Posts for the 'Overseas locations' Category


ferdiesfoodlab

FERDIESFOODLAB

Simon Fernandez, the man behind ferdiesfoodlab, burst onto the supper club scene some seven years ago, with his then legendary fernandezandleluu supper club. His latest pop up being a project sees him in collaboration with the London Kitchen Project in Battersea. A non-profit community centre that started life about six months ago, the London Kitchen Project seats 40 and devotes itself to food, sustainability and the use of 100% renewable energy.

The collaborative project sees ferdiesfoodlab running a series of pop up dinners at the London Kitchen Project approximately every four weeks, serving a six course-tasting menu priced at £45. P and I popped along recently and found the dinner to be well considered and cleverly constructed. The first course was a 5hr slow roast rib of lamb, pulled, pressed, cubed and coated in breadcrumbs, served with garlic Turkish bread and a dip of fresh herbs and lime. The lamb was delicious, moist and moreish, and went swimmingly with the accompanying bread and dip. But the crumbing on the lamb could have been crispier which would have really elevated the dish.

Ferdies Food Lab - London Food Blog - Slow cooked lamb

Ferdies Food Lab – Slow cooked lamb

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Street XO Madrid

STREET XO MADRID

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

AL TRAPO MADRID

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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The Bridge Room Sydney

THE BRIDGE ROOM

The Bridge Room in Sydney is located within the heart of the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) and is within walking distance of key landmarks such as the Opera House and Circular Quay. Owned by Chef Ross Lusted and his partner and Sunny, The Bridge Room is recognised as one of the best restaurants in Sydney, receiving many glowing reviews and high critical acclaim. The Bridge Room holds a Two-Hat distinction (out of a possible three) as awarded by the prestigious Sydney Morning Good Food Guide. In 2014 Chef Lusted himself was also recognised as The Chef of The Year by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and as the Hottest Chef in Australia by the Weekend Australian Magazine Hot 50 Restaurants.

Chef Ross Lusted has had an illustrious cooking career, previously holding the positions of Executive Chef at Sydney’s Rockpool, Park Hyatt Sydney’s Harbour Kitchen & Bar and Singapore’s Mezza9. Chef Lusted then went on to become the Head of Food & Beverage Development for Aman Resorts before returning to Australia and opening The Bridge Room in 2011. The Bridge Room serves Modern Australian cuisine, drawing inspiration from European and Asian influences cooked with the best of local, seasonal Australian produce.

Housed in an art deco building, The Bridge Room features an open kitchen with a custom built charcoal grill. The dining room is rectangular in shape and is modern and airy in its design, with a key feature being the hand-made ceramics designed by Chef Lusted himself.

We had an amazing experience at The Bridge Room, starting with some Smoky Bay Pacific (on the right) and Port Stephens Rock oysters ($4.50 each – £2.10), both of which were gorgeous. Meaty and tasty with a rich sea flavour, the oysters were served with a shallot and red wine vinegar as well as a white miso dressing with chives that was fabulous.

The Bridge Room - London Food Blog - Oysters

The Bridge Room – Oysters

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Top Eats in Luang Prabang

TOP EATS IN LUANG PRABANG

Wat Sene Luang Prabang

Wat Sene Luang Prabang

The ancient town of Luang Prabang in Northern Laos is without a doubt one of the most beautiful spots in South East Asia. Abundant in natural beauty, Luang Prabang sits at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers and is surrounded by lush green hills. Also cementing Luang Prabang’s title as the premier tourist destination in Laos is its blend of French colonial architecture and timeless Laotian temples. In 1995 Luang Prabang was designated as a World Unesco Heritage Site.

Luang Prabang is also the foodie capital of Laos, and I had a fabulous time trying some of its delightful food offerings and restaurants. I was in Luang Prabang for only four days, but the TheLondonFoodie spent almost two weeks there. He has written two excellent and extensive blog posts on his food experiences in Luang Prabang, so I highly recommend that you read these should you intend to visit Luang Prabang (post one and post two).

L’Elephant

But I’d also like to share with you my top eat experiences in Luang Prabang, beginning with L’Elephant Restaurant. This is often cited as one of the best restaurants in Luang Prabang and I would concur as L’Elephant Restaurant proved to be my best meals in Luang Prabang. L’Elephant is part of a group of restaurants in Luang Prabang owned by a French and Laotian pair. L’Elephant serves both French and Laotian cuisine, and we decided upon the Laotian set menu, the “Saveurs du Laos” (145,000 KIP – £11) which we loved. The menu began with an exquisite clear soup of tender delicious beef with betel leaves, galangal and lemongrass. The soup was wonderfully tasty with a clean, fresh and fragrant flavour.

