Last weekend, we discovered Kingston.  Now I’ve known of its existence the last 6 months, but we’ve just never made it there for window shopping and the like. It’s really only been because my parents’ visit 2 months ago, and they were quite taken with Kingston, going back there several times to shop.  Mum loved the Marks & Spencer (or more correctly M&S) there.

We caught the bus just outside our front door which took us straight into town.  Kingston’s high street is much nicer than Richmond.  There are more shops and pedestrian malls to wander through. You don’t feel squashed walking on busy sidewalks. Our objective for the day was to window shop a little, see what’s about, check out the different retail stores, visit Bentalls Shopping Centre and then look for Tony Roma’s for dinner.

We did all this in about an hour. For me, window shopping is difficult with a husband and son in tow, both of whom do not like window shopping. Bentalls Shopping Centre is much like other shopping centres you get in Sydney, though it is about 4 stories tall.  Whilst that might seem big, it is on a narrower plot. What I noticed was the crowd.  It felt relatively crowded to me. Appreciate it’s about 6 weeks out to Christmas, but it looked to me like it was the week of Christmas in Australia.  I simply can’t imagine how crowded it will be the week of Christmas.  In that sense, I also did not enjoy window shopping.  I found the crowds a little bit stressful, and also did not feel like browsing.  Also, there were shop assistants around and they kept asking me if I “needed help”, to which I would politely reply, “No, just browsing.” Appreciate its their job everything, though sometimes I wish I could hang a “Do Not Disturb, Just Browsing” sign on me.  Though just thinking about it, that’d make a great T-shirt and bumper sticker and handbag etc etc etc.

Then we wandered out to look for Tony Roma’s.  Hubby and I have had a soft spot for Tony Roma’s ever since our holiday in California many moons ago. I just love their ribs.  It took us a while to find it, having not brought it’s street address and not being able to find anyone else wandering around Kingston who knew either.  We asked a few people on the off chance. Watching their reaction is quite interesting. It’s like a “leave me alone” reaction. Hmm, maybe like my browsing experience.  I wonder if I’ve picked up a London thing.  Anyway, we found the hotdog man knew his Kingston streets and eateries, and he kindly pointed us to the direction of the local cinema.  And lo, we found it.

We were very happy to be in Tony Roma’s.  It looks very different from the one in Sydney.  This one was much bigger and didn’t have oldy oaky type furniture like the one in Sydney.  But it was exciting for us, as it was a little bit of “home” for us – the thing we would do as a family back in Australia.  Menu was pretty much the same, but the real unexpected bonus is that they have a Kids eat free day on Sundays.

Of course, we ordered ribs, and I must say the Tony Roma’s ribs are much nicer than in Sydney.  In Syndey, they boil it so that it falls off the bone.  It’s nice, but somewhere in the cooking, the flavour is not as intense in the meat. Over here, I think they don’t boil it as much before grilling, so there is much more flavour.  Anyway, whatever it is, it’s much nicer.  We also ordered their grilled mushrooms, but I didn’t like that so much.  I like the grilled white mushrooms in Australia, and not the garlic champignons they served us.  So that’s a definite “not again” experience.  The Onion Loaf is also much nicer than Sydney.  Definitely not as oily, and much crispier.  It must come their their collective experience of how to batter and cook Fish and Chips.  The bill for all of us is a very respectable 30+ pounds, so we were very pleased about that.

Tony Roma’s also offer Day specials, like an All-you-can-eat-ribs meal on Mondays, Kids-eat-free on Sundays and some others.  You can see which ones I remembered!