Saturday 18 December 2021

The Clove Club

New height?

Smoked trout, almond, roe

Pre Covid, The Clove Club was one of the hardest fine dining restaurants to secure a table in the capital. In 2021, the restaurant was rated no 32 in the World's 50 Best lists and retained its Michelin star. It also had a makeover with tablecloths is now a thing, with a range of art pieces installed, which feels like is a gear up for a proper fine dining experience for diners. I have eaten at Clove Club a few times in the past, and I think chef-owner Isaac McHale has indeed got something really special going with his restaurant, turning out modern British cuisine in such a clean and elegant manner. I once again opted for the long-tasting menu for my 4th visit.

Friday 17 December 2021

Quality Chop House

Meaty temple

Bone-in ribeye 800g

As far as casual British joint, I would rate Quality Chop House to be one of the finest places in London. The restaurant has really mastered the art of cooking meat and is one of those restaurants I would enjoy heading back to every once in a while. Strangely enough, whenever I visit Quality Chop House, I usually round up a group of friends and booked in its private dining room and enjoy its feasting menu, so actually I have little chance to check out what its regular menu is like. My recent visit was a great opportunity for me to try out dishes that normally would not feature on the feasting menu.

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Sarap Bistro

 Lechon feasting

Whole suckling pig

I have never encountered Filipino cuisine but am fully aware of the all-time Filipino classic, the lechon, which is a whole roasted suckling pig that is considered to be the national dish of Philippines. I am always a big lover of suckling pigs, no matter it is a Chinese version or the Spanish's. I was very interested to see what is a Filipino lechon is all about, as well as getting a better understanding of the cuisine. When chef Ferdinand Montoya opened up Sarap Bistro which champions Filipino cuisine, with the lechon stuffed with rice and lemongrass on offer which requires pre-ordering, I was super excited. Located at 10 Heddon Street which is now a famous space for pop-up restaurants, Sarap Bistro offers a short alc menu with just 12 dishes to pick from.


British-Italian nose to tail

house-made ricotta

I usually avoid Italian restaurants in London as I found many to be underwhelming while charging silly money for simple dishes. Manteca label itself to be an Italian-inspired restaurant and for me, that is not something exciting at all. However, when I discovered one of the men behind the concept is David Cater of Smokstak, who is a legend of open fire cooking, this is a game-changer for me. Manteca champions nose-to-tail cooking using a whole animal, and that is clear to see on its menu, with dishes such as ragu, jerky, and sausages. What really caught my eyes are the grill dishes, with chops and whole fish, which is the main difference vs a standard Italian restaurant.

The Game Bird

My kind of game

Beef tartar

Winter season = game season, and The Game Bird is surely one of the Game masters in London. Located within The Stafford London hotel, the fine dining British restaurant is renowned for its excellent game cooking but has recently undergone some changes, as it has acquired a Michelin star chef: Lisa Goodwin-Allen, to become the restaurant's chef director. The menu had a makeover since she has joined the business, injecting some more creative dishes based on classic concepts, such as beef tartare and fish and chips.

Park Chinois

 Exquisite fine Chinese cuisine

Suckling pig stuffed in glutenous rice

To round off 2021 with a special celebrated Chinese meal, it was an easy decision for me to go for Park Chinois. The Mayfair upmarket restaurant and club is my all-time no1 pick for fine dining Chinese in the capital. The chef team searches for top ingredients from around the world and uses classical Chinese cooking techniques to get the very best out of the ingredients in bold Chinese flavours. I got to admit I am a fanboy since I first encountered this place around 4 years ago, and fast forward to the end of 2021, my latest winter visit would be my 15th time dining at the restaurant. 

China Tang

Old school Cantonese charm

Mushroom and truffle baos

China Tang at The Dorchester Hotel seems like one of those Chinese restaurants that are just timeless since opened back in 2005. While so many restaurants have opened and closed, China Tang remained with a similar menu from the old days, and still trading very successfully and can easily cater for over 200 diners even on a Monday night. Its old-school Cantonese offering has created a loyal following and I myself have become a regular lately too. In fact, my most recent visit would be my 14th time visiting the restaurant.

