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If I tell you a secret, do you promise not to tell a sou Like really truely promise??? OK..here goes.. I found a little place that serves the best scones, as many different types of teas as you can think of, has a real fire and feels just like your in someone’s living room. OK that’s all I’m telling you..thanks for reading xx

***Ends***

OK OK OK..sorry I couldn’t help myself! Where is this little place I hear you cry? Let me take you back a month or so, I finished my first Marketing exam and wasnt meeting the Mr until 7ish. So with a few hours to spare I jumped off the train at High St Ken and wondered down Kensington High St. My only requirement was someone that served scones, tea and had free WiFi. After locating Candella of Facebook  I quickly called up to check if it met my needs.

Having ticked all the boxes, I hot footed my way over. As you may have noticed I’ve mentioned the word “little” a few times already and by golly was this place small. The size of a shoe box (OK I exaggerate) with only effectively 4 tables (that could be separated to create more space) the place definitely packed a punch. From the ornately painted ceiling:

2015/01/img_0036.jpg To the table full of teas: 2015/01/img_0029.jpg I quickly took my seat by the window and ordered my cream tea. Within no time my order arrived and just as I’d imagined, the scones were warm, soft and fluffy and the tea was brewed to perfection. 2015/01/img_0033.jpg Served with perfect vintage bone china tea cups, my tea came in its own pot and burner to ensure it remained warm throughout my stay. 2015/01/img_0035-0.jpg My favourite bit about Candella was how only the select few knew about it – mostly regulars; and how quiet it was. Sat in the corner tapping away on my laptop, the room was full but I could actually hear myself think! Something that isn’t always easy in such a small place.

And so, there it is..the best kept secret in High St Ken..now I’ve shared my secret with you..please don’t tell anyone…shhhh..you didn’t hear it from me!

Candella on Urbanspoon

During my recent trip to Mumbai, I was lucky enough to get invited to a tasting at new Thai Restaurant Eat Thai. Thus after a full day of shopping, we headed over to Eat Thai on Pali Hill to devour a trunk load of food.

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The restaurant itself is New York hip with stripped back brick walls and exposed pipework ceiling. There’s even a hole in the wall so diners are able to keep an eye on the kitchen staff! We took our seats and admired the funky light fitting before being given our personalised menus.

Personalised Menu

Despite being a tasting session, the choices were vast and consisted of everything from soups and salads to stir fries and noodles. I was excited to see that my request of the Smoked Coconut Baked Cheesecake was satisfied – but more about that later!

At this point let me apologise for the lack of images as those who have been to India will appreciate that when food arrives at a table, it arrives with a server who immediately begins dishing out the food! Thus unless prior warned, its fairly difficult to take photos!

We started with the Soup – I went with the prawn version & it was delicious, having added a little lime the flavours were even more intense! Definitely couldn’t fault the size of the portion either.

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Next up were the salads. We tried both the papaya salad & the chicken salad. Whilst I’ve tried Som Tom numerous times, the flavours were both familiar and authentic.

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The Larb Kal was more unfamiliar to me, however the flavours worked well and for the Indian palette, it had the right amount of spice!

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Again we were lucky enough to try each of the starters. Both variety of dim sum were very good, however the veg variety seemed to seal the deal for me, it was perfectly cooked with a soft inner. FYI there were four in a portion, note I had to ask the server to put it down so I could take a photo before he served up the rest! Unfortunately I wasn’t so lucky with the chicken version hence no photos!

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The crispy fried vegetables unfortunately had the same fate by way of photos,  however these too were good.

The marinated fish fillet was one of my favourite starters on the menu. I managed to get the server to put the dish down after he’d served a piece to me. The fish by itself was slightly spicy but well cooked, however once you add the sauce that’s served along side it, the flavours spring into action. Perfectly balanced and truly delicious!

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By the time we made it to mains, all four of us were verging on food coma’s – always a good sign – so we limited the orders slightly! Next up was the Pad Thai and Sriracha vegetables.

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Whilst the Pad Thai was slightly too sweet, the flavours were still great and the noodles were cooked to perfection. The Sriracha vegetables were however fantastic. The garlicky flavour was perfectly balanced by a slight tang of chilli. Definitely well executed.

