12.21.2014

BOB BOB RICARD

Christmas celebrations started this year at the Groucho club for a drink and dinner at the iconic Soho restaurant Bob Bob Ricard. 
My friend and I arrived there and we were redirected to the bar downstairs as our booth table  in the Club Room wasn't ready yet. We started the night with a cocktail, I had a Strawberry and peach Bellini and my friend had a  Classic vodka Martini. My first thought was that the cocktail was really nice but there are a bit pricey (£13.50).
Strawberry and Peach Bellini and Classic Vodka Martini

As soon as we arrived at our table, our waiter Sergio brought the menu. It was very complicated to choose, everything sounded amazing on the menu. The waiter was very helpful to explain some of the dishes. After 10 minutes we finally ordered, it was such a big decision to make. 

The bread was served with beurre d'Isigny arrived, it was served slightly warm. I always think you should judge a restaurant by its bread...that is probably my French expectations. 
Bread served with beurre d'Isigny

When I asked the waiter what was lobster Pelmeni on the menu, he told me it is one of their Russian signature starters. He convinced me when he described the dish as lobster Russian dumplings with a broth. The dish was amazing, lobster dumplings were a delight, they melted in the mouth, like the salmon roe. The lobster broth was perfect to dip the dumplings to get the perfect mouthful. 
Lobster Pelmeni served with salmon roe

My friend ordered the Cornish fish soup, I am not a big fan of fish soup generally but I tried some and it was great. Maybe next time I will have a go and order a whole bowl for myself. I really liked the fritters served with the soup. The ball shaped one reminded me of the taste of pommes noisettes but a bit cheesy. This took me back to when I was a child and enjoyed pommes noisettes at home.
Cornish Fish Soup with seabass, lobster and mussels served with cheese fritters

I really liked what they called their oysters dishes - named after presidents. My friend went for the French version : Mitterand. Oysters came slightly warm with grilled parsley and garlic butter on top. 
I didn't try but my friend really enjoyed his oysters. 
Grilled oysters Mitterand with parsley and garlic butter

The best dish of the night was my main course: a fillet mignon Rossini. The meat was perfectly cooked, pink and tender. The foie gras added a nice and richness touch to the dish. As a French Southwestern girl I always think that nothing can go wrong with foie gras! The truffle gravy was the cherry on the cake of this dish. I had the whole pot of gravy, so good.
Fillet Mignon Rossini, 28  day aged Scotch beef with seared foie gras, confit apple served with truffle gravy

As a side to compliment both of our main courses we had French fries and Sautéed spinach. Fries were  as I liked them: skinny and crisp. Sautéed spinach was good but nothing special.
French fries and Sautéed spinach

My friend ordered the Mariner's fish pie, it was such a piece of art when the dish arrived. The puff pastry was nicely decorated. Apparently my friend told me the chicken pie has a different design but is also fantastic.  I was impressed by the puff pastry which was so thin. 
Mariner's Fish Pie made with smoked haddock, prawns, mussels and salmon served with puff pastry crust.

My friend and I were unfortunately too full to order desserts. But I noticed on a table next to us had an amazing dessert: BBR signature Chocolate glory, this is on my to do list for my next visit.
In the middle of the room they occasionally host shows. Our waiter explained to us that nobody apart from the manager knows when there will be a show on. The owners like to surprise clients and waiters. Unfortunately at the moment we left, a show started.
Overall Bob Bob Ricard was just amazing, I still have stars in my eyes. Service was just perfect, Sergio was very attentive and we didn't need to remind him anything. Food was so delicious, it was like being in heaven. Some dishes are a bit pricey but they are worth it. 
It was my first visit at Bob Bob Ricard and surely not the last one. 
The Club room decoration was really nice and luxurious. Next time I will try to get a table in the restaurant instead of the Club Room as I heard the decoration is even better and blue (I prefer blue than red!)

10/10.

Bob Bob Ricard
1 Upper James St
London W1F 9DF
Twitter: @BobBobRicard
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12.14.2014

MILDREDS

Recently I have tried to eat less meat and more vegetarian when eating out or cooking at home. Halloumi, paneer, cereals & quorn substitutes are the new ingredients in my cupboard and fridge. With good vegetables and sauces I realised that meat free dishes can be as good and tasty as meat dishes.

