Sunday 8 November 2020

Da Terra

 4 hands dinner


I was super gutted when Greenhouse was shut down for good in early 2020, as chef Alex Dilling's cooking has to be one of the finest in London, I have eaten at Greenhouse when it was headed up by Antonin Bonnet and Arnaud Bignon, and I got to say Alex's offering is far better than both. When I discovered he is doing a one-off dinner with chef Rafael Cagali at Da Terra, I wasted no time to book a table. Da Terra has long been high on my visit list, headed up by Rafael who worked with some top the greatest chefs in the world such as Martin Berasategui and Simon Rogan, Latin style creative fine dining is rare in the UK so I was eager to see what Rafael got in store for the dinner. The meal came in a tasting menu format, with 5 dishes from each chef.


Seafood modern counter dining

Oyster taco, gentleman’s relish

Kitchen table/counter dining as a concept is somewhat a rising trend in the UK, great if you are a serious foodie wanting to be up close to witnessing all the dishes preparing in front of you. I personally enjoy such a concept so when I hear there is a new counter dining restaurant launching with a focus on seafood, I have added to my to-visit list right away. With 18 seats only surrounding the open kitchen. The chef behind it is Andy Beynon, the former development chef for Jason Atherton. So on paper, you just know the cooking would be of good quality. Behind only serves a tasting menu, which contains 8 courses, and every dish is served by a chef, along with a sommelier who takes care of the drinks. All the table service are done by the chefs too.

Blue Jasmine

 Contemporary Southeast Asian cuisine

Carabineros prawn in royal supreme stock and corn noodle

While I was planning my trip to New Forest, I was out of idea where to find a decent place to eat while I was stopping by at Southampton. Southampton is not known for its high-quality restaurant offering and I was struggling to find anything after extended research online. In the end, I discovered a Pan Asian restaurant called Blue Jasmine. It is a new restaurant which only just launched in early January, and turned out it is headed by an ex-head chef of Duddell's, which is a personal favorite restaurant of mine. Given the pedigree of the chef, I was pretty sure Blue Jasmine standard wouldn't be bad at all. Looking at the menu, it contains elements of Cantonese, Thai and Malaysian cuisine. The decor is very modern and almost as an exclusive club feel to it, located by the waterfront with a beautiful view of the sea.

Daffodil Mulligan

New age Irish cuisine

Hannan’s Sugar Pit Pork Rainbow Chard, Gochujang

Irish chef Richard Corrigan is one of the most respected chefs in the UK, so when he teamed up with 2 other fellow Irish to launch Daffodil Mulligan in Old Street, it was a big deal. Interestingly enough, before Daffodil Mulligan was launched back in 2019, there was another Irish restaurant in its place but lasted just over a year. When COVID-19 came around, I was wondering if Daffodil Mulligan would suffer the same faith. Thankfully, it has since reopened with an Irish theme menu that has plenty of international flavours infusion. The menu has a large selection of small plates that aim for sharing and many of the mains are cooked in its in-house wood oven or open fire grill.


 King of China Town

Steam crab with rice wine and egg white

Small businesses in China Town are suffering, the damage from COVID 19 was heartbreaking and who knows when China Town can get back to where it was. For many restaurants in China Town, forget about making a profit, surviving is a massive challenge in itself. So I feel to support it, why not go there and enjoy a few meals. I went to the Orient on 2 occasions, one for dim sum, one for a proper dinner treat. I have eaten at Orient a few times before and I found it is the best Cantonese restaurant in China Town, and my latest 2 visits proven to me why once again.