"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!"

Vibrant and Delicious Caribbean Cuisine

Posted on Thursday, 3rd April 2014

Never tried Caribbean cuisine before? Be prepared to taste a combination of the freshest ingredients, a wealth of spices and a diversity of dishes influenced by countries from around the world. There’s definitely nothing mundane about the vibrant cuisine from the Caribbean.

If you’re one of the 25 million people set to take Caribbean holidays in 2014 then prepare to taste some of the most delicious food imaginable while you’re sunning yourself on the isles. You will enjoy a tantalizing array of dishes influenced by those who colonized the islands including the Dutch, Americans, British, Spanish and French. Throw in Africa, Asia and Latin American influences and you’ll soon realize that diversity is a key ingredient in Caribbean dishes. If you were under the impression that Caribbean cuisine was simply about jerk chicken and sweet potatoes then it’s time to think again.

Island cuisine

A major factor in the food you will eat in the Caribbean is that most of the islands have their own specific dishes and key ingredients. French cuisine plays a big influence, as you would expect in French Caribbean islands such as Martinique, while the Dutch Antilles is of course influenced by cuisine from the Netherlands. Cubans prefer dishes with cumin and black beans while the English islands have a penchant for curried dishes. However spices are a major element no matter which island you visit or which dish you try.

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Wahaca Westfield White City

Posted on Friday, 28th March 2014

Wahaca, the Mexican street eat restaurant chain started by the 2005 Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers, is one of my favourite cheap eats in London. Wahaca do some key things really well. Their vibe is relaxed and chilled, the ingredients they use are always fresh, and the dishes are refreshingly appetising. You can also expect a general level of consistency in the food no matter which branch you visit as most of the prep is done in the centralised Wahaca kitchen on Charlotte Street before being distributed to the various Wahaca branches. And best of all the food is really reasonably priced. And did I mention the yummy cocktails?

We visited the Wahaca at the very smart Westfield White City, perfectly located for a bite to eat after a spot of shopping. We kicked of with some drinks, heading straight for the interesting Tequila Experience (£10.65) which consisted of three separate tequila shots. First up was the cold sharpness of the Calle 23 Blanco which served as an aperitif washed down with sangrita. Next was the Reposado, a tequila with a light and woody flourish that we slowly savoured during the meal. To finish, we had the Añejo Calle 23, an aged tequila which was smooth and mellow with a nice finish. We also really adored the refreshing and not too sweet passionfruit margarita (£6.25).

Wahaca tequila experience and guacamole

Wahaca tequila experience and guacamole

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Amico Bio

Posted on Friday, 21st March 2014

It’s not often that I blog about vegetarian restaurants. But the concept of Amico Bio is rather unique and seemed worthy of a visit. Not only is Amico Bio vegetarian, it is an Organic Italian vegetarian restaurant. Head Chef and owner is Pasquale Amico who trained with the likes of Gary Rhodes, Bruno Loubet and Giorgio Locatelli. Prior to Amico Bio he also owned the successful Via Condotti on Conduit Street which held a Bib Gourmand.

There are two Amico Bio outlets in London – one in Holborn and one in Barbican. There’s also a third restaurant in Naples, Italy. The menu contains a range of starters, antipastas, pastas and main courses with vegan options and gluten free pasta. Amico Bio uses ingredients from Pasquale’s family farm in Capua, Italy, and given the efforts to bring the produce over from Italy (organic no less), its surprising how reasonably priced the menu is. Amico Bio sings of heartfelt, green, healthy cooking.

We started with a lovely roulade of potato and mushrooms with aubergine caponata and roast pepper sauce (£7) which was nicely done. The mushrooms were delicious with an excellent texture and well placed alongside the potatoes. The caponata and pepper sauce worked well with the roulade.

Amico Bio - Roulade of potato & mushrooms

Roulade of potato & mushrooms

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Reinstoff – 2 Star Michelin Restaurant Berlin

Posted on Monday, 17th March 2014

Reinstoff is a highly acclaimed two-Michelin starred restaurant located in the Mitte district of Berlin. The restaurant has also been bestowed with 18 Gault & Millau points with Head Chef Daniel Achilles holding the accolade of Gault & Millau Chef of the Year, 2014. Chef Achilles has trained with some highly acclaimed stars of the culinary world including the likes of three-Michelin-starred Juan Amador and Christian Bau. Victor’s Gourmet Restaurant by Christian Bau is one of my favourite restaurants of all time, and it was easy to see Bau’s influence of exactitude in Chef’s Achilles food as well. At Reinstoff the modern style of the food was executed with precision and can be best summed up by the name of the restaurant itself. In German rein means pure and stoff means matter.

Reinstoff is housed in the historic Edison Courtyard and The Courtyard is so named as it was here that the first light bulbs in Germany were manufactured in 1883. Reinstoff has stayed true to the history of the building. The original brickwork has remained as has the tall glass windows. Also in view is the Prussian vaulted ceiling from which 240 silver glass balls hang to give Reinstoff an elegant effect.

