A FESTIVE AFTERNOON TREAT AT ONE ALDWYCH HOTEL

Perfectly situated close to all the Christmas lights and excitement in London’s West End, One Aldwych offers a fantastic Afternoon Tea experience that will get you in the mood for Christmas.

The thought of experiencing an Afternoon Tea that was not only festive, but also a “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” themed edition filled me with excitement. Arriving at One Aldwych with my husband there was a beautiful, sparkly Christmas tree waiting to greet us.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY AFTERNOON TEA AT ONE ALDWYCH HOTEL

It had over a hundred carefully created snow domes all with little Christmas scenes inside including the nut cracker soldiers, reindeers, toy trains and penguins on icebergs. As the afternoon progressed and it got darker, the Christmas tree got prettier and prettier as it’s lights grew brighter.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY AFTERNOON TEA AT ONE ALDWYCH

My husband and I were seated in the cosy Indigo restaurant which is on a mezzanine level overlooking the lobby bar and glitzy tree. We started our afternoon tea in style with a glass of the Lailler Grand Cru champagne and looked forward to all the treats ahead, both savoury and sweet.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY AFTERNOON TEA AT ONE ALDWYCH

To begin, a very neat plate of delicate sandwiches and a warm miniature quiche arrived in front of me. The sandwich fillings were smoked salmon, cream cheese and chive, roast pepper and avocado, turkey and cranberry along with a chestnut and caramelised onion quiche.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY AFTERNOON TEA AT ONE ALDWYCH

I really liked all the sandwiches with their decadent fillings, the smoked salmon was my favourite and I especially enjoyed the buttery pastry of the quiche and it’s subtle yet rich flavours. To accompany this I drank the Chocolate Winter Spice Tea, supplied by Canton Tea. This was a fantastic and indulgent tea especially created for One Aldwych and included chocolatey roasted cocoa nibs, fragrant mandarin peel and spices.

We also received some very cheesy Montgomery cheddar and mustard scones with bacon jam which blew me away. Warm, melt in your mouth scones with the most luxurious bacon jam I’d ever come across, a real show stopper. I had to ask for a second portion of these as they were so excellent.  

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY AFTERNOON TEA AT ONE ALDWYCH

Next we had an array of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” inspired sweets that were wonderfully presented, with bold colours and a real sense of fun.

ONE ALDWYCH AFTERNOON TEA CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

From fluffy candy floss with a mystery flavour (we had to guess what this was) to gingerbread cake pops that were covered in popping candy and a golden chocolate egg filled with vanilla cheesecake and zesty mandarin puree. It was like being a little child again.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY AFTERNOON TEA AT ONE ALDWYCH

The more grown up dessert came in the shape of gorgeous little pots of mulled wine jelly and custard with a gorgeously crunchy almond topping.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY AFTERNOON TEA AT ONE ALDWYCH

Along with this we had more scones, this time freshly made fruit scones that came with cream, jam and eggnog curd. We also sampled chocolate financiers and cinnamon glazed brioche buns. You could see how much effort Executive Chef Dominic Teague and his team had put into creating this very special afternoon tea, so many little details and delicious flavours.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY AFTERNOON TEA AT ONE ALDWYCH HOTEL

Overall I experienced a brilliant afternoon with impressive and luxurious delicacies. I really enjoyed the atmosphere at One Aldwych too with all the beautiful decorations and the attentiveness of the staff, a worthwhile December indulgence and gift to someone special. The Festive Afternoon Tea is priced at £57 per person including a glass of Laillier Grand Cru champagne and £46 without.

One Aldywch
Aldwych,
London
WC2B 4BZ

Tel. 020 7300 0400
Email: indigo@onealdwych.com

EXPERIENCING THE FEASTING MENU AT SILK AND GRAIN

It was a beautiful September evening with a lovely sunset as I walked from work towards Bank to visit Silk and Grain restaurant. I had been invited to a blogger event hosted by East London Food Girl and eagerly anticipated meeting fellow food bloggers as well as sampling Silk and Grain’s sharing Feast Menu.

SILK AND GRAIN LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

As I entered I was pleasantly surprised by the venue’s high end décor and carefully chosen artwork adorning the walls. The art work instantly added character and style. We had some wine and cocktails in a reserved area where we could sit and meet each other before heading upstairs to a mezzanine level where a beautiful long table had been reserved and decorated for us. It felt as though we were in our own private part of the restaurant which felt exclusive but being on a mezzanine meant we still absorbed the bustling atmosphere from downstairs.

SILK AND GRAIN LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

As we sat down we were welcomed to the restaurant by the enthusiastic team and the Head Chef Adrian Zelazny who spoke with pride about the great quality of ingredients he used and how the meat supply was 35 day aged Scottish steak supplied by East Lothian independent family run business, J. Gilmour & Co Ltd.

The beauty of a Feast Menu is that you get an excellent array of dishes to try giving you access to a cross section of the menu. Our starter alone was a brilliant showcase as we each received individual portions of the Glazed Pork Belly, Crab on Toast and the Butter Poached Cauliflower Florets. All were very well presented and tasty but my favourite was the Crab on Toast which was so flavoursome and left you wanting more.

SILK AND GRAIN LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

For the main event we were given different cuts of beef including the Porterhouse, Bone-in Ribeye and Rump Steak. These were all perfectly cooked medium rare, seasoned to perfection and tasted just how high quality meat should. We had a Chilean Merlot, Ochagavia Silvestre, 2017 to accompany our steak which was smooth with ripe plummy fruit.

SILK AND GRAIN LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW
SILK AND GRAIN LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

We were also supplied with a luxurious selection of sides including Applewood Smoked Mac & Cheese, Seasonal Salad, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Skinny Fries and Sweet Potato Fries.

SILK AND GRAIN LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

I am slightly obsessed with a well made Mac & Cheese at restaurants these days so of course this had to be my favourite side dish. It was the first side to run out and in record speed amongst us food enthusiasts - it definitely went down well!

SILK AND GRAIN LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

As if we couldn’t be more impressed with the evening so far, along came desserts. Now many restaurants don’t put enough effort into desserts, perhaps because they feel their customers will be so full by then that they won’t matter. However, when restaurants do put the effort in, it really is appreciated. As the desserts were delivered to the tables there was a lot of excitement and from the photos I think it’s clear to see why.

SILK AND GRAIN LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

First we had a rather beautiful Trifle, followed by a Chocolate Baked Alaska and then the very classic Sticky Toffee Pudding. All desserts tasted good but the show stopper of the evening had to be the Sticky Toffee Pudding with its rich sauce and slightly nutty as well as moist sponge. Divine.

The Feast Menu is a very reasonable £40 per person or including a half bottle of wine each it is £50 per person. For the gorgeous starters, amount of high quality meat with sides and spectacular array of desserts I’d say this would be an excellent place to take a group of colleagues or friends. I am sure they’d thank you for your great recommendation.

Silk and Grain
33 Cornhill,
London,
EC3V 3ND

Tel. 020 7929 1378

SILK AND GRAIN LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW


FLAVOURS OF THE BASQUE REGION AT ENEKO RESTAURANT

Arriving on a blustery September evening, my father and I descend the stairs into a mysterious cove in the West End. I was immediately struck by the décor of bold brass, bespoke wooden tables, stone walls, candles and carefully chosen foliage which all assisted in creating a relaxed and inviting setting.

ENEKO RESTAURANT LONDON REVIEW

Eneko is named after the chef Eneko Atxa who currently holds three-Michelin stars for his restaurant Azurmendi near Bilbao which is impressively ranked number 43 in the World’s top 50 Restaurants. His London offering is said to be more of a laid back style with an emphasis on celebrating dishes from the Basque region.

All wines on the menu are Spanish and we opted to try a white wine, Gorka Izagirre 2017, which comes from Eneko’s very own family winery in Bilbao. It was not only a refreshing wine to start but also complimented our meal nicely too.

Eneko is a restaurant perfect for sharing which is definitely my style as I love to try as much as I can over the course of an evening. To begin with we chose the beautifully presented marinated red mullet and the melt in your mouth suckling pig tempura balls.

