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.