Tag Archives: restaurant

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

Primo London Restaurant Review

Primo London Restaurant
Primo London Restaurant

In Italian Primo means ‘one’ or ‘first’ and I have to say after my visit last week, that the service at Primo is ‘first rate’. For those who haven’t heard about new Italian restaurant Primo now open on Shaftesbury Avenue, they are aiming to  resurrect our love of  ‘Pollo Sorpresa’, more commonly known as the Chicken Kiev. The day that we went, London was covered in snow which could explain why it was rather quiet.

We were welcomed by a friendly doorman which was a nice classic touch and shown a very nice table in the corner. As you can see, the interior of Primo is classic and sophisticated. My dining companion also noted that there was a good amount of space between tables which is good when you are trying to have an intimate date.

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Meal started off with some lovely olives and bread

To start with we were presented with some lovely olives, brushcetta and tomato dipping source. This also came with a basket of the most tastiest homemade bread with olives and fruit baked inside.

Selection of cured meats from their Cicchetti
Selection of cured meats from their Cicchetti

For starters we decided to opt to share a plate of cured meats, which in hindsight considering the size of our main was a good idea.

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Primo London’s fabulous Chicken Kiev

The Pièce de résistance the chicken kiev, arrived on a bed of spinach with chicken jus.  It looked amazing! It definitely made up for all the crappy chicken kievs I have had in the past. It tasted crispy and succulent, and the chicken was obviously of a high quality. To go with the chicken kiev we opted for sauteed potatoes, broccoli and bread which were nice, simple accompaniments.

Sauteed Potatoes, broccoli and bread
Sauteed Potatoes, broccoli and bread

Desert was tiramisu in a cup and the chocolate piece was a lovely touch. I eat a lot of tiramisu when I dine out and this was probably in my top 5 of one’s that I have eaten in London.

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Tiramisu served in a cup – best I’ve tasted without a doubt!

Apple tart & vanilla ice cream
Apple tart & vanilla ice cream

Painting by Ronnie Wood
Painting by Ronnie Wood

Once we had finished our meal, looking around I noticed that all the paintings in the restaurant were by none other than rolling stone Ronnie Wood, so if you do visit be sure to take a peek.

Overall I really enjoyed my visit to Primo London, the food is off a high standard and even though it is a bit on the posh side, I don’t think we ever felt uncomfortable. If you’re looking for simple well executed food then I highly rate this place. Price wise mains range from £16-24 which main seem a bit dear for some, but well worth it if you are looking for a treat.   I for one will be definitely be going back for more of their chicken kiev and tiramisu.

 

 

Wandering in London, a visit to Covent Garden, Piccadilly, Soho and Chelsea

Gorgeous strawberries from Bills Restaurant

One of the best things about living in London is the abundance of events that are going on around town all the time. Today was no exception. The day started with meeting my friend Miss Pinglish (Polish-English hehe) for brunch at Rushes in Soho. At the moment Rushes Short Film Festival is taking place in Central London, if you are a big film buff take a look at their site to watch innovative and exciting emerging shorts from British film talent. Afterwards we were still feeling hungry so we  headed to Moolis.

Moolis Pork and Pomegrante Roti – Hmm Yummy!

Moolis is a fun and cute little restaurant on Frith Street which sell delicious and spicy roti rolls. My favourite is the pork and pomegranate mooli. One of these bad boys and I am in food heaven! If you find yourself in Soho do pay them a visit!

St Martins Courtyard

Feeling nicely sated, we wandered off towards Covent Garden to the St Martins Courtyard Food Festival. We had much fun looking at all the gorgeous food on show from restaurants such as Suda Thai, Bill’s and Cantina Laredo. Afterwards we decided to go for a stroll around Covent Garden during which we made a few great discoveries. Miss Pinglish and I are both stationery and art fanatics and we simultaneously discovered The London Graphic Centre on Shelton Street. This shop is must visit for any art lover looking for art and craft materials, they have an extensive collection and prices are reasonable. We then found ourselves back on Shaftesbury Avenue when I saw a piece by Stik one of my favourite graffiti artists in the distance.

intricate carved fruit from Suda Thai

St Martin Courtyard Festival

A piece by street artist Stik

It was following this trail that lead us to what I can only describe as a secret garden! The Phoenix Garden is behind Shaftesbury Avenue and was so wonderful that we just had to have a look. I love that there were secluded areas for sitting and i’m sure it will be a great place for a date when the weather is better. If the weather wasn’t so bad we would have stuck around a bit longer but the rain hastened our speed to leave!

