Sunday, 7 October 2018

Restaurant Steirereck

Edgy Viennese cuisine


Lamb shank with Aubergine, Young Gear & Lychee Tomatoes


Rated by many as the best restaurant in Austria, Restaurant Steirereck is a contemporary Viennese restaurant inside the Stadtpark in Vienna. It has 2 Michelin stars, as well as voted the 10th best restaurant in the world by the World 50 Best Restaurant awards. Simply put, this is a restaurant with a big reputation. I visited for a lunch occasion and the first thing I noticed was the slick and edgy design of the restaurant itself, almost like a space station you would see from a sci-fi movie. For lunch, you got a pretty decent good value 4-course menu 
(for a 2 stars restaurant) at 98 Euro, which are directly taken from the a la carte menu. You can also splash the cash and go for the long 7-course tasting menu, at an eyewatering 165 Euro per person.

Buxbaum Restaurant

Contemporary Austrian cuisine


Lamb, eggplant, artichoke, hummus

When looking for classic Austrian restaurants in Vienna, there are plenty of choices such as Puerstner and Figlmüller. However, it was somewhat a challenge to find a good quality modern Austrian restaurant without reaching the fine dining/Michelin star cost level. After some extended research, I discovered Buxbaum, a small contemporary restaurant located right in the heart of the city inside a residential square. Buxbaum is a cozy restaurant specializing in Austrian cuisine with a touch of international influences and modern European style presentation. Like many modern European restaurants these days, it offers a tasting menu, as well as the classic 3 courses a la carte option.

Plachutta Wollzeile

Austrian beef party


Boiled beef party


Tafelspitz is an iconic Austrian dish, a cut of beef cooked in a soup with vegetables. It became an instant classic after the then Emperor Franz Joseph declared that it was his favourite dish. Plachutta is all about the boiled beef, in fact, it offers 10 types of beef cut, ranging from shoulder to rump. The restaurant is somewhat a landmark these days, extremely popular and it is not easy to get a table unless you book well in advance.

Figlmüller at Wollzeile

Iconic Viennese restaurant


Schnitzel


When you are in Vienna, one thing that you will see everywhere is the schnitzel, Austrian's national dish: deep fried in meat and usually done using veal or pork meat. Figlmüller is the granddaddy of the dish and one of the most iconic restaurants in the city. These days, it is now a very successful business with many restaurants across the nation. I visited the flagship Figlmüller at Wollzeile for my visit, which is the very first restaurant of the business and only offers limited dishes, but all are the classics that you would want to go for if you really want to experience authentic Austrian cuisine. 

Café Central

Viennese breakfast in style


Mozart chocolate


Vienna is known for its cafes and top pastries, so for any hardcore coffee and desserts fans, a visit to a local cafe is a must when taking a trip to Vienna. Located nearby the stunning Hofburg Palace, Café Central is somewhat an iconic landmark itself. The interior is seriously impressive with a charming old-school vibe, the cafe is best known for its legendary pastries. I visited Café Central for a lazy weekday breakfast treat, and I opted for its super-size continental breakfast, as well as trying 4 types of desserts. For lunch, the cafe offers a great value for money Viennese 2 course set menu, containing all-time classics such as the beef soup and roasted meat.

Carpe Diem

Refine fingerfoods


“Szegediner Gulasch” with Hungarian dumplings, pork belly


For most fine dining restaurants, fingerfoods often means canapes. Something that you would offer to diners as a treat before the dishes they have actually ordered. Located in Salzburg, Austria, Carpe Diem is doing the complete opposite. The restaurant is big on serving miniature sizes plates, mostly in cons or tapas format, inspired by international flavours from around the world, so the food is somewhat fusion. They do also have a proper 3 course a la carte menu but I quite enjoy the whole fingerfoods concept. This also made a good opportunity to sample a wide range of cooking from the kitchen instead of stuck with only 3 plates of food.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Temper City

Mexican City 2.0


Smoked beef rib

I am a massive fan of Neil Rankin, from the days when he was at Smokehouse, to Temper Soho and now Temper City. I dined at Temper City last year when it was all about the Indian style BBQ, the impactful aroma and spices of the style were somewhat unusual but personally, I always preferred Temper Soho with its Mexican style BBQ. One year on, Temper City followed the formula of what made Temper Soho so successful and completely revamped its menu. The starters are focusing in Mexican street food items such as tacos and tostadas, and mains are all about big cuts of meats and fish cooked on a BBQ. 