Sunday 21 November 2021

Moor Hall Restaurant with Rooms

Restaurant of the year?


Within less than 4 years, Moor Hall restaurant has started off life from an unknown restaurant (When Mark Birchall took over) to become what suppose to be the best restaurant in the UK. The restaurant is located within a stunning grade 2 listed 5 stars country house hotel of the same name. The restaurant landed a Michelin star in its first year with another one followed the next year, along with 5 AA Rosettes. The restaurant is also the current holder of The Best UK restaurant at the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards, an amazing achievement from Mark who once was Simon Rogan's executive chef at L’Enclume, another legendary restaurant in the UK. The restaurant offers a fixed-tasting menu for dinner, with about 15 dishes in total in a proper fine dining manner with plenty of tableside services.

White Swan at Fence

 Gastropub as it should be

John Dory, dashi, maitake

One of my favorite thing to do when traveling across the UK is without a doubt stopping by at a local high-quality gastropub. From my recent visit to Manchester, I made a special trip to head north a little bit more for a dinner at White Swan at Fence, which is not far from Burnley. The Michelin-starred gastropub is owned by a local brewer called Timothy Taylor’s brewery so you can bet they offer a great range of classic British beers. The pub also came 35th in the latest National Pub of the Year award by the Restaurant Magazine. For dinner, it offers a fixed short 5-course tasting menu in the manner of modern British cuisine, with an optional cheese course on top which is sourced mostly from the UK.


Casual yet classy

Ceps and Cotswold White Egg

yle's is an interesting place for me. When I first encountered it back in 2015, I was not a fan of its fixed short-tasting menu. It was a casual fine dining experience but a rather underwhelming one as I found the cooking quality was pretty standard, nothing spectacular. However, I paid a revisit in 2019 and it greatly improved. The lunch occasion is a totally different experience at Lyle's, with small sharing plates which proven to be a really enjoyable experience and that changed my view about the venue. Lyle's has since been featuring regularly in the World 50 Best restaurant list, as well as landed a Michelin star.

Sessions Arts Club

Fashionable fool-house

Scallop, mandarin & turnip

Sessions Arts Club is the most talked-about restaurant launch of 2021. It is already one of the hardest restaurants to score a table in London and it only opens Wednesday to Friday. It is housed in a grand Grade II* listed building with a hidden-ish door, along with a classic old lift that takes you to a beautiful classy dining room. It also has a celebrity chef in charge of the kitchen in the name of Florence Knight and the venue has gathered overwhelming positive reviews from all the major news media. The menu has an Italian feel to it, and most are in small plates format that encourages the guests to share.

Sunday 7 November 2021

The Pem

Premium British fine dining 

Fallow Deer Roast red cabbage, pickled blackberries, black figs

I am a fan of The Harwood Arms, the super informal, Michelin starred gastropub turns out exceptional British cuisine and it would easily be my regular hangout joint if I live a little closer. When I discovered head chef Sally Abe has left and opened up a brand new restaurant in Westminster inside the Conrad hotel, I took great interest as the hotel's fine dining environment should allow Sally to go for something a bit more refined and upmarket. The dining room of Pem is somewhat unusual, with a deep pink colour and feather theme, the feather element even appears on the plates. It offers a classic 3-course ALC menu, in the mood of modern British fine dining with French technique. 

Plum Valley

Contemporary dim sum joint

Dim sum selection


Inside London China Town, you are spoiled of choices with so many Chinese restaurants, even when you narrow it down to places that serve Cantonese dim sum, we will still be talking over 30 places to pick from. Plum Valley had long been one of those places I am keen to try as besides the standard traditional dim sum, it also offers some modern items with a creative touch. The restaurant clearly tries to make itself stand apart from its neighbors, with a dark, temple-like decor which is unusual for a Chinese restaurant. It also offers an afternoon tea deal with you can enjoy dim sum with bubbles and tea.

