Wednesday 16 August 2017

Temper City

Indian BBQ

Dry goat curry

Temper City is the second BBQ concept from Neil Rankin. I have been a fan of Neil Rankin for a while, from the Smokehouse days to his first Temper restaurant ,when it was launched in 2016. Temper City is nothing like the first Temper in Soho however, the Soho site focus on South American theme with tacos and tortillas, while the brand new City site is all about Indian BBQ, with curry and tandoori taking central stage. I was really interested to see how Neil's BBQ and open fire pit style of cooking can apply to one of the most loved world cuisine in the world.


Trays and trolleys

Starters selection from a tray

Magpie is a brand new restaurant by the same people behind the Michelin starred Pidgin. Located in Oxford Circus, Magpie is a modern British restaurant offering a rather unusual dining concept, with guests getting to pick their starters and desserts from trolleys and trays that goes around in the dining room. Diners have the chance to see the look of all the dishes before deciding, the trolley dish sizes are similar to dim sum and tapas, ranging from £3 to £8. Magpie also offer main courses in a more traditional manner, cook to order with about 5 choices.


Lisbon's finest

Oxtail with chickpea, foie gras, veal tendons, onion cream with Serra cheese

Located in the heart of Lisbon, Belcanto is one of the only 2 Michelin starred restaurant in Portugal, and some would consider it is the very best the country has on offer in terms of fine dining, as voted one of the top 100 restaurants in the world by the much celebrated San Pellegrino's world best restaurant award. Operated by heavyweight chef Jose Avillez, the restaurant is all about progression and develop highly creative modern Portuguese cuisine. The restaurant has a short choice of a la carte, along with 3 tasting menus to pick from. It is a small restaurant with no more than 15 tables, so do book well in advance.


Modern Portuguese fine dining

"Cobblestreet" salted cod, onion purée, egg yolk

Alma is one of the handful of Michelin starred restaurants in Lisbon, located in the city centre and headed up by a talented and ambitious chef, Henrique Sá Pessoa. The cooking are playful and forward thinking, with some classic Portuguese elements in the mix. At the same time, there is plenty of global influence, from French to Japanese. There are a few set menus to choose from, as well as an a la carte menu. If you visit in a large group and enjoy tasting a range of dishes, I would suggest the a la carte so that everyone can pick different dishes, just like what I have done on my visit.

Cervejaria Ramiro

Seafood heaven

Giant red shrimps

As Lisbon is surrounded by fishing villages nearby, seafood doesn't come short in supply, and if you ask a local to suggest a seafood restaurant, most will recommend Cervejaria Ramiro. It started off as a beer house back in 1956 and has since developed into a well regarded seafood joint. The restaurant offer an iPad menu in multi-languages as some of their English are limited, we ordered a large selection of seafood, from langoustine to lobster. Basically it was a seafood feast. Be aware as this is an extremely popular place and it doesn't take booking, try to arrive early or you might will need to wait for over an hour. 

Saturday 5 August 2017

XU Restaurant

Exquisite Taiwanese cuisine

Char shui Iberico pork

Xu is from the trio behind the successful casual dining joint Bao, Wai Ting Chung , Shing Tat Chung, and Erchen Chang. They started off as a street food vendor before setting up their first restaurant in Soho, and Xu is their latest offering, specialising Taiwanese cuisine with a slightly more upmarket approach. Xu is located right on the edge of ChinaTown, it has a retro feel with a mini cocktail bar and a tea bar. The menu is fairly long, with some Chinese and Taiwanese classic dishes, along with some innovative dishes, such as XO Carabinero prawn and shortrib & bone marrow pancakes. Xu also has an excellent set lunch menu which you can have 2 courses with rice for under £20.

Neo Bistro

Far more than just a bistro

Cornish crab with courgette, confit lemon

Woodstock street of Oxford Street has always been known to be surrounded by tourist trap restaurants, but that is not the case with the newly launched Neo Bistro. Founded by Anglo's Mark Jarvis and Alex Harper, ex-head chef at the former Michelin starred The Harwood Arm pub, you can already see star quality written all over it. It has a short a la carte menu along with a tasting menu, modern European style but dressed up in a rather simple format, but of course, using top notch local ingredients. I would suggest trying the tasting menu as it pretty much cover everything from the a la carte menu and the cost between the two aren't that great.

Marksman Public House

Pub of the year?

Fish head Curry

Marksman has long been on my agenda to pay a visit, a good quality gastro pub is hard to come by these days and Marksman appears to ticks all the boxes for me. Awarded the best pub in the UK by the Michelin guide, along with countless top reviews from the press. On top of that, Marksman is run by Tom Harris (ex St John Hotel, which also had a Michelin star) so my expectation was high. The a la carte menu had a mixture of modern dishes with some pub classics, such as roasted chicken and pies. For me that is a great balance, as many locals still treat the pub as a local hangout joint instead of a dining destination for foodies like myself.

Sushi Atelier

High quality contemporary sushi bar

Sashimi omakase

Located on Great Portland Street, Sushi Atelier is a brand new opening from the same people behind Chisou, a high end Japanese restaurant group with sites such as Mayfair and Knightsbridge. Sushi Atelier is a small sushi bar with two floors, offering a contemporary take on sushi, with plenty of unusual elements, such as parmesan cheese and truffle. Far from your classic sushi bar, Sushi Atelier also has a small range of hot dishes, from gyoza to bbq eel, as well as more international items but with a Japanese twist, such as ceviche and carpaccios. Good quality sushi is hard to come by in London, and it normally comes at a premium price, but even the most expensive omakase set only came at £24, which is pretty good value for money.