"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!"


Posted on Monday, 14th September 2015


Tonkotsu on Dean Street specialises in ramen noodles, the tonkotsu kind from which it derives its name. Tonkotsu ramen hails from Kyushu, the most south-western of all Japan’s main islands. Tonkotsu ramen is distinctive as it is made using a pork bone broth, typically cooked for about 16 hours which gives it a rich creamy flavour and is distinct to the miso and soy broth based varieties.

There are a plethora of ramen noodle restaurants in Central London. Tonkotsu was one of the very original ones to open, before it was joined by the likes of Bone Daddies, Shoryu Ramen, Kanada-Ya, and most recently Ippudo. Having tried Bone Daddies, Shoryu Ramen and Kanada-Ya, it is my opinion that Kanada-Ya serves the best tonkotsu ramen out of the three. But Tonkotsu on Dean was one of the first in London, and I have always wanted to see how it would fair against the rest.

We began our meal with starters of king prawn katsu (£6) with a tonkatsu sauce and salt and sansho pepper squid. The prawns were delicious, with a lovely firmness and a tasty, sweet flavour. The panko crumb coating was crispy and light, and with the sauce, the crispy prawns tasted wonderful.

Tonkotsu - London Food Blog - Prawn katsu

Tonkotsu – Prawn katsu

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The Duck and Rice

Posted on Monday, 7th September 2015


The Duck and Rice is the latest outlet by design supremo and superstar restaurateur Alan Yau who is best known for the Michelin starred Chinese restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha, and the high street dining chains Wagamamas and Busaba Eathai. With The Duck and Rice, Yau pays “homage to the ‘holy’ [sic] British drinking establishment” by converting what was once the rather shabby Endurance Pub into a modern day boozer on the ground floor and a funky Chinese restaurant on the first. It’s an interesting new approach to Chinese eating, and it certainly adds a new twist to the concept of east meets west.

I went to The Duck and Rice with Krista from Passportdelicious.com and we both agreed that we loved the ambience of the restaurant. It was very COOL with a dynamic energy that made it a great dining venue. Krista was happy for me to order and so I did my best to order as much food as I could with the £50 that I received for writing about the UNCOVER app.

We started with some sesame prawn toast (£6.50) which had been recommended in many reviews. These proved to be really enjoyable and had been expertly prepared with a generous spread of tasty and well-seasoned minced prawn topping. The sesame seeds worked well to complement the flavour of the prawns, and the toast was crispy and admirably did not taste oily.

The Duck and Rice - London Food Blog - Sesame prawn toast

The Duck and Rice – Sesame prawn toast

Venison puffs (£4.80) are a take on another dim sum classic, the char sui (BBQ pork) puff, and here they were delicious, packing in lots of great flavour. The sauce in the filling had the right level of consistency and sweetness and was very authentic tasting. However the pastry was ever so slightly underdone and not quite flaky enough. A few more minutes of cooking time and these could have been perfect.

The Duck and Rice - London Food Blog - Venison puffs

The Duck and Rice – Venison puffs

Jasmine smoked pork ribs (£14) were sublimely tender with a great flavour. But the ribs needed more sauce, and the sauce needed more spicing. Nevertheless, we really enjoyed the ribs. We both agreed it was better to have good quality ribs that were well cooked with not enough sauce, rather than badly cooked ribs with too much sauce.

The Duck and Rice - London Food Blog - Jasmine smoked ribs

The Duck and Rice – Jasmine smoked ribs

A dish of wasabi prawns (£10.50) contained some good quality battered prawns that were sweet and meaty. But we didn’t enjoy the wasabi mayonnaise that came with the prawns as it was too rich and a little sickly. Serving the mayonnaise as a dipping sauce would probably have worked better. This would have also meant that the batter on the prawns would have stayed crunchier for longer.

Our final dish was the No23 (a reference to how in some Chinese restaurants you order by the number). The No23 was a chicken chow mein (£9.50) which we both found a little disappointing as it tasted flat. The dish lacked for that fragrant (香), almost slightly caramelised effect that you normally get with really well cooked Chinese wok noodles, and this usually comes from having the right level of work heat.

