2.19.2017

LUCA

Recently I had lunch with my colleagues at a new restaurant in Clerkenwell. 'Luca' is located on St John Street (where the restaurant Portal was previously) and serves Italian-British cuisine. It was opened in 2016 by the head chef Isaac McHale and his partners Johnny Smith and Daniel Willis, who have also opened the michelin star restaurant Clove Club in Shoreditch.

From the outside the restaurant looks very small, but is pretty spacious in reality as there are several rooms at the back which are not visible from the street.
The first room has some tables for 4 people, a bar and a reception with an hostess. This place is ideal to sip some cocktails and share antipasti.
The second room has wooden tables with red leather seats and a view of the opened kitchen. Finally the last room where we had lunch was a huge veranda with large windows and brick walls. There is also an open kitchen at the back where you can see the team preparing dishes.

Our lunch began with some bread served with olive oil. The olive oil was delicious and it reminded me the one I tried when I was younger in Tuscany near Pescia. Then we shared some antipasti: a salad of artichoke with celery and Pecorino (13 £), and two portions of scallops served on Jerusalem artichoke purée with nduja (13 £ each dish). The team arranged for us free of charge a plate with three scallops rather than 2, so we had one scallop per person. We appreciated the attention.
The scallops were presented on salt. They were excellent and cooked to perfection with a smooth and delicious purée. On the other hand, I found that the salad of artichoke wasn't worth the price. It lacked seasoning and there was not a lot of artichoke.

As a main course, my colleagues ordered the Rump of Hereford beef (£25), the rigatoni with pork sausage, tomato, anchovy & mint (£11), and warm salad of winter vegetables, goat's curd with black truffle (£21). I opted for the pheasant and mushrooms agnolotti, served in a broth with slices of truffle. The broth was good and the agnolotti were perfectly cooked. I couldn't taste any pheasant in the dish and the slices of truffles didn't bring any flavour.
For dessert I had the apple crostata with custard (£8) while my colleagues tried the chocolate mousse (£9) and the pear and frangipane tart and rum custard (£8).

This restaurant is certainly in the running for a Michelin star, just like the Clove Club. You can feel this by the way the plates are presented and the attention which is given to the service by the team. Some of the dishes were perfectly executed but it wasn't necessarily good value for money as the portions were a bit small.
I will certainly come back to Luca for dinner to celebrate a special occasion as I think it will be totally suitable for this, but for a simple lunch it was a bit overrated and too formal.

7/10

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Récemment je suis allée avec mes collègues au nouveau restaurant Luca. Luca se situe sur St John Street (où se situait le restaurant Portal), c’est un restaurant qui propose des plats Italien-British. Ouvert en 2016 par le chef Isaac McHale et ses partenaires Johnny Smith & Daniel Willis, qui fut aussi à l’origine de l’ouverture du restaurant étoilé Clove Club basé a Shoreditch.

Si de l’extérieur le restaurant semble petit, il est en réalité plutôt grand, composé de plusieurs salles qui ne sont pas visibles de la rue.
La premiere salle dispose d’un bar, de l’accueil avec une hôtesse et de quelques tables de 4 personnes. Elle est idéale pour siroter quelques cocktails et partager des antipasti.
Dans le prolongement il y a un couloir avec des tables et tabourets en hauteur pour accueillir des couples.
Puis la deuxième salle offre une vue sur une partie de la cuisine et dispose de tables en bois avec des banquettes en cuir rouge de type brasserie. Enfin la troisième salle, où nous avons déjeuné, est une veranda composée de grandes baies vitrées et de murs en briques donnant sur une cour intérieure. De cette salle on peut apercevoir une autre partie de la cuisine avec les chefs qui préparent les plats.

Nous avons commencé notre déjeuner par du pain servi avec de l'huile d’olive. Celle-ci était succulente, comme celle que j’avais dégustée dans mon enfance en Toscane près de Pescia. Nous avons partagé des antipasti: une salade d’artichaut cru avec du céleri et du pecorino (£13), puis deux portions de coquilles St Jacques servies sur un lit de nduja et de purée de topinambours (£13 par assiette). L’équipe nous a offert une assiette avec trois coquilles St Jacques au lieu de deux pour que nous ayons chacun une coquille. Nous avons apprécié cette gentille attention.
Les coquilles St Jacques sont arrivées servies sur du sel, elles étaient délicieuses, cuites a la perfection et la purée était lisse et savoureuse. Par contre, j’ai trouvé que la salade d’artichaut ne valait pas le prix annoncé, il n’y avait pas beaucoup d’artichaut et elle n’était pas assez assaisonnée.

