6.18.2015

KOUZU CHEF'S TABLE

Exactly six months ago I came across Kouzu for the first time, a high end Japanese restaurant based in Belgravia with a little French twist. I remembered I had a great time and I found that the food was close to perfection.
Recently I went for dinner at Kouzu with some other bloggers to discover their new chef's table (a private dining room for 7 people). We started the evening with an apéritif on the ground floor at the bar, then we went through the kitchen to the private dining room on the lower ground floor of the restaurant (there is also a private access from outside the restaurant to this room too).Randomly I managed to get what I think was the the best seat as I was facing the kitchen entrance. On this special occasion, Head Chef Kyoichi Kai had prepared for us a 10 course menu.

The meal started for me with a special dish - a salmon sashimi with julienne apple and cucumber which was not on the menu (as the one planned was a crab tartar and I am allergic to crab). The salmon sashimi have been made with perfect fresh pieces of salmon, that were marinated in chilli oil and yuzu soy. It was the most delicate and tasty sashimi I've had so far in London.
The second dish was pan fried foie gras. Compared to my previous visit at Kouzu they've added a bed of sweet potato and some blue cheese on top. I really liked the combination of sweet potato, mango coulis, teriyaki sauce and foie gras. It was a delight but I don't think the blue cheese was necessary on this dish as it hid the foie gras' flavour.
Smoked chilli prawns was our third dish, I thought it was good but nothing exceptional. We all didn't think the dish had a strong enough chilli flavour, the only taste we got was from the smokiness of the prawn. The fourth and fifth dishes were sashimis made from perfectly sliced premium meat and seafood. We had the oriental beef fillet tataki and the yellowtail truffle. The beef was lightly seared and flavoured with an oriental sauce and topped with shiso leaves, daikon cress and horseradish. Yellowtail with truffle dressing was really delicious, I enjoyed the marinated yellowtail in yuzu kosho topped with grapefruit. The avocado on top added a bit of creaminess to the dish. Both dishes were very well executed.The seaweed salad was a quite unusual but very interesting dish. I liked it, it was well seasoned.

After this dish the Head Chef Kyoichi Kai came in the room to introduce and explain the last dish on the meal made with Japanese Wagyu beef before they started to cook it.
After the explanation we had two course before this ultimate dish.
The chef gave us a selection of sashimi and nigiri sushi, we had seabass and tuna sashimi and three different nigiri: seared tuna, salmon and scallops. All delicious !
The black cod dish was as I remembered, a perfectly balanced dish with moreish soft and flakey cod, I could eat the whole fish like that, not only a fillet! And finally came the most luxurious dish of the night, a rib loin steak of Wagyu beef. It was perfectly cooked and so rich in taste I didn't want to waste it by adding the sauce (even if I tried it on a small piece). Instead I ate my mushroom and asparagus with the ponzu sauce.
After 9 courses, we had the landscape dessert which was a mix of 6 different flavours: raspberry, mango, yuzu, orange, strawberry and the trend matcha green tea. It was ok, very refreshing after the massive dinner we just had but as usual I am not a sweet person.

Overall I had another amazing time, my first visit was a great experience but it was nothing compared to this dinner in the basement with a privileged view of the kitchen. I wasn't overly wow'ed watching the chef cooking in front of us but that's because I've worked in the hospitality industry before and have seen chefs at work all the time. However I felt a bit special sitting there, so I think this private dining room will be very busy. Kouzu already offers top quality seafood and meat and have attentive waiters, so with this room they have a successful combination.