ENEKO RESTAURANT LONDON REVIEW
ENEKO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

The tempura were filled with slow cooked pork shoulder and came with a moreish bacon sauce. Both dishes were excellent choices to whet our appetites for what came next. 

ENEKO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

For mains we ordered meaty chunks of hake in tempura with a red pepper sauce and parsley emulsion followed by the braised pork cheeks in a mushroom emulsion served in a box with a wooden pig’s head.

ENEKO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

This was accompanied by sides of grilled tenderstem broccoli and the piperrak, gernika peppers.

It was hard to show restraint and not gobble down every morsel in a matter of seconds, in particular the excellent braised pork cheeks.

ENEKO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
ENEKO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Dessert was a difficult choice, there were six on the menu and they all sounded intriguing. We decided on an impressive looking Alaska cake with vanilla ice cream, rhubarb and Italian meringue and the Torrija; Basque vanilla sponge and caramel crumble ice cream.

ENEKO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Both good but the vanilla sponge cake was so moist and delicate, it was a brilliant pudding choice accompanied by a fantastically sweet ice cream.

ENEKO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

With its great location in Covent Garden it is worth noting that Eneko is offers a pre-theatre dinner; a very reasonable 2-course and side dish for £22 or 3 courses for £27.  I also wanted to share an exciting event I’ve seen advertised that takes place on Thursday 4th October 2018 and is being hosted with Chef Eneko himself, link here

It was an enjoyable evening at Eneko and I look forward to returning and sampling more on the menu in particular the rack of lamb or hand dived scallops, both cooked over a Josper Chacoal Oven.

Eneko restaurant
One Aldwych,
London,
WC2B 4BZ

Reservations: 020 7300 0300 / reservations@eneko.london

 

A WEEKNIGHT TREAT AT THE JONES FAMILY KITCHEN, BELGRAVIA

The Jones Family Kitchen, Belgravia opened recently coinciding with the start of London’s unbelievable heat wave. Neatly located in the newly refurbished Eccleston Yards, the restaurant and surroundings bring an East London vibe to West London’s grandeur. In fact, many the businesses in Eccleston Yards originate from East London including popular gym Barry’s Bootcamp.

JONES FAMILY KITCHEN BELGRAVIA REVIEW

For the Jones Family, this is their second restaurant, the original is called The Jones Family Project and is situated in Shoreditch.

JONES FAMILY KITCHEN BELGRAVIA REVIEW

Jones Family Kitchen offers a brilliant terrace perfect for the summer months and currently with a view onto a very striking portrait of Frida Kahlo to mark the current art exhibition at the V&A Museum, I love that the restaurant have given a nod to this art work by naming one of their cocktails “Head full of Flowers”.

JONES FAMILY KITCHEN BELGRAVIA REVIEW

For appetisers my friend Autumn and I sampled the crispy courgette with chilli dip and the cheese croquettes with oxtail mayonnaise.

JONES FAMILY KITCHEN BELGRAVIA REVIEW
JONES FAMILY KITCHEN BELGRAVIA REVIEW LONDON

Tasty combinations to whet our appetite for what was to come. We then ordered the cider cooked octopus with lentils and a very moreish herb dressing.

JONES FAMILY KITCHEN BELGRAVIA REVIEW

I am not quite sure which herbs were used but the dressing was divine and combined with a juicy portion of octopus it made for an excellent starter.

JONES FAMILY KITCHEN BELGRAVIA REVIEW

Renowned for their delicious high quality meat from the Ginger Pig butcher which is all cooked in their Josper Charcoal Oven it seemed natural to try some. We enjoyed the sharing option of the Porterhouse and it didn’t disappoint in both taste and presentation.

JONES FAMILY KITCHEN BELGRAVIA REVIEW

Cooked medium rare, it was the perfect texture and full of smoky flavours.  As our sides we ordered the English Greens with chilli, sesame and soy dressing as well as the sweet potato wedges.

JONES FAMILY KITCHEN BELGRAVIA REVIEW

As if all that food wasn’t enough we opted for Anna’s Triple Chocolate Brownie and I am so glad we did. This unbelievably nutty, crunchy, doughy brownie came served with malted cornflake ice cream and was a brilliant way to end a lovely meal.

JONES FAMILY KITCHEN BELGRAVIA REVIEW

It is worth noting that Jones Family Kitchen also offers a carefully considered vegan menu.

In terms of events this would be a great place to hire out the entire restaurant for a summer party. The restaurant can accommodate 150 people standing or 80 seated across separate tables. A maximum of 24 people can fit on one table together. As a space it can’t feel any more exclusive being the only restaurant in a very the spacious Eccleston Yards.

JONES FAMILY KITCHEN BELGRAVIA REVIEW

Definitely worth including in your next trip to Victoria, perhaps after a visit to Barry’s Bootcamp so you can work up a healthy appetite.

The Jones Family Kitchen
7-8 Eccleston Yards,
London
SW1W 9NF

Reservations: bookbelgravia@jonesfamilykitchen.co.uk

THE JONES FAMILY KITCHEN BELGRAVIA REVIEW LONDON

VEGETABLES ARE STAR OF THE SHOW AT BRYN WILLIAMS, SOMERSET HOUSE

Recently I visited Bryn Williams’ latest restaurant in Somerset House on one of the hottest days this summer. I have always loved Somerset House and hold many happy memories there of live concerts or drinks with friends on the Somerset House Terrace.

Upon entering the restaurant, the design clearly incorporates three things, Somerset House’s naval history, Georgian architecture and Bryn Williams’ Welsh heritage. In this ultra grand setting, it was the beautiful pieces of art by Welsh photographer Allan Jenkins that really captured my attention. With his cuisine, Bryn Williams allows vegetables and fruit to take centre stage on his menu, whilst also serving meat.

BRYN WILLIAMS RESTAURANT REVIEW SOMERSET HOUSE LONDON
BRYN WILLIAMS RESTAURANT REVIEW SOMERSET HOUSE LONDON

In terms of events, Bryn Williams can accommodate private dining for upto 24 guests in the Drawing Room (as part of Pennethorne’s bar), exclusive use of the entire restaurant or semi private for upto 26. The restaurant itself is made up of three main sections and the first has a draught beer bar with impressive copper casks.

BRYN WILLIAMS RESTAURANT REVIEW SOMERSET HOUSE LONDON

To begin my husband and I had the refreshing peach mojito and a seedlip gin and tonic. Perusing the menu, it all looked intriguing but I was most look forward to trying the cauliflower steak.

BRYN WILLIAMS RESTAURANT REVIEW SOMERSET HOUSE LONDON

To start with I sampled the heritage beetroot and cured organic salmon. As you can see, a beautifully presented plate layered over a meaty portion of cured salmon. Both tart and sweet slices of beetroot were brought together by a delicious smoked rosemary mayonnaise.

BRYN WILLIAMS RESTAURANT REVIEW SOMERSET HOUSE LONDON

The roast cauliflower, golden raisins, capers, salted grapes and a side of soft polenta did not disappoint. Always looking for ways that I can eat less meat yet remain satisfied (and full) I found a winning dish here which encapsulated some of the firmness and chewiness of meat without the heaviness. For me, the grapes imitated the fat of a rib eye, melting in the mouth like butter but without the calories.

BRYN WILLIAMS RESTAURANT REVIEW SOMERSET HOUSE LONDON

For dessert I had the lavender meringue with lemon posset and lavender and blueberry ice cream. It felt like the right choice of summer pudding for a scorching hot day.

My husband ate three beautifully presented dishes of the Wye valley asparagus, fillet of Hake for main and strawberry and raspberry meringue with strawberry sorbet dessert.

RESTAURANT REVIEW BRYM WILLIAMS SOMERSET HOUSE

Perfectly cooked asparagus with brown butter and smoked rosemary. Another light and flavoursome starter that gets you excited for what is to come. The brown butter for me had an egg yolk texture that worked really well. 

BRYN WILLIAMS RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

An impressive ragu of peas & broad beans, crispy fillet of Hake with courgette & basil. Well seasoned fish with lovely colourful green beans and excellent flavour. 

BRYN WILLIAMS RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

This dessert was the Wimbledon special of poached strawberry, strawberry and raspberry meringue, toasted pistachio and strawberry sorbet. Another brilliant summer pudding that definitely brought back memories of my visits to Wimbledon. 