The Reinstoff menu consists of two degustation options, a ‘Quite Near’ menu which focuses on locally sourced ingredients, and a ‘Far Away’ menu which utilises ingredients more international in flavour (five courses – €100, six courses – €120, eight courses – €160).

We went for the Far Away menu, but first to the canapés. A mustard ice cream with marinated walnuts providing an interesting contrast between the sharp flavour of the cold ice cream against the nuttiness of the walnut. Marinated trout with kohlrabi and a piece of crispy fish skin was slightly fishy in taste and it was therefore less appealing even though the skill with which it had been prepared was evident. We thought highly of the shrimp with its accompanying dried, intensely sweet red berries and wonderful horseradish cream, but the highlight was the mushrooms crisps with crunchy coffee for it was gloriously rich in flavour.

Reinstoff - Canapes

Canapes

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L’Eto Caffe

Posted on Tuesday, 11th March 2014

L’Eto Caffe operates a string of six venues in London, all of which serve a pre-prepared display of savoury items, sumptuous looking cakes, baked goods and a variety of hot and cold drinks, all of which are available for either take out or eat in. The savouries are sold by weight (about £2.80 per 100gm) and include the likes of Georgian aubergines with pomegranate, walnuts and coriander, and baby spinach salad with goat’s cheese, dried cranberries and nuts. The Kings Road and Belgravia branches also have an à la carte selection of starters and mains for those seeking something prepared to order.

We were in the Kings Road branch after a spot of shopping and we found it to be an inviting location with bright colours and mouthwatering salads on display. The salads looked great but we decided to try the à la carte menu instead with our first starter being a crab and avocado salad with soy and lime dressing (£16). The crab in the salad was lovely and the avocado was ripe and tasty. The dressing was decent and not too overpowering, although slightly less soy and more lime might have achieved a better balance of flavours between the two.

L'Eto Caffe - Crab salad

Crab salad

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Vox Restaurant – Grand Hyatt Berlin

Posted on Monday, 10th March 2014

Vox Restaurant in The Grand Hyatt Berlin is unusual in that it offers a sushi and sashimi selection as well as a contemporary European menu. The restaurant, located on the ground floor of the hotel, is buzzy and modern, and oozes a hip-n-happening vibe helped in no small part by its dark décor and sleek lines. The open plan kitchen is divided into two sections each catering to the two different elements of the menu. A bar graces the entrance to the restaurant which was busy partying away on the night of our Saturday visit.

We decided to try the Japanese side of things first and elected for the nigiri, maki and sashimi collection (€29) as well as an ebi (prawn) roll (€18) with unagi (eel) sauce. In a city not famed for its sushi, our offering proved to be acceptable. The fish was fresh and palatable, although we longed for salmon and tuna which were a little fatter and richer in taste. Also a touch of something sweeter, perhaps some Japanese mayo, would have really helped to lift the prawn roll. A miso soup (€6) was delicious, but we found a seaweed salad (€12) to be disappointing. The seaweed was a little chewy and bland, and the dressing a little too acidic.

Vox - Sushi, sashimi & prawn roll

Sushi, sashimi & prawn roll

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Coffee at Bar Italia

Posted on Sunday, 9th March 2014

An English cup of tea is a quintessential part of the British culture, but there’s no doubt that coffee also has a stronghold on the British psyche. In recent years we have seen an amazing growth in coffee bars, especially in London.

For coffee lovers in London, there is now a wealth of fabulous cafes throughout the city. One of these is Bar Italia located on Frith Street in the heart of Soho. Bar Italia is as true to the busy Italian coffee bar culture as they come. The design of the coffee shop is intimate and cozy and kitted with high spec equipment. The walls are also awashed with black and white pictures of old Italy to give it a genuine Italian feel.

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

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Medlar

Posted on Monday, 3rd March 2014

Medlar Restaurant is a rustic little number on Kings Road occupying the site that was once Vama Restaurant. It serves French ‘style’ food, but as the Medlar website states it also draws inspiration from “all over”. The restaurant was founded by a couple of experienced old hands of the restaurant trade. Head Chef and owner Joe Mercer Nairne honed his skills at Chez Bruce, The Savoy Grill and the big hitting Sydney restaurant Rockpool, and front of house is run by his business partner David O’Connor who was previously at The Square and The Ledbury.

A reading of the Medlar menu suggests food that is warm and satisfying, and the simplicity of the soft greyish tones of the restaurant décor goes a long way in supporting an experience of comfort. The three-course set menu consists of eight options per course and is priced at £45 for dinner from Monday to Saturday. But the same menu is available during lunch and on the weekdays it is even better value at £27 (Saturday lunch- £30, all day Sunday – £35).

We started with the roast foie gras (+£3 supplement) with poached quince. The foie gras was incredible, being beautifully soft, lusciously rich and satisfyingly decadent. The poached quince had been nicely done and worked well with the foie gras, and a drizzling of sherry vinegar caramel was excellent giving way to a perfect touch of acidity. Finely chopped hazelnuts texture and a nice finishing touch. My only wish was a bigger piece of foie gras as it was quite small.

Medlar - Roast foie gras

Roast foie gras

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