Wednesday 26 February 2014

Franco Manca


I've fallen in love with Franco Manca after having eaten at the Chiswick branch last year, the dough was fresh and soft with quality ingredients, on top of that service was also outstanding considering that it is just a pizza joint. I stopped by Franco Manca in Westfield after some shopping, hoping to get another taste of their wonderful pizza. 

Franco Manca Westfield

Unlike the Chiswick branch, here in Westfield is in a food court, you order your food and collect your food like you would in a fast food joint. Not a problem for me as long if the food is good but they totally failed on every aspect... I ordered exactly the same pizzas I have had before, Gloucester old spot ham, mozzarella, buffalo ricotta, wild mushrooms pizza had hardly any topping on top which I found was rather a ripoff. The Wild broccoli, mozzarella, Gloucester old spot hand sliced sausage pizza was overly baked with burnt bits all over the show, the broccoli was so overly cooked all I could tasted was bitterness, the whole pizza tasted like some students who left their supermarket pizza in the oven for far too long.

where are my toppings?
101 error....

It wasn't a great pizza experience at all, I understand that it is operating within a food court, but still.... so many basic errors. I was just shocked how bad it was, and it clearly doesn't do the brand's image any favours, hopefully they can step up a gear and produce the high standard Franco Manca as it is known in the future. 

Food 2

Service 3
Ambience 2
Value 3

£9 per head with a soft drink

Westfield Shopping Centre Stratford, UK E20 1EJ

Franco Manca on Urbanspoon

Sunday 23 February 2014

Bob's & Co

All about the lobster

I am a lobster freak, I just can't get enough of the delicate flavours from this underwater creature. When Burger and Lobster launched in London a while back, it totally changed the landscape of the lobster scene in London, back then it used to be a symbol of luxury but B&L had provided affordability and accessibility of which I've got nothing but praise for. When I discovered that there was a new pop up lobster joint located in St Pauls, I was very keen to check it out as it has been very popular when it had a pop up site in London Bridge. 

dining room

Shang Palace

Fine dining Cantonese style

To carry on my food discovery in Hong Kong, I dropped by Shang Palace inside the Shangri-La hotel in Kowloon, a 2 star Michelin restaurant specializing in traditional Cantonese cooking. The decor is very traditional Chinese style with plenty of space between each table which is great due to the fact I never enjoy hearing other table's conversations. We were warmly welcomed by the staff ( good hotel standard) on arrival and we were served a warm chrysanthemum tea while we browsed through the menu.
Shangri-La hotel
Shang Palace
chrysanthemum tea

Thursday 20 February 2014

Batemans Beer

Great British craftsmanship

Craft beer is one the the fastest rising stars in the world of alcoholic beverages, so what is a craft beer? Basically without going into too much technical terms, it usually means small batches of beer, hand crafted by small producers with great attention to detail and focus. I managed to try a good number of US craft beers before but never had the chance to try a British craft beer apart from Brew Dog, so when I attended Batemans's 140th anniversary relaunch event in London, I was very curious to see what the family run brewer from Lincolnshire had on offer.
Batemans's 140th anniversary tasting at The Folly

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Tai Fung Lau Peking Restaurant

Quality Beijing cuisine in Hong Kong

Tai Fung Peking Restaurant is bit of a household name in Hong Kong, famous for its Chinese cuisine in Beijing style which is not so common in Hong Kong. It is famous for its sliced poached lamb in its specially designed hot pot with a long tube in the middle from northern China as well as signature Beijing dishes. We visited as a group of four seeking some authentic Beijing cuisine and Tai Fung Lau really delivered.
Tai Fung Lau Peking Restaurant

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Merchants Tavern

Modern Tavern in Shoreditch   

Merchants Tavern, a rather new opening in Shoreditch, operated by the talented Angela Hartnett with head chef Neil Borthwick in charge of the kitchen. It definitely has a "Shoreditch" vibe to it with a classy bar at the front and a very spacey dining room with an open kitchen at the back. I am a big fan of Angela's cooking, her cooking is all about using fresh seasonal ingredients, with great cooking executed and presented in a neat and smart format without going over the top. Having eaten at her flagship Murano as well as Cafe Murano, I had great expectations on my visit to Merchants Tavern.  
Merchants Tavern
Old Street Fashioned

Diaoyuweng Roasted Goose And Seafood Restaurant

All about the roast goose

As its name suggested, Diaoyuweng Roasted Goose and Seafood Restaurant in Kwun Tong inside the ever popular shopping district is a roast goose and seafood specialist. The signature roast goose are cooked to order and it has its own curing room unlike many places that are delivered from elsewhere. This is actually my second visit as I was in love with its roasted goose at my first visit.