With its grandeur, delicious dishes and superb location there is a lot to like about Bryn Williams restaurant. By making vegetables and fruit the stars of the show in his menu, Bryn reminds you to appreciate the flavours, textures and beauty of each of them and it's rather enjoyable. 

Bryn Williams at Somerset House,
Somerset House,
Strand, London,
WC2R 1LA

For reservations: reservations@bryn-somersethouse.co.uk

RESTAURANT VIDEO REVIEW FOR TREVES AND HYDE, LONDON

Having already visited restaurant Treves and Hyde in Aldgate, London, I was very keen to create a video showcasing this fantastic restaurant in all its entirety. Collaborating with Chef Signatures, we put together this video and have since shared it on You Tube. We look forward to creating more video reviews in future. 

Watch the video here and let us know what you think!

Special thanks to the wonderful team at Treves and Hyde for enabling us to create our video!

Treves and Hyde,
15/17 Leman Street,
Aldgate,
London
E1 8EN

A MIDWEEK FEAST AT BISTRO VADOUVAN, PUTNEY

Arriving at Bistro Vadouvan in Putney, having cycled with my husband for forty-five minutes from the city on a warm spring evening, I ordered a glass of Jacquart champagne as I took my seat at the bar.

BISTRO VADOUVAN PUTNEY RESTAURANT REVIEW

I got lots of inspiration on what to eat whilst sipping my champagne and watching the chefs hard at work creating their mouth-watering dishes.

BISTRO VADOUVAN PUTNEY RESTAURANT REVIEW

Bistro Vadouvan offers interesting fusion dishes thanks to Head Chef Durga Misra who combines his classical French training with his Indian roots. I had already checked out the website in advance of our visit. The photographs showed the ingredients looking bright and fresh and coupled with the menu descriptions there were many dishes that looked enticing. Although the decor felt a little old fashioned, the location was brilliant and I looked forward to trying many dishes from an exciting menu.

To begin with we ordered the goats curd labneh, with pistachio and olive tapenade, served with some flat bread which was cooked in their Tandoor oven, a traditional Indian oven, giving it an amazing smoky flavour.

BISTRO VADOUVAN PUTNEY RESTAURANT REVIEW

I enjoyed the textures, colours and combined ingredients of this dish. All the flavours of the fresh tomatoes, red onion, creamy goats curd and crunchy pistachio were a delightful combination.

We also ordered the ‘Pâté de campagne’ a country style terrine of pork and chicken liver served with guendillas chilli and apple chutney.

BISTRO VADOUVAN PUTNEY RESTAURANT REVIEW

Meaty chunks of paprika terrine combined well with beautiful warm chargrilled French bread and a very flavoursome apple chutney.

After this we went on to have the Middle Eastern beef tartare with smoked aubergine. I initially worried that the aubergine would take away from the beef but luckily this did not happen.

BISTRO VADOUVAN PUTNEY RESTAURANT REVIEW

The tahini dressing and flaked almonds encouraged a more interesting texture and the beef was high quality, hand chopped and well seasoned. It was a beautiful dish to look at too. 

Next arrived the prawn, crab and cucumber salad served in a zesty and punchy sauce. This reminded me of thai cuisine, full of intensely fresh ingredients that tickle your tastebuds and make your mouth water. A perfect offering to cut through some of the richer dishes we ate. 

BISTRO VADOUVAN PUTNEY RESTAURANT REVIEW

The more I recollect what we ate, it feels like a meal that could have fed ten people. Yet, when you are swept in the moment, it is easy to get carried away by good food options.

BISTRO VADOUVAN PUTNEY RESTAURANT REVIEW

For mains we ate the barbecued seabream which was cooked in the tandoor oven. This dish came with a herby fennel and orange salad as well as a highly addictive indo-chine dressing consisting of lemon grass, ginger, spring onions, lime juice and chilli. A spectacular array of flavours, I would highly recommend ordering this dish.

BISTRO VADOUVAN PUTNEY RESTAURANT REVIEW

Our second main was the succulent and slow cooked lamb shoulder, which came with mini potatoes and tahini yoghurt. I enjoyed this dish but the seabream was my absolute favourite and possibly a bit lighter considering how much had been consumed already.

BISTRO VADOUVAN PUTNEY RESTAURANT REVIEW

To accompany our dishes we drank a full bodied cabernet sauvignon, ‘Terroir hunter’, Alto Maipo from Chile, a brilliant red wine pairing.

BISTRO VADOUVAN PUTNEY RESTAURANT REVIEW

For dessert you’ll be glad to hear we shared the passion fruit dessert cheese cake which was cleverly crafted cheesecake, light and fluffy, with just the right amount of biscuit base and topping, the best possible ending to a stream of incredible culinary feats.

BISTRO VADOUVAN PUTNEY RESTAURANT REVIEW
BISTRO VADOUVAN PUTNEY RESTAURANT REVIEW

Head chef Durga creates stunningly good food which is exceptionally well presented. The use of special ovens and grills adds gorgeous smokey and BBQ flavours to quality meat and delicious breads. I look forward to going back very soon.

It is worth noting that on Wednesdays Bistro Vadouvan offer half price on a bottle of champagne. Also, if you show my blog post, or quote ‘City intrigue’, you will receive a complimentary glass of prosecco on arrival.

BISTRO VADOUVAN PUTNEY RESTAURANT REVIEW

Bistro Vadouvan is in a great location, perched overlooking the river Thames. There is also a wonderful outdoor area which I’d like to take my friends to visit this summer.

Bistro Vadouvan
30 Brewhouse Lane,
Putney Wharf,
Putney,
London
SW15 2JX.

Tel. +44(0)203 475 3776
Email: info@bistrovadouvan.co.uk

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL

I am a huge fan of afternoon tea, particularly when it is served alongside a nice glass of bubbles and in a beautiful setting. Well, fortunately for us, upon arrival at the five star Baglioni Hotel in South Kensington, my husband and I were greeted with a refreshing glass of Ferrari Maximum Brut and there was a gentleman playing a variety of well-chosen songs on the piano throughout the afternoon.

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON

This afternoon tea is not your usual, it is specially created in collaboration with luxury fragrance brand Acqua di Parma to celebrate the forthcoming Chelsea Flower Show which this year is from 22nd to 26th May 2018.  The inspiration for the afternoon tea are the citrusy, fresh and sophisticated scents of Colonia, an iconic fragrance from Acqua di Parma

To start, we were offered elegant menus full of mouth-watering descriptions of delicate cakes and sweets, all offering an Italian twist. The teas themselves appealed to multiple senses and we chose the "Calabrian Bergamot and Mint" as well as the "Mint and Freshness" tea. The "Rose and Dried Lime" sounded really delicious too.

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON

A very impressive cake stand arrived at our table, complete with the distinguished yellow and black branding of Acqua di Parma.

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON

Each level was full of delightful goodies both savoury and sweet. The sandwiches were filled with Scottish smoked salmon, fresh cream and chives, classic egg mayonnaise with rocket and turkey with fresh lettuce and mayonnaise.

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON

All of the sandwiches were gorgeously tasty but there was something extra special about the fresh cream and chives that paired perfectly with the sumptuous smoked salmon.

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON

Once finished with the sandwiches we savoured each and every sweet treat. Lavender meringues filled with bergamot cream were a dreamy combination.

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON
ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON

The Sicilian cannoli with candied orange were decadent and wonderfully presented, with a gorgeous zesty and creamy filling, these were very exciting and my absolute favourite treat overall. They went well with the exceptional Colonia lemon tarts and their excellent pastry and filling.

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON
ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON

Impeccable pistachio tuiles had a gorgeous crunch and were incredibly moreish alongside some very sweet violets of parma edible flowers. There were some little lemon brioches which had a great texture but got a little lost in the array of unbelievable sweet treats.

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON

In cute little dessert pots on the top row were floral verbena and lime zest panna cotta with rose coulis and classic tiramisu. Both faultless in their flavour and presentation, classic Italian desserts executed to perfection.

