Sunday, 17 November 2019

Pacific

Top Japanese pop up 


Miso tooth-fish

There are many top Japanese restaurants in London already, from Nobu, Zuma to Saka no Hana and Roka. But I just got to say they are far too expensive for what they are offering. I don't understand why a plate of grilled fish can cost more than £40, and a few pieces of sushi can cost more than £30, hence I rarely go for Japanese food when going out as it is hard to find a value for money joint. So when I discovered there is an informal but high-end Japanese pop up coming to town by Australian chef Shaun Presland, I had little interest. However, after checking the menu, it seems the quality of the ingredients that Shaun is using is really interesting, things that you won't see much elsewhere, such as kingfish and abalone.

Volta Do Mar

A Portuguese disaster in London



Ovos com tomate, Dorset crab

For some reason, there are not a great number of Portuguese cuisine themed restaurants in London. It has always been treated as the poor cousin of Spanish cuisine. After a few trips to Portugal, I discovered Portuguese cuisine can be just as delightful as its Spanish counterpart, especially in the seafood department. Whenever there is a new Portuguese opening, I take great interest, from Casa do Frango to Bar Duro in London Bridge. Therefore, the opening of Volta Do Mar is a big deal. It positions itself as a Portuguese restaurant with international influences thanks to Portgual's rich history in exploring the world in the past, from South America to West Africa and Southeast Asia. 

Lina Stores King's Cross

Classic Italian done well



Egg Yolk Tagliolini, Vacche Brune Parmigiano, Butter, Black Truffle

There are so many Italian restaurants in London, I have lost track of how many new opening in 2019 alone. One of the big trends in Italian food is the rise of pasta focus concept, all kicked off by Padella in London Bridge which now gained cult status. Lina Stores itself has a rich history, it started off life at a simple deli that sells imported sauces, ham and dry goods, before launching a pasta restaurant in 2018 nearby which became an instant hit. Clearly, everything is going well for Lina Stores, as it has just launched another restaurant in King Cross. The venue, as well as the menu, is much bigger than its Soho site. Besides pasta, it also offers a small selection of mains and a wider choice of antipasti. 

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Allegra

Star in the making


Welsh lamb, sweet pepper romesco, pickled walnut & black olive caramel

Located on the 7th floor of The Strafford Hotel, Allegra is a brand new fine-dining restaurant headed up by Patrick Powell, the former head chef of the much-celebrated Chiltern Firehouse, which was flooded by celebrities, foodies and star chasers. Allegra itself has a large menu, catering for breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as bar snacks, which is a massive demand to the kitchen team. For dinner, the menu format is fairly in line with most modern British restaurant. It offers an a la carte menu which also contains pre-starter snacks and side dishes. To fully sample what chef Patrick Powell is really capable of, I ordered 11 dishes from the a la carte menu and shared everything with my dining partners.

Hide

Underwhelming


Celeriac, avocado, angelica seeds

When Dabbous was around, it was without a doubt, the hottest restaurant in London. The Michelin starred restaurant was highly praised by foodies and food critics. A table at Dabbous was so in demand that you would need to book 6 months in advance to have a chance to secure one. Fast forward to 2018, Dabbous is no more and the chef behind it has launched a new restaurant called Hide in Mayfair and it was awarded a Michelin star soon after it opened. Hide is not your usual restaurant, it has 3 floors with 2 restaurants that offer a completely different menu. The cooking style is modern European with a hint of Nordic feel to it. The top floor restaurant at Hide is considered the more formal part, with a short tasting menu costing over £100.