Posts Tagged ‘Best Restaurants in London’

Written by Girl Has to Eat and Food Porn Nation
Photos by Food Porn Nation

Chashu men, Kanadaya, Tottenham Court Road

Kanada-Ya on St Giles High Street opened its doors in September 2014 and has since cultivated a large following with its special brand of ramen. Kanada-Ya is the brainchild of the award winning tonkostu broth master Mr Kanada who has been making ramen in Japan since 2009. It specialises only in tonkostu ramen and does not stray into shio, shoyu or miso based broths.

The secret to¬†Kanada-Ya‚Äôs¬†success is its¬†specially cooked 18-hour pork bone¬†tonkotsu¬†broth¬†which¬†is tended to overnight.¬†There are three different types of ramen¬†bowls¬†available ‚Äď the original, the¬†moyashi¬†(a lighter broth) and¬†chashu-men (ramen finished with a¬†chashu¬†collar).¬†¬†The word ramen is taken from the Chinese word ‚Äėlamien‚Äô which means ‚Äėhand pulled noodles‚Äô and the ramen at¬†Kanada-Ya¬†is literally that – hand pulled noodles prepared on site¬†by¬†their very own noodle whiz.¬†Kanada-ya¬†also¬†serve¬†onigiri¬†(Japanese rice balls wrapped in¬†nori) that can be washed down with a selection¬†of Japanese beers, sake or soft drinks.

Like Kanada-Ya’s menu, the décor is simple and basic. But it does the trick as ramen is Japanese fast food rather than a lingering sit down dining experience. But Kanada-Ya has become so popular that there are often queues which can lead to about a half hour wait.

chashu-men, Kanadaya, Tottenham Court Road

The¬†chashu-men¬†¬†(¬£12.50)¬†caught¬†our eye with the promise of¬†an¬†extra¬†chashu¬†pork¬†collar. The¬†tonkotsu¬†broth was delicious –¬†smooth, creamy, fatty and frothy;¬†full of depth and beautifully rounded.¬†The ramen¬†was cooked¬†to¬†order;¬†very firm, firm, regular or soft.¬†We tried both¬†firm¬†and regular and we found¬†the noodles perfectly cooked to order and that they had been¬†pulled to an exact thinness that was¬†lovely and chewy.¬†The¬†chashu¬†is made using the neck so it is far leaner than that of pork belly.

Extra¬†gold label¬†seaweed (nori¬†–¬†¬£1),¬†chashu¬†cured¬†burford¬†brown egg (hanajuku¬†egg¬†–¬†¬£2)¬†and the charred black garlic oil (Ma-yu¬†–¬†¬£1.50) can¬†all¬†be ordered as additional extras.¬†We tried and loved them all.¬†The¬†hanajuku¬†egg was¬†an egg¬†cured with¬†chashu¬†(pork pieces)¬†and¬†was¬†something special.¬†It was¬†both¬†beautifully¬†sweet and savoury¬†and¬†exuded¬†a lovely warm¬†brown glow with a¬†golden¬†gooey¬†centre. The shiny¬†charred black garlic¬†oil was¬†as dark as¬†the¬†night¬†and¬†filled¬†the air with delicious¬†stinky¬†garlic¬†aroma¬†that¬†enhanced¬†the¬†flavours of this brilliant¬†ramen.¬†¬†The¬†nori¬†was excellent with a lovely flavour.

sake onigiri, Kanadaya, Tottenham Court Road

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Words by A Girl Has to Eat 
Photos by Food Porn Nation

Last weekend, we were invited by Australian chef Chris Jordan, formerly at the acclaimed Flying Fish & 4fourteen restaurants in Sydney, to his pop up restaurant ‚ÄėTasting Room‚Äô. Tasting Room is the first venture by Chris, and with it he intends to bring together a variety of themed dinners that draw inspiration from a mixture of local establishments ranging from chicken shops to cocktail lounges.

Tasting Room is located at Startisans, an indoor food market on Shelton Street in Covent Garden that showcases artisan food producers at lunchtime on weekdays. As his home is a local food market, he intends to use ingredients from nearby farmers’ markets and small businesses. The venue will hold a large communal table where diners are encouraged to bring their own drinks and which will also facilitate a sharing dining experience. Six ‚Äėtasting room‚Äô events with be held a month with regularly changing menus. Future events will look to collaborate with pop-up chefs from Michelin-star backgrounds.

Chris says, ‚ÄúI set up ‘A taste’ to provide a genuine alternative in the London restaurant scene. Now with Tasting Room as a more permanent fixture, I‚Äôm trying to demonstrate how inventive Modern British cuisine can be with a real emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients served with an air of fun and excitement. But ultimately it’s all about discovering unexpectedly delicious food in a truly relaxed setting.”

Last weekend‚Äôs menu drew upon teas by Yumcha, a teashop with locations around London including Soho. The starter was a ‘Caramel Sweetheart’, cauliflower and scallop, a complex dish consisting of beautifully seared scallops and fresh sweet scallop ceviche. Accompanying the scallop was a lovey cauliflower puree flavoured with ‘Caramel Sweetheart’, a white chocolate and caramel fudge tea, some tasty cauliflower cous cous and shaved cauliflower. The latter two elements completed the dish nicely by adding crunchiness and texture. This was a wonderful, skillfully executed plate of food.

London Food Blog - Startisans, Covent Garden - Tasting Room, slow roasted suffolk lamb shoulder, turnip &  'Egyptian Nights'  Jelly

Slow roasted Sufflok lamb shoulder with salt baked turnips, pickled baby turnips, turnip tops and ‘Egyptian Nights’ jelly was next. The lamb was tender and paired well with the jelly which was mint and chamomile.

Our next course was a ‘Chai Black’ braised Gloucester Old Spot pork belly with blood orange, burnt leek and shaved carrot was also really tasty. The pork belly was tender and delicious, and the crackling was good and crunchy. The ‚ÄėChai Black‚Äô (cinnamon, ginger, aniseed, chicory root, cloves, black pepper and Assam black tea) was used to flavour the pork and was a nice touch. We were also served a large side dish of orange roasted carrot salad that ensured none of us went hungry.

London Food Blog - Startisans, Covent Garden - Tasting Room, ‚ÄėChai Black‚Äô braised Gloucester Old Spot pork belly with blood orange, burnt leek and shaved carrot

 

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Steak w Cafe de Paris Sauce - Chez Boubier collage

Chez Boubier, Café de Paris has opened its first branch in London on Brompton Road in South Kensington. The restaurant serves the single menu (£26.50) of salad, bread and steak and fries with a Café de Paris butter sauce that has seen its 90-year legacy thrive across Continental Europe since 1930. Its famous Café de Paris butter sauce can be found in several locations around the world with restaurants in Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Hong Kong and the UAE. 

Its signature trademark is not only the Café de Paris sauce but also the single menu that is promised to every diner at £26.50. The butter sauce was made famous by then owned Arthur-François (Freddy) Dumont of Café de Paris. The birthplace of the butter sauce is commonly mistaken for Paris, France. However, it was actually conceived in Geneva, Switzerland by Dumont’s father in law, Mr Boubier inventor of the original butter sauce. It is considered a heavily guarded secret recipe enhanced with multiple spices, herbs and other ingredients. It is so guarded even the staff don’t know the ingredients!

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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 Р£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 Р£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 Р£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 Рmust 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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