Tag Archives: restaurant review

London food discovery – Cafe Phillies, Kensington

It’s March already! This month is going scarily fast, February was a fantastic month for making some awesome discoveries in London. Early in February I met a friend for brunch in Kensington. The last time I was in Kensington was to reviewFFionas Restaurant so it was nice to come back and see what else the area had to offer.

Cafe Phillies is a small all day cafe/bistro situated off Kensington High Street and with a decidedly neighbourhood feel and a bit of a European twist. We arrived just before lunchtime and found it buzzing with locals catching up with friends and others working on their laptops in a corner.

We both ordered from the breakfast menu. My friend chose the benedict which is two soft poached eggs on top of a toasted muffin & hollandaise sauce and spinach. Whilst I chose scrambled eggs, thickly cut bacon on toast – both dishes were simple but well prepared and very tasty.

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Scrambled egg, bacon on toast

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The Benedict at Cafe Philles

If you do find yourself in Kensington anytime soon do stop there for a bite to eat.

Café Phillies 
2A Phillimore Gardens
London W8 7QB
020 7938 1890

A review of Bistrotheque Restaurant, Bethnal Green

credit: https://plus.google.com/photos/at/106624747873245070749
credit: https://plus.google.com/photos/at/106624747873245070749

I am not quite sure how Bistrotheque managed to escape my radar for so long. When my date told me he was taking me to a nice restaurant in Bethnal Green my first thought was er….Bethnal Green..seriously? Oh dear.

Bistrotheque is a French style restaurant housed in an old warehouse hidden down the back streets of Bethnal Green. It is popular with the East End fashion pack and in true fashionista style there are no signs on the front to tell you its there (probably why it had escaped my radar for so long).

We dined early on a Monday evening and found the restaurant quiet. Bistrotheque is decked out in utilitarian chic with a painted concrete floor and brick walls, Crittall windows, industrial drop lighting, marble-topped tables and black bentwood chairs. It also has an open kitchen which is nice for those of us who like to see how our food is prepared.

Now for the food, for my starter I chose the charcuterie while my date went for the steak tartare. Both nice enough to start with. Next the main courses. I was torn between going for the longhorn rib of beef with portobello mushrooms and the whole wild sea bass and salsa verde. As it turns out I made the wrong choice. I didn’t end up enjoying much of the fish as it was filled with the tiniest bones, after almost choking a few too many times I abandoned my sea bass and joined my date tucking into his beef haha! The longhorn beef was adequate but for 32 pounds I would have expected to be blown away. Still it’s not all negative, we both chose creme brulee for desert which was delicious.

The best part of the night was the entertainment. It turns out that Bistrotheque has its own choir! Not many restaurants can say they have that. The choir performed two songs one of which was Nirvana’s ‘Entertainer’! We certainly were entertained and it did kind of make up for some of the disappointment on the food front.

Overall l, I enjoyed my visit to Bistrotheque, it definitely is a unique dining experience, however I’m not sure the food lives up to the hype.

Longhorn rib of beef, shallot and red wine butter, portobello mushrooms
Longhorn rib of beef, shallot and red wine butter, portobello mushrooms

Whole wild sea bass, salsa verde
Whole wild sea bass, salsa verde

creme brulee
creme brulee

Bistrotheque house choir
Bistrotheque house choir

Ffionas British Restaurant – Kensington -a review

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Ffionas is a quaint and homely little British restaurant in Kensington run by a formidable lady named Fiona. Recently I was to invited to try their brunch menu.

Situated on Kensington Church Street (we almost missed it! ) the restaurant is small and perfectly formed. I loved the homely look and feel – the musical notes on the ceiling, blue print wallpaper and fresh flowers made it easy to relax here. I suspect it is one of the reasons why the restaurant appeals to customers – it will be celebrating its 20th birthday this year.

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Ordering from the brunch menu my date who was nursing a hangover chose the all day breakfast. When it arrived I was slightly jealous having gone for pancakes, bacon and egg.

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Both of us attacked our food with great gusto and finished it all. Happily full cured of his hangover we both agreed that the food was good and simple, just like your mum may have made at home.
If you find yourself in the area give them a try.

