"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!"

Mexico by Kitchen Theory

Posted on Wednesday, 18th November 2015

MEXICO BY KITCHEN THEORY

Mexico by Kitchen Theory is a collaborative gastronomic project founded by Jozef Youssef who has worked at the Fat Duck, Helene Darroze at The Connaught, The Dorchester Hotel and is also the author of Molecular Gastronomy at Home. Kitchen Theory began as a website aimed at sharing knowledge in the field of gastronomy covering topics such as food science, food culture, food history, multisensory flavour perception, neurogastronomy and molecular gastronomy which has now manifested into experimental dinners, workshops and guest talks.

Mexico by Kitchen Theory is a labour of love, with Chef Youssef having spent over a month in Mexico researching the project, delving into the country’s rich culinary history and working with top Mexican chefs. He has also teamed up with Oxford University’s Professor Charles Spence, the head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory. Professor Spence is interested in how people perceive the world around them, particularly, how our brains process the information from each of our different senses (such as smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch) to form the extraordinarily rich multisensory experiences that fill our daily lives. Together the pair is working towards a remarkable sensory dining experience as part of ‘the chef and the scientist’. With Mexico by Kitchen Theory, the idea is to shatter the UK perception that Mexican cuisine is mostly based on Tex-Mex and rather, it can be a sophisticated Central American fare with a refined, modern, multisensory twist.

We tried a beautiful four-course lunch menu which began with the ‘Holy Trinity’ of corn, beans, and chilli. The starter was so called as corn, beans and chilli have historically formed the ‘holy trinity’ of the Mexican diet, providing a balance of proteins and vitamins. This course was delightful, with a beautifully textured refried bean puree topped with grilled corn in husks, some soaked guajillo chilli chiffonade and huitlacoche which is similar to corn fungus or Mexican truffle.

Mexico by Kitchen Theory - London Food Blog - Holy Trinity

Mexico by Kitchen Theory – Holy Trinity

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Percy and Founders

Posted on Monday, 16th November 2015

PERCY AND FOUNDERS

Percy and Founders - London Food Blog

Percy and Founders

Percy and Founders, an elegant bar and restaurant, opened in the spring of 2015 and offers a contemporary British menu. Open all day, everyday, Percy & Founders serves everything from a quick morning coffee, to business lunches to a sit down dinner. It has also an eloquent bar area, and is equally ideal for evening cocktails. On weekends, Percy & Founders serves boozy brunches and Sunday roasts.

Executive Chef Diego Cardoso brings with him a wealth of experience having worked a seven-year stint as the Head Chef at Angela Hartnett’s Murano. The menu is seasonally and showcases a comprehensive selection of dishes. The drinks list is also comprehensive and affordable. It includes wines from both small grower labels as well as established producers, and a variety of cocktails, mocktails, bottled craft and draft beers. In the nicer summer months, there is also an alfresco drinks area on the terrace.

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‘Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way’ by Luiz Hara

Posted on Sunday, 15th November 2015

‘NIKKEI CUISINE: JAPANESE FOOD THE SOUTH AMERICAN WAY’ BY LUIZ HARA

One of my favourite food bloggers / supper club chefs / cookery writer is none other than Luiz Hara from TheLondonFoodie who cooks some of the most extraordinary Nikkei food imaginable. I have had the the opportunity to sample his cooking on numerous occasions at his supper club events in his East London home, and following on from the success of his supper clubs, Luiz has recently brought out his first cookbook. Called ‘Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way’, the book is a celebration of the best that South American inspired Japanese cooking can offer.

I strongly urge you to try one of his supper clubs which you can book through his website. Failing that, you can try and replicate some of his recipes, one of which, I had the opportunity to help prepare at his cookery class. The dish was salmon and passion fruit tiradito which I love because it is so fresh, lively on the palate, tangy and visually appealing. I am featuring the recipe below and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way

Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way

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Pizza Union Kings Cross

Posted on Wednesday, 11th November 2015

PIZZA UNION KINGS CROSS

Pizza Union - London Food Blog

Pizza Union

Pizza Union is a pizzeria that serves a variety of fire-baked Roman style thin and crispy 12″ pizzas, salad, Dolce, gelato, and a selection of drinks. The restaurant itself is contemporary looking with a casual counter style service. Pizza Union has an easy-going atmosphere, and the staff were all friendly and helpful. Most importantly, it has free wifi! Pizza Union is known for their “Superfast” service, which is true because I could see that their turnover rate was really high.

Pizza Union has two branches, one in Spitalfields and one in Kings Cross. The latter is close to the station, and can be found on Pentonville Road. It opens everyday from 11am to midnight and no bookings are required. What’s more they offer takeaway too. If you’re craving their pizza from afar, you can order through their website and pick it up at the branch.

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Bao

Posted on Monday, 9th November 2015

BAO

Bao, the Taiwanese sensation that is the talk of Soho, was everything that I expected it to be and more. Bao serves BAOs, Chinese steamed buns with a variety of fillings plus a number of other Taiwanese specialties. It’s a no frills kinda place, simply decorated, tiny and cramped with little wooden stools. Yet all this matters not when you taste the sensational flavours that Bao dishes up. Little wonder that there are constant queues lasting for upwards of an hour out front.

Bao came from humble beginnings, more specifically from a Taiwanese trio in their twenties (including a brother and sister). The three first set up a food stall in North-East London and quickly gained a loyal following. Enter, the Sethi family as backers, the people behind the Michelin starred Trishna, Gymkhana and Lyle’s, and Bao on Lexington Street was born.

