Sunday, 15 May 2022

Ristorante Lorelei

Stunning classy seaside restaurant


Raw scampi, with ricotta cheese, garden peas and black truffle

Located within a 5 stars hotel of the same name, Lorelei is without a doubt one of the restaurants with the most amazing seaside view. Just on the edge of the ever-busy Sorrento city center, the Michelin starred fine dining restaurant overlooks the sea with Capri island on the left, and the bay of Naples on the right. For sure ask for a table at its terrace space for that stunning view. On the menu, there are 4 tasting menus to pick from, from its signature fish menu, market menu, and vegetable menu to a blind tasting one. Given the seaside location and seafood is such an essential part of Sorrento's cuisine, I opted for the signature menu.

Il Buco

Sorrento's iconic fine dining restaurant  


Steamed lobster on cauliflower cream and saffron chips


When I was running my research on finding where to eat in Sorrento, pretty much every website I came across recommended Il Buco. The 1 Michelin starred restaurant is overseen by Peppe Aversa for over 25 years and is somewhat one of the most iconic restaurants in Sorrento, with its modern local Italian cuisine. The restaurant is located in the heart of the city center within a former church, stretching 3 levels. There are about 20 dishes from its a la carte menu, or you can go for either its fish or land tasting menu, which are smaller dishes taken from its a la carte. For my visit, I opted for the fish tasting menu.

L'Antica Trattoria

 Traditional trattoria house in Sorrento


Octopus with light orange mashed potatoes, green beans


Located in the heart of Sorrento's old town, L'Antica Trattoria is perhaps the most famous authentic restaurant along with O'Parrucchiano La Favorita (which has a stunning fruit and flowers garden). The traditional trattoria is full of oldies charm, with its vintage open-top decor that is packed with paintings, flowers, and plants. Dining inside felt less like dining at a restaurant, but rather in a royal garden instead (all the staff is also well dressed, formal style). The cooking is traditional, with the menu in the classic Italian format of starter, pasta, main, and dessert.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Bagni Delfino

 Sorrento's seafood joint


Bread and snacks

Sorrento's Marina Grande is perhaps the most beautiful part of the city, a seaside bay overlooking the gulf of Naples, which is without a doubt an amazing sea view. However, given the popularity of Marina Grande, it is packed with 'tourist trap' restaurants where they will serve you meatballs and plenty of 'American Italian food'. Bagni Delfino I would rate it as a more authentic one among a sea of restaurants, is pretty hidden as is tucked right at the end of the beach, with a strong focus on seafood. What set this place apart is that it is actually built on top of the sea and it has its own water tank for keeping fresh seafood.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

The Ledbury

 As good as ever


Grilled 10 years old oyster with caviar 


The Ledbury is my no1 choice for fine dining in London, and I am pretty sure in the 2023 Michelin Guide, it will regain its 2 Michelin star status. No doubt this is a restaurant that doesn't rest on past success, as chef-owner Brett kept on pushing and he has developed some really interesting things while in lockdown, with an in-house mushrooms aging device, as well as working with farmers directly on animals development. For my 17th visit, I opted for the long-tasting menu as usual. 

Monday, 2 May 2022

The Glasshouse Kew

The ideal neighborhood restaurant


Veal, tuna, capers and asparagus

When I used to work at Hammersmith, the classy neighborhood restaurant La Trompette is perhaps the finest restaurant in the area. Since I moved to East London, heading west is not really high on my agenda, but that changed when I decided to take a day out to visit Kew Garden, heading back to La Trompette was on my mind. Then I discovered its sister restaurant Glasshouse is actually located right by the Kew Garden tube station, and I noticed the menu format and price is in fact the same as La Trompette, so the visit to Kew Garden was perfect for me to try out the 1 starred Glasshouse.

Lyle's

Modern international cuisine 



Raw Scallop, Pink Grapefruit & Smoked Roe

10 years ago, people would associate fine dining/ Michelin restaurants to be something formal, for a special occasion, or only for the elites. It is amazing to see how things have developed over the years and now there are plenty of 'casual fine dining' venues popping up that has done a great job to make top-level cooking to be more accessible and less formal. Without a doubt, Lyle's is a perfect example, the 1-star venue kept things simple, with an Ikea feel dining room and an open kitchen, with no dress code enforcement. All the dishes use no more than 5 ingredients and have no fancy presentation but do deliver in great taste.

Hutong

 Dim sum in the sky


Sweet eel dumplings


Hutong at The Shard has to be one of the most specular dining experiences London has to offer, the elegant ancient royal Chinese-themed decor, along with a stunning view of the city with high-end Chinese food is what Hutong is all about. I first encountered Hutong 4 years ago and I found the cooking was pretty standard, but it was from a set lunch which I am fully aware a restaurant's set lunch vs its main offering can have a great contrast in quality. Therefore, I headed to Hutong one more time to go for a full-on dim sum experience.

China Tang

 Great traditional Cantonese cuisine 


Truffle and mushrooms tofu

China Tang at the Dorchester is my to go choice whenever I seek a traditional fine Cantonese experience. Headed up by head chef Fong, his menu is all about classic dishes that you would find in The Southern China region, using top-quality ingredients. With no gimmicks or no fancy presentations, China Tang has managed to create a group of loyal customers and it is able to pack out even a Monday evening. For my latest visit, I opted for a selection of seasonal dim sum and its classic from its a la carte menu.

Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine London

Traditional Cantonese, refined style


Cantonese roasted duck

For overseas restaurant brands entering the UK market, one of the biggest questions is always going to be, do I adapt my offering to suit the local taste, or do I stay true to my core and offer what has worked in my local market? I recalled when Imperial Treasure first opened in the UK, the menu was more or less the same compared to what they got in Asia. The traditional Cantonese style and Peking duck are what they are known for, the dim sum here doesn't look a great deal different from what you can find in Chinatown at half the price. What set them apart is their taste, and that matters to its main target audience, which is the Asian community in the UK.