Tuesday 9 April 2024

Restaurant St. Barts

Totally British to the core

BBQ turbot

There are many restaurants in London these days that focus on local ingredients, trying to source as locally as possible to ensure the freshness and condition of the ingredients. However, few like Restaurant St Barts take that to the next level. It would only use ingredients from the UK and refuse to touch anything beyond that. For example, it won't use lime at all given the temperature of the UK is not able to grow lime to the desired quality the restaurant seeks. It offers a tasting menu only format, with fermentation and aging methods to produce flavours you normally would not find from British ingredients.

Seafood cocktail

Lobster bun

Langoustine and squash

Cuttlefish ramen

Out of all the snacks, I enjoyed the lobster bun the best. The powerful shellfish taste was beautiful, I could tell the shell was used to extract maximum taste from the lobster, with just a hint of spices to bring out the sweetness of the lobster. The cheese and onion custard reminded me of my school day, but the taste was refined, it had a great balance of savory tone, with the cheese and onion notes working in harmony. The best dish of the meal was the last dish: Aged black koji, together with some fermented miso, it tasted like a chocolate tart. Rich and sweet with a hint of savoury note, really interesting. It doesn't look much visually but the taste was stunning.

Cheese and onion
BBQ mallard

Jersey beef

Black koji, miso, milk

This is my second visit to St Barts and I think it has improved a little vs my last visit. The canapes selection was more or the same, but the hot dishes, especially the meat dish I enjoyed a lot more this time around. The dishes might look simple but a lot of work went into it, and I found the fermentation techniques worked wonders to offset the limitation of St Barts sticking to British-only ingredients. This is a restaurant with a unique identity and one that I would love to go back to every once in a while.

Food 4/5

Average cost without drinks and services:

63 Bartholomew Cl, London EC1A 7BF


Saturday 23 March 2024

The Midland Grand Dining Room Restaurant

Not your usual Hotel French food

Duck a la orange

There are plenty of great French restaurants in London, from the classic Otto to creative venues such as Bibendum. However, these places would easily set you back well over £150 if not more. I found it hard to find anything that is less than £100 for a 3-course meal while the quality is close to a Michelin star level. The Midland is one of those rare places that I feel does the job. The beautiful setting within St Pancras Renaissance Hotel and some of the most comfortable chairs have turned this place's decor into one of the finest in London. 

Noble Palace

Classy Cantonese banquet 

Peking duck

Noble Palace, the low-profile Chinese restaurant hidden in St James has been a regular spot of mine when I am seeking a casual dim sum meal or a full-on Cantonese-style banquet feast. The kitchen is pretty fixable of coming up with a bespoke menu to your liking according to classic Cantonese cooking, as long as you give the kitchen a week or 2 notice in advance. For my 18th visit, I came up with a menu containing some classic Chinese British dishes such as sweet and sour pork and dishes popular in Hong Kong, but have yet to get mainstream interest like the seafood clay pot and wok fry Dover sole.


Not as glorious as it seems

Langoustine and black pepper tagliatelle

Part of the flamboyant Big Mama group's collection of funky Italian restaurants in London, Gloria in Shoreditch is an all-day trattoria that attracts tourists and people who love to follow social media trends. This is not my kind of place to go to usually, from what I can see on its website, all Big Mama group's Italian restaurants have similar menus, but each carries a different name with different decor, the food offering seems basic enough for Italian cuisine, from cold cut, pasta to pizza etc. 

Wednesday 20 March 2024


A new 'Hide'

Grilled lobster with black pepper, pickled rose petals

Located in the smart address of Mayfair, Michelin-starred Hide by chef Ollie Dabbous has gone into a transformation. Beforehand, I recalled it used to have 2 different concepts across 2 floors which was confusing, and I had a very underwhelming meal there. The revamp of the restaurant has since merged the 2 concepts into a pretty standard ALC and tasting menu format. The food offering is still very creative, with a Nordic theme blended with international flavours. For my visit, I opted for the ALC menu and I noticed the restaurant was busy on a random weekend lunch, showing Hide is going strong.