Monday 21 September 2020

The Quality Chop House

Chop life 

Mangalitza pork steak

Quality Chop House, the iconic British chophouse and wine bar is a proper institution in Farringdon. The restaurant takes British chops and steaks in a serious manner while retaining the essence of British cuisine. Recently, it also has launched a wine bar next door with more casual small plates offering. Quality Chop House's kitchen is run by Shaun Searley, you can see plenty of steaks on the menu, as well as traditional offerings such as game terrine and black pudding. For my 3rd visit to Quality Chop House, I secured an evening in the private room, which offers a feasting menu with a selection of sharing starters, a main, and a dessert.


The best value meaty joint in London

Meat is good

I am a super fan of Blacklock, the mini-chain is a meat temple for serious chops and steak lovers. Spreading across 3 sites, Blacklock is famous for its core signature offering: All In. The All In offers you a selection of nibbles, followed by a mountain of chops and a side dish, all for just £20 person. On Sunday, it follows a similar manner but switched to serving you a pile of roast meat instead of chops. The Sunday All In roasted dinner has since become such a cult dish, and now you have to book months in advance to try. The below captures my 2 recent visits, one on a regular evening, and another one for its legendary Sunday roast.

Pique Nique

Cozy French cooking in Bermondsey

Raspberry mille feuille

France is not too away from the UK, and there are many French chefs working in London. However, this doesn't mean that London is blessed with many high-quality French restaurants. No doubt, there are a few at the very top end, the contemporary French-themed, Michelin starred restaurants, like Club Gascon and Le Gavroche, but I do found it hard to find classic, mid-range level French restaurants in London. However, Pique Nique in Bermondsey is one of those rare gems, at least according to many foodies and the press. Operate by a team of French with a menu also written in French, it has an open kitchen and the food is all about rustic French cooking, with mains are designed to be shared so best come in a group.

Casse Croûte

 Old school French bistro

Girolle on toast

I would say Cassa Croute is one of the 'better' classic French restaurants in London. The low key tiny French bistro has been around since 2013 and has since become one of the best kept dining hot spot secret for the locals. It is a very 'French' venue with the wine list and food menu written in French only on a blackboard, with an ever-changing daily menu, depending on what is available for the kitchen. The food is in the mood of old school French with items like foie gras terrine. The dining room itself can sit around 20 people, so getting a table is not an easy task, do book ahead and ensure to go on a very empty stomach...

Sunday 6 September 2020

Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine London

 The hallmark of fine Cantonese dining

Dim sum feast

Thanks to Government's Eat out to Help out support, to offer diners 50% off (up to the value of 10 pounds) for any eat-in meal in August, I have taken the advantage to dine more often than usual. In August, I visited Imperial Treasure twice, once for its dinner for its legendary Peking duck, and the second time for a full-on dim sum lunch experience. On the back of COVID 19, I wanted to dine in a restaurant that can ensure safety and enforce social distancing. As much as I love some of the venuses in China Town, it just doesn't seem safe for now with tables so packed to one another, the no booking policy for lunch hours is also a minus for me. I was willing to pay a little more and Imperial Treasure fits my requirement perfectly. Below are some of the highlights from my 2 visits.

China Tang

Old school high-class Cantonese

Wok fry grouper with asparagus

Chinese restaurants are one of the hardest-hit sectors with the COVID 19 virus, and once lockdown has been lifted and many restaurants now reopened, there are a few places high on my revisit list. China Tang is one of those places, the classic Cantonese theme restaurant is located inside the Dorchester Hotel, and it is a timeless fine-dining venue. The menu showcases what the best traditional Cantonese cuisine has to offer and does it in a refined and classy way. You would not find any really creative or fusion dishes on the menu, people come here for the old school cooking and top-rate service.

45 Jermyn St

 Game season time

Grouse Breast, Liver Parfait on Toast with Girolles and Poached Figs

45 Jermyn St is located behind Fortnum & Mason, a modern European style brasserie that offers fine dining style cooking with flavours influenced from around the world. The restaurant is known for its caviar and game dishes, which is perfect as the grouse season has just kicked in. The restaurant has also appointed a new chef in Sam White, who was the ex group head chef of Hix, so I am sure he can take 45 Jermyn St's game offering to the next level. To fully embrace the grouse season, I opted for grouse for both my starter and main. 

Casa do Frango

 Posh Nando's

Casa do Frango

Nandos. the grill chicken restaurant concept is one of the few success stories in the casual dining world. I do enjoy their peri-peri chicken every once a while, but the quality can be very inconsistent, depending on which sites you visit. Casa do Frango is basically a supercharged up version of Nandos, it offers only 1 main course, which is the grilled chicken, along with a range of Portuguese inspired sharing dishes. The sharing dishes are much less mainstream with many uncommon dishes you would find on a high street, such as the Bacalhau fritters and African rice. I have been there once in London Bridge in the past and it has since expanded with a second site in Shoreditch.