"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!"

Les Gourmets des Ternes

Posted on Monday, 12th October 2015


The original Les Gourmets des Ternes in the 8th arrondissement in Paris opened in 1962 and has a long history of serving celebrities and politicians alike. The walls on Les Gourmets des Ternes are adorned with pictures of famous guests, the likes of which include
 Sharon Stone, Jack Nicholson and Nicolas Sarkozy.

Les Gourmets des Ternes in Knightsbridge is the younger sibling of the Parisien original, and the ground floor of the restaurant boasts of the same menu and bistro décor as it’s older sister. Les Gourmets des Ternes specialises in traditional French cooking, using produce imported from France. Dishes include such French classics such as andouillette de Troyes, beef bourguignon and sole meunière. On the first floor there is the Rendez Vous Bar, an intimate Champagne and foie gras bar with a capacity of 25-30 people.

Six pieces of escargot (£7) came out piping hot with a generous drizzling of garlic butter which we loved. The butter went swimmingly with the snails, and it also made for a good dipping sauce for our bread. The snails were well cooked with a good firmness to them. There is sometimes a tendency to overcook snails which makes them too soft. Here at Les Gourmets des Ternes, they had a nice firmness to them.

Les Gourmets des Ternes - London Food Blog - Escargot

Les Gourmets des Ternes – Escargot

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Street XO Madrid

Posted on Friday, 9th October 2015


Street XO in Madrid is the casual eatery by David Munoz, the chef of the highly acclaimed DiverXO, the only restaurant in Madrid with three Michelin stars. David Munoz has long tantalised diners far and wide with his extraordinary renegade approach to fine dining. When Anthony Bourdain visited DiverXO on his show No Reservations in 2010 (and I particularly loved the programme on Madrid and DiverXO), he declared that Munoz’s food was “something that should probably suck”, yet he ended up proclaiming his love for it. Back then in 2010, DiverXO only had one Michelin Star. Now DiverXO has three.

Munoz’s approach to food is designed to shock and delight, and with Street XO his approach to cooking is no less electrifying. Street XO is a temple to Asian fusion gastronomy, and draws upon an incredibly bold use of ingredients, seamlessly weaving together Western techniques with inspirations from across Asia to produce food that is colourful, delicious and different.

The décor of Street XO is no less daring. The grungy ‘street’ look of the restaurant is completed with ‘graffiti’ on the walls, neon signs and bright red colours. Diners can choose to sit on bar stools around the open kitchen or dine al fresco on the balcony, waited on by waiting staff dressed in straitjackets. This is clearly no run-of-the-mill restaurant.

One of the signatures at Street XO is the Pekingese ‘dumplings’ (€12.50) with pork, crunchy pig’s ear, strawberry hoisin sauce, togarashi aioli and gherkins. These did not resemble traditional Chinese dumplings, with the presentation representing a piece of modern art. Yet the dumplings thrilled with their exquisite flavours and arresting ingredient combinations. The meat was beautifully moist, the pig’s ear was lusciously crunchy and there was a nice touch of spiciness in the creamy aioli. The gorgeous dumplings were simultaneously creamy, fatty and crunchy, tempered by a touch of acidity from the gherkins.

Street XO - London Food Blog - Pekingese ‘dumplings’

Street XO – Pekingese ‘dumplings’

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Al Trapo, Madrid

Posted on Wednesday, 7th October 2015


Al Trapo Restaurant in Madrid is a slick operation serving a fun-filled, modern menu by renowned Spanish chef Paco Morales. With Al Trapo, Paco Morales’ vision was to give diners complete freedom to mix and choose so that they could personalise their own sharing experience. In 2011 Paco Morales was awarded a Michelin star for his Restaurant “Ferrero-Paco Morales” which closed in 2013. With his Michelin star background, Paco Morales brings a level of refinement to the quirky menu.