En plat principal, mes collègues ont commandé les côtelettes d’agneau (£24), le rumsteak de boeuf (£25), les rigatoni au porc (£11) et la salade de légumes d’hiver au chèvre (£21). J’ai opté pour les agnolotti fourrés de faisan et champignons, servis dans un bouillon avec quelques copeaux de truffe. Le bouillon était bon et les pates étaient parfaitement cuites. Je n'ai pas retrouvé la saveur du faisan dans le plat, et les copeaux de truffes n’ont apporté qu’un coté décoratif au plat.

En dessert pendant que je savourais mon succulent crostata a la pomme servi avec de la crème anglaise tiède (£8), mes collègues ont dégusté une mousse au chocolat (£9) et une tarte de frangipane a la poire (£8).

Ce restaurant a surement dans l’optique d’attirer les guides du Michelin en vue d’obtenir une étoile tout comme le Clove Club. Cela se ressent non seulement dans l’assiette et dans les prix mais aussi car l’équipe porte une attention particulière au service qui est très traditionnel.
Certains des plats étaient parfaitement réalisés mais ce n’était pas toujours un bon rapport qualité-prix car les portions dans l'assiette étaient petites.

Je retournerai certainement chez Luca pour une occasion particulière ou un diner car l’ambiance, le decor et le service se prêtent parfaitement pour fêter un événement special. Mais pour un déjeuner sur le pouce entre amis ou collègues c’est un peu surfait et trop formel.

7/10
Bread & olive oil 
 Roast Orkney scallops, Jerusalem artichoke and 'nduja 
Salad of raw artichokes, celery and pecorino
 Warm salad of winter vegetables, goat's curd with black truffle
 Rigatoni with pork sausage, tomato, anchovy and mint
 Rump of Hereford beef stuffed with pancetta, kale and mushrooms 
Pheasant and mushroom agnolotti in broth
 Baked chocolate mousse and roast barley ice cream
 Warm apple crostata and custard
Pear and frangipane tart and rum custard
Luca 
88 St. John Street
London, EC1M 4EH
Twitter: @Lucarestaurant
Luca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Square Meal
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2.01.2017

OBER MAMMA

It is now impossible to go to Paris without having someone recommending you to try one of the Italian trattorias founded by Migraine Seydoux & Victor Luggerdu: Group Big Mamma.

If you hate queuing you should avoid this restaurant, as every visit usually starts with at least 15-20 minutes of queuing (if you're lucky). I would recommend to arrive just before the opening, around 11.50am-12noon as even if the queue looks quite long, you will be seated in the first service for sure.
The restaurant is open daily from 12.15pm, the team gives a warm welcome as soon as you walk inside the restaurant.

Ober Mamma has three different areas inside, each with a different atmosphere. Firstly a bar area at the entrance with a huge counter in the middle, ideal for aperitif and a quick lunch or dinner with friends. Then there is the corridor area with a few little tables of two with Italian ham hanging from the ceiling and a fantastic view over the open kitchen. Then the main room with a tree in the middle and a ceiling window which lets direct light into the room. Overall the decoration of the restaurant is wonderful and I also loved their custom-made porcelain plates.

When I came the first time to Ober Mamma i was a bit disappointed to be seated at one of the tables in the corridor, but in the end I really enjoyed the atmosphere as it was more cosy for a romantic dinner than being in the big room and I also liked to be able to see what was going on in the kitchen.

My boyfriend and I began our meal with a big creamy burrata and a tomato salad with basil. The burrata was absolutely creamy and delicious and the salad was well seasoned. It was the perfect way to start our meal.
As a main course we shared one of their pizzas: Iconic regina and their famous truffled pasta.
Their truffled pasta dish is simply delicious. It's probably why it's their their signature dish. It consists of mafalda pasta, mascarpone, fresh mushrooms, Parmesan & truffle. The individual portion is very generous and is perfect to share.
The pizza was very good too and made with tomato, San Marzano, ham, olives and a mushroom carpaccio. After our mains we were unfortunately too full to order any desserts.

