Saturday 17 August 2019

Gauthier Soho

Comforting and classy French dining 

Summer black truffle risotto

I have lost counts on how many times I have been to Gauthier now, the iconic French restaurant in Soho is highly regarded as one of the finest restaurants in the area. Chef-owner Alexis Gauthier is a classically French-trained chef and he has earned a Michelin star not long when he launched Gauthier around 10 years ago. The ever-changing seasonal menu, based on modern French cuisine concept has turned Gauthier Soho into a top French dining restaurant and is still going strong after so many years of trading.

Park Chinois

Top-level Chinese Sunday lunch

Mushroom rice rolls with black truffle

Without a doubt, Park Chinois is easily the best Chinese restaurant in London for me. Located on Berkeley Street, the restaurant has two floors. The ground floor is ideal for relaxing dining while downstairs is in a night club manner. The lavish restaurant in Mayfair showcased top Cantonese cuisine, as well as some regional Chinese classics, all done in a fine dining manner, using top of the range ingredients from around the world. I returned to Park Chinois for the seventh time for a lazy long Sunday lunch, with a selection of dim sum as the starter, before moving onto duck and seafood dishes.

Duddell's London

Cantonese weekend lunch in style 

Braised abalone in chicken stock

I returned to Duddell's for the seventh time. The reason I am heading back is simple. Head Chef Chris Tan's style of Cantonese cuisine is something that I really enjoy. While it is not classic at all, it does still maintain the hallmark of great Chinese cuisine essence, with a simple touch of western flair. The modern Cantonese restaurant in London Bridge is the best Chinese restaurant south of River Thames for sure. For my seventh visit, I opted for dim sum as starters, before moving on to a selection of mains that especially put together by Chef Tan.

Mei Ume

Classy Chinese banquet in style

Signature Peking duck

Located inside the luxury 5 stars Four Seasons Hotel, Mei Ume is an Asian restaurant that championing the best two Asian cuisines: Chinese and Japanese. The restaurant is headed up by chef Tony Truong, with over 30 years of Chinese cuisine experience, worked in some of the finest kitchens from China to the UK. For a special occasion, I have booked in Mei Ume's private dining room for a long and mouthwatering banquet, an extended 12 courses marathon. The menu was specially put together by Tony, offering classic Cantonese dishes that you would see in a traditional Chinese banquet, as well as some modern Japanese dishes. 

Saturday 10 August 2019

The Five Fields

A top-notch fine dining experience in West London

Short Rib, Turnip and Nasturtium

I have always got a special spot for The Five Fields, one of the finest restaurants in London. I first experienced its cooking 6 years ago, before it gained a Michelin star, and I was really impressed with how exceptional it was. I just find the cooking at The Five Fields so special, really interesting with amazing attention to detail in its cooking, it is truly unique. Fast forward to 2019, I returned for my second visit. A few things have changed since then, it is now also open for lunch, with a more affordable menu at £65 for 3 courses. However, to fully enjoy the full Five Fields experience, I opted for the tasting menu at dinner time.

The Coach Clerkenwell

Classy pub food in Clerkenwell

Duck confit, grilled purple sprout broccoli and anchovy sauce

Every once a while, I crave for a good classic pub food experience. Good quality British pub food in a gastropub setting is not that in common anymore, which is sad. The Coach at Clerkenwell is a casual pub that has always been a popular joint for after-work drinks, but the restaurant within has also gained a reputation since 2018 after installing a new chef in the name of Henry Harris. He has rejected his French fair into Britsh pub food cooking, you would no longer see burgers or pies on the menu, instead, some brasserie-style food with a rustic pub feel to it, using a range of British ingredients.