Situated on the ground floor of the IBEROSTAR Las Letras Gran Vía, the concept behind Al Trapo’s menu revolves around different inspirations, each of which are originally titled. The inspirations begin with ‘To eat with your hands and lick your fingers’, a section devoted to small canapé sized tasters. From there it moves on to ‘Gentle And Classy’ for something subtle and then to ‘Roguish and zingy’ for something more bold. ‘Meseta and sea’ are for all things swimmingly delicious, and then there is ‘From just around the corner’ which provides diners with a taste of traditional Spanish flavours. For a touch of the international there is ‘So far and yet so near’. A selection of ‘Cheeses from far and near’ and ‘Desserts, little indulgences’ round off the choice of culinary delights to be savoured at Al Trapo. Each section features about four to six dishes.

Our first stop was ‘To Eat With Your Hands And Lick Your Fingers’ where we tried a number of different items, the first of which was the Spanish tortilla soufflé bites with green bell peppers and anchovies (€5 – 4 pieces). These were really interesting. Inside the thin crispy aerated bread shell was a ‘cream’ filling that tasted like an eggy tortilla. The filling was a little salty, but was otherwise really tasty with a beautifully smooth texture.

Al Trapo - London Food Blog - Spanish tortilla

Al Trapo – Spanish tortilla

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Stars of the Loire Valley

Posted on Monday, 5th October 2015


The Stars of the Loire festival, which runs from 21 September to 25 October, will see Loire Valley Wines as the guests of honour at a range of D&D London restaurants across the capital. Throughout the festival, over a dozen top restaurants and three wine shops across the D&D group will be offering a variety of different Stars of the Loire events. There will also be a number of pop-up events and tastings including special dinners hosted by BBC Saturday Kitchen’s Jane Parkinson; Channel 4’s Four Rooms art dealer Wendy Meakin; and Daily Telegraph wine correspondent Victoria Moore.

New Street Grill, one of the restaurants in the D&D Group, played host to a Loire Valley wine tasting last week, and I was lucky enough to be a guest at this special event. We tried a selection of lovely Loire Valley wines including the following:

1) Vouvray Brut Dilettante, Pierre Breton, Loire Valley, France NV, a sparkling Vouvray,made using the traditional method Champagne method, (i.e.: induced secondary fermentation in bottle, aging, disgorgement and dosage). It is made using minimal sulfur and has a lively and very pure, zesty Chenin Blanc flavour.
2) Savennières ‘Clos du Papillon’, Domaine des Baumard, Loire Valley, France 2007, a spicy, rich and elegant wine with a fruity and floral finish.
3) Chinon ‘Coteau de Noiré’ Philippe Alliet, Loire Valley, France 2011, a complex and refined bottle offering tempting aromas of cherries, blackcurrant, vanilla, and perfumed tobacco.
4) Coteaux du Layon ‘Selection de Grains Nobles’ Philippe Delesvaux, Loire Valley, France (50cl) 2011, a well rounded and spicy wine with hints of ginger, juniper berries and allspice.

All the wines retail at very reasonable prices and deserve some attention. For more details about the Stars of the Loire festival, check out the DandDwine website. Ideal for wine lovers!

Flavours of Mexico

Posted on Friday, 25th September 2015

Last week, The Cookbook Café at The Intercontinental Hotel on Park Lane played host to the pop-up event, Flavours of Mexico. The event was designed to showcase the best of Mexican food, namely the cooking of Executive Chef Ricardo de la Vega from the award-winning Frida Restaurant at the five-star luxury Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort. Located on Playa del Carmen, the resort is about an hour away from the popular tourist city of Cancun and about three hours from the famous Mexican ruins, Chichen Itzá. More importantly, the resort hugs Mexico’s sublime West Coastline which boasts of pristine sandy beaches and clear, crystal waters.

Flavours of Mexico is no longer running, but I wanted to talk about the event as the food was so delicious. Chef Ricardo de la Vega was born in Mexico City and has worked for some of the best hotels and restaurants in Mexico, and with this experience has developed a style of Mexican food that delicately balances traditional ingredients with modern, refined cooking techniques. Flavours of Mexico showcases some of Chef Ricardo’s dishes from Frida, and it was a chance for Londoners to get a taste of some Mexican fine dining.