Ober Mamma is definitively a restaurant I recommend to any one who likes fresh quality products and Italien cuisine. It's very good value, food is delicious and the team are always nice and welcoming. The only inconvenient it's the no reservation policy which means you have to queue to get a table but most of the restaurants are like this now. Just need to get used to it!

I really hope the two owners of the Big Mamma Group have planned to develop their restaurants in London one day so I can go more often without having to cross the Channel.
9/10
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Il est désormais impossible de se rendre à Paris sans que l'on vous recommande de déjeuner dans l'une des trattorias fondées par Tigrane Seydoux et Victor Luggerdu: Groupe Big Mamma.

Les impatients doivent s'abstenir, car chaque visite commence régulièrement par quelques minutes de queue si ce n'est plus, si vous y allez un peu avant l'ouverture (11h50-12h) vous avez beaucoup de chance d'être dans le premier service meme si la queue vue de l'extérieur est longue.

Le restaurant ouvre tous les jours à 12h15 et l'accueil est très chaleureux. Ober Mamma est composé de trois différentes ambiances: l'entrée avec un bar qui domine la pièce, puis un couloir qui vous donnera l'eau à la bouche avec une collection de jambons accrochés au plafond et une vue imprenable sur la cuisine, puis la cerise sur le gateau...une grande salle avec un arbre qui surplombe la salle éclairée par une grande verrière.
Non seulement la decoration est superbe, mais j'ai également adoré leurs assiettes qui ont été faites sur mesure pour le restaurant.

Au départ lors de notre visite je fus un peu déçue d'être assise dans le couloir, mais au final j'ai adoré l'ambiance. L'atmosphere y était plus cosy pour un dinner en amoureux que dans la grande salle, et puis j'aime bien voir ce qui se passe en cuisine! 
Nous avons commencé notre repas par une grosse burrata crémeuse et une salade de tomates au basilic. La burrata était succulente et crémeuse et la salade de tomates était bien assaisonnée.    

Puis en plat principal, nous avons commandé une de leurs pizzas: l'iconic Regina et les fameuses pâtes à la truffe que nous avons partagées.  
Les pâtes à la truffe est le plat phare d'Ober Mamma et est tout simplement succulent. Ce plat est composé de pâte mafalda, de champignons, de mascarpone, de Parmesan et bien évidemment de truffes. La portion individuelle est si généreuse qu'elle est idéale à partager. 
La pizza était très bonne aussi.
Après nos plats copieux nous n'avons malheureusement pas eu le courage de nous lancer dans la commande de desserts de peur de ne plus pouvoir bouger. 

Ober Mamma est une adresse que je recommande définitivement aux amateurs de produits frais  de qualité et de cuisine italienne depuis que je m'y suis rendue. Le rapport qualité prix est juste parfait et c'est un régal à la fois pour les yeux et les papilles. 
L'unique contrainte est le fait que l'on ne puisse pas réserver, mais beaucoup de restaurants de nos jours sont comme cela. 

J'espère de tout coeur que les fondateurs du groupe développeront très bientôt leur concept Outre-Manche à Londres, pour que je puisse m'y rendre plus souvent sans avoir à prendre l'Eurostar. 

9/10
   
Grosse burrata crémeuse 250g & salade de tomates et basilic (17€)
Iconic regina: tomates, San Marzano, fior di latte, jambon toscan, olives, taggiasche, carpaccio de champignons (15€)
La fameuse pâte à la truffe (18€)
 



Ober Mamma
107 Boulevard Richard Lenoir
75011 Paris, France
Twitter: @bigmammagroup


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12.21.2016

BRASSERIE ZEDEL

Some people celebrate Christmas by having dinner with their friends before Christmas day with the full assortment of traditional festive dishes such as pigs in blankets, turkey with cranberry sauce and christmas pudding. This year we avoided the traditional with my boyfriend and indulged ourselves in a French meal at the Corbin & King's restaurant Brasserie Zedel.

It was exactly as I remembered, a long corridor full of art deco posters and a huge, magnificient dining room with marble column with French style red velvet banquet seats.
I really love the atmosphere in this restaurant as it makes you feel on the other side of the Channel and it has a romantic ambiance for dinner. It is exactly what I needed as I am usually nostalgic at that time of the year and look forward to being back in my hometown for Christmas.

