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    My second visit to Shoryu Ramen was at the brand new Kingly Court branch in Soho/Carnaby Street. We arrived at 1pm on the opening day and had about a five minute wait before being seated. As soon as we sat down we ordered drinks and were given the menu’s – excellent for a lunch time 1 hr food slot!


    Enjoying my Piri-piri so much last time I didn’t want to order any other… ok…  I lied, I’d totally forgotten this is the one that I had previously write up HERE so I won't go into detail. I just fancied a good chilli kick and this took my fancy (yet again).
    Due to both of us being hungry and me wanting something a little extra, greedy piggy wig I am Mr E and I both had a hirata bun, pork for him, tempura prawn for moi. His pork looks delicious however lacked a little on sauce therefore making it a little bit dry and ‘claggy’ with the bun being steamed this can cause for tricky eating if there’s no sauce (the bun sticks to your teeth slightly – not attractive!)

    My prawn hirata was light, fluffy and delicious. The tempura batter added a nice crunch and there was a decent amount of large prawns, sauce and fillings…  
    Mr E went for the Dracula tonkotsu (VERY garlicky) N.B. - all tonkotsu ramen is made with a rich pork broth with bbq pork, egg, mushrooms, spring onion, sesame, ginger, nori and mayu (caramelised black garlic oil) unless stated. Dracula Tonkotsu has even more deep roasted caramelised black garlic mayu, balsamic vinegar and garlic chips – it smelt amazing!

    My piri-piri tonkotsu gave the needed chilli kick and proved to be just as good as my last visit – it’s good to know that they may be expanding rather rapidly however their food isn’t being compromised. The bbq pork just as sweet and juicy, the broth just a flavoursome, silky and rich DE-LISH!


    We were in an out in under an hour which was ideal for our 'quick break' and for less than £15 our tummies were extremely satisfied and taste buds very happy!

    Shoryu Ramen you've excelled, once again!


    A: G3-5 Kingly Court London W1B 5PJ

    No reservations - expect a 10-15minute wait during busy times.
     

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    Shoryu Ramen on Urbanspoon



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    Barrafina in Soho is one of those places I'd been to several times and then hadn't been for a good few years. It's still considered one of, if not THE BEST places to go to in London for tapas. Even today still has people queuing, sometimes for a good hour, from 12pm till late evening.

    As Mr D isn't a lover of Tapas, I jumped at the chance of seeing my cousin, Mr H whom is a fan. Barrafina was one of our top choices and he arrived around 11:50am on a Friday, and was already third in line (they open at twelve). By the time I arrived at 12pm a small snake was forming. Tapas gets such a mixed reputation amongst my friends for varying reasons, many exclaiming being 'too selfish to share' - their words not mine! Personally, I love it for the sharing aspect, the talking point the food gets around the table and also as I never know what I want. So, several mouthfuls of different dishes suits me perfectly. In this case, and also most other times I'm with Mr H, I left it to my cuz to order for us both - he's pretty good at that!


    The atmosphere at first opening is one of excitement and controlled chaos, staff are prepping, serving, seating and running along the bar style dining room tending to diners in arrival order - first come, first served. Drinks were taken approximately 15mins after being seated and the specials were read out - most are the catch of the day and some vegetable sides...


    Followed by our food order, around 30mins after we sat down - warning if you're in a lunch break rush (like me) this is not the best place to come. I had to practically panic throw my food down my throat in order to get in and out within the hour... ok... I made it back 5 mins late, but still, pretty good! It's definitely a grazing place to spend hours slowing eating and quaffing delicious Spanish wines...ah... if only...


    From the specials we had:

    Baby artichokes with alioli (£6.80) - lightly fried to gain a crisp coating. Dipped in the alioli this was divine! N.B. not a diet dish as the alioli was eaten on its own spoon by spoon once the artichokes had vanished, it was so good!


    Razor Clams (£7.80) - garlic rich, ever so slightly over cooked but still lovely.


    The absolute highlight of all the dishes Scorpion fish with broccoli and squid ink (£23.80). The squid ink sauce was like no other we had tasted.. the deepest of blacks, sticky, salty, squiddy and a little bit mind blowing we spooned it up like soup. The fish was cooked perfectly with a deliciously crisp skin. We tucked in too fast to get a full photo worthy shot however these pics still look good enough to eat I'd say...



    Off the menu we chose:

    Octopus with capers, this was incredibly tender and more-ish another of the meals highlights


    chickpeas, spinach and bacon delicious for a non protein rich dish.


    Jamon senorio de Montanera, there is literally nothing I like more than a huge plate of cold posh ham...


    Barrafina totally captured my heart, even after all these years. I loved the food, the buzzy bar style dining atmosphere and that I felt as if I had been transported to Spain. The staff are so enthusiastic and obviously love working there and the produce they serve. The fish in particular, was some of the freshest I have ever tasted. Lunch for the two of us was over £100 so not your average 'pop in' place...

    It's a wonderful date place and I can only ever expect it to be even better at night.

    Girls and boys, get queuing!! Friends, If you ever need a Barrafina buddy, I'm your girl!

    Address: 54 Frith St, London W1D 4SL
    Phone:020 7813 8016

    Prices:
    ££££

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    I went back to my old stomping ground last weekend for a good ol' pub knees up at The Sands End in Fulham. Never going that often when I lived as a local after my last few visits I ask myself why...

    The Sands End serves up grub as good as any other posh boozer or 'foodie pub' I know, and only now do I wish I lived a little close to pop by regularly. Our meal last night was outstanding for all seven dishes and it's reasonably priced considering the effort that goes into some of these dishes.

    The Friday of Bank Holiday meant only one thing... we were all out for a biggy and the Sands End wine list suits that perfectly! The staff at The Sands End are always eager to greet you with a warming smile and genuinely seem happy to work there, they're proud of what they produce and what a breath of fresh air that is!

    Looking at the menu it's virtually impossible to choose from some of their classic pies or their consistently delicious fish dishes. However eventually we all settled down and chose pretty well...

    My starter was a Scallop ceviche, pea shoots, iberico ham, radishes and lime/lemon emulsion type sauce (sorry totally forgot to photograph the menu for exact reference). Was super fresh and zingy - a lovely dish to be had new we're hitting Spring weather! I did find however it lacked a little something, although the plate being super busy, but still to this day can't think quite what it would be...


    A type of ragu ravioli was had by two of the boys around the table and gained resounding 'mmmmm's'


    Cauliflower tempura was another, pretty summer dish.



     
    Starters impressed us all however some mains completely stole the show...

    Roast haddock with 'nduja risotto, salted almonds, aioli and pecorino was one of those dishes I am still talking about a few weeks later. The fish, cooked perfectly, was delicious however the spicy pork nduja risotto was absolutely plate 'lickably' divine! Miss A and I were rather smug with our choice in food...



    Poussin was had by Mr D, no complaints here apart from it could have been a little bigger.



    Steak and blue cheese sauce, triple cooked chips was taken by three out of the seven of us and again, plates were squeaky clean! The triple cooked chips were also ordered as an extra side for the table and these are a must have! Fluffy on the inside and a crispy golden outer shell.






    Dauphinoise rabbit pie I am informed was as delicious and impressive as it looked, the only negative to come out of this dish was again that 'it could have been slightly bigger' - a compliment at its best, Mr F wanted more!