The Barbeque Kai Ban was probably my least favourite dish on the menu, I think this was more down to personal taste than the dish itself. The chicken itself was soft and well cooked & also well presented.

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Having eaten our way through the menu, we finally arrived at the much anticipated dessert. Out came my portion of the Kanom Cake Mapraw…

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This most definitely met every single expectation I had. The smoked coconut flavour was subtle whilst the chocolate balanced the flavours perfectly. If your visiting Eat Thai, I urge you – LEAVE SPACE FOR THIS!

And just like that, it was over!

Eat Thai opened this TODAY!!! If your in the area, definitely pop by, I promise, you will not be disappointed!

8/9, Gasper Enclave,
Junction Of St John’s & Pali Road,
Pali Naka,
Pali Hill, Bandra West, Mumbai

2 days before Christmas, whilst I was sat at my desk, I get a phone call. The Fiancée generally likes to have some time off during Christmas and despite taking time off to fly to India on Boxing Day, this year was no different. He simply called to say that he had to pop into town to sort some bits out and would I like to meet him for lunch & if so to think of some places we could go to. Obviously I said yes and 40 minutes later I get another call telling me to look out of my window.

Standing down below (having found my office despite previously claiming he had no idea where I work) was Mr R. Turns out he’d planned this the week before and had booked us into Patara for some yummy Thai food.

When we arrived at the restaurant, it was busy as expected given the fact that we were in the run up to Christmas. We were quickly seated and had a look at the menu. Mr R hates the taste of lemon grass so we managed to dodge anything too heavily lemon grassy.

Having decided to keep things healthy and not over eat, so as to avoid me falling asleep at my desk, we started by ordering three starters.

First up was the Tuna Tartare.

Tune Tartare

Tune Tartare

This was described in the menu as “finely sliced raw tuna in a spicy lemon grass and mint vinaigrette”. Despite what I just said about not ordering anything too heavy on the lemon grass flavour, this was really fresh and extremely refreshing. Mr R claimed it tasted better without the topping, some of which was chopped up lemon grass but overall this dish was a major hit.

Next came the Yum Nua Yang (flame grilled sirloin beef salad).

Yum Nua Yang

Yum Nua Yang

Again I was really impressed with this. The beef was perfectly cooked & the dressing was the perfect mix of sweet & sour. Overall the flavours were fresh and really very good.

The last starter we ordered was the Miang Guaytiew (rice paper rolls with a variety of prawn, chicken and duck fillings)

Miang Guaytiew

Miang Guaytiew

As expected, these were really fresh & the dipping sauce made all the difference.

Unlike when I visited Mayfair Pizza Company & Boopshi’s we made a conscious decision not to over order. So when a friend commented on my Facebook check in and recommended the Lamb Shank Curry (Panaeng Nong Gae) we just couldn’t resist!

Panaeng Nong Gae

Panaeng Nong Gae

We ordered this with a side of coconut rice (because everyone needs a little indulgence now and again). The meat was super duper tender, practically falling off the bone. There was a little bit of fat but we managed to pull this away and the curry itself was perfectly balanced.

We decided (for once) to skip dessert and instead had our jasmine tea topped up.

Overall this was the perfect shout for a semi quick lunch, but would be just as good for dinner – yummy in my tummy!

Patara on Urbanspoon

Birthday months are always fun. However between planning a wedding, working full time and studying for my CIM Certificate, there hasn’t been a whole lot of celebrating. On top of that, the fiancée ran off for a weekend away for his cousins stag & the best bud ended up in Amsterdam! Boohoo to me.

Anyhoo, to make up for being away, the Fiancée did what he does best and booked me for date night. Meeting at 5.30 soon became 7.00 and our leisurely stroll around Selfridge was briskly cancelled in favour of heading over to the restaurant.

Being a Friday & a veggie day for me, he made the sensible choice not to take me to somewhere yummy, healthy and most likely Asian. Instead following a heap of research and a new-found love for Truffle, we meandered through the mews of Mayfair and ended up at the Mayfair Pizza Company – names Rocket in a previous life.

