I'm MissRachelle from London. I've been Qyping since 08-08-2008
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Belvedere Road, Unit 9, London SE1 8XX
Feng has been my sushi preference for along time. Being from the Antipodes I have grown up with fine tuned sushi taste buds (also known as Astro buds) and this is one of the few places in London that impresses me with the quality of their produce and the care in their dishes.
Once I was invited to BBQ, have cocktails, and learn the secrets of how to make sushi Feng style, I wouldn’t stop blabbering about it! The set up was perfect, taking advantage of the warmer days by setting up a class outside, with a sizzling BBQ and a load of Southbank meanders salivating nearby.
The team made it fairly simple to follow the instructions for making sushi, and after creating the fairly easy cucumber and wasabi roll we moved onto the California roll (inside out rice) with Dorset crab, without too much drama. My top tip was wet the knife, the tap the handle to the table top to let the water gently run down the blade, allowing for a smooth, clean cut.
The BBQ was quite a learning as well, made less daunting by the clam and relaxed chef who gave me the impression he is accidentally a brilliant chef. That explained the cool way in which nothing really phased him as he created the best BBQ goods I had had in a long time!
He explained how to make Teriyaki marinade, Mirin, soy, ginger, garlic, sugar, onion and boil down to thicken for an hour. The secret here was to salt goods, then BBQ, and afterward, towards the end add the marinade, to stop it getting sticky, and actually become a glaze. Double skewer trickery and a lovely spray that was part sake, then another spray bottle with salty water to gently flavour the foods. Another fab trick was soaked damp oak chips, added to the fire to slightly smoke the food.
This evening was a wonderful experience, not at all intimidating and great fun, I would defiantly come again… and bring friends!
22 Charterhouse Mews, Charterhouse Mews, London EC1M 6DX
I was teleported out fo London and into a very culinary focused village in France, when I stepped through the doors at Cafe du Marche. The interoir is warm and friendly, coats tidied away, tabled white clothed, exposed brick work and wood working together harmoniously to bring a bustling and relaxing environment.
The French provincial menu changes every 5 weeks, with a strong focus on seasonal ingredients. Some items are consistently available (for the routine monster in you), one worth of note is the 2 person Cote de bouef with béarnaise.
I tucked into a Moules mariniere starter- very generously served, with a lovely balance of herbs in the pots, so much so that I considered drinking from the bowl (serves me right for dining with ladies- I had to miss out on that!). Others had the
melanzane parmigianna, a delicate layering of aubergine with parmesan, and ate their way through it with full smiles.
For mains I had pheasant, which was a first for me, so this comparison is purely about taste. There was far too much for me, cooked perfectly, seasoned softly, and served on an apple choucroute. There was an odd addition though, a lone sausage. I assume this is a tradition of some kind, but I wasn't even close to half way through my dish before I was full, so sadly I can't say what it added to the meal.
One of the other girls had the poisson du jour, and for this day the fish was bass. She cleaned her plate, praising the a subtle flavour, and well prepared dish.
Somehow we managed dessert. My eyes lit up for the dessert du jour, a baked alaska. Having had this is dubious restaurants as a child I was really keen to see how the professionals do it. Pipped meringue crowned the dome of still cold ice cream, sitting atop of a perfect pasty base, with raspberry coulis spilling over the surface. I may never be able to eat it elsewhere!
Also worthy of note was the more sophisticated bavarois du jour. It is basically "made in a hermetically-sealed mold that was plunged into salted crushed ice to set", as it was created before electric refrigeration. So really it's pre ice cream, ice cream? Anyway it was tasty and well worth a try.
Perfect for a romantic evening or a lazy lunch with friends, I will go back again again.
15 Westland Place, Shoreditch, London N1 7LP
Recently, I was in the Trattoria area of Fifteen for a lunch meeting. I love the vibe in this place, it's rustic without being pretentious. The open kitchen is the first thing you see upon arrival, and that really says it all about the ethos behind this place. The chefs are the stars after all.
They serve a variety of antipasti, patas, as well as smaller main meals, and larger ones. Sitting with the Jamie Oliver Team meant that I could ask about what was really good and get a well informed answer. Each of them swore by all the pastas, so that was it for me!
I chose the thick Linguini carbonara with guanciale, marjoram, free range egg, garlic and parmesan. It was a small size (and to be honest I think you would really have to push to get a large in!) and perfect for me. I loved the fresh pasta and the balance of flavour in a dish that can often miss the mark.
I would definitely be keen to return and try out the downstairs dining area that is more formal in style, and pair that with the dinner menu to get the full experience.
71 Lincoln's Inn Fields, Holborn, London WC2A 3JF
Fleet is quite the no mess no fuss eatery that Holburn desperately needs more of. Quite simply, for me, it was Monmouth coffee that attracted me to it- and most of the bleary eyed office workers in the area.
The offer some lovely breakfast option (fresh fruit was in fact fresh) with bakes good and some proper meals for those hard Mondays.
Loads of space, and a delicately decorated interoir (glass topped old wooden doors for tables as one effect) and a large space below is also available to hire. Now all we have to do is get a sign out front of W-spoon place to direct people around the corner!
84 - 86 Earls Court Road, Kensington, London W8 6EG
I rarely find myself in this area without a destination in mind, and in the past it's been all about activities nearby, facials, nail salons, and more recently indoor golf.
So as we wandered the streets post game we were all at a bit of a loss for where to have a drink and a bite, until we stumbled upon the Hansom Cab.
