Sunday 23 April 2023

The Ledbury

 Back where it belongs


In the 2023 edition of the Michelin guide, Ledbury regained its 2 stars after losing it when the restaurant was closed over the Covid period. I got to say it was well deserved, as from dining there 5 times there within 2022, I have not had one single bad dish and each visit was exceptional. I booked my recent visit (my 21st overall) back in February and I was pretty sure by the time I step into the restaurant (April), it will have regained its 2 stars. I got that right. What I didn't get right is that it didn't increase the price right away so I was really glad!

Park Chinois

The king of Chinese fine dining in London

Cantoense style roasted suckling pig

This is my 23rd visit to Park Chinois aka no1 Chinese fine dining spot. Many people would rate A Wong as the best Chinese restaurant in London, but I prefer something sticking more to tradition and less gimmicky elements. And that is what Park Chinois is for me. They use top-grade quality, and fine Chinese cuisine techniques to deliver something remarkable. It offers dim sum for lunch and a full-on Cantonese menu for dinner, plenty to pick from along with some top-class cocktail selections that just won best cocktail 2023 from the Michelin Guide.

Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal

2 legends, one memorable feast (special event)

BBQ lobster, cacao, spices, carrot with lobster sauce

I normally shy away from special one-off chef collaboration dinner events, especially when one of the chefs is coming from overseas, as they might not be familiar with the local ingredients or working in someone else's kitchen. There is a strong chance you would end up not really getting the true level that the oversea chef is really capable of. However, I got to give Mickael Viljanen from Ireland an expectation as I had a really wonderful meal from Greenhouse Dublin when he was the chef there. He has since moved to Chapter One (also in Dublin) and many would rate it the best restaurant in Ireland. So this was a good opp for me when he is coming over to the UK to team up with Alex Dilling at Cafe Royal.

Monday 10 April 2023

Restaurante Cenador de Amós

Masterfully crafted Cantabrian cuisine

Peas and peas soup

3 Michelin stars are a bit of a myth for me, I had some amazing, world-class meals at some 3 stars outlets like Martín Berasategui and Azurmendi that I found is well could be the peak of fine dining. At the same time, I had some questionable ones like Arzak and Waterside Inn, places that are great but really not 3 stars level in my book. I was wondering where Cenador de Amos would fall. The chef-owner Jesús Sánchez works with mostly Cantabrian ingredients and the restaurant only has 6 tables so be sure to book well in advance. On arrival, you will be guided to the herbs garden before stepping into a cozy room to enjoy some canapes. 

Restaurante El Serbal

Classy seaside fine dining 

Bread service

El Serbal is one of the only two Michelin-starred restaurants located inside Santander, but the decision for me to pick El Serbal over the other place was a simple choice. It is located by the beach overlooking the Biscay Sea, so when there is a clear blue sky, you will be watching one of the most beautiful views in what Spain can offer. The restaurant offers a short tasting menu based on classic flavours from Cantabria but with a modern touch, or a longer tasting menu in which you live the chef to go creative with plenty of innovation.

La Bombi

Cantabrian seafood temple 

Poached shrimps

La Bombi is highly regarded as perhaps the best seafood restaurant in Santander. The family-run business is located in the heart of the city, with water tanks holding onto live seafood such as crabs and lobsters, all cooked to order to ensure freshness. I turned up on a Monday afternoon and the whole place was fully booked, which sounds crazy considering most restaurants wouldn't even bother to open due to a lack of customers. So La Bombi really does have a reputation among the locals and I was glad I booked a table in advance. The owner who spoke great English walked us to the fish tanks and explain what fresh food they have and how would they cook it, which make the ordering really fun and engaging.

Asador Lechazo Aranda

The peak of Asador?

Wood fire oven for meat roasting

I am a mega fan of traditional roasted Spanish-style suckling pig and lamb. The magic of the burning wood inside a clay oven somehow turns meat into something truly exceptional, providing the seasoning and preparation were done well in advance. Asador Lechazo Aranda in Santander is all about the traditional roast and grilled meat using open fire. The restaurant pride itself on using top-grade milk-fed lamb and suckling pig from the local region, which itself highly depends on livestock and farming, so I was in for something special.

Restaurante la Mayor

Fresh seafood, the traditional way

Clams in wine and garlic

One of my reasons to visit Santander is to enjoy some great quality fresh seafood, the northern region of Spain is sandwiched between Garlica and the Basque region, so as far as gastronomy goes, I am sure Catanbria is right up there too. La Mayor came across when I was doing my research and it is an interesting one, from the decor it looks just like another local canteen but the food they serve is anything but standard. The restaurant pride itself on providing top-quality fresh seafood, all done the traditional local way, with no creativity or gimmick whatsoever.

Saturday 8 April 2023


Up and coming

Supreme Royal Dim Sum Platter

What makes Chinese restaurants stand out compared to other types of restaurants is usually the menu, it tends to have a big menu with at least 100 dishes. The latest opening Gouqi by Chinese chef legend Tong Chee Hwee is no exception. From my first visit, I had the tasting menu but there are still so many other dishes on its ALC menu I would like to try as what makes this place stand out is the rare dishes that you won't find elsewhere in London, such as scorpion fish and stuffed egg yolk char siu pork, which all sounds really inviting. Below captured my 2nd and 3rd visits.