Phoenix Gardens St Giles

Next…Having heard on Facebook that Ricard was hosting a Petanque Garden Party in Chelsea Physic Garden we jumped on the 19 bus down to Sloane Square. Now I have a tip, if you’re a visitor coming to London and you want to see some of London’s highlights for a minimal cost the no. 19 is a great bus route. You will pass on the way Tottenham Court RoadPiccadilly, St James, Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge and Sloane Square.

Our route towards the Chelsea Physic Garden took us past many gorgeous haunts, that I will be sure to revisit. Chelsea Pensioners fields, Gordon Ramsay – Royal Hospital Road and The National Army Museum. We arrived at the event slightly wet but in good spirits. Despite the rain there was a good turnout at the Ricard event and we were greeted with a lovely Ricard Panama hat. Entertainment was a vintage 30s singing troupe, and petanque games were going on all over the garden despite the rain. We had a lovely time wandering around and looking at all the different herb and fruit varieties. I look forward to returning once the weather is nice! Also in attendance and enjoying the festivities was London IT girl and Vivenne Westwood muse Tolula Adeyemi and former Eastender’s actress Preeya Kalidas.

Ricard Petanques Garden Party – Bastille Day

To end the day we walked back to the Kings Road and finished with a strawberry tart and a hot chocolate at my favourite patisserie chain Patisserie Valerie.

Play Carnabingo – meet, eat and tweet to win prizes in Carnaby restaurants

Need an excuse to eat out? Then make sure you take part in Carnabingo. This month Carnaby’s independent restaurants will be taking part giving players a chance to win some serious prizes! The diversity of restaurants around Carnaby Street means you can choose from the wide choice of international cuisines. There’s everything from fine English fare, fragrant and spicy Thai, Chinese and Malaysian, Spanish, French, Italian and excellent burger joints too. These are alongside plenty of traditional pubs, wine and cocktail bars to let your hair down in, with a choice to suit every budget.

So How to play… People can pick up the promotional Carnabingo card in one of the 16 participating Carnaby bars, restaurants and cafés, or download a copy at carnaby.co.uk and get snap happy with their smartphone.

  • Order one of the recommendations on the Carnabingo card such as pie and mash at Mother Mash or a glass of wine at Antidote.
  • Take a snap of the dish or drink on their smart phone
  • Tweet it to @CarnabyLondon using the hashtag #carnabingo
  • Once they have tweeted four venues in a row (downwards, upwards or diagonal on the card), tweet @CarnabyLondon #carnabingo #4inarow to win a prize.  Prizes include a Carnaby £50 goodie bag, lunch for 2, or a coffee school lesson at Speakeasy.

Complete the WHOLE card, and tweet @CarnabyLondon #carnabingo #fullhouse to be entered into a prize draw to win a luxury prize including a night in the Soho Sanctum Hotel and dinner for two.

Cha Cha Moon Noodles dish

Participating venues:

Carnaby Burger Co – Posh fries – @CarnabyBurgerCo

The Diner – Diablo burger – @DinerSoho

Sacred – A flat white

Antidote – A glass of wine

Speakeasy – A milk coffee – @SpeakeasyW1

Aint Nothing But – A pint of beer – @AintNothinBut1

Zebrano – A mojito – @ZebranoBars

Kua Aina – ½ pound bacon avocado burger – @KuaAinaUK

Fornata – Pasta Casereccia – @Fornata

The White Horse – Fish and chips – @Whitehorsesoho

Cinnamon Soho – Bangla scotch egg – @cinnamonsoho

Tapas Brindisa Soho – Tortilla – @Brindisa

Flat Planet – El Diablo flatbread – @flatplanetHQ

Mother Mash – Pie and mash – @MotherMash (an old favourite of mine, mash is to die for!)

Cha Cha Moon – Singapore noodles – @thechachamoon

Soho Sanctum Hotel – Dorset Scallops – @SanctumSoho (Great place to take a date).

Players can share their recommendations and memories on @CarnabyLondon.

The promotion runs until the 30th June 2012. All tweets must be received by 30th June.

For full terms and conditions go to www.carnaby.co.uk  and keep updated by following @carnabylondon on twitter.

