"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!"

Barrica Tapas Bar

Posted on Monday, 18th January 2016

Barrica Tapas Bar, sister restaurant to Copitas Tapas Bar in Soho, is a quaint and cosy Spanish restaurant in Fitrovia with yellow walls and checkered tiles. Laid-back it might be, but both the food and wine list are adorned with serious stuff to offer the diner an experience that is genuinely authentic.

On the menu were the usual classics such as croquetas de jamón and tortilla (both of which had run out by the time we turned up), a range of hams, but to name a few. The wine list had been carefully compiled to showcase the diversity of Spain and included 16 sherries, ranging from sweet to dry, with each being available by the glass. Barrica means business, having invested in a bespoke, temperature-controlled cabinet which keeps red wine at its optimal drinking temperature, 16 degrees celsius. What’s more, everything is very reasonably priced. In 2016, Barrica was awarded a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide which recognises quality at great value.

Sadly we didn’t have the opportunity to try the tortilla or the croquetas (my go-to favourites), but we were thoroughly thrilled by all the other savoury items that we tried, especially the grilled king prawns (£9) which were a delight. On the plate were three large prawns in the shell which were nicely cooked, succulent and juicy.

Barrica Tapas Bar - London Food Blog - Grilled prawns

Barrica Tapas Bar – Grilled prawns

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Zelman Meats

Posted on Tuesday, 12th January 2016

Zelman Meats is part of the Goodman Restaurant Group, the team behind the Goodman steakhouses in Mayfair, the City and Canary Wharf, as well as the hugely successful Burger and Lobster chain. It takes over the spot which was once Rex & Mariano, also another venture from the Goodman Restaurant Group. At Rex & Mariano, the focus was reasonably priced seafood which unfortunately didn’t take off. With Zelman’s Meats, the group has shifted its focus to meat, but again with an eye on reasonable pricing.
The décor at Zelman’s Meat is sleek with a tinge of industrial chic. The restaurant is spacious with an open kitchen, dark red leather booth seating, industrial-style lighting and exposed ventilation. In place of traditional paper menus are blackboards on the wall with that day’s offerings. There are three main cuts of meat, picanha (£6 per 100g), chateaubriand (£9 per 100g) and ribs (£12 per piece). The first two are priced by weight with the minimum portion size being 200g.

We ordered the sliced picanha and the chateaubriand, and we enjoyed both of them. The beef came out medium rare, was well seasoned and boasted of a robust charred flavour. Although both cuts of meat were tasty, the chateaubriand was unsurprisingly the better of the two. It had a better flavour as well as being the more tender. We also ordered some sauces to go with the beef, these being the bernaise (75p) and the chimichurri (75p). The bernaise was good with a nice hint of acidity, however the chimichurri was bland.

Zelman Meats - London Food Blog - Picanha & chateaubriand

Zelman Meats – Picanha & chateaubriand

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Barbecoa by Jamie Oliver

Posted on Monday, 4th January 2016

BARBECOA BY JAMIE OLIVER

Named after the Caribbean word for barbecue, Barbecoa by Jamie Oliver is a barbecue steakhouse to satisfy even the most diehard of meat lovers. Founded by both Jamie Oliver and award-winning American barbecue chef and author Adam Perry Lang, Barbecoa boasts of luscious cuts of beef, roasts, pulled pork, ribs, smoked beer-can chicken, but to name a few. The menu is then rounded off by a plentiful assortment of starters, sides and desserts. The meat is prepared using a variety of modern barbecue methods – Texas pit smokers, tandoors, fire pits, robata grills and wood-fired ovens. Moreover, the beef is handpicked and dry aged for up to 70 days by the restaurant’s own in-house butchers (there is a Barbecoa butchery downstairs that sells to the public). Barbecoa also boasts of the widest range of American whiskies in the UK and also offers a list of global wines, American and British beers and an assortment of cocktails.