New Fortune Cookie

Greatest hits reboot

Wonton soup

Proper traditional Chinese dishes are a dying art in London, while there are still many great Chinese restaurants around the capital, many old school dishes are left behind due to labor reasons and are not as popular in the UK vs back in China. Some traditional dishes require days of preparation by a very skilled chef and high-level chefs are hard to come by these days. New Fortune Cookie in Bayswater has been around since 1995, it was shut down for over a year. It had recently reemerged with a revamp along with a website, and what interested me is its chef's menu that contains plenty of old-school dishes, which is not in its standard menu or listed on the website.


Hippy wine club restaurant

Lobster tartine

Haggerston surely is going to be the next hipster dining destination. Many modern fine dining restaurants are popping up there, the none tablecloth, staff wearing trainers types place... places that look 'cool' and 'edgy' but easily set you back over £100 per person. Planque is a wine club that has a restaurant offering with the same name, it serves modern French-style food in the mood of Bright and Leroy. Headed up by chef Seb Myers. It is hard to go wrong with quality wine and fine French food, given the early positive reviews it has gathered, I opted to give it a go and was lucky to get a table, as it appears it is starting to become rather popular with all the praises it has been getting on social media.

Saturday 6 November 2021

Gold Mine Chinatown

 Chinese BBQ kingdom

BBQ trio, soy chicken, duck and char siu

A typical Chinese restaurant's menu is big and easily can have more than 100 dishes, ranging from dim sum, starters, mains, to rice and noodles dishes. It is hard to decide what you would go for and when a restaurant has such a big menu, it is hard for the chef team to really master every single dish. Gold Mine in China has a big menu just like many other classic Chinese restaurants in the UK, but having been there 4 times now, the quality across the board is great and they have the rare ability that does really good dim sum, as well as small chow dishes and the infamous Cantonese BBQ meat. 

Saturday 16 October 2021


The Queen of Spanish cuisine in London


Wild seabass

If you ask me to pick my no1 European cuisine, Spanish would easily be my no1 followed by Portuguese. I would often travel to Spain just for the food alone so I fully admit I have a massive Spanish food fetish. In London, it is tough to find a decent Spanish restaurant, let alone a great one. Sabor in Mayfair is the only one I would go back every once a while, as I found it to be the best Spanish restaurant in London. The Michelin starred restaurant does simple things, using good ingredients with great executions, and that is what great Spanish cuisine is all about. For my 5th visit, I kicked off with a selection of tapas, before moving on to big sharing plates.

Park Chinois

Classic revisits

Peking duck

I almost lost count of how many times I have been to Park Chinois now, besides the legendary Ledbury, China Tang, and Launceston Place (When Tim Allen was the head chef), Park Chinois is the only fine dining restaurant I have been to more than 10 times. Park Chinois does Chinese cuisine at a level that nowhere else in the UK comes close to it. The restaurant is all about classic cooking, but done a really refined way using top-level ingredients, handled by a team of very experienced chefs. For my 14th visit, I headed back for some of their classic dishes.

Gold Mine Chinatown

The new golden child of Chinatown

Classic dim sum selections

Chinatown is blessed with so many Chinese restaurants, but it is also a minefield with some pretty average, forgettable venues. Since Covid came along, some have gone for good, but some new ones are also popping up. One of the latest new openings is Gold Mine, the original joint (which is still around) in Bayswater is widely popular to the local Chinese communities, and it is welcoming news that it is setting up shop in Chinatown as it is much close for me to get to. After checking with the restaurant directly, I can confirm all the dishes are the same as the Bayswater joint.

Sunday 10 October 2021

MiMi Mei Fair

Round 2 same feel?

