Friday, 7 December 2018

Din Tai Fung Covent Garden

Xiao long bao master



Crab and pork xiao long bao

Din Tai Fung, the global dumpling restaurant chain has finally landed in the UK. The business is planning to open more than 10 restaurants in the UK, and it selected Covent Garden as its first launch site. Din Tai Fung is easily the hottest opening in 2018, buzzing with social media mentions and already visited by many foodies, food critics, and the local Asian communities. If you have been walking past Henrietta Street, you would see mad long queues every day, thanks to the media hype and the no booking policy of the restaurant. Din Tai Fung is known for its soup dumpling (Xiao long bao) and other classic Taiwanese items, such as the red braised beef noodles.

Park Chinois

Best in class Chinese fine dining


Steamed Kamchatka King Crab, 5yr Shaoxing Wine, Rice Noodles

This is my second visit to Park Chinois, located in Mayfair, many people rate this fine dining Chinese restaurant as the "poshest" Chinese restaurant in the UK, with most main courses at around the £40-£50 mark. However, there is a pretty decent value for money 2 courses set lunch at £30 per person, which is a good way to experience what Park Chinois can offer at an affordable price. The reason I went back to Park Chinois was simple, the cooking was fantastic and the use of ingredients was nothing to sniff at. Park Chinois source really high-quality ingredients from around Europe and Asia, combining with the cooking skill from the very experienced kitchen, it creates some of the best Chinese food I have experienced in the UK.

China Tang

Traditional Cantonese cuisine


Australian abalone in oyster sauce

Located inside the Dorchester hotel, China Tang is a Chinese restaurant with stunning decor to match. Created by the late Sir David Tang, the restaurant champion classic Chinese cuisine, along with a luxury cocktail bar. I was not overly impressive when I last visited a year ago, but the restaurant is always packed every night, not matter is a Monday or a Friday night, so it must be doing something right. One year later, I returned with a friend as he labeled China Tang as one of his favorite Chinese restaurant in London.

Mei Ume

New age modern Asian fine dining


Fatty tuna and sea urchin


Located inside the Four Seasons Hotel at Tower Hill, Mei Ume is a fine dining Asian restaurant, combine the best of Chinese and Japnese cuisines. It is an interesting concept as the City area really lack a top quality Chinese restaurant so there is definitely a gap in that market. The kitchen is headed up by chef Tong Truong, who was the head chef at Royal China. The menu is in a classic Chinese format, with a selection of small eats and mains. On top of that, it has a page of sushi and sashimi, prepared by sushi chefs at its open sushi counter in the dining room. 

Alyn Williams at the Westbury

High-level modern European fine dining



Pork loin, belly, radish and potato

Alyn Williams at the Westbury is slowly turning into one of my favourite restaurant in London for me. Leading the kitchen these days is head chef Tom Botoon, the cooking is exciting without going over the top, modern and clean, with some creative elements in the mixed. The restaurant has progressed steadily and retained its Michelin 1 star status in the 2019 guide. Many classic Alyn dishes are no longer in the menu with Tom really taking ownership with all the menu development. For my 5th visit, Tom has prepared a special tasting menu, offering new dishes that he is planning to launch in 2019.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Kerridge's Bar and Grill

Tom Kerridge's pub food in London


Loin of Ramsbury Estate Venison with “Hand & Flowers” Carrot

Tom Kerridge is perhaps the most talked about chef in the UK right now, beside the 2 Michelin stars status he has earned for many years, he has been active on TV with serval high profile shows. Along with his cookbooks, he has now become a household name and pushed him to a status that is not too far from the likes of Jamie Oliver and Marcus Wareing. His new restaurant in London created a massive media buzz, located inside the luxury Corinthia Hotel. The menu appears to be mostly dishes from his two pubs back in Marlow, with some mirror twists.

Hakkasan Hanway Place

The benchmark of Chinese fine dining in London


Classic 8 selection

The name Hakkasan shouldn't be a stranger to any foodies or even any Londoners. When Hakkasan was first launched in 2001 by Alan Yau, it was the talk of the town and created a serious buzz. It has uplifted Chinese cuisine at a high-end level for the first time, and totally modernized it. These days, the restaurant has expanded into a multinational restaurant empire, with restaurants across USA, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. The very first Hakkasan in Hanway Place is where it all started, with a Michelin star to its name for more than 10 years. Headed up by the group executive chef Tong Chee Hwee, the restaurant is all about using top quality ingredients and cooked in traditional Chinese methods with a touch of European elegance.