8/10

I was invited by JPR Media Group to review Kouzu.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Il y a six mois, j’ai diné pour la premiere fois au restaurant Kouzu, un restaurant japonais aux influences françaises haut de gamme, basé dans le quartier de Belgravia. Lorsque je suis arrivée je me suis souvenue que j’avais passé un très bon moment car la nourriture était proche de la perfection.
Il y a deux jours je suis allée dîner à Kouzu avec d’autres blogueurs afin de découvrir leur nouvelle salle privée (une salle à manger pour 7 personnes). Nous avons commencé la soirée avec un apéritif au rez-de-chaussée au bar, puis nous sommes passé par la cuisine pour aller dans la salle privée au sous-sol du restaurant (il y a aussi un accès privé à l'extérieur du restaurant pour accéder directement à cette salle) .Par le plus grand des hasards, j'ai réussi à obtenir ce que je pense était la meilleure place de la salle, face à la cuisine. Lors de ce diner, le chef Kyoichi Kai avait concocté pour nous un diner composé de 10 plats.

Le repas a débuté pour moi avec un plat spécial - un sashimi de saumon avec une julienne de pomme et de concombre, les autres ont eut un tartare de crabe (je suis allergique au crabe). Le sashimi de saumon a été préparé avec de parfaits morceaux de saumon frais, ils ont été mariné dans une huile pimentée et une sauce soja au yuzu. Ce plat était à la fois fin et savoureux. Le deuxième plat était du foie gras poêlé. Comparé à ma visite précédente à Kouzu ils ont ajouté un lit de patates douces et du bleu d'Auvergne sur le dessus. J'ai beaucoup aimé la combinaison de patate douce, coulis à la mangue, sauce teriyaki et foie gras. C’était délicieux, cependant j’ai trouvé que le fromage ne s’associait pas vraiment avec le foie gras.
Les crevettes fumées pimentées étaient notre troisième plat, j'ai trouvé que ce plat était bon mais il n’avait rien d'exceptionnel. Nous avons tous trouvé que le plat manquait de piment, le coté fumé était le plus dominant. Les quatrième et cinquième plats étaient des sashimis à base de poissons et de viandes haut de gamme. Nous avons eut un sashimi de filet de boeuf oriental tataki et un de sériole aromatisé à la truffe.
Le boeuf avait été saisi au vif parfaitement et assaisonné avec une sauce orientale. Les sashimis de sériole était succulents, j’ai adoré le mélange avec le pamplemousse. L’avocat sur la sériole donnait une texture crémeuse au plat. Les deux plats ont été très bien exécutés.La salade d'algues était un plat un peu inhabituel mais très intéressant.

Après ce plat le Chef Kyoichi Kai nous a présenté et expliqué le dernier plat de notre diner composé de boeuf Wagyu japonais avant de commencer à le faire cuire. Après cette explication nous avons eut encore deux plats avant le plat ultime de boeuf Wagyu. Le premier était la sélection de sashimi et nigiri du chef: sashimi de thon et de loup et nigiri de thon, saumon et de coquilles Saint-Jacques. Tout était parfait!
La morue charbonnière qui a suivi était aussi bonne que la dernière fois, un plat parfaitement équilibré avec un poisson cuit a la perfection. Je pourrai manger un poisson entier comme celui-ci !
Nous avons fini le repas avec le plat le plus luxueux de la soirée, du boeuf Wagyu.
Il a été parfaitement cuisiné et si riche en goût je n'ai pas voulu le gâcher en ajoutant la sauce (même si je l'ai tout de meme essayé sur un petit morceau). Au lieu de cela j'ai mangé mon champignon et asperges avec la sauce ponzu.
Après 9 plats, nous avons mangé le dessert - un mélange de 6 saveurs différentes : framboise, mangue, yuzu, orange, fraise et le matcha de thé vert. C'était bon, très rafraîchissant après ce dîner copieux mais je ne suis toujours pas une grande fan de desserts.

Encore une fois j’ai passé une soirée très agréable, ma premiere visite avait déjà été un succès mais celle-ci était meilleure. Cette nouvelle salle offre une vue privilégiée de la cuisine pendant le service. Cela dit je n'est pas été impressionnée en observant les chefs en cuisine car j’ai déjà travaillé dans ce domaine, je sais comment cela se passe. Cependant je reconnais que c’était assez plaisant de diner dans cette salle privée, on se sent un peu privilégié. Kouzu offre une cuisine raffinée avec un service irréprochable. Cette nouvelle salle privée ajoute juste la touche finale à une cette parfaite équation.

