Frescobaldi Restaurant

Frescobaldi Restaurant

Frescobaldi Restaurant

Frescobaldi Restaurant London is the first standalone restaurant in the UK for the Frescobaldi family and follows on from the success of the Dei Frescobaldi restaurants and wine bars in Florence and at Rome’s Fiumicino airport. The Frescobaldis are a famous wine dynasty that dates back to 1308. During the Renaissance, the Fescobaldis traded wine for works of art with Michelangelo and were the major financiers to the kings of England including Henry VIII.

The Frescobaldi name is therefore highly prestigious in the world of wine. The family have nine wine estates in and around the hills of Florence and Siena in Italy, and so an essential part of what the restaurant will be offering in London will be the vast array of wines produced by Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi. These account for some 75% of the restaurant’s list, with the remainder comprising of a fine selection from both the Old World and the New World. Furthermore, the majority of Frescobaldi’s 150 bins will be available by the glass to allow the diner to sample many of the variety of wines on offer.

Frescobaldi London opened in early November 2014 and stands on New Burlington Place in Mayfair. It is a beautiful restaurant, with lovely floor to ceiling windows that lets in lots of natural light. On the walls are hand-painted drawings and framed pictures that pay homage to the restaurant’s Italian influences. The comfortable furnishings encourage a sense of comfort as well as instilling an immediate sense of sophistication as you walk through its doors.

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L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon London

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon is a name that needs little introduction with the spectacular French dishes created by masterchef Joël Robuchon winning hearts the world over. Joël Robuchon is the most Michelin starred chef of all time and holds no less than 25 Michelin stars across his nine restaurants around the world. The London L’Atelier, a one Michelin star restaurant, can be found on West Street in the West End and upholds the sleek black and red look that is the hallmark of an L’Atelier restaurant.

There are several levels to the restaurant. On the ground floor is a stunning Japanese-inspired counter with bar seating where diners can watch the chefs go about creating their works of art in the open kitchen. On the first floor is the restaurant area that hosts a more traditional seating arrangement with well-spaced tables, and on the second floor is the bar and terrace that serves an impressive array of cocktails and spirits.

The head Chef is Xavier Boyer who has worked with Joël Robuchon for 13 years and previously led the kitchens at the L’Ateliers in both New York and Taipei. Xavier was involved in the 2006 launch of the London L’Atelier, so this is a home coming of sorts for him. I recently got to try Boyer’s cooking when he was the chef-in-residence during the 10 days of the London in the Sky pop-up and his food was absolutely delicious.

The amuse bouche was a royale of foie gras with white truffle, port reduction and a parmesan foam. This was a gorgeous combination, with the unctuous rich flavour of foie gras pairing beautifully with the deep sweetness of the port. The use of nutty overtones of the parmesan was also a lovely contrast to the foie gras as well.

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon - Royale of foie gras

Royale of foie gras

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Barnyard

Barnyard London is the latest project from Oskar Kinberg and Ollie Dabbous, the duo behind the one Michelin starred restaurant Dabbous. Kinberg and Dabbous both came from esteemed backgrounds. The former was previously the bar manager at The Cuckoo Club, and the latter a chef at the Michelin starred and much celebrated Texture. Together they conceived a concept that set the London dining scene on fire. When Dabbous opened in 2012 it was one of the hottest openings of the year. It received rave reviews with critics like Fay Maschler giving it 5 stars and calling it a game changer. With that, a destination restaurant was born.

At Dabbous the focus is on innovation and invention, but with Barnyard, the approach the duo has adopted is much more simplistic with an emphasis on wholesomeness. The Barnyard menu features items such as homemade sausage rolls and roast beef on toast. As the name suggests, there is a touch of the country in the restaurant’s set up, with the interior featuring reclaimed timber and corrugated tin.

We tried the homemade sausage roll (£6) which was meaty and nicely seasoned although it would have been more enjoyable had it been served hot rather than lukewarm. The pastry was light and crispy, and came with a tangy, mustardy piccalilli that worked really well with the meatiness of the roll.

Barnyard - Sausage roll

Sausage roll

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House of Ho

The House of Ho opened in January 2014 in Old Compton Street in Soho and is the first London restaurant by Bobby Chin. Born to an Egyptian mother and a Chinese father, the food at The House of Ho echoes the influences that Bobby gained during the 18 years that he spent living and working in both Hanoi and Saigon. In July 2014, Bobby was appointed Vietnam Tourism Ambassador in Europe.

The House of Ho features a rectangular shaped dining room with an impressive frontage that looks out onto Old Compton Street. Tables right by the windows are therefore perfect for people watching. There’s a long bar area, and bamboo tables have been interspersed with a selection of Vietnamese art from Bobby’s own collection. The result is a restaurant with a modern Vietnamese feel to it that is smart yet relaxed.

The menu features lots of variety including a selection of pho cuon rice noodle rolls. We tried the one with confit of duck (£5.50) and found the duck to be dry. The noodle rolls themselves were really impressive however as these were delicious and fabulously authentic. There were also some perilla leaves in the roll which were really fragrant.