Although I’ve booked many a lunch at Rocket for colleagues, I myself have never eaten there. As we arrived at the door, we made our way up the spiral staircase to a beautifully atmospheric room with high ceilings, possibly wooden floors (I want them to be wooden but truth be told, I have no idea if they were), a heap of wine along one wall and a moving ladder. To say the I wasn’t in love would be a complete and utter lie.

We were quickly seated at the table with the best view in the house (yes he’d requested it) and were approached to take our drinks order. Having ordered our glasses of Champagne, we started delving into the menu.

Whilst the Fiancée thought this would be super easy (one of everything with truffle in it, on it or around it), it turned out to be slightly more difficult as I’m practically vegan on a Friday.

Anyway we made do and selected everything we could think of!

We started off with the Buffalo Mozzarella which was perfectly soft & creamy.

Buffalo Mozzarella

Buffalo Mozzarella

To keep things on the healthy side, we decided on a Rare Tuna Superfood Salad to go with this. Obviously we asked for the Tuna on the side which managed to satisfy the Mr’s craving for non veg food whilst keeping the salad veg.

Rare Tuna Superfood Salad

Rare Tuna Superfood Salad

To me this felt a little bit like rabbit food, but the Mr seemed to like it and given that it gave us a dose of superfood, I really shouldn’t be complaining.

As if we really needed any more starters, we got a bit excited and ordered the Loaded Potato Skins with wild mushroom & spinach.

Loaded Potato Skins with Wild Mushroom & Spinach

Loaded Potato Skins with Wild Mushroom & Spinach

These were good, quite Moorish and very filling, we didn’t quite make it through both pieces, however had there been some truffle thrown into the mushroom & spinach party, I’m sure these would have gone within minutes.

Onwards & upwards, we finished starters and along came out mains.  Because were piggy’s we ordered the starter size Mac ‘n’ Cheese. This was cheesy and yummy but in the normal fashion, it was super heavy.

Mac 'n' Cheese

Mac ‘n’ Cheese

With regard to Pizza we had to do the right thing and order the Mayfair Pizza Co Truffle & Porcini Mushroom Pizza. I have to say, this did not disappoint.

Mayfair Pizza Co Truffle & Porcini Mushroom Pizza

Mayfair Pizza Co Truffle & Porcini Mushroom Pizza

Whilst it doesn’t look that different to a humble Domino’s pizza in the picture, it tasted amazing. The truffle flavour was just intense enough and worked amazingly with the cheese. I’m literally salivating whilst writing this.

As I’ve already said, were piggy’s, so there was no way we were visiting this truffle haven without ordering the most unhealthy thing on the menu – the Black Truffle & Parmesan Chips.

Black Truffle & Parmesan Chips

Black Truffle & Parmesan Chips

Oh. My. God. Were. These. Good. – enough said!

By the time we made our way through the massive amount of food on the table, we suddenly realised we may well have ordered too much food! The fiancée bought be here because he’d read amazing reviews about the dessert pizza. But it was at this point we realised we may not even make it to dessert!

In order to stop ourselves from eating more, I had to put an empty bowl over the chips and then declare that the Fiancée wouldn’t want to eat them now as the bottom of the bowl is likely to be dirty. Thankfully this thought also stopped me from devouring any further.

Just when I thought we were done and mentally started preparing myself & my food baby to curl up in bed and sleep for an eternity, this showed up:

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I tried my best not to eat it, I stared for a bit, blew out the candle and then stared some more. However there reaches a point when the dessert starts talking to you and its at this point you know you just have to eat it…and so I made some room in my stomach and gobbled up the whole plate!

Wedding diet?! What wedding diet!

Mayfair Pizza Co. on Urbanspoon

Twas a cold Saturday night in London Town, in the midst of winter – ok I’m lying, it was a unseasonably warm Saturday night in London Town when a friend & I decided to meet up for Dinner. Having discussed the prospects, she decided on Boopshi’s and then proceeded to select our food, via email, days before our dinner. The email I received was the following:

Email

When Saturday Finally arrived, I did not spend my day thinking about food & didn’t even look at the menu before leaving the house!

