Monday, 29 February 2016

Adam Handling at Caxton

Work in progress


Nitro salmon snow peas, wasabi, blossom

If you are a regular watcher of the BBC cooking show: "The Master Chef professional", Adam Handling shouldn't be strange name. He was a finalist at the 2013 show, he was also awarded British Culinary Federation’s Chef of the Year in 2014. In the Master Chef show, Adam really showcased his flair and supreme technical skill, so I always wanted to try out his cooking as what he produced in the show was seriously exciting. These days, Adam is heading up the kitchen in the luxury hotel St. Ermin's called Adam Handling at Caxton, the cooking is mostly modern European with a touch of Japanese essence.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Arbutus

All the best


Black pudding, egg, chicken jus

Anthony Demetre is a busy man, he has been working closely with the Seracy group with a number of projects. It was also announced that his own restaurant: Arbutus is to relocate somewhere else in Autumn. Personally, I think it is a right move as the restaurant is never busy. This shows winning a Michelin star doesn't guarantee you commercial success. Once again, I went for the super value pre theatre menu, at £26 for a 3 course with a glass of Prosecco. They also offer a standard a la carte menu with the mains costing around the £20 mark, which make Arbutus pretty much the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant in London.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Gyoza Bar

Million miles away


Soy based broth with ebi gyoza

I love dumplings, usually it contains a mixture of meat and vegetable, all wrapped in a savoury pastry. gyoza is a type of Japanese that are usually doubled cooked, steaming followed by pan fried to get a moist texture on the inside but crispy on the outer layer. So when Murukami, a Japanese restaurant has created a new restaurant concept, specialising in gyoza, I was one of the very first person to check it out. As gyoza is one of the most popular street food items from the Far East, and I can imagine it will gain a loyal fan based provide if it does the gyoza justice.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Pan de Vie

Matcha land


Pan de Vie

I am a big fan of anything green tea related, so when Pan de Vie, a pastry shop was launched in Covent Garden, specialising in matcha tea based cake, as well as other pastry that combine Asian flavours with European technique. According to the owner, most of the ingredients are imported from Japan and France. Using top produces to ensure the level of the highest quality. Matcha latte is a must try for any serious Matcha lovers, creamy and rich with a lovely green tea aroma. Unlike many other places elsewhere loading it with sugar, you can really taste the dedicated soft bitterness of the matcha.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Kopapa

Fusion Breakfast


coffee time

Kopapa is popular fusion restaurant in the ever busy Seven Dials. Headed up by chef owner Peter Gordon, who also owns The Providores in Marylebone. The restaurant is known for its creative modern breakfast dishes, such as the Turkish eggs and spiced banana French toast. I had the signature hot-smoked salmon on toast but it was a real let down, the seasoning of the fish was far too aggressive, it had far too much salt and lemon juice which totally overtaken everything else on the plate. The only plus factor for me was the 2 poached eggs, it was cooked to perfection with lovely runny yolk which helped balanced off some the strong flavours. 

Thursday, 18 February 2016

The Culpeper

Gastro pub goodness


baked Vacherin Mont D'Or, ham and potato

The Culpeper on Commercial Street is one of the most buzzing pubs in East London, spreading across three floors with a rooftop garden that host private events and growing house herbs which are being used in the kitchen and cocktails making. The ground floor is a lively pub which serves a strong selection of classic ales as well as craft beers. The kitchen on the first floor offer a simple and short a la carte menu, mostly British in essence with some modern creative touch from other European countries.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Homeslice Pizza

20 inches goodness


Homeslice Pizza

There are countless statements on what is the right way to make a proper pizza, from how thick is the base to the type of cheese just to name a few. But for me, as long if it tastes good, I am not bothered if it is New York style or British style. Homeslice offers 20 inches wood fired pizza, which you can pick up to two flavours and cooked to order. The classic salami with Parmesan was all about peppery and mild spicy flavours, the freshness of the rocket went beautifully with the nutty and rich taste of the cheese and cured meat. The pizza dough was soft and smooth, cooked perfectly and dare I say, it was even a notch above one of my personal favourite pizza joint Franco Manca.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Phoenix Palace

