"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!"

Coffee at Bar Italia

Posted on Sunday, 9th March 2014

An English cup of tea is a quintessential part of the British culture, but there’s no doubt that coffee also has a stronghold on the British psyche. In recent years we have seen an amazing growth in coffee bars, especially in London.

For coffee lovers in London, there is now a wealth of fabulous cafes throughout the city. One of these is Bar Italia located on Frith Street in the heart of Soho. Bar Italia is as true to the busy Italian coffee bar culture as they come. The design of the coffee shop is intimate and cozy and kitted with high spec equipment. The walls are also awashed with black and white pictures of old Italy to give it a genuine Italian feel.

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

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Medlar

Posted on Monday, 3rd March 2014

Medlar Restaurant is a rustic little number on Kings Road occupying the site that was once Vama Restaurant. It serves French ‘style’ food, but as the Medlar website states it also draws inspiration from “all over”. The restaurant was founded by a couple of experienced old hands of the restaurant trade. Head Chef and owner Joe Mercer Nairne honed his skills at Chez Bruce, The Savoy Grill and the big hitting Sydney restaurant Rockpool, and front of house is run by his business partner David O’Connor who was previously at The Square and The Ledbury.

A reading of the Medlar menu suggests food that is warm and satisfying, and the simplicity of the soft greyish tones of the restaurant décor goes a long way in supporting an experience of comfort. The three-course set menu consists of eight options per course and is priced at £45 for dinner from Monday to Saturday. But the same menu is available during lunch and on the weekdays it is even better value at £27 (Saturday lunch- £30, all day Sunday – £35).

We started with the roast foie gras (+£3 supplement) with poached quince. The foie gras was incredible, being beautifully soft, lusciously rich and satisfyingly decadent. The poached quince had been nicely done and worked well with the foie gras, and a drizzling of sherry vinegar caramel was excellent giving way to a perfect touch of acidity. Finely chopped hazelnuts texture and a nice finishing touch. My only wish was a bigger piece of foie gras as it was quite small.

Medlar - Roast foie gras

Roast foie gras

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JUST EAT Tried & Tasted London Award – Get Involved

Posted on Friday, 28th February 2014

JUST EAT - Tried & Tasted 2014

JUST EAT – Tried & Tasted 2014

JUST EAT is running its third consecutive Tried & Tasted Awards, a campaign aimed at giving quality restaurants the recognition they deserve for their hard work. And what’s more you can get involved too!

From the 3,800 takeaway options available in London on the JUST EAT website, the Tried and Tasted 2014 panel have chosen 124 of the highest rated restaurants as nominees across various food categories and across 6 London areas.

JUST EAT are giving away great prizes to those people who get involved, including 10 LIMITED EDITION JUST EAT ONESIES. So if you’d like to vote, take a look at the Tried & Tasted page and follow the 3 simple steps on the JUST EAT Tried & Tasted 2014 website.

The restaurant with the most votes will be crowned ‘Best Chinese in North London’ or ‘Best Italian in South West London’, etc. The ballots close on 31st of March and the winners will be contacted by 28 April 2014.

JUST EAT!

La Soupe Populaire by Tim Raue Berlin

Posted on Wednesday, 26th February 2014

La Soupe Populaire by Tim Raue (a 2-star Michelin chef of Restaurant Tim Raue) is about as ‘Berlin’ as it comes. Grungy, soulful and heartfelt, the restaurant embodies the essence of understated cool. La Soupe Popularie is located in a building known as The Studio House, a once derelict building on a large block of land, not far from central Berlin on the border of the well-known Mitte area. The building may have been unused for a while, but most Berliners will tell you that the site use to house many an underground party, all of which adds to the building’s sense of cool. Know also that its location feels slightly off the beaten track which also gives it an air of mystic. These days the building not only provides the space for La Soupe Populaire, but it is also houses an art gallery and the very, very cool Crocodile Bar. A multi-millionaire investor bought the site recently and his intention is to transform The Studio House into something bigger with a hotel and many restaurants. La Soupe Populaire is just the start.

In keeping with the design of the large industrial space, La Soupe Populaire has been decorated with vintage furnishings, minimalist table settings and a warm lighting that gives the restaurant a great sense of coziness. Tim Raue might be a 2 Michelin starred chef, but his intention for La Soupe Populaire was that this was to be the people’s restaurant. As such the standard menu, which shows off some true Tim Raue classics such as his famed mustard egg, oozes accessibility with its limited options of four starters, four mains and two desserts. But there’s also a concept piece to the menu with some additional dishes being devoted to honouring and complimenting the nationality of the artist who is on show at the time. These dishes change along with each exhibition change about every three to four months. Also of note at La Soupe Populaire were the prices that were exceptional value for this calibre of cooking.

To start our meal we were presented with some fantastic crusty sourdough bread and a wonderful selection of homemade pickles and a hearty meaty German sausage. For the bread, there was a spread of lard with roasted onions and pickles.

La Soupe Populaire - To start...

To start…

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Coffee at The Liberty Bounds

Posted on Monday, 24th February 2014

One of the best places to drink coffee in London is The Liberty Bounds. Located in a beautiful Edwardian building on the banks of the Thames, The Liberty Bounds overlooks the historic Tower of London and the gorgeous Tower Bridge.

The Liberty Bounds

The Liberty Bounds

The Liberty Bounds is a pub so it might surprise you that it also offers coffee. But The Liberty Bounds lays host to some of the best coffee bar equipment around, so it’s worth considering as a stop off point for a drop of the dark hot beverage considering the delightful views that are on offer or if you happen to be en route to the historical Tower of London and the famous stories that lie within its walls.

