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July 2nd, 2012

SIAM CENTRAL (Fitzrovia)

 SIAM CENTRAL (Fitzrovia)

Prawn and Chicken Dumplings (4) @Siam Central

Category: Le Budget yellow traffic31 150x150 SIAM CENTRAL (Fitzrovia)

Sorry that I am starting to repeat myself but it is almost impossible to find palatable and authentic Thai food in London. Thai food in London is generic, usually too greasy and by far not spicy enough.  Diners who have not been to Thailand and enjoyed the gorgeous and multifaceted cuisine of this beautiful country, are made to believe by chains such as Busaba Eathai that this is the way Thai food is supposed to taste like.  Siam Central in Charlotte Street is just another restaurant in the same vein.  The food is ok and very cheap, it’s just not Thai.

April 25th, 2012

BISTRO BRUNO LOUBET (Clerkenwell)

 BISTRO BRUNO LOUBET (Clerkenwell)

Beetroot Ravioli @ Bistro Bruno Loubet

Category: Brasserie (£££)

green traffic5 150x150 BISTRO BRUNO LOUBET (Clerkenwell)

Bistro Bruno Loubet is a distinctly French restaurant located in stylish boutique hotel The Zetter in the middle of the Golden Restaurant Triangle that is Clerkenwell/Farringdon (within a short walking distance you also find the excellent restaurants The Modern Pantry, St. John’s Restaurant, Vinoteca, North Road, Fox and Anchor and St. Ali).  The dining room is bright and generous, the waiters as Gaelic as can be (ours looked and talked like taken straight out of a French movie actually) and the food is delicious.

January 24th, 2012

MISHKIN’S (Covent Garden)

 MISHKINS (Covent Garden)

Menu @Mishkin

Category: Bistro (££)

yellow traffic5 150x150 MISHKINS (Covent Garden)

I absolutely love Spuntino, have enjoyed Da Polpo, feel rather indifferent towards Polpo and haven’t yet been to Polpetto. This, in one sentence, summarises my experience with the restaurants owned by Russell Norman and Richard Beatty, undoubtedly the most interesting and most influential restaurateurs to have appeared in the London gastronomic scene over the past few years.

July 12th, 2011

PHO (Soho)

Category: Le Budget

I met my Vietnamese food loving friend Naomi one Sunday in Soho with the aim to finally try out Viet in Greek Street, which has been strongly recommended to me by Leluu (who is Vietnamese and therefore must know where to get the most authentic and delicious Vietnamese grub). To our unimaginable disappointment, Viet was closed. We were not ready to give up yet on our quest for Vietnamese food in Soho and ended up at Pho, which is part of a small chain named after the Vietnamese national dish, in Wardour Street.

It might have been our mistake to not actually go for the pho but instead order my usual triad of papaya salad, fresh spring rolls and Bun Cha. Whatever the reason, the food at Pho turned out to be the  most westernised and least authentic Vietnamese I have had anywhere in London. Paired with rude and unpleasant service, I won’t exactly hurry back.

July 8th, 2011

TARO (Soho)

Category: Le Budget

When we are talking very decent and cheap food options in Soho, Taro is very high up on my list. I have been going there for years when fancying some quick Japanese fix. Not exactly the place you would go for a romantic dinner, but great for shopping break or pre-theatre food. If I would work somewhere close to Taro, you would find me there all the time in my lunch breaks.

Taro is not an expensive place to start with but incredible value for money are the lunch deals. One wouldn’t think that you can get a drink, a miso soup AND a bento box for below 7 pounds anywhere in London, let alone in the middle of tourist-ridden Soho. On my last visit I tried the chicken teryaki box (6.90) and I thoroughly enjoyed both the miso soup and the chicken.

May 21st, 2011

TARTINE (South Kensington)

Category: Bistro

Located just off the posh Walton Street on the boarder of Chelsea and Knightsbridge, Tartine is a pleasantly non-pretentious place in the heart of South Kensington. It has been around for almost 10  years and it is understandable why.Tartine is  stylish, not budget breaking and friendly and offers a much needed contrast to the stuffy and overpriced etablissements its vicinity. And the food is lovely, the perfect place actually for a quick lunch.

