Saturday 18 June 2016

Black Axe Mangal

Head banging mangal

Dexter mixed grill

Black Axe Mangal is a tiny restaurant located just off Highbury & Islington station, specialising in Turkish inspired flatbreads and kebabs. The first thing that hits you as you walk through the door is the noisy rock and heavy metal music,it's extremely loud so I wouldn't recommend this place if you can't stand non-stop drum and drop D guitar blasting. For me personally, I think the only thing that is missing at the restaurant is more space that can allow people to do some moshing and head banging to Iron Maiden and Queens of The Stone Age while you wait for your food to arrive!

Tombo Cafe

Matcha land

Tombo Cafe

2016 is the year of matcha in London, there's plenty of media buzz surrounding this classic Japanese stable with many restaurants and bars finding innovative ways to get matcha onto menus. Popular matcha offerings include the matcha latte and matcha patisserie. Tombo, a Japanese cafe in South Kensington, is renowned for its awarding winning green tea and sushi, but it's also just launched a matcha and poke bar in Soho under the same name. The Soho bar is a lot more casual, with no sushi on the menu and a focus on rice and salad bowls, with matcha infused drinks and desserts.

Tang London

Comfort food

Chicken tang with pulled chicken and ginger

"Tang (=soup) noodles" are one of my favourite comfort foods, so I was pretty excited when I heard the newly launched Tang London is all about the humble street food that has been such a mainstay in the Asian culture. The menu is short and simple, with just to starters and four choices of of noodle items to choose from.

Sunday 5 June 2016


Turkish Delight

Chicken & Garlic Köfte and Braised Octopus, Ricotta pides

When you think of Turkish cuisine, all too often you would just think of kebabs eaten at the end of a drunken night out. Launched in 2015, Oklava is a small Turkish restaurant in Shoreditch that aims to take the reputation of Turkish cuisine to a higher level. I was keen to understand what that would mean as the cuisine is known for its robust and powerful flavours, so it was going to be interesting to see how it would delivered in a more elegant and dedicated manner. 
The dishes are meze sizes so it is best to order two to three dishes per person to share, you can almost treat it like tapas. 

The Ninth

French inspired Mediterranean food

Char-grilled lamb, crispy breast and couscous salad

If you consider yourself a foodie based in the UK, the name Jun Tanaka shouldn't be a unknown to you. A chef who has regularly appeared on cooking shows such as Saturday Kitchen and Masterchef, Jun's latest restaurant on Charlotte Street was launched last year and since then has become a dining hot spot for serious food lovers. His take on French-inspired Mediterranean-style cooking, with an elegant edge, is a somewhat unique approach and gives The Ninth a real buzz. It has a rather a long menu and contains a selection of snacks, cold starters, hot starters, fish and a meat course. At lunchtime, it also offers a set lunch menu which costs £21 for three-courses, which is a bargain (most mains from the normal menu cost around £20).


Taste of freshness

Octopus and chorizo salad, roast red pepper

I have heard very good things about Oldroyd, not least as it was voted Restaurant of the Year by Hot Dinners, as well as receiving plenty of raving reviews from the press. Chef-owner Tom Oldroyd was one of the key players in Russell Norman's Polpo success while he was the chef-director. In 2015, he decided to go solo and opened Oldroyd in Islington. The cooking style is similar to Polpo but with a far greater essence of Mediterranean cuisine, all served in a short menu of tapas sizes, ideal for sharing. The decor is as simple as you can get; the space is narrow with all the tables very close to each other, so not the most comfortable restaurant.

Rok Smokehouse

Nordic smoking affair

Dinner dishes at Rok Smokehouse

have a limited knowledge of Nordic cuisine, however I could happily eat barbecued meat all day long. So the sound of Nordic-style smoked meat seemed like something worth trying and that was the reason I paid a visit to Rok. Rok Smokehouse was launched in Shoreditch in 2015, a specialist in cured meat, smoked meat and pickles. The menu is fairly short, with only 4 starters and 4 mains alongside some pickles, nibble and side dishes. When l visited, it had also just opened its basement as a stand alone bar called "Below the Smoke", offering a selection of contemporary and creative cocktails.

Viet Food

Smart Vietnamese in Chinatown

Grilled scallop and prawns

Vietnamese food is a special cuisine; it has the freshness of aromatic herbs, the influences of Thai cooking, plus the essence of Southern Chinese and the sophistication of French cooking. Launched in 2015, Viet Food in Chinatown sounded very promising with an former Michelin-starred chef in charge. The menu is very similar to many other traditional Vietnamese restaurants elsewhere in London, but the portion sizes are slightly smaller and are better suited for sharing, similar to tapas.