Duck and Rice

Chinese gastropub


Cantonese Roast Duck

Located in the busy district of Soho, created by the legendary restaurateur Alan Yau. Duck and Rice is a modern Chinese restaurant, but with a truly unique concept. The restaurant is a heaven for beer lovers, with beer tanks imported from the Czech Republic and plenty of fresh beer on draughts. Food wise is mostly Cantonese based, with a small selection of dim sums, wok dishes and of course, the house special: Cantonese roasted duck. To stick to the pub concept, Duck and Rice host regular events such as live music and quiz nights, offering something different to other regular Chinese restaurants in London.

Kym's

Cantonese casual dining in the City 


Iberico Pork Char Sui

Andrew Wong is easily the most famous Chinese chef in London right now, since his first restaurant: A Wong, was awarded a Michelin star, his profile has skyrocketed to a new high status. He recently just opened his 2nd restaurant Kym's, located in the city and market it as a much more laid back, Cantonese style restaurant. The menu is fairly short for a Chinese restaurant, with only about 20 dishes to pick from if not including side dishes. The big focus here is the Cantonese meat dishes, the classic soy poached chicken, roasted pork belly and BBQ honey pork.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

VEA Restaurant & Lounge

Chinese fusion cuisine in style


Roasted sea cucumber, flowery crab, egg white, 22yrs hua diao wine

Fusion is not easy to get it right, there are so many fusion restaurants out there but few managed to lay down a marker and become truly a household name. VEA is somewhat a success story, the 1 Michelin starred restaurant in Hong Kong is renown for its creative approach in fusion Chinese and French cooking, located on the top floor of a skyscraper in Central with an open kitchen. Chef-owner Vicky trained in some of the very best kitchens in the world, including the then 3 Michelin starred Daniel in The USA. At VEA, using his western fine dining experience, Vicky has come up with a unique concept of making Chinese dishes with an innovative western refinement, aiming to create a special dining experience with a storytelling factor about Chinese food.

China Tang Landmark

Top-level Chinese fine dining in Hong Kong


Steamed crab claw with rice wine

Not to get mixed up with the China Tang in London inside the Dorchester hotel, China Tang Landmark is a fine dining Chinese restaurant located in the busy business hub in Central, Hong Kong. The interior of the venue really stands apart with its art deco design by Sir David Tang, China Tang Landmark is all about modern Chinese cooking, using the very best ingredients from around the world. Headed up by chef Albert Au, who is the youngest ever Chinese chef to gained 3 Michelin stars when he was at The Eighth restaurant in Macau. Albert now is the group executive chef for Chinese cuisine at Lai Sun Dining, a respected restaurant business with a selection of high-end restaurant brands such as the 3 starred 81⁄2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana and China Tang.

Jardin de Jade

Refined Shanghainese cuisine in Hong Kong


Stemmed crab sticky rice, wrapped in lotus leaf

I rarely return to a restaurant in Hong Kong as I have limited time and there are so many restaurants on my wish list, so unless it is amazing value for money or exceptional in taste, I would not bother. Jardin de Jade, the 1 Michelin starred Shanghainese restaurant fits the bill for me, I got nothing but love for Shanghainese food, and I really enjoyed my first encounter at Jardin de Jade, not to mention the price is not all that expensive for a high-end restaurant in one of the most prestige districts in Hong Kong. For my second visit, I went in a large group and had the chance to sample most of its signature dishes on the menu.

Peking Garden

Fine Beijing cuisine in Hong Kong


Peking Garden

I am a massive fan of Beijing cuisine, besides the famous Peking Duck, there are plenty more exciting dishes from the capital of China. Beijing cuisine is all about rich taste with the use of top fresh ingredients, as it has greatly influenced by the Chinese imperial cuisine; the empire's kitchen for the royal family, which was also based in Beijing. Peking Garden was open in 1978, renown for its popular Peking duck and is now a household name in Hong Kong, loved by the locals and many rated as one of the best restaurants in Hong Kong. It has since expanded into a mini-chain, the flagship store in Central is located within the luxury Alexandra House shopping mall, and it has been awarded a Michelin star for 3 years since 2016.