BAO Fitzrovia and Borough

Bao to the test

Beef, Taipei Butter Rice at BAO Borough

It has been over 2 years since I last visited Bao, the ever-popular Taiwanese restaurant in London. Since then, it has slowly expanded into 3 sites, so clearly they are doing something right, as it is popular to both the locals and tourists. Many places have since tried to copy Bao but without much success, while Bao is still going strong. I headed back to Bao Fitzrovia and also visited its new site at Borough to do a direct comparison, as I have noticed each site has some very different items, apart from the iconic bao dishes. 

Scully St James's

Asian fusion, Scully style

Tomato and Coconut Salad, Green Strawberries, Tomato Shrub

Fusion food is hard to get it right, and it seems to be a dirty word to many chefs around the world. However, when a chef managed to get the balance right when executing fusion cooking, it can be some of the most exciting and impactful things. Located in St James, London, Scully is an Asian fusion restaurant by Ramael Scully, a chef that has traveled around the world and came up with a southeast Asian style fusion cuisine with inspirations from all over the world. From using the Europen dry-aging method, Asian pickling techniques to using South American ingredients. 


Hipster wine bar in Shoreditch

Cured trout, samphire, cucumber, horseradish

Leroy is a wine bar and restaurant in the trendy area of Shoreditch. Surprisingly, it landed a Michelin star in the 2019 guide, which is a bold move from the guide as Leroy's setting and food is far from fine dining level. The decor is your typical modern wine bar, with table closely packed together with an ever-changing daily menu. The food is modern British, small pates, which is something that is so popular in London right now. Our waiter on the day suggested us to order 3 dishes per person and the food are best for sharing.

Saturday 3 August 2019

Tayer and Elementary

Twisted fusion with an Asian flair

Eel, potato, truffle, lettuce

Tayer and Elementary is a brand new food and drinks concept by top bartender 
Alex Kratena and chef Zijun Meng. The place is not your typical bar or restaurant setting. The front of the venue is an all-day coffee bar with pre-mixed cocktails and snacks. However, the real magic is behind the coffee bar, with a stylish and modern cocktail bar taking central space, along with a kitchen counter, which serves only 4 people at a time. Chef Meng offers a blind 5-course tasting menu at £60 for each dinner service, no menu and guests would know what are in for till the dishes are ready in front of them.

Opera Tavern

Tapas bar in the West End

Slow-cooked Galician octopus, saffron aioli, datterini tomatoes

Part of the successful Salt Yard Group, Opera Tavern is an Italian and Spanish tapas bar in Covent Garden. When it was first launched back in 2011, Opera Tavern was one of the most trendy and popular tapas bar in London in that era. Fast forward to 2019, many things have changed. Chef director Ben Tish has moved on, and the group has been sold to Urban Pubs & Bars, which owns a host of pubs across London. I first ate at Opera Tavern when opened, and wonder how much has changed since then. Looking at the menu, it has a selection of tapas, spitting into snack, meat, fish and vegetable session. I opted for 3 dishes per person, in typical tapas fashion and shared everything.

The Culpeper

East London gastropub

Pollock, Curried Mussel Sauce, Wilted Spinach & Coriander Oil

A good quality gastropub is not easy to find in London. There are many pubs out there that claim they are a gastropub offering top class British pub food, but very feel can actually deliver it. Around in East London, most people would think of The Marksman near Hackney as the top gastropub. However, having eaten there before, I think The Culpeper is just as good, if not better. The Culpeper is a 3 floors pub and its restaurant space offers a short but eye-catching menu, with some international influences but still staying true to British seasonal cooking. 


Cantonese tearoom

Iberico char siu

Tea room at Soho has launched a few years ago, the upstairs space serves steam buns ad downstairs has a restaurant and bar serving Cantonese cuisine. However, it has all changed with the bun concept has moved to China Town, and both floors have been rebranded to Wun's Tearoom. A Chinese cocktail and restaurant den in the mood of classic Hong Kong dai pai dong. All the cocktails from the bar are made using Asian spirits only, such as Taiwanese whiskey and Japnese gin. The menu itself is fairly small, with a selection of skewers, clay pot rice and snacks, ideal with beer and cocktails.