Tag Archives: culinary adventure

The Collection – Review

Watch our interview with Head Chef Alex Fanzola of The Collection.

Lanky Girl has been eating out a lot lately and one of the few places to really blow me away is a new restaurant in South Kensington, The Collection. It’s interior has been designed under the direction of design genius Tom Dixon. The result is a cutting edge and modern interior with plush velvet chairs and  intimate lighting making it very inviting. Lanky Girl and Co headed down to The Collection on a Wednesday evening to sample the food and interview chef Alex Fanzola.

Upon entering the restaurant (I have to add that the walkway lighting display is magical) we were greeted by friendly staff who took our coats and showed us to our table. The layout of the restaurant is on two levels the top-level being the dining area (great for people watching on a busy night out) and the bottom being a spacious bar and lounge area.

The Collection has an extensive cocktail and wine list and we were given the chance to try two of their signature cocktails. The first being the Prince Charming cocktail which was vodka based, very fruity and zesty. The other being the Luciana Martinez  cocktail named after the model, made from slow gin, maraschino liqueur and aperol. Very strong, but delicious.

One of The Collection’s selling points is their homemade breads served with their cold pressed infused flavoured olive oils. I have to say I was blown away by the foccacio bread so moist and soft we couldn’t stop eating it and I would have finished the basket if our waiter hadn’t warned us about leaving room for the first course! We had three different olive oil dips, truffle, lemon, and basil. I have to say that my favourite was the truffle. With a focus on healthy eating all the dishes at The Collection are cooked with olive oil and no butter is used.  The Collection has a great sharing concept which means you can order 3 or 4 small plates to share with friends and family.

For starters we ordered:

Now I am always afraid of raw seafood but I was impressed by this dish, it tasted very light, fresh and zesty.

Spiced chicken, carrot puree and orange.

Chicken was soft and succulent, carrot puree had a kick to it and the orange was like finding a little sweet surprise in the sauce.

Baked prawn, basil and roast garlic.

Really lovely smoky taste to the prawn, I will order this on my next visit.

Seared veal cutlet, watercress and salsa verde.

One word. Yummy!

For main:

Hay roasted lamb shank, pistachio sauce and artichoke puree.

The lamb was cooked to perfection with lovely combination of flavours. Easily our  favourite dish of the night.

Barbecue grouper, samphire and spiced sweetcorn.

Grouper as a fish was new to me, it is quite meaty in texture. Additional flavour came from the samphire (which is like baby asparagus) and the tomato sauce.

For dessert:

Warm pistachio tartlet, white chocolate moose, and macerated cherries.

The caramelized top was sweet and crunchy, moose was fluffy and the cherries had sharp alcoholic taste. Only wasn’t so sure about the tart case would have preferred it without it.

Greek yoghurt panna cotta, preserved summer berries and lemon verbena.

A naughty treat!

Wines: Malbeck, red wine and Sauvignon Blanc Sancerre. 

Apart from the food, one reason that I would recommend trying The Collection is the staff. All the staff were obviously well-trained in the food and our friendly waiter gave us lots of good recommendations. It was obvious that the staff at this restaurant really care about the food and providing the best experience which made our experience very positive.

The Collection is a great place to try Mediterranean style cooking with a twist and should appeal to everyone from families to friends and those looking for healthy alternative for dinner. If you find yourself in South Kensington do go and check it out.

For more information visit http://www.the-collection.co.uk/

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A little bit of Luxury….The Connaught Hotel

This post I guess covers yesterday and today, unless I come up with something interesting to do tonight…

My ideal night out is a night where spontaneously you end up visiting places that you haven’t been before.I met up with my friend Jay after Uni yesterday for catch up drinks (can’t believe its been five months!). Anyway Jay’s usual haunting ground is Sloane Square. He has a penchant for “Olde english” pubs which he often moans have mostly closed down or become chains in London. So I was surprised when he suggested we meet at Green Park. Getting there almost 45 mins late (thanks TFL) he told me he was at The Mayfair Hotel Bar. Getting there, the bar was packed full of glamorous looking females (possibly gold diggers) being chatted up by middle-aged men in suits. Opposite The Nobu, The Mayfair Bar is a well know celebrity haunt and the few times I’ve been there, there always seems to be some Z list celebrity hanging out there (apparently I had just missed Kerry Katona…yawn). The cocktails are of a high standard which is to be expected of a 5 star hotel but don’t expect to get good service on a friday night as it will be impossible to get anywhere to sit unless you go early. Hence why Jay and I decided that it would be better to try somewhere less busy.