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON

If that were not enough to eat, our very lovely waiter offered us some time until he brought us the next course, which would be the freshly baked fruit and plain scones.

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON

When they arrived they came with Sicilian blood orange jam, Cornish clotted cream and famous chocolate spread, Nutella.

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON

I have to say, at this point I was feeling a little full but smelling the freshly baked scones, I couldn’t resist diving in to try the combination of the blood orange jam and cream having all my life eaten strawberry jam and cream.

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON

Although the blood orange jam was delicious, it will probably take me a while to change a habit of a lifetime. The Nutella and cream worked exceptionally well, especially as it melted onto a warm scone.

It was a magical afternoon with very impressive savoury and sweet treats. I would go as far as to say this was the best afternoon tea I have ever eaten and I’ve definitely had a few! The setting, the ambience with the piano playing and beautifully crafted pastries all contributed to an exceptional experience at the Baglioni Hotel. This special Acqua di Parma afternoon tea is available until the end of July 2018 and priced at £47 per person including a glass of bubbles and lovely Colonia perfume samples.

ACQUA DI PARMA AFTERNOON TEA AT BAGLIONI HOTEL REVIEW LONDON

Baglioni Hotel
60 Hyde Park Gate,
Kensington,
London
SW7 5BB

For bookings Tel. +44 207 368 5900
Email: brunellolondon@baglionihotels.com

A TASTE OF ITALY AT WOLF, STOKE NEWINGTON

On a rainy Friday, my husband and I walked all the way to Stoke Newington from our home. It took over an hour to get to the restaurant and by then we had worked up a big appetite for the Italian feast that lay ahead.

WOLF RESTAURANT REVIEW STOKE NEWINGTON

Upon entering the restaurant, I noticed gorgeous marble tables, lots of greenery, stylish décor and the music playing set the tone for a wonderful and relaxing afternoon in the warm. I was extremely hopeful for an interesting lunch and eager to see what dishes lay ahead.

WOLF RESTAURANT REVIEW STOKE NEWINGTON

We jumped straight in for the mains, I opted for the tagliatelle with Sicilian fennel sausage, burnt Devonshire butter, chilli, parsley and parmesan topped with duck egg yolk. 

WOLF RESTAURANT REVIEW STOKE NEWINGTON

It was beautifully cooked tagliatelle with a perfect bite and great chunks of sausage meat, my
favourite meat to be paired with pasta. The deep orange yolk mixed into the pasta created a dense creamy texture full of great flavours.

WOLF RESTAURANT REVIEW STOKE NEWINGTON

As I found out, these eggs aren’t just any eggs, they are specially imported from a place called Rimini in Italy.  It is no wonder this dish transported me swiftly from Stoke Newington to   Tuscany in one intense mouthful.

WOLF RESTAURANT REVIEW STOKE NEWINGTON

My husband opted for the bucatini with 7 hour Hogget shoulder, mint and Ligurian basil ragu
topped with toasted Sicilian pistachios. The hogget shoulder was like a very tender pulled pork that melted in your mouth with delicious al dente pasta and pistachio that added a wonderful crunchy texture.

Both dishes were thoroughly enjoyable and paired exceptionally well with the rich and velvety Cecilia Beretta Soraie Veneto, a fabulous Italian red wine recommended by our friendly waitress.

WOLF RESTAURANT REVIEW STOKE NEWINGTON

For dessert we ordered the cheese board and the tiramisu. You can hardly visit an authentic
Italian restaurant and not order tiramisu!

The cheese board consisted of carboncino, ubriaco and gratin bleu with thin crisp bread which
is much lighter and allows you to appreciate the cheese more. The gratin bleu was well picked as some blue cheeses can be too sharp, but this one had a dense buttery taste.

WOLF RESTAURANT REVIEW STOKE NEWINGTON

The tiramisu was airy, fluffy, creamy and had a great coffee kick. You can tell it’s made well when it’s not overly sweet and you can appreciate the flavours and textures of the mascarpone, biscuit and coffee.

WOLF RESTAURANT REVIEW STOKE NEWINGTON
WOLF RESTAURANT REVIEW STOKE NEWINGTON

To accompany these treats we ordered their very special homemade coffee tequila; made with
vanilla sugar, espresso and Cabrito tequila. We also ordered Wolf’s own take of an espresso
martini, a delicious cocktail with an orange flavoured twist, a great way to end a very
satisfying meal.

Tasty, interesting dishes and a great atmosphere in a relaxed and stylish setting, I really cannot wait to return to Wolf. Next time I will visit with friends for either a long lunch or the set dinner menu of four courses, a steal at only £45 per head.

Wolf restaurant review Stoke Newington
Wolf restaurant review Stoke Newington

Wolf 
110 Stoke Newington High St,
London
N16 7NY

Tel. 020 7254 4141

SAFARI IN THE CITY

“Safari in the City” is a very exciting and indulgent concept. The idea is that you get to explore three restaurants and a wine bar (all owned by the same team at DandD) in the space of one evening, moving locations in between courses. I was extremely intrigued about how the logistics of this would work even though the venues were side by side. 

Arriving at 6pm on a Friday evening my evening began at the atmospheric wine bar, "New Street Wine Shop".

NEW STREET WINE SHOP REVIEW LONDON

My father had come up to join me after work and we began our evening with a celebratory glass of Nyetimber. After all it’s not often my father and I get to catch up over dinner in the City.

NEW STREET WINE SHOP REVIEW LONDON

We then ordered a glass of red wine with the sommelier helping us to select one according to
our preferences. This was accompanied by a platter of cheeses, hams, gherkins and bread. The
cheeses were impeccable, my favourite being the creamy goats cheese with its very generous
portions.

NEW STREET WINE SHOP LONDON REVIEW
NEW STREET WINE SHOP REVIEW LONDON

For our first course we ambled the few yards to next door to sample the delights of the restaurant “Fish Market”.

FISH MARKET RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Here, we decided to order the oysters as our starter to continue the celebratory theme.
There was a choice of either the Colchester Natives or the Pyfleet Colchester Rocks, both served with mignonette, lemon and rye bread. We had half a dozen of each and decided our favourites were the Cochester Natives as they were fleshier and more flavoursome.

FISH MARKET RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
FISH MARKET RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

It was then time to visit the "New Street Grill" next door. A very smart restaurant where we were fortunately given a well suited table overlooking the busy courtyard, perfect for people watching.

NEW STREET GRILL RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

The waiter encouraged us to opt for the steaks so I had the fillet with a side of mac and cheese whilst my Dad chose the rib eye with a garden salad.

NEW STREET GRILL REVIEW LONDON
NEW STREET GRILL REVIEW LONDON

The steaks were delicious, well seasoned and cooked to our preferences. It was a relaxing atmosphere in the restaurant with a real mix of clientele enjoying mostly succulent steaks and red wine whilst in the courtyard it was mostly after work gatherings chilling out after a hard week in the office.

NEW STREET GRILL REVIEW LONDON

Our final leg of the tour was to visit "The Old Bengal Bar" next door where we had popcorn, petit fours and cocktails to end our evening.

THE OLD BENGAL BAR REVIEW LONDON
THE OLD BENGAL BAR REVIEW LONDON

By this point the party was in full swing and lots of office workers were enjoying the DJ’s tunes on the dancefloor, which was good fun to watch. Our cocktails were strong and fruity whilst the petit fours were gorgeous little cakes and sweet treats. By this stage I must admit, we were incredibly full so I’m not sure how we devoured them.

It was an exceptional treat to visit all these venues all in the space of one evening made more
delightful by the fact that they were all next door to one other. Each venue offered its own
atmosphere, décor and style of food to enjoy. It was very well organised and we were greeted and
attended to promptly at every restaurant. My advice when booking your “Safari in the City” would be not to eat at all beforehand as there is lots of delicious food and wine to enjoy at each restaurant and you will certainly not want to leave anything behind.

To book your "Safari in the CIty" experience, contact Daniela: Danielaf@danddlondon.com 

If you show this blog post and quote CITYINTRIGUE you will receive a complimentary glass of Nyetimber. Offer available for upto 6 guests. Perfect for a birthday dinner or corporate client event!

