Sunday 26 February 2017

James Cochran EC3

East London gem

Pan fried scallops, cauliflower, peanut brittle

In less than 2 weeks, I have returned to James Cochran EC3 for a special occasion, and the reason was simple: From my first visit, I was very impressed with the quality of the cooking and the value was outstanding. High level cooking and reasonable cost were the perfect combo for me. And James Cochran EC3 was far from being just another modern high end restaurant, James dared to do something difference with an injection of his native Scottish and Caribbean element to create something interesting, modern, fun and most importantly, it delivered remarkable taste. 

The Other Naughty Piglet

My kind of Naughtiness

BBQ pork belly, sesame, Korean spices

I have read many great things about Naughty Piglet, a popular casual restaurant and wine bar in Brixton, the cooking was French in principle but injected with influences from around the world. The place had became one of the "hippest" restaurant with its forward thinking but well executed cooking and a solid list of interesting wine. The reason that stopped me to visit is the location, but that had all changed with the launch of The Other Naughty Piglet: A new restaurant in Victoria from the same team, which sit above The Other Place musical theatre, the menu is short but loaded with plenty of exciting and unusual elements, all the dishes are designed mostly for sharing.

Blandford Comptoir

Modern Wine bar in Marylebone

Octopus, pickled fennel, lemon confit

When it comes to drinking wine at restaurants, I can be one of the most cost engineering minded person, due to the fact that on trade cost are so much higher than picking up a bottle in retail. Of course, there is the question of the freshness of wine by the glass or ordering a whole bottle but turned out you are not keen with the taste... but haven't got the guts to tell that to the sommelier. Having said that, it could be very rewarding when you are able to pick a good wine to match the food you are having and Blandford Comptoir appear to be a restaurant that is very capable of that, famous for its outstanding wine list and modern Mediterranean cuisine, operated by Xavier Rousset, a renown wine professional and one of the best sommelier in the UK.

Monday 13 February 2017

Galvin Bistrot de Luxe

Sunday roast

Roast rump of Galloway beef, aged 40 days, Yorkshire pudding

Galvin Bistrot de Luxe is the less moral restaurant from the Galvin brother's empire. A French Bistro offering mostly classic French cuisine, along with some unique creations from the brothers. At Sunday lunch time, the restaurant switch it up with a British roast menu, offering roasted pork, chicken and beef. Galvin Bistrot de Luxe is known for its excellent value for money cooking and the Sunday roast is no different because it costs less than £20 for 1 course. It has been a long time since I last had a good quality Sunday roast and given the good quality meals I have had from other Galvin restaurants, a visit for its Sunday roast has been high on my agenda. 

Galvin at The Athenaeum

Hotel dining with the "G" factor?

Chicken liver parfait

Galvin at The Athenaeum is the latest creation by the Galvin brothers, it is only normal for foodies and fine dining lovers to take notice with this new opening. Galvin has already got several successful and highly popular restaurants in London, including the Michelin starred Galvin at the Window and Galvin la Chapelle. The Athenaeum is located inside a 5 Stars hotel with the same name on the floor, and judging from the menu, the food is very similar to Galvin's Bistrot de Luxe on Bakery Street, with a mixture of classic British and French dishes, along with some more "casual offering", such as pasta and soup.

Sunday 5 February 2017

Sea Containers

Farm to table dining

Grilled Octopus Salad

When Sea Containers opened back in 2014, all the press were interested in the name of the restaurant and the hotel that "contained" the restaurant. I am a much more simpler guy, I am only interested in the quality of the cooking, the cost and the service level in a restaurant, everything else are secondary. Sea Containers is head up by Gus Crosby (Ex Launceston Place and Gordon Ramsay), and the restaurant champion local ingredients to provide modern British cuisine in a luxury setting, overlooking the river Thames. The menu is pretty straight forward, from salads, burger to grills, but don't just think this is another fancy bar and grill restaurant. 

James Cochran EC3

London restaurant of the year contender

Treacle cured salmon

For me, The Ledbury is the best restaurant in London and chef owner Brett Graham is a living legend in the fine dining world. So it was only natural for me to take notice when an ex Ledbury chef set up his own restaurant. James Cochran's restaurant in East London was launched in late 2016 and since then it had gathered some very positive reviews from the press. Just from reading the sample menu online got me excited, it had some very well thought out ingredients combination and the price seemed to be very reasonable. Not to mention that his restaurant had a hidden bar downstairs: BYOC, which was one of my favourite cocktail bars in London.