The Duck and Rice - London Food Blog - No23 Chicken chow mein

The Duck and Rice – No23 Chicken chow mein

We both enjoyed The Duck and Rice, especially for its great ambience and funky vibe. As for the food, notwithstanding some weak spots in the cooking, this was fairly tasty with the occasional glimpses of authenticity. The service was pleasant and friendly, and far better than what you would get in a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. Price wise, we were rather impressed with ourselves that we managed to as much as we did for about £50. That said we found the 13% service charge (rather than the standard 12.5%) to be quite cheeky.


1. The sesame prawn toast.
2. The pastry on the venison puffs was admittedly underdone, but the flavour was otherwise excellent.

1. The No.23 Chicken chow mein tasted flat.
2. The 13% rather than the standard 12.5% service charge.

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

About £25 to £45 per head, excludes drinks and service.

Website: http://www.theduckandrice.com/

Square Meal

Duck & Rice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

108 Brasserie

Posted on Friday, 4th September 2015


Set in the heart of Marylebone, 108 Brasserie on 108 Marylebone Lane is a beautiful brasserie restaurant offering a classy all-day dining experience. Furnished with antique mirrors, sumptuous red leather upholstery and nickel detailing, the showpiece of the brasserie is the dark stained oak bar that helps to create a stylish and welcoming ambience.

108 Brasserie houses several distinctive areas. First is the brasserie’s restaurant, a classy dining space which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. The Executive Chef is Russell Ford who previously worked at The Grove. With 108 Brasserie, he has come up with a menu of simple British dishes made from the finest locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Main dishes include Roast Cornish lamb and a selection of salads including a superfood salad for the health-conscious. There is also a section devoted to the josper grill where a selection of meats and seafood can be cooked to order. Second is 108 Pantry, a bright and modern space where breakfast, light lunches and afternoon teas are served.

The bar is the third space at 108, an elegant and stylish area that serves wines, classic British cocktails and a weekly changing menu of small plates. Here we enjoyed a sophisticated and delicious signature cocktail before dinner – The Marylebone (£13) with vodka, champagne, elderflower and black raspberry liquer. The wine list features a comprehensive selection of wines, including the excellent Nyetimber Classic Cuvée (£11.50 a glass, £57 a bottle) English sparkling wine.

108 Brasserie - London Food Blog - The Marylebone

108 Brasserie – The Marylebone

Moving into the restaurant proper, we began our dinner by savoring the bread selection (£2.50) that included soda, sourdough and Guinness bread. The soda and sourdough were respectable, but it was the Guinness bread that proved to be a knockout. It was delicious, with a distinct, robust, and slightly sweet flavour. It was so good we had to have seconds. The bread was served with some wonderful Abernethy Butter.

108 Brasserie - London Food Blog - Bread selection

108 Brasserie – Bread selection

From the josper, the tiger prawns (£15 starter, £24 main) with garlic and parsley butter were gorgeous. The prawns were fat and juicy, and delicious with the butter. A second starter of seared tuna (£11) was also lovely. The tuna was fresh and tasty, and it paired well with the soy and ginger dressing with wasabi as it had a good kick to it.

108 Brasserie - London Food Blog - Tiger prawns

108 Brasserie – Tiger prawns

108 Brasserie - London Food Blog - Tuna

108 Brasserie – London Food Blog – Tuna

To mains, and the lemon sole meunière (£25) cooked on the josper grill was also delicious. The lemon sole can be served on or off the bone (here I had it one the bone), and while I had it as a meunière, there was also the option to have it grilled. The fish was wonderfully fresh and skillfully cooked, and the caper topping added a nice level of acidity to the fish.

108 Brasserie - London Food Blog - Lemon sole

108 Brasserie – Lemon sole

Also from the josper grill was the 8oz steak rib-eye steak (£27). The meat was cooked to order – medium rare and nicely seasoned. It was a tasty cut of meat, but rather chewy, and in this regard it was a little disappointing. The steak came with a choice of sauce and here we ordered a well-made Béarnaise.

