"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!"

Koji

Posted on Friday, 5th June 2015

KOJI

Koji Japanese Restaurant in Parsons Green is a joint collaboration between Nobuhisha Takahashi, the former sushi head chef at both Nobu London and Nobu Cape Town, and Mark Barnett, the former proprietor of the now closed Mao Tai Chinese restaurant. The Koji concept centres around contemporary Japanese dining, ranging from fresh sushi and sashimi being carved out at the beautiful sushi bar, to meats and seafood caramelising sweetly on the robata grill. On the a la carte menu is an array of modern Japanese dishes that draw influences from South America and Europe.

Koji offers a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere. Towards the front of the restaurant is a cocktail bar offering light snacks and the sushi bar where diners can choose to eat their meal whilst watching the sushi craftmen at work. In the restaurant proper is a buzzy restaurant where diners can relax in well-appointed surrounds.

We started with the summer roll with soft shell crab (£15) which was gloriously fresh and summery. The crab was sweet and meaty with a crunchy coating, and it had been paired with seasonal asparagus, tangy pickled ginger and some fragrant shiso leaf. To hold together all the deliciousness was an outer roll of beautifully made soft Vietnamese rice paper. A yuzu dressing added a citrusy and refreshing touch to the roll.

Koji - London Food Blog - Summer roll

Koji – Summer roll

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The Joint

Posted on Monday, 1st June 2015

THE JOINT

Guest post by Food Porn Nation.

With locations in Marylebone and Brixton, The Joint is another American BBQ spot to hit the London food scene. The Joint originally began as a pop up by Warren Dean and Daniel Fiteni and has morphed into an establishment due to its pop up success. The signature dishes include the baby back ribs and chilli chicken wings which are worth a try and the rest of the menu is short and sweet. The dining experience is a casual take away affair, with understated communal wooden benches, and a mixture of paper plates and cutlery for service. Simple yet effective.

To begin, we tucked into the chilli chicken wings (£4.50). These were sticky, tangy, succulent and falling off the bone. The sauce wasn’t as spicy as suggested but the flavour of sauce and the execution of wings were definitely solid.

The Joint - London Food Blog - Chilli Chicken Wings

The Joint – Chilli Chicken Wings

The Joint - London Food Blog - Chilli Chicken Wings

The Joint – Chilli Chicken Wings

The one item I couldn’t resist was the the bloody bacon vodka shot. Ideal for lovers of bacon and lovers of vodka, this shot was infused with a delectable bacon flavour that was followed by a savoury tomato based chaser shot. I highly recommend you try this. Incredibly novel and delicious!

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Q Grill

Posted on Tuesday, 26th May 2015

Q GRILL

A guest post by Food Porn Nation.

What makes Q Grill, Camden truly special is that it comes armed with its very own charcoal pit grill and oven house Jasper smoker, essentially a purpose built grill and smoker inspired by the smoking and barbecuing traditions of the Deep South. This means that we’re talking about some serious soul food from Memphis, Tennessee. Q Grill means business when it comes to meat and offers a selection of American dishes with a Southern and English feel. All meat dishes are carefully prepared and marinated with their own Q cajun seasonings which is then grilled and smoked for optimum smoky richness. Q Grill also serves a range of southern comfort favourites such as macaroni and cheese, fried buttermilk chicken, beef hash and cheesy grits, just to name a few.

We began our meal with the sticky hen wings with Bourbon BBQ sauce (£7.75) which was absolutely delicious. They were perfectly moist, tender and falling off the bone with a lovely charred surface and smokey undertone. The addition of extra house made BBQ sauce made these wings even more exceptional. Sweet, sticky and smokey, simply scrumptious.

Q Grill - London Food Blog -  Sticky hen wings, Bourbon barbecue sauce

Q Grill – Sticky hen wings, Bourbon barbecue sauce

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Nutrition in Practice – Leiths School of Food and Wine

Posted on Thursday, 21st May 2015

NUTRITION IN PRACTICE AT LEITHS SCHOOL OF FOOD AND WINE

The Pure Package, London’s award-winning gourmet dietary food delivery service joined forces last year with Leiths School of Food and Wine last year to launch Nutrition in Practice: The Professional Chefs’ Accreditation. The Nutrition in Practice focused on nutrition and dietary theory and practice and proved to be hugely successful. So this year the course is back, and is now being rolled out to students from a wider range of culinary backgrounds, from amateur cooks to professional chefs.

The Pure Package has long been established as a leading healthy dining option for Londoners, especially those who are time poor. The meals offered by Pure Package are based on the principles of the ‘perfectly balanced diet’. Each day’s delivery includes three meals and two snacks, all of which are designed to ensure that the diner receives the correct balance of proteins, carbohydrates and essential fats. The Pure Package has a solid celebrity fan base, and includes stars such as Hugh Jackman and Lily Cole. Leiths School of Food and Wine, founded by Prue Leith, has long garnered an international reputation for being one of the leading cookery schools in the UK for both amateurs and professionals, and its alumni includes notable names such Lorraine Pascale and Matt Tebbutt.

The Nutrition in Practice Programme will therefore by taught by the culinary teachers at Leiths in partnership with nutritional experts from The Pure Package. The programme will offer a comprehensive understanding of the nutritional make up and effect of food, and will be presented in informative discussions and hands-on cooking sessions. The course is fully accredited and is certified by the Nutritional Therapy Education Commission.

I was invited to a preview evening of Nutrition in Practice: The Accreditation hosted by Jennifer Irvine, the founder of Pure Package, and Camilla Schneideman, the Managing Director of Leiths. The evening opened with a very informative talk by Jennifer on the details on the programme which will cover topics such as portion control; managing food allergies and intolerances; the importance of blood sugar regulation in weight management and complex carbohydrates.

Nutrition in Practice at Leiths - London Food Blog - Jennifer

Nutrition in Practice at Leiths – Jennifer

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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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