Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Brasserie Zédel, London

Brasserie Zédel is a French bistro that has been on our to do list for quite some time. Conveniently located by the tourist hot spot of Piccadilly Circus we found our chance as Mrs Nom could do no further walking when we hit the area. The brasserie is located in the basement and is deceptively big and spacious similar to Mash on Brewer Street. For a basement space the ceiling is unusually high. Just as well as there is a natural buzz in the restaurant which would become too much if the space was smaller.

The menu is filled with classic French fare and we settled for a mix of a la carte and the extremely great value prix fixe menu of 2 courses for £9.75. Of which there is a set starter of grated carrots with a mustard vinaigrette which was surprisingly appetising and a main of chopped steak with peppercorn sauce and French fries, essentially a burger without the bun. 

From the a la carte we ordered snails with parsley butter which we duly polished off with bread. Zédel offer a dish of the day and on the Saturday that we visited it was rabbit with cider and fresh pasta, cooked on the bone leaving it nice and moist.

To finish, Mrs Nom was excited to spot floating island which she has wanted for a while. The poached meringue on top of the creme anglais was arguably the dish of the meal.

Zédel offers a range of dishes to suit different budgets and offers quick and fuss free classic French cuisine. The only point that we picked up on was the automatic discretionary service charge of 15%, hopefully something that the rest of the London industry will not adopt anytime soon.

Six Escargots au Beurre Persillé - Six Snails with Parsley Butter
Carottes Rapées - Grated carrots
Lapin au Cidre et Pâtes Fraîches - Rabbit with Cider and Fresh Pasta
Steak Haché, sauce au Poivre et Frites - Chopped steak, peppercorn sauce and French fries
Ile Flottante - Floating island
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Thursday, 4 June 2015

The Woodstock Kushiyaki Bar, London

The Woodstock Kushiyaki Bar bills itself as bringing the feel of Japanese Izakaya to the capital. Situated on Woodstock Street off the busy Oxford Street, it is ideal for a drink and bite for shoppers or after work drinks. Infact the website states the concept is based on the pubs and bars found in Japan, acting as a ‘pit-stop’ for a ‘pint and skewer’ before heading home after work.

Kirin Ichinban lager is served with a frozen top (but sadly without the Mr Whippy effect) and acts as an refreshing thirst quencher.
We ordered a range of yakitori to wash down our drinks including:
Chicken gizzards 
Chicken heart
Beef fillet
King prawn with lime and chilli

The gizzards and hearts were the pick of the yakitori, although we maybe biased as we are fans of the innards. The prawns could of been grilled more and the beef fillet lacked any real flavour.
Wagyu beef slider with spiced cherry tomato chutney - for some reason I'm always drawn to sliders on menus and then regret it when they come. These appeared a little too charred with the patty being overcooked.
Pork tonkatsu kushi age - the execution of the frying of the panko breaded pork was commendable, light and grease free with a good colour. The pork was moist and just about cooked and slightly pink. My favourite dish overall.

For the location the prices ranged from being value at £2.50 for the gizzards and chicken hearts to £6 for the slider, pork and beef fillet skewers. For a pint and skewer the Woodstock does the job competently.

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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Picture, London

Picture is a low key restaurant in Fitzrovia, a short stroll from the manic Oxford Circus. The interior is quite basic with wooden tables and chairs which remind me of being back in school canteens. The main focus here is clearly the food and the most popular attraction is the tasting menu with aperitif for a very reasonable price of £35. I don’t think any other tables ordered off the a la carte from what I saw which runs alongside the 6 course tasting menu.
The dishes as expected were of a tasting portion and the first course of baked onion and cauliflower soup set the tone for the rest of the meal.  A good start which packed bags of flavour.
Roast new season carrots, spring onion, goat's curd and lemon was next and showcased the careful sourcing of ingredients.
Pork cheek, apricot, turnips and radish – the pork cheek and apricot worked well with the remaining garnish appearing to complete the picture on the plate.
Pollock brandade, Provencal vegetables, smoked olives, sourdough – I enjoyed the classic salted brandade with the olives. A clever dish to introduce a cost effective fish within the budget of the menu price.
28 day aged beef, white onion, young beetroot and greens – the dish with the most appeal from the menu was slightly overcooked but enjoyable none the less.
Chocolate mousse, Williams pear, honeycomb - a safe and light end to the meal. 
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Thursday, 21 May 2015