Up until December you can get 25% off Brunch at Ffiona’s which is a nice incentive.

A Review of McQueen Restaurant and Bar – Shoreditch

Where do all the cool kids go for dinner? Apparently Mcqueen restaurant in Shoreditch. Recently I was invited along to try out McQueen’s pre-theatre menu. Most people know McQueen as a funky bar/club in Shoreditch but it actually does excellent food too.

McQueens Restaurant -Shoreditch

McQueens Restaurant -Shoreditch2

McQueens Restaurant -Shoreditch3

The interior of the restaurant is  vintage and retro with huge leather Chesterfield sofa´s, padded walls which are covered with photos of the great Steve McQueen. Lighting was warm and intimate which in my opinion makes it sexy and inviting a great place to bring a date.

For the first course I went for butternut squash and coconut soup which was more was really rich and smooth, it was more butternut than coconut and the chilli gave it a nice kick. My fellow dinner Tiny Cook N kitchen, opted for the Fig, toasted goat’s cheese, crispy parma ham and roasted hazelnut Salad which she liked so much she has said she will tried to make at home.

butternut squash soup and coconut
butternut squash and coconut soup

Fig, toasted goat’s cheese, crispy parma ham and roasted hazelnut Salad
Fig, toasted goat’s cheese, crispy parma ham and roasted hazelnut Salad

Next was the main course I went for the grilled rib chop of pork, crushed sweet potatoes, wilted bok choi and peppercorn sauce. The sweet potatoes were so creamy and sweet I could have eaten a whole bowl and the pork was nicely done. The bok choi I found to be bit overcooked and to be honest It didn’t really add much to other parts of the dish for me. My dining partner opted for the mixed pepper and leek rice, roasted breast of chicken and salsa verde which kind of reminded me of something we often eat in Nigeria.

Grilled rib chop of pork, crushed sweet potatoes, wilted bok choy and peppercorn sauce
Grilled rib chop of pork, crushed sweet potatoes, wilted bok choy and peppercorn sauce

Mixed pepper and leek rice, roasted breast of chicken, salsa verde
Mixed pepper and leek rice, roasted breast of chicken, salsa verde

Lastly came dessert which we both agreed was delicious! I am now a fully fledged salted caramel convert. I chose the mixed berry cake which was light, moist and creamy.

Assorted ice cream Salted caramel
Assorted ice cream Salted caramel

mixed berry cake
mixed berry cake

Mscqueens Shoreditch Bar

All in all I really enjoyed my trip to McQueen and considering the pre-theatre menu is only 15 pounds this makes the meal a bargain, I will be back!

 Tiny cook n kitchen said:

I can’t speak for the rest of the menu but the pre-theatre menu is a steal! My dishes were well presented and more importantly, really delicious. I’m still salivating over the goat cheese and fig salad starter and the ice cream for dessert was a winner. The bouncer we encountered on arrival was a little grizzly but our waiter for the evening was charming with the right level of tact, which many restaurants often fail at. Best served with a bunch of good friends or with a dinner date.

A review of Clapham Tandoori Restaurant

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Trying to find a really good Indian restaurant has been a mission of mine for a while. The last memorable Indian restaurant I had been to had been about 5 years ago, so when I received details about an Indian in Clapham I didn’t raise my hopes too high. Clapham Tandoori is based very close to Clapham Common station and has been serving up traditional Indian cuisine to south Londoners for over 40 years.

I took my friend Miss Mint along to review their dishes, coming from Bradford Miss Mint knows how to spot a good curry.  When we arrived on a Tuesday evening the restaurant was quiet but slowly started to fill up before we left. Clapham Tandoori is a family owned restaurant and the reception we received made us feel right at home.  Our waiter was friendly and attentive and made sure that we got what we needed.

We started off by ordering some Poppadoms which came with 4 massive dips. This should have been the first indication of the portion sizes at Clapham Tandoori which are definitely on the generous size.

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For our main courses we went for the chicken pasanda, chicken bhuna and sag aloo served with bread and pilau rice.  This was my first time trying the pasanda and I was really impressed. The dish was creamy and rich and the chicken was succulent. My friend Miss Mint was equally impressed with her bhuna and we both agreed that we both would visit Clapham Tandoori again. Miss Mint more likely than myself as she is a local, so I suspect she will become a regular to the restaurant. We both finished eating with smiles on our faces and stuffed bellies.