    No room for puds and wanting to continue the party at one of our houses we ended our little pub date on a high. Some superb cooking, innovative dishes and most importantly a fantastic neighbourhood pub. Maybe we shouldn't be moving over the river after all...

    Address: 135-137 Stephendale Road, London SW6 2PR
    Phone:020 7731 7823


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    Sands End on Urbanspoon



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    Now, I am all for supporting local restaurants. They bring a community together, make streets look appealing and stop a barrage of estate agents opening up or (another) 'little' supermarket. Tokyo Retro on the gorgeous Abbeville Road in Clapham has been something of a mystery to us Abbeville Villagers. Taking a while to officially open and a solo table set in the window simply enticed locals to wonder what was going on.

    Now open, Tokyo Retro with a few tweaks to the décor, which was much needed to begin with, has finally settled in. We got talking to the very friendly front of house waitresses whom informed us that one chef is ex Nobu and another being head chef of the Japanese embassy (although please don't quote me on it I could have heard her totally wrong!), so our expectations were high and I can tell you, they have been met! They also informed us that they are trying to put in a sushi bar which at the moment they can't due to the kitchen temperatures being too warm...however we wait with baited breath...

    On now our third visit, in as many weeks, we popped in and were presented with what is now the lunch menu, they have recently introduced a separate dinner menu with more options for both starters and mains.

    Mr D and I fancied trying as broader range of the menu as possible, it was a treat day after all. Whilst deciding, we ordered some of their edamame - not much to report here as I'm not entirely sure you can go wrong or particularly 'wow' with beans...


    Chicken Karaage was first out and this is fantastically succulent, incredibly crisp and was definitely gobbled up rather (too) quickly, it's now our staple order on visiting.


    Their special giant shrimp tempura is a pretty spectacularly large prawn, with extremely light tempura batter. Served along with three different types of mushroom tempura - an added bonus and just as wonderful. FYI, the same gentleman was dining on two of our occasions whom seemingly travels to Japan A LOT (we could hear every word due to a booming voice) and he shouted claimed the tempura was some of the best he has ever eaten - i'll have to agree it was absolutely de-licious and indeed, some of the best I've ever had too! Sadly the photo does not do the size of this justice...


     
    Crab croquettes were our final of the starter feast we seemed to be having, four mouth burning breaded parcels arrived. Which sadly lacked in crab taste however the crunchy outer shell and smooth potato filling was a fantastic combination. I just wish they were a little more...crabby?!


    Our mains (now as the lunch bento boxes) were chicken teriyaki and pork with ginger. Both delivered well on flavour the chicken teriyaki for one was a triumph. Always being a fan of the sweet sticky sauce I was completely sold by. The chicken was kept perfectly tender and had a good flavour throughout. The pork, fell slightly behind due to it being a little dry, flavour wise however it was excellent and there was a dominant ginger kick.

    Chicken

    Pork

    Both dishes came with rice, a Japanese salad and Japanese potato salad however note that now for dinner rice is an extra as they have refined their dishes slightly...see photos below for a recent visit during for the all new dinner menu, just as delicious, just as authentic but a little more refined for suppers...



    
    Beef Katsu Curry - sauce not pictured
    
    If you love Japanese food and want authentic Japanese home cooking you can't really beat Tokyo Retro. The food, I'm told by some regulars, is as good as you would get without actually being in Japan, so if that's not a reason to head over I'm not sure what is... I simply cannot wait for the sushi counter... but, for now, I encourage you locals to go and support it (even if the room is a little quiet!) you won't be disappointed!!

    A: 57 Abbeville Road, London, Greater London, SW4 9JW
    P:+44 20 3302 7574

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    We'd had some utter crappy news with regards to a flat purchase, wanting to forget about it and move on and up our evening at Gymkhana could not have come at better timing. It was also coupled as Mr D's belated birthday treat from yours truly and therefore it was also cause for a mini celebration...perfect

    London's Michelin starred Trishna's sister restaurant Gymkhana is housed on Albemarle street in Mayfair. Subtly disguised behind a big green door and minimal signage, I don't think you'd ever imagine it is a (now) infamous 'Gymkhana' style Indian restaurant.

    The room is rich colonial, with 1920's (esq) music piping through reflecting that of the high society sporting clubs set up by the British Raj called 'Gymkhana's'. The menu is split into starter style dishes, mains and puddings however they also have three types of tasting menu's, another vegetarian one and also an early bird menu for £"5 - bargain! We were told tasting menu portions are more or less the same size as the a la carte.

    For obvious reasons in that we wanted to feel so full we'd forget about the absurd English house buying laws we chose the Full Tasting menu £55 per person for 6 courses... it's money well spent considering the amount we devoured...

    Poppadoms were served as soon as our drinks order was taken and came with an incredible mango chutney and a rather yummy shrimp chutney.


    Potato Chat with Chickpeas, Tamarind and Sev came first which was totally unlike anything I was expecting. Thoroughly enjoyable and a fantastic texture from the crisp potatoes. On first reflection I didn't think I'd eat it all however I was scraping the plate to get every last morsel by the end of it.   



    Lasooni Wild Tiger Prawns, Red Pepper Chutney were incredible and seemingly the highlight of both our meals. Enormous prawns smothered in a delectable red curry paste, a good amount of charr on them which more added flavour and served with a spiced chutney (the sauce was another standout element).


    Onto the first of the choices for the menu of which we decided to try both on offer:

    Gilafi Quail Seekh Kebab, Pickled Green Chilli Chutney. Not the prettiest to look at made better by their gorgeous crockery. It was succulent and cooked to utter perfection seasoned well with a good trace of herbs and spices, the green chilli chutney has a pretty good kick to it which made us worry ever so slightly as the only dish that came with a spiced warning was to come...



    Kasoori Chicken Tikka, Sprouting Moong Kachumber was our favourite out of the two purely as the chicken was incredibly tender and the crunchy tomato and cucumber relish type thingy side was a fab addition.


    Kid Goat Methi Keema, Salli, Pao (a type of sweet bread bun)was possibly the most unexpected of all the dishes. It came minced was slightly sweet, slightly spiced and all together not what I thought it was going to be at all. Scooped onto the Pao buns, topped with some of the raw red onion it was a fantastic mix of flavours and textures. This is one of the dishes which is most talked about, I felt ever so slightly deflated but with no idea why!




    Onto 'mains'?! which came with rice, two types of naan, lentils and a delicious spiced potato dish as sides!! It's definitely worth the money...



    Suckling Pig Vindaloo was one of my favourites of the whole evening as it packed some serious punch. This came with the spice warning... for vindaloo (and having a warning) I was slightly scared. However,there was no need to be. Yes, it had a VERY good amount of hotness to it but it wasn't uncomfortable. The thick red tomato sauce was delicious, had just the right amount of garlic and just the most incredibly mix of spices... have this whenever you go! 


    Butter, Pepper, Garlic Crab was exactly that but extremely crabbie - perfect for me, not so for Mr D!


    Chestnut and Date Kheer (rice pudding) I CANNOT abide rice pudding so I didn't even try this. It was however, gobbled up by the man to my left...


    Saffron Pistachio Kulfi Falooda still no idea what this exactly was but it had vermicelli and ice cream in it.  


    Some very pretty and teeny weeny chocolate spheres signified the end of our meal, which were delicious. Gymkhana has a wonderful atmosphere and even better food... it's Indian cooking at it's finest and I'm yet to find a contender whom is even remotely close...I can't wait to head back.