Kam's Roast Goose

King of Cantonese roasted meat


Kam's Roast Goose

Whenever I visit Hong Kong, Cantonese style roasted meat has always been high on my agenda to try. While there are plenty of Chinese restaurants in the UK that also offer Cantonese roasted meat, the quality is just not the same. Also, the really special roasted meat, which is the goose, it is just not possible to get hold of it in the UK. So what is the big deal about Kam's Roast Goose? It is one of the most popular roasted meat joint in Hong Kong, you will see a long queue every day no matter if it is a Monday or a Saturday, it is also one of the cheapest Michelin starred restaurants in the world, with a meal can cost less than £10. It is a very casual restaurant with a no booking policy, and you would be expected to pay up and leave as soon as you are done eating.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

8 great Hong Kong cheap eat spots

For a taste of authentic Chinese food, Hong Kong is one of the best cities. Hong Kong is full of great classic restaurants and many are very affordable. Below are some of the best casual dining spots that would cost you less than £10 per visit.

Kam Wah Cafe & Bakery
Pineapple buns and egg tarts at Kam Wah Cafe

A classic Hong Kong tea house located in the busy district of Prince Edward, Kam Wah Cafe is a fast-paced casual dining joint that brings you the true taste of the city. This place is all about its legendary milk tea and its finely baked pastries. They have some of the best egg tarts in Hong Kong, and the classic "pineapple bun", a baked bread roll that topped with honey and sugar for the extra crispness and sweetness. This is the perfect spot for breakfast or afternoon tea.


Average cost without drinks and services:
£5


47 Bute St, Prince Edward, Hong Kong


https://www.openrice.com/en/hongkong/r-kam-wah-cafe-prince-edward-hong-kong-style-r11293 




Tim Ho Wan
Chiu Chow dumpling at Tim Ho Wan

Tim Ho Wan as a business really has grown from strength to strength, now 5 stores strong in Hong Kong with also oversea joints in the USA and South East Asia. The popularity has a lot to do with its Michelin star status that is has won from its Sham Shui Po branch. I personally enjoy dining at the Central branch as it is less busy than the others. The must-try item is the baked bun with BBQ pork, it has a lovely crispy pastry texture with a mouthwatering filling of sweet Canton style BBQ pork. All the dim sum here are made fresh on site to ensure high-quality standard.


Average cost without drinks and services:
£10

Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station Podium Level 1, IFC Mall, Central. Hong Kong


http://www.timhowan.com.hk/





Hung's Delicacies
Goose in Lo mei sauce

Another restaurant gained success after it was awarded a Michelin star at its flagship branch (which is now closed). The Hung's Delicacies branch inside the Hong Kong airport is well worth a visit for anyone who is a fan of classic Cantonese "lo mei", a slow cooking style using a sauce that contains spices and soy sauces. The most popular lo mei has to be the goose, with all the lovely spices aroma blended inside the meat in harmony. If you are feeling brave and willing to explore, try the cuttlefish, duck feet or pork intestines.


Average cost without drinks and services:
£10

1 Sky Plaza Rd, Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong


https://www.hungsdelicacies.com/




Mak's Noodle
Wonton at Mak's Noodles

Wonton noodles is a must try item if you visit Hong Kong, and not many places can do it as good as Mak's Noodle which is now 7 branches strong. Loved by both locals and tourists, this casual noodle house is renowned for its shrimp wontons in a light but flavorsome fish-stock. The wontons are smooth in texture with an umami bomb of filling containing whole shrimp and pork. Be prepared to queue as it could get very busy in the evening, best to visit in the afternoon if you can afford to do so.


Average cost without drinks and services:
£10

37 Leighton Rd, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong


https://www.openrice.com/en/hongkong/r-maks-noodle-causeway-bay-guangdong-noodles-rice-noodles-r121176




Crystal Jade
Aubergine in a soy and vinegar dressing at Crystal Jade

A multinational chain from Singapore that has over 10 branches across Hong Kong. Xiao long bao here is the signature dish of Crystal Jade, a steamed dumpling that filled with pork and a rich tasting pork stock. The Crystal Jade version stick to the traditional style and are freshly made each day. Other items worth trying are the pan fried dumpling and cold aubergines in a soy and vinegar dressing. The one located in Hong Kong airport is especially ideal for travelers who are in a rush but seek good quality Chinese food.


Average cost without drinks and services:
£10

Level 5 Arrival Hall, Terminal 1, Hong Kong International Airport, Chek Lap Kok


http://www.crystaljade.com.hk/





Ho Hung Kee
Wok fried beef noodles at Ho Hung Kee

Along with Tim Ho Wan, Ho Hung Kee is the cheapest restaurant in Hong Kong with a Michelin star. Ho Hung Kee is all about good old-fashioned Cantonese cuisine with not a great deal of refinement and is fairly rustic. Noodle is the hero item on the menu, the wok-fried soy noodles with beef is a must try if you ever visit the restaurant, the beautiful wok aroma, together with the richness from the soy sauce, result in some of the finest wok noodle dishes you find in Hong Kong. Canton style congee is also another popular choice, especially for the locals at breakfast time.