8/10

J'ai été invité au restaurant Kouzu par l'agence de relations presse JPR Media Group.
Salmon with julienne apple and cucumber
Foie gras with blue cheese & teriyaki sauce
Smoked chilli prawns
Oriental beef fillet tataki
Yellowtail truffle
Seaweed salad
Head Chef Kyoichi Kai presenting the Wagyu beef
Chef selection of sashimi & nigiri sushi
Grilled Black cod
Wagyu beef rib loin steak
Landscape cake
Kouzu
21 Grosvenor Gardens
London SW1W 0JW
Twitter: @KouzuRestaurant
Click to add a blog post for Kouzu on ZomatoSquare Meal
READ MORE / LIRE LA SUITE »

6.16.2015

LUSH

More than a month ago, Lush has opened it's world's biggest shop in London on Oxford Street, a three storey shop which also include a Lush spa in the basement. I discovered Lush in London 10 years ago, I really like their products, their shop design and also the experience they offered (which allows you to try any of their products in the shop before buying).
For the opening of this flagship store they have launched some exclusive 'Oxford St' only products (around 200 products). If you thought your local Lush store was already an amazing shop, you should definitely go to the Oxford street shop as it is like HEAVEN! In the last month I have probably spend more than 4 hours in total there...I've tried most of their new products and already have some favourites. I like the way their staff is so attentive and helpful, they explain every products and make you feel so special (especially when you get a free hand massage).

On the ground floor it is all about shampoos, styling creams, face masks, make up, gourmet soaps, shower gels, scrubs, hair products and tooth powders.
My favourite product from their shower gels range is the moisturising shower cream 'The Lord of Misrule', I really like its strong smell, a mix of patchouli, pepper and vanilla. Make sure you rinse well otherwise you'll look like Shrek !
Their make-up range is amazing... I love all of their products, from their eyes shadows to their lipsticks... For the moment I only bought their 'Emotional brillance - translucide face powder' which have now become my new daily mineral foundation powder, but their faithful lipstick (£13.50) is on my wishlist. From their hair products my favourite is their 'Sea spray- hair mist' (£9.95 for 100g), I use it everyday since I bought it. On top of giving a beach hair look, it smells amazing...maybe they should do a perfume with the same smell. It's a mix of neroli, orange flower, grapefruit and rosewood.

In the basement you will find their range of perfumes, candles, massages bars but also their spa. Spa treatments start from £40 (30 minutes of 'Tailor Made') up to £285 (180 minutes of 'The Planets').
The treatment that caught my eyes is the 'Hard days night treatment' (£85 - 75 minutes: a deep, full body treatment to reworked Beatles songs using innovative, passing stretching techniques to revitalise) - on my wishlist too, but there is a month waiting list to book a spa treatment.

I always keep the best till last...on the first floor you'll find all their bath bombs, bath oils, bubble bars and fun soaps. I could spend hours on this floor (well...I kind of did)
Some of their exclusive Oxford street products in their bath bombs range are 'Experimenter', 'Guardian of the forest', 'Cyanide pill', 'Frozen', 'The sacred lotus flower' and 'Yoga Bomb''.
I bought all of them apart from the Guardian of the forest as I didn't like its smells (not my taste).My two favourites so far are the Experimenter and the Yoga Bomb, both give amazing colours to your bath and smell so good.
I would highly recommend popping by if you have a spare hour (or two), you won't regret it!

