"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!"

Mamounia Lounge Mayfair

Posted on Monday, 30th November 2015


You can’t go past Mamounia Lounge Mayfair and not gawp. The heated terrace churns out continuous streams of shisha smokers – the young, beautiful and so Mayfair – languidly drinking mint tea or playing backgammon. Get through the door, and you are into hushed lights, squishy sofas and, during weekends, pan-Arabic music and belly dancers. Lounge, it certainly is.

But behind the boisterous façade, the kitchen serves up Middle Eastern food that clearly shows both the care with ingredients and attention to detail with presentation. A kind of food that can and should stand on its own.

Mamounia in Curzon Street (the second of two branches, the other being in Knightsbridge) positions itself as a Middle Eastern dining experience with ‘European fusion dishes’. Our lovely Russian-speaking waitress told us that in the past the food was more traditional but recently there’s been a change towards more adventurous interpretations with some European, Mediterranean touches. Indeed, the menu is a mix of classic Moroccan and Lebanese dishes such as falafel, tagines, grilled meats, with a few surprising additions (perhaps to allure the jet-setting palates?) like hommus with truffles or lobster and crab meat tagine.

The restaurant consists of two levels, the smaller space with a bar behind the shisha terrace and a large lounge room downstairs where live music and dancing happen. We were seated on the ground floor in a booth, perhaps most suited for a lively birthday party (what, with a giant flat screen and meshed curtains), but the two of us were slightly lost in the massive sofa facing crowds and staff toing and froing to the loos and kitchen lifts.

Mamounia offers a wide and enticing selection of cocktails, many with champagne and many non alcoholic. We went for the Gold Digger, apparently the top selling signature cocktail. Served in two parts – a short glass of passion fruit liquor with gold leaves and champagne, and a martini glass with more passion fruit and vodka – it was a fun and refreshing start to the meal.

We then selected a spread of cold and hot mezzes. The more traditional Moutabel (£6.75), pureed smoked aubergine with tahini and lemon juice, was delightfully creamy and served with home-made pitta bread, an admirable touch.

Pastilla of Chicken (£7), an iconic Moroccan pie, historically made with pigeon meat, was a scrumptious combination of chicken cooked with saffron and almonds, wrapped in filo pastry and icing sugar. A combination of savoury and sweet which is so common to Northern Africa but could be a love it or hate it pairing for those not in the habit. We loved the crunchy pastry with moist filling, a meal in itself really.

Mamounia Lounge - London Food Blog - Pastilla

Mamounia Lounge – Pastilla

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Quilon – Indian Wine Event

Posted on Thursday, 26th November 2015


A guest post by ‘O&M’ *

We were thrilled to be invited to Quilon recently to take part in a press event showcasing Indian Wine, with the focus being on two particular vineyards, Grover Zampa and Sula.

Quilon - London Food Blog

Quilon – Indian wine event

Indian Wine is relatively unknown in our supermarket shelves or wine shops. India’s APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) is leading a brand promotion of Indian Wine to raise publicity in Europe and particularly in the United Kingdom.

Quilon - London Food Blog

Quilon – Indian wine event

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Konditor and Cook – Curly Whirly Experience

Posted on Monday, 23rd November 2015


Konditor and Cook, the boutique bakery, is best known for its brownies and its Curly Whirly cake, a decadent chocolate cake with a vanilla mascarpone icing. The Konditor & Cook chocolate cake has always been one of the biggest sellers for the bakery, and the story goes, when Mrs Simon of Sloane Square requested a vanilla filling instead of the customary ganache one Thanksgiving, the Curly Whirly was born.

In addition to the delectable delights that you can buy from the six Konditor & Cook stores throughout London, Konditor & Cook also run a cake school and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try the Curly Whirly Experience one Saturday afternoon, a baking class where we learned to make the Curly Whirly Cake with a Vanilla mascarpone frosting and some Curly Whirly Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl.

Konditor and Cook - London Food Blog - Brownies & cupcakes

Konditor and Cook – Brownies & cupcakes

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Hakkasan Hanway Place – Dim Sum Sundays

Posted on Friday, 20th November 2015


Hakkasan Hanway Place needs little introduction and is the first of the Hakkasan restaurants to open. Hakkasan was designed by famed interior designer Christian Liaigre and embodies the height of sensuality with its wooden screens intertwined with black and gold traditionally-drawn panels. Opening in 2001, in 2003 Hakkasan was awarded a Michelin star, which it has retained to this day.

Hakkasan offers both an a la carte menu as well as a dim sum menu. On Sundays, it has a special ‘Dim Sum Sundays’ menu which is priced at £58 per person (with a minimum of two people sharing) and which I thought to be really good value. The menu included a selection of dim sum as well as cooked dishes. Moreover, the menu included a choice of a starter cocktail, half a bottle of Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV Champagne each, and a choice of after dinner cocktail. We all agreed it was a great way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon, enjoying some good food with good company and with lots of booze.