L'Elephant Restaurant - London Food Blog - Clear soup

L’Elephant Restaurant – Clear soup

This was followed by a main plate consisting of a number of different dishes, all of which were delicious. Particularly delightful was the Mekong fish with lemongrass, rice powder and kaffir lime. This had been steamed in a banana leaf papillote and was delightfully fragrant and moist. Also on the plate was a tender and tasty piece of grilled pork marinated in lemongrass, a wonderful steamed piece of pork on a lemongrass stalk and a local specialty of crispy Luang Prabang weeds with sesame seeds.

L'Elephant Restaurant - London Food Blog - Main plate

L’Elephant Restaurant – Main plate

Accompanying the main plate was some sticky rice, a fabulous chicken laap (salad) with coriander, spring onions, mint and chilli that was fresh and full of flavour, and some delicious sauteed vegetables with mushrooms. The dessert was a fruit salad topped with a delightful ginger ice cream.

L'Elephant Restaurant - London Food Blog - Fruit with ginger ice cream

L’Elephant Restaurant – Fruit with ginger ice cream

I thought the food at L’Elephant was excellent. It was fresh and refined with wonderful authentic flavours. The cooking was very strong technically and I would thoroughly recommend it as the one must try restaurant in Luang Prabang.

Website: http://elephant-restau.com/

Tamarind

Tamarind is both a restaurant and a very known Laotian cookery school. I didn’t have the opportunity to do any of the cookery courses as you need to book these in advance. However we tried the Pun Pa (110,000 Kip – £8.50) on Friday night, a colourful evening which began with a tasting platter of Tamarind’s delicious savoury Laotion dips (jeow) including tomato, smoky eggplant, buffalo skin with peppers as well as a chilli paste. These were served with Mekong weed with sesame.

Tamarind Restaurant - London Food Blog - Laotian dips

Tamarind Restaurant – Laotian dips

The dips were followed by a whole tilapia marinated with herbs and lemongrass, wrapped in banana leaves and then barbequed over charcoal. The fish was perfectly cooked and very moist. The fish was eaten wrapped in leaves with a selection of noodles, vegetables, herbs and savoury sauces.

Tamarind Restaurant - London Food Blog - Whole tilapia

Tamarind Restaurant – Whole tilapia

To finish we had a really tasty tamarind and coconut sticky rice and a selection of fresh fruit. The Pun Pa evening was really fun, being a sharing experience where we sat with other diners at a communal table and got our fingers really dirty. The food was really homely and yummy and well worth trying.

Tamarind Restaurant - London Food Blog - Sticky rice

Tamarind Restaurant – Sticky rice

Website: http://www.tamarind-laos.com/

3 Nagas

3 Nagas is a boutique hotel in Luang Prabang with a very fine restaurant. We had lunch here and enjoyed a dish of minced pork in banana leaf with fresh herbs (60,000KIP – £4.65) and Laotian omelette (60,000KIP – £3.90) with herbs, Mekong riverweed and tomato sauce. The pork was good, but the omelette was outstanding and delightfully with lots of lovely dill. The tomato sauce was sweet and lovely and worked a treat with the eggs. It was worth going to 3 Nagas just for this dish. Note you can get 20% off voucher from the Tourism Office for use at 3 Nagas.

3 Nagas - London Food Blog - Minced pork

3 Nagas – Minced pork

3 Nagas - London Food Blog - Laotian omelette

3 Nagas – Laotian omelette

Website: http://3-nagas-luang-prabang

The Morning Food Market

The Morning Food Market is without a doubt one of the highlights of any visit to Luang Prabang. Here you can try some delightful spicy Laotian sausage and some delicious, if somewhat fatty, skewered pork (both 10,000KIP – 80p). I recommend buying the sausages and the pork from the vendor featured in the photo. She cooks the sausages and the pork right in front of your eyes. I walked up and down the length of the market and her products were by far the best.

Luang Prabang food market - London Food Blog - Laotian sausage

Luang Prabang food market – Laotian sausage

Luang Prabang Food Market - London Food Blog - Skewered pork

Luang Prabang Food Market – London Food Blog – Skewered pork

Grilled meat vendor

Grilled meat vendor

One of my most favourite Laotian treats was the coconut cakes, ‘khao nom kok’ (5,000KIP – 40p). These were a delight with a crunchy outside and soft creamy inside and very addictive. I tried these from a number of different vendors and liked the ones sold by the lady featured in this photo the best. If you go at the right time of the day to the morning food markets she’ll make these hot for you. And if you buy from her regularly she’ll probably give you extras like she did for me!

