Posts for the 'North West London' Category


Mestizo

MESTIZO

Last month, Mestizo, Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar, celebrated Día de la Independencia (The Mexican Independence Day) with a special gastronomic week. One of the most traditional, authentic Mexican restaurants in London, the week was designed by Mestizio to showcase the diversity and depth of Mexican food by curating a regionally inspired menu that took guests on a culinary journey around Mexico. For this purpose, the menu included such dishes as pescadillas from Guerrero, to a warming Pollo con Mole from the highlands of Puebla, to the Mexican lamb stews from Birria.

Gastronomic Week at Mestizo is long over, but it was still a good opportunity to experience one of the most authentic Mexican dining experiences one can get in London. Mestizo first opened its doors in 2004, and has long been one of the leading ambassadors of Mexican food in London, often championing this diverse cuisine through special gastronomic events such as the Gastronomic Week seen last month and other events organised in conjunction with the Mexican Embassy. Moreover, Mestizo, has the largest tequila selection in the UK (some 260+) and is proud to share the Mexican’s love of its iconic national spirit through the various tequila Masterclasses, tequila tasting experiences or ‘Tequila and food pairing experiences’ at Mestizo.

Mestizo - London Food Blog - Tequila Bar

Mestizo – Tequila Bar

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Crockers Folly

Crockers Folly in St John’s Wood was a thriving pub in its former life. Built in 1898, the beautiful Grade II* listed building fell into disrepair and was closed in 2004. But in 2014 The Maroush Group took ownership of Crocker’s Folly and lovingly restored it. Crocker’s Folly now speaks of grandeur, but with a relaxed and inviting tone.

The revitalised Crocker’s Folly is divided into three sections – two separate bars and a dining room. It has been beautifully refurbished with bespoke features such as dazzling chandeliers, mahogany woodwork, the use of at least 50 kinds of marble and some gorgeous imported Italian furniture.

I visited Crocker’s Folly last year but that was only for the Sunday set menu. This time around I had the opportunity to try the a la carte menu, starting with the roasted octopus (£12) which was divinely tender and nicely cooked. It was served with a pappa al pomodoro sauce, a rich, intense concoction rich with tomato flavour.

Crockers Folly - London Food Blog - Roasted octopus

Crockers Folly – Roasted octopus

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Q Grill

Q GRILL

A guest post by Food Porn Nation.

What makes Q Grill, Camden truly special is that it comes armed with its very own charcoal pit grill and oven house Jasper smoker, essentially a purpose built grill and smoker inspired by the smoking and barbecuing traditions of the Deep South. This means that we’re talking about some serious soul food from Memphis, Tennessee. Q Grill means business when it comes to meat and offers a selection of American dishes with a Southern and English feel. All meat dishes are carefully prepared and marinated with their own Q cajun seasonings which is then grilled and smoked for optimum smoky richness. Q Grill also serves a range of southern comfort favourites such as macaroni and cheese, fried buttermilk chicken, beef hash and cheesy grits, just to name a few.

We began our meal with the sticky hen wings with Bourbon BBQ sauce (£7.75) which was absolutely delicious. They were perfectly moist, tender and falling off the bone with a lovely charred surface and smokey undertone. The addition of extra house made BBQ sauce made these wings even more exceptional. Sweet, sticky and smokey, simply scrumptious.

Q Grill - London Food Blog -  Sticky hen wings, Bourbon barbecue sauce

Q Grill – Sticky hen wings, Bourbon barbecue sauce

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Porky’s Camden

PORKY’S

Photos and words by Food Porn Nation and I.

In the southern states of the USA, BBQ is king. Meat is treated with reverence and when barbequed, is done using special slow cooked techniques that generally last for 16-18 hours. The result is charred meat that is distinctively smoky and tender. Here in London, the restaurant group Porky’s seeks to capture the essence of Memphis style BBQ by adopting they same slow cooking BBQ approach. And as they do in the Deep South, portions are generous, prices are reasonable and flavours are bold. There is plenty of meat and Porky’s happily caters to the heartiest of carnivores.

The Camden Town branch of Porky’s (there are also branches at Bankside and Boxpark Bethnal Green) is low-key with its friendly, casual service. In a nod to its roots, there are classical Southern posters hanging on its exposed brick walls with Tennessee greats such as Elvis playing in the background. The lighting is soft and low for a relaxed ambiance, making it a great venue for groups.

The ‘warm up’ mixed platter (£24 – serves 4) included the house chilli and 4 other starter items. The highlight of the platter was the house chilli which was homey, spicy and delicious. The BBQ wings were a little overcooked, but tasty with a sticky homemade BBQ sauce. Our least favourite items were the crab cakes as there was not enough crab, and the hush puppies which were floury and starchy. We also tried the garlic toast which was very buttery.

Porky's - The Warm Up Platter includes the house chilli and 4x of the following items. Bbq wings, crab cakes, hush puppies, pulled pork croquettes and garlic toast

Porky’s – The Warm Up Platter includes the house chilli and 4x of the following items. Bbq wings, crab cakes, hush puppies, pulled pork croquettes and garlic toast

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Crocker’s Folly – Sunday Lunch

Crocker’s Folly in St John’s Wood was a thriving pub in its former life. Built in 1898, the beautiful Grade II* listed building fell into disrepair and sadly closed in 2004. By 2007 Crocker’s Folly had been placed on the Victorian Society’s list of top ten endangered buildings.