Classic Cantonese cuisine


Peking Duck

For Chinese New Year, there is nothing better than a group of friend and family all gather together for a big Chinese feast. Just round the corner from Baker Street, Phoenix Palace is a traditional Cantonese restaurant that has gained a reputation as one of the top Chinese restaurants in London, it has delighted many local Chinese, as well as celebrities and even politicians for many years. It has an old fashioned Chinese restaurant decor with dragon and phoenix artwork, you will always feel like walking into China when you stepped inside Phoenix Palace. Like most Chinese restaurants in London, it has a large menu, with over 100 dishes from its a la carte menu.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Oriental Dragon

Regional Chinese cuisine


Steamed chicken in special chilli sauce

Oriental Dragon is a casual Chinese restaurant in Fitzrova, unlike many other Chinese restaurants in London, Oriental Dragon also offers a number of regional Chinese cuisines instead of just the mainstream Cantonese one. On the menu, you can find Szechuan and Hunan dishes, some rare items that you would not be easily found elsewhere in London, such as pig kidney and duck tongues. The restaurant itself is in a rather dated state with an open kitchen, not very comfortable seating and can get very crowded as all the tables are very close to each other.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Le Bab

New age Kebab 


Roe deer kebab, cavolo nero kimchi, Jerusalem artichoke crisps,
damson & chilli jam, game mayo

We have had gourmet burgers, pizza, ramen and many other fast food items in 2015, it appears kebab is the next food item getting a premium makeover. Le Bab in Carnaby Street is a new launched restaurant specialising in modern gourmet kebab, it is by a pair of founders who has experience in fine dining. Just like other classic fast food dishes, providing it is in a hand of a capable chef, using top ingredients, with a touch of creativity, it can be just good as a fine dining dish. 
The food was on the house, as they had to cancel my original booking date due to issue with its kitchen.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Brasserie Zedel

Top dog brasserie


Brasserie Zedel

There are not many great value for money French brasserie, but Brasserie Zedel is definitely one of those places. Classy setting, live music and quality traditional French cooking, all at a reasonable price in central London. Beside the classic al la carte menu, Brasserie Zedel also offer some cheaper choices such as the price-fixed-no-choice menu, at £12.50 for 3 courses, it represents one of the best deal you will find in a French restaurant in London. I first experienced Brasserie Zedel back in 2013, now three years later, I was interested to see if the restaurant had kept its good standards, which had landed them a Michelin Bib Gourmand.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Newman Arms

The Cornwall Project 


Newman Arms

The Newman Arms have always been a very popular pub for the afterwork crowned in Fitzrovia, since last year, the upstairs space has been taken over by a pop up called The Cornwall Project, Matt Chatfield has selected a small group of suppliers to showcase cooking using some of the best ingredients form Cornwall. The menu is very short, with only 4 mains and 1 dessert. This is slowly becoming a trend in the London dining culture, with chefs preferring to work on a smaller menu to ensure greater quality and reducing waste, which is something I totally support.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Grill on the Market

Smithfield Steak house


The Grill on the Market

The Grill on the Market is a steak restaurant within Smithfield, right opposite to the famous market. London is now full of top notch steak houses, so I was wondering what can The Grill can offer as cost wise is pretty premium. It is part of the Blackhouse group, with 8 steak houses across the UK. I must admit I was not expecting much from its starter offering, but the mackerel was a lot better than I anticipated, the saltiness was spot on as was the crispy skin, even the gem salad and pickled vegetables was finely presented. 

Monday, 8 February 2016

Flat Iron Covent Garden

Meaty business


Flat Iron Covent Garden

The steak concept restaurant Flat Iron is going from strength to strength, it has just recently just launched its third site, and it is the biggest to date. Over two floors, with a cocktail bar and a butcher room, in the heart of Covent Garden. While the steaks at Flat Iron will never be as good as the very best from London, it is one of the best low budget steak mini restaurant chains. I always tend to order the specials rather than the standard Flat Iron cut, partly due to the lower quality of the texture. The sirloin was indeed fabulous, super tender and moist with the perfect seasoning, quality wise was not far off to Hawksmoor. However, I would love the fat was cooked a little longer to get a lovely crispy edge. The standard flat iron was not as tender, but still packed with rich meaty flavours. For me, the sauces were really not necessary as it takes away the delightful richness  of the lovely steak.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Yi Ban

