Tsukiji Sushi Bar

TSUKIJI SUSHI

Tsukiji Sushi Restaurant is a contemporary sushi restaurant housed at the Westbury Hotel, a luxurious 5-star hotel in the heart of Mayfair which is also home to the One-Michelin starred restaurant Alyn Williams at The Westbury. Tsukiji is a sleek intimate affair which seats only 20, and boasts of clean lines, red woodwork and an open sushi counter. The menu by Head Chef Show Choong is a delightful fusion between traditional and modern, blending classic Japanese flavours with innovative touches to create inventive dishes such as salmon tartar with parmesan cheese.

Chef Show Choong sources organic and seasonal ingredients in his ever-evolving menu. But the true highlight at Tsukiji is the seafood, particularly the sashimi and nigirii which showcases the freshest seafood available. But there is also a varied list of tempting appetisers and grilled dishes, not to mention a selection of set menus ranging in price from £22.50 for a set lunch, to the Kyodosakusei Tokubetsu champagne menu priced at £395 for two. The drinks menu concise lists a carefully selected range of wines, champagne and sake.

We began our meal with some rock oysters (3 for £10.50) which were wonderfully fresh and made all the more delicious with a yuzu ponzu, jalapeno and truffle citrus soy. The dressing gave the oysters sweetness and acidity with a hint of heat.

Tsukiji Sushi - London Food Blog - Rock oysters

Tsukiji Sushi – London Food Blog – Rock oysters

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London House

With London House, Gordon Ramsay ventured out of his usual central London locations to set up in Battersea. London House is a neighbourhood bar and restaurant and resonates with suburban chic. The restaurant overlooks the lovely Battersea Square and boasts of a décor that is modern and classy, yet intimate and welcoming. The menu offers a comprehensive range of modern British dishes, but also boasts of a cocktail lounge bar and a beautiful garden for al fresco drinking (and dining) for those who simply want a tipple.

I recently visited London House as part of a bloggers dinner, and the evening began with some tasty canapés of ham hock and Keen’s cheddar croquettes with mustard mayo and veal Scotch eggs with homemade piccalilli. Both were abundant with flavour, well seasoned and perfectly crisped.

Dinner consisted of three courses including some delectable sourdough bread to nibble on before our starter of Wye Valley asparagus with kale pesto, poached duck egg, wild garlic and hazelnuts. This was an accomplished dish, with each element being extremely well executed. The asparagus maintained a nice crunchiness and the kale pesto was alive with freshness. The poached egg was soft and runny, but had not been seasoned. The wild garlic and the hazelnuts were also lovely and added a nice dimension to the dish.

London House - London Food Blog - Bread basket

London House – Bread basket

London House - London Food Blog - Wye Valley asparagus

London House – Wye Valley asparagus

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Rivea London

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

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Hakkasan – Chinese New Year Menu

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

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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Barrica Tapas Bar

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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Tapas Revolution Shoreditch

TAPAS REVOLUTION SHOREDITCH

Chef Omar Allibhoy’s Tapas Revolution has locations in Shoreditch, Westfield, Bluewater and Grand Central, Birmingham. We recently visited the Shoreditch branch. The restaurant was about a third full, and had a pleasant buzz to it. Built around a central bar, the design of the restaurant embodies a modern Spanish wine and tapas bar.

Having eaten our fair share of Spanish food and visited a good handful of the acclaimed tapas restaurants in London, we have a good understanding of classic tapas. Staple dishes were therefore our primary focus as we feel a good tapas restaurant should be able to produce these to a high standard without breaking sweat.

Service was relaxed and friendly. We started with a glass of pleasant and affordable cava and a fresh and fruity Godello from Galicia. With these they brought us a small basket of bread sticks and sliced salchichon to snack on.

Tapas Revolution - London Food blog - Croquetas

Tapas Revolution – Croquetas

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Mamounia Lounge Mayfair

MAMOUNIA LOUNGE MAYFAIR

You can’t go past Mamounia Lounge Mayfair and not gawp. The heated terrace churns out continuous streams of shisha smokers – the young, beautiful and so Mayfair – languidly drinking mint tea or playing backgammon. Get through the door, and you are into hushed lights, squishy sofas and, during weekends, pan-Arabic music and belly dancers. Lounge, it certainly is.

But behind the boisterous façade, the kitchen serves up Middle Eastern food that clearly shows both the care with ingredients and attention to detail with presentation. A kind of food that can and should stand on its own.

Mamounia in Curzon Street (the second of two branches, the other being in Knightsbridge) positions itself as a Middle Eastern dining experience with ‘European fusion dishes’. Our lovely Russian-speaking waitress told us that in the past the food was more traditional but recently there’s been a change towards more adventurous interpretations with some European, Mediterranean touches. Indeed, the menu is a mix of classic Moroccan and Lebanese dishes such as falafel, tagines, grilled meats, with a few surprising additions (perhaps to allure the jet-setting palates?) like hommus with truffles or lobster and crab meat tagine.

The restaurant consists of two levels, the smaller space with a bar behind the shisha terrace and a large lounge room downstairs where live music and dancing happen. We were seated on the ground floor in a booth, perhaps most suited for a lively birthday party (what, with a giant flat screen and meshed curtains), but the two of us were slightly lost in the massive sofa facing crowds and staff toing and froing to the loos and kitchen lifts.

Mamounia offers a wide and enticing selection of cocktails, many with champagne and many non alcoholic. We went for the Gold Digger, apparently the top selling signature cocktail. Served in two parts – a short glass of passion fruit liquor with gold leaves and champagne, and a martini glass with more passion fruit and vodka – it was a fun and refreshing start to the meal.

We then selected a spread of cold and hot mezzes. The more traditional Moutabel (£6.75), pureed smoked aubergine with tahini and lemon juice, was delightfully creamy and served with home-made pitta bread, an admirable touch.

Pastilla of Chicken (£7), an iconic Moroccan pie, historically made with pigeon meat, was a scrumptious combination of chicken cooked with saffron and almonds, wrapped in filo pastry and icing sugar. A combination of savoury and sweet which is so common to Northern Africa but could be a love it or hate it pairing for those not in the habit. We loved the crunchy pastry with moist filling, a meal in itself really.

Mamounia Lounge - London Food Blog - Pastilla

Mamounia Lounge – Pastilla

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