Sabor

The best Spanish restaurant in London?


Fresh whole palometa

I got nothing but love for Spanish cuisine, in fact, I think it is the best cuisine in the world. Fresh, flavorsome and full of diversity, hence it is mostly the reason why Spain has always been my top travel destination for holiday. These days, there are plenty of decent Spanish restaurants in London, from the Michelin starred Barrafina to the tapas heaven Jose. Sabor is the new kid on the block, opened by ex Barrafina's head chef Nieves Barragan and has already created a massive storm and becoming one of the hottest London restaurants opening this year. Sabor contains two floors, with the downstairs area is for walk-in only while the upstairs restaurant space "Asador" is bookable with a more extended menu with some big sharing dishes.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Park Chinois

The symbol of Chinese fine dining in London


Park Carbonara, Inaniwa Udon, Sea Urchin, 65˚Organic Egg and Guanciale


There are not that many fine dining Chinese restaurants in London and a good one is even rarer. Located in the luxury area of Mayfair, Park Chinois is a contemporary fine dining Chinese restaurant and it has prestige written all over it. The decor is inspired by the 30s era of Shanghai which had deep influences by both the British and the French empires, a time when the rich and lavish lifestyle of the high society has transformed into Park Chinois. Together with the classy live music and the well-dressed front of house staff, Park Chinois won't look out of place in a Bond's movie. The a la carte menu is heavily focusing in Cantonese cuisine, with a touch of western twist and plenty of luxury ingredients, such as wagyu beef and caviar.

Hutong

Sky high Chinese fine dining


Sautéed cuttlefish with gong vegetable, enoki mushroom and Sichuan chilli


Located in the tallest building in London, Hutong is a fine dining Chinese food sitting close to the top of the building. Hutong is part of the Aqua Restaurant Group, which owned a collection of high-end restaurants back in Hong Kong. Hutong branded itself as a fine dining Chinese restaurant specializing in Northern Chinese cuisine, after checking the menu, however, most dishes appear to be from the Canton and Sichuan region. In my typical fashion, I visited Hutong for its more affordable lunch menu at £35, before deciding if it is worth the dosh to revisit again for its more expensive a la carte menu, with some dishes costing around the £40 mark.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Ham Session

Ham and cheese heaven


It's "ham"mer time;)


Without a doubt, Spain produces the best pork in the world, and I got nothing but love for finely aged Spanish ham and cured meat. Ham Session by Don Jamon came to my raider while I was doing my research for my holiday trip to Girona, as you can tell by the restaurant's name, it is all about the ham. Simply put, you pay 22 Euro and you have yourself an all you can eat ham and cheese buffet, ranging from hand slice Iberico ham to aged cheese from France and Spain. It sounds almost too good to be true, considering the fact that a 100g plate of decent Spanish ham in London at a restaurant would cost you around £15. I got to say Ham Session is the "Ham and Cheese Heaven" to me.   

Monday, 27 August 2018

El Celler de Can Roca

Worth the hype?


Squab civet and parfait


The name El Celler de Can Roca really needs no introduction if you are a serious foodie, besides the prestige 3 Michelin stars status, it was also listed as the top 3 best restaurants in the last 5 years by the popular and influential World 50 Best restaurants awards. Founded by the Roca brothers in1986, El Celler de Can Roca is now a world renown fine dining restaurant and booking a table could be a real mission. The cooking approach is very avant-garde, taking influences from around the world using prime local ingredients. It offers 2 tasting menus, a shorter "classic menu" containing some of the best dishes from the restaurant over the years and the longer "feast" menu with its latest creations, which is what I opted for.  

