Blue Boar Smokehouse & Bar

The Blue Boar Smokehouse & Bar is a newly opened restaurant and bar that forms part of the also newly opened Intercontinental Hotel on Tothill Street in Westminster. The Blue Boar’s décor is understandably very five-star hotel-esque – there’s lots of strong oak panelling throughout, and it has been styled to cater to the suits working around the corner at the Houses of Parliament.

Being a smokehouse, the menu offers smoked meats such as pulled pork and pulled lamb shoulder, charcoal and wood grilled foods, plus a range of starters and desserts. On Sundays there is a special brunch menu, which for £45, you can eat as much as you want from the feasting table (salads, seafood and meats), plus unlimited Bloody Marys, Bucks Fizzes and tea or coffee. In addition to this you can choose a main of your choice.

It was the Sunday Brunch that we sampled, and there was a really good range of salads such as smoked feta cheese, with shaved fennel, pomegranate and toasted pistachios; Caesar salad; and hot smoked Scottish salmon with a Niçoise garnish. They were all nicely done, but the best of the lot was a smoked chicken with Granny Smith apple that was great. The chicken was very tasty and moist, and the combination with the apple really worked.

Salad bar

Salad bar

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Jing Tea Launch

Assam, nilgiri, Earl grey & darjeeling tea cocktails

Assam, nilgiri, Earl grey & darjeeling tea cocktails

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to the launch of Jing Teas at The Cinnamon Club. Teas and canapés were served – all of which were very nice. But there were also some tea cocktails, and I must admit to enjoying these best! LOL

Here is a recipe for one of them, the nilgiri tea cocktail

Ingredients:

4 fresh raspberries
50ml tanqueray
25ml nilgiri tea
15ml lime juice
10ml martini rosso
10ml sugar
25ml grapefruit juice

Method:

Mix and pour over ice.

What I found most interesting about the whole evening was chatting to David Hepburn from Jing who told me about some of their specialty teas. One of them is the Japanese Hand-Made Gyokuro Supreme Green Tea from Uji.

Hand picked between the 29th April and 2nd May, and hand-rolled by one of the foremost Gyokuro producers in Japan, only 20 kilos are produced each year. Considered to be one of the highest quality Gyokuro green teas available, the infusion point is only 40-50C. A low water temperature is required so as to not burn the tea.

This tea intrigues me and I intend to buy some to try when it is next available (unfortunately it’s currently out of stock). But Jing also stock some other high end teas, some of which also look very interesting. So if you’re a tea lover, you might want to check out their website. Jing teas can only be purchased online through their website.

Website: http://jingtea.com/


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Quilon Restaurant

I have mixed feelings about set lunch specials at Michelin restaurants. They can be very good value, but as they often offer a limited selection, they are not necessarily a complete representation of what a restaurant has to offer. However, browsing through Quilon’s lunchtime menu online, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the number of choices available.

Quilon is a one Michelin-starred restaurant which specialises in South Indian Coastal cuisine. It opened in 1999, earning its first Michelin star in 2008. The lunchtime menu listed about 6 starters, 4 seafood dishes, 3-4 game and meat dishes, not to mention various accompaniments and vegetable dishes. Three courses and a side such as rice or bread costs a very reasonable £22 per head. A combination of price and choice lured me into a visit to Quilon.

For our initial little tasters, we were presented with tiny bite sized pieces of crispy, light poppadoms with coconut and tomato chutneys, both of which were nicely spiced.

Poppadoms with tomato and coconut chutneys

Poppadoms with tomato and coconut chutneys

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