    Address: 42 Albemarle St, London W1S 4JH

    Phone:020 3011 5900


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    Gymkhana on Urbanspoon



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    I've recently become a fan of finding a local pub to dine in over a restaurant. Mainly because of moving areas and therefore wanting to find a good local to pop to like our beloved Claude's Kitchen or The Brown Cow. However it's also due to really enjoying the atmosphere of dining within a more relaxed surrounding and, more often than not, propping up the bar (before and afterwards).

    Mr D and I met up with my brother and his ridiculously pretty girlfriend for a spot of supper. Both being Clapham based we wanted to head to the highly acclaimed Bolingbroke pub at the top end of the vibrant Northcote Road.  

    The dining room at the back is gorgeously light and quite romantic. Rustic tables are set and a special board is scrawled on the wall. Menu's were brought over and I needn't have looked - the specials totally caught my eye...

    If ANYONE can please tell me where their blue rimmed plates are from I will be over-the-moon! Perfect for summer dinner parties!


    Special: salt and pepper squid, was taken up by Mr D and I. Perfectly crisp, plentiful and served with a wickedly good aioli, red and green chillies and spring onion. Fab!


    Potted shrimp was taken up by my brother.


    Fish cakes taken up by Miss SS, a pretty delicate dish.


    Another of the specials was taken by yours truly and I was hugely satisfied... coley, beetroot mash, broccoli and a scallop sauce. The scallop sauce, expecting it to be a sauce tasting of scallops in fact had little queenies dotted around. The coley had a good crispy skin and flaky flesh this went well with the earthy beetroot mash - a really nicely presented plate.



    Lamb chops had my the brother ship...



    Miss S chose the Burger which came with a good helping of decent chips.


    Mr D had another of the specials: ribs in a smoked bbq sauce - never one to pass should ribs be on a menu, these hit a spot. The meat was tender and came off the bone easily. The sauce could have had a bit more of a smokiness punch to it but good all the same.


    After supper we popped into the bar area to carry on the evening and have some drinks, we were served promptly and found a space easily considering it was pretty heaving- locals must love this place. We had one of those really lovely and relaxed evenings. 

    A fabulous Clapham gastro-pub which is helping me settle into my new surroundings with great ease, thank you! Their roast dinners are on my hit list soon walking past on a Sunday their Yorkshire puds look incredible!


    T: 020 7228 4040
    A: 174 Northcote Road, LondonSW11 6RE


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    The Bolingbroke on Urbanspoon


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    Photo from The Times
    My parents were down for the weekend and not spending much 'two on one' time I had an evening with them alone (sibling W was busy). They often stay in South Kensington which has recently had a flurry of new restaurant open up over the last year. 

    Bo Lang is one of them. It's a tea house style dim sum and Chinese restaurant with a great energetic, sexy evening atmosphere, thirst quenching cocktails and fabulous food. 

    We were ushered towards to back of the rather busy restaurant and sat at one of the side tables with bench style seating, handed the menus and waited, and waited and waited until a charming waiter asked if we wanted to order. No question of drinks beforehand we decided to order some wine and a cocktail, (waited some more) before they took our food order. Our 'pre dinner' (which were now accompanying our starter) drinks arrived and, it must be said, the cocktail was worth the wait. 



    Starters are fried or steamed dim sum, soup or salads. Mains are then jazzed up traditional dishes such as beef with oyster sauce, tofu with black bean. However the focus here is the dim sum and it is encouraged to concentrate on these then have a smaller amount of mains - we did both pretty well.

    Again, it took some time before our first steamed parcel arrived which were the Saffron scallop and cod dumpling. Filled with plenty of delicious fish this held together perfectly (signs of it being well steamed!) and was absolutely delicious.  



    Our second batch of steamed dim sum arrived which was the prawn and chive. A great texture and a good amount of prawns throughout. The dumpling was again, steamed very well. 


    We then waited around 20 minutes and within this time were presented with a pretty steamed scallop dish, which wasn't ours (we sent it back to its rightful owners) and a plate of broccoli... again, we hadn't ordered this and we hadn't finished our starters yet.

    By this time people were getting up from other tables and helping themselves to their own wine out of the ice buckets by the kitchen. The baked and fried starters then arrived and again we were not disappointed at all, just getting ever so frustrated at the strange service.

    The rib puffs were extremely well executed with fluffy pastry and delicious sweet meat.



    The squid was in a fabulous tempura batter and seasoned well. 



    It was at this point that one of our main dishes turned up. 

    Scallops with asparagus and aubergine with samba sauce. No, it isn't one of those restaurants where you get your dishes 'as they are ready'. The menu is split into 'starters', 'mains', and 'puddings'... so we waited on the others to arrive. 



    Slowly but surely they came out in slightly better procession than the starters did. 

    We asked for another bottle of water (it never arrived) and a bottle of the pouilly fume. It was now that we noticed other tables becoming more frustrated. The tables next to us practically laughing due to their chicken buns arriving as they were on their pudding... 

    Jasmine rice was well cooked and more than enough for the three of us.



    The most delicious, melt in your mouth Baked black cod with pak choi and a devilishly sweet miso sauce.



    Roasted Bo Lang duck breast with samphire was our other choice of main and was cooked pink with a crisp skin - yum! It just could have been a little larger...


    Our vegetable dish of Aubergine hot pot with chilli and garlic never arrived or some other lucky table got to taste it, maybe we should have kept the steamed scallops and broccoli?! 

    Another thing I found slightly odd is that your starter plates weren't replaced with clean ones for your main... therefore we were eating on side plate sized crockery which was a little strange, and difficult when trying to chase rice around a 6" diameter plate with chopsticks... 

    Presented with the table next to us' bill, we then waited another ten minuted to receive our own - the broccoli still firmly on the tab... My Dad actually couldn't be bothered to ask them to take it off and just paid...

    Surely for £70+ per person this shouldn't be happening... For a Thursday night, at an established restaurant, surely you'd have got this sorted?! I just hope we hit them on a bad day. I just can't see many of the people visiting last night returning again... which is sad as the food, especially the dim sum, was very, very good.

    So, there you have it, one of my first ever disappointed reviews...mainly because I was SO looking forward to going...it is after all my most favoured cuisine... the staff on the upper hand are lovely, and couldn't apologise more. It was completely and utterly chaotic. Maybe it's best to head over for lunch when things are a little less...busy?!


    Address: 100 Draycott Ave, London SW3 3AD
    Phone:020 7823 7887

    Bō Làng on Urbanspoon

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    Photo from Wikipedia
    We wanted a quite weekend getaway and Hampshire is always our go to spot. Surrounded by gorgeous countryside, quaint villages and wonderful traditional pubs - a lot are now of Michelin starred standards (The Wellington). Hampshire is fast becoming a foodie destination, and perfect to get to for us Londoner's as it took us just over an hour from Clapham. This Bank Holiday weekend was the perfect amount of time to get some good food in our tummies and fresh air in our lungs and for me to learn a thing of two about fishing!

    We drove down on the very wet Saturday and went straight to The Dundas Arms, in Kintbury. This has been recommended by a friend whom moved into the village recently. They have rooms which are simple, cosy and everything you need for a weekend escape and we'd heard good things about the food, plus they happily take dogs.