We met up at Goodge Street Station and walked down a quiet road which led us to our restaurant of choice. Located on the corner of Whitfield Street & Windmill Street, the restaurant has large windows, benches and high tables. There’s even a bar & a downstairs to the seemingly tiny restaurant.

We were quickly seated at the restaurant that for 8pm on a Saturday seemed fairly empty, however I was quickly reassured as the restaurant quickly filled up and by 9pm, there wasn’t an empty table in site.

We picked our drinks & then shifted on to thinking about food. When we spoke to our uber friendly waitress, she assured us that:

1) She’s not a small eater & most definitely enjoys her food

2) The Schnitzel is quite filling

Turns out Despite Miss M’s list of food, apparently, there was space for negotiation.

Thank god for her honest feedback, if we’d gone ahead with the original order plan, half would have gone to waste!

We started by ordering the Whole Globe Artichoke:

Whole Globe Artichoke

Whole Globe Artichoke

Being a fan of Artichoke, I was slightly taken aback by the size of the artichoke. The dish arrived with a side plate which was placed on our table with the comment “for the leaves”. We were given no instructions or advice. Luckily Miss M used her better judgement and stated that she though we basically had to bite/suck the goodness out of the leaf. There was indeed a thin layer of flesh attached to the leaf which was subtle but yummy.

We continued in this fashion until we got to the inner most section. It was at this point that we found some feathery looking (and tasting) bits, which we swiftly removed and ended up at the heart. Despite first appearance, this was extremely filling, I’m sure it was more so because of the effort in the eating. Lucky for us, our method of eating was justified when the waitress came to collect the remains and commented that she was glad someone knew what they were doing, apparently most others simply waste the leaves and head straight for the heart – could this relate to us? More Head than Heart people!? who knows!!

Next up was the Schnitzel. Miss M went for the Pork, with duck egg & capers:

Pork Schnitzel with Duck Egg & Capers

Pork Schnitzel with Duck Egg & Capers

Whilst I went for the Chicken with gravy:

Chicken Schnitzel

Chicken Schnitzel

Given that the plate was the size of a normal dinner plate, and the schnitzel is hanging off the edges, it is clear to see just how large these were. To say we were shocked, is an understatement. It was a bit of a task making it half way through this and neither of us managed to finish what was on our plate. Miss M quite enjoyed her pork schnitzel but had definitely had eyes bigger than her stomach when she’d decided on the duck egg.

My chicken version was very slightly dry, which i’d anticipated and had therefore ordered gravy. However the gravy sadly lacked flavour and was far too thin in consistency to provide any real addition to the schnitzel.

Whilst Miss M was full on artichoke, my excuse for not finishing my schnitzel was the following:

Spatzle 'n' Cheese

Spatzle ‘n’ Cheese

Having questioned what on earth Spatzle was, it was described as lighter version of mac & cheese containing spatzle – a dumpling made from flour & water. My god she was right – Light, soft & cheesy goodness! Even as I reached tipping point, I couldn’t stop myself picking at this stuff.

Because all of that wasn’t enough, we also ordered the house salad which was nothing special, other than the yellow beetroot which saved the salad from being a failure!

Having wasted most of the salad, eaten 2/3rds of our schnitzel & 3/4’s of the Spatzle ‘n’ Cheese, we didn’t really feel worthy of a dessert and wouldn’t have had space for one anyway. So we paid the bill and left with heavier eyes than we entered with!

 Boopshi's on Urbanspoon

Review: Pachamama

For those who read my last post, you’d know that one of the exciting openings I was very excited about was Pachamama – described as “Peruvian Food with a British Twist” .

Peruvian food seems to the big thing at the moment & I can totally understand why. Being in the know is a great thing, especially when it means you get the chance to try fantastic food at 50% off during a soft launch.

Before I went off to Sri Lanka, I made a point of booking myself a table of 8 during the soft launch, the fiancée & I decided we’d worry about who we’d fill it with when we got back.

