Gaylord – Bloggers Dinner

Words and photos by Priscilla from Food Porn Nation and myself.

The award winning Gaylord Indian Restaurant was founded in 1966 and is an offshoot of the original Gaylord in Mumbai which opened in 1956. The cuisine originates from North of India with a menu that is long, varied and eclectic. The décor also embodies an authentic Indian experience with artworks by the noted Indian painter Prithvi Soni.

We dined at Gaylord recently as part of a Zomato bloggers’ dinner and Gaylord took the difficulty of choosing from its extensive menu by serving us a selection of their highlight dishes. There was food aplenty, and it was such a delight to have the opportunity to taste so many different things. We started with canapés before moving onto starters, main courses and then desserts.

For canapés, we tried some zaffrani chicken tikka (£8.50/£14) and chicken murg malal tikka (£8.50/£14.50), both of which were nicely cooked and pleasantly spiced. The aloo tokri chhat, a savoury potato basket was also really tasty and really crunchy.

Moving on the starters, and the tandoori tiger prawns (£10/£20) with saffron proved to be the knockout dish of the evening. The tiger prawns were big, fat and juicy with a firm luxurious texture. They were also really well cooked with the tandoor cooking helping to hold in much flavour. The spicing was lovely, and with the prawns being so plump, they were just a joy to eat.

Crab cakes (£11) with curry leaves, southern spices, sesame seeds and mustard cress were cleverly presented, with each crab cake being perched on a sugar stick. The spicing was pleasant, and the crab cake offered a decent flavour, but I would have preferred more crabmeat for a greater taste of the sea.

London Food Blog - Gaylord'

Gaylord – Crab Cakes Dakshini – curry leaves, Southern spices, sesame seeds, sugarcane stick

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Moti Mahal

Moti Mahal is one of a number of high-end Indian restaurants in London that adds a sophisticated twist to this much-loved cuisine by incorporating some expert spicing and elevated cooking techniques. The head chef is Delhi-born Anirudh Arora who has been cooking at Moti Mahal since it opened in 2005. He draws his influences from India’s famed Grand Trunk Road, a 1,500-mile trade route between India and Pakistan built in the 16th century. The food at Moti Mahal therefore takes diners on an inspired modern food journey of India, with dishes that have its roots in regional cooking.

Like the food, the décor at Moti Mahal is modern in its design. It’s very smart, with white-linen tablecloths, polished wooden flooring and gorgeous chandeliers that help to set a stylish tone. There is also an open kitchen partitioned behind a panel of curved glass which affords diners a bird’s eye view of its goings-on.

Moti Mahal were offering a ‘season’ special, a tandoor baked truffle naan with vintage cheddar, cumin and white ‘Alba’ truffles (£24), something impossible to pass up. I mean how can anyone possibly resist truffle naan? It was heavenly because not only was the truffle gorgeous, the combination of the melted cheese with the warm softness of the bread was also something magical.

Moti Mahal - Truffle naan

Truffle naan

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Scarfes Bar

The luxurious 5-star Rosewood Hotel located at 252 High Holborn, previously the Chancery Court Hotel, reopened last October after an extensive refurbishment. The hotel’s launch also brought along some new dining options, one of which was Scarfes Bar. The bar was named after Gerald Scarfe, a London born satirical cartoonist who worked for Punch magazine and Private Eye during the early 1960s. Scarfes Bar has not only borrowed Scarfe’s name, but also his artistic vision by showing off a selection of his distinctive drawings of historical and well-known personalities.

Scarfes Bar epitomises the height of English sophistication. There are cosy armchairs and sofas, dazzling chandeliers and bookcases lined with antique books dotted throughout the room. But the focal point of Scarfes is the gorgeous fireplace that gives it an air of an old English manor.

Although a bar, Scarfes Bar also serves a lunch menu. Head Chef is Indian-born Palash Mitra who moved to the UK in 2007 to join The Cinnamon Club as the Senior Sous Chef. As such the menu is predominantly Indian, although there is a small selection of traditional casseroles and pizzas on the menu as well.

Our first starter was a half lobster with Bengali spices (£18) consisting of Indian green mustard, ginger, chilli and Indian mustard oil. The spicing was excellent and resulted in a sauce that was wonderfully creamy from the use of coconut milk. The lobster was a little lacking however as it’s texture was soft and flimsy.

Scarfes Bar - Lobster with Bengali spices

Lobster with Bengali spices

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Royal Ascot 2014 – Restaurant & Catering Preview

Royal Ascot 2014 will span the dates of 17 and 21 June, and as with every year, Royal Ascot 2014 promises to be something special. Last weekend I had the good fortune of being invited to a press event at Ascot Racecourse to experience a spectacular tasting menu designed to provide an insight into the cuisine that will be served throughout these five magical days.