Imperial spring rolls (£6) were really yummy with a crispy wrapper and came with a delicious filling of pork, mushroom and prawn that was moist and satisfying. A sweet chilli sauce served as the condiment and it worked really well with the spring rolls.

House of Ho - Imperial & Noodle rolls with duck

Imperial & Noodle rolls with duck

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Brasserie Chavot

Chef Eric Chavot is best known for his ten-year stint at the two-Michelin starred restaurant at The Capital Hotel where he offered some of the finest French haute cuisine to be had in London. The French born chef trained with some of the most famous names in the culinary world including the likes of Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire and Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. He also worked with Marco Pierre White before venturing out on his own with The Capital.

The Capital Restaurant closed in 2009 after which Chef Chavot left for a two year sojourn in The US. But he came back, opening his self-named Brasserie Chavot in The Westbury Hotel in 2013. It’s a world away from the formality of The Capital. Instead of carpeted floors and white linen tablecloths there has been a move towards tiled floors and banquette seating for a more relaxed feel. It’s still a glamorous looking venue nevertheless, with great accoustics to soften the hum of noise from the conversation of other diners.

The menu at Brasserie Chavot may be less complex then his fine dining days at The Capital, but it still bears Chavot’s trademark of classic French cooking and it was enough to see him win a Michelin star in 2014. We started our meal with a scallop ceviche (£13.50) which showcased scallops of the highest quality. Thinly sliced, they were absolutely glorious with a soft texture and a sweet wonderful flavour. The lemon dressing with basil worked well with the scallops although it was a touch acidic in parts.

Brasserie Chavot - Ceviche of scallops

Ceviche of scallops

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Meet the Makers – At Hix Selfridges

Over eight weeks of summer, Selfridges will be running a ‘Meet the Makers’ event to showcase the heros and producers behind the fabulous food found at Selfridges. It is a celebration of the Selfridge’s foodie artisans, and as part of the occasion there will be walking tours of the confectionery and food halls as well as tantalising daily demonstrations by top chefs. And to kick the ‘Meet the Makers’ Celebration off, Mark Mix hosted a ‘Meet the Makers’ dinner at his restaurant in Selfridges, Hix Restaurant and Champagne Bar last week. It was an opportunity to meet his ‘Makers’, the people who supply him with his great British produce.

The menu started with Hix’s De Beauvoir smoked salmon ‘Hix cure’ with Corrigan’s soda bread, a starter which can be found throughout his restaurants. I have had this salmon before and adore the sweetness of the cure and the gentle smokiness of the fish. The smoked salmon had its origins in Hix’s former East London home, back in the days when Hix use to home cure, hence the name given to this dish. The bread is from a recipe by the king of Irish, Richard Corrigan.

Hix Selfridges - 'Hix cured' smoked salmon

‘Hix cured’ smoked salmon

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Coya

Coya is a super cool Peruvian Restaurant and Bar which has a touch of the theatrical to it. Brought to us by restaurateur Arjun Waney who is responsible for other famous restaurants such as Roka and Zuma, the décor is a mixture of sumptuous furnishings and a fabulous colour scheme that combines vibrancy with a distressed metallic finish. There is a basement restaurant and bar as well as a dedicated members area on the ground floor. The menu has been designed for sharing and puts up a broad offering of ceviche, tiraditos (similar to sashimi), anticuchos (grilled skewers) and small bites alongside a mixture of meat and fish mains. Peruvian in inspiration, there are touches of the eclectic to it with some Asian twists thrown in.

From the anticuchos section we tried the grilled skewered tiger prawns (£8.50) which had been beautifully cooked. The prawns were firm and tasty and had been coated with a pleasant, but rather delicate tomato, garlic and ginger rub. A touch more seasoning might have therefore worked better.

Coya - Tiger prawns

Tiger prawns

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Berners Tavern

2013 saw Michelin starred chef Jason Atherton open three restaurants, the third of which was Berners Tavern at the Edition Hotel. All three restaurants – the other two were Little Social and Social Eating House – were well received, but it has been Berners Tavern that has made the boldest and most stunning of statements with its fabulously opulent décor. Designed by Ian Schrager who is famous for his makeovers of luxury boutique hotels, Berners Tavern comes with improbably high ceilings, grandiose chandeliers and lavish paintings that run from wall to wall. Berners Tavern is nothing short of palatial, and it simply takes your breath away as you enter it’s grand dining room. Simply put, the use of the word ‘tavern’ does not do the restaurant justice.

The restaurant is an all day affair serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, sandwiches, tea, dinner as well as late supper. At the helm is Head Chef Phil Carmichael, Jason Atherton’s sidekick who worked with him at Maze in London and also at the now defunct Maze in Prague. The menu offers a collection of contemporary British dishes as well as seafood and meat platters for sharing and grass fed British steaks from the grill.

Our waiter recommended the aged beef tartare (£13) and it was indeed delicious with a wild garlic salsa verde, chopped duck egg and thin pieces of crispy thin croutons. The beef was supremely tender and flavoursome, but it had been unevenly and quite coarsely cut. A finer chop would have provided a more refined and enjoyable texture.

Berners Tavern - Beef Tartare

Beef Tartare

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