The Fish & Chips Shop by Des McDonald

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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Angler Seafood Restaurant

Angler seafood restaurant is part of the D&D Group and located on the seventh floor of the glamorous South Place Hotel. The dining room is elegant, yet unimposing with a relaxed sophistication to it, and its floor to ceiling windows and outdoor terrace provides exciting views of the city. The executive chef is Tony Fleming who previously worked with Marco Pierre White at the Criterion and the three Michelin-starred Oak Room. Tony has also cooked at Oxo Tower, The Great Eastern Hotel and at One Aldwych. Seafood has always been his specialty, and at Angler, this has translated into a British seafood menu with a contemporary twist that saw it awarded a Michelin star in September 2013.

The dinner got off to a smashing start with some of the loveliest langoustines (£5 each) that I have ever tried. These Orkney Islanders were mouthwatering with a delectable sweetness and were firm in texture. If this was anything to go by, the other crustacean options of shellfish platter, clams and crab would no doubt have been exquisite as well. The breads were also heavenly and moreish. Served warm and eaten with the beautiful salted butter made for something moreish.

The langoustines at Angler

Langoustines

Breads at Angler

Breads

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Storied Suppers by Mount Gay Rum – at The Anthologist Bar & Kitchen

Mount Gay Black Barrel

Mount Gay Black Barrel

A couple of weeks ago I attended ‘A Storied Supper’ evening hosted by Mount Gay Rum at The Anthologist Bar and Kitchen. A brand synonymous with sailing, sun and fun, Mount Gay Rum had its origins in Barbados in 1703, making it the oldest rum in the world. The idea behind the Storied Supper evening was to pair a variety of different rum cocktails with a three-course menu to showcase its versatility when eaten with food. And along with each cocktail, there was a ‘story’ shared by the ambassadors from Mount Gay Rum about the origins of the cocktail for some added joie de vivre, the very essence of what Mount Gay is meant to represent.

The first course was a the “Fire & Ceviche” – sushi grade tuna with coconut milk and a lime citrus sauce topped with shaved red onion, chilli, coriander and toasted coconut. The tuna was fresh and the coconut added a lovely crunch to the fish. However more coriander and chilli would have made the dish more aromatic and the tuna could have done with slightly more seasoning.

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Duck & Waffle

The bar at Duck & Waffle

The bar at Duck & Waffle

Duck & Waffle opened in the summer of 2012 and it has made an indelible mark on the London dining scene. With a name like Duck & Waffle, how could it not? But the name is not its only draw card. Located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower near Liverpool Street, it offers glorious views over the City of London, the kind that could perhaps only be matched with vouchers for an exciting helicopter ride.

Before you hit enter the restaurant proper, there is the funky stylish bar that serves a range of cocktails. It’s very cool – every bit as cool as special drinks at the Ice Bar. The restaurant itself is casually slick with an urban feel to it. The essence of Duck & Waffle is British dining tapas style. The menu contains a selection of starter plates, breads, raw dishes, and small and large plates, some of which are particularly interesting including the unusually styled duck & waffle dish (but more on that later).

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Street Kitchen

Street Kitchen is back! A collaborative effort between chefs Jun Tanaka from Pearl and Mark Jankel, the Street Kitchen airstream first popped up during London Restaurant Festival last year in Covent Garden to bring healthy bistro style dishes in take away boxes to Londoners. I love its ethos. Mark has a B.Sc. (hons) in Environmental Science from the University of East Anglia and is devoted to reliable quality sustainable food sourcing. Therefore, all the produce used by Street Kitchen comes directly from the suppliers to ensure quality and freshness. Throw in the gourmet skills of the two chefs and what you have is a fantastic meal cooked using excellent produce, and at very reasonable prices.

Street Kitchen

Street Kitchen

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Bonds Restaurant and Bar

Bonds Restaurant and Bar opened in 2002 with head chef Barry Tonks taking the helm in 2004. Formerly a bank, the restaurant offers up a blend of American walnut floors, oak fittings and magnificent columns. Classy and chic is what this place is, and its most spectacular feature, a stained glass vault roof, is a sight to behold. Tonks’ CV doesn’t read too badly either, and includes time spent at Michelin starred Chapter One and the now closed Putney Bridge Restaurant with Anthony Demetre. He then became Senior Sous Chef at The Landmark under John Burton-Race, during which time the restaurant earned two Michelin Stars. Finally, as the head chef at McClements, Tonks gained his first Michelin star at the age of 30.

I recently dined at Bonds as part of a bloggers dinner. A hand made ‘native blue’ lobster raviolo was fat and tasty (£16.95). It was too big to be considered elegant, and visually, the dish looked rather dull. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the plumpness of the raviolo as it was generously filled with lobster. It was finished with a heady and creamy Armagnac bisque which worked well with the delicious meaty filling.

‘Native blue’ lobster raviolo

‘Native blue’ lobster raviolo

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L’Anima Italian Restaurant

The bread basket at L'Anima

The bread basket at L'Anima

If you want to know how to make linguine alle vongole, Francesco Mazzei can be found on YouTube with a series of videos demonstrating what to do. I checked them out myself and it all looked very tasty. Francesco Mazzei is the chef patron of L’Anima, a restaurant located near Broadgate Circus which opened last year to some acclaim. It’s garnered several awards this year, including a 2009 Harden’s Remy Martin Restaurant Award for Excellence.

So I decided to go and see for myself what all the fuss is about. The restaurant is one slick joint, catering to the well padded wallets of the city diner – or rather their expense accounts – so it’s not exactly cheap. Other than me, everyone was pretty much decked out in their city finery during my lunchtime. The restaurant is bright and spacious with a translucent feel to it which comes from the floor to ceiling glass panels that run the entire length of the restaurant. This was all very nice, but it made it rather confusing to find the entrance for the door is glass too. I ended up walking back and forth in front of the restaurant a couple of times, and I assure you it wasn’t just me being ditzy – my dining companion had trouble finding the door as well!

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1901 @ Andaz

1901 @ Andaz

1901 @ Andaz

Isn’t it funny how when you are running late, there is always a problem on the London Underground? Or maybe there are almost always problems on the Tube, but it’s just that such delays are much more noticeable when you’re in a rush. I was in a hurry to get to lunch, and readers who have read my Viet Noodle Bar post will know that when food is on the cards, I like to try and be on time, although admittedly only with varying degrees of success. Therefore, I started to fret as the train was held up first at one station, and then again at the next. “Lunch is waiting for me. Is my entire journey going to be like this?” I thought, gritting my teeth.

But somehow, I managed to arrive at Liverpool Street exactly 3 minutes before my lunch reservation at 1901 at Andaz. Wow, how about that for miraculous timing! I rounded the corner out of the station and saw my lunch companion (1) head into the restaurant, and (2) then come straight back out. It seems that from a distance he had spotted me and decided to wait for me outside instead. Later he would tell me he saw me out of the corner of his eye and that he recognised me from a distance by my ‘walk’. My ‘walk?’ I know a supermodel I resemble not, so what about my walk could be so memorable? Did it resemble a waddle, like the side to side action of a penguin in motion? But I did not ask. I didn’t want to. Some things in life you are just better not knowing.

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