Everything was really, really good, but the classic bao (£3.75) with slow braised pork belly, preserved vegetables and peanut powder was my favourite. The pork was superbly tender with a lovely sweet tenderness to it. The bun was light, airy and sweet, and I loved the aroma and nuttiness that the peanut powder provided. Finally, the preserved vegetables added a touch of acidity to cut through some of the richness of the pork. This was nothing short of spectacular.

BAO - London Food Blog - Classic bao

BAO – Classic bao

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Umu Japanese Restaurant at Frieze Masters

Posted on Friday, 6th November 2015

Umu Japanese Restaurant in Mayfair is a favourite of the many who work at the Japanese Consulate, and understandably so. Executive Chef Yoshinori Ishii previously spent nine years at Japan’s three Michelin-starred Kyoto Kitcho and recently won Umu its second Michelin star. Chef Ishii’s haute cuisine approach to Japanese cooking means his food at Umu is graced with a touch that is both elegant and precise.

Every year Umu runs a pop up restaurant at Frieze Masters, the annual 5 day art fair that brings together several thousand years of art from over 130 of the world’s leading galleries. The last day of Frieze Masters was on the 18 October, but I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Umu pop-up restaurant before Frieze Masters finished. The Umu pop-up only offered a limited selection of starters, sushi, sashimi, and mains from the original Umu menu, but it was still a great showcase of the flavours of Umu, drawing on similar dishes and ingredients from the same sources. Umu Head Chef Yoshinori Ishii remained in charge of the pop-up and worked the sushi bar as we ate. Also in attendance was a legion of full time staff from Umu in Mayfair.

From the starters a tuna tartare salad (£17) was deliciously meaty and sweet from a fabulous shiso dressing. Dressed with micro cress, the tartare was topped with some thin and crunchy lotus root chips that worked a treat with this generously portioned dish. A seafood salad (£17) with prawn, scallop and abalone was also delectable. The seafood was delightfully fresh and sweet and worked well with the lovely lightness and acidity of the accompanying tosazu jelly.

Umu Japanese Restaurant - London Food Blog - Tuna tartare

Umu Japanese Restaurant – Tuna tartare

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Reform Social & Grill

Posted on Wednesday, 4th November 2015

REFORM SOCIAL & GRILL

Reform Social & Grill has a presence in London and Dubai, with the restaurant in London being housed within the Mandeville Hotel. The restaurants pride themselves in providing a British experience, offering a complete experience of afternoon tea, brunch and an a la carte menu that showcases a number of British classics.

The décor of Reform Social & Grill London was tasteful, taking its inspiration from a traditional British gentleman’s club. There were a variety of photos and prints, eclectic without being impersonal. The seating was comfortable with a mix of tables and chair and dark leather booths. There was punk-era music playing in the background at a suitable volume, non-intrusive until you take the time to notice.

The menu opens with a variety of sharing platter options to suit all palettes: fisherman’s platter, baked cheese platter, butcher’s platter. Starters followed including Crispy South Coast Squid, Chicken Liver Pate and Hendricks Gin Salmon.

Along with salads, classic main dishes including Fish and Chips and Braised Ox Cheek Pie are offered alongside some “Josper Grill” specialties. We feel that people who utilise Josper Grills mean business so we looked no further, feeling spoiled for choice with a range of meats: Burgers, Glazed Beef Short Rib, Minted Lamb Cutlets, Butchers Steak, Rib Eye Steak, and Pork T-Bone.

There was a reasonable selection of wines by the glass on the menu and we started the evening with a couple of glasses of Chapel Down Brut, English Sparkling Wine. We enjoy finding English wine more frequently on restaurant menus, and it certainly holds its own against the fizz from the continent.

Bread arrived at the table and these were nothing special, nor were they a representation of the meal to come.

To start we had the squid (£7) and the salmon (£7.50). The waiter brought a small glass of gin to accompany the salmon which was presented as thin slices with a creative ‘tartare dressing’. The salmon was firm with delicate flavours and, when eaten before a sip of gin, the gin was far more fragrant and palatable than it would be if drunk neat. The ‘Tartare’ was broken down into separate elements: scattered capers, gherkin and heavily whipped cream placed on top of the salmon. The concept had potential, but the cream masked the salmon’s taste. If the cream was infused or flavoured in some way, perhaps this effect could have been dampened.

Reform Grill - London Food Blog - Salmon

Reform Grill – Salmon

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Quilon

Posted on Monday, 2nd November 2015

Quilon opened in 1999 and quickly established itself as one of the pre-eminent Indian restaurants in London. Located in the St James Court Hotel, Quilon exudes an air of smart, refined elegance. Chef Sriram Aylur discovered his love of food at a young age when he first stepped into his father’s kitchen. He gave up a career in law to pursue his cooking career, joining the Taj Luxury Hotel Group in 1989. Chef Sriram hails from the South West coast of India, and as such, seafood is at the heart of the Quilon menu. Despite that, Quilon also offers an eclectic range of meat, poultry and vegetarian options, with many dishes designed for sharing. Chef Sriram’s approach to Indian cooking is contemporary and progressive, importing many of his spices from India. In 2008 Quilon won a Michelin star which the restaurant has retained ever since.

A starter with a fitting name of Fisherman’s catch (£16) contained a selection of lovely, fresh seafood. On the plate were some well-flavoured pepper shrimp; a crab cake plump with fresh, sweet crab; a beautifully cooked piece of lentil fish topped with a gorgeous chilli and mango relish; and a succulent piece of grilled scallop.

Quilon - London Food Blog - Fisherman’s catch

Quilon – Fisherman’s catch

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