Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Regularly frequented by the staff of the Japanese Consulate, Umu (one michelin) is normally situated in the heart of Mayfair. However, on this occasion we find Umu located inside Frieze Masters, a fine art exhibition in Regents Park, London. For four days only the Umu became a pop up restaurant featuring a limited selection of of sashimi, sushi, mains and desserts off their original menu. Nonetheless, this is sufficient to showcase the exquisite craftsmanship of Head Chef Yoshinori Ishii, who with his nine years experience at Japan’s three Michelin-starred Kyoto Kitcho, delivers a menu that is gracious, delicate and visually dazzling.

collage - fpn

The shellfish tomato jelly  (£16) is a jewelled masterpiece marked with a constellation of abalone, scallop and shrimp gems nestled cooly in a wobbly translucent jelly. Served cold, the dish is playfully subtle and texturally contrasting. The meat is supple while the veg holds the crunch. All going down very nicely with the slip of the jelly.

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When visiting London as an Aussie/Kiwi, you will pick up that there is wave of us starting to take over with our food and coffee. Coffee is downright horrible in the UK, that there’s even an app to navigate your way through the toilet water taking you to Aussie/Kiwi coffee Mecca. Try London’s Best Coffee Guide (£1.99) or London Coffee Guide (free). Otherwise if you spot a decent looking cafe and it sounds like you’ve walked into a shop back home, you’re good as gold.

Gourmet Kitchen Burger is no exception. It reminds me of our beloved Chur Burger in Sydney.
Owned and operated by Kiwis, they promise great burgers with quality ingredients all cooked to order. GKB has expanded into franchising and are now located across the UK. So if you’re stuck for a lunch option and stroll past, give it a go.

onion rings - fpn

We begin with the onion rings (£3.35). Gloriously crispy, you could hear that emphatic crunch with each bite. I had these with bacon aioli (£1.25) and garlic mayo (£1.25) – I couldn’t decide. Hmmm bacon… The dips were delicious and these were easily the best onion rings I’ve ever had.
The home made slaw (£3.00) is fresh and clean. Happy days. I personally hate haloumi, so I am pretty impressed that I fall in love with these halmoui bites (£3.75). They are void of that chewy rubber feel I dislike so much and that kiwi fruit and habernero sauce is a show stopper, packing quite the kick.

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This is my second time at Burger and Lobster. If you have read my previous post, you would know that this to me, is the happiest place on earth. I ‘just’ love getting down and dirty with some lobster.

At this point, it’s popularity still hasn’t wavered. In fact, we spent 2.5 hours waiting to be seated. The only reason I am happy to wait is because they call you when your table is ready. Which means I can have a cheeky few before the hunger really sets in.

Burger and Lobster, don’t have a menu as such and only serve the following three items:

  1. Whole lobster steamed or grilled with clarified garlic butter or garlic and lemon butter;
  2. Lobster roll served in a brioche bread with with clarified garlic butter or garlic and lemon butter ; or
  3. Beef burger with optional cheese and bacon

All are served with a side of salad and fries at £20 a pop. Approx. $35AUD.

First time round I did the whole lobster, but now I wanted to tackle the lobster roll so I could compare the two.

Lobster Roll - fpn

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Originating in NYC, Shake Shack is the all American food chain serving up burgers, hot dogs, shakes, fries and frozen concretes.
It is notoriously known for the following signature items: juicy burgers, concretes, gooey cheese and long windy lines taking it to 34 locations across the globe. Locally, it’s also known for being part in the burger wars with Five Guys in the ultimate burger off in who does the better all American burger?

But most of all, it is the only burger place where each burger served looks exactly like it does in the photo. It is picture perfect!! Follow them on Instagram @shakeshackuk, for your total viewing pleasure…

The secret to their juicy burgers is that it is made from a mysterious beef blend, taking different parts of the cow to make up the patty. The concrete is also widely known to be made from frozen custard and not ice cream! It is called a concrete because when you flip it upside down it stays put like a nice little concrete slab and doesn’t so much as drip.

The patty is 100% Angus beef hormone and antibiotic free, cooked medium unless requested otherwise. What’s not to love?

shake shack meal - fpn

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One of the things that a lot of people don’t know when they hit London is that can get a Michelin star rated meal at a ridiculously reduced price. Great if you’re on a budget, after a working lunch or just looking to give it a bit of a whirl.

At Murano you can opt for the 2 courses for £25 or 3 courses for £30. And most places will do this lunch special, you just have to hunt them down.

Google “michelin set lunch menu London”, and you should find some. Take Dinner by Heston Blumenthal for starters.

But its best to see their set lunch menu before you go in.

coppa di parma & salami

Most Londoners will know Murano by Angela Hartnett as being co-owned with Gordon Ramsey. But since 2010 they have gone their separate ways.

Angela Hartnett in her own right, has had a formidable career and is best known for her appearances on Hell’s Kitchen as well as, Gordon Ramsey’s protege.

bread platter

We began with a generous serving of coppa di parma and salami platter and the bread platter. This was enough to get our tongues wagging. We managed to hoe into that pretty free and easy and couldn’t help but being a pig about it, so we ordered another bread platter to polish off.

peaches, burrata, prosciutto

The salad of peaches, burrata and San Daniele prosciutto is worth giving up your first born for.

