Bombay Brasserie

Bombay Brasserie, a fine Indian restaurant, looks to the cultural diversity of Bombay, or rather Mumbai, for its menu inspirations. As well as being India’s financial and entertainment capital, the cosmopolitan city of Mumbai draws on the diverse cooking styles of Goa, Bengal, Gujarat and Rajasthan, as well as bringing in Portuguese influences.

Bombay Brasserie is located in the Millenium Hotel on Gloucester Road, with the main entrance to the restaurant being through The Bombay Bar, a stylish Raj-inspired bar that champions the exoticism of old Bombay. It’s a gorgeous place to unwind, particularly before lunch or dinner with plush sofas and photos of India from a bygone era defines the mood.

The restaurant is also a delight. Owned by the luxury hotel chain, The Taj Group, no expense was spared when it came to the décor at Bombay Brasserie. Heading through the double doors which separates the restaurant from the bar, one’s immediate reaction is one of awe. It sings of opulence, with grandiose chandeliers, stucco walls with inbuilt flickering lanterns and a spacious space laid out with comfortable banquette seating.

As for the food, this was a delight. We began our meal with the seafood platter (£24), a wonderful plate consisting of tasty soft shell crab, a perfectly cooked grilled scallop, pleasant monkfish, and a grilled prawn that gave way to a slightly smoky flavour.

Bombay Brassiere - London Food Blog - Seafood platter

Bombay Brassiere – Seafood platter

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L’Eto Caffe

L'Eto - London Food Blog - Salad counter

L’Eto – Salad counter

L'Eto - London Food Blog - Salad counter

L’Eto – London Food Blog – Salad counter

L’Eto Caffe is a chain of café-restaurants with six branches across central London that offers an all day dining service. The café is most notable for their dazzling display of cakes and pastries in their front window, all of which are so tempting it’s almost impossible not to do a double take every time you walk past a branch of L’Eto. But L’Eto offer more than just cakes. They also have a counter laid out with vibrant salads and cooked mains. The King’s Road, Belgravia and Brompton branches also serve breakfast and an a la carte menu for both lunch and dinner.

I recently visited the Brompton branch of L’Eto which is located within close proximity to the wonderful V&A and Natural History Museums. It is a very inviting venue with a lovely décor that is peppered with a smart and arty European charm. The wonderful display of great salads and tempting cakes also do much to add spark to the setting.

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Yashin Ocean

Yashin Ocean House, a modern Japanese restaurant located on Old Brompton Road, brings to London a head-to-tail type of dining similar to St John’s. Only here at Yashin Ocean the focus is seafood rather than meat. It’s a refreshing concept and beautifully done by chefs Yasuhiro Mineno, ex-head chef at Ubon by Nobu, Shinya Ikeda, ex-head chef at Yumi restaurant in London and Daniele Codini, a former chef de partie at The Fat Duck. The trio have conceived an inventive modern Japanese menu that not only brings head-to-tail ingredients of the sea world into the forefront, but combines it with glorious Western produce such as truffles and foie gras as well. The result is a lovely harmony of Eastern flavours with Western touches.

Dining at Yashin Ocean House was a pretty faultless experience with our first dish of unagi eel and summer truffle (£12) being particularly mesmerising. The eel was gorgeous and the truffle was fragrant and really enjoyable with the eel. Also delectable was the delicately smoked salmon caviar (£11.80) with a light soy dressing and a shaving of truffle.

Yashin Ocean - Unagi eel with truffle

Unagi eel with truffle

Yashin Ocean – Salmon caviar with truffle

Salmon caviar with truffle

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Launceston Place

My last meal at Launceston Place was around the time Tristan Welch was competing on The Great British Menu. He came across as such a likeable fellow, and the rhubarb and custard crumble served in a cone with ginger and orange sauce that he prepared on the show seemed so enticing that I was really excited to try it at Launceston Place. Things have moved on since then and Tristan has long left to be replaced by Chef Tim Allen who took over the reins in February 2012.

Allen has done what Welch wanted to achieve but was never able to at Launceston Place, and that was to win the restaurant a Michelin star. Having come from a two Michelin-starred background after seven years at Whatley Manor in The Cotswolds, and having worked at The Landmark and the Michelin starred L’Ortolan in Berkshire prior to that, it was perhaps unsurprising that this Michelin success would flow over.

Launceston Place is part of the D&D restaurant group and is located in a regency house tucked away in an adorable part of Kensington. The street is beautiful and grand. As for the décor, it remains very formal and austere with its dark, greyish colours.

For a Michelin restaurant, they do a surprisingly good value Sunday lunch menu with three-courses for £29.50. Unlike some set lunch menus, there were a good range of options within each course. Furthermore, there appear to be only minor differences between the options on the lunch menu and those on the a la carte menu priced at £48 for three courses.

While we deliberated on what to order we started with some G&T’s, delectably served with a thyme-infused ice cube in a very stylish glass. What a great refreshing way to start a meal! We also snacked on some lovely gougères with béchamel that were really nice – the choux pastry was fluffy and warm, and the béchamel was gooey and soft.

G&T

G&T

Gougères

Gougères

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Launceston Place – Great Britishness…

Foie gras with dark caramel sauce

Foie gras with dark caramel sauce

I have been eyeing up Launceston Place, a Modern British restaurant, for a little while, ever since Tristan Welch accepted the post of head chef in November 2007. After five months of planning and refurbishment, the restaurant reopened in March 2008. Tristan was previously at the two star Michelin restaurant Pétrus (which has now been renamed Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley) where he worked his way up from the position of junior sous chef to head chef in less than 18 months. With stints at Le Gavroche, and L’Arpège in Paris as well, it’s hard to overlook his culinary pedigree.

The restaurant is tucked away in the backstreets of Kensington, and is housed on land which was once part of the manor of Earl’s Court. The original structure of the restaurant (actually four houses joined together) was built circa 1839 and adds to the building’s sense of history. The façade is undeniably charming, but the interior of dark charcoal coloured walls and floors is austere, and rather harsh for a setting intended to exude old world charm.

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