"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!"

Donostia – Visit #2

Posted on Tuesday, 29th March 2016

Donostia, a tapas restaurant has its roots steeped in the Basque region of Spain. It is a stylish little number, with dark wood floors providing a contrast to the restaurant’s long, sleek and white interior. Donostia rings with a comfortable and contemporary casualness, and has a menu that lists many temptations. Located on trendy Seymour Place, it is neighbours with its sister restaurant Lurra, which I also visited last year.

I first went to Donostia in 2012 and at the time I liked the experience, but felt that in certain areas the cooking could have been better. Visit number two, and this time around I felt like I couldn’t get enough.

A mini wagyu beef burger (£5.60) was flavoursome and very enjoyable. It was a teeny tiny thing, so not ideal for sharing. But it was packed with flavour and nicely fatty and juicy. The toasted bun was soft and sweet, and the crunchy purple potato crisps went nicely with it.

Donostia - London Food Blog - Mini wagyu burger

Donostia – Mini wagyu burger

A dish of skrei cod with arroz negro (£14.20) was a touch salty, but otherwise this was a stunning plate of food. I love skrei cod from Norway. It’s a beautiful delicate piece of fish that flakes ever so nicely, and is abundant with flavour. At Donostia, they did the fish proud as it was perfectly cooked. The arroz negro was also very tasty and deep with the flavour of the squid. It was nicely done, but as mentioned, a touch salty.

Donostia - London Food Blog - Skrei cod

Donostia – Skrei cod

We really enjoyed the foie gras (£5.60) with walnuts and PX vinegar served on a slice of toasted sourdough. The foie gras was unctuous and rich, and it paired really well with the sweet, slight acidity of the vinegar. The use of walnuts was a wonderful addition as it provided some crunchiness.

Donostia - London Food Blog - Foie gras

Donostia – Foie gras

I had a disappointing dessert experience at Donostia’s sister restaurant Lurra last year and so I initially had reservations about trying the dessert at Donostia. But despite that, I found myself to be really impressed with the torrija with mint ice cream (£5.20). Similar to a bread pudding where the brioche bread had been soaked in milk, there was a lovely lightness to the torrija, not to mention a beautiful creamy taste.

And the mint ice cream? Well I am not a big fan of mint ice cream. On most occasions I find the mint too overpowering. But here, the use of the mint was very well judged and perfectly delicate. The pairing of the two proved to be, surprisingly, an excellent choice. This is a special Easter dessert and so unfortunately will probably no longer be available.

Donostia - London Food Blog - Torrija

Donostia – Torrija

We were well satisfied with the quantify of food that we ordered, but easily could have eaten more. Everything was really delicious and far more accomplished than I remembered from before. Donostia is a sleek, well-tuned affair with excellent food. The service was also very good.

SUMMARY INFORMATION:
Likes

1) All of the food was delicious, particularly the skrei cod (even if it was a little salty).
2) I adored the torrija – it had a beautiful texture and flavour.

Dislikes:
1) The skrei cod was a little salty.

Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 3.5/5

Prices: About £35 to £45 a head.

Website: http://www.donostia.co.uk/

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Donostia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Morada Brindisa Asador – Calcotada

Posted on Monday, 21st March 2016

Morada Brindisa Asador is part of the Brindisa family, but instead of focusing on tapas, it brings Castilian tradition to London with an emphasis on roasting meats in an “asador”- a vast wood fired oven.

Morada Brindisa Asador - London Food Blog

Morada Brindisa Asador

We attended a traditional calҫotada earlier this month, held at the restaurant only on weekends in February and March. A calҫot is a Catalan onion, described as a vegetable somewhere between a spring onion and a leek. We could have never imagined this vegetable could be such a highlight in the delicious, social gathering that the calҫotada is.

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The Little Yellow Door

Posted on Monday, 14th March 2016

One of London’s longest standing pop-up bars, The Little Yellow Door in Notting Hill is back with a vengeance. The quirky pop-up bar is based on a fictional flatshare, and is decorated in such a way that makes you like that you are in someone’s cosy and quirky London home. Think very East Village New York! Since opening its doors in October 2014, The Little Yellow Door has rapidly become a West London institution. Its infamous house parties have seen long queues, and The Little Yellow Door’s Friday Dinner Party has achieved widespread fame, selling out every week since it opened.

The flatmates have secured an extension to their lease extension, and with it they are bringing on a new all American housemate, Hank. This means that The Little Yellow Door will be able to continue their infamous house parties, retro gaming nights, kitchen suppers, Thursday takeovers and supper clubs with the chef-in-residence, The Wandering Chef.

