"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!"

Dabbous

Posted on Tuesday, 19th May 2015

DABBOUS

When Dabbous opened in 2012, it became THE most talked about restaurant in London. The cutting-edge Modern European cooking by Oliver Dabbous, previously of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Hibiscus, Mugaritz, The Fat Duck, Noma and Texture, bewitched the critics. Dabbous went on to earn critical acclaim, a Michelin Star in 2013, and the distinction of being the most unattainable dinner reservation in town.

The décor at Dabbous is every bit as cutting edge with the restaurant carving out a dark, minimalist space. Dabbous oozes industrial chic with the sound of loud house music ringing in the background. In the basement is Oskar’s Bar, named after Ollie’s business partner and Dabbous co-founder Oskar Kinberg who was once the head barman at The Cuckoo Club, a private members’ club. Here bar snacks and a heady array of cocktail delights is served, making Oskar’s Bar a go-to destination for cocktail lovers. Together the pair also opened Barnyard in 2014.

Dabbous offers a four-course set menu (£56) as well as a seven-course tasting menu (£68). We chose the latter option, which began with a dish of burrata, basil and tamarillo which was lovely. The burrata was creamy and the basil was fragrant. But it was the deliciously zingy tamarillo that proved to be the most exciting element of this dish. It’s lively flavour and freshness brought all the elements of the dish together beautifully.

Dabbous - London Food Blog - Burrata

Dabbous – Burrata

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Bistro 51 – St James Court Hotel

Posted on Monday, 11th May 2015

BISTRO 51

St James’ Court Hotel on Buckingham Gate offers a number of dining options, one of which is Bistro 51. Contemporary in design but somewhat subdued in taste, Bistro 51 serves a contemporary European menu. The hotel is part of the Indian owned Taj Hotel Group, one of the largest hotel chains in the world. As such, the menu also includes a number of Indian-inspired dishes.

We dined from the Chef’s special menu which is priced at a reasonable £30. We started with a boccocini and cherry tomato tian with pickled portobello and pesto which was pleasant and tasty. The mellow flavour of the bocconini with the sweetness of the tomatoes was a lovely pairing, with the pesto providing freshness to the dish.

Bistro 51 at The St James Court Hotel – London Food Blog - Boccocini and cherry tomato tian

Bistro 51 at The St James Court Hotel – Boccocini and cherry tomato tian

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The Fish & Chips Shop by Des McDonald

Posted on Friday, 8th May 2015

The Fish & Chips Shop by Des McDonald, with locations in Islington and The City, is a posh modern day neighbourhood fish & chip shop that takes pride in serving fresh sustainable fish. Fish and chips takes pride of place as the signature dish, and is cooked using Des McDonald’s own special batter recipe made with Camden beer and served with hand cut chips. But The Fish and Chips Shop doesn’t just serve ‘posh fish and chips’. Instead diners can also select from a range of raw bar items such as rock oysters and Atlantic prawns. There are also a variety of starters such as crab on toast with spiced avocado, and mains such as Scottish mussels marinière and Cornish monkfish vindaloo. Diners can also chose to have their fish served grilled, steamed or breaded.

Des McDonald is a man who knows his food well. Previously a Head Chef at The Ivy, Des later went on to become the group chief executive of Birley Group, Caprice Holdings, and Soho House, before eventually forming his own restaurant group, Des McDonald Restaurants etc. Des is also the restaurateur behind Holborn Dining Room, a restaurant styled in the essence of a grand brasserie. With The Fish & Chips Shop by Des McDonald, the city restaurant resembles a traditional British café, drawing on the use of salvaged timber, duck egg blue panelling and burgundy-glazed tiles. Key to its design is a rectangular bar where one can find a wide range of bottle and draft beers as well as a variety of cocktails. The wine list at The Fish & Chips Shop by Des McDonald features a variety of reds, whites and roses including some of Des McDonald’s own blended wines.

Our first course was the crumbed scampi tails (£11.50) which were wonderfully crunchy, with the coating not only helping to seal in the juiciness of the scampi, but contrasting well with the softness of the flesh. These came with a homemade tartar sauce which was zingy and creamy.

The Fish & Chips Shop - London Food Blog - Scampi

The Fish & Chips Shop – Scampi

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Randall & Aubin

Posted on Tuesday, 5th May 2015

RANDALL & AUBIN

I recently had a lovely Sunday Lunch at Randall & Aubin as part of a Zomato meetup. An oldie but a goodie, Randall & Aubin has been a Soho institution since it opened in 1996 and is known for its fresh seafood and fun, convivial atmosphere. I have often walked past Randall & Aubin and been deterred from going in by the queues outside. But queues can be a good thing too as that must surely mean that the food is good!

Randall & Aubin – London Food Blog

Randall & Aubin

The meetup event began with a cooking demonstration by Chef Ed Baines. He took us through the intricacies of making a good seafood sauce and the key to prepping seafood such as the cod that we had for lunch and other crustaceans. The session was really informative and enjoyable, particularly the bit where we got to try the oysters! Ed began his career at the age of 16 with an apprenticeship at The Dorchester under Anton Mosimann. Thereafter he travelled the world, spending time in Australia where he was instrumental in developing the Pacific Rim cuisine there. Ed has also cooked at Bibendum, The River Cafe, and has worked as the official chef to Giorgio Armani. Thereafter he went on to open Daphne’s in South Kensington before teaming up with Jamie Poulton to open Randall & Aubin in 1996.

