"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!"

Benito’s Hat Farringdon

Posted on Monday, 29th February 2016

BENITO’S HAT FARRINGDON

Words and Images by guest blogger @nicolemmapearl (twitter/instagram)

Benito's Hat - London Food Blog

Benito’s Hat

Benito’s Hat Farrington is the perfect place to let loose with some Margaritas and Burritos with friends after work. It was therefore no surprise that the bar was full, busy and bustling, with an amazing neon Mexican hat display at its entrance. Benito’s Hat is a chain restaurant with restaurants throughout London, and it does a good job of providing a funky, cool vibe.

Benito's Hat - London Food Blog

Benito’s Hat Farringdon

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ferdiesfoodlab

Posted on Monday, 22nd February 2016

FERDIESFOODLAB

Simon Fernandez, the man behind ferdiesfoodlab, burst onto the supper club scene some seven years ago, with his then legendary fernandezandleluu supper club. His latest pop up being a project sees him in collaboration with the London Kitchen Project in Battersea. A non-profit community centre that started life about six months ago, the London Kitchen Project seats 40 and devotes itself to food, sustainability and the use of 100% renewable energy.

The collaborative project sees ferdiesfoodlab running a series of pop up dinners at the London Kitchen Project approximately every four weeks, serving a six course-tasting menu priced at £45. P and I popped along recently and found the dinner to be well considered and cleverly constructed. The first course was a 5hr slow roast rib of lamb, pulled, pressed, cubed and coated in breadcrumbs, served with garlic Turkish bread and a dip of fresh herbs and lime. The lamb was delicious, moist and moreish, and went swimmingly with the accompanying bread and dip. But the crumbing on the lamb could have been crispier which would have really elevated the dish.

Ferdies Food Lab - London Food Blog - Slow cooked lamb

Ferdies Food Lab – Slow cooked lamb

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Rivea London

Posted on Monday, 15th February 2016

RIVEA LONDON

The Rivea London Restaurant at the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge draws its inspiration from the vibrant food markets of the Italian and French Riviera. Therefore what you see on the table is a blend of French and Italian dishes drawn up from the freshest seasonal produce. Executive Chef Alexandre Nicolas worked with Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse both in London and Paris for ten years. As such, he brings a touch of refinement to a menu that focuses on simple, yet bold flavours.

We booked the ‘Star Deal’ menu at Rivea London through Bookatable.co.uk which comprised of four plates and a glass of wine for a very reasonable £35 per person. The starter selection offers a varied choice of six options, and accordingly we each chose different dishes and were able to try four items. The Star Deal menu is very much designed for sharing, as is the a la carte menu, which is something that I love to be able to do.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Bread Selection

Rivea London – Bread Selection

We began the meal with a selection of breads (lemon, focaccia and sourdough) accompanied by a tasty selection of nine, mostly vegetarian dips such as beetroot and horseradish and pumpkin and nutmeg. This was a really colourful way to start the evening before we moved onto the glorious starters. The ‘Rivea’ niçoise salad wrapped in a socca (a thin chickpea flour pancake which originates from Nice) was one of the best niçoise salads I have ever tasted. All the ingredients were delicious, but it was the dressing that set the dish alight, as it was lovely and delicate, and it showed off an incredibly skillful touch. Also well conceived was the mozzarella with puntarella (chicory).

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Salad (l), mozarella (r)

Rivea London – Salad (l), mozarella (r)

A tuna tartare was also wonderful, boasting of precisely cut pieces of tasty tuna which had been lovingly marinated. We also enjoyed the marinated line-caught sea bream with citrus. The sea bream was delicious and the accompanying citrus dressing proved to an eclectic pairing. The dressing was rich and creamy, and perhaps a little overpowering against the fish, but overall the dish very tasty.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Tuna & sea bream

Rivea London – Tuna & sea bream

We thought both of our main courses to be delicious if a little small in size. The scallops with accompaniments of Jerusalem artichoke puree, pieces of pancetta and hazelnuts proved to be a fabulous dish, abounding with lots of umami flavour. The scallops were perfectly cooked with a nice caramelisation, the puree was delightfully creamy, and the pancetta and hazelnuts added another dimension to the dish.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Scallops

Rivea London – Scallops

The second main of veal fillet was a simple dish, yet nicely executed. The veal was tender and paired warmly with some potato gratin and spinach. To finish off the dish was a lovely, flavoursome veal jus.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Veal fillet

Rivea London – Veal fillet

Moving onto the desserts and we found the tiramisu to be somewhat of a disappointment. It was bland, with too much cream and not enough coffee or vanilla flavour. The house dessert of a ‘St Tropez’ cake, a brioche sponge with orange blossom and sandwiched with a vanilla marscapone cream faired better and was more enjoyable with its light, airy texture and delicious creamy filling.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Dessert

Rivea London – Dessert

The ‘Star Deal’ set menu at Rivea London put on an impressive display of cooking talent and wonderful produce. Everything that we ate and the house wine that came with the set menu demonstrated quality. Furthermore, we were also charmed by the extremely professional and welcoming service. To round off the experience, Rivea London made for a truly glamorous venue. The décor was wonderfully stylish with a chic ambience, yet it did not overwhelm the diner so as to still maintain a sense of relaxed elegance.