L'Autre Pied, London

Any emails from Groupon that I receive with food offers are usually condemned to the trash bin immediately, however its not often you find a Michelin starred deal for a 7 course tasting menu for £31. Hence I snapped up the deal for L'Autre Pied, sister restaurant of Pied à Terre, who both hold 1 Michelin star with L'Autre Pied based in Marylebone which makes the deal more remarkable.
Amuse bouche - Avocado mousse
Salad of radishes with black quinoa, crème fraiche, fennel, dill and lime
Celeriac 'linguini' with black garlic, onion and parsley
Poached cod with brassicas and ruby grapefruit
Fallow deer with beetroot, cocoa and peanut
Coconut cream
Heritage carrots with banana and passion fruit

The interior is relaxed but rather weary looking. I like the fact that there is no tablecloth in sight, ideal for a casual lunch. The usual price of the tasting menu is £62 and the pre discount service charge is levied on top. 

As expected with a 1 Michelin starred restaurant, the execution and cooking of the dishes was faultless. The key standout dishes were the celeriac linguini and carrot cake dessert. Some good ideas for the other dishes but slightly missing the wow factor. However at this price it was certainly value for money.

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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Freemasons, Wiswell

Freemasons at Wiswell is the no.1 ranked pub in the Good Food Guide's Top 50 UK pubs 2015. It is also ranked 41st in the Top 50 Good Food Guide. The surrounding area is a haven for good food in the North West with the likes of Northcote and Parkers Arms for company.

The pub is set in the quiet village of Wiswell and parking can be found along the tight roads outside residential houses. The food was presented exquisitely with well matched flavours and excellent cooking. We can see why the venue has amassed such accolades and the pictures below speak for themselves.

Soup - English Asparagus and Lancashire Cheese, Truffled Cheese Hot Dog (£8.95)
Jersey Royals - Cooked in Bacon Dashi, Morel Mushrooms, Crispy Hen’s Egg, Iberico Ham (£11.95)
Herdwick Lamb - Roast Loin and Breast, Ewes Milk and Black Olive, Wild Garlic, Roast Cevennes Onion, Haggis Shepherd’s Pie (£24.95)
XL Diver Scallop - Roast and Tartare, Sweet Potato and Granny Smith Apple, Pork Nuggets, Xo Sauce (£24.95)
Michel Cluizel Chocolate - Single Estate, Vanilla and Pedro Ximenez Caramel Poached Pineapple, Rum, Raisin and Passion Fruit, Brown Butter Ice Cream (£9.95)
Souffle - Passion Fruit with its own Ice Cream, Hot Chocolate Sauce (£11.95)

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Friday, 8 May 2015

Dishoom (kings Cross), London

The Kings Cross restaurant is the newest of the Dishoom mini London empire. Opened last November it occupies a large Victorian warehouse spread over three floors. It is styled with a throwback to Bombay complete with a huge railway style clock.
Each Dishoom site has a special and for Kings Cross it’s the Nalli Nihari - described as a robust lamb-on-the-bone stew with generous spice, for strength and protection against faintness of heart. Served with sesame onion seed naan and added bheja (lamb brain) this was certainly packed full of flavour and is probably my favourite curry to date.
Bheja (lamb brain)
Chicken berry Britannia biryani – sealed and slow-cooked, this layered and aromatic dish was simply sensational. If the Nihari was my favourite curry to date this is certainly my number one biryani. The spices were simply spot on and the texture of the rice and chicken just right finished off with sweet pieces of cranberry. Simply put it was superb and ideal for mopping up the last of the nihari curry. 
Masala prawns – simple and charred slightly at the edges, overshadowed by the previous two dishes but did the job.
Gunpowder potatoes – skin on potatoes with butter, crushed aromatic seeds and green herbs.
All the above washed down with the obligatory spicy house chai along with a selection of fresh juices. Its a common trend that style is usually accomplished with substance being sacrificed, but not here, the food is certainly the star.
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