Posts Tagged ‘Popular London Restaurants’

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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The Bather’s Pavilion is separated into a restaurant and cafe, owned and operated by Serge Dansereau. There is also a kiosk to cater to those passing on by looking for a quick bite. (The kiosk is also very good). You can’t book at the cafe. Simply turn up and grab a seat.

The cafe does a great breakfast and an even better lunch. I would know, I am permanently stationed there for breakfast. The best pancakes in the world are being served right here. Fluffy and thick. Baked chorizo eggs and eggs benedict are bang on the money too. The venue also promises stunning views of Balmoral Beach. So gorgeous, you’ll be swept away and misplace yourself at a beach holiday resort. Amen.

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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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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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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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