10 days later, my bbf & I showed up at a rather funky basement restaurant on Thayer Street, which is the Wigmore Street end of Marylebone High Street (don’t be fooled!). When we arrived, two of my guests were already perched at the bar sipping on some drinks.

We were shown to our table to the left of the bar and waited as the rest of our fellow diners trickled in.

Pachamama Bar

Due to the Soft Launch, they were only serving a limited menu, however despite this the choice was still pretty good.

We started off with some Mama’s Piscos’ and Papa’s Piscos’ the house cocktail containing Peruvian Brandy – Pisco being the national drink of Peru.

Mama's Pisco

Mama’s Pisco

We then moved on to the good stuff, our waitress suggested we order 12-14 dishes to start with for a group of 8. This didn’t seem enough, so as food arrived we doubled up on lots of dishes.

The mammoth ordering started with some of “Mama’s Ceviche”:

Chilled prawns, Garden Peas, Mint, Wasabi Tiger's Milk

Chilled prawns, Garden Peas, Mint, Wasabi Tiger’s Milk

This was delicious; the wasabi wasn’t overpowering, the onions gave a great crunch & the overall dish was refreshing.

Cornish Wild Sea Bass, Samphire, Radish, Sweet Potato, Tigers Milk

Cornish Wild Sea Bass, Samphire, Radish, Sweet Potato, Tigers Milk

A number of the diners preferred this to the prawns. Again the fish was amazingly fresh, the flavours were balanced and the overall dish was excellent.

Next up was the “Josper Oven” section of the menu. Unfortunately by this point my photography skills were overtaken by the excitement of seeing the food. We ordered the following:

Crispy Duck Belly, Miso, Green Aji Sauce

Crispy Duck Belly, Miso, Green Aji Sauce

On the menu this was Crispy Lamb Belly, however they’d run out of lamb and thus we ended up with Duck belly, either way I have no complaints. The duck was cooked to perfection with a really lovely crispy layer whilst the Green Aji Sauce (no idea what it is) worked really well along side it.

Smoked Gloucester Old Spot Ribs, English Malt, Peanut Glaze

Smoked Gloucester Old Spot Ribs, English Malt, Peanut Glaze

So I think we were all hugely disappointed at the size of this. The flavours again were unfaultable (yes I did just make that word up) but the size of the pieces were tiny & we felt slightly cheated.

We also ordered the 28 day Aged Dexter Ribeye Lomo Saltado, however the fact that I have no photographic evidence can only mean we devoured it!

Onto the Robata Grill. We ordered three dishes from this section and although I don’t have a single photo, my favourite dish was the Newlyn Squid Antichuchos which were absolutely delicious. The Squid was cooked to perfection & the flavour was amazing, bursting in your mouth (yes I’m going full on drama here).

Next in line of favourites from this section was:

Corn-fed Chicken Antichuchos & Corn

Corn-fed Chicken Antichuchos & Corn

This again was delicious, the sticky, extremely flavoursome chicken was soft and yummy. The corn sauce was so delicious, there’s no other way to describe it other than wow.

We also ordered the Blackened Herb-Fed Chicken which was good, however as it came on the bone was slightly fiddly to eat. The actual chicken was again well cooked & seasoned. This was probably my least favourite of the section.

To accompany the meat affair, we ordered three salads:

Heirloom Tomatoes, Butter Beans, Lime, Cobnuts, Crisp Bread

Heirloom Tomatoes, Butter Beans, Lime, Cobnuts, Crisp Bread

Purple Potatoes, Peanuts, Mint, Crispy Onions

Purple Potatoes, Peanuts, Mint, Crispy Onions

In my opinion, both of these generally lacked flavour. My favourite of the 3 salads was however was this one:

Quinoa, Avocado, Granny Smith, Tomato, Coriander Vinaigrette

Quinoa, Avocado, Granny Smith, Tomato, Coriander Vinaigrette

This was really really good. The flavours & textures worked exceptionally well together whilst the coriander vinaigrette added a fresh flavour which lifted the overall salad.

Having made our way through a huge amount of food, there was no way we were going to skip dessert.