To embrace my new found interest in veggie food, I went out for dinner at Mildred's with two friends. Opened since 1988, Mildred's serves only vegetarian food. It was my first time at Mildred's, while my vegetarian friend is a regular there. 

We arrived at 7pm and the restaurant was already packed, we were asked to wait 45 minutes to get a table at the bar as their rule is 'no reservations'. After 20 minutes and a passion fruit cocktail only we managed to get a table on the ground floor. 

I was impressed the menu had so many options, and of course all 100% veggie.
My friend and I shared two starters, the first one was pan fried halloumi, the cheese was soft and very tasty; usually this cheese doesn't have a strong taste but this time the balsamic glaze added a very nice sweet touch to the dish.
Pan fried halloumi, cherry tomato and wilted spinach with balsamic glaze.

The second starter was a mexican platter, they recommend this dish for 2 person. Guacamole was ok, nothing special but it was good. My favourtie dish from the platter was brie and jalapeno quesadilla with pico de gallo. The brie was melted in the quesadilla and jalapeno gives a little bit of spice to the dish. Spicy black turtle beans were fine but not my cup of tea.
Mexican platter, spicy black turtle beans, chipotle sour cream, guacamole, corn chips, mango, brie and jalapeno quesadilla with pico de gallo.

My friend went for the mixed mushroom; porcini and ale pie, it smells very nice when the dish arrived, mushroom were slowly cooked in a red wine sauce I think. It was really nice. I tried also one fry and the mushy peas - they were ok, nothing special. I usually prefer skinny fries. 

Mixed mushroom, porcini and ale pie with mushy peas and fries or mash

On that night, I went for one of their special pasta of the day. It was delicious. Butternut squash is one of my favourite Autumn vegetables and mixed with goat's cheese...this dish just sounded like heaven to me. The perfect comfort veggie food. The cream with basil was perfect to link all the ingredients from the dish together. 
Fresh tagliatelle with creamy basil and goat's cheese sauce with butternut squash and sweet potato

My other friend went for the other pasta dish which is on the current menu everyday, when it arrived I was a bit jealous as it looked good too. The tortellini was very nice and a little bit sweet. The best part of this dish was sauce with mushroom and truffle oil, so creamy and tasty.
Fresh tortellini filled with pumpkin and ricotta, with chestnut mushroom, white wine cream sauce, drizzled with truffle oil

Overall I really liked my dinner at Mildred's I didn't miss meat at all. All options sounded great, It took a bit of time to choose what we wanted qnd it was a really good value. We were all too full to get a dessert. We saw some cake on the table next to us that looked delicious, maybe next time I won't eat too much from the starter to leave some place for dessert.
Service was good, not special but they were at least attentive to details which is a good thing considering they were extremely busy (apparently it is like that every day).
Since my visit I discovered that they also do take away, I think I might get my Meat free monday on more often - and of course preorder to avoid the wait.


7/10.

Mildreds
45 lexington street
London W1F 9AN 
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12.01.2014

CAFE PISTOU

Recently Exmouth Market has welcomed a new restaurant: Café Pistou. I am always very happy when a French restaurant opens in London, as I am sometimes homesick especially for food.
Café Pistou is all about South of France, especially West with classic provencal dishes.

When my friend and I arrived at the restaurant, the team was very welcoming. I really liked the classic decoration with different chairs and the brick wall painted in a light green-turquoise colour.
We were seated on a small table by the window.
We started our meal with a plate of sliced Bayonne ham with Comté cheese to share with a glass of red wine. 'So French' you must think...YES but it is so good!
Sliced Bayonne ham with aged Comté cheese

The bread was very nice and served slightly warm, probably homemade. If not, it is a nice touch to warm it first (tastes better). My thoughts when I ate it was,that I would like to be able to find a baguette like this every morning at the corner of my street.
Bread
We shared one of the light bites: Barbajuans, dishes from Monaco which literally means uncle Jean. 
I am very easy to please when a dish involves goat's cheese. I love goat's cheese so much I often have some slices for breakfast too!
The dish was very nice, the wontons were crispy and tasted light considering they were deep fried. The sauce was very sweet with a little kick with pepper. It really goes well with the melted goat's cheese curd.
Barbajuans: deep-fried provençal 'wontons' with goat's cheese and honey pepper dip
Provençal Sheperd's pie made with ratatouille, feta cheese, Puy lentils, chickpea purée and spiced feuille de brick.

