"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!"

Mamounia Lounge Knightsbridge

Posted on Monday, 13th June 2016

Mamounia Lounge Knightsbridge, bar and restaurant, is situated across the road from Harrods on Brompton Road and offers a chic Middle Eastern drinking and dining experience. The key behind Mamounia Lounge is its plush décor. Lavishly decorated with gold and red drapings, Arabic motifs and exotic Middle Eastern cushions, Mamounia Lounge has a sense of the opulent to it.

Gracing the entrance to Mamounia Lounge is an outdoor shisha lounge which morphs into a dining area. This leads into the bar/lounge, and beyond this is a more formal dining area that backs onto the open kitchen. Mamounia serves a comprehensive Lebanese and Moroccan menu. But make no mistake. Mamounia Lounge is very much about the ‘lounge’ experience. It feels very much like the kind of venue where you go for drinks and have food to go with the drinks.

That said the food was very good. A starter sized pastilla of chicken (£9.50) wrapped with filo pastry was really delicious. Freshly baked, the pastry was crispy and the chicken filling was moist with a hint of almond nuttiness to it. The pastilla was finished with a dash of icing sugar and some cinnamon, both of which added a touch of fragrant sweetness to the pastilla.

Mamounia Lounge - London Food Blog - Chicken pastilla

Mamounia Lounge – Chicken pastilla

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The Meat Co

Posted on Wednesday, 1st June 2016

Established in South Africa in 2000, The Meat Co Steakhouse opened in London in 2008 at the Southern Terrace end at Westfield’s Shepherds Bush. It is an expansive space, with the ground floor operating as a bar, and upstairs as an enormous dining area decorated in warm dark tones. The headline act is the Connoisseurs’ Choice of Cuts, which includes chateaubriand, wagyu and kangaroo. There are also super-aged steaks, and these meats, sourced from both the UK and the US are firstly basted in a secret traditional recipe before being flame grilled to order. Also on the menu is a variety of chicken, seafood and veggie options. And paramount to its success is that The Meat Co prides itself on offering an approved Halal menu.

I first visited The Meat Co a couple of years ago and had a very respectable and enjoyable experience. This time around it was just as enjoyable. Moreover the desserts had stepped up another level and were even better than I remembered.

We tried a variety of starters including the salt and pepper calamari (£8), peri-peri prawns (£10.50) and chicken wings (£8.75). The calamari was excellent, being tender and coated with a light, crispy and well-seasoned batter. The prawns in a peri-peri sauce had been pan-fried with shallots and garlic and were firm in texture with a good flavour. The peri-peri sauce itself was decent, if a little bit too strong in flavour from the use of peppers. The chicken wings were solid and had been coated with a sweet, sticky sauce that was ever so moreish.

The Meat Co - London Food Blog - Calamari

The Meat Co – London Food Blog – Calamari

The Meat Co - London Food Blog - Prawns peri-peri

The Meat Co – London Food Blog – Prawns peri-peri

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Kanada-Ya Panton Street

Posted on Monday, 23rd May 2016

In December 2015 the well-known ramen bar Kanada-Ya on Giles Street opened a second, bigger branch on Panton Street near Trafalgar Square, offering the same selection of authentic tonkotsu ramen made famous by the Holborn flagship restaurant. The noodles are made on site using a special machine imported from Japan and many of the tonkotsu broths have been slow cooked for 18 hours for an authentic intense flavour. Along with the tonkotsu ramen noodles, Kanada-Ya Panton Street has introduced several new dishes such as chicken karaage and Japanese spicy kale. There is also a reasonable drinks menu including bottled cocktails, Japanese beers, wines and some rare Japanese Whiskeys. Moreover, Kanada-Ya Panton Street offers reservations on a limited basis. Therefore no more queuing!!

We tried some truffle edamame (£4) with black truffle salt. The edamame was a little oily, but overall they were pretty tasty with a fresh firmness to them, helped in no small part by the deliciousness of the truffle aroma.

Kanada-Ya - London Food Blog - Truffle edamame

Kanada-Ya – Truffle edamame

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The Ninth

Posted on Monday, 16th May 2016

THE NINTH

The Ninth on Charlotte Street is the latest restaurant by chef Jun Tanaka, a chef who has worked at some of London’s best restaurants including Le Gavroche, The Restaurant Marco Pierre White and The Square. Jun’s last venture was Pearl – a gem of a place at what was previously the Renaissance Chancery Court Hotel in Holborn. At Pearl, the food was a refined, modern take on classical French cooking. With The Ninth, Jun has migrated to a sharing menu that boasts of French Mediterranean-style dishes.

One might call The Ninth cosy, but I felt the more appropriate word to describe it was cramped. The restaurant was very small and tables had been squeezed into every spot imaginable, including the one where we were perched which was right by the front door. It was a very unpleasant spot, especially as every time the door opened it let in a draft, which was basically about every 5 minutes.

I had great expectations about The Ninth, having thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful and precisely cooked food at Pearl on several occasions before it closed. The a la carte menu at The Ninth – available at lunch and dinner – was divided into various sections including hot starters, a raw and cured section, fish, meat and vegetables. It made for an inviting read with many lovely sounding dishes.

From the raw and cured section, a razor clam ceviche (£9.50) was pleasant but underwhelming. The razor clams were fresh and had been nicely dressed with the right level of acidity. But the dish lacked for seasoning, and in all, the ceviche was just a little bit boring. The razor clams had a very gentle flavour, and what the dish needed was something to lift it. Even some contrasting crunchiness would have helped the dish by giving it added texture.