Hank, the newest housemate, will be the inspiration behind the latest food and drinks menu at The Little Yellow Door. This means that the Wandering Chef will be serving up an array of American classics such as Philly Cheesesteaks with pulled beef shin, Swiss cheese and pickled chilli and onions and Buffalo wings.

P and I popped along for a bloggers event recently, to taste their all American Friday supperclub menu (four-courses including a welcome cocktail for £35). Starters included a wedge salad with burnt ends, grated egg, ranch and tobacco onions; thick cut bacon with red eye mayo; and chilli apple and pickled watermelon all of which was really tasty and robust with flavour.

The Little Yellow Door - London Food Blog - Starters

The Little Yellow Door – Starters

Also delicious was the soup course, a New England clam chowder with Shrimp and Corn. It was rich and creamy with a healthy dose of clams.

The main course was a veritable feasting board of bourbon glazed ribs, pulled beef shin, buffalo wings, smoked sausage, burnt ends, served with pickled chilli and kraut slaw, potato and bacon salad, mac ’n ’cheese, watercress and pickles and burnt onion ketchup. The meat was succulent and meltingly tender. Also moreish were the salads. The mac ‘n’ cheese was also really enjoyable.

The Little Yellow Door - London Food Blog - Bourbon glazed ribs, pulled beef shin, buffalo wings, smoked sausage, burnt ends

The Little Yellow Door – Bourbon glazed ribs, pulled beef shin, buffalo wings, smoked sausage, burnt ends

The Little Yellow Door - London Food Blog - pickled chilli and kraut slaw, potato and bacon salad

The Little Yellow Door – pickled chilli and kraut slaw, potato and bacon salad

To finish off the evening there were some tasty desserts of an oreo, banana and bourbon hard shake and a brownie with malt cream and raspberry.

I loved the vibe and the energy of The Little Yellow Door. The concept is truly unique and inviting and fun, and I can see it as a place to easily make lots of new friends. What’s more, the food at the Friday night supperclub was homely, extremely tasty and very well executed. Great venue, great vibe, tasty food – all of which makes for a really fabulous supper club.

SUMMARY INFORMATION:
Likes

1) Love the venue – its fun and quirky.
2) The food, although simple, was tasty and well executed.

Dislikes:
1) As an overall experience – couldn’t think of any.

Food rating: 3.75/5
Ambience/vibe rating: 4.5/5

Price: £35 a head for the Friday supperclub four-course tasting menu. Includes one cocktail but excludes other drinks and service.

Website: http://www.the-little-yellow-door.co.uk/

The Little Yellow Door Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Dining Room at The Oakley Court

Posted on Monday, 7th March 2016

THE DINING ROOM AT THE OAKLEY COURT

The Oakley Court is a quintessential four-star country house hotel, set in a 33-acre estate in Windsor, about an hour’s drive away from London. Running through the estate is a stretch of the River Thames, which makes the property ideal for long walks or for exploration by bike. The property is well equipped with its own gym, indoor swimming pool, tennis court as well as a 9-hole golf course. Most famously however, Oakley Court has been the setting for many a movie including The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Oakley Court - London Food Blog

Oakley Court

We stayed in one of the Director’s Suites at the hotel, a spacious, comfortable and well-appointed room overlooking the lovely groups of Oakley Court as well as the River Thames. This was as quintessentially country English as you can get with charming antique furnishings.

Oakley Court - London Food Blog - Director's Suite

Oakley Court – Director’s Suite

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Mac and Wild

Posted on Wednesday, 2nd March 2016

MAC AND WILD

Mac and Wild is all about meat – Scottish meat in fact. At the heart of its operation is wild deer which comes from co-owner Andy Waugh’s father’s estate, with the rest of the produce being sourced from other trusted highland properties.

The origins of Mac and Wild dates back to when Waugh first set up at Borough Market in 2010, selling raw deer meat. Before long, his next venture came about as ‘The Wild Game Co’ which saw him dishing out venison-based street food. A pop-up was next, which was so well received that Mac and Wild, the permanent location, came into being in 2015.

The finished product, Mac & Wild on Great Titchfield exudes a minimalist touch with wood tables and bare brick walls. Yet it manages to maintain a sense of a stylishness to it with its soft dim lighting and charming ambience. The menu is predominantly about the meat, but there are also a number of fish and veggie choice to ensure that every palate is catered for.

The highlight of the evening was without question the venison chateaubriand (£11 per 100gm – we ordered 310gm). Packed with flavour and mesmerisingly tender, this was staggeringly good. Perfectly cooked and well seasoned, this was truly a triumphant piece of meat and well worth the price.

