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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