Lunch at Palatino

Last week my sister and I went to check out Palatino, a new restaurant following Stevie Parle’s The Dock Kitchen, Rotorino, Craft London & Sardine. Palatino is an Italian restaurant with a focus on food from Rome. We have been to Rotorino before as it is an East London favourite (and five seconds from my house) and we love trying their different regional dinners from various parts of Italy, which they host at the end of every month. Knowing we have enjoyed it in the past, we decided to try our luck with Palatino.

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The decor is modern, with a mix of concrete fittings and warm yellow furniture and as we were seated we decided that in order to fully try out the restaurant’s new menu, we had to order a vast selection. We essentially picked our favourite dishes from each section and had a mini feast, (“it’s for the blog though”) opting to share each dish. I am currently unemployed (anyone looking for a brilliant worker hint hint?) and Rebecca has university so it is nice to be able to meet up in the day now that I am still searching.

For antipasti, we ordered Supli with wild mushroom & mascarpone £3 (essentially small arancini). These were delicious- mushroom and mascarpone are the perfect combinations, especially when fried into a small ball of greatness. Great choice for a sharing starter option.

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For pasta, we decided to go with Ravioli with spinach & squash £14 (main course portion). The pasta tasted fresh, the filling was flavourful and the sauce made a nice accompaniment. I always feel like, with ravioli, the mistake is having it with tomato sauce as sometimes that takes away from the flavour inside. My only complaint about this course would be that I wish there was more sauce as Rebecca and I were scraping the plate for more. Overall, though, coming from an Italian background and having tried a lot of pasta, this was pretty decent!

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Next, nothing seems more traditionally Roman than Saltimbocca, which is veal, surrounded by prosciutto, spinach, sage & Marsala wine £14.

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We also liked the sound of the fried potato gnocchi £4.

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Again, the veal was tasty! The meat was tender, the sauce was just right and the spinach on the side provided a bit of relief from the saltiness of the prosciutto. The fried Gnocchi were also extremely moreish and made a good alternative to having potatoes on the side.  However, I found that because they were bite size I kept going back for more. They were also covered in cheese and sage and who doesn’t love anything covered in cheese? (I LOVE cheese).

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As some of you will know if you read these posts often (and I’m not sure how many people that actually is.. Hey mum & Rebecca) I always love dessert and a meal is never finished without something sweet. We couldn’t decide between the Almond lemon & ricotta cake, rhubarb & creme fraiche or the chocolate cake, pistachio & honeycomb (both priced at £7) so we let the waiter surprise us. In the end, he picked the almond ricotta cake. This was light, tangy and the creme fraiche and rhubarb gave it some tartness. It was nice but not my favourite dessert I’ve ever had. Nonetheless, it was still worth it to round off an overall lovely meal.

If you’re looking for a cute Italian restaurant to bring you fond memories of a past trip to Rome, the food at Palatino will do just that.

 

 

 

 

 

Burns Night at Boisdale of Mayfair

On Thursday, I had the chance to attend the Burns Night at the brand new Boisdale of Mayfair, which has launched just in time for the Scottish celebration. The event offered an exclusive preview of the traditional Burns Night Dinner, a five-course set menu served at all four Boisdale sites throughout January. Asking if I could bring a plus one, I decided to bring Mark along with me. 

boisdale-231116_mayfair_520Upon arrival, we all mingled by the bar as we sipped on old-fashioned cocktails.  They were tasty! Strong, but with the right amount of sweetness that made me keep going back for more. Once we were given enough time to relax and warm up from the cold outside, we were all seated. The dinner started off with a welcoming speech from the owner of Boisdale, who explained the delicacies of Scottish cuisine and what inspired him to put the menu together. Together, we all clinked our glasses and begun our feast.

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To start, we had an assortment of fresh seafood to share, including fresh langoustines, rock oysters, Shetland mussels and Atlantic prawns, as well as luscious smoked salmon. Making sure I didn’t get to full on a first course, I tried to pace myself. Mark and I tried everything except the oysters, as we are still sceptical about them- (I know what you’re thinking, everybody loves oysters… I’m still undecided). Each of our courses was also served with a specially selected wine pairing and with the seafood, we inevitably sipped on crisp white.

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Feeling slightly tipsy at this point, having had little for lunch, I anticipated our second course. It was a mini roasted Blackface Haggis, served with creamy mashed potatoes and swede all served with a noggin of whisky. The owner suggested that we pour our whisky over to really accentuate the flavours and because it is traditionally what happens when one eats it. Now, having heard of what Haggis was made of, I was worried that I would perhaps not like its taste or texture. However, I was pleasantly surprised! It was flavourful, tender and really yum!. I am a haggis virgin no more, and I’ll definitely be eating one again. This was paired with a full bodied red and the more  I ate, the more I also drank- tipsy Sofia and Mark coming out to play! 

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However, Mine and Mark’s favourite dish of the evening was definitely the Aberdeenshire dry-aged fillet steak, served with green peppercorn & whisky sauce, greens and bone marrow potatoes. The sauce was rich, and the steak melted in our mouths, being the perfect medium. It was succulent and tender. I also loved the crispy, yet creamy potatoes. I’d even say it was the best steak I’ve had in a while. This dish was also paired with more red. (Mark… pss I think I’m drunk) While we dined, a talented man played melodious tunes with his bagpipes. What could be more Scottish than that?