A date at Koffman’s At The Berkeley – Review

Koffman's

What better way to end my period of self-imposed hibernation then going to Koffman’s At The Berkeley for dinner. This was my first time going out to dinner on a Sunday night but I have to say that it is something I would do again. The restaurant wasn’t very busy and because of this we had very attentive service and it was easy to maintain a conversation. Koffman’s (after the legendary chef Pierre Koffmann) is an informal French bistro-style restaurant based at the Berkeley hotel. Here is what I ate:

Hand dived scallops, ink sauce & broccoli purée
Hand dived scallops, ink sauce & broccoli purée

Starter: The scallops were cooked to perfection, the brocoli was sweet and fluffy combined with the ink sauce I found myself  wanting more. A simple dish that I would definitely give 10/10.

Herb Encrusted Lamb
Herb-crusted rump of lamb

Main: Now I have a confession, I am one of those annoying people who likes their meat “well-done” and that is why I always worry when I’m eating French food. However on this occasion I was persuaded that the lamb shouldn’t be more than medium. I have to say that I am now a convert. The lamb was succulent and moist and combined with the cheesy mushrooms it blew my socks off.

Pistachio Souffle

Dessert: I chose the Pistachio Soufflé. The dish had a lovely strong nutty aroma, but I found it a bit heavy after eating all the rest of the food.

In between we had a lovely mini burger, a glass of champagne and some lovely French breads.

 This was all washed down with a lovely bottle of Chateau La Coste, Bellugue Rose.
Overall I would definitely recommend Koffman’s if you would like to taste good quality French cooking. Its intimate surroundings are great for a special occasion and it doesn’t have any of the pretentiousness sometimes associated with French restaurants.

A meal for two and wine came to around 160 pounds.

http://www.the-berkeley.co.uk/koffmanns.aspx

Koffman's Pig

Dim Sum Diner – Review

Lanky Girl was recently invited to try a new addition to the Dim Sum dining scene; Dim Sum Diner in Queensway.
Dim Sum Diner delivers traditional dim sum with a twist using an American dining concept. Finding the restaurant is very easy as it is literally across the road from Queensway station. Upon entering the restaurant we were greeted by friendly staff and we were shown to our table. The owners have chosen to keep the decor of restaurant quite utilitarian with a liberal use of the colour red for the walls which is a positive colour for the Chinese. The menu consisted of 25 different varieties of dim sum and other oriental staples. The prices were reasonable with most dishes being around £3.80. For drinks JD opted for a Tiger Beer and I had a glass of coke. Now onto the food, they had many types of dim sum that I have never tried before and I was keen to get stuck in. We each ordered 3-4 dishes each and finished all of them.

What we ate:
Guinness crab meat dumpling

The name for this dish was a bit misleading, it doesn’t actually taste of guinness. It is just used to give the dish its dark colour. One of their signature dishes the crab meat was succulent and tasty. One dish I will ordered again.

Homemade beef burgers

This dish puts the fun into dim sum! The bread bun was slightly sweet and beef not overly well done. Its the kind of thing you would have eaten when you were younger at children’s parties.

Xo scallop dumpling

Lanky girl loves scallop dumplings, and having tried the same dish in other restaurants I would say that Dim Sum Diners holds its own, a nicely cooked dish.

Coconut bun

I fell in love with this dish, and I definitely could have ordered more if JD had let me. Perfect I think for dessert.

Fish & spinach dumpling

This dish was okay but I was expecting more flavour really.

Baked barbecued pork bun

My favourite dish of the night, sweet meat heaven 🙂

Crispy aromatic duck roll 

A typical chinese dish served in an interesting way. JD’s favourite dish of the night.

Overall I enjoyed my visit to Dim Sum Diner, its American style delivery is fun and fresh and good value for money.

Dim Sum Diner is one restaurant that everyone should try at sometime or another. Its casual dining concept mean that it is perfect for popping in for a quick bite to eat for lunch or for when you are feeling. If you have never tried dim sum before this little restaurant is a nice way to be introduced to the concept.

For more information please visit http://www.dimsumdiner.co.uk/food.htm

Lanky Girl’s meal was complimentry.

