Quilon – Indian Wine Event

QUILON – INDIAN WINE EVENT

A guest post by ‘O&M’ *

We were thrilled to be invited to Quilon recently to take part in a press event showcasing Indian Wine, with the focus being on two particular vineyards, Grover Zampa and Sula.

Quilon - London Food Blog

Quilon – Indian wine event

Indian Wine is relatively unknown in our supermarket shelves or wine shops. India’s APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) is leading a brand promotion of Indian Wine to raise publicity in Europe and particularly in the United Kingdom.

Quilon - London Food Blog

Quilon – Indian wine event

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Mexico by Kitchen Theory

MEXICO BY KITCHEN THEORY

Mexico by Kitchen Theory is a collaborative gastronomic project founded by Jozef Youssef who has worked at the Fat Duck, Helene Darroze at The Connaught, The Dorchester Hotel and is also the author of Molecular Gastronomy at Home. Kitchen Theory began as a website aimed at sharing knowledge in the field of gastronomy covering topics such as food science, food culture, food history, multisensory flavour perception, neurogastronomy and molecular gastronomy which has now manifested into experimental dinners, workshops and guest talks.

Mexico by Kitchen Theory is a labour of love, with Chef Youssef having spent over a month in Mexico researching the project, delving into the country’s rich culinary history and working with top Mexican chefs. He has also teamed up with Oxford University’s Professor Charles Spence, the head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory. Professor Spence is interested in how people perceive the world around them, particularly, how our brains process the information from each of our different senses (such as smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch) to form the extraordinarily rich multisensory experiences that fill our daily lives. Together the pair is working towards a remarkable sensory dining experience as part of ‘the chef and the scientist’. With Mexico by Kitchen Theory, the idea is to shatter the UK perception that Mexican cuisine is mostly based on Tex-Mex and rather, it can be a sophisticated Central American fare with a refined, modern, multisensory twist.

We tried a beautiful four-course lunch menu which began with the ‘Holy Trinity’ of corn, beans, and chilli. The starter was so called as corn, beans and chilli have historically formed the ‘holy trinity’ of the Mexican diet, providing a balance of proteins and vitamins. This course was delightful, with a beautifully textured refried bean puree topped with grilled corn in husks, some soaked guajillo chilli chiffonade and huitlacoche which is similar to corn fungus or Mexican truffle.

Mexico by Kitchen Theory - London Food Blog - Holy Trinity

Mexico by Kitchen Theory – Holy Trinity

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Umu Japanese Restaurant at Frieze Masters

Umu Japanese Restaurant in Mayfair is a favourite of the many who work at the Japanese Consulate, and understandably so. Executive Chef Yoshinori Ishii previously spent nine years at Japan’s three Michelin-starred Kyoto Kitcho and recently won Umu its second Michelin star. Chef Ishii’s haute cuisine approach to Japanese cooking means his food at Umu is graced with a touch that is both elegant and precise.

Every year Umu runs a pop up restaurant at Frieze Masters, the annual 5 day art fair that brings together several thousand years of art from over 130 of the world’s leading galleries. The last day of Frieze Masters was on the 18 October, but I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Umu pop-up restaurant before Frieze Masters finished. The Umu pop-up only offered a limited selection of starters, sushi, sashimi, and mains from the original Umu menu, but it was still a great showcase of the flavours of Umu, drawing on similar dishes and ingredients from the same sources. Umu Head Chef Yoshinori Ishii remained in charge of the pop-up and worked the sushi bar as we ate. Also in attendance was a legion of full time staff from Umu in Mayfair.

From the starters a tuna tartare salad (£17) was deliciously meaty and sweet from a fabulous shiso dressing. Dressed with micro cress, the tartare was topped with some thin and crunchy lotus root chips that worked a treat with this generously portioned dish. A seafood salad (£17) with prawn, scallop and abalone was also delectable. The seafood was delightfully fresh and sweet and worked well with the lovely lightness and acidity of the accompanying tosazu jelly.

Umu Japanese Restaurant - London Food Blog - Tuna tartare

Umu Japanese Restaurant – Tuna tartare

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Reform Social & Grill

REFORM SOCIAL & GRILL

Reform Social & Grill has a presence in London and Dubai, with the restaurant in London being housed within the Mandeville Hotel. The restaurants pride themselves in providing a British experience, offering a complete experience of afternoon tea, brunch and an a la carte menu that showcases a number of British classics.

The décor of Reform Social & Grill London was tasteful, taking its inspiration from a traditional British gentleman’s club. There were a variety of photos and prints, eclectic without being impersonal. The seating was comfortable with a mix of tables and chair and dark leather booths. There was punk-era music playing in the background at a suitable volume, non-intrusive until you take the time to notice.

The menu opens with a variety of sharing platter options to suit all palettes: fisherman’s platter, baked cheese platter, butcher’s platter. Starters followed including Crispy South Coast Squid, Chicken Liver Pate and Hendricks Gin Salmon.

Along with salads, classic main dishes including Fish and Chips and Braised Ox Cheek Pie are offered alongside some “Josper Grill” specialties. We feel that people who utilise Josper Grills mean business so we looked no further, feeling spoiled for choice with a range of meats: Burgers, Glazed Beef Short Rib, Minted Lamb Cutlets, Butchers Steak, Rib Eye Steak, and Pork T-Bone.