The Liberty Bounds

The Liberty Bounds

There is also an extensive menu serving decent pub grub at reasonable prices. There are also beers (of course!) and the service is solid. Moreover, the décor of the pub is typically English and is charmingly decorated in a warm woody finish with a grand and spacious feel.

Considering The Liberty Bounds’ proximity to such a prime tourist location, its diversity of offerings, it makes for great value for money.

Note: This is a sponsored guest post.

Royal Ascot 2014 – Restaurant & Catering Preview

Posted on Friday, 21st February 2014

Royal Ascot 2014 will span the dates of 17 and 21 June, and as with every year, Royal Ascot 2014 promises to be something special. Last weekend I had the good fortune of being invited to a press event at Ascot Racecourse to experience a spectacular tasting menu designed to provide an insight into the cuisine that will be served throughout these five magical days.

Ascot Racecourse offers a number of fine dining options and this year two Michelin starred chefs will be cooking at Royal Ascot to present their Michelin starred food. Atul Kochhar from the one-Michelin starred Benares will be on hand to serve his modern take on Indian cooking at the Panoramic Restaurant, which as the name suggests offers unrivalled ‘panoramic’ views of the racecourse. Also cooking is the two-Michelin starred Tom Kerridge from The Hand and Flowers who will treat guests to his smart British classics in the soon to be opened On Five Restaurant overlooking the final furlong. But the premier dining venue at Royal Ascot is without doubt The Parade Ring Restaurant. Located adjacent to the Royal Box, it is here that Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal party comes to dine. Guests who savour the food at The Parade Ring Restaurant are presented with canapés on arrival followed by a five course à la carte menu and a full afternoon tea from Ascot’s Executive Chef Steve Golding.

Royal Ascot 2014 - Salmon

Salmon

Our day at The Panoramic Restaurant started with some gorgeous canapés from Rhubarb, the caterers which will oversee the private box hospitality packages during the five days of Royal Ascot. Here we were treated to salmon mi cuit – beautifully fatty salmon with a yuzu dressing, some rich and decadent foie gras rocher – foie gras parfait coated with hazelnuts, and some fresh and sunny Cornish crab. Also delicious were the garden pea panncotta with its beautifully creamy texture and a superbly tasty duck with mooli. To wash down these delicious treats was a glass (or two or three) of Bollinger champagne.

Royal Ascot 2014 - Foie gras rocher

Foie gras rocher

Royal Ascot 2014 - Pea pannacotta

Pea pannacotta

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The Meat Co

Posted on Thursday, 13th February 2014

The Meat Co is a steak house situated on the Southern Terrace of Westfield’s Shepherd’s Bush. The ground floor operates as a bar, and upstairs is an enormous dining area decorated in warm dark tones. Established in South Africa in 2000, The Meat Co resonates meat through and through. The headline act is the Connoisseurs’ Choice of cuts, which included chateaubriand, wagyu and kangaroo. There are also super-aged steaks, and for something simpler, meat skewers and burgers are available as well. For non-red meat eaters there are also chicken, seafood and veggie options. Basically there is a little something for everyone.

From the starters we tried the burrata cheese salad (£13.50) which came with a tasty whole piece of burrata and fresh Roma tomatoes, cucumber, rocket, and hazelnuts. A balsamic dressing had been used, but the salad needed more seasoning.

The Meat Co - Burrata cheese salad

Burrata cheese salad

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Attica Restaurant – San Pellegrino No. 21 Best Restaurant in the World, 2013

Posted on Monday, 10th February 2014

In an age where foraging for ingredients is the vogue, Attica Restaurant in Melbourne has won out as the Australian restaurant which does this best. Chef Ben Shewry often wakes before dawn to forage for ingredients by the seashore. He also grows his own herbs and vegetables in his two gardens, one of which is situated behind the restaurant, the other in Ripponlea Estate in Melbourne. Foraging and cultivating such beautiful produce for use in his inspired cooking has earned him and Attica many awards including Chef of the Year 2014 and Restaurant of the Year 2014 from The Age (an Australian newspaper). In 2013 Attica also came in at No. 21 in the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

The décor at Attica Restaurant is understated yet comfortable. There’s an air of expectation as you walk into the dining room. You can sense a purposeful energy in the way the waiting staff go about their business, as if the staff know that they onto a good product and that they truly believe in it.

While we perused the menu – an 8 course-tasting menu for $190 (about £102) – we were treated to some gorgeous homemade rye bread topped with wattle seeds, a rich Jersey home churned butter, and an incredibly delicious macadamia purée topped with a smoked macadamia oil and quandong (a natrive Australian fruit) powder. The combination of the two made for a thrilling taste sensation.

Attica Restaurant - The bread

Attica Restaurant – The bread

Next were the amuse bouches, the first of which was an unusual mushroom leaf to be dipped in a fermented corn juice with forest anise. The leaf is a native of Papua New Guinea and apparently only 25% of people can taste its mushroom flavour. We weren’t one of those people, but the leaf was fresh and inherently interesting when eaten with the intense, almost hollandaise like nature of the fermented corn juice. Alongside the leaves were some pickled chantenay carrots which were crunchy and sharply acidic.

Attica Restaurant - Mushroom leaves, corn puree and carrots

Mushroom leaves, corn puree and carrots

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