    The Dundas is nestled on the banks of the river Kennet - perfect for you sporting types! It's extremely picturesque and perched on the edge of Kintbury village, which is a lovely old town filled with desirable homes and chocolate box cottages, and as an added bonus it's right by the train station. If only it had stopped teaming it down we could have taken advantage of a long river walk by the tow path. Instead, we took full advantage of having a pub on our doorstep and, once the weather had stopped, took a cider onto our balcony which was blissful... 


    From the pub website 
    Supper was booked at 8pm where we were seated and asked if we wanted a glass of prosecco, yes for moi, beer for Mr D and nestled into the menu. A good variety shown for both starters and mains and an extremely decent wine list also. 


    Mr D chose the asparagus and poached egg to start, with quite 'gloopy' hollandaise.


    I opted for the chicken liver parfait, pan fried foie gras, spiced chutney and brioche toast. The foie gras was quite heavily charred which did over power any other flavour when eaten with the parfait so I chose to eat this on it's own with the brioche and the same again with the parfait which was delicious and perfectly smooth, and made even better when combined with the chutney. It was all well seasoned.



    Predictably, Mr D had steak cooked med-rare.


    Sea bass, crushed new potato, green beans and a light tomato sauce was my choice of a main and this was well cooked, perfectly seasoned and the sauce was delicious. 



    Wanting to make our evening here last as long as possible we paused for a while and finished our wine, before ordering pudding and digestifs (of sorts). Our sticky toffee pudding (to share) was yummy. We plodded off to our wonderfully comfortable bed, content and happy around 11pm with more amaretto's and whiskies (!!).


    Needing to get on the road, to see the cousin's babies, I completely forgot to picture the breakfast. We both had a lovely full English with two fried eggs, sausage, bacon, black pudding and toms. All delicious, my only niggle was that the bacon could have been a little more crisp! There's a table with juices, teas and Dorset cereals for you to help yourself and staff were attentive throughout. Sat over looking the wonderful beer garden which was now flooded with sunlight it was a shame we had such miserable weather the day before!



    The next day, after a lovely evening with family, Mr D and I headed into Longparish, home of the Plough Inn from the Great British Menu, to do a spot of fishing. Me bring a TOTAL novice seemingly got the hang of it and I've been converted, although not catching a single thing (I can blame the weather!) I absolutely loved it. 



    The scenery was pretty awesome too...





    A: 53 Station Rd, Kintbury, Hungerford RG17 9UT
    P: 01488 658263


    Square Meal


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    Now, you may have worked out, I am a BIG fan of the lovely Abbeville Road, nothing as yet quite compares within its vicinity. More recently a surge of new rather snazzy restaurants have opened up. Comensal is one of these newbies, and fits the bill perfectly.


    Ran by a charming ‘his and her’ team. She, from Mexico. He, (you guessed it) from... Bonnie Scotland. It’s a vibrant little bar and restaurant which was bustling with walk-ins on night two of its grand opening. In place of what was a rather dingy dark restaurant the walls are fresh and colourful. Which, will soon be adorned with photos of their time in Mexico creating a more welcoming and adding a personal touch, the place is refreshing without trying too hard. There’s also a fantastic ‘tequila’ bar up front made with gorgeous hand painted tiles (imported from Mexico) great for a quick bite to eat with a drink mid week.


    Miss K and I booked to go for its soft opening week. Being warned that there has already been noted of a few ‘minor’ glitches which are in hand we settled in well and instantly ordered two of their (bloomin' fantastic) margaritas.  



    We decided against ordering the mains off the menu and instead opted to share lots of the street food snacks and sharers.


    First up is what I imagine will become their signature dish, guacamole… nothing special eh? Well… it gets made up at your table from scratch. Leaving you with a huge mortar full of the stuff, along with home made tortillas to scoop it up with.






    From then on our food arrived in quick succession filling the table completely…



    Taquitos Dorados, five little rolled up tacos filled with chicken breast then fried to give a crisp shell. These are then topped with cheese, lettuce, salsa and sour cream. A great concept just needed a little bit of seasoning/kick for them to be perfect, it just needed a bit more flavour.



    Pastor Taco, pork marinated in chilli spices, served with cilantro (coriander), onion and pineapple. This was our favourite by far however it just needed that extra chilli kick. I certainly could have taken more spice and Miss K being a well-travelled Mexican-er (?!) said spice would be more apparent in the original dishes – maybe some sauce on the table would be good to suit all?


    Taco Tulum, another favourite of mine for the evening and I recommend you trying this. Soft tortilla, with crispy cod pieces, house made crunchy slaw (lots of!), chilli and coriander mayo and lime salsa. The only issue with this is that the top tortilla gets all the flavour from the sauce which has now seeped into it, therefore making it a hard fair-sharing dish. The fish was fresh and crisp and the vast (maybe too much?) amount of coleslaw was certainly very crunchy and gorgeous in colour!




    Ceviche de 3 pescados. The three types of fish, salmon, cod and tilapia were very, very fresh and a joy to eat. It simply needed a little more zing and punch to it, however, this could be a matter of taste. For ceviche I like mine really sharp-tasting. So, a little more lime would have been perfection to me. A good dollop of guacamole and a chipotle infused oil – yum! Served with tostadas for scooping which delivered a good mix of texture.



    Comensal is a great, fun fixture for Clapham’s hungry villagers. The food was good, the cocktails, even better – try their tequila, pop in for a nibble or a full on meal and enjoy! My only gripe was that they could be braver with the bold and punchy flavours that I associate with Mexican foods. It’s opening week, therefore expect a few mishaps (these will always be ironed out by second visit) and enjoy the atmosphere and wonderful smiley staff.


    A: 32 Abbeville Road, Clapham, London SW4 9NG
    T: 0208 673 7272

    Square Meal


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    SO, WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO SINCE MASTERCHEF?

    It’s been an absolute whirlwind since it aired late last year! There have been a number of competitions that I’ve taken part in and I’ve recently been named as British Chef of the year by the British Culinary Federation which is a huge honour. I’m currently taking part in another competition where I’ve been called through to the next round so I’m preparing for that alongside launching a new a la carte menu which equals a lot of fun but a lot of experimenting for me.
    Scottish Salmon
    Adam's Scottish Salmon with fennel Pollen, Pea, Dill and Apple

    HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR NEW-FOUND FAME? DOES A CAREER AS A TV CHEF BECKON?

    Honestly I am overwhelmed by the positivity and the response that I’ve received to everything that I have done- everyone that I have spoken to and had contact with has wished me every success in everything that I do and are fully supportive of me which is fantastic. As for a TV chef- who knows? Never say never!

    WHAT’S THE ETHOS BEHIND THE DISHES YOU CREATE AT CAXTON GRILL?

    I love dishes that are big on flavour- I’m all about clever flavours working together and creating surprising combinations for my guests, my style is evolving and for my new menu I’m using more Asian flavours which are an absolute passion of mine. The style of cooking is having the “wow” factor for my dishes and using all of my toys in the kitchen to emphasise this

    TELL US HOW YOU WENT ABOUT CREATING CAXTON GRILL’S NEW A LA CARTE MENU?

    I wanted to strip back flavours and create dishes which were simple but big on flavour and visually stunning. The preparation takes a little longer but the ultimate flavour combinations are so worth it

    ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MENU YOU’D LIKE TO EARMARK AS MUST-TRIES?