Luang Prabang Food Market - London Food Blog - Coconut cakes

Luang Prabang Food Market – Coconut cakes

The Bamboo Bridge

One of the tourist highlights in Luang Prabang is the Bamboo Bridge which sits over the Nam Khan River. This bridge only exists for six months of the year. During rainy season the bridge has to be taken down as the water levels are too high and the current is too strong. The bridge is then rebuilt after the rainy season. What a quirky labour of love! It’s worth crossing the bridge for the views, and on the other side of the bridge there is a cool little hangout spot, the Dyen Sabai Restaurant. Set in a bamboo garden and surrounded by greenery, it was a great place to chill out and enjoy some cocktails.

The Bamboo Bridge - London Food Blog

The Bamboo Bridge

Website: https://dyen-sabai-restaurant.com/


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Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao – Phou Savanh Restaurant

BELMOND LA RESIDENCE PHOU VAO –
PHOU SAVANH RESTAURANT

Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao is a beautiful luxury resort and spa located in Luang Prabang, Laos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The resort is located on Phou Vao hill, about two kilometres from the centre of Luang Prabang, and is set within three hectares of lush gardens and greenery. Its hill top location means that guests are afforded with views of the surrounding hills and Mount Phou Si, Luang Prabang’s sacred hill upon where there is a Buddhist Temple. Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao combines a French colonial style with Laotian touches to create the ultimate sense of classical luxury and comfort. It’s a gorgeous part of the world and incredibly intimate and tranquil, making for a very romantic setting for dinner.

Phou Savanh is the restaurant at Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao and is wonderfully comfortably and spacious. It has high ceilings and open doorways that give it an airy feel. Executive Chef Walter Andreini hails from Brussels but also spent 14 years running his own restaurant in Koh Samui. Consequently, the restaurant is a blend of east meets west, with both an Asian and a more classical French menu. The Asian menu itself is a fusion of inspirations, drawing on dishes from Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, all cooked with a European touch.

There is both indoor and outdoor seating at Phou Savanh, and adjacent to the restaurant is the Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao’s Champa Bar. Both the restaurant and the bar look out onto the resort’s infinity pool, which in turn merges with a view of Luang Prabang’s beautiful green treetops and Mount Phou Si. It made for a spectacular spot to knock back some cocktails which we duly did. We tried the Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao’s signature cocktail of ‘Simply Laos’ which consisted of Lao-Lao (a Laotian rice whisky), hibiscus flower, honey and lime (USD$9.50), and a Laojito (USD$9.50) with Lao-Lao, lemongrass, mint, lime and sugar over crushed ice. Both were really delicious and refreshing.

La Résidence Phou Vao - London Food Blog - Cocktails

La Résidence Phou Vao – Cocktails

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JW Marriott Bangkok

In Bangkok I stayed at the JW Marriott Hotel, a 5-star hotel aimed at both family and business travellers. Located at 4 Sukhumvit Road, JW Marriott Bangkok provides easy access to the bars and restaurants in the Sukhumvit area and the shopping areas of MBK Shopping Mall and Siam Paragon Shopping Centre. The hotel is well situated within the transport network and is just a short walk from its closest BTS station (Ploenchit).

JW Marriott Bangkok resonates with charm and has a strong Thai theme running through its décor, especially in the large and elegant lounge bar and lobby areas. As for the rooms, my deluxe room was smart and comfortably furnished with dark wood furniture, a flat-screen TV, mod-cons and soundproof walls.

JW Marriott Bangkok - London Food Blog - Deluxe Room

JW Marriott Bangkok – Deluxe Room

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Mandarin Oriental Bangkok – The China House

MANDARIN ORIENTAL BANGKOK – THE CHINA HOUSE

The China House is the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok’s in-house Cantonese Chinese restaurant. The design is inspired by Shanghai’s art deco period and is decorated in an opulent old-world style with dark wood furnishings and atmospheric low lighting. It’s a classy restaurant and features dim sum as well as a series of Cantonese dishes interpreted in a contemporary style.

On Tuesdays to Saturdays The China House offers an unlimited all you-can-eat dim sum menu (1,080THB net – £20). What was a surprise was that there was not only dim sum, but that you could choose from a buffet counter as well as order off an a la carte menu. This all-you-can eat brunch menu at The China House was fabulous and incredibly good value as well.

We headed for the buffet first and I thought the buffet dishes were excellent. We tried a selection of goodies including drunken chicken, fresh prawns, jellyfish, all of which were delicious. Also fabulous was the Chinese roast pork belly. This really was sensational, with the crackling being superbly crunchy. It was a little fatty but the fat was what made it so tasty. There was also some roast duck, but we didn’t try this as the pork looked better.

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok - London Food Blog - Buffet selection

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok – Buffet selection

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok - London Food Blog - Roast pork

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok – Roast pork

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