Saturday 28 October 2017

Core by Clare Smyth

A new chapter

Isle of Mull scallop

It is very common to see chefs wanting to have their very own restaurant, but what surprise me was it took that long for Clare Smyth to leave Gordon Ramsay to set up her own gig at Notting Hill. After maintaining 3 Michelin stars status for Gordon's flagship restaurant Royal Hospital Road for almost 9 years and won countless awards such as National Chef of the Year and perfect 10 by the Good Food Guide. I had high expectation and I was really interested to see what Clare's cooking is really like when she has total freedom on the dishes creation, and how it compare to other top dogs in London, such as The Ledbury, which is just down the road from Core. 

Galvin at Windows

Sunday lunch in style

Seared fillet of halibut, chilli shellfish, mussels, hispi cabbage

This is my third time visiting Galvin at Windows, a fine dining French restaurant on top of Hilton Park Lane hotel. The restaurant is one of the two restaurants with a Michelin star by the Galvin brothers, a successful restaurateur duo with numbers of restaurants across the UK. These days, Galvin at Windows is headed up by Joo Won, a Korean chef who has injected some Asian element into the restaurant's signature modern French cooking. Dining at this restaurant is usually reserved for a special occasion, with high-class service and a sky-high view over London to match, as the Hilton Park Lane is one of the tallest building around Mayfair. 

Seven Park Place

Cosy fine dining 

Saddle of Lune Valley lamb, turnips, red wine jus

Located inside the luxury boutique St James Hotel in Mayfair, Seven Park Place is a tiny restaurant with less than 10 tables. Headed up by William Drabble, the Michelin starred restaurant offers modern French cuisine in a cosy, warming and intimate space. I have dined here a couple of times before for lunch, and both visits have proven me that William is such a skilful chef and the lunch menu is one of the best value for money deal you can find in London. This time, I went for the tasting menu to fully experience what the restaurant is really capable of.

The Coal Shed London

Seafood BBQ

Fire Roasted Shellfish

If you visit Brighton and ask a local to recommend a top restaurant, the chance is the name "Coal Shed" would be mentioned high numbers of time. Back in Brighton, Coal Shed is a popular restaurant that serves fresh seafood and steak, and the big selling point is the restaurant loves cooking the food over an open fire, it is all about big smoky and savoury aroma. The team from Coal Shed has launched a second outpost in London, and once again, seafood and prime steak will be the main focus. The restaurant is located in the new One Tower Bridge development by the River Thames, over two floors with an impressive slick modern looking decor.

Old Butchers

Hidden seafood heaven

Fruits de mer

I love the Cotswolds, I usually travel there a few times a year for holiday, and one of my favourite thing to do at the Cotswolds is to discover great hidden gems. This time, I stopped by Stow on the Wold, right in the heart of the Cotswolds countryside and dined at the Old Butchers. The interesting thing about this place is that it is actually a family-run seafood restaurant and wine bar, you won't find much meat on the menu, it is all about fresh seafood from around the UK. The Old Butchers is one of the most popular restaurants in Stow on the Wold, it was buzzing with locals on my visit while the street on the outside is totally empty.

Sunday 8 October 2017

Martell Cognac

The Sublime Society of the Beef Steaks & Cognac Punches

Roasted scallops with garlic and white port

As part of London Cocktail Week 2018, Martell (the oldest cognac house in the world) teamed up with British steak joint Hawksmoor to offer one hell of an evening called "The Sublime Society of the Beef Steaks & Cognac Punches". A special dinner that paired with cognac and food. (For those who would like to find out more cognac, check out my "Harmonies" article in partnership with Cognac Bureau). It is great to see cognac brands repositioning to be a bit edgy, more versatile and fun along the way, vs the old days when it was associated just as a winter warmer. Good quality cognac is such a beautiful thing that can rival the finest single malt whiskies in the world.