108 Brasserie - London Food Blog - Rib-eye

108 Brasserie – Rib-eye

Now a word on the sides. We had some steamed spinach (£4.50) and seasonal greens (cabbage) with toasted seeds and lemon dressing (£4.50), both of which were tasty. But particularly noteworthy was the double-cooked hand-cut chips (£4.50) as these were especially delicious. The chips were wonderfully crunchy on the outside and lovely and fluffy on the inside.

To desserts, and the lemon tart (£7) contained a filling that was good and zingy. However the pastry was soft and let the tart down slightly. The josper grilled pineapple with coconut sorbet, chilli and lime glaze (£7) was light & refreshing, and a vanilla cheesecake (£3), which we ordered from the 108 Pantry display, was also delicious. It was rich and creamy with the right level of density and a good biscuit base.

108 Brasserie - London Food Blog - Lemon tart

108 Brasserie – Lemon tart

108 Brasserie - London Food Blog - Josper grilled pineapple

108 Brasserie – Josper grilled pineapple

108 Brasserie - London Food Blog - Vanilla cheesecake

108 Brasserie – Vanilla cheesecake

We had a delightful experience at 108 Marylebone. Although simple in its design, the dishes were delicious, well executed and fresh. The service was warm and welcoming, and the beautiful restaurant created a really lovely spot for dinner.

Summary Information:

1. The Guinness bread. This was excellent.
2. The meaty tiger prawns.
3. The vanilla cheesecake, especially with its buttery biscuit base.
4. The double-cooked hand-cut chips as these were really crunchy.
5. The warm and welcoming service.
6. The lovely ambience.

1. The chewiness of the rib-eye
2. The soft pastry on the lemon tart.

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

Prices: £28 to £49 for three courses, excludes drinks and service.

Website: http://108brasserie.com/

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Uncover The Lastminute Restaurant App

Posted on Sunday, 30th August 2015


The difficulty with making last minute dinner reservations is that you can spend a lot of time trying to book a restaurant, only to find out that the restaurant has no availability. UNCOVER the lastminute restaurant app helps to get rid of this problem by only showing restaurants with availability on the same or next day.

I found out about UNCOVER through Krista from Passportdelicious.com. Uncover works by curating a highly selective list of cool places. The restaurants on the list then let Uncover know when they have last minute cancellations or no-shows. These pop up on the app allowing you to make your same-day or next-day reservation. Easy.

Uncover app - London food blog

Uncover – The app

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The Shed – Visit No. 2

Posted on Friday, 28th August 2015

Last week I paid a repeat visit to The Shed, a restaurant by The Gladwin Brothers. My first visit was great and you can read about that meal and the background to The Shed here. I also visited The Rabbit recently, the sister restaurant of The Shed and loved that experience too. Sadly this second visit to The Shed was somewhat underwhelming. There were a couple of poorly executed elements in the food. The service was slow as well. Clearly there are some consistency issues at The Shed.

We’ll start with the service which was disorganised. We ordered some wine which failed to arrive as and when it should have. We had to repeat our order three times before the wines finally showed up which meant we had to wait, wait, wait. The restaurant was busy, but not so busy that this couldn’t have been avoided.

The concept of the menu at The Shed continues to centre around a variety of different sharing plates that the restaurant refers to as fast cooking and slow cooking. There are also mouthfuls, the idea of which centres around canapé sized morsels of food which are ideal for getting a mouthful of something tasty.

From the fast cooking section, we tried the pan-fried goat’s cheese (£6.30) with a drizzling of honey and a touch of thyme which tasted warm and good. To round off the dish was a topping of hazelnuts. The idea of the nuts worked with the cheese, but disappointingly, they did not taste as fresh as they should have.

The Shed - London Food Blog - Goat's cheese

The Shed – Goat’s cheese

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Galvin At Windows – The Lunch Menu

Posted on Monday, 24th August 2015


We recently tried the set lunch menu at Galvin at Windows, a Michelin One Star Restaurant by the renowned chefs and restaurateurs, the Galvin Brothers. Located on the 28th floor of the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, Galvin at Windows offers glorious views over Hyde Park and Central London. The three-course set lunch with bellini is priced at £33 and was great value, offering three choices for starter and main, and two choices for dessert.

