Sunday 21 May 2023

Pollen Street Social

ALC speed rush 

Afternoon tea

This is my 6th visit to Pollen Street Social, the much-celebrated chef Jason Atherton's flagship Michelin-starred restaurant. I had its great value for money set lunch for my first 3 visits, a Tasting menu for 4th, then a really great chef counter experience dinner for my 5th. Funny enough, I never got the chance to try the ALC option so I figure I give it a go, especially with its restaurant's latest price rollback on the back of the cost of living challenge. The ALC contains 4 to 5 choices per course, all using prime British ingredients, cooked in a modern European style.

Noble Rot Mayfair

The best of Noble 

Warm Smoked Eel, Potato & Avruga Caviar

Noble Rot has been slowly expanding. I first encountered the OG site in Holborn back in 2016 and I really enjoyed the casual setting with outstanding wine over comforting French food. Since then, Noble Rot has also launched 2 other sites in Soho and Mayfair, and the menu is still consulted by the respectable chef Stephen Harris. The Mayfair site appears to be more upmarket than the other Noble sites, with more luxury ingredients and a higher price point per dish. Fine by me as long the cooking justifies the price tag.

Noble Rot Soho

Classy French affair

Roast Chicken, Morels & Vin Jaune, Riz au Pilaf

Noble Rot Soho is the second restaurant from the Noble Rot group, known for its simple yet elegant French cuisine and its supreme collection of wine. For the Soho site, the food offering is similar to its original Holborn site with a signature dish aka a roasted chicken cooked with French white wine from the Jura region. For me, despite there being so many French restaurants in London, I am actually not sure if there are any really decent quality ones not above the 70-pound mark so I was looking forward to seeing what Noble Rot Soho can bring to the table. 

Brat x Climpson's Arch

Not your typical BBQ garden

Crab, mussels and tomato soup

The Michelin-starred Brat in Shoreditch has gained a cult following with its Basque-inspired open-fire cooking. From whole fish to massive chops to more unusual things like BBQ mussels and vegetables, you are getting some of the finest BBQ dishes in London has it now has a Michelin star to its name. Its pop-up space in Climpson's Arch Hackney has been launched on the back of Covid and it appears it is handing around. The space is much bigger with a much larger kitchen and fire space which allow the pop-up to offer a far bigger menu than its original site. The menu change daily based on what kind of fresh ingredients Climpson's Arch is able to acquire.

New Loon Fung, Golden Dragon and Chuan Royal China

 Dim sum battle royal

Dim sum at Golden Dragon

There are so many restaurants in London Chinatown, but which one is the best when it comes to dim sum? I actually haven't been to that many Chinese restaurants in London Chinatown, as I tend to stick with either Goldmine or Plum Valley for dim sum, as I found them a class above anything else in Chinatown. Having say that, I feel like is time to give other places a try before crowding a dim sum champion. So I went to New Loon Fung, Golden Dragon and Chuan to test out its dim sum offering.

Saturday 6 May 2023

China Tang

Refined great traditional Cantonese

Wagyu beef and taro puff with caviar

For the last 6 years, China Tang has become one of my most visited restaurants in London. There are so many Cantonese restaurants around but I found China Tang stands apart with its great respect to classic Cantonese cuisine, using top-level British ingredients. Head Chef Fong has been leading his kitchen team for over 10 years, year after year he has maintained such a high standard and created a group of loyal customers like myself. For my 18th visit, I returned to basic with a selection of dim sum and two old-fashioned meat dishes.

Friday 5 May 2023

Duck and Rice

British Chinese cuisine done right

Curry softshell crab

Before Covid lockdown, Duck and Rice is always a great choice for lunch or dinner when I was shopping in Oxford Circus. The casual pub does Biritsh Chinese food at a really great level at a reasonable price, while I am fully aware Chinatown is not far away, I just find Duck and Rice is a touch level better in terms of service and the food offering, and they won't rush you out the door as soon as you are done with your food. Of course, they have a great selection of beer and cocktails too unlike most Chinatown restaurants. 

Monday 1 May 2023

Quality Chop House

Mangalitza party

Cod roe cream and sourdough bread

I have almost lost count of how many times I have been to Quality Chop House. For quality meat feast, this is my to-go place especially when I have a large group. I love the old-school British vibe of the building, and the cooking method of cooking meat on a hot iron pan with a load of butter over fire is so rare these days in London, and this gives Quality Chop House's meat offering an edge. It is one of the few restaurants in London that also serve mangalitiza pork, a pork breed that is just as good, if not better than Iberico pork.

St John Smithfield

 Great British classic

Crispy Pig Cheek, Chicory and Spring Onion

There are so many new restaurant openings year on year, yet so many closed down with a lifespan of less than a year. For a restaurant's survival, there are so many factors that need to account for, from securing the right rent deal and managing costs to its food quality and service. St John appears to manage just that, it has been around since 1994, offering good old-fashioned British cuisine and putting good use to offals like bone marrow and livers. It is still an extremely popular venue today with both its bar zone and restaurant packed out when I visited, plus a Michelin star to its name.

Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal

The most exciting fine dining restaurant in London right now


As of writing, Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal has just been trading for just over half a year and it appears to be going from strength to strength. It had gathered some very positive media reviews and landed 2 Michelin stars right from its first try. I am not surprised at all as from my recent visits, I found the quality is high and it is a lot better than all the 1-star places I have been to in London. My latest visit was my 5th, and I noticed now at dinner it only serves a single tasting menu (it used to offer 2 in the past).