"After years of continuous eating,'A Girl has to Eat', a self-confessed food lover and eat-aholic, has been spurred on to create her own food guide & blog. Read about her fabulous (and sometimes not so fabulous) culinary adventures in her restaurant reviews. This and more!"

Mr Cooper’s House & Garden

Posted on Monday, 20th April 2015

MR COOPER’S HOUSE & GARDEN

Mr Cooper’s House & Garden is located in the luxury Midland Hotel in Manchester. The name of the restaurant pays homage to Thomas Cooper, a popular historical figure in Manchester who came from a family of coach-makers. The family’s house and garden, where the restaurant is currently located, was famous for the fruit that it produced and The Coopers would often open the doors of their garden to the general public so that they could have access to it for picnicking and leisurely strolls.

The décor of Mr Cooper’s House & Garden has stayed true to it origins by offering a multitude of different dining settings. There is a lounge in the garden surrounded by a wall of plants and a 30ft tree, a cosy Library where drinks can be enjoyed, and a study area with leather booths where friends can enjoy intimate chats and some lovely food.

Mr Cooper’s House & Garden comes from the hands of Simon Rogan who is undeniably one of the best chefs in the UK. He tolds two Michelin stars at his flagship restaurant L’Enclume in Cartmel, as well as a one Michelin star at Fera at Claridge’s in London. With Mr Cooper’s House & Garden the food is more casual than that served at his Michelin outposts, but no less engaging. The menu centres on a spirit of flair and creativity, and particularly interesting were the starters with their many Asian-inspired touches.

We started with some caramelised scallops (£11). These were nicely cooked and were accompanied by a delectable cucumber sambal, memorable because it was nice and tangy. To temper the sambal was a lovely tahini dressing, and as garnish there were some jalapeno fritters which were glorious. Surrounded by a light and fluffy batter, they offered a sharp bite to the dish.

London Food Blog – Mr Coopers - Caramelised scallops

Mr Coopers – Caramelised scallops

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Fera at Claridge’s

Posted on Tuesday, 14th April 2015

FERA AT CLARIDGE’S

London Food Blog - Fera at Claridges

Fera at Claridges

Simon Rogan launched Fera at Claridge’s in May 2014, taking over from the space that was once occupied by Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s. The word Fera means ‘wild’ in Latin and was chosen as the name for Simon’s London restaurant to reflect both the influence of nature and seasonality that are key to Simon’s cooking. Nowhere is this more evident than at Simon’s 12-acre farm where he grows his own fruit and vegetables, and breeds poultry, sheep and cattle.

Simon’s love of harvesting the finest produce combined with his exacting standards has earned him the distinction of being one of the best chefs in the UK. Today Simon holds two Michelin stars at his flagship restaurant L’Enclume in Cartmel, as well as a one Michelin star at Fera. Fera was also recognised as Newcomer of the Year by in both Harden’s London Restaurants 2015 Guide and Decanter Magazine.

The art deco design of the restaurant blends beautifully with the grandeur of Claridge’s. But there are also softer, natural touches such as walnut tables and a ‘tree’ in the centre of the room to complement the opulence of the dining room. Along one wall is an open entrance to the kitchen, which offers views of the pass. There is also an intimate bar area in one corner of the restaurant that accommodates five guests.

We went for the tasting menu and this was truly an experience to behold. The menu consisted of a canapé, three amuse bouches and eight courses for a very reasonable £95 (Wine to accompany 6 courses – £85.00). The canapé was a blue cheese emulsion on a chickpea and rosemary wafer. This was spectacular, with the emulsion boasting of a delicate cheesy flavour and a lovely airy lightness. The wafer was crispy and thin, and to finish was a drizzling of a tangy, sweet vinegar and elderberry gel that brought everything together beautifully.

London Food Blog - Fera at Claridges

Fera at Claridges – Chickpea rosemary wafer with blue cheese emulsion and elder berry gel

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Quattro Passi

Posted on Monday, 13th April 2015

QUATTRO PASSI

Quattro Passi on London’s Dover Street comes from the hands of Two Michelin-starred chef Antonio Mellino who brings his blend of elegant and stylish Italian fine-dining to Mayfair. Antonio Mellino earned his Michelin stars at his flagship restaurant Quattro Passi Nerano where he came into recognition for his light and delicate touch on pasta and fabulous seafood and meat dishes. His menu is seasonal and is prepared using the best produce shipped daily from the Amalfi coast to the UK.