    I’m biased… but all of them! The new appetiser snacks are amazing… the perfect entrée to meal & the Chef’s G&T using dill is to die for…!
    For more information, or for bookings: www.caxtongrill.co.uk


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    A rather special email invitation popped into my inbox from one of my favourite chef’s restaurants - Richard Corrigan. He was hosting an evening of celebrating forgotten foods, all in aid of a charity called ‘Slow Food’ at his Mayfair restaurant, of the same name. You can find out more on their website but a little insight is that they help support local producers and to counter the rise of fast foods – globally. They have also helped to support local communities in over 150 countries helping farmers/growers gain a fair price for their produce.


    I immediately booked for the two of us.

    Arriving at Corrigan’s we were greeted at the bar and served an aperitif where we were given nibbles and then shown to our seats.


    Once seated, there was a small talk from the organiser and director of Slow Foods UK before we were taken through the upcoming feast. What I didn’t realise was each chef, some of whom are my absolute favourites, were there in person. For some reason, possibly due to then length of the menu, I thought they had only put the menus together. They individually spoke about their dishes with such passion it made us all even more eager to start.



    First up was the fabulous, and a chef whom i've always had a crush on, Valentine Warner’s starter of ‘Berkshire pig with mackerel mayonnaise (Tonnato style). Leaning on the supper of Angela Hartnett for a quick explanation of what Tonnato style actually was (a creamy tangy sauce, usually made with anchovies). It arrived extremely pink which was something Valentine warned us of before, however he explained that seriously good pork can be served rare… it was awesome and extremely tender. The mackerel sauce was a perfect umami hit, tangy, salty and not over powering but complemented the meat.



    Next up was one of my favourite chefs of the moment Emily Watkins, whom is the proud owner of a GBM 2014 medal for her ‘Normandy Beach’ fish course. She served ‘smoked bath chaps, jersey royals, broad beans, radish remoulade’ this happened to be one of our stand out dishes of the evening, although all were incredibly delicious it just had the wow factor, the flavours were spot on and the little side potato salad of sorts was really refreshing and totally more-ish.



    The first fish course followed which was an incredible Hampshire grown watercress and smoked haddock risotto by the highly acclaimed Angela Hartnett. The risotto rice cooked to perfection and was such a great green colour due to it being only cooked with watercress (no watered down stock if I understood correctly). The flaked fish, as ever with Angela’s dishes, was faultless. 



    A second fish course (they’re spoiling us now…) by Shaun Hill whom seems to have the Midas touch with stars wherever he goes, currently at The Walnut Tree, in Wales, since 2008. This was a bourride with einkorn flour (a UK grown flour) bread. The bourride (a type of fish stew) had a lovely flavour to it which was slightly curry-esque, a great creamy texture and looking round the room we were all mopping this up with our perfectly round, light, crisp rolls. The red mullet, cooked to precision, had a slight crisp skin and nice iridescent flesh.  



    The main man of the evening Richard Corrigan stepped up for the meat course serving North Ronaldsay lamb, sweetbreads, prune and artichoke. The lamb loin (?!), served pink was tender and deliciously sweet. There was another cut of lamb shown rolled which, again, was simply scrummy especially when paired with the prune and artichoke. One of my favourite things at the moment is sweetbreads and these still had a good bounce and creaminess to them.




    Atul Kotchhar sadly couldn’t be with us on the evening however he sent his head chef from Benares to cook our first dessert which was really refreshing after what has been a pretty epic feast. It was a very pretty ‘Bhapa Doi with rose, cobnut burfi’. The bhapa doi, a type of steamed yoghurt, was served with a sweet and tangy fruit compote.  The cobnut (a UK grown hazelnut) ‘burfi’ is an Indian sweet, it brought another flavour element and was quite unusual, but in a good way!




    Ross Lewis finished off our meal with a set cream cheese, soda bread mousse and a whiskey and lemon glaze, pin head stone-ground Irish oatmeal crunch and milk ice cream. The milk ice cream was one thing that stood out as I wasn’t expecting to like it, at all! It was so refreshing I could have had a tub of this stuff and left a happy customer. The main element of the dessert was similar to a cheesecake however exceptionally light and fluffy. The oatmeal crunch packed a punch in both flavour and texture.

    We were presented with coffees and macaroons which we asked to take home.


    It was an exceptional evening; one I imagine will always stick in our minds. On leaving we said a quick thank you to Chef Corrigan whom is such a charming man and headed home. Full, happy and wanting to support local producers as much as possible.




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    So, Miss R and I gathered for our (almost) daily gossip break and zoomed into Yoobi on Lexington street to try some of it's, now infamous, temaki (sushi hand rolls). They also serve up the hand rolls as maki and have a selection of salads, sashimi and soups to accompany your meal. It's been around a year now, and I'm kicking myself to not have discovered it sooner...

    The modern, simplistic 20 seater restaurant also serves take-outs and on this particular day there was a small queue forming however all seemingly were being served quickly. We grabbed a menu, found a seat chose in under 30 seconds and went up to the counter to order. The menu is made up of a selection of around 12 different variations of temaki's, which can also be maki rolls for a small extra fee, tuna and salmon sashimi and the salads. There's a cold fridge for drinks and some snacks. 

    We then were back at our seats and served within 5 minutes... perfect for us hungry girls with less than an hour to spare, and oh so much to catch up on! 

    First up came my miso soup which was delicious and not over salty which some can be, a nice touch to this dish was that it had edamame beans and broccoli as well as the normal tofu and seaweed.



    Minutes later my extremely pretty hand rolls arrived...



    Spicy tuna, romaine lettuce, croutons, Yoobi spicy sauce and rice. Now, not always getting the main part it needs the rice in fact here is delicious. It's melt in your mouth kind of stuff and the vinegar is perfectly balanced. The main star of this is, of course, the protein... the tuna here was a fantastic maroon colour, a good slim slither of fat running though and was extremely tender and so super fresh. The croutons add a fab and welcome crunch, which was unexpected (mainly as I'd forgotten they were there). Another thing to point out is that all the fillings run through the whole hand roll...so, your last bite is as good as the first, if not better!



    oh go on then..have a close up...



    My second hand roll choice was the 'classic' crunchy prawn, served with the same as above but with Japanese mayo instead of the Yoobi spiced sauce. Just as delicious and just as fresh, the prawns being big, plump and juicy. Another pleasurable and yummy mouthful with every bite!



    Miss R had the crunchy prawns as above however, in maki form, for an additional £2...




    Followed by the highly recommended by the staff Citrus salmon with chives, orange tobiko and yuzu mayo. Its good to note here that their salmon is from good old Scotland, farmed lovingly so they get a proper swim and therefore are nice and lean, making for great tasting and tender salmon. 



    Each hand roll is separated into sections which are either £3.20, £3.60 or £4, specials are a little more(there's yellow tail up on the menu at the moment for £6-8). My lunch came to £11. Which, being my pay day treat I find exceptionally reasonable. A thoroughly enjoyable lunch and one I will definitely be returning to on a regular (daily?!) basis...

    Yoobi on Urbanspoon

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    The Shard... people love it, or hate it. Personally, I love it as I can see it from my beloved Abbeville Road sticking out amongst London rooftops. A pinnacle, reminding me just how fast London is moving. Not only have we now won the top spot for Europe's highest building, it's one of my favourite spots to view our beautiful city whilst sipping on rather fabulous cocktails and nattering until the sun sets...