Hakkasan - London Food Blog - Louis Roederer champagne

Hakkasan – Louis Roederer champagne

The menu begins with a crispy duck salad with pomelo, pine nut and shallot. The salad was really lovely. The duck was, as the menu suggested, nice and crispy, and it worked well with the sweetness of the pomelo.

Hakkasan - London Food Blog - Crispy duck salad

Hakkasan – Crispy duck salad

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Mexico by Kitchen Theory

Posted on Wednesday, 18th November 2015


Mexico by Kitchen Theory is a collaborative gastronomic project founded by Jozef Youssef who has worked at the Fat Duck, Helene Darroze at The Connaught, The Dorchester Hotel and is also the author of Molecular Gastronomy at Home. Kitchen Theory began as a website aimed at sharing knowledge in the field of gastronomy covering topics such as food science, food culture, food history, multisensory flavour perception, neurogastronomy and molecular gastronomy which has now manifested into experimental dinners, workshops and guest talks.

Mexico by Kitchen Theory is a labour of love, with Chef Youssef having spent over a month in Mexico researching the project, delving into the country’s rich culinary history and working with top Mexican chefs. He has also teamed up with Oxford University’s Professor Charles Spence, the head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory. Professor Spence is interested in how people perceive the world around them, particularly, how our brains process the information from each of our different senses (such as smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch) to form the extraordinarily rich multisensory experiences that fill our daily lives. Together the pair is working towards a remarkable sensory dining experience as part of ‘the chef and the scientist’. With Mexico by Kitchen Theory, the idea is to shatter the UK perception that Mexican cuisine is mostly based on Tex-Mex and rather, it can be a sophisticated Central American fare with a refined, modern, multisensory twist.

We tried a beautiful four-course lunch menu which began with the ‘Holy Trinity’ of corn, beans, and chilli. The starter was so called as corn, beans and chilli have historically formed the ‘holy trinity’ of the Mexican diet, providing a balance of proteins and vitamins. This course was delightful, with a beautifully textured refried bean puree topped with grilled corn in husks, some soaked guajillo chilli chiffonade and huitlacoche which is similar to corn fungus or Mexican truffle.

Mexico by Kitchen Theory - London Food Blog - Holy Trinity

Mexico by Kitchen Theory – Holy Trinity

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Percy and Founders

Posted on Monday, 16th November 2015


Percy and Founders - London Food Blog

Percy and Founders

Percy and Founders, an elegant bar and restaurant, opened in the spring of 2015 and offers a contemporary British menu. Open all day, everyday, Percy & Founders serves everything from a quick morning coffee, to business lunches to a sit down dinner. It has also an eloquent bar area, and is equally ideal for evening cocktails. On weekends, Percy & Founders serves boozy brunches and Sunday roasts.

Executive Chef Diego Cardoso brings with him a wealth of experience having worked a seven-year stint as the Head Chef at Angela Hartnett’s Murano. The menu is seasonally and showcases a comprehensive selection of dishes. The drinks list is also comprehensive and affordable. It includes wines from both small grower labels as well as established producers, and a variety of cocktails, mocktails, bottled craft and draft beers. In the nicer summer months, there is also an alfresco drinks area on the terrace.

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‘Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way’ by Luiz Hara

Posted on Sunday, 15th November 2015


One of my favourite food bloggers / supper club chefs / cookery writer is none other than Luiz Hara from TheLondonFoodie who cooks some of the most extraordinary Nikkei food imaginable. I have had the the opportunity to sample his cooking on numerous occasions at his supper club events in his East London home, and following on from the success of his supper clubs, Luiz has recently brought out his first cookbook. Called ‘Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way’, the book is a celebration of the best that South American inspired Japanese cooking can offer.

I strongly urge you to try one of his supper clubs which you can book through his website. Failing that, you can try and replicate some of his recipes, one of which, I had the opportunity to help prepare at his cookery class. The dish was salmon and passion fruit tiradito which I love because it is so fresh, lively on the palate, tangy and visually appealing. I am featuring the recipe below and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way

Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way

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Pizza Union Kings Cross

Posted on Wednesday, 11th November 2015


Pizza Union - London Food Blog

Pizza Union

Pizza Union is a pizzeria that serves a variety of fire-baked Roman style thin and crispy 12″ pizzas, salad, Dolce, gelato, and a selection of drinks. The restaurant itself is contemporary looking with a casual counter style service. Pizza Union has an easy-going atmosphere, and the staff were all friendly and helpful. Most importantly, it has free wifi! Pizza Union is known for their “Superfast” service, which is true because I could see that their turnover rate was really high.

Pizza Union has two branches, one in Spitalfields and one in Kings Cross. The latter is close to the station, and can be found on Pentonville Road. It opens everyday from 11am to midnight and no bookings are required. What’s more they offer takeaway too. If you’re craving their pizza from afar, you can order through their website and pick it up at the branch.

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