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.
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.
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...
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 9JWP:+44 20 3302 7574
|Beef Katsu Curry - sauce not pictured|
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
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
Masterchef is one of my guilty pleasures...it's on at the perfect time after work to plonk in front of the tele before getting down to some cooking, hopefully with some inspiration from the chefs whom dare to take on John Torode and pudding lover Greg Wallace. Adam was a front-runner throughout the series last year and his dishes never failed to wow. He's now head chef at the Caxton Grill and here he chats a little about the new menu and his life after winning...
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.
|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
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.
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
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
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.
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 grapesMains 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
p.s.I recommend you book for later in the evening to get its full atmospheric potential.
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...
Pud was shared amongst the three of us... MACERATED STRAWBERRIES
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?
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 5502Add: Underneath Clapham Common tube station, London. SW4 7AA (what a fab address!)
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!