Rice Pudding, Cinnamon Ice Cream, Damson Compote

Rice Pudding, Cinnamon Ice Cream, Damson Compote

Chocolate Fondant, Brittle & Salted Peanut Ice Cream

Chocolate Fondant, Brittle & Salted Peanut Ice Cream

Pumpkin Cake, Sunflower Seeds, Malt Ice Cream

Pumpkin Cake, Sunflower Seeds, Malt Ice Cream

On the verge of food coma, these were the perfect ending to a fantastic meal. The rice pudding was really creamy & everything that rice pudding should be. The Chocolate Fondant was rich but cut by the sweetness of the ice cream. The pumpkin cake was definitely my least favourite!

Despite the limited menu & a slight inconsistency in presentation of dishes, the flavours were great, the food was cooked to perfection, bar the odd few dishes which were lacking flavour, I would go back to Pachamama at the drop of a hat. Since visiting I’ve rabbited on about Pachamama and have actually convinced two or three others to visit based on my recommendation!

Pachamama on Urbanspoon

It.s been some time since I’ve done one of these, but now that the summer is slowly disappearing & it’s getting darker quicker, one has to be grateful for something and for me, it’s the wonderful restaurants that will be gracing the streets of London this month.

Keu – 9 Poland Street – Opens 15th September

As I’ve said over and over again, the best way to discover new places in London is by walking around and yesterday when I was on my way to Berwick St Market to get my lunch from the PitstopCafe, I walked past what used to be a bit of a boring sandwich place and noticed the windows were blanked out. Amongst the white I noticed the word Keu. A little Google search later I found that the group that gave us Cay Tre is opening a second outpost of their Vietnamese sandwich shop.

I was saddened when Banh Mi Bay left Berwick St Market so you can only imagine the excitement I experienced when I read that they’ll be specialising in Banh Mi, Noodle Bowl & Buns as well as smoothies, Vietnamese coffee, beer & some cocktails! Bring on the Banh Mi!

Keu

Pachamama Bar & Kitchen –  18 Thayer Street – Opens October 2014

Described as Peruvian food with a British twist, this one got me interested, especially as there’s promises of 50% off during the soft launch period which will be happening in mid October.

Bought to us by the guy who was previously the head chef at Ottolenghi, expect influences of Peruvian cuisine using locally sourced produce with the addition of a swanky cocktail bar.

The restaurant which will have space for 120 diners will be spread over two main areas, with three private dining rooms and of course not forgetting the cocktail bar. For that extra attention to detail they’ve even commissioned a small ceramic studio in Oxford to create their own plates!

Ippudo Ramen London –  1 St Giles High Street

Keeping with the Asian influence, those of you who read my New York series will be aware of how much I loved Ippudo. It was on a list of recommendations sent to me by a friends boyfriend and it ticked every box on the comfort food list required for a chilly Sunday evening in New York.

As you can imagine, when I returned from New York and realised that Ippudo was planning to open its first European outlet in London, I was ecstatic. They’ve been pretty hush hush about when exactly they’re opening but from the competition currently running on their Facebook page, it would appear that they’ll be swinging open the doors to that noodley goodness very soon.

If you need some convincing as to why I loved this place or why you should make a visit yourself, have a read of my New York post.

Ippudo

Ippudo

Updated 06.10.2014

Ippudo is currently running in Soft Opening mode with the Grand Opening taking place on Friday 10th October!!! Yummy!!

Ippudo Opening

 

Babaji Pide – Shaftesbury Avenue & Duck & Rice  – Berwick St

Good old Alan (Yau) is doing it again. The guy that bought us Wagamamas, Busaba, Yautcha & Hakkasan to name just a few has two new ventures coming our way.

Babaji Pide is being described as a restaurant serving “Turkish Pizza – filled with Asian iningredients” whilst Duck & Rice will be a Chinese Gastropub. Both ventures will be new concepts that I don’t believe have been done by anyone else thus far so the excitement around them in my opinion is justified.

Unfortunately opening times on these are being kept extremely quiet and whilst both sites have been boarded up, the opening of Duck & Rice has already been pushed back numerous times.

Have you heard of any new restaurants I should add to my visit list? Leave me a comment! 

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