Tough luck kid.

The peach was perfect, incredibly ripe and fresh. The peach paired well with the sweet saltiness of the prosciutto and the creaminess of the burrata. The prosciutto was of the highest grade and was so thinly sliced that it gently melted away in your mouth.

tortelli

I found the tortelli didn’t quite have the same impact. I found the pasta a touch too thick. I also found the pasta slightly dry and needed a touch of creaminess to lift the subtlety of the tortelli filling.

mackerel

I’m not normally one to order fish. I normally have this misconception that there is no such thing as a good fish dish. But today, I was in the mood for something light, something fishy.

After all, I had eaten my weight through London, so something had to give.

The cornish mackerel turned out to be another gorgeous dish. It was prepared two ways, roasted and tartare with the mackerel tartare being the real winner. The hints of apple provided a zesty lift and added crunch.

lamb rump

The lamb was perfectly pink (medium rare) and wonderfully tender. Served again with tthe pea puree which was a delicious accompaniment. However, it just needed more sauce. The only thing I didn’t like about this dish was the anchovy pieces which was a bit slimey. But that’s ok. You can just push that to the side.

prosecco mousse, strawberries

Striking as this dish is, looks can be deceiving. I thought this dish was so beautiful but I found it rather one dimensional and uncomplimentary in its flavours.

tart

The unsung hero.

The gooseberry and frangipani tart was absolutely warm and comforting, something you yearn for, on a cold winters night. I loved the honey ice cream and how it brought contrast to the hot and cold temperatures.

chocolate ganache crumble

Brazil doesn’t really eat fruit, so he requested this dish to be kindly substituted in exchange for a dessert from the set menu. Sis and I gobbled up the most passionfruit sorbet (not photographed) with no complaints and managed to steal a piece or two, (ok maybe three) of the chocolate ganache crumble. Just delicious.

Welcome to Murano by Angela Hartnett, a michelin meal thats a steal.

Murano on Urbanspoon

About a year ago, my sister and I were invited to sample the menu at Apsleys at the Lansborough Hotel in Hyde Park Corner, London.

This would be the most overwhelming, heart stopping and mind blowing experience of my life and is also known to house Michelle Obama’s favourite dish –  Carbonara Fagottelli. Where a pillow of pasta quizzically encapsulates a carbonara filling. You place it in your mouth, push your tongue to the roof of your mouth and let the fluid centre combust. It is unforgettable. (See post here).

Executive and Sous Chef Massimiliano Blasone and Marco Calenzo are responsible for this dish and have since moved on from Apsleys and now head up Cassis Bistro in South Kensington, rubbing a michelin star quality to the restaurant menu.

To celebrate their new venture, we were invited back as guests to sample a specially created tasting menu across their al la carte range.

brioche

We began with a foie gras terrine marinated in provencale wine served with a toasty and buttery brioche. The foie gras is almost as thick as the brioche, so I just slithered a little foie gras and ate the rest on its own LOL, I wanted it all to myself!

The addition of slow cooked peach and “terra”, a cocoa butter crumble were interesting condiments but I was more than happy with foie gras alone.

caramalised foie gras

This fresh piece of foie gras was absolutely mouth watering. Prepared like a creme brulee and blasted with a sugary coating before service. It paired wonderfully with the rhubarb marmalade cutting straight through the fat and lifted the foie gras with a wonderful sweet intensity.

sea bass tartare

The sea bass tartare with sesame wafer was absolutely delicious. The tartare was sliced and diced to teeny tiny perfection and immaculately coated with a gorgeous cream sauce all nursed in between two crumbly thin wafer slices.

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La Porte De Indes is not like your typical Indian restaurants. It’s Indian with a twist and it showcases food from the Pondicherry region, a former French colony. So you can imagine how this place piqued my interest at the promise of an overlap between French and Indian cuisine.

First up, I couldn’t resist the temptation of tandoori seared foie gras. The wondrous slab of foie gras came accompanied with naan bread, fig and ginger chutney. This was beautifully rich and was perfectly juxtaposed with the sweetness of the chutney.

foie gras

Foie Gras – £13.00: Tandoori seared, served on a crisp honey naan bread with a fig and ginger chutney.

The scallops were fresh, juicy and plum and were left in a pool of garlic and saffron sauce which I found very buttery and creamy.

scallops

Demoiselles de Pondichéry – £12.00: Large juicy grilled king scallops with a hint of garlic in a mild saffron sauce.

One thing that La Portes De Indes is famous for, is for their tandoori grill. The lamb chops were marinated in yoghurt, brown onions and garam marsala and served with a delicious mint chutney. These are so delicious it’s best to just unleash your animal instincts and gnaw them until they are bone dry.

lamb chops

Barra Lamb Chops – £19.00: lamb marinated with browned onions, yoghurt and garam masala; char grilled to perfection, served with mint chutney.

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Second stop. Dinner by Heston.