Mac and Wild - London Food Blog - Venison chateaubriand

Mac and Wild – Venison chateaubriand

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Benito’s Hat Farringdon

Posted on Monday, 29th February 2016

BENITO’S HAT FARRINGDON

Words and Images by guest blogger @nicolemmapearl (twitter/instagram)

Benito's Hat - London Food Blog

Benito’s Hat

Benito’s Hat Farrington is the perfect place to let loose with some Margaritas and Burritos with friends after work. It was therefore no surprise that the bar was full, busy and bustling, with an amazing neon Mexican hat display at its entrance. Benito’s Hat is a chain restaurant with restaurants throughout London, and it does a good job of providing a funky, cool vibe.

Benito's Hat - London Food Blog

Benito’s Hat Farringdon

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ferdiesfoodlab

Posted on Monday, 22nd February 2016

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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Rivea London

Posted on Monday, 15th February 2016

RIVEA LONDON

The Rivea London Restaurant at the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge draws its inspiration from the vibrant food markets of the Italian and French Riviera. Therefore what you see on the table is a blend of French and Italian dishes drawn up from the freshest seasonal produce. Executive Chef Alexandre Nicolas worked with Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse both in London and Paris for ten years. As such, he brings a touch of refinement to a menu that focuses on simple, yet bold flavours.

We booked the ‘Star Deal’ menu at Rivea London through Bookatable.co.uk which comprised of four plates and a glass of wine for a very reasonable £35 per person. The starter selection offers a varied choice of six options, and accordingly we each chose different dishes and were able to try four items. The Star Deal menu is very much designed for sharing, as is the a la carte menu, which is something that I love to be able to do.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Bread Selection

Rivea London – Bread Selection

We began the meal with a selection of breads (lemon, focaccia and sourdough) accompanied by a tasty selection of nine, mostly vegetarian dips such as beetroot and horseradish and pumpkin and nutmeg. This was a really colourful way to start the evening before we moved onto the glorious starters. The ‘Rivea’ niçoise salad wrapped in a socca (a thin chickpea flour pancake which originates from Nice) was one of the best niçoise salads I have ever tasted. All the ingredients were delicious, but it was the dressing that set the dish alight, as it was lovely and delicate, and it showed off an incredibly skillful touch. Also well conceived was the mozzarella with puntarella (chicory).

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Salad (l), mozarella (r)

Rivea London – Salad (l), mozarella (r)

A tuna tartare was also wonderful, boasting of precisely cut pieces of tasty tuna which had been lovingly marinated. We also enjoyed the marinated line-caught sea bream with citrus. The sea bream was delicious and the accompanying citrus dressing proved to an eclectic pairing. The dressing was rich and creamy, and perhaps a little overpowering against the fish, but overall the dish very tasty.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Tuna & sea bream

Rivea London – Tuna & sea bream

We thought both of our main courses to be delicious if a little small in size. The scallops with accompaniments of Jerusalem artichoke puree, pieces of pancetta and hazelnuts proved to be a fabulous dish, abounding with lots of umami flavour. The scallops were perfectly cooked with a nice caramelisation, the puree was delightfully creamy, and the pancetta and hazelnuts added another dimension to the dish.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Scallops

Rivea London – Scallops

The second main of veal fillet was a simple dish, yet nicely executed. The veal was tender and paired warmly with some potato gratin and spinach. To finish off the dish was a lovely, flavoursome veal jus.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Veal fillet

Rivea London – Veal fillet

Moving onto the desserts and we found the tiramisu to be somewhat of a disappointment. It was bland, with too much cream and not enough coffee or vanilla flavour. The house dessert of a ‘St Tropez’ cake, a brioche sponge with orange blossom and sandwiched with a vanilla marscapone cream faired better and was more enjoyable with its light, airy texture and delicious creamy filling.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Dessert

Rivea London – Dessert

The ‘Star Deal’ set menu at Rivea London put on an impressive display of cooking talent and wonderful produce. Everything that we ate and the house wine that came with the set menu demonstrated quality. Furthermore, we were also charmed by the extremely professional and welcoming service. To round off the experience, Rivea London made for a truly glamorous venue. The décor was wonderfully stylish with a chic ambience, yet it did not overwhelm the diner so as to still maintain a sense of relaxed elegance.

At £35, the ‘Star Deal’ at Rivea London proved to be really great value for money. I was really impressed and I would go again.

SUMMARY INFORMATION:
Likes

1) The niçoise salad wrapped in a socca.
2) The tuna tartare.
3) The veal dish.
4) The scallop dish.
5) The wonderful service.
6) The ambience.
7) The great value star deal menu.

Dislikes:
1) The tiramisu.

Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 4/5

Price: The ‘Star deal’ menu on Bookatable.co.uk is £35 and includes one glass of wine. Excludes other drinks and service.

Website: http://rivealondon.com/

Rivea London - Bulgari Hotel & Residences Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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