The well-appointed restaurant is luxurious yet comfortable, and is in keeping with the elegance of Chef Mellino’s food. Ambient touches include hand-sculpted leather wall, French silk wallpaper and delightful modern artworks.

We began our meal with skewers of scallops and prawns (£24) which were delicious. Perfectly cooked and nicely seasoned, they were brimming with a fresh sea flavour. Accompanying the skewers were some spring onions and a ‘Romanchesi’ sautéed broccoli ‘couscous’ which were both lovely. There was also a blackberry reduction and other fruity touches of orange and passionfruit that completed the dish nicely with their contrasting sweetness and acidity. This was a lovely starter, although pricey.

London Food Blog - Quattro Passi - Scallop & prawn skewer

Quattro Passi – Scallop & prawn skewer

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Afternoon Tea at The White Lion – Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Posted on Thursday, 9th April 2015

AFTERNOON TEA AT THE WHITE LION

Words and photos by Food Porn Nation and myself.

The Sunday of our recent visit to Aldeburgh happened to be Mother’s Day and we welcomed the opportunity to try the afternoon tea at The White Lion Hotel in Adleburgh. The pastry chef at The White Lion is Anmar Odendal, an award winning wedding cake designer. Through her business CRUMB, she was recognised by the wedding industry awards as the best wedding cake designer in the East of England in 2013.

Our afternoon tea was floral inspired and included a selection of sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries with a choice of tea, a glass of champagne and a little pot of flowers for mum, all at an unbelievable price of £20. It was staggeringly good value and difficult to think that we could get so much for so little. At an equivalent London establishment, an afternoon tea such as this would most likely have cost at least £35 to £40.

The selection of finger sandwiches were tasty and included standard fillings such as cucumber, ham, egg and watercress. The scones were rather alluring as they presented us with an engaging texture. The exterior was crunchy and the interior was soft. Served warm, the scones went swimmingly with the clotted cream and yummy homemade raspberry jam.

London Food Blog - The White Lion

The White Lion – Afternoon Tea

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Brudenell Hotel – Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Posted on Tuesday, 7th April 2015

BRUDENELL HOTEL

Words and photos by Food Porn Nation and myself.

We popped along to Suffolk for a weekend visit recently and stayed at the lovely 4 Star Brudenell Hotel which is located in the quaint, charming town of Aldeburgh. The Brudenell Hotel is perched on Suffolk’s Heritage Coast, and accordingly the hotel offers panoramic views of the sea along the property’s frontage.

The décor at the hotel is fresh and vibrant, and embraces the seaside theme with its vibrant energy and light, bright colours. It’s an intelligent, engaging space, and wonderfully comfortable. There are 44 cosy rooms in the hotel, with some offering sea views. Our bedroom again embraced a contemporary, coastal themed décor with a seating area by the window which allowed us to relax and watch the ever-changing movements of the sea. Our room was really comfortable, and there was something wonderfully rustic about sleeping to the sound of waves lapping up along the shore.

Also in The Brudenell Hotel is the recently opened AA two-rosette Seafood & Grill restaurant. This too has a sea-facing terrace which will soon be made available for use when the weather gets warmer. It’s a contemporary dining venue, and there is an informal bar area where hotel guests and local residents can relax and enjoy a drink or two.

We enjoyed both dinner and breakfast in the Seafood & Grill restaurant and thought highly of both the food and the service. Chef Tyler Torrance draws inspiration from his surroundings, proliferating his menu with not only seafood dishes but also sourcing his other ingredients from the abundant Suffolk area. For dinner we tried a variety of starters, with the wild scallops (£12) being our favourite. The scallops were heady with flavour and came together beautifully with the accompanying cauliflower puree and caviar.

London Food Blog - The Brudenell Hotel

The Brudenell – Wild Scallops

Sauteed tiger prawns with chorizo and saffron tea (£8) was also very tasty with the prawns being firm and flavoursome. There wasn’t quite enough seasoning however, and it was difficult to detect the flavour of the saffron tea.