Dinner was the most highly anticipated restaurant opening in 2011, receiving about 6,000 calls a day for restaurant reservations alone. eBay saw restaurant bookings auctioned off at the £50 mark. It even pipped its very own mothership, The Fat Duck (#13) and entered the San Pellingrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2012 coming in at 9th place.

The inspiration behind Dinner takes us back to Heston’s TV series, Heston’s feasts – (watch online) where he took a step back in time to resuscitate the long lost archives of British gastronomy. Each menu on the item references the period in British history as well as, the cookbook where it draws its inspiration from.

bread

complimentary bread

Here you have the meat fruit (c.1500) which was commonplace during the Tudor dynasty. It is quite the mutli-sensory experience and a true testament to Heston’s indisputable genius. It is a chicken liver parfait in the guise of a mandarin fruit and it is made with a mandarin glucose jelly to reach its carbon copy exterior.

The appearance is flawless, texture is velvety and the taste? Absolutely mind blowing.

You can watch how he makes it here.

meat fruit

Meat Fruit (c.1500) Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread
£15.00 – must have item

meat fruit 2

The roast marrowbone (c.1720) again, is visually deceiving. Whilst served to resemble that of a marrowbone, you need to scoop out to reveal the wonderfully buttery little snails lurking on the inside. Surprisingly the anchovy lifts the butter and elevates the whole escargot experience. The pickled vegetables were not nearly as exciting but visually complemented the dish well.

roast marrowbone

Roast Marrowbone (c.1720) Snails, parsley, anchovy & mace, pickled vegetables
£15.50

Like all meat served at Dinner, the Fillet of Aberdeen Angus (c.1830) was prepared sous vide and finished off in the purpose built hearth to give it its smokey and charred coat.

With a perfectly pink centre, the beef was juicy and tender. It was served with a jus and mushroom ketchup and traditionally this is also served with a side of triple cooked chips. However, I was disappointed to learn that they were not serving the triple cooked chips due to not having the particular potatoes in season.

This is particularly heart breaking knowing how far we’ve come and with the knowledge of how arduous it is to even make triple cooked chips!

rib eye

Fillet of Aberdeen Angus (c.1830) Mushroom ketchup & chips
£38.00

triple cooked chips

The Black Foot Pork Chop (c.1860) was served with a pink centre and was another excellent main. This is served with cabbage, tender ham hock pieces, puffed pork scratchings and finished with a delicious Robert sauce which is historically served to the likes of Henry IV!

black food pork chop

Black Foot Pork Chop (c.1860) Hispi cabbage, lardo, ham hock & Robert sauce
£30.00

The tipsy cake (c.1810) is the second quintessential item you must have on this menu.

The brioche turned cake is drenched in copious amounts of alcohol, butter and cream. (Which is enough to make your heart turn). The glorious goo finds its way around each brioche segment and knows exactly how to disintegrate, melt and implode on you.

It just stops you in your tracks and is absolutely heart breaking.

Just wow.

The pineapple piece is coated and spit roasted in sugar syrup for 2 hours and while tasty, it’s the brioche that’s the real show stopper.

tipsy cake

Tipsy Cake (c.1810) Spit roast pineapple
£12.00

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Arriving at Heathrow

My sister currently lives in London and has done so for 11 years. With that in mind and the London 2012 games coming, I just knew I had to be there. Next stop, Rio!

My sister just so happens to be a very popular food blogger in London (she would dispute this otherwise – you can find her here) and therefore she utilised every single opportunity to make us eat our way through London.

First stop. Burger and Lobster. 

burger and lobster

This place, is kind of like what Mc Donalds is to kids but for adults. It’s like a magical wonderland brimming with lobster tail and claws and all for the price of £20. This will buy you a 1.5 kilo lobster.

Hungry?

Well, you can upsize it to 2 kilo for an extra £10.

The place doesn’t take bookings. So best to get there early otherwise expect a 30-45 min wait while you food envy all the other patrons with their platters of lobster. I managed to spot a guy eat a mother of a claw, and of course I approached him like a zoo animal and took a snap of him eating his 7lb lobster.

Like what the hell is this place? Cos it is freaking awesome!

lobster hand

Man with 7lb lobster

Casually, I make my way back to the bar and ordered some very tasty cocktails for £9! That is great value for London standards.Especially if you make it to the Mayfair location. We then notice the the “Big Boys” sign and “The Catch”specials board (see below).

Wow this place really is happiness on steroids!

Big boys

catch of the day

Only 9lb left!

We finally arrive at our table and there isn’t a menu as such. We are told that we can either choose from:

  1. Whole lobster steamed or grilled with clarified or garlic and lemon butter;
  2. Lobster roll served in a hot dog bun with a slick of wasabi mayo; or
  3. Beef burger with optional cheese and bacon

The four of us unanimously order the whole lobster as it is clearly the best value item on menu. They recommend the grilled lobster as it gives it a nice charred finished whilst keeping the meat nice and moist.

accessories

Preparing for battle with bib, claw cruncher and wet wipes

lobster and fries

Grilled lobster, fries and salad served w melted garlic lemon butter sauce – £20

lobster close up

garlic butter sauce

Getting all garlic buttered up

aftermath

the aftermath

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