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUNDAY BRUNCH AT DEAN STREET TOWNHOUSE

One of my favourite things to do at the weekend is to go for a lovely long brunch filled with hearty delicious food, good friends and strong cocktails. I could't think of meeting anywhere better than a bustling and lively Dean Street Townhouse on a Sunday. 

Dean Street Townhouse review London

A beautifully impressive georgian townhouse with 39 bedrooms, it is a boutique hotel as well as a hot spot for brunch. The dramatic interior full of rich reds, greens, dark woods and an impressively long and luxurious bar really show off the room's style in all its grandeur. The art on the walls showcases emerging British artists as well as well knowns like Tracey Emin and Peter Blake.

We were shown to our table and fortunate enough to be seated in fantastic comfy arm chairs right by the window. 

Dean Street Townhouse review London
20180304_132916-01.jpg

A beautiful display of bloody mary's sits on the bar tempting you as you enter the restaurant as well as a selection of larger than life muffins, freshly baked croissants and pressed juices.   

20180304_132956-01.jpg
Dean street Townhouse review

To start we ordered some cocktails, I tested the Soho Mule, a concoction of Finlandia, lime, house-made ginger syrup, soda. A refreshing and interesting aperitif; warm in flavour, spicy and not too sweet. 

Dean Street Townhouse review
20180304_133701-02.jpg

My husband ordered a great looking "Old Fashioned" which was a bit too strong for me but I could appreciate it's bold flavours.

There were lots of lovely options on the breakfast and brunch menus, the kedgeree and grilled Manx kippers seemed like appealing choices but I ended up ordering the ham hock hash with duck egg as did two of my group. This came served with a choice of toast, wholegrain or sourdough. 

Dean STreet Tonwhouse review

The ham hock hash was the heartiest brunch dish I've ever had, with great big pieces of juicy ham and deliciously salty crispy potato. All topped off with a perfectly runny fried duck egg.

Dean Street Townhouse review London

As this dish was so filling, I refrained from ordering additional plates but instead looked at ordering another cocktail.

Dean Street Townhouse is somewhere I already look forward to re-visiting in the very near future. If you are in the Soho area it could be a great choice for an afternoon tea on an occasion such as Mother's Day, a Sunday roast with friends or a midweek dinner with colleagues. There is also a private dining room called the snug which cosily seats upto 14 persons and could be perfect for an intimate birthday celebration. 

Dean Street Townhouse
69-71 Dean Street,
W1D 3SE

Tel. 020 7434 1775

 

 

DISCOVERING THE CAXTON BAR AND GRILL AT ST ERMIN'S HOTEL, LONDON

St Ermin’s Hotel is iconic and legendary due to its extravagant design and links with Winston Churchill during World War II. The hotel was originally built in 1889 as a mansion block (with smart serviced apartments) by E.T. Hall (the same designer who was famous for creating Liberty & co. department store).

REVIEW CAXTON BAR AND GRILL ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON

Only ten years later, in 1899, the mansion block was to become a hotel with the help of theatre designer JP Briggs. This makes perfect sense when you step into the magnificent entranceway filled with balconies, magnificient chandelliers and embellished plaster work.

REVIEW CAXTON BAR AND GRILL ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON

Throughout the Second World War, the Caxton bar in particular was where the Secret Intelligence Service and MI5 would meet. As you can imagine it was exciting to step into the bar aware of it’s intriguing history.

My husband Oliver and I started the evening with a glass of one of my favourites, Nyetimber. It is always great to see that British hotels are championing a fine British sparkling wine.

REVIEW CAXTON BAR AND GRILL ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON

I rarely eat bread but as soon as I am presented with it in a restaurant and it is freshly baked and warm, I always have to try it. I was delighted when we were brought a selection of rosemary and also olive bread with whole green and black olives inside. This was served with a gorgeous green margarine spread, with fresh herbs and basil.

CAXTON BAR AND GRILL REVIEW ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON
REVIEW CAXTON BAR AND GRILL ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON

Executive Head Chef Alexander Boyd creates a modern European menu using locally sourced produce, with charcoal grill specials. I was looking forward to experiencing Alexander's skills in the kitchen and to start with I ordered an impressive lobster mousse, with poached prawn, puffed cereals & sea herbs.

CAXTON BAR AND GRILL REVIEW ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON
CAXTON BAR AND GRILL REVIEW ST CAXTON BAR AND GRILL REVIEW ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON ERMINS HOTEL LONDON

It was the perfect variety of crunchy, creamy and meaty, served with a generous piece of juicy lobster. It was so much more than I had expected and very impressive.

My husband had the slow cooked duck egg, delicious and unique in it’s use of aniseed jelly and liquorice flavours. A very interesting combination that worked well together.

CAXTON BAR AND GRILL REVIEW ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON

We drank a glass of the Domaine du Pelican Arbois, a beautiful chardonnay, fresh, fruity and oaky. It was an excellent choice to accompany both our starters and mains.

CAXTON BAR AND GRILL REVIEW ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON

It was a pleasure to be hosted for the evening by the Assistant Manager, Flavia, who told us all about the incredible roof garden where ingredients such as pumpkin, squash, olives, apples, plums, raspberries fresh herbs, onions, lettuce and tomatoes are grown. She pointed out that we were eating them on our plate that very evening! Flavia also spoke about the beehives they have installed on the roof, home to 300,000 bees that have made their home (and lots of honey!), also available to eat in the hotel’s restaurant. A really unique feature that forms part of the hotel's eco story.

For our main courses, I opted for the British rose veal loin with heritage carrots, Taleggio and lemon thyme tortellini whilst my husband ate the John Dory with Jerusalem artichoke, cockles, black pudding & lemon verbena. 

CAXTON BAR AND GRILL REVIEW ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON

In terms of its exquisite presentation and colours, this dish certainly commanded centre stage. I absolutely loved my juicy and tender pieces of venison with a moreish sauce. The lemon and thyme tortellini really cut through this overall rich and indulgent dish. We ordered a side of broccoli with almonds which also complimented our dishes.

CAXTON BAR AND GRILL REVIEW ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON

My husband Oliver’s John Dory fish looked intriguing but I definitely preferred my choice of main.

REVIEW CAXTON BAR AND GRILL ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON

You would think that we'd had enough food by now, but when the dessert menu's came, we couldn't resist trying one of the very interesting dessert options. I decided upon the vanilla cheesecake, Yorkshire rhubarb and basil granita. It was a fresh and zesty deconstructed cheesecake which very unusual, I liked it but I would have loved more crunchy biscuit as for me, that is the best bit of a cheesecake!

REVIEW CAXTON BAR AND GRILL ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON

Oliver has the iced maple syrup mousse cream cheese, walnut and poached pear. The caramelised walnuts were my favourite aspect of this dish and Oliver certainly seemed content in his choice.

REVIEW CAXTON BAR AND GRILL ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON

I wasn’t sure what my impression might be of the Caxton Grill but it surpassed all expectations with it’s relaxed and welcoming setting, attentive staff and delicious food. It was a fantastic place for a fun date night and we especially enjoyed retiring to the very cosy bar afterwards for cocktails by the fire.

REVIEW CAXTON BAR AND GRILL ST ERMINS HOTEL LONDON

If you happen to be in the Victoria or Westminster and in need of a great dinner venue, I'd highly recommend a visit to the Caxton Grill at St Ermin's Hotel. It is worth noting that there is a private dining room and semi-private dining options available should you require them. 

On your visit to the Caxton Grill, show the code CITYINTRIGUE to staff and you will receive a complimentary glass of wine with your meal. It would be great to see your foodie photos so do tag @City_intrigue #Cityintrigue on instagram.

Caxton Bar and Grill,
St Ermin's Hotel,
2 Caxton St,
Westminster,
London
SW1H 0QW

For reservations tel. +44 (0)207 227 7777

A SUPERB LUNCH AT HAWKSMOOR SPITALFIELDS

Last week the original Hawksmoor steak restaurant in Spitalfields re-opened it’s doors for a soft launch after it’s refurbishment. With all the recommendations I’d been given about this restaurant I thought this would be a prime opportunity to make my very first visit.

HAWKSMOOR LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

Renowned for their incredible steaks from The Ginger Pig butcher, I was also eager to test out other aspects of menu such as their all important side dishes, desserts and wine.