We kicked off our meal with a Crémant de Loire, and enjoyed it with their beautiful homemade bread. I wish all the breads in London's bakery could be as good as the one they make.

As a starter my boyfriend had a steak tartare. It was totally spot on and made with perfectly tender beef. There was some mustard and Worcester sauce available on the side to add a bit more spice to the tartare. I opted of the onion soup and it was really nice even if I had expected to have a bit more melted cheese over the top like they usually do in France, but the flavour was right.

For the main, my boyfriend was so predictable and ordered the confit duck. Since he tried it with me three years ago, it has become his favourite French dish. it was served with Puy lentils. He was a bit disappointed as the confit duck was a bit dry. He is used to the confit duck of Chez Elles which is more moist and juicy.
I had the beef bourguignon. I remembered the first time I tried it at Brasserie Zedel, the vegetables were flavourless, but this time it was nice. The sauce was rich and the beef melted in the mouth.

Before the dessert, we went the French way and ordered two slices of cheese: goat's cheese and brie.

The next and final step was the dessert and we shared a crème brûlée and an ile flottante. The ile flottante took me back to my childhood. The crème brûlée failed the spoon test unfortunately and was grainy.

The restaurant was absolutely packed but the service was quick and really efficient. Despite some little cooking issues with the confit duck and the dessert, we spent a really enjoyable evening.
Brasserie Zedel is a trustful restaurant were you can be sure to enjoy French classics at a very affordable price.

8/10
 Onion soup 
 Bread & butter
 Steak tartare

 Beef bourguignon
 Confit duck & Puy lentils 
 Goat's cheese, brie and grapes 
 Crème Brûlée
 Ile flottante 
Brasserie Zedel
20 Sherwood street
W1F 7ED London
Twitter: @BrasserieZedel
Brasserie Zedel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoSquare Meal
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11.16.2016

CEVICHE OLD STREET

I recently dined at the former Alexandra Trust Dining Rooms that were taken over nearly a year ago by Martin Morales and became his second Ceviche restaurant in London.

We were offered a table at the back of the restaurant which offered a direct view on the kitchen and the impressive rotisserie, where a few chickens were being slowly roasted.
We started our meal with a first round of cocktails, my boyfriend went for a classic Margarita, while I opted for a sweeter version and had their Rail passion cocktail made with Pisco impostor mezcal, limo chilli and vanilla-infused pisco, saffron-agave syrup, passion fruit, olive oil & oak smoke.
I was not entirely sure why it came with a marshmallow on top as it didn't really bring anything extra or match with the cocktail in terms of flavour.

As a starter I ordered a tiradito de conchas. It consisted of thinly sliced fresh scallops, blood orange and rocoto tiger's milk, yoghurt and black tobiko caviar. The sauce was well balanced, sharp, sweet and sour at the same time. However I thought the dish was slightly overpriced (£13) as there was not many scallops and they were extremely thin.
My boyfriend had a Don Ceviche made with fresh pieces of seabass, amarillo chilli tiger's milk, sweet potato, red onion and limo chilli.

For main, I had the seco de pato, a confit duck cooked with dark beer and coriander. It was delicious, but this was nothing compared to the lomo salted my boyfriend ordered.
The beef was cooked to perfection and comes with red onion, tomato, saltado sauce and chips. Lomo saltado is my boyfriend's favourite dish, according to him the restaurant's version tasted like the one in had when he lived in Peru.
I really enjoyed this dish, apart from the chips which I think let the dish down.

To end our meal we shared the dulce de higos. I really liked the different texture that the chef combined in this dish, some delicious soft caramelised black figs, with pine nuts biscuit and fresco cheese mousse.

Overall I had a nice dinner at Ceviche. The atmosphere and the service were good but nothing really special. The star of the meal was the lomo saltado, it was a very great value and probably the reason why we will come back to Ceviche.

7/10


Rail passion cocktail
Tiradito de conchas 
Don Ceviche 
 Lomo saltado
 Seco de pato
Dulce de higos 
Ceviche Old Street
2 Baldwin Street
EC1V 9NU London
Twitterr: @CevicheUk 

Ceviche Old St Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Square Meal
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