London Food Blog - The Brudenell Hotel

The Brudenell Hotel – Sauteed tiger prawns with chorizo and saffron tea

We also tried a whole dressed East Coast crab with new potatoes, rustic salad and lemon mayonnaise (£15). This was disappointing however as the crab was rather bland.

London Food Blog - The Brudenell Hotel

The Brudenell Hotel – East Coast crab with new potatoes, rustic salad and lemon mayonnaise

We shared a Salter & King 10 oz sirloin steak (£26), which we then proceeded to upgrade to a surf ‘n’ turf with a half grilled lobster (£19) and a tiger prawn and scallop tournedo (£9). The result was an amazing plate of food. The sirloin steak was pink and tender and came with some lovely hand cut chips, a fabulous Portobello mushroom, and a well made red wine sauce. The prawn and scallop tournedo was good, but the lobster coated with a generous serving of garlic butter, proved to be glorious as the lobster was tasty, and the garlic butter even tastier.

London Food Blog - The Brudenell Hotel

The Brudenell Hotel – Surf ‘n’ turf with a half grilled lobster and a tiger prawn and scallop tournedo

A classic sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream (£7) was delicious and really well made with the pudding being moist and light. The toffee sauce was really good too with a lovely richness and was not too sweet.

London Food Blog - The Brudenell Hotel

The Brudenell Hotel – Sticky Toffee Pudding

A blood orange pavlova with a blood orange and Italian orange sorbet (£7) showed off good technical skill with the meringue being lovely and airy. It was a pretty looking dessert, but overall, it was a touch too sweet.

London Food Blog - The Brudenell Hotel

The Brudenell Hotel – A blood orange pavlova with a blood orange and Italian orange sorbet

We really enjoyed the food at the Seafood & Grill restaurant and it showed itself to be a worthy AA two rosette holder. There were a few elements which could have been better, but on the whole our meal was a winning experience. We thought the service was brilliant as well, with the staff providing us with lots of considerate and thoughtful attention.

We also had breakfast at the Brudenell Hotel and really adored all the little touches that demonstrated all the care and priority that the Brudenell Hotel places on provenance and being true to its surroundings. We had a sunny full ‘Suffolk’ breakfast which was scrumptious. The eggs, sausages and bacon were sourced locally, as were the condiments such as the tomato ketchup. The pastries on the buffet table were really good, and we particularly enjoyed the freshly squeezed orange juice.

London Food Blog - The Brudenell Hotel

The Brudenell Hotel – Suffolk breakfast

We had a splendid time at the Brudenell Hotel. It embodied everything that a great seaside hotel should offer – delicious food, attentive and professional service, and a spirit that was in keeping with the Suffolk seaside. The town of Aldeburgh is also truly lovely and well worth a visit.

Summary Information:

Likes:
1) In the Seafood restaurant – the scallop starter, the surf-n-turf with the lobster which was an absolute must, the sticky toffee pudding, and the provenance used to source the ingredients.
2) The all round lovely service in the hotel including the restaurant.
3) The hotel was really well run to ensure that all guests were really well looked after.


Dislikes:

1) The crab dish in the Seafood Restaurant.

Food rating: 4/5
Overall service rating (both the restaurant and the hotel): 4/5
Overall hotel rating: 4/5

Food Prices: About £30 to £64 for three courses from the a la carte menu, excludes drinks and service.

For room prices, please contact Brudenell Hotel.

Webiste: http://www.brudenell-hotel.co.uk/

Gaylord – Bloggers Dinner

Posted on Monday, 30th March 2015

Words and photos by Priscilla from Food Porn Nation and myself.

The award winning Gaylord Indian Restaurant was founded in 1966 and is an offshoot of the original Gaylord in Mumbai which opened in 1956. The cuisine originates from North of India with a menu that is long, varied and eclectic. The décor also embodies an authentic Indian experience with artworks by the noted Indian painter Prithvi Soni.

We dined at Gaylord recently as part of a Zomato bloggers’ dinner and Gaylord took the difficulty of choosing from its extensive menu by serving us a selection of their highlight dishes. There was food aplenty, and it was such a delight to have the opportunity to taste so many different things. We started with canapés before moving onto starters, main courses and then desserts.