HAWKSMOOR LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

Arriving at the restaurant with my parents and husband on a damp and dreary day, we thankfully checked in our soggy coats and umbrellas into the cloakroom before entering the restaurant.

HAWKSMOOR LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

There was a lively yet relaxed atmosphere where everyone looked happy to be in the warm and excited about their lunches. The new refurbishment looked art deco in its theme with lots of greens, golds and stunning stained glass windows.

HAWKSMOOR LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

Knowing that we were about to order a lot of meat, we opted to skip starters and order the mains. I chose a 400g medium rare rib eye steak with sides to share including mac and cheese, triple cooked chips and winter greens. The steak was seasoned perfectly and a really delicious piece of well cooked meat. Before going to the restaurant I watched videos on you tube about how they cook the meat on a fiercely hot Turkish charcoal grill.

HAWKSMOOR LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

My Dad and husband ordered the 1.1kg porterhouse, which looked very impressive although was not quite as flavoursome as my rib eye, which they agreed.

HAWKSMOOR LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW
HAWKSMOOR LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

My Mum had the fillet which she enjoyed although I’m not sure how she could when she’d asked for it to be cremated, I mean cooked medium, well. It didn't look quite as impressive next to the Porterhouse as you can see above. I had definitely ordered the best cut in my rib eye and savoured every bite.

As for the wine we ordered two bottles of the Mas Montel 'La Petite Syrah', 2014 from Pays d'Oc, France. It was the perfect soft, fruity wine pairing for our flavoursome steaks.

HAWKSMOOR LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

The side dishes of triple cooked chips and mac and cheese were excellent, the chips were piping hot and the mac and cheese was incredibly moreish. The winter greens gave some much needed balance to an otherwise heavy and rich meal.

HAWKSMOOR LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

As time progressed, I noticed that the restaurant operated like a well oiled machine with everyone knowing their roles with great precision. The staff certainly showcased a brilliant team effort and we were fortunate to have been able to stay in the restaurant for almost four hours which was very relaxing.

The desserts were impressive to look at. Between us we had the peanut butter shortbread with salted caramel ice cream, the sticky toffee pudding and the rhubarb and custard tart with stem ginger.

HAWKSMOOR LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW
HAWKSMOOR LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW
HAWKSMOOR LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

I had the peanut butter shortbread (pictured above) which, being such a peanut butter fan, I really enjoyed the nutty texture although after a while I felt the shortbread did seem a little dry. This is not something to order if you do not like your desserts too sweet.

In terms of event space and dinner bookings I’d really recommend Hawksmoor, it is an impressive restaurant which caters for customers who are passionate about meat in a relaxed environment. A great setting for a relaxed dinner with colleagues or a more special private dinner perhaps in their bar room downstairs. Yes, it is expensive but you can trust that the experience will not disappoint.

Hawksmoor Spitalfields,
157A Commercial St,
London
E1 6BJ

 

 

DATE NIGHT AT THE GRILL ON THE MARKET

"Solid, Honest and Simple. Proper Food" is what this restaurant declares and I was
definitely intrigued to see they could live up to this claim on my first visit to The Grill
on the Market.

THE GRILL ON THE MARKET LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

Arriving at the restaurant with my husband on a cold Friday night, we were met by a
busy bustling place full of what were surely office workers enjoying the start of their
weekend. Many were no doubt there to make use of the offer of a special January
50% off discount as well as the two for one cocktails. Do make a note however that
this offer applies only on set cocktails and when ordered at the bar, as we later found
out. 

We were seated in our very own booth that was still close to the bar area so we were
immersed in the atmosphere and buzz of a Friday night.

THE GRILL ON THE MARKET LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

The staff at The Grill on the Market were incredibly welcoming from the minute we walked in. We wanted to make our seating time a little earlier and luckily there was space for us.

We then met two waitresses that served us our drinks and meal who were very friendly and informative. One even told us that she had a full time day job but did not want to stop working there as she really loved the restaurant and all her colleagues. A good testament to a sound workplace.

THE GRILL ON THE MARKET LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

To start with we both opted for a cocktail from their extensive list, a negroni for my husband and a margarita for myself. Both were delicious and came served in beautiful glasses.

THE GRILL ON THE MARKET LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

Before even looking at the menu I sauntered over to where all the meat was kept in tall fridges. My husband had his eye on the bigger cuts of meat, which as you can see, also came with a big price tag.

Although I was thinking about having a starter, there was nothing that particularly tempted me enough and I also thought I'd prefer to save myself for the main course, sides and potentially dessert.

We decided to share the Scotch Porterhouse which was 1KG and opted for both the red wine and shallot sauce as well as the black peppercorn sauce. The black peppercorn sauce was the best choice hands down and the red wine sauce was definitely nice but nothing special. 

As you can see it comes rather casually served on a big wooden board with a small side salad. We also chose roasted root vegetables and chips which were both a good accompaniment to the Porterhouse.

THE GRILL ON THE MARKET LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

As you can see this dish is not served in the most glamorous way but it doesn't need to be as this is of course, solid, proper food. The Scotch Porterhouse definitely lived up to expectations and was an excellent cut of meat with the perfect balance. Porterhouse is usually characterised by being lean but tender and with a thin top strip of fat for extra taste. This had all of that and more. I wondered whether we would be able to eat a full Kg of steak, but my husband was only too happy to take the lions share. We also ordered a good red wine to accompany our steak.

THE GRILL ON THE MARKET LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

We also chose roasted root vegetables and chips which were both a good accompaniment to the Porterhouse.

I definitely have a sweet tooth and it doesn't take much to tempt me with dessert, especially on a cold winter's night in January. The apple crumble with ice cream was calling and thankfully it did not disappoint. For me, with crumbles its all about the topping being crunchy but not dry or soggy and this one was excellent, a great portion size too. 

THE GRILL ON THE MARKET LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW
THE GRILL ON THE MARKET LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

My husband ate the sticky toffee pudding with ice cream which he said was one of the best he'd ever eaten, a bold statement indeed. It was definitely a delicious choice when I tried it, with its light sponge and nutty bite.

THE GRILL ON THE MARKET LONDON RESTAURANT REVIEW

One thing to bear in mind at this restaurant is that it is definitely expensive. You are paying very similar prices to the likes of Hawksmoor and Goodmans but it is a very different setting and style of restaurants with this one being a lot more rustic. To receive 50% off your total food bill you can sign up and become a member here

In terms of event space, there is plenty on offer but nothing private. You can reserve areas in the bar or big areas for dinner but this would be an informal setting. A great option if you're looking for after work cocktails with simple options to share like thai fishcakes, chicken skewers and chips.

The Grill on the Market
2-3 West Smithfield
City of London
EC1A 9JX
 

For bookings, Tel. 0207 246 0900

 

A MEXICAN FEAST AT CANTINA LAREDO

Ever since I can remember I have had a slight obsession with Mexican food. After years of consuming it everywhere  else on the planet, there was no better pleasure than to arrive in Mexico City a couple of years ago and taste my first bite of authentic Mexican cuisine; the intense flavours, the vibrant colours and the beautiful margarita's too - my all time favourite cocktail. Somehow the lime, the salt, the tequila and agave nectar all combine to make my perfect drink and this concoction seems to compliment Mexican dishes very well too. 

When in London, I always seek to find new Mexican restaurants that are as good as those I sampled in Mexico which can be quite difficult. As I was meeting my friend Emily in Covent Garden I did a search to find a Mexican restaurant close by and discovered Cantina Laredo where the menu looked impressive.

Arriving a little early, I picked a stool at the bar and ordered a margarita with Don Julio tequila whilst I waited for Emily. The restaurant was much bigger than I had imagined and includes a downstairs area which has just been launched as the Guacamole and Tequila Bar. Here, in-house ‘Guacamaestro’s’ theatrically prepare ‘The Great Eight Guacamoles’ right before your very eyes. If you don't mind a bit of table side theatrics during your meal then order one of these guacamole's. Also on the menu are tequila infusions with flavours such as hazelnut, jalapeno and strawberry and vanilla. 