Steamed Dover Sole in picked chili and soy

I have been to MiMi during its launch period, the fine dining Chinese joint appeared done some good PR work at launch with many food influencers and celebrities has already visited and gathered some great endorsements. The general consumers' reviews from what I can see online have also been pretty positive too so I was expecting good things for my second round. From my first visit, while I wasn't overly impressed with everything, there were great tasting dishes and since the menu is pretty big, I got my eyes on a few more dishes I would like to try so I decided to return 1 month later and hoping for an improved experience. 

Saturday 2 October 2021


Refined Basque cuisine with a stunning view


This is my second visit to Akelare, one of the most celebrated restaurants in San Sebastian, with 3 Michelin stars and part of the Relais and Chateaux association, meaning it guarantees a very special experience. The menu hasn't actually changed much vs my first visit from about 5 years ago, I came here for the state of the art service and its unique offering: A stunning seaside view overlooking the Biscay sea, not many places can rival its beautiful setting. The restaurant has now also added a terrace, great for a drink or something a bit more casual if a full-on tasting menu is not your cup of tea. As that is the only offering from the main restaurant.


Empire's new cloth?

First kiss natura

Mugaritz is world-famous, and one of the most hyped-up restaurants with its progressive, experimental fine-dining approach. The restaurant has always heavily featured in the top 10 within the World 50 Best list, with 2 Michelin stars to its name. Chef-owner Andoni Aduriz is a global superstar chef, appear on TVs and magazines countless time and aspire young chefs from around the world. The philosophy of the restaurant means the restaurant would shut down for 3 months a year to develop new concepts for the year, which means every year you would get something totally different than the last. The restaurant offers a tasting menu and nothing else, with about 22 courses.


Seafood legend

Red mullet

Located in a little fishing town Getaria in the Basque Country, Elkano has somehow become one of the hardest restaurants to book in the world. The restaurant is known for its grill fishes done in a refined manner and got itself a Michelin star and rated in no 30 in the World 50 Best list. Booking a table at Elkano has become almost mission impossible but with Covid has slowed down tourism, I was fortunate enough to secure a table. Elkano is all about seafood and it now has a blind tasting menu on offer, you just need to tell the waiter what you are keen to eat and the chef will prepare a 12-course menu using the freshness local ingredient.

Restaurante Kokotxa

Basque fine dining done properly

Oyster, fennel, txakoli

Within San Sebastian's old town, there are so many great choices for good value, high-quality food. But what if you want to take a break from the casual pintxo bars, and up the game with a proper Basque-style fine dining experience? There are a few Michelin restaurants in San Sebastian to pick from, if you can't be bothered to travel and keep within the city itself, then without a doubt Kokotxa would be my no 1 pick easily. The restaurant's dining room is nothing fancy or formal, but the food offering here is outstanding. I only revisit the same fine dining restaurants if they are really special, and Kokotxa happened to be one of them.

Bar Nestor

Beef and tomato temple


If you are a foodie and have a keen interest in visiting the Basque Country in Spain, then you most likely have heard of the legendary Bar Nestor in San Sebastian. The little bar only offers a few things on its menu but has done them all exceptionally well. The infamous tortilla is especially in demand as it only offers 20 portions per service. The full experience of Bar Nestor would be the tortilla, followed by tomato salad and fried peppers, before finishing off with the txuleta chop steak, which comes from retired dairy old cows from the Basque country.  something really rare and you would usually only be able to find in Northern Spain.

La Cuchara de San Telmo

 The best pinxto bar in San Sebastian?

Roasted hake, sweet onion and garlic

When I was doing my research on where to eat at San Sebastian, and which place is worth going back to from my previous trips to there, one place stood out and that was La Cuchara de San Telmo. The tiny pintxo bar within the old town has less than 20 seats but is one of the most popular and highly rated pintxo bars in San Sebastian, I was really impressed with the quality of the cooking from my first visit back in 2018. While I hate no booking restaurants and hate queuing up for food, I would happily make an exception for a place like La Cuchara de San Telmo. For my second visit, it took me about 20 minutes to wait before securing seating.