We both started with the beef steak tartare which was lovely. The beef was tasty and had been finely chopped and marinated with herbs and a strong level of acidity for a great flavour. Accompanying the tartare was a well-made selection of condiments including mustard mayonnaise, a gorgeous confit egg yolk and pickled vegetables.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Beef Tartare

Galvin at Windows – Beef Tartare

To mains, and the roasted fillet of Suffolk pork with braised pork cheek proved to be an accomplished dish. The pork cheek was particularly delicious as it was tender and rich with flavour, although the fillet was a touch chewy as it was slightly overcooked. All the other elements on the plate were good, including a fricassée of broad beans, celeriac and a chorizo and honey spiced jus, all of which were delicious and worked well in bringing the dish together.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Suffolk pork

Galvin at Windows – Suffolk pork

Kimchee risotto with slow cooked egg, fresh corn, sesame and Parmesan proved to be a very interesting dish. There was good depth in the stock, the rice was al dente and the egg added a lovely richness to the risotto. The big disappointment however was that it was very salty.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Kimchee risotto

Galvin at Windows – London Food Blog – Kimchee risotto

To desserts, and an apricot and cherry almond tart with a verbena cream was good but not great. There wasn’t enough of a frangipane flavour in the tart, and it lacked for a buttery sweet pastry that makes classic French tarts taste so great.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Apricot & cherry almond tart

Galvin at Windows – Apricot & cherry almond tart

A second dessert of rice pudding with peach compote, raspberries and pink pepper sorbet was tasty and enjoyable as it was fresh and very summery.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Rice pudding

Galvin at Windows – Rice pudding

There were a few elements in the Galvin at Windows lunch menu that could have been better, but on the whole, I couldn’t fault the cooking which was accomplished and refined. Another plus point was that the menu was very reasonably priced at £33, making it decent value for money. Other plus points included great service and wonderful views. The lunch menu Galvin at Windows definitely gets a big tick from me.

Summary Information:

1. The quality of the cooking especially at this reasonable price point.
2. The good service.
3. The amazing views.

1. The saltiness in the kimchee risotto.

Lunch menu food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 4/5

Lunch menu price: £33 for three courses plus a bellini. Excludes other drinks and service.

Website: http://www.galvin-at-windows.com/

St James Court, A Taj Hotel

Posted on Friday, 21st August 2015


Last week I attended a preview evening of the ‘Around the World in 80 Tastes’ experience (£100 per person) at the gorgeous St James Court, A Taj Hotel on Buckingham Palace Gate. The experience takes you through a culinary journey of four of the different restaurants in the hotel with tasting plates paired with matching wines. We began our evening with a Laurent Perrier Champagne flight paired with canapés in the St James Courtyard of the hotel, an idyllic outdoor dining space surrounded by the world’s largest Shakespearean frieze. It’s a gorgeous al fresco spot, little known about. So spread the world as it’s a lovely spot for a drink and deserves greater recognition.

For our champagne flight we had (from right to left) the Laurent-Perrier Brut, Cuvée Rosé and the Vintage 2004 with scallops and avocado, smoked salmon and ratatouille. The champagnes were delectable and the canapés were fairly tasty.

St James Court Hotel - London Food Blog - Canapes

St James Court Hotel – Canapes

Next we moved to Bistro 51 where a contemporary European menu is served. I recently dined at Bistro 51 where I had a mixed experience. You can read about that meal here. As part of this ‘Around the World in 80 Tastes’ culinary journey, we had a trio of starters including stir-fried chicken with bell peppers, sesame-crusted tuna with pink grapefruit and beetroot gazpacho with feta crumble. The tuna was smart and very tasty, and nicely flavoured with some soy sauce and sesame seeds. The gazpacho was good but could have done with a little more feta for a better balance between sweet and savoury. The chicken didn’t work and wasn’t that appetising. To accompany the starters was an Argentinian Septima Malbec.

