Posts for the 'Mayfair' Category


The Balcon

THE BALCON

The elegant Balcon restaurant at Sofitel St James is modeled on a traditional French brasserie and serves a French menu founded on classic principles, but with a modern twist. With its exquisite décor, The Balcon is ideal for lazy breakfasts, power lunches, intimate dinners or even a drink after work. What’s more The Balcon also serves afternoon tea. But if you are angling for afternoon tea at Sofitel St James, then I would thoroughly recommend the Rose Lounge at the hotel as it is a truly beautiful spot (you can read about their afternoon tea experience here).

But back to The Balcon. We began our leisurely lunch with a gorgeous starter of grilled scallops, pea tortellini and lobster sauce (£12). The scallops were nicely cooked and had a nice level of caramelisation on it. The tortellini was well made. But it was the lobster sauce which was the winning element of the dish. Offering a rich lobster flavour, It was creamy, decadent and showed off real class.

The Balcon - London Food Blog - Scallops

The Balcon – Scallops

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Tsukiji Sushi Bar

TSUKIJI SUSHI

Tsukiji Sushi Restaurant is a contemporary sushi restaurant housed at the Westbury Hotel, a luxurious 5-star hotel in the heart of Mayfair which is also home to the One-Michelin starred restaurant Alyn Williams at The Westbury. Tsukiji is a sleek intimate affair which seats only 20, and boasts of clean lines, red woodwork and an open sushi counter. The menu by Head Chef Show Choong is a delightful fusion between traditional and modern, blending classic Japanese flavours with innovative touches to create inventive dishes such as salmon tartar with parmesan cheese.

Chef Show Choong sources organic and seasonal ingredients in his ever-evolving menu. But the true highlight at Tsukiji is the seafood, particularly the sashimi and nigirii which showcases the freshest seafood available. But there is also a varied list of tempting appetisers and grilled dishes, not to mention a selection of set menus ranging in price from £22.50 for a set lunch, to the Kyodosakusei Tokubetsu champagne menu priced at £395 for two. The drinks menu concise lists a carefully selected range of wines, champagne and sake.

We began our meal with some rock oysters (3 for £10.50) which were wonderfully fresh and made all the more delicious with a yuzu ponzu, jalapeno and truffle citrus soy. The dressing gave the oysters sweetness and acidity with a hint of heat.

Tsukiji Sushi - London Food Blog - Rock oysters

Tsukiji Sushi – London Food Blog – Rock oysters

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Mamounia Lounge Mayfair

MAMOUNIA LOUNGE MAYFAIR

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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Galvin At Windows – The Lunch Menu

GALVIN AT WINDOWS – THE LUNCH MENU

We recently tried the set lunch menu at Galvin at Windows, a Michelin One Star Restaurant by the renowned chefs and restaurateurs, the Galvin Brothers. Located on the 28th floor of the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, Galvin at Windows offers glorious views over Hyde Park and Central London. The three-course set lunch with bellini is priced at £33 and was great value, offering three choices for starter and main, and two choices for dessert.

We both started with the beef steak tartare which was lovely. The beef was tasty and had been finely chopped and marinated with herbs and a strong level of acidity for a great flavour. Accompanying the tartare was a well-made selection of condiments including mustard mayonnaise, a gorgeous confit egg yolk and pickled vegetables.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Beef Tartare

Galvin at Windows – Beef Tartare

To mains, and the roasted fillet of Suffolk pork with braised pork cheek proved to be an accomplished dish. The pork cheek was particularly delicious as it was tender and rich with flavour, although the fillet was a touch chewy as it was slightly overcooked. All the other elements on the plate were good, including a fricassée of broad beans, celeriac and a chorizo and honey spiced jus, all of which were delicious and worked well in bringing the dish together.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Suffolk pork

Galvin at Windows – Suffolk pork

Kimchee risotto with slow cooked egg, fresh corn, sesame and Parmesan proved to be a very interesting dish. There was good depth in the stock, the rice was al dente and the egg added a lovely richness to the risotto. The big disappointment however was that it was very salty.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Kimchee risotto

Galvin at Windows – London Food Blog – Kimchee risotto

To desserts, and an apricot and cherry almond tart with a verbena cream was good but not great. There wasn’t enough of a frangipane flavour in the tart, and it lacked for a buttery sweet pastry that makes classic French tarts taste so great.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Apricot & cherry almond tart

Galvin at Windows – Apricot & cherry almond tart

A second dessert of rice pudding with peach compote, raspberries and pink pepper sorbet was tasty and enjoyable as it was fresh and very summery.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Rice pudding

Galvin at Windows – Rice pudding

There were a few elements in the Galvin at Windows lunch menu that could have been better, but on the whole, I couldn’t fault the cooking which was accomplished and refined. Another plus point was that the menu was very reasonably priced at £33, making it decent value for money. Other plus points included great service and wonderful views. The lunch menu Galvin at Windows definitely gets a big tick from me.

Summary Information:

Likes:
1. The quality of the cooking especially at this reasonable price point.
2. The good service.
3. The amazing views.

Dislikes:
1. The saltiness in the kimchee risotto.

Lunch menu food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 4/5

Lunch menu price: £33 for three courses plus a bellini. Excludes other drinks and service.

Website: http://www.galvin-at-windows.com/


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Fera at Claridge’s

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

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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Boulestin

Last week I attended a bloggers’ dinner at the lovely Boulestin restaurant, an impressively chic French establishment on St James St in the heart of Mayfair. The restaurant comfortably seats around 40 and is elegant and inviting. There are leather banquettes, frosted glass screens and soft lighting, all coming together to create a sense of conviviality and warmth.

The inspiration for Boulestin Restaurant was the renowned chef and food writer, Xavier Marcel Boulestin. His cookery books did much to popularise French cooking in the English-speaking world. In 1927 he opened the original Restaurant Boulestin, which at the time was the most expensive restaurant in London. The success of the restaurant and the popularity of his writing made Boulestin famous. And so it is that the Boulestin of today is devoted to celebrating many of the French classics that he helped to make so well-known.

For my starter I had the pan-fried duck liver (£18.50), which was deliciously fatty, beautifully cooked, and which went nicely with the roasted quince. But the portion size was tiny, and I thought a little ungenerous for the price.

Boulestin - Foie gras

Foie gras

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