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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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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Zuma is part of the Azumi restaurant group that also owns Roka. Serving a range of sushi, robata grills and cooked food in a contemporary Japanese izakaya style, the setting befits its Knightsbridge location. It’s chichi and glamorous, and a magnet for some posh clientele as well which makes for some interesting people watching. There’s no hiding from the air of pretentiousness that surrounds Zuma.

It is virtually impossible to get a reservation at Zuma, at least on a Friday night anyway. I have lost count of the number of times I have tried, only to be told that the restaurant is booked out. The alternative is to wait at the bar for a seat at the no-reservations sushi counter and robata grill.

So that is what we did – wait – for two hours. Zuma has an impressive list of cocktails, but even then we still had to wait to be served as the bar service was rather slow. Food can also be had at the bar, and to appease the hunger we tried a couple of items such as the pork skewers (£5.30) which were tasty but extremely fatty and a touch salty. It came with a yuzu mustard miso that was a good match with the pork.

Pork skewers

Pork skewers

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Ambassade de l’Ile

Note: this restaurant has now closed.

Amuse bouche of goat’s cheese croquette & cod brandade

Amuse bouche of goat’s cheese croquette & cod brandade

I lamented the closing of Lundum’s last year, a Danish restaurant which previously occupied the beautiful red-brick Edwardian building at 119 Old Brompton Road. It was a lovely spot – luxurious and comforting. The food was delicious, and the dining room with its cream walls, charming staff, and candle-lit tables, set the scene for cosy, intimate dinners. However, good things must sometimes come to an end. But in its place has opened Ambassade de l’Ile, the London outpost of Jean-Christophe Ansanay-Alex, a Chef who owns the 2 star Michelin restaurant in Lyon of a similar name (Auberge de l’Ile), and who was once the personal chef to Christina Onassis.

Ambassade de l’Ile opened to some unfavourable reviews from certain members of the written press. Although it’s not unheard of for such negativity publicity to kill off a restaurant no matter how good the food, it has managed to hold on and earn its first Michelin star earlier this year, seven months after it opened. It has also won praise from certain food blogging camps that I follow, and with that, it felt like high time that I went off to explore.

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