Ascot Racecourse offers a number of fine dining options and this year two Michelin starred chefs will be cooking at Royal Ascot to present their Michelin starred food. Atul Kochhar from the one-Michelin starred Benares will be on hand to serve his modern take on Indian cooking at the Panoramic Restaurant, which as the name suggests offers unrivalled ‘panoramic’ views of the racecourse. Also cooking is the two-Michelin starred Tom Kerridge from The Hand and Flowers who will treat guests to his smart British classics in the soon to be opened On Five Restaurant overlooking the final furlong. But the premier dining venue at Royal Ascot is without doubt The Parade Ring Restaurant. Located adjacent to the Royal Box, it is here that Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal party comes to dine. Guests who savour the food at The Parade Ring Restaurant are presented with canapés on arrival followed by a five course à la carte menu and a full afternoon tea from Ascot’s Executive Chef Steve Golding.

Royal Ascot 2014 - Salmon

Salmon

Our day at The Panoramic Restaurant started with some gorgeous canapés from Rhubarb, the caterers which will oversee the private box hospitality packages during the five days of Royal Ascot. Here we were treated to salmon mi cuit – beautifully fatty salmon with a yuzu dressing, some rich and decadent foie gras rocher – foie gras parfait coated with hazelnuts, and some fresh and sunny Cornish crab. Also delicious were the garden pea panncotta with its beautifully creamy texture and a superbly tasty duck with mooli. To wash down these delicious treats was a glass (or two or three) of Bollinger champagne.

Royal Ascot 2014 - Foie gras rocher

Foie gras rocher

Royal Ascot 2014 - Pea pannacotta

Pea pannacotta

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Bombay Palace

Bombay Palace London is one of eight Bombay Palace restaurants worldwide. Located on one end of Connaught Street in the fashionable Connaught Village, the restaurant recently underwent a refurbishment to complete a very respectable look with fine chandeliers, creamed walls, and a polished walnut bar to grace the entrance. The location helps draw in some upmarket clientele and apparently Daniel Craig was at Bombay Palace only a few weeks ago.

The food was good. For one of our starters we had a kebab platter (£20.95) from the tandoori selection to share. A decent portion, there was an assortment of grilled specialties including a jumbo prawn, minced lamb and chicken. Everything was wonderfully spiced and beautifully cooked.

Kebab platter

Kebab platter

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Cinnamon Soho – Sunday Lunch

Cinnamon Soho is the latest restaurant from chef Vivek Singh, the man behind the much-loved one star Michelin restaurant Cinnamon Club and its sister Cinnamon Kitchen. In contrast to the chic elegance of Cinnamon Club which caters more to politician types from its location in The Great Westminster Library, Cinnamon Soho exudes a more urban feel to it from its home in the trendy Carnaby Street area.

Cinnamon Soho has a good value Sunday brunch/lunch menu where £25 will get you a three-course menu with a side dish. The evening a la carte prices also seemed reasonable with starters at about the £6 mark and mains ranging in price from £11 to £17.

We kicked of our lunch nicely with a sweet lassi smoothie (£4) which was wonderful – icy cold, creamy and not too sweet, this was one of the nicest lassis I have ever tried.

Stir-fried shrimp with curry leaf and black pepper was exceptional with the prawns being well cooked, firm and juicy. The spices used included cardamom, fennel, turmeric and cumin, and the way in which they had been combined was incredibly well done to not only give the dish heat but also elegance.

Stir fried shrimp

Stir fried shrimp

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La Portes Indes

La Portes Indes is an Indian restaurant with a difference. Opened in 1996, the food contains a Gallic twist and is inspired by the dishes of Pondicherry, an area in India that was formerly a French colony. Being a Franco-Indian restaurant it is possible to find dishes such as cassoulet de fruits de mer on the menu.

The restaurant occupies an incredibly grand space. Set over two floors, La Portes Indes has a look of the exotic to it, with a 40ft Mogul waterfall, a marble staircase and antique Indian artifacts.

The menu is plentiful with options. We started with a tandoori seared foie gras (£13.00) which was rich and unctuous. It was pleasantly sweetened by a fig and ginger chutney that matched the foie gras well.

Foie gras

Foie gras

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Namaste Kitchen

Indian restaurant Namaste Kitchen is from the team behind Salaam Namaste in Bloomsbury and Sabir Karim who previously worked at Chutney Mary and Red Fort. Based in Camden, Namaste Kitchen boasts an inviting and modern look. The main point of focus in the restaurant is its modern Indian grill. Its open layout allows diners to watch the chefs at work as well as lap up the lovely warmth that it emits, a feature that was particularly inviting on a cold winter’s night. To complete its cosy feel, Namaste Kitchen plays host to a blend of exposed brick walls, American walnut veneers and cream leather seats.

We kicked of our meal with a spicy soft shell crab (£5.95) coated with a crunchy semolina batter. The crab was yummy, if a touch oily. Accompanying the crab was a sweet fig and prune sauce which worked well with the crab.

Spicy soft shell crab

Spicy soft shell crab

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