Classic dim sum


steamed dim sum

It has been far too long since I last wrote a blog post about a good old fashioned Chinese restaurant in London. In fact, I don't think I have done one for dim sum which is a major crime considering I am of Oriental heritage. Dim sum is a traditional item contains a mixture of meat, seafood or vegetables that are usually eaten at breakfast and dinner. Yi Ban is located right opposite of London City Airport with a stunning view of the runway and riverside, it is very popular with the local Chinese community and it used to be my regular hangout joint on a sunny weekend.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Les Climats

Creative fine dining in Paris


Les Climats

Les Climats is a 1 Michelin starred restaurant in Paris, just behind one of the most famous landmarks Musee d'Orsay. Les Cimats is known for it's excellent wine list and especially wines from the Burgundy region. The cooking is highly creative with a touch of French elegance, together with the impressive modern yet classy decor, this makes Les Cimats one of the most popular restaurants for diners of all kinds, from business parties, tourists to local foodies and serious wine lovers. Head chef Julien Boscus was trained by the legendary Pierre Gagnaire so I was expecting plenty of flair and unusual elements in his cooking style.

Benoit

Top class French Bistro


Benoit, Paris

Alain Ducasse shouldn't be a strange name to any foodies around the world, one of the most successful chefs in his generation, he now owns a global restaurant empire with multi Michlein stars across the world from London to Hong Kong. Benoit in Paris is perhaps one of his most lower profile, traditional 1 Michelin starred restaurant. It is a French bistro with more than 100 years of history, cooking is classic recipes in a proper old school, warm and comfortable atmosphere. Benoit offers a traditional al la carte menu as well as a set lunch menu which cost 39 Euro per person with 3 dishes to chose from each course, not a bad way to experience high level bistro French food.

Le Celadon

Weekend treat


 Le Celadon

Le Celadon is a 1 Michelin starred restaurant in the heart of central Paris, the cooking is modern French in principle, with some small creative touches. Headed up by chef Christophe Moisand, who used to be the second in command at the 3 starred Le Meurice by Alain Ducasse. On the weekend, Le Celadon is re branded to Le Petit CĂ©ladon and offer a price fixed a la carte menu: For 63 Euros, it offers a 3 course menu with half a bottle of wine, water, coffee and petit four. Sound a real bargain and you can even use it in the evening. Many top end restaurants in Paris do not open on Sunday so Le Celadon is an excellent choice, not to mention the decor is stylish and elegant which make you feel like a special someone when you dine in this restaurant. 

Les Fables de la Fontaine

Modern seafood bistro


crispy egg yolk, leeks vinaigrette, seaweed, baked hake


Les Fables de la Fontaine is a small modern casual restaurant not far off from the Eiffel Tower, it was awarded a Michelin star from its last guide. The restaurant is known for taking seafood central stage, with specials such as whole turbot cooked on the grill. One of the main reasons for me to book Les Fables is after an extensive research on Michelin restaurant across Paris, this place appear to be the cheapest one, with a set lunch menu only costing 24 Euro and mains from a la carte about 25 Euro. Many other 1 star Paris restaurants would cost north of 40 Euro just with main course alone so I was keen to test out if the quality of Les Fables can match some of the other 1 star venues I have tried.

Circonstances

Lively modern French cuisine


grilled salmon, sesame, sweet spices

Circonstances is a modern French restaurant in central Paris, it is in the popular district of Rue Motmartre and the atmosphere was buzzing when we arrived for dinner. It was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for its excellent cooking using top market ingredients. I decided to book this restaurant after seeing high numbers of positive on-line reviews and at only 35 Euro for a 3 course a la carte dinner, with about 6 dishes to choose from each course, it sounds like real value for money. The items on the menu changes on a pretty regular basis. based on the available ingredients from the local market.

Pascade

Funky pastry


Pascade


Pascade is a Paris restaurant by the one of the most talented French chef, Alexandre Bourdas. For his restaurant in Paris, instead of trying to create another fine dining venue, he has created a rather interesting casual concept, serving nothing but a dish called the pascade, a pastry that contained egg and flour (similar to Yorkshire pudding, but sweeter and crisper). You can either pick from savoury or sweet pascade, with a wide range of ingredients to choose from such as prawn and beef to passion fruit and chocolate.