A tartine is a French slice of bread. At Tartine, they use freshly baked French sourdough bread (Poilâne) and serve it with a variety of toppings, either warm or cold. As someone who could never really get used to the bland and soggy English sandwich, I am very taken with both, tartine and Tartine.

Which tartine to go for is a hard choice to make. Morrocan lamb and harrisa maybe, or shredded duck with plum sauce?  Or choose something more French like the Goat’s cheese and grilled vegetables?

We settled for the Italian option, Buffalo mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and pesto (9.50) served hot. I really enjoyed the crispy and warm bread with the melting buffalo mozzarella and plenty of flavoursome pesto.

 

The certainly more exciting choice was the beautiful Wild mushrooms, endive, parmesan and balsamic tartine (9.95). (Beautiful in taste I mean, not so much in looks…). The mushrooms were very well prepared and wonderfully complemented by the coarse shavings of parmesan.

May 15th, 2011

Ute cooks: HALOUMI AND ASPARAGUS SALAD

There I had some haloumi in my fridge and was wondering what to do with it. Google, as so often, was the saviour and brought my attention to Yotam Ottolenghi’s chargrilled asparagus, courgette and haloumi salad, which was published in his The Cookbook.

It gave me the inspiration for my Haloumi and Asparagus Salad with is loosely based on the Ottolenghi’s recipe only as  I didn’t have half the ingredients and most importantly I have no grill or griddle pan. Bad housewife I am!

Haloumi is a Cypriot cheese which is popular all over the Mediterranean and Middle East. Through its high melting point it can easily be fried or grilled. It has a strong salty flavour to it and its has the interesting attribute of being kind of squeaky when eating it. If you have ever eaten haloumi you know what I mean.

This salad is a perfect summer dish, light and healthy and making use of plenty of delicious fresh vegetables. Here we go:

March 10th, 2011

BEATROOT CAFE (Soho)

Category: Budget (£)yellow traffic5 150x150 BEATROOT CAFE (Soho)

Beatroot Cafe in Berwick Street is almost something like a Soho institution. It has been around since 1997 which is a long period considering the sometimes fast pace of change in the London restaurant scene.

 BEATROOT CAFE (Soho)

I have never tried it though as it just never looked terribly inviting to me – the door of the small restaurant is always open and I am a very cold and draft sensitive. When I walked past last time with a grumbling stomach, Eureka!, the door was finally closed! (mind you, it was about 2 degrees and gales, so the door should be closed).

March 4th, 2011

TORTILLA (Islington)

Non%20Incognito TORTILLA (Islington)yellow traffic5 150x150 TORTILLA (Islington)

Category: Le Budget (£)
Recently I was invited to check out the Mexican fast food place Tortilla. Tortilla is a mini chain consisting of 5 branches in London and claims to serve healthy Mexican burritos. Tortilla clearly had no idea who they asked to scrutinize their restaurant as, to be honest, Mexican food is one of my least favourite cuisines. I really struggled when I was in Mexico to find anything I enjoyed eating. Having said this, I love Mexican ceviche, but in general there are just too many beans and cornmeal-based dishes and after a few days everything just started tasting the same. As far I have been successfully ignoring the current food trend of Mexican restaurants popping up all over London…

January 20th, 2011

BAOZI INN (Chinatown)

Category: Le Budget (£)green traffic5 150x150 BAOZI INN (Chinatown)

I really love the simple Sichuan street food served at Baozi Inn and the current visit was no exception. We are not talking culinary sophistication here but I think it’s a fantastic place for a quick and exceptional lunch and you are in and out in less than 30 minutes. Exhausted, frustrated and frozen to the bone after some unsuccessful shopping I was revived by the house specialty Sichuan noodle soup (6.50). For me personally the pork was slightly too fatty but the meat was nevertheless very tasty. The soup tasted delicious and had a good kick to it without making me scream for water in agony.