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Il y a un peu plus d’un mois Lush a ouvert sur Oxford street leur plus grand magasin mondial, il est composé de trois étages et d’un spa au sous-sol. J'ai découvert Lush à Londres il y a un peu plus de 10 ans, j'aime vraiment leurs produits, le design de leur magasin et aussi l'expérience qu'ils offrent (il donne l'opportunité d'essayer leurs produits dans lure magasin avant l'achat).
Pour l'ouverture de ce flagship, ils ont lancé des produits exclusifs ' Oxford st. ‘ (environ 200 produits). Alors si vous étiez déjà en admiration dans votre magasin Lush, imaginez vous être dans celui d’Oxford street - c’est le paradis !!!
Au cours du mois dernier j'ai probablement passé plus de 4 heures là-bas... J'ai essayé la plupart de leurs nouveaux produits (et j’ai déjà quelques favoris). Leurs employés sont si attentifs et serviables, ils expliquent tous les produits et aide a vous sentir spéciale (particulièrement quand ils vous font un massage des mains gratuits).


Au rez-de-chaussée de ce nouveau magasin il a les shampooings, les crèmes diverses, les masques, les savons, les gels douche, les gommages, des soins pour les cheveux et du dentifrice en poudre.
Mon petit favoris parmi leur gel douche c’est la crème de douche hydratante ‘ The Lord of Misrule ', j’adore son odeur, un mélange de patchouli, de poivre et de vanille. Cela dit il faut s’assurer de bien la rincer sinon on ressemble à Shrek! Leur gamme de maquillage est étonnante, j'aime tous leurs produits, de leurs fards à paupières à leurs rouges à lèvres... Pour l'instant j'ai seulement acheté leur poudre 'Emotional brillance - translucide face powder' -' qui est maintenant devenue ma nouvelle base minérale quotidienne. Leur rouge à lèvres Faithful (£ 13.50) est sur ma liste de souhaits.
Parmi leurs soins pour les cheveux, mon favori est leur ‘Sea spray-hair mist’ (£ 9.95 pour 100g), je l'utilise tous les jours depuis que je l'ai acheté. En plus de donner un effet naturel comme quand on rentre de la plage, ce spray sent merveilleusement bon ... ils devraient faire un parfum avec la même odeur. C'est un mélange d’huile essentielle de bigaradier, de fleur d’orange, de pamplemousse et de bois de rose.

Au sous-sol vous trouverez les parfums, des bougies, des barres de massages, mais aussi leur spa. Les traitements du spa sont a partir de £40 (30 minutes de’Tailor Made') jusqu'à £285 (180 minutes de ‘The planets’). Le traitement qui a attiré mon attentions est le ‘Hard days night’ (£ 85 -75 minutes : massage du corps avec une atmosphère créée autour des chansons des Beatles) - c’est aussi sur ma list de souhaits, mais il y a une liste d’attente d’au moins un mois pour réserver un traitement dans leur spa.

Je garde toujours le meilleur pour la fin…au premier étage vous trouverez toutes leurs bombes pour le bain, les huiles, des barres pour avoir un bain moussant et des savons façon play-doh. Je pourrais passer des heures à cette étage (.. je l’ai en quelque sorte fait). Certains bombes sont exclusives - 'Experimenter', 'Guardian of the forest', 'Cyanide pill', 'Frozen', 'The sacred lotus flower' and 'Yoga Bomb''. Toutes font partie de ma collection a part la Guardian of the forest, je n’aimais pas trop son odeur. Mes deux préférées sont jusqu'ici l’Experimenter et la Yoga bomb, elles donnent des couleurs exceptionnelles au bain et laisse une délicate odeur sur la peau.
Si vous êtes de passage a Londres, je vous recommande fortement de faire un saut dans ce nouveau magasin Lush vous n’aurez pas de regrets !