    This particular balmy summers evening was no exception. Having been to Aqua and had an evening of mixed thoughts, I was desperate to try Hutong (which has a 1 starred sister restaurant in Hong Kong and comes highly praised). Who couldn't love a supper with a view like this...



    We had booked in the hope of exchanging or even completing on our (now third time lucky!) flat, however with this no longer looking any time soon we decided to keep the table and eat away our angry thoughts... anyone having a nightmare with house buying I feel for you, I really, REALLY do!!

    Anyway... we had an early sitting at 6pm, seated right by the edge of the restaurant. Thus meaning, we were able to watch the sun slowly start to set and also spy of commuters hurrying home. From up here it makes the whole of London look like a Hornby railway set... and it's rather gorgeous. 



    Reading up on several reviews there were a few dishes I knew we had to try, and other dishes we just wanted to order as they sounded delicious.

    One thing I MUST point out, it is eye-wateringly expensive! Dishes are, on average, around the £22-28 mark...but, it's fully booked almost every evening, months in advance. So, they must be doing something right.

    We settled down to a glass of wine and perused the menu. Starters were a pretty easy deal for us as we both wanted the try the 'Roasted Peking duck' which was served in two stages (£30 for 2 ppl). This came with its own carver and was pretty amazing to watch as he carved paper thin slices of pink meat and (the best ever) crisp skin onto a serving platter...





    This we then piled into wafer thin steamed pancakes, plum sauce, spring onion and cucumber. Altogether making this one of the most decadent crispy duck pancakes Mr D and I have ever had...the second serving of the duck comes with our mains.



    Our other starter was Shandong steamed chicken breast with home made buns. The chicken was perfectly cooked and covered in a light sweet sauce...the buns were incredibly light and fluffy. A real delight to eat. 





    Onto our mains...

    Reasonably priced vegetable noodles arrived first and had a fantastic springy consistency to them (possibly hand pulled). Loads of yummy bean sprouts (massive thumbs up here!) and sweet onions ran through the dish and this was polished off even when full to bursting at the end.




    Mr D chose the Chinkiang pork ribs which were braised in a sweet and vinegar sauce.  This actually was one of the cheaper options on the menu, but one that we both wanted to try. Mainly for Mr D's love of ribs. The pork was succulent and so tender it fell off the bone. The sauce incredibly sticky and more-ish I was pouring it over the meat by the gallon. 


    Spiced minced pork with string beans followed and my god these are good. So good that I went on and on eating these and asked the waiter how they were cooked (deep fried for seconds and then dry fried)... the beans were so crunchy, fresh and delicious. This dish actually was one of the highlights of the meal which is rare for a 'side dish'. Served with garlic (lots of), dried shrimp, chilli and minced pork. If you go, you MUST have this.


    Our second helping of the duck from the starter arrived tossed with onions, chillies and garlic(I think!) served along side lettuce leaves and was another winner on the table. It was really refreshing and a welcome crunchy texture against the softer/richer parts of our supper we were having.



    Our final dish for mains, although stuffed, was also scoffed, it was the Wunan-style cod fillet tossed with chilli and crisp soya beans. I absolutely loved it. The fish was amazing. Perfectly steamed to create such tender flesh I didn't need a knife to serve it. The whole dish had a pleasant kick to it. The soya beans were plentiful and gave a great texture against the softer fish main element.


    Feeling rather stuffed and our mouths in need of an injection of freshness we had some guava fruit sorbet. Really refreshing and a greatly satisfying end to a very decadent feasting.



    So, after a couple of glasses of wine (no bottle) our bill came to £172! Which is pretty expensive... we had also chosen some of the cheaper dishes on the menu without thinking about it so, it could have been even more. Was it worth it? Some elements of the menu are totally worth it. The staff are impeccable, it's another one also to make a trip to the loo for you gents... However I think it's best to go with a work credit card or colleague to be sure that you won't be footing the bill!




    Address: Level 33 The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY
    Phone:020 3011 1257 

    Hutong on Urbanspoon

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    Another exciting foodie place popped up on Abbeville Road early this summer and I was kindly invited (thank you) down for a Sunday evening supper, being a local foodie. 

    Having what can only be described as a rather hefty week of late evenings and boozing Mr D and I couldn't have been happier to have this to look forward to. I LOVE fish and chips and I try to keep it as a treat supper otherwise I would eat it every other day!

    Kerbisher and Malt popped up on Shepherds Bush Road a while ago and every time we have driven past I have been dying to pop in. It is known to be a certain high trouser wearing male celeb's favourite take away spot so, another place which comes with high praises...



    Arriving at 6pm we were greeted with friendly wait staff and shown to our banquette table at the front of the restaurant. The décor is industrial twinned with retro and is as far away from any other 'chippy' I have been used to (being a girl from the Midlands...). 



    The menu reads simply and easily. 'Fish', 'Favourites', 'Butties' etc...it's not overly fancy and nor does it need to be. We decided to try a decent range of the menu without totally over ordering. 




    A cider for him, a rosé pour moi.


     


    I wanted what they are famed for, the battered fish and chose to have the pollock(your fish can come grilled or in matzo meal which is a type of bread crumb). At £6.80 a portion for sustainably sourced fish, you can't really complain. My batter was light, crisp, not overly greasy and the meaty fish stayed perfectly juicy and flaked away with my fork. I am told they only cook from fresh - never frozen...


    Mr D had the fillet of fish burger which was fab. For £4.50 this was something of a bargain and we both said we would have this happily any night of the week. The lemon mayo was a nice added zing to each mouthful, served with some lettuce, tomato and onion. Yum!



    Double cooked chips were as one remembers fish and chip shop chips to be... crisp on the outside and wonderfully fluffy on the inside. However these were slightly more refined, less greasy and yet with lots of those wonderfully over-crisp bits at the bottom of the bowl which had soaked up the vinegar and salt, de-licious! I was transported back to those mid week school holiday evening treats. 



    The calamari, I had heard, was a must. These came breaded atop a lovely little salad. There was a light chilli kick running through the matzo meal crumb and the calamari was kept tender and well seasoned.



    Sauces and sides, well... we had plenty. Enormous pickled onion rings were again, very crisp and certainly plentiful (we couldn't eat them all so had them to take-away for the rents...). I loved the addition of having the onion pickled which made them a little bit more special than your average pub version.  


     



    My favourite, mushy peas, which were as I remember them. None of this souped-up peas with mint, herbs etc. They could have done with being a little more runny, however, this certainly didn't put me off. I was scraping the side of the bowl for every last drop... i LOVE the stuff!



    Curry sauce... not the kind one finds up North but this was actually red curry sauce. It was possibly the only part of the meal I wasn't so sure of. It just didn't seem right... may be due to the fact that I still adore the algae coloured stuff you find in your local. It was slightly over-sweet for my tastes. 

    Sweet chilli sauce - another goodie and an excellent match again with the calamari. 



    And... A gherkin, not much to report on it was...gherkiny.



    We were too full to sample desserts however, I didn't mind. We had a thoroughly enjoyable meal and one I know we will find ourselves returning to over and over again (they do take away which was hugely popular whilst we were there!). 

    Thank goodness for the local gym.