Massana

Fine dining in Girona


Foie gras, crunchy sweet bread and corn textures

Massana is a fine dining Catalan restaurant in Girona, it is considered to be the best restaurant in Girona alongside with El Celler de Can Roca. The restaurant was founded by Pere Massana back in 1986 and it is still going strong these days with its creative plus forward-thinking approach in Catalan cuisine. The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2007 and has retained such status for over 10 years, an achievement that many restaurants would be dreaming of. For my dinner at Massana, we opted for the tasting menu, containing 9 dishes plus 6 canapes with some very top ingredients used such as lobster and truffle, which I got to say for 105 Euro, it is fairly decent value for money.

Arròs i Peix

Seafood market


The seafood market at Arròs i Peix

When you visit Spain, sampling fresh seafood is one the must do if you are a serious foodie. If you ever visit Girona, which is a charming old town north of Barcelona and not too far from the French border, Arròs i Peix appears to be the best answer. The seafood restaurant concept is located right in the heart of the town center, what set it apart to other seafood restaurants is its in-house fresh seafood market. Once you step in, you are given a welcoming glass of cava on the house and guided to its seafood market, where a waiter would explain to you what is on offer. In a nutshell, you pick what you want from the seafood selection and decide how you would like it to be done, from ceviche, deep fried to BBQ etc.

Occi

Modern Catalan cuisine 


Soup rice of lobster, cuttlefish and dried fruit

For my trip to Girona, trying out popular local restaurants was high on my to-do list. From my extended research, Occi appears to be one of the top local restaurants in Girona's town center. Labeled as a Catalan restaurant offering classic dishes with a creative touch, Occi is highly regarded by the locals and also listed in the Michelin Guide. Located right in the heart of the old town, the interior of Occi is actually very modern with glass tables and dark walls that won't look out of place inside an edgy contemporary hotel. The menu is fairly big with 12 starters and 12 mains. Everything sounded very appealing and I ended up pretty much ordering everything from the mains session and shared between the whole table. 

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Launceston Place

Behind the Pass: Sat Bains


Pigeon, carrot, dates, black olive, Moroccan spices

I have always wanted to take a trip to Restaurant Sat Bains, the double Michelin stars restaurant in Nottingham by the industry legend Sat Bain. When my beloved Launceston Place announced that head chef Ben Murphy is teaming up with Sat for a one-off chef collaboration dinner, it was the perfect opportunity for me to sample Sat's cooking without needing to travel up north. At the same time, it was great to get the chance to sample Ben's cooking one more time. Having eaten Ben's creations last year, I was really impressed with the unique innovative approach that really makes him stand out among his peers. The Ben and Sat's special dinner contain 6 courses, with each cooking up 3 dishes.

The Ledbury

Still the best


Warm Bantam’s Egg, Celeriac, Arbois and Dried Ham

Do I really need to say much about The Ledbury? the double Michelin starred restaurant is my all time personal flavorite London restaurant. The highly regarded fine dining restaurant in Notting Hill has pretty much won every single restaurant awards that are available in the UK, exquisite food with world-class service is what The Ledbury is all about. Chef-owner Brett Graham has developed his restaurant into a gastronomy temple, a place for serious food lovers. It is one of those restaurants I would just keep returning as a meal at The Ledbury guarantee you a top-notch dining experience. 

The Wild Rabbit

A brand new chapter


Iberico ham peach, cucumber, mint and lemon dressing


My 5th visit to The Wild Rabbit in the Cotswolds, but it was a brand new experience. The restaurant installed a new chef, the Michelin starred Alyn William from London. Alyn is one of the most accomplished chefs in the UK and I was excited to see how Alyn would adapt to a gastro pub environment with so much wonderful local ingredients available for him. Having eaten a few times at his London restaurant at The Westbury Hotel, it would be interesting to compare the two. The Wild Rabbit's menu is much more ambitious than most gastropub out there, with plenty of creative dishes, as well as a 7 tasting menu for anyone who is looking for the full dining experience.

