Posts for the 'WC2' Category


Flesh and Buns

Flesh and Buns is the latest Izakaya restaurant by the people from Bone Daddies, the successful ramen restaurant founded by chef Ross Shonhan who previously worked at Nobu and Zuma. The concept of Flesh and Buns centres around hirata buns, folded steamed buns commonly filled with pork. Here, you have a choice of different fillings, all of which are accompanied by salad, a sauce and pickles. You create your own buns here, filling them however you wish. And as a precursor to the buns, there are also a choice of raw dishes, snacks and small dishes.

Flesh and Buns has a common appeal. Not only is its concept of ‘flesh and buns’ original, the décor is funky and appealing with a buzzy vibe. The centrepiece of the restaurant is a long sharing table, and circling the table are cozy booth seats and round tables.

We kicked off with a tuna tataki with grapefruit, dry miso, coriander (£10) which was truly lovely. The tuna was fresh, the use of dry miso added depth, and the coriander provided a fresh fragrance to the dish. There were also little beads of dried rice which gave the dish a crunchy finish.

Flesh and Buns - Tuna tataki

Tuna tataki

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Great Queen Street

Great Queen Street is owned by the same group that also own Anchor and Hope, a gastropub which has carved a name for itself with its inventive British cooking and its use of head-to-tail ingredients. Great Queen Street’s menu plays less reliance on offal cooking, but it is similarly classically British. Its makes good use of seasonal ingredients, and as such the menu is ever changing. Great Queen Street is a rustic looking venue – the furniture is dark, and the lighting is kept low. Located on Great Queen Street in Covent Garden, it’s a perfect spot for a bout of casual central London dining.

A starter salad of ham, egg, beetroot and horseradish (£7) was absolutely scrumptious. There was something heavenly about how the salty crispy ham blended with the earthy sweetness of the well-cooked beetroot. A half soft-boiled egg was perfectly cooked, and the horseradish dressing gave the salad a lovely kick. This was a wonderful marriage of flavours, all of which combined beautifully together.

Ham, egg, beetroot & horseradish

Ham, egg, beetroot & horseradish

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Classic West End Afternoon Tea at The Waldorf

I adore going to afternoon tea. The thought of some nice sandwiches followed by fluffy scones with mouthwatering clotted creams and lots of scrummy cakes can easily set my heart a flutter. But not only is it a nice afternoon thing to do, it’s also something novel to take guests from out of town to experience. I was recently invited by the website Afternoontea.co.uk to try one of the afternoon teas offered through their website. Afternoontea.co.uk allows you to search afternoon teas by location, which you can book at no additional cost. Furthermore, it occasionally has special offers. For instance, The Classic West End Afternoon Tea (£33.50) that I tried at the Waldorf also included a free glass of sparkling wine.

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea

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Mishkin’s

Russell Norman and Richard Beatty, the people behind the successful eateries Polpo, Polpetto, Spuntino and Da Polpo, have produced another offspring with Mishkin’s in Covent Garden. Mishkin’s bears the trademark of the other Norman and Beatty restaurants in the sense that it is cool, hip and happening, but deviates as it steers away from their Italian tapas theme. With Mishkin’s they’ve tapped into the vein of a New York styled Jewish deli, one that also serves cocktails.

The restaurant has a grungy Lower East Side vibe to it with its exposed brick work, metallic topped bar and banquette seating. And let’s not forget the cramped space which makes it feel even more like a New York eating hole. Towards the back of the restaurant were some tiny tables, and it was on one of them that were placed. Our particular table was lopsided. It was unclear to me whether this was a deliberate attempt to be avante-garde , but irrespective, it was rather impractical as our matzo ball soup split when it was placed onto the even table. The chicken broth in the soup (£6) had a nice chicken flavour running through it, although it was rather too peppery. The matzo ball itself held together well and had a light and springy texture.

Chicken matzo ball soup

Chicken matzo ball soup

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Loch Fyne Covent Garden

Loch Fyne offer an online seafood and larder ordering service and is probably best known for the oysters that they grow naturally in the waters of Loch Fyne, Scotland. Loch Fyne works closely with the Marine Conservation Society and uses only sustainable methods for farming. The oysters feed on plankton and no artificial feed is used. In addition to the oysters, Loch Fyne also farm a variety of fish, again using only sustainable methods. Their fish stocks are also topped up by their wild fish catches that are landed from the waters off Cornwall and the South-West.

The online business is only one part of what Loch Fyne do. In addition, they also operate 42 seafood restaurants throughout the UK. There are two in London, one of which is on Catherine Street in the theatre heart of Covent Garden. The restaurant has a charming brasserie feel to it and oozes warmth and congeniality. At the back of the restaurant is a seafood counter that displays the seafood of the day. It’s a really good way of checking out the freshness of your seafood before your order.

Seafood bar

Seafood bar

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Green Man & French Horn

Ed Wilson and Oli Barker, the boys behind the renowned Terroirs and its sister restaurants Soif and Brawn, have created a certain niche by selling biodynamic wines imported through wine specialists Les Caves de Pyrène. The practice of biodynamic agriculture refers to the use of organic, sustainable and ecological methods in wine making, and it is a practice that has gained momentum in recent years.

Wilson and Barker’s latest restaurant is The Green Man & French Horn. They’ve kept the name of the pub that once graced the site where the restaurant now stands. Located right in the heart of Covent Garden, it’s a quaint little place. But it’s also a tight squeeze with cramped tables and noisy acoustics.

The French menu is rustic, homely and comforting. A starter of chicken livers (£8.50) with artichoke and mâche were fat, silky smooth and dripping in flavour. Cooked to medium rare, they were well seasoned and superbly done. A drizzling of merlot vinegar and olive oil dressing left the dish with a lovely glaze and added a moist finish.

Chicken livers

Chicken livers

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Brassiere Blanc Covent Garden

Raymond Blanc, the two Michelin starred chef behind Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, lends his name to the new chain of restaurants called Brasserie Blanc which serves French brasserie food. The branch at Covent Garden has taken over the space where Chez Gerard once was, on the rooftop patio overlooking Covent Garden Piazza.

The interior of Brasserie Blanc Covent Garden allows for a lot of natural light, but the restaurant feels cramped with all the tables being tightly squished together. There is no disputing the fabulous location, but our table on the terrace did little to guarantee a view given the high stone balustrade that runs along the terrace.

A selection board (£11.90) of guinea fowl rillettes, Milano salami, seared mackerel, apple and pear chutney, cucumber crème fraîche, carrot vinaigrette, celeriac remoulade proved to be decent. The rillettes had a good gamey flavour running through it, and surprisingly did not taste overly fatty. The mackerel was fresh and nicely cooked.

Selection board

Selection board

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Dalla Terra

Dalla Terra, a lovely Italian wine bar in St Martin’s Courtyard in Covent Garden, set up shop about three months ago. Its focus is to offer a wide variety of quality (and predominantly Italian) wines – some 180 bottles and 30 by the glass – and a simple but delicious food menu in a welcoming setting. For the heart of Covent Garden, wine prices were reasonable with a Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve champagne costing only £10.

Chef Araldo De Vitis, who previously worked at St John Bar and Restaurant, has come up with a small menu of delicious tasting dishes to match the wines. The menu was well thought out and included simple delights such as a selection of bruschetta that featured cherry tomato with rocket and oregano which offered freshness and bite, and spreadable “Ventricina di Campotosto” salami with broad beans and pecorino which was rustic and hearty (£3.80).

Tomato bruschetta

Tomato bruschetta

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