    Address: 50 Abbeville Rd, London SW4 9NF
    Closed Mondays

    Kerbisher & Malt on Urbanspoon

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    I made it onto the hottest booking sheet this year... So, after confirming a table almost 3 months ago for a Friday evening, my time finally came. 

    There's not been a day go by where Chiltern Firehouse hasn't popped up on the Daily Mail gossip column and I don't think they've had an evening off paps being sat outside...it's THE restaurant to go to at this point in time. And I can't see it being knocked off the top spot for a while...



    It was a belated celebration for our yummy mummy's birthday. Rarely having the four of us together we treated it as a family do and met around 7pm for pre drinks before our meal at 8pm. Your greeted by front of house the moment you step out of your taxi, which is a lovely touch and one which makes you think immediately that this place is rather special. 

    The bar was pleasantly full however we were still about to perch on the bench seating and have a table. Swiftly being greeted by the bar manager with a 'I hear we have a birthday' and handed our drinks menus. The staff already showing high standard and finesse from the moment we stepped inside. 


    Interior pic from Standard Online
    After a couple of champers we were lead to our banquette table which, for four of you was a lovely arrangement. The room is an impressive vast space still with the history of what it once was. They have cleverly kept the large fire doors, the roof is made of woven old fire hoses and, making up the main element of the room, is a wonderful open and buzzing kitchen. It has a rustic feel to it but oozes NYC glamour at the same time.



    Our waitress showed us some of the snacks which are 'ideal to start with' and we happily accepted her recommendation of the infamous 'crab doughnuts' and 'crispy fried chicken'. The doughnuts were a mini brioche bun, filled with a generous portion of wonderfully fresh crab and sprinkled with a coral 'dust'. Light, sweet, and yet incredibly more-ish. 



    The crispy chicken was super crunchy, tender and grease free. Dunked in the decadent bacon dip this was seriously spot on.



    The menu reads almost too well for its own good. I for one couldn't decided for at least 20mins which could have been our downfall later when they wanted to turn the tables...



    For starters, I finally settled on grilled octopus with aubergine, daikon and mushroom. It was amazingly tender having been braised first there wasn't a single rubbery bit to it. It was a plate full of different textures which all come together perfectly. A hint of a Far Eastern taste to it made this dish a really enjoyable first course and showed off perfectly how well Chef, Nuno Mendes know's his flavours and boy, can he cook. 

    The family had the following and all loved every single one:



    Birthday girl: Roasted Chicken Wings, slow cooked egg, rice broth and morels


    Dad: Sea Trout Crudo yellow mole and coriander



    Brother: Red prawns, almond milk and smoked grapes

    Mains had as much flare and fabulousness as the starters. Mine being the Roasted Turbot seaweed fregola, cucumber and crème fraîche. This was delicious, a triumph and one I will remember for a long time. The fish, perfectly cooked matched well with the sharp pickled cucumber and sour crème fraîche. A pretty sprinkling of nasturtiums, tiny, tiny courgettes and a very green but delicious seaweed sauce completed the dish.




    The rest of the bunch had:



    2 x Chargrilled Iberico pork roasted garlic and collard greens - served rare.


    Spring lamb minted greens, radishes and goat's curd.

    All were plated beautifully and again, tummies were satisfied greatly.

    We actually had puddings however, by this point my battery had died and therefore, sadly, I cannot put pics up. But I had some of the hazelnut ice cream which was scrummy...Mum was presented with a candle atop her dessert which, I cannot recall what pudding it was but that extra touch was really thoughtful. 


    Our two hour time slot (my pet hate in restaurants) was up and we moved to the bar area and carried on the evening finishing off our bottle of wine and having a few night caps... I think we could have gone on and on, sensible thinking got the better of us and we headed home around midnight - it's another one of those restaurants where time seems to just drift away...

    Chiltern Firehouse has the most spectacular buzz, everyone is incredibly energized which rubs off onto everyone within the restaurant. The staff are attentive and really knowledgeable, all seem genuinely happy to be working there. It really is a special place and I cannot wait to go back...if I manage to get another booking.


    Address: 1 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London W1U 7PA

    Prices:
    ££££

    p.s.I recommend you book for later in the evening to get its full atmospheric potential. 

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    Chiltern Firehouse on Urbanspoon



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    I made it back over the river last night to have another wonderful supper at Claude's Kitchen. As many of you will know, I am a huge fan of his cooking, most of which showcases every aspect of each dish to the absolute maximum. Last night was no exception. With the delightful Mr Herries as our 'child' for the evening we nestled down to some of the most charming service and the freshest and tastiest food I have had in a long while... 


    SEA BREAM (CEVICHE) 
    Martini - Raspberry - Dill - Carrots. A really vibrant, refreshing dish the bream was so fresh I wouldn't have been surprised if Claude was battling with a flapping fish mere minutes before. 


    CORNISH POLLOCK
    Red Grape - Chickpeas - Paprika - Red Onion. One of my favourite fishy dishes I've eaten at Claude's Kitchen to date. Another dish which had perfectly paired ingredients and that pollock was cooked to precision.



    BEEF SHORT-RIB, Chimicurry - Burnt Chicories - Celeriac was devoured by Mr Herries and came with no complaints whatsoever.

    Mr D had the BBQ'd rabbit which again, could not be faulted.  


    Pud was shared amongst the three of us... MACERATED STRAWBERRIES
    Pimms - Cucumber Ice - Burnt Cream - Lemonade Jelly - Mint. Simple, sharp and boozy and one of those dishes we came away talking about for moments afterwards. A bowl full of summer, Claude crammed in every yummy taste imaginable, a dish I will attempt to recreate. Once I have a kitchen...

    The seasonal and sustainable weekly changing menu at Claude's Kitchen never fails to disappoint. We love every minute we spend there and I just hope one day he'll venture South of the river...just for me, please? 



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  • 07/23/14--03:32: Franco Manca - Balham

  • Every so often I get this craving were all I want in life right that moment is Pizzaaaaaa. It's never when I'm hungover which I wish it was (my hangover craving is expensive - sushi or Chinese, never anything else). This particular evening the newly engaged (YAY!) Miss K and I met up mid way from our homes and headed to Balham. 

    Franco Manca has been part of our London food scene for quite some time however, never actually making it over since living North of the river until recently. I will tell you this...I will NEVER order a delivery Pizza again these are the shizzle.

    The menu is short with only 6 pizza options (numbered 1-6) two side salads and 2 ever-changing specials. Drinks are also kept to the minimum showcasing a couple of reds, whites and beers - perfect!

    My lovely date for the evening had the number '5' (shown above and below)- tomato, garlic, oregano, capers, olives, anchovies and mozzarella. Pretty much a bargain at £6.70. To this, she added some extra mushrooms (you can basically add more or less anything you want for 50p or £1) and it arrived looking fantastic...I was slightly jealous in fact.


    Yours truly ordered the number '6' tomato, cured organic chorizo (Dry and semi-dry ) and mozzarella another bargain £6.95 and I added plenty of fresh (you guessed it) chilli and (I'm sorry Mr D) anchovies, I love anchovies on a pizza, but only the brown salty kind...mmmmmm...



    The sour dough base on these pizzas was incredibly light, fluffy and a crispy crust like no other I had tasted. The toppings were plentiful and simply spot on. My chorizo (Brindisa, I may add) was rich and fiery, absolutely delicious.