Average cost without drinks and services:
£10

Causeway Bay, Hennessy Rd, Hong Kong


https://m.facebook.com/hohungkee/?locale2=zh_HK




Chrisly Cafe
Hong Kong milk tea and canteen breakfast at Chrisly Cafe

When you ask a local to suggest a classic Hong Kong cafe, Chrisly Cafe would usually be the first choice. It is one of those old-school Hong Kong cafes that are loved by the locals but might be off-putting to some tourists thanks to its super fast pace style. The waiters would expect you to know what you would like to order as soon as you sit down and pay up and leave as soon as you have finished the meal. Put that issue aside, Chrisly Cafe serves some of the finest scramble eggs and Hong Kong style milk tea. The intense tea aroma and the silkiness of the milk tea are what makes this place so special and still going strong after so many years.


Average cost without drinks and services:
£5

Kwong Sang Hong Building, 6 Heard St, Wan Chai, Hong Kong


http://www.chrislycafe.com.hk/





Yee Shun Milk Company
Milk puddings at Yee Shun Milk Company

There are many great Hong Kong desserts, but the best dessert for me has to be the hot steamed milk pudding. Yee Shun is a milk pudding specialist and is also renown for its creative take of the dessert with innovation such as ginger milk pudding and coffee milk pudding. For me, the original is still the best, creamy but not heavy with a fine taste of milkiness and softness, this is what comfort food is all about. Best visit in a group of friends to ensure you get a chance to try out another style of milk puddings.


Average cost without drinks and services:
£5

506 Lockhart Rd, Causeway Bay


https://www.openrice.com/en/hongkong/r-yee-shun-dairy-company-causeway-bay-hong-kong-style-dessert-r11167



Click here for more Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Monday, 15 October 2018

The Ledbury

London's finest


Cornish Cod, Caramelised in Richmond Park Honey and Radishes


This is my 10th visit to The Ledbury, the double Michelin starred restaurant in Notting Hill is simply the best London restaurant for me. It has everything, from top quality cooking, world-class service to the ever-delightful informal and relaxing ambiance. I really don't get why the 2019 Michelin Guide has overlooked The Ledbury as I think this should easily be a 3 stars restaurant if both Waterside Inn and Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester is considered 3 stars level. The tasting menu is the way to fully enjoy what The Ledbury is capable of, the amazing thing about this restaurant for me is I have yet to experience a bad dish which is rare in a tasting menu format, everything is either good to excellent and that why I find the restaurant to be so special.

Alyn Williams at The Westbury

Next level hotel fine dining


Giant lobsters

The latest Michelin 2019 Guide went out and Alyn Williams at The Westbury retained its Michelin star. This is actually a big deal as now Alyn is now also heading up the kitchen at Wild Rabbit in the Cotswolds so maintaining the standard of his London restaurant is no easy task. These days, head chef Tom Booton is heading up the kitchen at The Westbury, with an ambition to secure a second Michelin star. For this lunch occasion, Tom has offered us dishes taken from his new tasting menu.

The Wild Rabbit

Fine dining in a gastropub


Quail, black pudding, leek, apples


Once again, I am back at Wild Rabbit for the 6th time. The gastropub in Cotswolds is one of my to go venue whenever I visit the Cotswolds for holiday. The restaurant is all about using top grade local British ingredients to create something that is refined but yet with a touch of classic old-school British vibe. Alyn Williams is now chef patron at the restaurant, with a new tasting menu installed and now at the Wild Rabbit for a few months, I was excited to see how the cooking has progressed. In a large group, we have managed to order pretty much everything on the menu.

Noize

Cozy modern French dining 


Baked Alaska, Blackberry


After a few good years dining out countless time in London, I am slowly starting to managed to resist the new opening temptation all the time. I noticed there are just as many restaurants shutting down vs new restaurant openings, which give me a good reason to not to jump and visit whenever there is a new hip launch and give it some time to let the media try and test for me first before deciding if it is worth going for myself. So here is Noize, a restaurant has been around for 1 year now and gained solid rating from major media across the nation. With both the owner and chef got the experience at Pied a Terre, it was easy for me to add it in my to try list.

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.