Alyn Williams at the Westbury

Good to be back


Poached halibut, courgette, lemon 


It has been 5 years since I last dined at Alyn Williams at the Westbury, I am a fan of Alyn, a top class chef with an amazing personality. The main reason I never went back was mostly down to the fact that there are so many new restaurant openings all the time and is hard for me to keep up. However, I do find the quality of most of the new openings in the last few years has been pretty average, lacking the cutting edge factor. So it is about time to return to old-time favourites, and Alyn Williams at the Westbury has to be one of them. These days, Alyn is also the Executive Chef at the gastropub Wild Rabbit in the Cotswold, leaving his head chef Tom Booton taking the lead at The Westbury. 

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Xi'an Biang Biang Noodles

Xian noodles shop


Hand-pulled Chongqing noodles

Regional Chinese cuisine is making a big splash in London at the moment, and Xian Biang Biang Noodles is one of the latest openings that is fitting into that trends. Operated by the same people behind the popular Chinese restaurant Xian Impression, Xian Biang Biang noodles is a casual noodle shop in the mood of a canteen in East London, specializing in make to order Biang Biang noodles, which is a special type of hand-pulled noodles that is popular in the Xian region in China. The menu is fairly short for a Chinese restaurant, with about 40 dishes in total, ranging from starters, mains (mostly noodles) and side dishes. 


Saturday, 14 July 2018

China Tang London

Luxury hotel Chinese fine dining


Steamed Dover Sole

When you think of the luxury Dorchester hotel in Mayfair, Alain Ducasse's 3 Michelin stars' French fine dining restaurant would instantly come to your mind if you are a foodie. However, Dorchester also has a fine dining Chinese restaurant: China Tang. Launched by the legendary restauranter David Tang, China Tang is a celebrity hang out joint for top quality Chinese food. The restaurant is known for its none gimmick Cantonese fine dining, just pure good quality, classic Cantonese cuisine, from dim sums to classic steam fishes. China Tang also has a beautiful cocktail bar that is known for combining Asian flavours and western spirits to create something unusual and original.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Duddell's

Modern high-end Cantonese cuisine in London Bridge


Dumplings of prawn, king crab and scallops & prawn

High-quality Chinese cooking is hard to come by in London, Duddell's, a new modern Chinese restaurant launched in early 2018 has given me high hope. The team behind Duddell's has already gained Michelin star status back in Hong Kong, they have appointed  Daren Liew (Ex Hakkasan) as the Executive Chef to oversee Duddell's London which sounds like a great partnership to me. The early days of Duddell's have already gathered some pretty impressive feedbacks, with a majority of high-profile newspaper food critics has given their thumbs up. Duddell's menu is heavily focusing on Cantonese style, with a touch of Western elements in the mix to make it somewhat creative and unusual.

Xu

Upmarket Taiwanese cuisine in London 


Black Mountain Goose

Xu, a Taiwanese restaurant on Rupert Street in Soho is slowly gaining a reputation and some would consider it is the best Taiwanese restaurant in London. It has recently just picked up the Menu of the Year Award by Cateys 2018, a well-respected trade award by the leading trade media title, The Caterer. From the same people behind the highly popular Taiwanese restaurant Bao. Xu is more upmarket with a bigger menu, and plenty of dishes that would not find elsewhere, as well as classic Chinese and Taiwanese dishes. This is my second visit at Xu, and in typical Asian dining fashion, we order a few selections of a la carte dishes and shared with the whole table.

Ming Jiang

Fine dining Chinese with a fine view 



Wood-fired Beijing Duck


If you ask me to recommend a real top quality Chinese restaurant in London, Ming Jiang would easily be the first one to come to my mind. Located inside the 5 stars Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, Ming Jiang is on the top floor of the building with a stunning view of Hyde Park. The restaurant is all about top end Chinese cooking with a strong focus on Cantonese cuisine. I went to Ming Jiang for the first time back in 2013 and I was generally impressed with the quality of the food. 5 years later, I headed back to Ming Jiang once again and wonder if much has changed.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Ciel Bleu

The definition of fine dining


Strawberries, pannacotta, lemon


If you ask an Amsterdam local to suggest you a fine dining restaurant, for a truly special occasion that you will be remembering for a long long time, the chance is Ciel Bleu would most likely to be the recommendation. Located inside the super luxury 5 stars Okura hotel on the top floor, Ciel Bleu is a double Michelin starred, modern French restaurant with a stunning view overlooking the city. The restaurant is all about using luxury, prime ingredients from around the world with a touch of creativity. Diners have the choice of 3 tasting menu and a standard a la carte, if you really want to splash the cash, you can also upgrade to the caviar menu which contains caviar in every dishes.  