Diaoyuweng's decor
curing room

Sunday 16 February 2014


The Audley relaunch

At the beginning of 2014, the i
conic London pub the Audley re-launched in the heart of Mayfair with three different concepts spreading across three different floors, I attended its re-launch event after its refurbishment in 2013 and I was very keen to find out what this pub was all about as I'd walked passed so many times and felt there was always something special about it with its classy and glamourous frontage which had a certain romantic feel to it.
The new "Grill at the Audley"

Wednesday 12 February 2014

L'Autre Pied

From strength to strength

This is my third time to visit the single Michelin star rated L'Autre Pied, I had become a big fan of head chef Andy Mc Fadden's cooking style, it is very elegant with some kind of crunchy touches, which offers lovely texture and interesting flavours that is somewhat unique in London. I headed back there for dinner to try their tasting menu knowing that I was in for a great feast....

parmesan brioche

Monday 10 February 2014

Tommi's Burger Joint

Hipster from Iceland 

One of my new year resolutions was not to consume any burgers for at least a few months, well it didn't take long to break my own promise as I visited Tommi's burger joint toward the end of January. I have walked passed Tommi's Burger Joint so many times, but for one reason or another, I never managed to give it a try so it was about time to visit this hip burger joint that originates from Iceland.
Tommi's Burger Joint

Sunday 9 February 2014

Crystal Jade

La Mian Xiao Long Bao

Crystal Jade Culinary Concepts is a restaurant group with a large collection of different restaurant concepts. From fine dining to casual dining, Crystal Jade covers a wide range of Far East flavours with Chinese cuisine which is the core of its business. One of its well recognised brands, "La Mian Xiao Long Bro" is a Shanghainese restaurant chain spreading across Hong Kong and Singapore with one of its branches getting a "Bib Gourmand" and is popular among the locals.
Crystal Jade menu

Thursday 6 February 2014

A Wong

When service fails

Service always has been one of the, if not the most important elements to the overall dining experience, it doesn't matter how good the food is, if the waiters were being stuffy, uninterested or rude, I would just not go back. Some restaurants, would as far as state that to have a successful run restaurant business, 70% is down to the service alone. The overall service level in London has always been of a high standard, I don't ever recall encountering a restaurant with outrageous and disgraceful service but there is always a first time right? Absolutely, and the award goes to A Wong, a Chinese restaurant in Victoria, London.


Wednesday 5 February 2014

Cheung Hing Kee

Pan fried buns goodness

I managed to discover Cheung Hing Keen in Tsuen Wan when I was on my way to a theatre show, and what a brilliant find it was. It is a specialist in pan fried dumpling, a very traditional dish from the Shanghai region. Cheung Hing Keen is a fast food-ish outlet that you go to place your order before they bring it to the table with only 13 seats inside. It has proved to to a very popular place to the locals as people were queuing up to either get in or getting a take away. It only serves 4 food items and 4 drinks on the menu which is something I enjoyed seeing, best to keep to yours strengths rather than spread yourself too thinly.

Cheung Hing Kee
radish soup
curry and beef soup
pan fried pork buns

We ordered three cellophane noodles made from beans, served in either curry and beef soup, radish soup or wonton soup. The radish was the cheapest yet I enjoyed it the most, the radish was really soft and had a very light and savoury taste to it. But the star of the show has to be the pan fried buns, the seasoning on the pork was spot on, you can taste the Chinese wine and spices from the minted pork, it was all blended wonderfully. The bun layer was pan fried to golden brown on the base with spring onion and black sesame on top bringing out plenty of authentic aroma. Biting into the dumpling with a dash of Chinese red vinegar was such a taste sensation, I've eaten plenty of pan fried dumplings  in my life, yet I haven't encountered something that can rival this version.

Food 5.5
Service 1
Ambience 1
Value 9

£4 per head

G/F, 13 Chuen Lung Street, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

Click here for more Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Monday 3 February 2014

Ah Yat Harbour View Restaurant

Chinese dining with a fine views

Ah Yat is a well known chef in Hong Kong who is famous for his abalone dishes. I returned to one of his restaurants, Ah Yat Harbour View for the second time, but not because of his fame, his cooking or even the 2 Michelin stars it has, I was there for the nice views, with large windows overseeing Hong Kong Island in Kowloon. I really liked the decor too, smart looking, very modern and not overly big like your usual Chinese restaurant.
Ah Yat
views from the east side

Sunday 2 February 2014


Cheerful Japanese in west London

Founded by Makiko Sano who wanted to share her passion for Japanese cuisine, Suzu is a small restaurant serving traditional Japanese food located in Hammersmith. The word ‘suzu’ means ‘long and healthy life’ which more or less matched the style of Japanese cuisine as it heavily focused on seafood and fresh ingredients. Here in Suzu it serves sushi and sashimi as well as good numbers of hot items and small plates which are ideal for sharing.