Bar Sport San Sebastian

Casual all-day pintxo bar  

Sea urchin cream

Located in the heart of San Sebesain Old Town, Bar Sport is a little bar that serves classic pintxos. Unlike many other traditional pintxo bars in the city, Bar Sport opens from the morning till late, with no rest between lunch and dinner. This is a popular joint for both the locals and tourists, the menu contains around 30 dishes so there are plenty of choices for sure. With Covid limitation, the bar no longer allows standing with table service only across the whole space. For my visit, I ordered a selection of pintxos which are considered the signature from Bar Sport.

Borda Berri

Cook to order pintxos joint

Beef cheek

San Sebastian is full of amazing restaurants and pintxo bars, you can eat really well with very little, with many dishes costing around the 3 Euro mark while a glass of wine could be as little as 1 Euro. Pintxo is a must-try when you visit the Basque country, however, there are so many choices in Old Town San Sebastian, it is hard to decide which one to try. For me, Borda Berri stands out as all the pintxos are cooked to order instead of pre-cooked which you would see in most other places. The short menu with about 12 dishes also means the chef can really focus on perfecting those dishes without spreading themselves too thin.

Sunday 26 September 2021

MiMi Mei Fair

Another Chinese fine dining in Mayfair

Apple wood roasted Peking duck

MiMi Mei Fair is perhaps one of the biggest Chinese openings in London of 2021, founded by Samyukta Nair whose family is behind one of the luxurious hotel and restaurant empires called Leela. The executive chef Peter Ho at MiMi has a really strong CV, with senior positions held at the likes of Hakkasan and HKK. Both his front-of-house and chef team also has a number of ex Hakkasan staff so he has a strong team surrounding him. The food offering has a prime focus on Cantonese cuisine, with some Southeast Asian elements in the mix. There is a dim sum menu as well a more standard ALC menu with about 40 dishes ranging from starters, mains, and sides.

Saturday 25 September 2021

The Sea, The Sea Hackney

Creative seafood tasting counter dining style

Langoustine and spiny lobster cake

Counter dining has somewhat become a hot trend in London lately, with many new counter dining concepts popping up, and mostly toward the high-end level, such as Behind and Evelyns Table. The Sea, The Sea is the latest joining the counter dining fun, with an ex Viajante chef, the talented Leo Carreira running the show. The 12 seat restaurant in Hackney is all about seafood as you could pick that out from the name. The restaurant even has its own seafood tanks to store live seafood and a drying room for fish aging. It offers a 10-course tasting menu, serving creative seafood dishes with a strong influence from Japan.

Tuesday 21 September 2021

The Seafood Bar Soho

Work in progress

Cold seafood platter

The Seafood Bar is a brand new seafood concept restaurant from a successful seafood chain operator from Holland which has the same name. I have eaten at the original Seafood bar in Amsterdam just before Covid and it was really enjoyable, it was simple seafood done properly, grilled to the perfection level with a bang on seasoning. So my expectation for the London launch was high. My only question was that have they changed the sourcing of seafood? While London looked similar to the one in Amsterdam, ingredients could play a big part in impacting the final product.

Thursday 9 September 2021

Kitchen Table

 3 stars in the making?

Aged pigeon and cherry

Kitchen Table is easily the best 2 Michelin stars restaurant in London, and for me always a good candidate to push to the 3 stars status. Having eaten there a few times, I always found from the strength to strength, the restaurant kept on improving, and is great to see chef-patron James has such passion and hunger to progress to go as far as possible. Since Covid, a major change happened, with the restaurant taken a massive revamp, taken over the sister restaurant space Bubbledogs and switched up to become a bar area, for diners to enjoy canapes and petit four. The price also had a big change, switched from a fixed £150 tasting menu to £250, a crazy change and has become the most expensive Michelin starred restaurant in the UK! Does it warrant the price?

