not be disappointed.

Additional Information

Bookings: By phone 01234 712392

Parking: There is parking behind Teapots next to the co-op and in the main town square.

Address: 31 High Street, Olney, MK46 4AA

Dinner · Eating out · Pub

The Barge Inn – Woolstone (Review)

The Barge has become one of my favourite pubs to eat at over the last fews years; it is a beautiful pub located in a pictureque little spot in Milton Keynes in Woolstone; which feels like you are in a Cotswolds village with cobbled stones and thatched roof cottages. Woolstone boasts two lovely pubs, the Barge and the Cross Keys.

The Barge has plenty of seating both inside and out, and a conservatory. They have good parking, their own, plus the parks trust parking right next door.

Currently they have a reduced menu due to Covid. When I visited with family we all had the best meal. I ordered the beef brisket burger; I absolutely love beef brisket and will invariably order it from any menu, though I do not often order a burger, so I was a little nervous – I didn’t have to be, it was amazing. It was so beautifully chargrilled, I felt like I could taste all the flavours of the beautiful meat. My husband had a pie, which he enjoyed, though after he tasted my burger, he sorely regretted not ordering the same.

I was most impressed, however, by the kids meals. My 4 year old daughter is fussy and usually only eats plain pasta, but I ordered her the pasta dish anyway – it was tomato pasta with garlic bread – boy did she love it. She literally scooped up every last morsal of sauce with the garlic bread and then licked the bowl clean. I could not have been more suprised. Although I did taste the sauce (when she wasn’t looking, otherwise I may have lost an arm!) and it was obviously hand-made, it tasted fresh and natural and of course delicious.

My son almost always opts for a burger whenever we eat out; this time I encouraged him to try something new. Although it was not terribly different, he had never tried one before – a chicken burger. It was real chicken, not breaded. He loved it and proclaimed he would have them again and again.

The service was very good; I loved that the waitresses interacted with my children, asked them questions and made them feel a bit special. It was a busy weekend but we didn’t have to wait for hours; which is good because kids have zero patience.

We have been back many times over the last couple of years, I can highly recommend the roast dinner and the pies.

There are two lovely parks in walking distance; so we often take the kids to the park either before or after our meal. The park nearest has a huge field, which people often picnic on and or play outdoor games. There are also a lot of conker trees; we went conker collecting in the Autumn.

Additional Information:

Address: 15 Newport Road, Woolstone, MK15 0AE

Booking: Online

Parking: on site and next door (parks trust)

Breakfast · Cakes and Desserts

Olney Pancake Parlour (Review)

Living in Newport Pagnell, popping over to Olney is not far and since Olney is kind of a foodie paradise, we do pop there quite often. One of our favourite places to go for breakfast or brunch is the Olney Pancake Parlour. It’s a cafe in the main square of Olney’s town centre. Inside it is like a rabbit warren, it is deceptively big. They have booths, and tables and sofa’s and you can also sit outside.

Olney is famous for its pancakes and the annual pancake race; and the parlour is probably the best place in Olney to buy pancakes. They do sweet and savoury as well as thick American-style pancakes and thin crepe-like pancakes. They also do amazing milkshakes, sometimes I come here just for a shake, and delicious cakes. Their brownie is my personal favourite.

This week I brought the family to have brunch. A kids portion of american pancakes is just one pancake each; therefore I ordered an adult size; as it would give them 3 pancakes. It was however too much, one pancake actually would have been enough. They had nutella, banana’s and cream.

I ordered the american breakfast; which is pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage. I also had toast because they have lovely thick bread. I know that americans like bacon with their pancakes, but I still can’t get my head around it. So I ate the eggs, bacon and sausage first; and then ate the pancakes, like a dessert. It was all lovely; the american-style pancakes in particular were authentic and delicious – super thick and fluffy. Hubby had a savoury pancake which he enjoyed too.

The next best thing to the pancakes are the milkshakes! They do beautiful milkshakes in a variety of flavours in both kids sizes and adult sizes. The kids both chose oreo milkshakes and I stuck with my traditional and favourite strawberry flavour. It was super thick and creamy with a generous portion of whipped cream on top.

Olney is a picturesque old coach town. They have a few boutique shops, in fact a few shops down from the pancake parlour is a unique mini shop, ‘The Book Snug,‘ that sells only children’s books, it is so cute. Opposite the co-op is a fantastic charity book shop and there are many charity shops dotted along the high street. The Olney library is one of the loveliest libraries in the county. It’s better than any of the libraries we have in Milton Keynes. Though not a big library in general, the children’s library is big and has toys for the kids to play with. Last time I visited they had a play tent and lego among other things. Therefore, Olney has a lot to offer and there is enough to spend half a day here. On your way home you could stop by Emberton Country Park for another few hours of fun.

Additional Information

Booking: 01234 713152

Website: https://www.olneypancakeparlour.co.uk/

Parking: If the farmers market is not on, there is parking right opposite. If not, there is parking at the co-op and at the rugby club (as well as along the high street if you get lucky).

Breakfast · Eating out

Codebreakers Cafe – Bletchley (Review)

What a lovely cafe in an incongruous location. The centre of Bletchley is not the prettiest of locations, compared to most of Milton Keynes (and I used to live there, so I feel I have the right to say this). However, it is charity shop heaven and still has a good local butchers.

That being said Bletchley does have a couple of gems and the Codebreakers cafe is one of them. The owners opened during lockdown 3.0 (in February 2021); and they are already starting to make a name for themselves in foodie circles. I was curious, so this week I checked them out for breakfast (which they serve all day), though they have an extensive menu.

They have some outdoor seating, but well the view….I won’t say any more. Inside it is beautifully and minimally decorated based on the Enigma/Bletchley Park theme, with old-fashioned lamp-shades and the best seating I think I have ever come across in a cafe. They have beautiful brown leather seats, which not only look the part but they are so comfortable. I have issues with my back and tailbone so I often feel pain after sitting for a long time, but I would have been happy to sit here for hours. The lack of windows on three-sides means on a dull day it could be quite dark; but they do have lights strewn about all over; which really helps.

I chose the full english breakfast and was pleasantly surprised that they allowed me to switch a few items (have I said before that I am fussy?!). I ordered a pot of tea which arrived in a large cup with the saucer and tea bag on top, allowing you to place your own tea bag – that’s a nice touch.

The breakfast was cooked perfectly and the eggs were runny (big tick). The best part was the toast, it was thick and delicious. I love good quality bread.

The ambience was very nice and it was suprisingly not empty as you would expect on a random thursday morning. There were 5 other tables of people, which I guess means that word is getting around.

There were two ladies serving us and they were very friendly and helpful.

They have food and drinks for take-away and they also deliver in the area. They serve lunch and dinner and I’ve heard the coffee is very good (though I don’t personally drink coffee).

I look forward to coming back again, with my kids.

My highlight from Codebreakers is the seating. The seating is sublime.

Useful Information

Parking: Mini carpark opposite the cafe, additional parking behind the cafe.

Booking: Phone – 01908969550

Website: https://www.thecodebreakerscafe.co.uk/

Address: 176 Queensway, Bletchley, MK2 2SW