At £35, the ‘Star Deal’ at Rivea London proved to be really great value for money. I was really impressed and I would go again.

SUMMARY INFORMATION:
Likes

1) The niçoise salad wrapped in a socca.
2) The tuna tartare.
3) The veal dish.
4) The scallop dish.
5) The wonderful service.
6) The ambience.
7) The great value star deal menu.

Dislikes:
1) The tiramisu.

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

Price: The ‘Star deal’ menu on Bookatable.co.uk is £35 and includes one glass of wine. Excludes other drinks and service.

Website: http://rivealondon.com/

Rivea London - Bulgari Hotel & Residences Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Square Meal

Hakkasan – Chinese New Year Menu

Posted on Monday, 8th February 2016

Several months ago I visited Hakkasan Hanway Place to try their delightful Dim Sum Sundays menu. The experience was really enjoyable. Not only was the food good, but there was also plenty of booze to go with the food which made it a really fun way to spend Sunday afternoon. And now, with Chinese New Year upon us, Hakkasan have brought out a Chinese New Year Menu to celebrate the year of the monkey.

As some of you may know, the number 8 is the luckiest number in the Chinese culture as it has a similar pronunciation to the word wealth. Accordingly, this Chinese New Year menu is priced at an auspicious £88.88. The menu begins with a soup, several starters, followed by a selection of mains to share.

The soup was ginseng and chicken with bamboo pith and wolfberries which was really delicious. The broth was clear with a beautiful flavour, and it showed off a wonderfully authentic, masterful touch, with both its choice of traditional Chinese ingredients and also in how it had been prepared.

Hakkasan - London Food Blog - Double boiled fresh Ginseng and chicken soup with bamboo pith and wolfberry

Hakkasan – Double boiled fresh Ginseng and chicken soup with bamboo pith and wolfberry

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Jose Pizarro Broadgate

Posted on Monday, 1st February 2016

JOSE PIZARRO BROADGATE

Jose Pizarro Broadgate is Jose Pizarro’s third restaurant and follows in the footsteps of Jose and Pizarro. Both on Bermondsey Street, these two restaurants will go down as two of the best Spanish tapas places that I have ever eaten at in London. Jose Pizarro trained at the award–winning Meson de Doña Filo in Madrid before coming to London. He co-founded the Brindisa chain of restaurants before branching out on his own and opening his flagship restaurant Jose in 2011. Eating at Jose was an enlightening experience for me and it showed that traditional tapas recipes could be elevated to something exquisite with the best products, great skill and lots of love and care. Pizarro was also another great dining experience, although Jose will always win hands down on the coziness front.

Jose Pizarro Broadgate is a smart, corporate affair located in the newly developed Broadgate Circle at Liverpool Street. It’s a pretty slick set up and would suit the city lunchtime crowd well. We went on a Saturday night, enjoying the 50% off offer available through Opentable. We began our meal with some classics including the croquetas ‘caseras’ (£6.50) which were tasty and filled with a warming, creamy béchamel and little bits of Portobello mushroom. The filling was nicely done, but the crumb coating was very dark and a bit hard, and it was evident the croquetas were slightly burnt.

Jose Pizarro Broadgate - London Food Blog - Croquetas

Jose Pizarro Broadgate – Croquetas

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Nespresso Connoisseur Club

Posted on Monday, 25th January 2016

NESPRESSO CONNOISSEUR CLUB

I recently attended a very enjoyable and informative session of the Nespresso Connoisseur Club at the newly opened Nespresso branch at Westfields London in White City. The Nespresso Connoisseur Club was designed to provide Nespresso Club Members with a unique learning experience, especially created for all those who want to develop their knowledge of coffee, understand more about the art of coffee making and how to enjoy it at its finest.

A Nespresso machine - Awesome colour!

A Nespresso machine – Awesome colour!

There are two types of sessions, both of which are conducted in small groups and last around an hour. One session is known as An Introduction to the Sensory Analysis of Coffee, and this is the session that I attended. This proved to be a fun filled journey where we were shown some of the skills and techniques that the experts use to identify the aromatic profiles of the Nespresso Grand Crus families.

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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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