In 2014 The Maroush Group took ownership of Crocker’s Folly and lovingly restored it back to its former glory. Thus Crocker’s Folly was reborn, re-opening after a long ten-year absence. Many of the original aspects of the building have been maintained along with the addition of some beautiful bespoke features such as dazzling chandeliers, mahogany woodwork and the use of at least 50 kinds of marble. It’s a glorious restoration and beautifully done, with the finishing touches being some gorgeous imported Italian furniture. Crocker’s Folly now speaks of grandeur, but also with a relaxed and inviting tone.

Crocker’s Folly is divided into three sections – two separate bars and a dining room. Heading up the kitchen is Head Chef Arek Bober who previously worked under Jason Atherton at Pollen Street Social. His Crocker’s Folly menu is modern European with a section specifically devoted to steaks cooked on the josper grill. On a Sunday, Crocker’s Folly offers a special set lunch menu with two-courses for £20 and three-courses for £25. It is also possible to order each dish individually and the prices listed below are the price per dish.

We started our lunch with a 62c egg with soft polenta (£10) which was delicious. The egg, slow cooked at 62c was soft-set in the centre with a beautifully golden yolk and it married well with the creaminess of the soft polenta. Completing the dish was a topping of lovely fresh truffle shavings, Parmesan cheese and a mushroom emulsion that added a nutty, earthy flavour to the combination.

Crocker’s Folly – 62c egg with parmesan & mushroom emulsion

62c egg with parmesan & mushroom emulsion

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The Gilbert Scott

The Gilbert Scott is situated in The Renaissance Hotel St Pancreas (previously the Midland Grand Hotel) which finally reopened last year after being closed for almost three-quarters of a century. In keeping with the style of the original architecture, the restaurant has maintained many of the ornate features of the building. With high ceilings, limestone pillars and intricate details. The Gilbert Scott feels grand, but also somewhat old-fashioned and sterile. The refurbishment of the dining room was undoubtedly expensive (the whole hotel cost about £150m), but I didn’t care much for the garish peachy colour scheme or the icy atmosphere of the restaurant.

The restaurant is named after Gilbert Scott, the architect who originally designed the building. However it was the name of Marcus Wareing that I was most curious about. The two-starred Michelin chef of Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley is behind the brasserie and bar operations at The Gilbert Scott. The menu made for a nice read, and fittingly, resonated Britishness.

The kitchen operated with clockwork precision, and eerily so. It only took a few minutes from the time we placed our orders until our starters turned up. The turnaround time was so quick it made me question the level of effort that had been made with our food. My first course of curry spiced mulligatawny with quail (£9) tasted like it had been pre-cooked and quickly reheated for service. The mulligatawny could have been hotter and better spiced. The quail was a nice touch, but as it had been immersed in the broth for some time it had become bland. This was an unremarkable dish.

Mulligatawny

Mulligatawny

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Namaste Kitchen

Indian restaurant Namaste Kitchen is from the team behind Salaam Namaste in Bloomsbury and Sabir Karim who previously worked at Chutney Mary and Red Fort. Based in Camden, Namaste Kitchen boasts an inviting and modern look. The main point of focus in the restaurant is its modern Indian grill. Its open layout allows diners to watch the chefs at work as well as lap up the lovely warmth that it emits, a feature that was particularly inviting on a cold winter’s night. To complete its cosy feel, Namaste Kitchen plays host to a blend of exposed brick walls, American walnut veneers and cream leather seats.

We kicked of our meal with a spicy soft shell crab (£5.95) coated with a crunchy semolina batter. The crab was yummy, if a touch oily. Accompanying the crab was a sweet fig and prune sauce which worked well with the crab.

Spicy soft shell crab

Spicy soft shell crab

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One Blenheim Terrace

A couple of weeks ago I attended the opening of One Blenheim Terrace in St John’s Wood. This is the first restaurant to be opened by Head Chef Ed Shaerf who previously worked at Gordom Ramsay at Claridges and The Ivy. To hand is a wealth of knowledge as David Moore acts as a consultant for One Blenheim Terrace. David is well known in the restaurant industry as owner of the Michelin restaurants Pied à Terre and L’Autre Pied, and as an inspector on the BBC2 TV series The Restaurant.

For the occasion of the opening, the dining room had been removed of most tables and chairs to allow the guests to mingle freely. It was therefore difficult to know how the restaurant is normally laid out. Nevertheless, One Blenheim Terrace appears to be an intimate space with a lovely al fresco eating area outside which would come in handy during the summer.

On offer were a canapé selection of items from the menu paired with drinks for our tasting pleasure – starters with beer, mains with wine and desserts with sweet wine. These included an oak smoked salmon (matched with Purity Pure UBU, Warwickshire) which was beautifully smokey. Served with dill, dill emulsion, crispy skin and salmon roe, the salmon was lovely and sweet, and the dill and crispy skin worked a treat.

Smoked salmon

Smoked salmon

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