To start we ordered the guacamole which of course was served to us at our table, if nothing else it is a nice chance to interact with your waiter or waitress and find out more about the restaurant and special dishes to try. Our waitress was incredibly friendly and was really helpful when we were deciding what to eat.

CANTINA LAREDO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

The ingredients for this gaucamole included avocado, red onions, jalapeño, coriander, tomatoes served with warm corn tortilla chips and a selection of spicy salsas.

CANTINA LAREDO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
CANTINA LAREDO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Next we ordered the tasty grilled butterfly tiger prawns with Valentina butter, an indulgent yet satisfying dish.

CANTINA LAREDO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
CANTINA LAREDO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Following this we had the seabass cerviche with a lime salsa, black beans with cheese sprinkled on top and Mexican red rice. As if this wasn't enough we had the rib eye tacos with avocado emulsion and my favourite dish of the night; the aubergine on crisp tortillas with green habanero mayonnaise. These were unexpectedly very delicious and filling and the aubergine was an excellent texture.

CANTINA LAREDO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Overall it was a great selection of dishes, all of which were well presented and flavoursome. 

CANTINA LAREDO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
CANTINA LAREDO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

The margarita's were well made and came with lots of salt, although I would have preferred to drink them out of more delicate glasses. 

CANTINA LAREDO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

The real show stopper of the evening had to be the chocolate, pecan and walnut brownie with vanilla ice cream. It came out on a boiling hot skillet pan, and the agave vanilla butter was poured over it and bubbled up to become almost caramelised, it was divine! We also shared the cinnamon and sugar churros, served with chile chocolate and strawberry cream. Also delicious, but couldn't quite compete with the brownie.

CANTINA LAREDO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
CANTINA LAREDO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
CANTINA LAREDO RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

The Restaurant seats 207 in total and there are different rooms available to cater for private parties from 14 to 96 seated and with 150 standing. For a private event it could be worthwhile hiring the Guacamole and Tequila bar in its entirety. 

Cantina Laredo,
10 Upper St Martin’s Lane,
St Martin’s Courtyard
London,
WC2H 9FB

For bookings tel. 02074200630
Email: info@cantinalaredo.co.uk

AN INSPIRING EVENING DINING AT TREVES & HYDE

I think some of you might know by now that I like food, and going out to eat food. That much is definitely true. But what I really like is when a restaurant serves up incredible and inspiring creations that are not eye wateringly expensive. A restaurant where you can be assured that every dish will offer your taste buds something exciting, flavoursome and bold. 

TREVES AND HYDE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

I touched upon a visit to Treves and Hyde in my write-up on the Leman Locke Hotel, as this is where Treves and Hyde resides. However, I have watched this little restaurant grow and impress over the last year and felt it needed it’s very own write-up here. I was also desperate to return again and experience more of what I'd appreciated on the last visit.  

My husband and I arrive on a Friday in mid-January and are seated at the bar, there is not a spare table in sight and the mood is joyful. We order a bottle of chardonnay whilst waiting for our table. Lots of their wine list is straight from Berry Bros & Rudd which is always promising. My husband and I are members of their wine club and the wines we receive each month never disappoint.

TREVES AND HYDE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
TREVES AND HYDE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Treves and Hyde has floor to ceiling windows so you can look out on the street below. At the minute you can have an unobstructed view of the building site across the road complete with giant digging machines. Not the normal view from a restaurant window but quite interesting to see it from a different perspective.  Granted that, being a local, I probably find this a bit more interesting than most.

The kitchen at Treves and Hyde is led by Head Chef George Tannock who as mentioned in my previous article, prides himself on using seasonal local and organic produce and the quality of his ingredients are reflected in his food.

George’s years of experience are apparent in the careful construction of his dishes and his evident passion when you speak to him about his food. George has previously worked with Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck as well as restaurants Oblix, Zuma and The Dorchester Hotel. 

TREVES AND HYDE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Once seated, we ate some of George's rather lovely food. As a taster, we had the gorgeous red pesto arancini balls with a delightfully light and moreish sauce. 

TREVES AND HYDE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

My husband ate the honey glazed smoked pork belly and kohlrabi (a stout cultivar of cabbage) which I was really looking forward to sampling until I looked up to ask for some and discovered it had already disappeared. I assumed it was pretty good

TREVES AND HYDE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
TREVES AND HYDE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

For starters I had the venison tartare with truffle and burnt ketchup, carta di musica. For those that don’t know (I certainly didn’t) carta di musica are the thin and crisp sheets of unleavened bread you can see on the plate. Having become a fan of tartare since my trip to The Vineyard Hotel last year, the venison tartare did not disappoint. With its delicious flavours and textures, I was stunned with every delicate mouthful.  

TREVES AND HYDE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
TREVES AND HYDE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

For main, my husband ate the beautifully cooked beef bavette with bacon pudding and delica pumpkin. This time I was lucky enough to try it and it was a beautiful dish with the finest quality ingredients. 

TREVES AND HYDE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Although I had every intention of trying something new for my main plate, when I saw the verbena chicken on the menu again I suffered a moment of weakness. This perfectly cooked grilled lemon verbena chicken comes with radish and cucumber and I opted for a side of smoked paprika chips. The reason I adore this chicken so much is because the meat is juicy and succulent yet the skin is crispy.

From my experience this happens with fried chicken but this level of succulence can be near impossible to create when cooking your usual roast chicken at home. However, George tells me that the restaurant invested in a very special oven that creates such perfection. You may have to taste it to really understand just how good it is.

Brand new for this year Treves and Hyde have installed a newly built private dining room which holds up to 12 guests, perfect for lunch meetings and private dinner events.

Treves and Hyde
15/17 Leman Street,
London,
E1 8EN

For bookings email: info@trevesandhyde.com
Tel. +44 (0)203 621 8900

MAC AND WILD

Mac and Wild first began as a food stall in London serving delicious wild game from Scotland to passers by. It then developed into a successful pop up restaurant on Charlotte Street and seven years later into two Mac and Wild restaurants; one in Devonshire Square near Liverpool Street and the other in Fitzrovia.

My husband and I visited the Devonshire Square venue on a bitter cold Friday evening where upon arrival I spotted two perfectly cosy Highland inspired hunting lodges which were created in partnership with Scottish Gin brand The Botanist.

MAC AND WILD RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

The two lodges were full of beaming customers tucking into their meat feasts, enjoying Scottish inspired decor which surrounded them. These lodges cater for groups of upto 12 people and there is no hire fee, with the minimum spend being £250.00.  A unique winter setting perhaps for dinner with friends or colleagues. 

MAC AND WILD RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Once inside the restaurant I took a moment to admire the array of bottles on display; a whiskey collection and some personalised Mac and Wild Scottish cocktails with names such as Auld Pal, Bonnie Brae and Tam’s Tear’s which I actually found you can buy online here and is made with Caorunn Gin, peach liqueur, fino Sherry, lemon verbena and wild nettle.

MAC AND WILD RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

The restaurant was really busy and had a really great atmosphere but was not overwhelmingly loud. Something I found quite funny was the latin music that was playing which I enjoyed but didn’t quite fit in with the Scottish inspired décor. Yet the rustic interior definitely did it’s job in reminding me of Scotland.

MAC AND WILD RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
MAC AND WILD RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
MAC AND WILD RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

To start with I ordered the fish bites in breadcrumbs with homemade tartare sauce, dill and a wedge of lemon. I most definitely could have been happy with a plate full of just these for dinner, they were excellent in every respect.  

MAC AND WILD RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

For our main we ordered Venison topside steak and decided to opt for the luxurious truffle mushroom mac and cheese instead of the side of chips it came with. The Venison strips were served medium rare and mouth wateringly good as well as seasoned to perfection. They came with a delicious sauce too called Red Jon. I never really order game but thought that I should being that this meat was sourced from Ardgay Game; a company belonging to the family of Mac and Wild’s co-founder Andy Waugh. It is hard to describe how it is different from beef but is definitely a lot leaner, making it the healthier choice in terms of fat content and in my view, just as tasty. An excellent comfort food dish for the winter.

MAC AND WILD RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

With this main we ordered a bottle of the 2015 Pinot Noir called The Crusher, from California. It was my ideal red wine and was a brilliant accompaniment to our Venison.