There was a reasonable selection of wines by the glass on the menu and we started the evening with a couple of glasses of Chapel Down Brut, English Sparkling Wine. We enjoy finding English wine more frequently on restaurant menus, and it certainly holds its own against the fizz from the continent.

Bread arrived at the table and these were nothing special, nor were they a representation of the meal to come.

To start we had the squid (£7) and the salmon (£7.50). The waiter brought a small glass of gin to accompany the salmon which was presented as thin slices with a creative ‘tartare dressing’. The salmon was firm with delicate flavours and, when eaten before a sip of gin, the gin was far more fragrant and palatable than it would be if drunk neat. The ‘Tartare’ was broken down into separate elements: scattered capers, gherkin and heavily whipped cream placed on top of the salmon. The concept had potential, but the cream masked the salmon’s taste. If the cream was infused or flavoured in some way, perhaps this effect could have been dampened.

Reform Grill - London Food Blog - Salmon

Reform Grill – Salmon

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Muscadet Magic – Billingsgate and more

MUSCADET MAGIC

Krista from Passportdelicious.com and I recently took a tour through the world of muscadet magic. We began our trip bright and early one Saturday morning, meeting at Billingsgate market at 6am! It was a bloggers event and the objective was to discover the delights of matching muscadet with seafood. But there was a competitive element to the event as well. Working in pairs (me with Krista), we were all given a budget and tasked with purchasing some seafood with which to create a dish that would best work with muscadet. The winning dish – which was judged by Jon Massey of The Wharf newspaper and Douglas Blythe (writer, consultant, presenter, high-society sommelier and enthusiastic cook) – not only brought with it the honour of the number one spot, but six bottles of muscadet as well.

Muscadet Magic - London Food Blog - Billingsgate Market Market

Muscadet Magic – Billingsgate Market Market

To set us up on our day, we feasted on some scallop and bacon baps from the legendary breakfast haunt at Billingsgate, Piggy’s Café. Bellies full, we ventured out into the heart and sole of the bustling market in search of our ingredients before making our way up to the Billingsgate Seafood School. Here, CJ Jackson, the CEO of the school and author of Leith’s Fish Bible took us on a guided journey into the secrets of scaling, gutting, filleting, and prepping seafood. It was an eye opener, very informational and wonderfully educational. And then we were ready! Ready to step it up another gear and begin cooking. For this, we made our way to the Central Street Cookery School where a plentiful larder had been laid out for us, and some cold and crispy Muscadet awaited us.

Muscadet Magic - London Food Blog

Muscadet Magic

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Menabrea Beer – Slow Dining at L’anima

Multi-award winning Italian brand, Menabrea Beer, hosted an exclusive supper at London’s L’Anima Restaurant last Monday which I really enjoyed. Brewed in the Piedmont town of Biella at the foothills of the Italian Alps, Menabrea is well known throughout Italy, especially in its Northern heartland. Menabrea is Italy’s oldest continuously operating brewery, and the beer is brewed using the same methods used since the brewery’s inception in 1846, encapsulating over 150 years of skill and craftsmanship. There are only five ingredients in the Menabrea brand of beers, but those ingredients are of the highest quality with the result being a beer that has a refreshing flavour and crisp texture.

L'Anima - London Food Blog - Menabrea Beer

L’Anima – Menabrea Beer

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The Joint

THE JOINT

Guest post by Food Porn Nation.

With locations in Marylebone and Brixton, The Joint is another American BBQ spot to hit the London food scene. The Joint originally began as a pop up by Warren Dean and Daniel Fiteni and has morphed into an establishment due to its pop up success. The signature dishes include the baby back ribs and chilli chicken wings which are worth a try and the rest of the menu is short and sweet. The dining experience is a casual take away affair, with understated communal wooden benches, and a mixture of paper plates and cutlery for service. Simple yet effective.

To begin, we tucked into the chilli chicken wings (£4.50). These were sticky, tangy, succulent and falling off the bone. The sauce wasn’t as spicy as suggested but the flavour of sauce and the execution of wings were definitely solid.

The Joint - London Food Blog - Chilli Chicken Wings

The Joint – Chilli Chicken Wings

The Joint - London Food Blog - Chilli Chicken Wings

The Joint – Chilli Chicken Wings

The one item I couldn’t resist was the the bloody bacon vodka shot. Ideal for lovers of bacon and lovers of vodka, this shot was infused with a delectable bacon flavour that was followed by a savoury tomato based chaser shot. I highly recommend you try this. Incredibly novel and delicious!

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Dieci Restaurant

Dieci Restaurant is the house restaurant of Ten Manchester Street Hotel, a stylish boutique hotel located at (yes you guessed it) No. 10 Manchester Street. The location reigns supreme as it’s within walking distance from Marylebone High Street and Oxford Street. It’s a rather small restaurant but comfortably designed with a stylish look that exudes a masculine feel with its dark lines, bold features and plush seating. The restaurant serves an all day menu from breakfast through to dinner as well as afternoon tea. There is also a set lunch menu with two courses for £19.50 and three courses for £22.50.

We visited Dieci during a recent bank holiday to try the set menu for what proved to be a rather quiet affair. There were three options per course and we both went for the most tempting starter which was the pumpkin ravioli served with black Umbrian truffle sauce. It was exquisite, with the pasta being perfectly cooked and the filling being smooth and creamy. The rich sauce, elevated by the hints of truffle, matched wonderfully with the pasta.

Dieci Restaurant - Pumpkin ravioli

Pumpkin ravioli

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