Sunday 29 May 2022


 Regional Chinese cuisine done right

Double cooked spicy sliced pork

Since Dim Sum and Duck opened in Kings Cross at the peak of Covid, it became perhaps one of the most in-demand Chinese restaurants in London. But before Dim Sum and Duck came along, there is already a great Chinese restaurant in Kings Cross in the name of Kaki. What set this place apart vs other Chinese restaurants is that its main focus is on all the regional Chinese cuisine which is still fairly unknown to the British public. the majority of Chinese restaurants in the UK is Cantonese based, but Kaki tapped into other regional classics, such as Jiangsu and Sichuan.

Bao Noodles Shop

Casual Taiwanese inspired street food 

Lu Rou Fan, Egg, Fish Floss Rice

I recalled Bao used to be a little street food vendor not long ago, and now is a little restaurant chain with 5 sites across London. The latest Bao site is in Shoreditch, but it is a little different vs other joints. It is called Bao Noodles Shop, and as you can guess from its name, it does noodles, as well as their classic baos. The strange thing for me is that, out of the 19 dishes on the menu, there are only 2 noodles dishes, somewhat confusing as it labels itself as a noodle shop. The menu also contains a lot of deep-fried items and carbs, which appears to make it as simple as it can for the kitchen while keeping costs down.

Cay Tre Soho

Beyond the Vietnamese norm

Sapa style rice roll, with grilled pork belly

When we talk about Vietnamese cuisine, people will most likely think of spring rolls and pho, but there is so much more. Beyond the most famous Vietnamese dishes, there are so many unknowns for your average joe, many Vietnamese restaurants in the UK play it safe and only serve the typical dishes. Cay Tre Soho is one of the rarer places that offer beyond the standard. On the menu, you will find plenty of authentic dishes such as rice rolls and fish stew, an ideal place for anyone who would like to explore Vietnamese cuisine further.

Sunday 22 May 2022

Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890

The don of Italian cuisine?

Duck, apple, cinnamon

Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890, a legendary restaurant in Saint Agata, not far from Sorrento has been highly regarded as the very best restaurant the region has on offer. Besides its 2 Michelin stars, it is also part of Relais and Chateau, so it is a very special place without a doubt. As you can figure from its name, the restaurant has been around since 1890, under the same family for all these years. Its famous underground wine cellar was used to hide treasures and fine wines in world war 2. These days, it held some of the oldest wines in the world and is also used for aging cheeses.  

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.


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.


 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.