The White Room

Elegant gastronomy in the heart of Amsterdam



Tuna 4 ways, turnip, white asparagus, soy sauce 

Jacob Jan Boerma is one of the only 3 chefs currently has a triple Michelin stars restaurant in The Netherlands. Launched in 2016, The White Room by Jacob Jan Boerma in Amsterdam was one of the biggest restaurants openings of the year in the country and it reached Michelin 1 star status in 2017. Located inside the super luxury NL Collection, the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, right in the heart of Amsterdam. The first thing you would notice is the stunning interior of The White Room, with a harmony of white and gold colour in a classic royal French setting. The menu offering at The White Room fairly standard in the world of fine dining, aka al la carte and a tasting menu, but there is also an amazing value for money lunch menu at under 40 Euro per person.

Rijks

Not your standard museum restaurant


21 days dry aged duck


Rijks, a modern European restaurant is located right next to The Netherlands' national museum, which shared the same name. Rijks is not your typical standard museum restaurant, along with a slick modern interior design and outdoor sitting, it has a Michelin star. The menu is highly ambitious, with a mixture of international influences, from India to Italy. It also offers some ballsy dishes, such as veal brain and duck heart, so if you are into adventurous and surprises, this could be an ideal restaurant for you. It is a very popular restaurant and booking is highly recommended. 

Sinne

Fusion modern cuisine in Amsterdam


BBQ duck breast with bimi, creme of red curry lentils, Thai basil

Dutch cuisine is somewhat an unknown outside Holland, but actually, there is plenty of top quality, exciting restaurants in the country, taking influences from around the world. With Amsterdam alone, 25 restaurants have been awarded Michelin stars, and Sinne is one of them. It is a very modern restaurant that combines French, Asian and Mediterranean flavours together to create something unusual and contemporary. Unlike most other restaurants, Sinne also doesn't run a classic a la carte menu. Instead, diners would be asked how many courses they would like, ranging from 3 to 8 dishes. It is a no choice fixed menu in a way.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Brat

Basque-inspired cuisine 




Whole turbot

If you ask me what is my favorite type of cuisine, Spanish would be high on the list and food from the Basque Country, the northern part of Spain is what I consider the temple of high-quality cooking. From rustic pintxo bars to high-end fine dining restaurants, I just got nothing but love for Basque cuisine. Brat by Tomos Parry is a Basque-inspired restaurant opened in early 2018, and it has already gathered plenty of love from the food critics, and judging from the menu online, it does appear plenty of the items can be related to Basque and I was interested how does it compare to the real deal.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

The Flitch of Bacon

Essex's finest




mackerel, dill, mustard

Where do I start with The Flitch of Bacon... If you have been following my blog, you would know I am a massive fan of chef Tim Allen's cooking. First, at Launceston Place in Kensington, followed by The Wild Rabbit in the Cotswold, both pretty much gained Michelin status instantly thanks to Tim and his wonderful team. The Flitch of Bacon is his very first owned restaurant in Essex, which happened to be pretty close to where I live. So of course, a visit to support The Flitch of Bacon was high on my agenda. The restaurant spit into a bar and dining area, with a back garden that also has its own bar and BBQs, which make it a far-cry from Wild Rabbit's super posh setting. The dining room currently only offers a la carte menu, but we were lucky to be offered a special tasting menu to sample some of Tim's latest creation.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Stem by Neo

Experimental flavours



Grilled Large Black pork chop, Romano pepper and Cornish mussels

Stem is a brand new restaurant by Mark Jarvis, a chef, and restaurateur who also owned Anglo in Farringdon and Neo Bistro in Mayfair. Personally, I am a big fan of Neo Bistro, which is just down the road from Stem. I enjoyed its simplicity approach, using fine British ingredients with a modern but a rustic feel to it. The presentation of the dishes are not fancy but they deliver bags of wonderful flavours. Stem, however, is a totally different beast, the pricing is more up-market and the approach is far more creative and experimental. It has a tasting menu, as well as a pretty small a la carte menu with some fairly ambitious ingredients combination. 

