Monday, 29 December 2014

2014 London restaurants high and low

The high, top 3:


The Ledbury

Not much to say really, The Ledbury should be a household name for all food lovers, two Michelin stars and countless awards speak for itself. It is simply the best London has to offer, exceptional taste and a world-class service in a relaxing way, The Ledbury is an excellent model of the modern fine dining as it should.

Read my The Ledbury review

Launceston Place

Launceston Place ticks all the boxes what I would consider a top restaurant, the cooking is modern European in principle with a touch of creativity without being gimmicky. It is also great to see the kitchen progressing all the time, each visit the cooking has developed with more refinement and surely it is only a matter of time before it gains its well deserved second star.

Read my Launceston Place review

Kitchen Table

Dining at Kitchen table is one kind of an experience, and a special one. You are placed on a bar stool overlooking the kitchen watching the chefs cooking your dishes right in front of you. All the ingredients are at its prime with some clever mixture of elements and flavours combination. Diners are taken on a food journey with 12 plus small plates course. 

Read my Kitchen Table review

Honorable mention: L'Autre Pied, The Five Fields, Smack Lobster


The low, Bottom 3:


Chiltern Firehouse

The most talked about restaurant in London in 2014, led by Nuno Mendes, former executive chef at the Michelin-starred Viajante. Now a hangout joint for the rich and famous, with overwhelming hype and buzz. The food here is not bad at all, but clearly overrated. A place for  celebrities and paparazzi, you can find much better value and the same quality of food elsewhere.

Read my Chiltern Firehouse review

Lobster Kitchen

Try to ride on the trend of lobster concept, but clearly missed the final touch, it's more expensive than some but taste wise, it was average at best and errors all over the show. It failed on both quality and quantity, and now running a student discount? Maybe time to go back to the drawing board.

Read my Lobster Kitchen review

Ippudo

A respectable ramen giant from Japan decided to enter the London market. The portion is tiny and most garnishes that you would usually expect in a bowl of traditional ramen cost extra. Maybe whoever calculated the costing got a little greedy and trying to maximum profit at the expense of the diners.To sum it up, very expensive, half decent food, small quantity and canteen service. Waste of my time.

Read my Ippudo review

Chiltern Firehouse on Urbanspoon

Monday, 22 December 2014

Comptoir Gascon

French bistro in the City


Comptoir Gascon

Comptoir Gascon is the sister restaurant of the fine dining restaurant Club Gascon, it's position itself as a gourmet bistro, sourcing its food and wine from South West of France. I'd always enjoyed classic humble French cooking and I found that lacking in London, judging from what Club Gascon could deliver, I was hoping for some well executed traditional French cooking from its little sister.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Square

French Haute cuisine


The Square

With two Michelin stars and countless awards over the years, The Square is perhaps one of the most loved French food institutions in London beside the legendary Le Gavroche. Phil Howard is one of the greatest British chefs, and under him he has trained up some supreme talents such as Brett Graham at The Ledbury and Rob Weston at La TrompetteThis is my second visit to The Square, having eaten there about three years ago.

My 5 Spirit Christmas Gift Guide Ideas

Christmas Gift Guide


1) Grand Marnier Limited Edition


Grand Marnier is the perfect addition to any Christmas cocktail. The bitter orange flavours are enhanced by the cognac with nuances of orange marmalade and hazelnuts. Grand Marnier Limited Edition continues to celebrate their French heritage and ensure Christmas remains special with their new Limited Edition Bottle. This annual treat is available from October at £26.05 for a 70cl bottle.

http://www.alexanderandjames.com/

2) Fran├žois Voyer XO Cognac


Fran├žois Voyer is a Cognac producer originating from a family of winegrowers, and are now into their fifth generation. Aging takes place in 100% Limousin oak, and is always extended far beyond the minimum requirements, resulting in delicate yet powerful cognacs with incredible complexity. The XO has a wonderful floral notes & pronounced rancio. Complex & balanced palate of spice, fruit, flowers & wood. An exceptionally long & elegant finish.