For starters, aguachile, green shrimp and scallops, radish, green apple and garlic scented chips (£12) was a very tasty starter. The seafood was wonderfully fresh and the combination with the acidity of the aguachile was well judged. The prawns and scallop were served whole, and although tasty, my preference would have been for the prawns and scallops to have been cut into smaller pieces for a finer texture.

Flavours of Mexico - London Food Blog - Prawns & scallops

Flavours of Mexico – Prawns & scallops

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Little Red Pocket – Japanese Food, Sake, Cocktails and More

Posted on Wednesday, 23rd September 2015


There are many restaurants and bars to visit, but the Little Red Pocket cocktail bar in Melbourne, Australia offers the best cocktails the city has and can offer. Quiet, discreet and overlooking Melbourne’s central district, the bar is a gem hidden in the streets of the city. Little Red Pocket serves traditional and Japanese inspired cocktails that are bound to give the feeling of Japan’s national spirits. Their cocktail menu is filled with many different refreshing and tantalizing flavors that aim to bring out the Japanese spirits to its audience.

When it comes to their drinks they have their house favorites or their pride and joy, The Fallen Blossom. This drink is recommended as an introduction to Sake newbies. Their sake is mixed with fresh ingredients that add wonderful flavors to your taste buds unlike most standard drinks. Sake is a strong Japanese alcohol that has been serving the Japanese culture for a long time, it has a very strong flavor and odor so it may seem unattractive to other people, but Little Red Pocket’s touch to the Japanese sake makes it easier for others to enjoy the taste and feel of the drink and tastes great as mentioned before.

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Posted on Monday, 21st September 2015


Casse-Croute is a quaint and intimate French bistro located on Bermondsey Street, a street that ranks as one of my favourite streets in London for eating out. With the likes of José, Zucca, Antico and Pizarro all on Bermondsey Street, Casse-Croute faces up to some stiff competition. Casse-Croute is decidedly French, from the Francophile posters hanging on the walls, to the red and white tablecloths down to the red leather seating. The cosy placement of the tables also adds a level of intimacy to the restaurant. It’s a wonderfully inviting looking restaurant, a place that you could happily linger in for hours on end, and there’s no doubt that during the winter Casse-Croute is nice and snug. Their menu is small and changes daily, and typically boasts of French classics such as sole with hollandaise sauce and beef cheek bourguignon (which we tried).

For our starter we had the crab ravioli (£9.50) which was beautifully prepared. The homemade pasta was nice and thin, and the crab filling was fresh and tasty. As a complete package the ravioli was truly delicious and showed off tremendous skill. The sauce, made from a reduction using crab and lobster shells, was intensely flavoursome and was a delight to eat. The only problem was that there was not enough sauce to cover the pasta and consequently some of the ravioli tasted naked without the sauce. It felt like this dish had been plated up in a rush. The base of the pasta consisted of some samphire which was very salty and could have probably done with further soaking, etc.

Casse-Croute - London Food Blog - Crab ravioli

Casse-Croute – Crab ravioli

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Posted on Monday, 14th September 2015


Tonkotsu on Dean Street specialises in ramen noodles, the tonkotsu kind from which it derives its name. Tonkotsu ramen hails from Kyushu, the most south-western of all Japan’s main islands. Tonkotsu ramen is distinctive as it is made using a pork bone broth, typically cooked for about 16 hours which gives it a rich creamy flavour and is distinct to the miso and soy broth based varieties.

There are a plethora of ramen noodle restaurants in Central London. Tonkotsu was one of the very original ones to open, before it was joined by the likes of Bone Daddies, Shoryu Ramen, Kanada-Ya, and most recently Ippudo. Having tried Bone Daddies, Shoryu Ramen and Kanada-Ya, it is my opinion that Kanada-Ya serves the best tonkotsu ramen out of the three. But Tonkotsu on Dean was one of the first in London, and I have always wanted to see how it would fair against the rest.

We began our meal with starters of king prawn katsu (£6) with a tonkatsu sauce and salt and sansho pepper squid. The prawns were delicious, with a lovely firmness and a tasty, sweet flavour. The panko crumb coating was crispy and light, and with the sauce, the crispy prawns tasted wonderful.

Tonkotsu - London Food Blog - Prawn katsu

Tonkotsu – Prawn katsu

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