For canapés, we tried some zaffrani chicken tikka (£8.50/£14) and chicken murg malal tikka (£8.50/£14.50), both of which were nicely cooked and pleasantly spiced. The aloo tokri chhat, a savoury potato basket was also really tasty and really crunchy.

Moving on the starters, and the tandoori tiger prawns (£10/£20) with saffron proved to be the knockout dish of the evening. The tiger prawns were big, fat and juicy with a firm luxurious texture. They were also really well cooked with the tandoor cooking helping to hold in much flavour. The spicing was lovely, and with the prawns being so plump, they were just a joy to eat.

Crab cakes (£11) with curry leaves, southern spices, sesame seeds and mustard cress were cleverly presented, with each crab cake being perched on a sugar stick. The spicing was pleasant, and the crab cake offered a decent flavour, but I would have preferred more crabmeat for a greater taste of the sea.

London Food Blog - Gaylord'

Gaylord – Crab Cakes Dakshini – curry leaves, Southern spices, sesame seeds, sugarcane stick

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The World’s End Market

Posted on Monday, 23rd March 2015

The World’s End Market

Words and photos by Katrina from Russian Revels and myself.

The World’s End Market is the second venture of the Markets Group which opened The Crystal Palace Market restaurant earlier last year. The Group set out to introduce ‘an innovative culinary concept’ to the competitive London restaurant scene by focusing on unfussy cooking using the best quality local ingredients, with the result being primarily grilled fish and meats with classic sauces.

The World’s End Market used to be an iconic pub which has been lovingly restored. Today it retains much of the atmosphere of a good old boozer. The interior design is reminiscent of an early 20th century canteen decorated in cosily hushed greens with a gleaming cocktail bar and easy-listening background music. On a Monday evening the restaurant was uncharacteristically quiet because of an important football game (so we were told by the charming French manager), but the loveliness of the restaurant no doubt can draw in the crowds on other nights of the week. We felt we could easily have spent many an hour drinking from a decent selection of wines, most of which were organic.

The concept at World’s End Market concept centres on ‘locally sourced ingredients’, and although the restaurant does not list the source of all their protein the locavore concept didn’t quite hold true as we saw scallops from the Pacific and prawns from Madagascar. But we tried these for our starters, and we found that we loved the plate of simply grilled scallops (£10.50). Three plump molluscs, with roe intact, were well cooked and served with a zingy dressing. This dish was one of our favourites.

World's End Market - London Food Blog - Grilled Scallops

World’s End Market – Grilled Scallops

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Holborn Dining Room

Posted on Tuesday, 17th March 2015

HOLBORN DINING ROOM

Holborn Dining Room opened about a year ago and makes for a welcome addition to the London dining room. Located in the glorious Rosewood Hotel (which was once Pearl Restaurant by Jun Tanaka), it is a bustling restaurant with the look of a grand brasserie. Holborn Dining Room is run by Des McDonald, a restaurateur with a prestigious background. Previously a Head Chef at The Ivy, Des later went on to become the group chief executive of Birley Group, Caprice Holdings, and Soho House, before eventually forming his own restaurant group, Des McDonald Restaurants etc. Des is a man who knows his stuff, and it is easy to see his vision of comfort and relaxed elegance in the grandeur of Holborn Dining Room. Beautifully decorated with red leather banquettes, chandeliers and earthy colours, the restaurant resonates with vibrancy and energy. There is also an outside courtyard that comes alive in the summertime with al fresco diners.

The Head Chef at Holborn Dining Room is Calum Franklin, who previously cooked at The Ivy, Aurora at the Andaz Hotel and Indigo at One Aldwych Hotel. Prior to Holborn Dining Room, Calum was the Senior Sous Chef at Roast in Borough Market. With this wealth of experience, Calum has put together a very British menu that draws upon seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.

Our first starter was the griddled prawns with lemon and garlic butter (£15). Six fat prawns had been placed on our plate and each offered up lots of firm, meaty deliciousness. The combination of garlic and prawns is always a winning one in my book, and here it was fabulously tasty. With lots of flavoursome butter and a touch of acidity from the lemon, this was a perfect way to start our meal.

London Food Blog – Holborn Dining Room

Holborn Dining Room – Griddled Prawns

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