Park Chinois

 Chinese banquet-style delight

Steamed king crab in aged rice wine and rice noodles

Back again at the wonderful fine dining Chinese restaurant Park Chinois in Mayfair, serving classy Chinese cuisine using the finest ingredients. I have eaten there a few times and worked my way to try most of the items on the menu, I really enjoy how the restaurant based its cooking in the traditional Chinese manner, but with a touch of modern twist ever so slightly to create something truly special. For my lucky 13th visit, I have given the kitchen the freedom to come up with an omakase treatment, serving a blind tasting Chinese banquet-style menu, mixing in the restaurant's signature dishes, as well as some off the menu goodies.

Holborn Dining Room

How a great British dining room should be

Grilled prawns with garlic oil

Located inside the luxury Rosewood hotel, Holborn Dining room is a modern British restaurant which is known for its pie-making, with chef Calum Frankin overseeing the operation, the restaurant even has a pie room which works both as a pie-making kitchen, as well as acting as a private dining room in the evening. You can sample the infamous pie either as a takeaway in the daytime, or have it on site. I have eaten its pork pie in my first visit, and I ask keen to try the good old-fashioned chicken pie on my visit. Besides pies, the menu of the restaurant is your typical modern British hotel offering, with salad, steak, fish and burger, etc. 

Sunday 15 August 2021

Park Chinois

Kingdom of dim sum 

Xiao long bao, har gau, shumai, crab puff

For me, having dim sum would forever be the most ideal choice for a brunch/ weekend lunch occasion. While I love full English breakfast or a Sunday roast, dim sum has a clear edge due to the diverse flavours and types you are able to taste, from steamed dumplings to baked puffs to rice rolls, every piece of dim sum is an art form when fallen into the right hand. Park Chinois' dim sum is easily the best in London, not just because they use a lot of luxury ingredients, that helps but the pastry craftsmanship from the kitchen is second to none, lead by chef Ming who is the head dim sum chef. For my 12th visit to Park Chinois, I went full-on dim sum mode and ordered a selection to share.  


Good old fashioned Cantonese charm

Steamed Queen scallops with soy

China Town is packed with Chinese restaurants, from classic HK-style cafes, large Cantonese restaurants to dumpling joints. So many choices, so many styles of Chinese food, is not easy to make the right choice. There are a few standout restaurants in my eye, and if you are seeking traditional Cantonese food cooked in a more refined manner, Orient is my go-to place, the Chinese name of the Orient label itself as a seafood specialist, offering a range of classic seafood dishes such as steam fish, stir fry lobster to black pepper crab. 

Paul Ainsworth at Number 6

 The real King of Cornwall

Beetroot, truffle and potato

Besides Rick Stein, it is fair to say Paul Ainsworth is the second most famous chef in Cornwall, with a mini restaurant empire spreading across Cornwall. Paul's flagship no 6 is one of the only 3 restaurants that hold a Michelin star in Cornwall and the only one in Padstow, serving fine dining food using the finest British ingredients, with a strong French influence. No 6 serves a small 4-course ALC menu, with only 3 choices per course, and the standout dish without a doubt is the ' A fairground tale', a trio of desserts that Paul served in the BBC show Great British Menu and won. I was lucky enough to visit in a big group so with some food sharing, I was able to sample more or less every dish on the menu.

Barnaby Padstow

The art of whole fish cooking

BBQ red mullet, harissa bouillabaisse, fennel aioli

From the people behind the fishmonger and seafood bar Prawn on the Lawn, Barnaby is a mini restaurant with less than 20 covers in Padstow. The restaurant pride itself on using prime Cornish ingredients, with a touch of international elements to enhance the local ingredients. The menu is has a range of tapas size dishes, as well as large sharing plates for sharing. I could see many Mediterranean influences with harissa, pomegranate, and mojo verde, which makes it stand out within Padstow as most other restaurants champion classic Cornish cuisine. I went in a large group so I had the chance to sample most dishes on the menu.