Friday, 20 April 2018

The Coach Marlow

Slick and edgy gastropub 


Whole Stuffed Rotisserie Quail with Black Pudding and Moilee Sauce

Tom Kerridge is the chef of the moment right now, gaining mainstream success with TV appearances and book launches, he is well on the way to becoming one of the biggest chef names in the UK. His flagship restaurant, The Hands and Flowers in Marlow is a 2 Michelin starred pub, the only pub in the UK with such acclaim. I drove pass Marlow but without the time to sit down for a proper sit-down meal, so his other gastro pub The Coach, just down the road was a perfect solution for me. The Coach is a Michelin starred pub with limited tables and a long counter sitting area facing the kitchen, serving pub classics with a modern edge in small plates format, diners are encouraged to order 3 - 4 dishes per person.

The Hinds Head

Heston's gastropub



Scallop, artichoke, hazelnuts, smoked bacon

Heston Blumenthal surely is a household even for none foodies, his flagship restaurant, The Fat Duck, holds 3 Michelin stars and is perhaps one of the most talked about fine dining restaurants in the UK. However, at over £300 per person ahead before drink and service, I run the risk of not be able to pay my bill on time! Joke aside, Heston actually got a pub next to The Fat Duck, which offers modern British gastropub food at a much more reasonable price. With a Michelin star to its name, The Hinds Head is a good alternative to The Fat Duck to experience Heston's offering in a much more casual, relaxing setting.

Pitt Cue

King of BBQ


Bone in prime rib

Where do I start about Pitt Cue... the legendary BBQ joint which gained a cult following when it was based in Soho, before moving to the current site in the City of London as a trendy restaurant with an open kitchen and smart bar. It has a reputation for dishing some of the very best BBQ dishes in the UK, having eaten there 3 times already, I couldn't agree more. For the true Pitt Cue experience, order off the daily specials blackboard, which offer some mouthwatering giant cuts of meat, ranging from aged Dexter beef to the special Mangalitsa pork.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Martín Berasategui

Perfection



Pigeon, stuffed with olives and foie gras, charcoal roasted with pil-pil kohlrabi
and carrots, cocoa and potato cappuccina 

There are not many restaurants at the top end level I would return for, especially ones that are not in London. However, Martin Berasategui's flagship 3 Michelin starred restaurant in San Sebastian is an exception. Having eaten at all three 3 starred restaurants in San Sebastian in my first trip to the city, I found that Martin was far superior and totally faultless. It was an easy decision for me to come back, the food at his restaurant is modern, refine and visually stunning, I got nothing but high praise. Once again, I opted for the restaurant's signature offering: The Great Tasting Menu, with 15 courses of world-class dishes one after another. 

Mirador de Ulía

Fining dining with a spectator view


Hake cheek with white wine jelly and potato


One of the best things about San Sebastian is its beautiful landscape, with green hills overlooking sandy beaches and a sky blue ocean. To truly enjoy the amazing view, it is hard to beat a meal at Mirador de Ulía, a fine dining restaurant which located on Monte Ulia and has a complete view overlooking the city. The restaurant is not just about the view, however, it is a holder of a Michelin star, offering modern Basque cuisine using some of the freshness ingredients you can find in the region, it offers a 10-course tasting menu that contains some of the best dishes from its standard a la carte menu. 

Bar Nestor

All about the txuleta


Txuleta steak


San Sebastian is known to be the foodie capital of Europe, blessed with fine ingredients such as seafood, Basque pigeon, and the txuleta steak. Located in the Old Town, Bar Nestor is a steak temple that loved by both the locals and the tourist alike. An extremely popular bar, the bar's signature dish is the well-aged txuleta steak. Besides steak, the bar is also famous for its tortilla, freshly prepared for each lunch and evening serving. For some reason, the chef only cook one try of tortilla so we are only talking about only 15 portions per service which make it extremely demanding!