Ping Pong Dim Sum – Christmas Menu Review


Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I am obsessed with Dim Sum. One of my favourite places to go for Dim Sum is Ping Pong. It’s great menus, fair prices and great cocktail list keeps me coming back. Last week I was invited to sample Ping Pong’s new Christmas menu. Now I know people would say that shouldn’t all branches be the same. Well my favourite Ping Pong Branch has always been the one in Soho with St Paul’s coming close second. After going ice skating  I decided to try their branch in Market Place. Now it pains me to have to admit this but the service that we received on this particular night was not what I was used to from Ping Pong. Firstly I will concentrate on the food as this is most important. Ping Pong offer four different christmas menus from 15 to 35 pounds. I opted for the 20 pounds menu. Which consisted of:

Ping Pong Dim Sum

Sesame seed prawn crackers

These are simply divine, crispy, with black pepper making them moreish. The lovely peanut sauce made a nice accompaniment.

1 mixed game puff

I really did enjoy this. It had a sweet and meaty texture although to be honest i didn’t know what I was eating pheasant.

1 crispy duck spring roll 

Crispy on the outside, lovely tender duck on the inside. 

1 Vietnamese rice paper prawn roll 

Something that I had never seen on the menu before (or noticed). I really liked it and will be definitely trying it on my next visit.

1 Prawn toast with sesame seeds

I always find prawn toast to be a little greasy but this one was okay. 

1 Char sui bun

This surprised me as I didn’t particularly think I liked buns.  I found the sponge to be light and fluffy  and the sweet meaty filling was tasty.

2 Lobster dumplings

This was the only dish I didn’t like and I only ate one, maybe it is the fact that I am not keen on lobster but I found the texture strange and the flavour unpleasant.

1 Seafood dumplingHave to say this and some chilli sauce was simple amaaazing!

1 Har gau – An old favourite of mine and didn’t fail to live up to expectations.
1 Chicken shu mai – One word Perfect!

For dessert forest berries & white chocolate sauce  –

well unfortunately this was sold out so I ordered a chinese chocolate brownie. I only realised the next day that my desert never came! This was the nail in the coffin for the service that we got that day. The restaurant was not busy but girl who served us seemed disinterested and cranky and we had to wait ages after asking for the bill. 

It hasn’t put me off Ping Pong but maybe I will stick to my favourite branches from now on. Overall I think the Ping Pong Christmas menu gives you enough variety to be worth the money. Although I would have liked it if they had included sticky rice as this is one my favourite dim sum.

Pierre’s Bar at La Brasserie – Review

Last Friday Miss Mint and I went along to South Kensington to review a new addition to the bar scene in South Kensington, Pierre’s Bar. Pierre’s bar is housed inside the already popular restaurant La Brasserie on Brompton road. When we arrived on friday evening we were welcomed by friendly and amiable staff who showed us to our seats around the bar. The bar itself is shaped liked a square perfect for the staff to serve everyone easily and also for us girls to have a look at any man candy ;). For the next few hours we were entertained by our friendly and cheeky barman Alex who constantly kept our champagne flutes topped up and provided wasabi peas to munch on. Being situated in South Kensington the clientele are undoubtedly the well-heeled but with their extensive wine and cocktail list Pierre’s Bar should be on every party girls list to visit before they hit Boujis or Mahiki. If your planning to eat there as well it can get pretty busy so make sure you book in advance.

For more information visit http://www.labrasserielondon.com/pierres-bar/

Chiswell Street Dining Rooms – Review

Its been a busy couple of weeks socially and I kind of got behind on blogging. Sorry guys! However you are in for a treat as I have discovered a lovely new restaurant that I am sure you will fall in love with. I bring you Chiswell Street Dining Rooms! From the people who own The Cadogan Arms and The Botanist in Sloane Square. Chiswell Street Dining Rooms describes itself as “a modern British restaurant and cocktail bar complete with seven private dining rooms and is now open all day, everyday from 7am serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner”. I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening party last week. This place is a little treat that I recommend everyone should visit (and I am not just saying that because they plied me with free champagne hehe). The interior of the restaurant is contemporary and modern but although it looks sophisticated the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. The restaurant is intimate and there are lovely hidden away areas which would make it perfect for a date or equally a private business lunch. If the food is as good as the canapes we tasted then this place is bound to become a prize winner. They have an extensive wine list and the staff are helpful in making recommendations. The prices of mains range from 12 to 20 pounds so it shouldn’t break the bank! Ah the toilets! Absolutely divine, best toilets I have seen in a long while! They even have diamond encrusted taps! It seems that everything about this restaurant has been well thought out and details have not been overlooked. If you work near Liverpool Street this is the place to experience modern british dining at its best. Lanky Girl is definitely going to be visiting again soon!

 For information please visit http://www.chiswellstreetdining.com/