Barbecoa is every city slicker’s dream. Sleek, well appointed and decidedly modern, the restaurant plays to your appetite with its open kitchen where all the different types of meat, cooking merrily away, are on display and for all to see. But perhaps the most impressive view is that of St Paul’s Cathedral. Barbecoa is perched next to this striking London landmark and offers a perspective like no other – a view that one deserves to enjoy with a cocktail. P chose the Long Islay Iced Tea (£9.50) with Islay Whisky and I went for the Peach Ni-Ti (£10.50) with Matcha-Infused Cucumber Gin, Peach, Lychee, Lemon and Egg White. St Paul’s was breathtaking, but the cocktails were less impressive, particularly the Peach Ni-Ti which needed much more acidity to lift it from its borderline blandness.

Barbecoa - London Food Blog - Peach Tea-Ni & Long Islay Iced Tea

Barbecoa – Peach Tea-Ni & Long Islay Iced Tea

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Perilla at Platform 1

Posted on Thursday, 17th December 2015

PERILLA AT PLATFORM 1

Perilla at Platform 1 is a London dining pop-up founded by Chef Ben Marks who previously cooked at the two Michelin starred restaurants NOMA and The Square, and Matt Emmerson who was previously the restaurant manager at Polpo and Polpetto. After a series of pop-up successes, Perilla recently launched a 4-month residency at Platform 1 on the 10th November, a new permanent pop-up restaurant and wine bar in located in the heart of East Dulwich. Located on Lordship Lane, Platform 1 has an informal neighbourhood vibe.

Head chef Ben’s cookery career began at age 15 at One Michelin Starred Operakaellarens in Stockholm. After completing a 3-year apprenticeship at Claridges, during which time NOMA did a pop-up in Claridges, Rene Redzepi took Ben back to Denmark with him. Ben spent about a year working under Rene Redzepi at the two star giant before returning to the UK to join Phil Howard at The Square.

Ben and Matt’s idea with Perilla was to bring fine-dining to a broader market, by making it less formal and more accessible and affordable. Using his Michelin starred training Ben has developed a creative menu full of fun, flair and flavour, cooked with fresh and seasonal ingredients. In the back garden of Platform 1, Perilla has a herb and vegetable area where produce is grown to service the pop-up, both in the cooking and in the drinks.

The six-course tasting menu was sensational value at £35 and began with bite-size canapés of Roasted Kale with Cod Roe and Crisp Chicken Wing Stuffed with Mushroom. The roasted kale was really fabulous. The kale was light and crispy, and beautifully flavoured with the mellow saltiness of the cod roe. The cod roe itself was wonderful. Rather than roe eggs itself, it had been used to produce these lovely droplets of cod roe cream. For added flavour, a sprinkling of mushroom powder had been used.

Perilla – London Food Blog - Roasted kale & cod roe

Perilla – Roasted kale & cod roe

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Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane – The Christmas Unwrapped Afternoon Tea

Posted on Tuesday, 15th December 2015

INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL PARK LANE – THE CHRISTMAS UNWRAPPED AFTERNOON TEA

Words and photos by by Nicole Chui (Instagram: @nicolemmapearl) and myself.

Located on the ground floor of the Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane is the Wellington Lounge, a comfortable space which offers views of the street (minus the noise) and the edges of Hyde Park. The Wellington Lounge is a lovely spot and a great place for spending time on long chats while enjoying a lovely afternoon tea. Since the holidays are approaching, it was only natural for us to opt for their special “Christmas Unwrapped Afternoon Tea” menu (£42 including a champagne cocktail), and boy was that festive.

Intercontinental Hotel - London Food Blog - Champagne cocktails

Intercontinental Hotel – Champagne cocktails

To start the course of Christmas Afternoon Tea, we were poured a generous amount of the champagne cocktail, champagne with a pear-infused cognac and a small dash of Glenmorangie whiskey. The cocktail was really fabulous, and the fruity addition was a wonderfully refreshing way to kick start the holiday spirit. Following that, the food slowly began to make its way towards our table. We started off with some warm savoury items inspired by Christmas dinner which included a stilton, chestnut and walnut vol-au-vent and a mini honey roast root vegetable pie completed with gravy served from an adorable mini gravy jug. Both of these were really delicious, particularly the pie with its excellent pastry, rustic, homely flavours and gorgeous gravy.