Lush Oxford Street
175-179 Oxford Street
London W1D 2JS
Twitter: @LushOxfordSt





Lord of Misrule - 100g (£4.75), 250g (£9.50), 500g (£15.95) and 1kg (£27.50)




Lipstick - Faithful £13.50






Emotional Brilliance - Translucent Face Powder £12





Sea spray- hair mist' 100g (£9.95)







The Experimenter (£3.75)


Yoga bomb (£3.75)




READ MORE / LIRE LA SUITE »

6.09.2015

JAMIE'S ITALIAN

I have been living in London for almost 4 years now and I always tried to avoid 'tourists' restaurants such as Zizzi, Hard Rock Café, Prezzo, Carluccio's, Angus Steakhouse...(and even Starbucks!) because I prefer to give my money to a smaller company that pays more attention to customer and offers better quality food.
I went only once to a Jamie Oliver's restaurants : it was in 2013, I went to his new restaurant Jamie Oliver's Diner and I didn't like it (burnt and dry burgers with soggy fries). 
Since then, my parents went for diner to Jamie's Fifteen in Amsterdam and had a lovely time. So when I received an invitation to review Jamie's Italian restaurant, I thought only fools do not change their minds...so I accepted. 
My boyfriend and I went to lunch at Jamie's Italian on a Saturday, the place was packed with families and couples - surprisingly mostly English people (not that many tourists!) 
Both hungover, we decided to start our meal with two non-alcoholic cocktails, both were good and very refreshing. 

As starters we shared crispy porcini mushroom arancini and the special starter of the day: scallops served with peas and bacon. Both of us enjoyed the arancini, they were great even if I thought they could have been a bit more creamy inside and more crispy on the outside.The arrabbiata was really tasty and full of flavour. 
The second starter was just ok but a bit bland, nothing really special about scallops with mushy peas, a slice of crispy bacon and breadcrumbs especially if you could hardly taste the scallops! My boyfriend and I were a bit disappointed by the size of the scallops, they were very tiny, same size as the one you can find in Tesco! The dish was around £8.50, which I think is totally overpriced considering the tiny size of the scallops. 

For mains, we decided to play the adventurous card, we both ordered from the special boards. My boyfriend had the homemade pasta dish with cumberland sausage and I had the special fish dish. His pasta dish was very good. It tasted fresh and light, the yellow pepper sauce was the highlight of this dish and tasted very summery. My dish was a sustainable tuna sliced steak, the whole dish was perfectly cooked and seasoned, the tuna was pink in the middle as I like it, and asparagus were a bit crunchy. I didn't like the cold truffle potatoes and I think it didn't add anything to the dish. 
To compliment our mains, we had some polenta chips on the side. They were perfect, light and cripsy. Only bad thing is that they arrived 10 minutes after our main dishes. 

It was a nice experience (being a free lunch probably helps a bit too) but nothing exceptional. Some dishes were a bit bland and overpriced in my opinion for what they were, special mains were both good but I think it could be easy to find something similar for cheaper elsewhere in central London. 
Overall I just felt the food was a bit average and not anything over the top. We had a great service, we didn't wait too much time between dishes apart from our side, which is not too bad considering the restaurant was full.  
Even if this recent experience has been better than my Jamie Oliver's Diner memories, I am afraid my opinion hasn't change a lot, I don't think I will become a Jamie's Oliver restaurant fan soon. I will stick only to his TV shows, which I like. 
5/10.

I was invited to review Jamie's Italian.
Refresher £3.50 (Fresh lemon, elderflower cordial & cranberry juice, topped with lemonade)
Homemade limonade £2.95 (Fresh lemon juice, sugar mint leaves & soda)
Cripsy porcini mushroom arancini: fired balls of porcini risotto with fontina, mozzarella & arrabiata
 Scallops served with peas and crispy bacon
 Free range cumberland sausage tossed through homemade pasta in a rich yellow pepper sauce, spring vegetables with westcombe ricotta and fresh basil leaves (£14.50)
 Sustainable tuna sliced steak grilled served with steamed english asparagus, radish and mixed spring salad, truflle potatoes and mustard dressing (£20.95)
 Polenta chips with rosemary and parmesan
Jamie's Italian Covent Garden
11 Upper St Martin's Lane
London WC2H 9FB
Click to add a blog post for Jamie's Italian on Zomato Square Meal
READ MORE / LIRE LA SUITE »