Sunday 22 October 2023

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

3 stars wonder 

Brittary pigeon, greengage, garlic, wasabi

The last time I dined at Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, it was in 2020 when the UK was slowly coming out from lockdown. It was my 8th visit and also the best meal I have had from Helene. It was since promoted to a 3 Michelin stars restaurant in 2021, a remarkable achievement. Fast forward to 2023, I have decided to head back to see what has changed. The tasting menu is now at £215 per person, and I could see some classic dishes are still on the menu, such as the baba.

Counter 71

 British theme counter dining

Squid, clam, girolles

I have noticed counter dining has been popping up a lot recently, from Humble Chicken, Behind to Abajo... a new wave of high-end counter concepts has been flooding London, usually with an aspiration of reaching Michelin star status. Counter 71 was launched in the summer of 2023, with a concept of only using British ingredients, headed up by chef Joe Laker, serving a long British-themed tasting menu format of about 12 dishes. With only 16 seats looking over the kitchen space. The meal kicked with bite-size canapes, before switching to bigger plates of food and then 3 rounds of desserts.

Saturday 14 October 2023

Abajo by Humo

Italian x Japanese counter affair

Squid, courgette, amalfi lemon

I have been writing on this food blog for over 10 years, and lately, I have slowed down catching on trying to visit as many new openings as possible. Instead, I keep going back to places I enjoy and I got to the point that, having eaten around London, I kind of got an idea of what type of food I seek. That is until I encountered Abjano by Humo. I am always a bit funny about fusion cooking, but when I discovered a hidden counter dining fusion restaurant overseen by a sushi master Endo Kazutoshi, I couldn't ignore it, and it turned out I enjoyed it so much I went back again a few months later...

Kitchen Table

The peak of counter fine dining in London

Kitchen Table

Kitchen Table experienced a bit of a whirlwind since it reopened after Covid. With price got increased to £350 at one point it has dropped down to 
£200 recently due to lack of demand. Personally, I always enjoyed my encounters at Kitchen Table so I was glad I was able to head back. Just be prepared you are here in the long run, as dinner starts at around 6pm and you wouldn't finish till 11pm due to the menu format where you have both the canapes and petit four in its bar zone, and in between you will be eating about 10 course of food in its main kitchen counter dining room.

The Grill at The Dorchester

How Great British Cuisine Should be 

All the chicken: Roasted chicken, chicken pies and legs

I last visited The Grill at The Dorchester back last Christmas, and since then it had a massive change as it has recently rebranded to The Grill by Tom Booton, as Tom has now been promoted to be the executive chef of the restaurant. The menu also switched from a 4-course ALC format, to a more informal 3-course all-day dining ALC offering, along with a range of pre-starter snacks. Tom's style of cooking is just what I enjoy: bold and rich. So I was excited to return for the 9th time to see what he has got to offer from his brand new menu. 

Noble Palace

Dine like a Noble

King crab legs stir fry Hong Kong wind shelter style

Noble Palace is my go-to place for a special Chinese dining occasion when I want something that you would normally not able to find in a typical Chinese restaurant in London. The beauty of this place is that you are able to pre-order pretty much any Chinese dishes you would like as long as you give them notice in advance. This keeps this place exciting and gives me a good reason to head back for more. For the 16th visit, I have requested Noble Palace to prepare an Alaskan crab dish.

Park Chinois

Mayfair classy dim sum lunch

Truffle and mushrooms rice rolls

Park Chinois is easily my no 1 choice for classy innovative Chinese cuisine. It is also my most visited restaurant in the UK (if you exclude fast food places). I never had a bad meal at Park Chinois as the team of skilled chefs knew how to deliver the true essence of Chinese cuisine in a refined manner. For Cantonese-style dim sum, they are easily the best in London. For my 25th visit, I went full-on dim sum mode and ordered a large selection to share among friends and family.