Borda Berri

Pintxo at its best


Roasted hake, beetroot and pickled

When you visit San Sebastian, diving in pintxos with wines is a no-brainer. But with so many pintxos bars to pick up from, it is hard to identify which one to go to. For me, one of the important factors for me is knowing if a bar cook the food to order and Borda Berri is one of those pintxo bars that exactly does that. I am not a fan of some of the bars that made all the pintxos in advance and just place them out in the open, not a problem at a high season when the food is moving fast, but the freshness can be questionable when is less busy. 

La Cuchara de San Telmo

Pintxos heaven


Slow-roasted suckling pig

Located right next to the San Telmo museum in San Sebastian, La Cuchara de San Telmo is a tiny pintxo bar that has a big reputation, owned by the same people behind another successful pintxo bar Borda Berri. La Cuchara de San Telmo is all about dishing up simple pintxos that packed with impactful flavours and freshly cooked to order, using the amazing ingredients around the Basque Country. The bar has no seating and is always busy, so best come extra early, otherwise, you might risk be waiting a while as this is an extremely popular bar that loves by the locals as well.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Roganic

Welcome back to London


Salt baked celeriac, enoki, whey

5 years later, Roganic, by Simon Rogan is back in London again as a permanent restaurant, located in Marylebone, where the Michelin starred L'autre Pied used to beat. I first experienced Simon's cooking in his pop up back in 2013 and it was such a mind-blowing experience, his style of cuisine was so unusual and made humble ingredients such as carrots and spring onions taste like heaven. I was so happy when I have discovered Roganic is back in town and I wasted no time in booking a table. The restaurant offers put tasting menu on the central stage, with snacks after snacks before the main courses, followed by multi courses of desserts, just how I like it.

The Royal Oak

Top class gastropub


Dressed Crab, Blood Orange, Radicchio and Sorrel


I got to admit, without watching Masterchef the Professional, The Royal Oak would never come to my attention. Craig Johnston, who works at the Michelin starred gastropub is the winner of the 2017 edition and he seems like a real talent with some speculator dishes showcased on the TV show, one after another. Looking at the menu online from The Royal Oak's website, the menu appears to be modern British with a hint of European touch, what I really like is that it retains some classic British essence with items such as black pudding and pie on the menu, but of course, done in a very refine manner.  

Nut Tree Inn

Not your average pub


Roast loin of venison, truffled sprout puree, parsnips, red wine sauce

Every once a while I need a city escape and traveling to the Cotswolds from London for a long weekend has fast become a regular activity for me. In true Michelin guide fashion, I have started to do some detouring for lunch or dinner on my way to the Cotswolds, and sometimes those meals can be the highlight of my weekend trip. On the edge of Oxford, the Michelin starred pub the Nut Tree Inn is one of the stands out places I have been to from my latest trip, this is my second time visiting this cozy gastropub, and we opted for the a la carte menu.   

The Oxford Kitchen

Oxford's finnest?


Squab pigeon, confit leg, celeriac purée, pear, pigeon gravy

My recent London escape was a trip to Oxford, and it turned out to be a mission to find a top-level fine dining restaurant in the city. After some extended research online, it appears The Oxford Kitchen is a solid choice with some fantastic reviews from the media, Executive Chef Paul Welburn used to be the head chef at the Michelin starred Rhodes W1 and in typical modern fine dining fashion, it has an a la carte menu and a tasting menu for dinner, and a short lunch menu at a very affordable price (£27.5). The restaurant is located in an area called Summertown, a classy neighborhood on the edge of Oxford, about 10 minutes bus ride from the Oxford city center. 

Pint Shop

Sunday delight


Pig in blanket Scotch egg

For my long weekend trip to Oxford, one thing that was on top of my to-do list was a nice Sunday roast after a long day of shopping, Pint Shop came to my attention thanks to its "hipster" branding, with a wide range of craft beer on taps and a really attracted range of food offering, from classic fish & chips to more modern dishes like salt baked celeriac and devilled lamb shoulder, the menu won't out of place in a proper restaurant. The restaurant also offers an amazing value for money Sunday roast, with 3 courses at £25, with a choice of 3 roasts for main and you can pick any starter and dessert from its all-day menu.