Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental

This restaurant has now closed, and will be replaced by Heston Blumenthal’s new restaurant Dinner.

Pork belly with macaroni cheese, spiced pumpkin & black pudding

Pork belly with macaroni cheese, spiced pumpkin & black pudding

Having been to French based Foliage on two previous occasions which I thoroughly enjoyed, I came to consider this restaurant as a worthwhile destination. My first visit was for dinner on the à la carte menu, and my second, some nine months ago, was on the set lunch menu at £29, which to my surprise I found to be as good as the à la carte. The portion sizes over the four courses were also very generous, and considering the price tag, was incredible value. That and the fact that you are assured views of Hyde Park during the day made me question why anyone would consider dining at Foliage for dinner when lunch is such a fantastic option. Therefore, when fellow blogger Loving Annie suggested that we lunch at Foliage a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance to revisit what I had always considered to be a little gem.

(Continue reading her story…)


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Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

A note from A Girl:
After finally conceding a couple of days ago that ‘A Boy Has to Eat Too’, I thought it might be time for a girl and a boy to eat together! This time it would be with another boy blogger, Gen.u.ine.ness. But after the eating, must come the writing, so to read our collaborative blogging effort on Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, just scroll down the page…

Pigeon from Racan

Pigeon from Racan

Hélène Darroze is one of the leading female chefs in the world. Her restaurant in Paris, Restaurant Hélène Darroze, holds two Michelin stars, and she gained a further star for her restaurant at The Connaught in 2009. This 41 year old single mum’s career as a chef started later than that of many other chefs as Darroze never aspired to be a chef until her mid-twenties. Initially deciding to follow in her father’s footsteps, she trained to become the general manager of their family-owned Relais & Château hotel and restaurant in Villeneuve-de-Marsan in Southwest France. It wasn’t until 1990, when Darroze began working for Alain Ducasse at his three Michelin starred Le Louis XV in Monaco, that her path took a turn.

“There is a place for a girl in the world of gastronomy, and you are the one.” – Alain Ducasse

(Continue reading her story…)


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The Greenhouse: A Touch of Style in the House

Pre-dessert of poached beetroot and beetroot sorbets

Pre-dessert of poached beetroot and beetroot sorbets

Although I have been to the one-star Michelin restaurant The Greenhouse before, this lunch was my first visit since it was refurbished in January 2008. My previous visit was at dinnertime, and my memory of the restaurant was that it was rather romantic. However, this time round, the dining room seemed a little more sombre. Perhaps my original impression was influenced by the volume of champagne I had drunk, or by the person I was dining with that evening. And being daytime, there was also no soft hue emitting from artificial lighting to provide a more seductive feel, instead there was a lovely, albeit slightly harsher, natural light pouring through the windows instead. Nor were there the lights that shimmer of an evening along the length of the pathway leading up to the entrance, and which also serve to illuminate the lovely landscaped garden. And rather than a clientele who might dine at night for the primary pursuit of culinary pleasure (or other pleasures), the lunchtime crowd appeared to have a more business focus. And my dining companion: he was just a very good, platonic friend.

(Continue reading her story…)


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Tom Aikens – A Friendly Lunch

Ever since I started this food blog, I have come to realise just how tolerant my wonderful friends are. When we eat out together, they sit patiently by as I take photos of all our food. All the while they look hungrily on, twitching to start eating. I also suspect they silently groan every time I say “just one more photo”. But ever so supportive of my cause, they always let me taste their dishes without necessarily wanting to taste mine. One of my friends occasionally lets me order for her. (Am I spoilt or what?) I have therefore decided that there is definitely some merit in writing these restaurant reviews: I get to eat my food, and I get to try everyone else’s too. Could there possibly be a more winning combination? But in what was to be a first, I recently found out what it felt like to eat out with someone like me.

Tom Aikens

Tom Aikens

Having got in touch with a professional food writer recently, we decided to meet for lunch; our choice of venue – Tom Aikens, one of the restaurants currently taking part in London Restaurant Week. So here we were the two of us, at a one-star Michelin restaurant, with notepads in hand, scribbling madly away. And there was also the not so subtle matter of our photo taking: swivelling plates around for that ever better angle, rearranging the table for perhaps a more superior shot. What a sight we must have been to behold, both snapping crazily at the food like Japanese tourists! And oh no, it wasn’t just one photo, but at least two, three or four of every dish. At one point, I almost elbowed my dining companion in the face as I scrambled to take better aim. And we really couldn’t have been missed. With only five tables occupied during our sitting, less than half of those available, the black and white dining room was rather quiet and a little stark.

(Continue reading her story…)


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Angela Hartnett’s Murano Restaurant

Polenta with parmesan and poached farm eggs

Polenta with parmesan and poached farm eggs

A girl has to eat, and when a girl has to eat, a girl has to eat well. A fellow girlie friend happened to have the day off from work, and so I had to think of somewhere nice for our girlie lunch. I cranked through the inner recesses of the restaurant database in my brain. Hmm, perhaps something a little bit upmarket. Yes, a Michelin-starred restaurant would be a nice touch. After all good food is what one would expect a girl to eat. Mayfair came to mind, perhaps somewhere near the Elemis spa in case we feel like a bit of pampering afterwards. Aah, what about Angela Hartnett’s recently crowned one-star Michelin restaurant Murano I thought? One-star Michelin, Mayfair, and with Angela Hartnett, one of the most successful female chefs in the country at the helm, it seemed only just to support her restaurant as a nod to girl power.

(Continue reading her story…)


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