Quite a cute little pub, with nooks and crannies about, friendly staff and what looked to be pretty good food (my friends were eating their dinners like little orphaned children!).
50 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9JL
I was treated to quite the introduction at Belgo's recently. I was invited to a tasting for their Oktober Fest 2010 menu, 3 courses each with a specially selected Belgian beer to go with it- for £33.
Great concept, perhaps a bit too ambitious to ask us to try all 3 options for each of the 3 courses though. I hear you counting up those beers... it was one between two with another before it all kicked off and tasters aftwards (it's like a math riddle isn't it?). Basically I had 5 1/2 beers in the end, but I know some others did better than I!
So what can you expect from the menu?
A choice of starters:
Parsnip and ginger soup served with Juniper Pilsner
Moules mariniere served with Belgo Witbier
Champagne, duck and truffle terrine served with De Koninck Blonde
I found it hard to choose a favorite here, all of them struck me in a different way, well balanced flavours and great accompaniments of the beer variety. If pushed I think I would choose the terrine as a narrow winner.
Beef carbonnade served with Witcap Stimulo
Mushroom Bouchee served with Palm Amber
Moules Portugaise served with Bruges Zot Blonde
The beef was a little too sweet for me, but hearty and very filling. The muscles have roast chorizo in them, which was too strong for me (I'm not very good with very meaty flavours) so my winner was the tasty and well executed bouchee.
Poached peer served with Floris Apple
Belgian chocolate pudding served with Westmalle Double
Belgian waffle served with Mort Subite Gueuze
The pear was good, the pudding amazing, but I have to say I was properly blown away by the perfect waffle, sitting in white chocolate sauce with ice cream (I was totally full by this point- and ate it anyway).
Staff were really great, attentive, knowledgable, and you did get the feeling not only do they know their stuff, but they are eager to learn more.
One thing I learned- some beers are fermented using coriander! That is a little hidden secret fo those of us that despise that particular herb- and explains why some beers just dont sit right with me- for that gem I will be eternally grateful.
125 High Street Kensington, London W8 7RW
Going to urban golf is what I imagine to be the modern day equivalent of going hunting in BC times.
There were other girls there, but they were with me, so there was a distinctly man flavour about the whole experience, from the wooden flooring and leather couches, to the shouting, grunting and thrusting that went on post shot.
However, after taking the lass macho men aside and mixing them with us feeble ladies we did actually have a bit of a laugh. It interactive part is a bit hard to work out- like how to play against each other vs in a team around the course. Golf is golf, it's not overly simple, but once you get the hang of it it's not that hard really. Plus you have to get over the fear of hitting a tough ball as hard as you can into a wall a couple of meters away from your face (yes it looks like a golf course, but I know there's a wall there and I've seen nasty rebounds in real life!).
The staff here are really good, attentive and sharp, the venue is clean and smart looking. If I had a sophisticated stag do to organise I would definitely start here- of course I wouldn't be invited and that tells you everything.
London SW1P 3JX
It really is hard to explain why the Meatwagon is so fantastic. I guess when you hear the words Meatwagon you really aren't sure what to expect, and when you hear the words 'the Meatwagon is a car park in Peckham'... well you would be excused for raising an eyebrow.
I did find the Meatwagon a bit closer to home, comfortably parked in the front area of The Red Lion and Sun in Highgate. How? Well, it is actually a wagon, so they travel to various spots and set up their meat filled camp, normally right on top of a happy publicans venues, so you can drink away the wait.
What's so special you ask? Well firstly I would like to relate that two chappies sipping on pints beside me told me that they had travelled from Brockley- I got excited. Why would you travel so far for a burger I asked.
"Let's put it this way, I would travel to Scotland and back for a night with the Meatwagon, and I ordered two chili cheese burgers and a Philly cheesesteak."
"For the two of you? That sounds like a lot of food.."
"Oh no! that's mine. You'll see..."
Ands so I did. These portions are insanely huge, that is the first thing to note. But anyone that has been before doesn't eat all day, just to fit in multiple meals. The two guys I was with got stuck into their burgers and promptly ordered seconds. They really are that good.
Anyone who has had a really good American burger will rate these guys, never mind being one of the few places I know this side of the pond offering the impossible to find and delectable Philly Cheesestakes.
Do yourself a favour and follow them on twitter to find out (about a week in advance) if they will be coming to ignite the meat addiction near you!
St. Margaret Street, Westminster, London SW1A 2AT
27-09-2010 (updated on 29-09-2010)
While uniquely ornate and impressive a moment itself, I love the Houses of Parliament for its quirks.
Gems such as no eating in the chamber unless you are the Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivering the budget when clearly you will need an alcoholic beverage!
45 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RS
Word on the street was that this was a pretty decent joint, so I took the plunge on a Saturday afternoon and trekked over. I say trekked because you all know that Clerkenwell is like a shut down zone of London outside of Monday to Friday (tube works don't help).
Naturally I arrive tuckered and thirsty, to a welcoming bar, with soem great options. I know a lot of the staff left the burnt out husk of the East Rooms to work here, and with that kind of high level of cocktail experience you know you can relax without worrying that you'll be served soem kind of adult slushie masquerading as a cocktail.
We decided to settle in and have Bellinis, and then the magic happened. Instead the three of us got a bottle of bubbly and our own little squeeze bottles of peach puree to make a table mix, cheeper and more fun :)
They seems to have a fab food menu, and I would be keen to try out a few of those dishes I saw coming out.
All in all a fab experience, now I have to seek out their new venture... Tiny Robot!
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