Sunday 8 August 2021

Fresh from the Sea

The freshest lobster and crab

Seafood party

While I was planning my Cornwall trip, Fresh from the Sea was high on my agenda. The little restaurant/cafe is located in a small fishing village in Port Isaac. As the name suggested, the restaurant is all about fresh seafood, with its own day boat catching live lobsters and crabs off the Cornish coast. The catches are delivered directly to the restaurant and cooked on the spot, meaning you are getting the freshest seafood. The menu is simple, with a selection of seafood sandwiches and salads. For serious seafood lovers, best go for a whole lobster or share a large seafood platter so you are able to sample the finest seafood Cornwall has to offer.

Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant

 Rick Stein's flagship

Hot shellfish platter

If you are planning a trip to Padstow in Cornwall, then a meal at Rick Stein's flagship, the Seafood Restaurant is high on your agenda. Rick Stein is the unofficial king of Padstow, whenever you go, you can see his shops or restaurants, and the Seafood Restaurant is the jewel of his kingdom. Facing directly to the sea, the restaurant's menu is all about fresh seafood, mostly done in the classic British ways with some overseas elements, inspired by Rick's travels around the world. Booking is essential, as Rick Stein is such a household name, there are people traveling to Pladstow just for a taste of his Cornish seafood cooking.

Saturday 7 August 2021


A tribute to Portugal's fish and seafood

Scarlett Shrimp, açorda, seaweed

I visited Alma back in 2017 when it gained a Michelin star not long ago, and the chef-owner Henrique Sá Pessoa was considered a rising star chef in Lisbon. Fast forward to 2021, I return to Alma once again for my second visit. It has since gained another Michelin star and the menu has also become a lot more expensive, as you would be expected. The tasting menu cost 85 euro back then and now is 145 euro, which is a sky-high increase. The main reason I had faith to return is down to my first meal at Alma was very enjoyable and I was keen on how the restaurant has developed over the years to warrant its second star.

100 Maneiras

17 moments of a surreal feeling

Caviar, radish and duck liver

Serbian-born chef Ljubomir Stanisic has created somewhat a reputation in Portugal with his take on Eastern European cuisine using fresh Portuguese ingredients. His 100 Maneiras became the hottest ticket in town, with a single tasting menu on offer, telling the story of the chef's upbringing in Serbia, to his current home of Lisbon. You will find plenty of Eastern European cuisine concepts with an unusual, creative, and very experimental touch. Dishes that will fool and play with your mind which has scored the chef his first Michelin star.

Cervejaria Ramiro

 The ultimate seafood temple

European lobster

If you visit Lisbon, the chance is that a meal at Ramiro would be on your to-do list. The casual neighbourhood seafood restaurant is considered the best seafood restaurant in Lisbon. They don't do anything fancy, just using fresh seafood produces and cooked them to perfection. I have been to Ramiro a few years ago, but I could still recall how wonderful it was, and I decided on my return to Lisbon that I will head there not just once, but twice. Thanks to Covid, the restaurant is now taking reservations, which is a blessing as otherwise, you can easily wait a few hours to get a table as this restaurant is legendary to both the locals and tourists.

Pateo - Bairro do Avillez

 Avillez's empire

BBQ Carabineros

Bairro is a mini restaurant hub by the most famous Portuguese chef José Avillez, the very first chef that landed two Michelin stars in Portugal and now runs a handful of restaurants across the nation. It appears he is everywhere, from casual concepts to fine dining venues. Located in Lisbon, Bairro is perhaps his most ambitious project, a dining space house 4 restaurants, with Pateo, the seafood concept taking the central stage. The menu is big, with a selection of seafood dishes based on traditional Portuguese recipes but with an international twist, so don't be surprise to see kimchee or curry.