Not knowing where to go we decided to amble on down Berkeley Street and see if we could find one of the “olde english pubs. After walking for about 15 mins and not seeing any pubs we stumbled on The Connaught Hotel. It being  A luxury 5 star establishment  we were worried that we would be treated with disdain as we were dressed in jeans but our fears were soon put to rest as the friendly doormen welcomed us in. When you arrive inside The Connaught you really catch your breath at how beautiful it is. Tastefully decorated with Italian marble floors, leather chairs, perfume in the air and expertly trained staff  this place screams luxury. The Connaught has two bars The Coburg and The Connaught and is also home to the two Michelin starred restaurant Hélène Darroze . We found ourselves in The Coburg which was warm, small and intimate. The crowd in there was an eclectic mix of businessmen, American tourists, older couples and a group of teeny boppers. As with The Mayfair it was busy but not intimidating so. We were able to secure seats at the bar and after 20 mins we were told by a waiter that seats had become available near the window. How is that for service! With our drinks we were served complimentary crisps, olives and mini napkins. I was surprised how unpretentious and relaxed the atmosphere was in there for such a high-class hotel. Okay so the drinks were on the expensive side. Cocktails go for around 12 pounds and it was 8 pounds for a glass of Sauvignon.  If your pockets are light (like mine) you should possibly save your visit  for a special night out or if you want to impress your date. Ah the toilets! I don’t think I have ever seen more beautiful toilets! Marble floored, scented with perfume, fresh flowers and an attendant who presented you with a fresh towel to dry your hands. To cap it off at the end of the night I accidentally left my umbrella and when we got half way down the road we turned around to see that were being chased by a lovely waitress who brought it to me. I think I am going to convince Mr B to take me here for our next culinary adventure.

Culinary adventures with Mr B – Artisan Review

Lanky girl is lucky enough to have a friend who is as much of a foodie as she is ( and who doesn’t mind footing the bill). Each time we meet either Mr B or myself must choose a new restaurant that we  have  never eaten in to test our foodie credentials. Okay so the whole thing makes me sound a little pretentious but I am never going to refuse free food. Just before Christmas it was my turn to pick a restaurant. Of course being a bit of a procrastinator I left it to the last minute to book somewhere.  All the ones critics had been raving about this year (Hawksmoor, The Ledbury, Polpetto, Zucca) where fully booked. I came across Artisan on toptable.com and it’s reviews, interior and the fact that it was very close to Regent Street (last minute shopping) made me decide it would be the next place to show Mr B I knew food.

Having read that the menu was was created by a Roux scholar I had high hopes for Artisan. We arrived for lunch at  around 1pm and I have to say the Westbury Hotel and the Artisan restaurant is simply stunning. Staff were courteous and we were shown to our table to the far left of the room. The restaurant was very busy which was unsuprising as it was nearly Christmas. Looking around it was filled with businessman and ladies who lunch types.

Now for the food, we decided to order a starter and main each. Mr B had roasted dorset diver scallops, garnished with butternut squash & truffle for starter and the Roasted Bresse Chicken Breast for main. His verdict? Scallops were good not amazing and the chicken was possibly the worst he has had in London for a while (and he eats out a lot). I had Ham, Egg & Chips with Jabugo ham and a  poached duck egg. For main I had Fillet of Caledonia Crown Scottish Beef garnished with roasted banana shallot, baby leeks & horseradish butter. My impressions? Well both my starter and main were tasty but I wasn’t blown away by any of it, really I expected more from a Roux scholar. What I can say is that at Artisan you do get value for your money in other ways we had lots of  extras: truffle popcorn, the most bread I have ever seen in a restaurant (and SUCH delicious bread!), delicate amuse bouche, sorbets, a tree of chocolate leaves at the end. So I am glad we didn’t get dessert. We had an attentive waiter throughout  and they also had an extensive wine list.

So would I recommend Artisan? Yes I think if you want to treat yourself and not break the bank it is a nice place to go for a decent meal just don’t expect too much.

A meal starter and main plus two glasses of Chablis ler Cru came to £125.00.

Lanky girls’s rating

Food 6/10

Ambience 6/10

Service 7/10

Overall 6.5/10

Mr B’s verdict ” I wouldn’t bother coming here again”.

So basically I lost this round of the culinary challenge but I have higher hopes for my next choice.

Lanky Girl