The Provençal Sheperd's pie dish was nicely presented, the ratatouille was topped with a spiced feuille de brick and served with chickpea purée. It was a good ratatouille. The feuille de brick added a crispy and spiced dimension to the dish. It was a good dish but I would have preferred it with more ratouille and less chickpea purée. I didn't think the chickpea bring something special to the dish.


Spatchcocked poussin seasoned with pickled lemons and raz-el- hanout. Served with a sweet & sour dried apricot & mint dressing.


The spatchcocked poussin was my far our favourite dish of the night. The chicken was moist and tender with crispy skin. Razz-el-hanout spice was well balanced with the yogurt sauce and the sweet and sour apricot. 


Chargrilled lamb cutlets pistou and sunblush tomatoes.

The lamb was well cooked, slightly pink. It was served with pistou sauce. The dish was nice but nothing special compare to the poussin.


The pistou: charcoal roast plums with blackcurrant, plum & olive oil sauce, vanilla mascarpone and blackcurrant sorbet. Served with a caramel & pine nut crisp and basil sugar.

Both desserts were very good and well executed. The pistou dessert was very refreshing and fruit was tart but sweet.
The creme brulée was very nice and had the perfect sugar caramelised on top.
Vanilla creme brulée

Overall my dinner at Café Pistou was really pleasant. Food was good. All the spice and ratatouille reminded me my holidays in Provence in the middle of the garrigue with cicadas sounds. Only disappointment was the way they organised the service. Food comes as soon as it is ready. I don't really like this concept as  you always end up with too much food on the table and most of it cools down. The lamb cooled down while I was eating the poussin... The experience would have been better if the service was a bit more slow. 
They recently opened so they are probably still trying to adjust to the rhythm of service and cooking, depending on the number of covers. 
Hopefully the service will be more organised for my next visit.

7/10.
Café Pistou
8-10 Exmouth Market
London EC1R 4QA
Twitter: @Cafepistou
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11.02.2014

ADULIS

Certainly one of the best things about London is that you can easily find any kind of food. 
I decided on Saturday night to try a restaurant in my new local area. There is not many proper restaurants is the area compared to Smithfield-Clerkenwell. In Oval it is mainly chicken fast food shops and kebabs. If you want more choice of course you can always go down to Brixton or Clapham, but for a Halloween hangover reason we wanted to stay local. 

One of the proper restaurants is Adulis who have served Eritrean cuisine since 1996. 
It sounded like the perfect option for my friends and I, as two of them were vegetarian and Eritrean is veggie friendly.
I didn't think we really needed to book for a Saturday night in Oval, but we did in case.
We arrived to Adulis and we were all very surprised to find the place packed. 
We ordered some drinks and we shared a starter while we were waiting for the main to arrive. All of us noticed the nice little smell of roasted coffee in the restaurant, it was really pleasant. 

We had humous to start, it was served with pitta bread. It was a really nice and smooth humous. At that time of the meal, we didn't know we did a mistake by ordering a starter and eating bread. 
 Chickpeas and sesame paste served with pita bread

My two vegetarian friends already tried Eritrean food in Africa, for my other friend and I, it was a new experience. We shared the mini kirchat for two people, and our veggie friends shared the Nai tsom for two people. 
The food arrived on two massive platters and were served with Injera underneath and on the side too. Injera  (also called Tatia) is leavened pancake made with sourdough of taff flour. 
 Mini kirchat, a selection of four different vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes

I liked the fact that you didn't have a knife or fork in Adulis, you had to eat with your hand and your piece of pancake. There was such a lot of food on this platter, I only regret the waiter didn't tell us what was each dish on the platter. 

We had a mix of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. We had beef, lamb and chicken on the platter, every meat were cooked with the perfect balance of spice in a different way. Each dish was very good but our favourite was the lamb served in the middle. All the vegetarian option were also very good and tasty. The best one was the shimbra assa: chickpeas cooked in spices, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper and olive oil. 
Nai tsom special vegetarian - selection of vegetarian dishes selected by head chef

Overall the meal was a delight, vegetarian dishes were as good as meat dishes. I would probably take the vegetarian next time as it is more healthy. We were all very full and couldn't finish the platter, next time we won't order any starter as the injera with all different meat and vegetables was enough, especially if you had a brunch and a snack before on the same day. 
We didn't go for the coffee ceremony at the end as we were too tired, but it is definitely on our future plan for our next visit, the roasted coffee smell was very attractive and tempting.