Intercontinental Hotel - London Food Blog - Savoury selection

Intercontinental Hotel – Savoury selection

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Tabl.com Stimulating the Senses

Posted on Sunday, 13th December 2015

Tabl.com is a fabulous new website featuring popup events, “secret” dinner parties and other foodie adventures, ranging from the sociable to the fanciful, the delectable to the unpredictable. But it’s more then just a website where you can find a meal out. Instead, it’s intended to be a social dining revolution, matching friendly guests with awesome chefs and great food at unique venues. What makes Tabl.com special is that most of the pop-ups featured on the website aren’t everyday occurrences. They take place somewhere unexpected, often in private residences, and are designed to offer a unique social dining experience.

Take the Stimulating the Senses extravaganza that I attended recently at Parlour in Kensal Green. The masterminds behind the event were Chef Jesse Dunford-Wood and experimental psychologist Charles Spence who collaborated with Heston Blumenthal on the Sounds of the Sea, a dish that features on the Fat Duck tasting menu. The pair joined forces to produce an unforgettable multi-sensory dining experience that tantalised and teased during the course of the evening. Playful experiments were conducted during the dinner, centring on the effect of sight and sound and how it affected our reactions to the food. Charles Spence himself was on hand to carry out the experiments with the results being revealed at a later stage.

Tabl.com Stimulating the Senses - London Food Blog

Tabl.com Stimulating the Senses

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Lurra

Posted on Thursday, 10th December 2015

LURRA

The team behind the wonderful Spanish tapas restaurant Donostia recently launched a new restaurant, Lurra, a few months ago. Located a few steps down from it’s big sister, Lurra is similarly a celebration of Basque food. Lurra means “land”, and draws its inspiration from the traditional charcoal and wood grills of the region.

Lurra is a sleek looking outfit. The entrance is small and initially leads into a narrow space. On the right were some refrigerators boasting an impressive range of 14 year Rubia Gallega “Galician Blond” Prime Rib which forms part of the menu (but more on this later). Thereafter you enter the main restaurant area on the ground floor, a well-proportioned, comfortable and airy space with a glass wall that looks out onto the courtyard. There is also another well-lit dining area on the first floor, but the ground floor offers much more charm.

Lurra - London Food Blog - Prime rib

Lurra – Prime rib

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Masterchef Tony Rodd – La Belle Assiette

Posted on Monday, 7th December 2015

I recently attended a La Belle Assiette validation dinner cooked by Masterchef Tony Rodd, one of the 2015 finalists. For those of you who haven’t heard of La Belle Assiette, it is a private chef service company, with the chefs registered on the website being available for hire to cook in your personal home. The chefs take care of everything: shopping, cooking, serving and cleaning up. But before the chefs can become available for hire, their skills are certified during a Validation Dinner where the chef cooks a four-course meal reviewed (and validated) by panel of judges.

On the night of Tony’s validation dinner we managed to get two masterchefs for the price of one. Assisting Tony was Luke Owen, himself a finalist of Masterchef 2014. Both gentlemen were lovely and so much fun to chat to. I love a little bit of harmless gossip, and they shared with us some of the behind-the-scenes action at Masterchef.

The validation dinner was held at the lovely south London home of London-Unattached.com, the acclaimed food blogger. We started the evening with a dish called Textures of Beetroot. This consisted of beetroot served four ways – roasted, pickled, pureed and raw. The dish was lovely, and lightly dressed with a refreshing vinaigrette. Helping to boost the salad were some broad beans, feta cheese and walnuts which gave the dish more texture and dimension.

Tony Rodd - La Belle Assiette - London Food Blog

Tony Rodd – La Belle Assiette – Textures of beetroot

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