Randall & Aubin – London Food Blog – Chef prepping the cod for lunch

Randall & Aubin – Chef prepping the cod for lunch

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Rotunda – Edouard Brun Champagne Dinner

Posted on Friday, 1st May 2015

ROTUNDA

Rotunda is a bar and restaurant located at King’s Place, Kings Cross, so named as it is semi-circular in its layout. Situated right on Regent’s Canal, Rotunda is perfectly situated for some waterside drinking and dining. In the summer months Rotunda’s outdoor terrace opens up with deck chairs and an outside gin bar. The BBQ is fired up for some hearty meaty cooking as well.

Rotunda also has a private dining room where themed nights are held throughout the year. These are open to the public for bookings and I recently attended an Edouard Brun champagne dinner in the private dining room. This proved to be great fun with the menu designed around the champagnes. Edouard Brun is a family champagne house founded in 1898, with management of the house having been passed down through the generations. Located in the heart of Champagne, Edouard Brun maintains its quality standards by tasting each tank after fermentation and performing all blending in-house.

The first course was a lobster roll with tarragon mayonnaise and crispy lettuce. The lobster was a little salty, but it was still tasty and juicy, with the bun being soft and tasty. The accompanying champagne was the Edouard Brun 1er Cru, a fruity and well-rounded champagne made from 75% pinot noir and 25% chardonnay. It had a strong body and therefore paired well with the lobster.

Rotunda - London Food Blog - Lobster roll

Rotunda – Lobster roll

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The New Angel

Posted on Monday, 27th April 2015

THE NEW ANGEL

The New Angel is the latest restaurant from Michelin-starred chef, author and restaurateur John Burton-Race, and is his first London restaurant after an absence of 12 years. The New Angel is set in a converted Victorian pub on Chepstow Place, in Notting Hill, and is neighbour to another well-known London establishment, Assaggi. The New Angel opened in April 2014, and within its first year of opening it was awarded three AA Rosettes and recognised by Harden’s as one of its Top 10 new openings of 2015.

John Burton-Race has a long string of Michelin credits to his name, starting with Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons where he worked with the renowned chef Raymond Blanc from 1983. In 1986 John opened his own restaurant, L’Ortolan in Berkshire which went on to win two Michelin stars, a feat John repeated in 2000 with his restaurant at John Burton-Race at the Landmark Hotel. John then sojourned to France for a number of years before returning to the UK in 2004, opening The New Angel in Dartmouth, Devon. This restaurant also attained a Michelin star in 2005, an achievement the restaurant retained until John’s departure in 2010.

With The New Angel Notting Hill, John seeks to replicate the French inspired contemporary European cooking for which he is so well known. The restaurant is classically decorated and oozes with warmth and elegance. Rounding off the fine dining experience is a comprehensive wine list and an experienced team of waiting staff.

We chose the tasting menu (£77) with pairing wines (£137) which kicked off with an amuse bouche of salmon gravalax with a lime and horseradish cream and some vanilla apples which was heavenly. The combination of the acidity from the lime, the sharpness of the horseradish and the sweetness of the apples was perfect judged and added a touch of magic to the delicious salmon. It was a small plate of food, but a truly delicious one at that.

New Angel – London Food Blog – Salmon gravalax

The New Angel – Salmon gravalax

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Renaissance Manchester City Centre Hotel

Posted on Friday, 24th April 2015

During my recent visit to Manchester I stayed at the Renaissance Manchester City Centre Hotel which is located in the heart of Manchester City. The hotel’s location is superb and is in easy walking distance to some of Manchester’s finest bars and shops including Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, and entertainment venues such as Manchester Arena.

The hotel holds a 4 star rating and has spacious and comfortable rooms with city centre views. There is complimentary WIFI access in the reception area and the hotel also offers complimentary access to the Virgin Health Club.

Renaissance Manchester City - Superior Room

Renaissance Manchester City – Superior Room

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Australasia – Manchester

Posted on Wednesday, 22nd April 2015

AUSTRALASIA

As the name of the restaurant suggests, Australasia Restaurant in Manchester serves Modern Australian cuisine, drawing its inspiration from not only Australia but also the Pacific Rim by incorporating a mixture of influences from Indonesia, Southeast Asia and Japan. The entrance to Australasia is an impressive glass shaped pyramid, through which is a staircase that leads down into the glamorous beige dining room. It’s a beautiful space and reminiscent of a well-appointed Hampton’s beach house on Long Island, New York, or as this is ‘Australasia’, a house on the northern beaches of Sydney.

Australasia embraces a ‘tapas’ style philosophy, with the menu offering a large number of sharing options ranging from sushi and sashimi, tempura, robata grills and other small plates. Also available are larger main plates for those diners who wish to follow a standard three-course format.

We shared everything, starting with a soft shell crab and courgette flower tempura (£12.50) that was really tasty. The tempura was well seasoned with a batter that was lovely and light. Both the crab and courgettes were nicely cooked with the crab proving to be fleshy and moist.

London Food Blog – Australasia - Soft shell crab tempura

Australasia – Soft shell crab tempura

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