http://www.amathusdrinks.com/

3) Zacapa XO Rum



Zacapa rum is produced high up in the verdant Guatemalan countryside, under a dramatic backdrop of soaring mountains and active volcanoes; Zacapa is exceptional in that unlike most rum that uses molasses, Zacapa is produced using only the sweetest, first pressing of sugar cane juice, referred to as ‘virgin honey.’  Zacapa rum uses a Solera System aging process, with the rum being laid to rest in selected barrels that previously aged Bourbons, Sherries and Pedro Ximenez wines; in the case of XO, the aging occurs in restored French Oak barrels.

http://www.alexanderandjames.com/

4) Sazerac 18 Year Old Straight Rye

The famed Sazerac Coffee House was founded in 1850 on Exchange Alley in New Orleans, Louisiana and soon gained fame as the home of “America’s First Cocktail” known as the Sazerac. Using rye whiskey in place of the French brandy, a dash of Peychaud Bitters, and Herbsaint, what eventually became the official cocktail of New Orleans was created. This straight rye has a mellow spice and dry sweetness that dances on the tongue, giving pure delight that is worthy of the Sazerac name.

http://freespace.virgin.net/vintagehouse.co/

5)  Glenmorangie Dornoch Single Malt Scotch (exclusive for duty free)

Inspired by the unique natural environment surrounding the Glenmorangie's Distillery, Dr Bill Lumsden set out to encapsulate the essence of the Dornoch Firth in a special Limited Edition release. Representing the often wild, wind-swept coastline, Dr Bill created a robust spirit, extra matured in Amontillado Sherry butts. But to reflect the occasional tranquility of the Firth, he also crafted an elegant spirit using 1st fill American White Oak casks to bring layers of distinctive floral, vanilla and citrus notes.

http://www.worlddutyfree.com/our-products/wine-and-spirits.html

Monday, 15 December 2014

Angler

Seafood in the City


Angler

Angler is a modern British seafood restaurant just off Moorgate station in London, part of the premium restaurant group D&D's portfolio and located on the top floor of the South Place Hotel. It gained a Michelin star in the 2014 guide and retained it in 2015. I am a big seafood lover and found top class seafood restaurants lacking in London so Angler offered me high hopes especially after such an awful meal at Outlaw at the Capital.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Launceston Place

Personal favourite


Launceston Place, photo from management

Holder of 4 AA Rosettes and a Michelin star (Which really should be two), Launceston Place is my personal favourite restaurant in London, in terms of price vs quality, it is simply the best in what London has to offer for me. If you are seeking a top notch fine dining experience without seeing red in your bank statement, I can't think of a better place than Launceston Place.


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Marcus

Causal fine dining


Marcus, photo from management

Marcus Wareing is pretty much the chef of the moment right now, acting as the main judge on the BBC show Master Chef The Professional, he's also just opened Tredwell's in Leicester Square. His flag ship restaurant had a major revamp this year, with a much more contemporary and casual look. This restaurant was my very first two Michelin stars experience three years ago and it really opened up my eyes on what is the meaning of exquisite food. I was interested to see how the food has progressed after the revamp.


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Helene Darroze at The Connaught

Luxury brunch


Helene Darroze at The Connaught

Every Saturday inside The 5 star Connaught Hotel, its main restaurant Helene Darroze turns into a brunch heaven, American style. In a semi buffet system, guests get to eat as much starters and desserts and pick a main course which is cooked to order. This is my second time trying out Helene Darroze's Saturday brunch.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Koffmann's

French Classic in Knightsbridge


Koffmann's photo from management

Pierre Koffmann, the legendary French chef who used to be the head chef at Waterside Inn before opening his flagship restaurant La Tante Claire, which reached 3 Michelin stars along the way. These days, Koffmann opted for a much more laid back, brasserie approach and no longer chasing Michelin stars, his Koffmann's restaurant is now located inside the luxurious Berkeley hotel, the same site where Marcus Wareing is with his flagship restaurant.