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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Wednesday 6 May 2015

On The Bab (Covent Garden), London

Having visited the original On The Bab on Old Street on its opening night I was keen to visit its new Covent Garden site which opened last month. On The Bab serves modern Korean dishes along with a mix of classic dishes in a modern open kitchen environment with K-Pop tunes providing a chilled out backdrop.

The menu is split between nibbles, small dishes, Korean fired chicken, rice and bun dishes and traditional dishes. In the nibbles sections are bar snacks and its take on a muffin, which is a food trend from South Korea. It comes in a choice of fillings, kimchi & cheese or quail egg & bacon, we opted for the former.
Yangyum chicken better known as Korean fired chicken comes a small medium or large sizes and with a choice of flavours. The classic sweet spicy is very moreish and goes perfect with ice cold beer. 
The garlic mayo and seasoned spring onion flavours are also very good but the sweet spicy has the edge.
The small dishes section contains dumpling and salad dishes. A noodle salad with bulgogi beef is refreshing and light.
Seaweed salad with sweet spicy dressing has a kick from the chilli seeds and is served in a jar.
The classic bulgogi beef bibimbab is served in a metal bowl, note a stone bowl is only used if described as a dolsot bibimbab.
More interesting is another Korean food trend being a Korean style burrito with spicy pork. Essentially a sushi roll but very enjoyable.
From the traditional dishes section we tried a baek ban, which is a single tray with a choice of meat served with rice, salad and kimchi. Our choice was the spicy pork which was very additive with the kimchi and rice.
Soondubu Jjigae is a spicy tofu & seafood stew with free range egg. This was a warming dish together with plain boiled rice with the right level of heat and variety of seafood including squid, mussels and shrimps.
Possibly my favourite thing about the new On The Bab is the large pitchers of Somaek beer which are served in large iced tubes and dispensed at the table at your own leisure. On The Bab has truly whetted our appetite for our upcoming visit to Seoul in December.

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