The Ninth - London Food Blog - Razor clam ceviche

The Ninth – Razor clam ceviche

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Vegan Food Products That Everyone Needs To Try Once

Posted on Friday, 13th May 2016

When it comes to food, we all know what we like. Some of us have a sweet tooth and love desserts and baked goods. Whereas some of us prefer the taste of savory foods far more. Many of us probably eat too much of the foods we like and not enough of the foods that are good for us. This can leave our weekly meals feeling a little predictable and dull. Why not bring some excitement back to your taste buds and try some vegan products instead. Here are some tasty, fun and exciting products you are bound to love.

The Beast Burger

Instead of sticking to your usual ham or beef burger, why not give the Beast Burger by Beyond Meat a try. This 100% plant protein product is a healthier option that has fewer calories than a meat-based burger. It also boasts a number of benefits from having 23 grams of protein to containing plenty of antioxidants and iron. It is soy-free, gmo-free and gluten-free, which leaves you with a delicious and succulent tasting burger. If you love throwing family BBQ’s in the summer, this product could become a fast favorite. While also keeping everyone fit, lean and healthy. You can find these from most vegan food stores or from online retailers.

Many people don’t realise that Famous Amos Sandwich cookies are in fact vegan. They are an iconic brand that serves flavoursome cookies and baked goods. With flavours such as Vanilla, Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Macaroon, there’s bound to be a flavour that you enjoy. Bought by vegans and non-vegans alike, they are enjoyed by both young and old and make a brilliant snack. They are ideal for movie nights at home or trips to the local park. Or just as a treat after a long day at work.

Alternatively you could try vegan-friendly cookies from Trader Joe’s, Hampton Creek or Nature Valley instead. For Hampton Creek info and Nature Valley info, head to their respective websites to see what products they have on offer.

Cheezy Mac

If you’re trying to cut down on your cheese intake or remove dairy altogether, Daiya’s Cheezy Mac could be a fantastic solution. Daiya produces products that are dairy, lactose and gluten free. But full of calcium and protein. Their Cheezy Mac comes in three different flavors and creates a meal the whole family will enjoy. With it’s creamy, rich flavor, you’ll forget that it’s a substitute for the real thing. It’s convenient, healthy conscious and allergen free, as well as still tasting fantastic. Even if you like to cook your own mac and cheese, there’s no denying the benefits Cheezy Mac has. Daiya also produces other tasty products such as spreadable cheese, pizza, and dressings.

Mac and cheese - London Food Blog

Mac and cheese

Whether you are a fully fledged vegan or just looking for something new, these products are bound to appeal. You never know, they may become your new favorite snack or weekly treat. Look in vegan cookbooks and online to see what other vegan foods are waiting to be discovered.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links.

The Balcon

Posted on Monday, 9th May 2016

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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Tiradito and Pisco Bar, Madrid

Posted on Tuesday, 3rd May 2016

On a recent visit to Madrid, we visited Tiradito and Pisco bar, a Peruvian restaurant located on Conde Duque. Headed by Chef Omar Uribe, the menu was inspired by Chef Uribe’s life experiences including his childhood trips throughout the mountains, jungles and along the coasts of Peru. Chef Uribe also draws from his experiences from having worked with some of the best chefs in the world including the famed Peruvian chef Jamie Pesaque who previously cooked at the Three Michelin Starred El Celler de Can Roca and now owns a string of successful restaurants throughout the world. The food at Tiradito and Pisco Bar is unique as it incorporates the use of lesser known – at least to the European world – ingredients such as Amazonian fruits and vegetables.

The decor at Tiradito is lovely and light and is divided into two sections. On entering the restaurant there is a casual bar area serving killer pisco sours and small bites. Passing through the bar you enter the main dining room, a comfortable well-lit area with with wooden floors and tables with white tablecloths.

We began the meal with an amuse bouche of beef patacones, “Patacones la Lucha” (€8.90). These were fried plantain shells with Spanish spicy chorizo and sirloin sautéed on the wok with soy, aji amarillo chilli and sacha tomato (tree tomato). This was truly delicious. The beef was tender and tasty, and well flavoured by the freshness of the chilli and sweet tomato. The plantain shell was crispy and well made.

Tiradito - London Food Blog - Beef patacones

Tiradito – Beef patacones

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Zayane

Posted on Monday, 25th April 2016

ZAYANE

On the hip-and-happening strip that is Golborne Road is a new addition, Zayane, a modern Moroccan restaurant owned by Casablanca-born Meryem Mortell. With Zayane, the effervescent Meryem has brought her love of her homeland to life with a beautiful traditional Moroccan décor that is both attractive and welcoming. Think colours of oranges and blues, tea-lights in Moroccan styled brass candleholders and plush cushions. What’s more, on the night of our visit there was a singer on hand belting out soulful Middle Eastern tunes which were literally ‘music’ to our ears. Zayane was definitely not short on atmosphere!

The head chef is Chris Bower, previously of Michelin Starred Thackerays and The Ivy, and his remit was to combine the vibrancy of Moroccan cooking with modern cooking techniques and the use of seasonal British ingredients.

I visited Zayane as part of a bloggers’ dinner, and we were welcomed with a Zayane Passion, a passion fruit and vodka cocktail which was absolutely delicious. It was fresh and sweet with a hint of acidity and I would recommend this as a way to start the meal.

Zayane - London Food Blog - Zayane Passion

Zayane – The Zayane Passion

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