MAC AND WILD RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Sadly we were too full for dessert but it will be my aim next time to try either the sticky toffee pudding with whiskey caramel sauce or the apple tart with salted caramel ice cream.

In terms of additional event space, Mac and Wild offers The Gun Room which is both a private dining room for upto 22 persons as well as an impressive Virtual Shooting Range.

MAC AND WILD RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Mac and Wild,
9A Devonshire Square, 
London
EC2M 4YN

For bookings contact info@macandwild.com
Tel. 0207 637 0510

FEELING FESTIVE AT THE WIGMORE

 
THE WIGMORE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

If I could choose a particular month in which to visit The Wigmore it would without doubt be December. Stepping in from the icy blast on Regent Street (as pictured above) and pushing open the doors to reveal an interior resembling a grand ballroom, filled with cosy lighting carefully positioned on walls and table tops adding intimacy and warmth all at once.

THE WIGMORE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
THE WIGMORE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Impressively tall ceilings, beautifully patterned wood flooring and dazzling green glossy paint adorning the walls all added to the splendor of a thoughtfully designed venue. On the website it refers to itself as a “great British pub” but this is a far cry from any pub I’ve ever been to, even those pubs describing themselves as “gastro” cannot compete with the décor of The Wigmore.  

THE WIGMORE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
THE WIGMORE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

The bar was tastefully covered in red berries and ivy, whilst a Christmas tree with only simple fairy lights to decorate it sat in the far corner but visible from the main entrance. Knowing that this establishment was part of The Langham made me understand a little more about why the décor was so impressive, staff so welcoming and food – well let’s see…

To start, we ordered two glasses of Perrier Jouet champagne. Not something I’d ever order in any ‘pub’ I’ve visited before, yet here felt like the perfect setting in all its grandeur. There was an excellent choice of wines, champagne, beers and ales available on the menu. 

THE WIGMORE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

This was then followed by two portions of “snacks”, the buttered crumpets with steamed cock crab and the masala spiced scotch-egg with dahl relish. I was eager to see how these would arrive and instantly imagined a full size scotch-egg and larger than life crumpets. Yet I was pleasantly surprised as they came in their miniature and delicate versions. Three mini crumpets covered in lots of butter and flaky pieces of sweet and luxurious crab meat.

THE WIGMORE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

The two scotch-eggs were really crispy on the outside, with soft boiled quails eggs inside. I don’t usually imagine my scotch-egg coming with a spicy dahl sauce and could definitely have eaten them alone but it was a unique and heaty combination which works well.

THE WIGMORE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

For main course I had a very photogenic venison and braised red cabbage pie with pickled beetroot puree served with mashed potato. The classic pie and mash combination which most definitely could be mistaken for ‘pub grub’. However with the daintiness and meticulousness in which this plate is put together, you won’t want to eat another pub grub style pie ever again.

THE WIGMORE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON
THE WIGMORE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

I enjoyed everything about this dish, from the texture of the pastry to the ‘ketchup style’ beetroot puree. My only regret was in my eagerness of eating it all too quickly I felt so full afterward and worried there wouldn’t be space for dessert. 

THE WIGMORE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

My husband ate the salmon which was beautifully cooked and served on a bed of buttery potatoes. This was accompanied by a spiced shrimp butter sauce.

THE WIGMORE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

With a good few minutes to digest the pie, I ordered the sticky toffee pudding for two which came with a side of clotted cream. It certainly looked rich and indulgent. The pudding had a nutty texture and the sponge was steamed to perfection. It was just the right amount to share after a filling meal.

THE WIGMORE RESTAURANT REVIEW LONDON

Also worth mentioning on the menu, which by the way is overseen by Michel Roux Jr no less, are the XXL stovetop 3 cheese and mustard toastie which I saw fellow diners enjoying, as well as the Fat Chips coated in Bloody Mary Salt and the Four British cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy. All excellent reasons to return to The Wigmore in the very near future.

Within The Wigmore there are two areas that can be utilised for corporate or personal parties and dinners; The Snug, a gorgeously cosy room full or character. The Snug has seating for upto 25 and a TV, separate music system and essential natural daylight. Then the other private space is The Green Room, a semi private area which can seat upto 40 persons and has its own bar and TV/sound system. Both offer brilliant spaces in which to entertain in an interesting and vibrant environment, especially as the food, drink and décor are all high end but pleasingly do not come with the high end price tag.    

Be warned, by visiting this establishment, you will be hard pressed to find another pub that lives up to these high standards. 

The Wigmore,
15 Langham Place,
Regent Street,
W1B 3DE

For reservations call: +44 (0)20 7965 0198
For private and corporate bookings: info@the-wigmore.co.uk

Note that you can book during the day but evenings are open to walk-ins only, so get there early to avoid disappointment. 

AN ENCHANTING DINNER AT THE NORTHBANK

I have often walked past the Northbank restaurant on my way home at night. It sits alone, away from the crazy hustle and bustle of the nearby St Pauls and Bank and my curiosity was aroused enough to stop and take a moment to peer through its windows, wondering what was hidden by the low lighting and darkly designed interior.

As you can imagine, when an invitation came through to dine at this mysterious establishment, I was eager to satisfy my curiosity. Before I even entered the restaurant I took out my camera, the view was spectacular and I had to capture it.

NORTHBANK RESTAURANT LONDON REVIEW
NORTHBANK RESTAURANT LONDON REVIEW
NORTHBANK RESTAURANT LONDON REVIEW

Once inside, there was a champagne reception at the bar where I met some wonderful fellow PA’s and re-connected with the hosts; the corporate hospitality company Villiers and also the PA Club. We were also privileged to meet a very welcoming Christian Butler who founded and created Northbank almost ten years ago.

We then took our places in our own semi-private space, a great setting with a rather unique backdrop of the river and its twinkly lights. We also were privy to some very unique London themed wall paper.

NORTHBANK RESTAURANT LONDON REVIEW
NORTHBANK RESTAURANT LONDON REVIEW
NORTHBANK RESTAURANT LONDON REVIEW

We were given options from the very latest Autumn menu personally created by Head chef John Harrison, who sources the freshest ingredients to produce modern British food.  

My favourite photo of the night was the one I took of the bread rolls, partly because I have such a great memory of devouring them. They arrived at our table fresh, warm and accompanied by something a little bit special,... bacon butter. If you go to the Northbank, I implore you, these are something you should really try. 

NORTHBANK RESTAURANT LONDON REVIEW

The first course arrived which I was very much looking forward to, especially as this restaurant promotes its cornish influence and fresh fish, I chose pickled mackerel with horseradish and beetroot slaw. The mackerel was lean and full of flavour and the perfect portion size, leaving me wanting more.

NORTHBANK RESTAURANT LONDON REVIEW

I then chose the slow cooked pork belly with maple glazed parsnips and bacon jus which was divine, the pork was cooked to perfection.  It was definitely the best kind of comfort food and very much a hearty main dish. The succulent bacon lardons were a welcome addition that accompanied the jus.

NORTHBANK RESTAURANT LONDON REVIEW

I then went for the West Coombe cheddar plate with celery, water crackers and fig chutney. Now, this was a little disappointing as the cheddar wasn’t particularly flavoursome. This could definitely be improved by either selecting a different kind of cheddar, one of my favourites being the nutty Godminster vintage organic cheddar, or choosing two complementing cheeses to give some variety. 

NORTHBANK RESTAURANT LONDON REVIEW

Luckily a lovely lady I’d met, Emma, offered up her apple and damson fruit crumble with clotted cream ice cream, before she’d even tried it. I immediately had food envy, it tasted heavenly, particularly on a cold and wintery night, it was a delicious dessert and beautifully served.  

NORTHBANK RESTAURANT LONDON REVIEW

The Northbank restaurant really is a hidden gem and I feel fortunate that I can now add it to my go to list of venues in the city. I know if I sent anyone here, I would be reassured that they would be in excellent hands on all counts. 

There is also a summer terrace which I hear is spectacular, I look forward to returning when it's open and in full swing!

Northbank
1 Paul's Walk,
London
EC4V 3QH

For reservations call: +44 (0) 207 329 9299