Da Terra

Creative Latin fine dining

Mushroom doughnut and cod croquette

I first encountered head chef Rafael Cagali’s creative cooking at Da Terra back in 2020 when he hosted a special one-off dinner with the talented Alex Dilling. The unusual, fun ways of his take on Latin-inspired cooking have got me interested to return to try out the tasting menu to truly experience what he has got on offer. Fast forward to 2021, Da Terra has gained a second Michelin star, a remarkable achievement, given it was only launched a few years ago. The restaurant only serves a tasting menu with an open kitchen within the Town Hall Hotel. You either pick a short or long tasting menu and you won't know what you will be getting till the food arrives at your table.

Quality Chop House

 British pork champ

Mangalitza pork belly

I have lost count of how many times I have been to Quality Chop House, the British chophouse has a cult status and is super popular with London foodies. As the name suggested, this restaurant is all about chops, using the finest meat sourcing from all over the UK. They have something really special that not many restaurants are able to get hold of: The mangalitza pork, a really flavoursome pig breed imported from Hungry and now a handful of British farms are able to breed it locally. The pork is basically the wagyu beef version of pork, loaded with marble and bold depth of savoury taste, whenever I visit Quality Chop House, that is the must-order item.

China Tang

Traditional Cantonese feast

Ginger and spring onions stir fry lobster with noodles

UK restaurants are facing a crisis with the short of skilled staff, and that is especially even more true for the Chinese restaurants, with older generation of chefs retiring and lack of chefs coming to the UK due to visa challenge. It is fair to say, there are less decent Chinese restaurants left, especially in the high end Cantonese cuisine sector, but fortunately, one venue still does it at a high level is China Tang, located within the Dorchester hotel. It has been around for more than 20 years and is still holding strong, highly regarded by the locals and guests of the hotel. Pre Covid, it is normal to see it packed out even on a Monday night. For my lucky 13th visit, I tried out a selection of new seasonal specials as well as some all time classics.

Saturday 26 June 2021

Park Chinois

Supreme Chinese cuisine champion

Stir fry native lobsters with egg noodles

Lockdown is almost over, with dining out is a possibility again. For top-grade Chinese food, if I only have 1 choice, Park Chinois would easily be the one for me. Having been there 10 times in the last few years, I don't recalled 1 weak meal. The restaurant is known for using top-quality ingredients sourced from all around the world, cooked expertly in a traditional Chinese manner with an elegant modern touch. You are paying a premium price for the experience but that also comes with a grand setting with live entertainment every evening. For my 11th visit, I went the classic Chinese feasting way, ordered a selection of large dishes, and shared them with my group.


 The best Spanish in London town

Grilled scarlet prawn

My 4th visit to Sabor, and the only Spanish restaurants I have been to more than 2 times in London. Why? The answer is simple as Sabor is easily the best Spanish restaurant in London. The place is always buzzing and lively, the service is rock solid and well above your standard restaurant, but most importantly the food is truly special. If you can't take a trip to Spain, Sabor is the closest thing you will find in London. For seriously foodie, the action comes from upstairs space: El Asador. This is where you will get large sharing plates of classic Spanish dishes, such as the iconic suckling pig. The restaurant also offers a small list of daily special, depending on what is fresh off the market.

Pollen Street Social

Chef counter dining

Afternoon tea

The last time I dined at Pollen Street Social was 7 years ago, I still recalled when it was first launched, the restaurant was the talk of the town with its informal approach to British fine dining in a relaxing and modern manner. The price was also fairly reasonable with £25 for a 3 course set lunch. A lot of things have changed since then, chef-owner Jason Atherton has expanded his restaurants offering with multi Michelin stars across the UK, the dessert bar of PLS has also transformed into a chef counter dining experience zone, where an 8-course tasting menu is on offer. I always wanted to return to Pollen Street Social so the counter dining was the perfect excuse for me to return for my 5th visit.