Chicken Bhuna
Chicken Bhuna

Sag Aloo
Sag Aloo

Chicken pasanda
Chicken pasanda

So now  I have a favourite Indian. If you find yourselves in the area do pay them a visit, you won’t be dissappointed!

For more information please visit: http://www.clapham-tandoori.co.uk/

Clapham Tandoori

10 Clapham Common South Side,

London SW4 7AA

Langmeil Wine Supper at The Gilbert Scott

I’ve been wanting to visit Marcus Wareing’s newest restaurant the Gilbert Scott since it opened two years ago so I was very excited to receive an invitation to a 4 course wine supper by Langmeil wines last week. During the night, various other bloggers and writers and myself had the opportunity to hear the history of Langmeil Wines from Barossa born and bred, European Export Manager, Emma Shaw. To prepare the supper Emma had worked with Nick Shaw Head Chef of the Gilbert Scott to match a selection of Langmeil wines to each of the 4 courses of chef’s menu.

The Barossa region is one of the most famous wine regions in Australia and Langmeil has been making serious Barossa wine since 1996, and is now owned by fifth generation Barossan family, the Lindners. They own one of the oldest known surviving Shiraz vineyards in Australia, and possibly the world, from which the team create The Freedom 1843 Shiraz.

Langmeil’s winemaking philosophies are to produce world-class wines, through their own individual style, while maintaining the distinctive hallmarks of the Barossa, as such they have been awarded 5 red stars in the James Halliday Wine Companion eight years in succession placing them in the top 5% of premium Australian producers.

The evening started with us being welcomed to a beautifully laid table in the Gilbert Scott’s private dining room.

 

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Private dining room at The Gilbert Scott

Wine Supper Menu
Wine Supper Menu

emma-langmeil
Emma Shaw of Langmeil Wines

We mingled with other bloggers while being served some delicious canapes of smoked salmon and Rye bread, this was served along side a glass of Langmeil’s Eden Valley Riesling, which had a delicate and refreshing taste.

Canapes
Canapes and Eden Valley Riesling

Next we were served our first course of Kedgeree, which I understand to be a traditional British dish that was cooked in colonial India. This was served alongside a glass of Eden Valley Chardonnay, which had a lovely zesty citrus and aroma.

Kedgeree
Kedgeree

For the main course we had a confit shoulder of lamb with white beans, braised carrot potatoes and greens, served with a glass of 2009 Valley floor Shiraz   The portion of lamb was generous! It was so  lovely and tasty that I felt bad leaving part of it but I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat dessert if I ate it all!  The Langmeil Valley Floor Shiraz  was a perfect pairing for the lamb and had lovely hints of chocolate and vanilla.

onfit shoulder of lamb with white beans, braised carrot potatos and greens
Confit shoulder of lamb with white beans, braised carrot potatoes and greens

For our third course we were served cashel blue with malt loaf and pickled pear, which my Irish friend excitedly devoured. I found the cashel blue a bit heavy after the other courses but it was lovely and creamy. With this we were served a glass of 2008 Blacksmith Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cashel Blue Cheese and Malt Bread
Cashel Blue Cheese and Malt Bread

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Valley Floor Shiraz

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Langmeil Wine Supper Guests

Dessert was a delicious vanilla pannacotta, blood orange, passionfruit and a slice of orange garibaldi. A lovely end to amazing menu, I finished every last morsel. We had this with a a lovely glass of 2011 Live Wire Eden Valley Riesling.

Pannacotta and riesling
Pannacotta and riesling

I don’t pretend to be a wine expert but I definitely will be looking to buy a couple of bottles of Langmeil’s Eden Valley Riesling to serve at my next dinner party. Langmeil gets a big Lanky Girl thumbs up!

Having also finally visited The Gilbert Scott I know that I will be back, the building in which it is housed is beautiful and full of history. The standard of food we ate was very high and the service impeccable.

Click the links for more information about Langmeil Winery and The Gilbert Scott.