7/10. 
Adulis
44-46 Brixton Road
London SW9 6BT
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TREDWELL'S

Recently I was trying to avoid the fuss of London's new restaurants opening, as I started to be a bit bored by the blogosphere who tweet and speak about the same most recently opened restaurant. I preferred to think outside the box, this is probably why this week I haven't eat LOBSTER. Two different restaurants opened this week, offering menu based around lobster, that is so déjà vu! I would prefer a restaurant with langoustines based menu, at least that would be a little bit different.

I wasn't planning to go to Tredwell's for the reason mentioned above but one of my friends received an invitation but she couldn't go so I thought I would give it a try. Tredwell’s is the new West End restaurant from Marcus Wareing and it is based in Covent Garden.

The restaurant looked nice but nothing very original, everything was dark: furniture and walls. My attention went straight to the mirror… I didn't like them, I don't understand why new places try to pretend they are old and authentic by adding tinted mirrors.

We started the meal with one small plate, one jar and one small bowl, they brought all of them at the same time. Just saying that annoyed me...why do restaurants make things that difficult now, I will call all those three categories "starters" on a menu.
This trend of smalls plates, nibbles, tapas, small bites, snacks, bowls, pots, jars [...] starts to be a bit ridiculous.

We ordered the pulled pork belly, ginger and apple slider, it was a mini burger. It was ok, the pulled pork was nicely cooked, only problem it was literally £2.5 for two bites of food. Pitt Cue Co which is 10 minutes walk away offers a tastier pulled pork burger for a cheaper rate per bite.
 Pulled pork belly, ginger & apple slider


This dish was my second favourite, courgette and ricotta fritters were crispy, the courgette were grated and combined together with the ricotta. The whole mix melted on the mouth easily and the pine nut butter went very well with it. 
 Courgette & ricotta fritters, pine nut butter

The dish below is probably the best example of this new ridiculous trend: the chicken liver mousse. 
In a classic restaurant the mousse would have been probably presented on a plate with a piece of bread, not at Tredwell's it was foam in a jar. 

The presentation was nice, but is it what matters the most for a customer ? No, what really matters is the taste of the food, not the design. 
This little fashionable chicken liver mousse in a jar was just horrible, not edible at all. It smelled and tasted like vomit. The chef who cooked it, forgot to take out the bile from inside the liver, the whole mousse tasted like bile. I was even surprised they brought us this mousse and nobody had tried the food in the kitchen of Marcus Wareing before serving. 
I didn't taste any bacon jam in it either.
 Chicken liver mousse, bacon jam, toast

After the disaster of the mousse which has left an horrible taste in my mouth, despite eating bread and drinking a lot of water, our main dishes arrived with our fries and "grilled' green vegetables.

The pork was nicely cooked but unfortunately I found the taste a bit bland, blame the jar of mousse. Pork was presented on top of spinach cooked in a beurre blanc sauce. 
 Pork chop, baked celeriac


"Grilled" greens were a little bit crunchy but at the same time they were very watery considering they were supposed to be grilled ! Gladly they helped to take away the bile taste from my mouth.
Grilled greens, olive oil

Chicken thigh was my favourite dish on the meal. Chicken was sticky, cripsy on the outside and moist inside. The sauce made from sweet soy and chili was the star of the dish. But you would expect it to be good for its price (£10 for two small thighs).
 Smoked sticky chili chicken thigh 

My friend as a dessert ordered the warm ginger cake, while I was having the pain perdu. The dessert was decent, I thought the pain perdu was not enough moist, and they could have found something different that crispy bacon to go on top of a pudding, something like fruits maybe.
 Warm ginger cake, caramel, cream
Pain perdu, maple cream, crispy bacon

Overall I was very disappointed by my meal at Tredwell's, the only thing that made the meal not a total disaster was the good service provided by our waiter Vincenzo and the chicken dish. Vincenzo was very professional and attentive to details, you can tell he does his job with love.
I won't be able to forget this mousse as it isn't every day you have a preview and taste of how it could be to eat your bile, thank you Tredwell's for this unforgettable experience. 

2/10.

I was invited to Tedwell's.
Tredwell's
4 Upper St Martin's Lane
London WC2H 9NY 
4a Upper St Martin's Lane, London, WC2H 9NY
4a Upper St Martin's Lane, London, WC2H 9NY
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