    I gobbled the whole thing up and loved every mouthful. Every ingredient of this pizza has been researched and sourced to get the best possible outcome and their hard work shows. For less than £20pp with booze or £10 without it's incredibly good value. 

    Don't make my mistake and leave it YEARS to head here, you won't regret it. 

    Website: here
    Address: All over
    Bookings: No bookings taken. But the queue moves quickly!

    Franco Manca on Urbanspoon


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  • 07/29/14--02:28: Ben's Canteen , Battersea

  • So, after a few years of popping up and down St John's Hill to visit friends/family, we finally made it to Ben's Canteen. This neighbourhood hang out always has a long snake like queue forming for brunch and happy customers stuffing faces with delectable breakfast goodies. 

    On Sunday we met with three of Mr D's university friends and headed down for 11am to be seated straight away - perfect! However the queue was beginning to form so we considered ourselves lucky...



    Once seated our drinks order was taken and one thing I loved on the menu I had to have - purely as I just wanted to order one and see how it came...Berocca by the glass... 


    I'm not entirely sure how they did it but seemingly just by adding some ice, limes and orange segments made this so utterly refreshing that, if it wasn't going to totally OTT my Vit C levels I would have ordered another. Maybe it was watered down more than when I mix it up but it really was thirst quenching... 



    The boys amongst us knew immediately what they were having and opted for the 'Eggs Pig Out' - pulled pork, on muffins with hollandaise. Quoted on the menu as 'Outrageous' they weren't wrong... 



    I went for one of my faves 'Sweet corn fritters' served with avocado, bacon and a spiced cherry tomato salsa (not the best photo).






    The 'fritters' had an excellent flavour however, I much prefer the crispness of the fritters from Barossa Fulham. Ben's were more of a pancake consistency whereas on previous orders, of the same dish, they had a little more bite to them. However, still a great breakfast staple and I can't fault them for their own version. The bacon here is crunchy and the smashed avocado was delicious. My only gripe was that the salsa lacked spice, I didn't really notice it at all apart from the off tomato flavour hit. 

    The two Others round the table had the smashed avocado on toast (exactly what it says on the tin and a good one at that), and a smoked salmon poached eggs on toast. Both going down a treat.

    Coffee's were excellent all round, so we had double helpings of these and nestled in for a couple of hours catching up over our summer antics...


    The vibe is relaxed, the staff friendly and the food? - Exactly what you need when feeling a little woolly. I'm looking forward to going back to try the soft shelled crab burger which kept going past - it looks insanely good!

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    Ben's Canteen on Urbanspoon

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  • 08/14/14--08:06: WC Clapham

  • The trend for reusing old Victorian loo's is still amongst us, and 'WC' is the newest member to this club. 

    Playing on the name WC also stands for 'Wine and Charcuterie' which is what this place does well, very well. Eight of us girls gaggled around a booth table for the youngster's birthday and ordered our first of many bottles of prosecco (around 7:30pm) within what was a relatively calm and quiet wine bar. Towards the end of the evening it was a different matter. The lights had dimmed, the atmosphere buzzing and the ten or so tables filled with happy customers and many, many dates (it's rather cute and romantic, if ever an old loo could be!).



    Charming French wait-staff made sure we were constantly watered and quaffed throughout our time there which made for a really pleasant evening. The interior has been renovated to still have the Victorian charm and almost all of the furnishings look to be reclaimed, let's hope they gave the floor a good ol' scrub!



    Pop into the (actual) loo's and you'll find original old love letters in the women's and 60's pin up pictures in the men's which had been found when they started the building work. It's lovely that they've kept so much of the charm and history. There's even scrawling on the walls which look like they've been there for many, many years...some of which is rather amusing! 

    So, onto the main event(s). The menu here is simple - Bread, meat, cheese, DONE! With a couple of added nibbles of olives, biltong and pork scratchings (picture below: these were SO.GOOD!).


    We ordered the lot (literally)...

    p.s. it's really dark underground so please excuse the dreadful photos!

    Mixed stuffed olives and mixed olives...




    The cheese board was suggested for two people but this went a long way. A fantastic mix of hard, soft and blue cheese served with a delicious chutney, ciabatta and pickles. 


    The mixed meat board comprised of a huge selection of air dried hams, saucisson, bresaola and terrine (plus more breads and pickles.) All expertly sliced each ham was exquisite (I think I tried almost all) and for £13 you can't really get a better plate of meat. The terrine, for one, was exceptional. 


    We had a wonderful evening which went well into the night and didn't leave us out of pocket too badly. A place you could happily pop in for a glass or stay put for an evening it's informal yet you feel rather special being there. 

    As the birthday girl said 'cheese, wine and meat three of (my) favourite things' they're onto a good thing here. Add a handful of friends or a gorgeous date and your evening at WC will be a winner. 

    Web: www.wcclapham.co.uk/
    Bookings: no bookings unless over 5/6 people 0207 622 5502
    Add: Underneath Clapham Common tube station, London. SW4 7AA (what a fab address!)

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  • 08/21/14--01:59: House of Ho - Lunch special

  • House of Ho has launched a lunch special for August where some of their signature dishes can be had for a fiver (unless stated otherwise)! All inspired to “...get you in hungry and out happy in 20 minutes!”. Sounds too good to be true?

    Mr E (whom is a regular lunch companion of mine) and I meandered over to the restaurant around 12:30 to be seated straight away and were quickly given menu's and water. The staff seem to be perfectly well aware that the clientèle will be wanting to eat and zoom back to work pronto - perfect! 

    The menu is pretty good considering you're eating in a restaurant for around the same as your average sandwich/sushi lunch.



    Lobster cellophane noodles was my choice for grub and for a fiver I was rather pleased. The photo is deceiving however you get more than enough noodles and plenty of lobster, well, far more than I imagined for the price! It was steamed lightly in sake however I couldn't taste much of this as a flavour, I didn't find that a problem at all. Topped with fried crispy onions, a smattering of spring onions and coriander made for a really pleasant lunch time dish. 


    Mr E had Bun Bo which was a beef noodle soup type dish. This was a great feast in itself. Packed full of goodies, greens, herbs, carrots, seeds - definitely well worth the money.


    Feeling rather ravenous due to a semi fuzzy head from the evening before at WC I decided to have a couple of sides to share between us which Mr E accepted gratefully...

    Hot crispy rolls (3) with pork, prawns and mushrooms. Like many Vietnamese rolls should be these were light, crisp and packed full of filling. The simple flavours weren't complicated or over powered by any form of herbs I thoroughly enjoyed these. Even more so when dipped into the hot sweet sauce. The accompanying cold noodles and lettuce wasn't needed however these were still polished off. 


    The following two dishes were in the £5 for two 'wok tossed' section. 

    Plentiful and moreish, the beansprouts with shrimp, ginger and scallion onions satisfied my need for a crunchy veg, such simple flavours but still delicious. 


    The morning glory in shallot oil and crunchy garlic slightly disappointed in that is was a little soggy and claggy. Perhaps just a little too much oil and possibly a little too long in the old wok.


    The House of Ho has mixed reviews for dinner, due to poor service or disappointing portions (I am yet to go at night). Maybe to go on a lunch was a better idea as service was fast and food was fab! 

    I still feel I am yet to find a seriously good Vietnamese to replace my beloved Mekong (Howard, come back!!). Reader's please help me! 

     Square Meal

    The House of Ho on Urbanspoon



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