St James Court Hotel - London Food Blog - Starters at Bistro

St James Court Hotel – Starters at Bistro

Next we moved to Quilon, an Indian One Michelin Star Restaurant which was the highlight of the evening. Here we enjoyed some pepper shrimp, crab cake, lentil fish, grilled scallop and the Quilon signature fish curry of halibut simmered in coconut, chilli and raw mango sauce. All of these were delicious and perfectly prepared. My particular favourites were the lentil fish as it was beautifully moist and succulent and the fish curry as its flavour was delightful. The tasting plate was accompanied by some Malabar paratha which was outstanding for it was wonderfully light and flaky. The accompanying wine was a Chapel Down Flint Dry.

St James Court Hotel - London Food Blog - Tasting plate at Quilon

St James Court Hotel – Tasting plate at Quilon

From Quilon we moved to Kona, a newly opened restaurant at The St James Court Hotel that serves contemporary dishes prepared using locally sourced, sustainable and organic ingredients. It’s a beautiful, modern looking restaurant, and here we tried the Sussex lamb cooked two ways, as a cannon and Bolognese. The lamb was served with aubergine caviar, polenta, wild roquette pesto and confit eggplant. This was respectable, tasty cooking, although I would have preferred the cannon to more medium rare. The accompanying wines included an Albarino Davila.

St James Court Hotel - London Food Blog - Lamb dish at Kona

St James Court Hotel – Lamb dish at Kona

To finish, we had a dessert platter of calvados marinated apple on a walnut and pecan crumble, chocolate ganache and a deconstructed lemon meringue pie and poppy streusel, all of which were nicely done.

St James Court Hotel - London Food Blog - Dessert plate

St James Court Hotel – Dessert plate

“Around the World in 80 Tastes’ was great fun as it offered lots of different flavour sensations, and I can see this as a good date night option if you want to impress someone with a taste of something a little different. Without doubt, the highlight was the food at Michelin starred Quilon. The food at the other outlets held up well too, and overall £100 was a reasonable price to pay when you take into account the champagnes and the pairing wines.

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

Summary Information:

Overall experience rating: 3.5/5

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The Bridge Room Sydney

Posted on Monday, 17th August 2015


The Bridge Room in Sydney is located within the heart of the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) and is within walking distance of key landmarks such as the Opera House and Circular Quay. Owned by Chef Ross Lusted and his partner and Sunny, The Bridge Room is recognised as one of the best restaurants in Sydney, receiving many glowing reviews and high critical acclaim. The Bridge Room holds a Two-Hat distinction (out of a possible three) as awarded by the prestigious Sydney Morning Good Food Guide. In 2014 Chef Lusted himself was also recognised as The Chef of The Year by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and as the Hottest Chef in Australia by the Weekend Australian Magazine Hot 50 Restaurants.

Chef Ross Lusted has had an illustrious cooking career, previously holding the positions of Executive Chef at Sydney’s Rockpool, Park Hyatt Sydney’s Harbour Kitchen & Bar and Singapore’s Mezza9. Chef Lusted then went on to become the Head of Food & Beverage Development for Aman Resorts before returning to Australia and opening The Bridge Room in 2011. The Bridge Room serves Modern Australian cuisine, drawing inspiration from European and Asian influences cooked with the best of local, seasonal Australian produce.

Housed in an art deco building, The Bridge Room features an open kitchen with a custom built charcoal grill. The dining room is rectangular in shape and is modern and airy in its design, with a key feature being the hand-made ceramics designed by Chef Lusted himself.

We had an amazing experience at The Bridge Room, starting with some Smoky Bay Pacific (on the right) and Port Stephens Rock oysters ($4.50 each – £2.10), both of which were gorgeous. Meaty and tasty with a rich sea flavour, the oysters were served with a shallot and red wine vinegar as well as a white miso dressing with chives that was fabulous.

The Bridge Room - London Food Blog - Oysters

The Bridge Room – Oysters

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