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By this point, I was incredibly stuffed and knew we had two courses still to go. Of course being greedy and tipsy made me prevail and carry on eating. After all, I am the type of person who gets jealous or sincerely regrets not trying everything and anything offered to me. Oops. 

To finish, we had a tipsy scotch tart served with clotted cream and cheese served with chutney. Although I am not a fan of raisins, which were in the tart, it was still moreish nonetheless! It was filled with spiced nuts, encrusted in pastry and the clotted cream really helped to cut through all the richness. 

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Overall, we had a lovely evening in good company eating good food and drinking great wine. If the Burns set menu at Boisdale is meant to evoke and preserve the precise feelings that people get when they sit down and share a meal together then it does just that! The food was delicious, the choices on the menu varied and the atmosphere cheerful and comforting.

If you’re looking for a traditional Scottish evening to share with friends and family, I’d recommend it.

 

 

New Year’s Eve Dinner Party

Happy 2017 to you all!!

Hopefully, by now everyone has recovered from the nasty first hangovers of the new year. I know I was suffering bad yesterday, but thankfully, I was in the company of friends, and we recovered by chilling out in front of my TV indulging in our carb cravings.

This year was the first year I’ve officially spent in London, and I didn’t know what to expect. Thankfully, our night was enjoyable, fun and everything went so smoothly! I am yet to experience the hecticness of London during New Year’s (thank god). To celebrate, I decided to properly christen my new apartment with a dinner party for sophisticated pre drinks!

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Let me tell you, if you are embarking on this, be sure to do your prep the night before. This seems so obvious in hindsight but my friend Katrina came over, we got really into Harry Potter on TV and wine probably didn’t help my cause. Actually, I can’t even blame it on that because I still had the whole day. Anyways, while it was certainly stressful cooking four dishes in 6 hours and also making sure the flat was clean, and I was dressed, all in all, it turned out successful, and I had a wonderful time – I hope all the girls did too!. Also, shout out to my sis for helping me with it all and Louisa on the gravy.

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I decided to go for a black and gold theme, sparkles at the plenty and champagne to get us all started! I found a garland and props in HomeSense near my mum lives and felt like they were the perfect accompaniment! Also, nothing would be complete without my bar cart stocked with alcohol as everyone bought something for us to indulge in, from prosecco, to wine to more champagne. (I know the picture looks empty, but I can assure you there was booze at the plenty!)

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The dishes I made were: Roast Chicken and white wine chicken gravy (wish there was more of this!) THIS CHICKEN was fantastic. Sorry to toot my own horn and all but it was so succulent. I used a flavoured butter full of thyme rosemary and porcini mushrooms, as well as lemon zest and garlic! To make it even juicier, I rubbed the butter both under the skin and on top and stuffed the chicken with lemon wedges and some of the fresh herbs. The juices from the chicken created a perfect gravy that only needed a little wine and a stock pot. The chicken was also cooked with flavourful carrots and onions topped with some bay leaves. Thanks Becky for being the carving queen.

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Crispy roast potatoes: I love roasted potatoes, and I love when they are nice and crispy- nothing is more disappointing then soft spuds after all! I par boiled the potatoes and used butter. Next, when they had been cooking for an hour, i used a potato masher to squash them out a bit and added sage. This made them extra fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside!

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Baked Camembert and bread: (my own you’ll be pleased to know): Super easy to make now I have a kitchen aid. Left the bread to prove for two hours and it was all ready to go. This was a fun little dish which is perfect for dinner parties! Rebecca put chilli’s rosemary and garlic in the cheese.

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Last but not least whoopie pies for dessert! I think I went a bit too ambitious at this point and found myself struggling for time, however, I wanted to use my Kitchen Aid as well as make something I never had before. They had caramel and banana inside and the little sugar in the batter meaning that the flavours were just right and it wasn’t too sweet. Unfortunately, i was way too full by the end of my meal to enjoy these properly.

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IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH FOR AN AVERAGE PERSON, my lovely friends also bought oreo brownies, Dorito mac and cheese, soy and garlic broccolini and sausage rolls. It was a feast we had all been eagerly anticipating the whole day.

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I am a sucker for food, and now I’ve come to realise I am also a sucker for dinner parties! ( Maybe just not the cleaning part- My flat is still raining gold glitter even after a good clean). It was a such a nice way to kick start the celebrations, as well as all, have a nice meal and drinks together- socialising before shit got real wild. We played drinking games, indulged in all the good food and all had a good laugh together. Bec also bought over some limoncello, and we all had a nice gulp of that before we left. Heading to Queen of Hoxton, the bus took 20 minutes, we were met with no line, and everyone got their twerk on the dancefloor.

Here’s to the start of a great year!

Peace out bitches xoxo

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Christmas and what I ate

Merry Christmas all!!

This year marked the first year I have spent Christmas in the UK after my mum and sister moved back to the U.K. I didn’t really know what to expect considering I’ve spent the majority of my Christmases in the Middle East, boozy brunching on Christmas day in the sun. 

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However, I will say my first cold Christmas ended up being a super cosy few days that really does encapsulate the spirit of the festive period. We did nothing but eat good food, drink wine and sit by the warm fireplace as the tree twinkled, playing monopoly (we found it in the loft- it’s practically vintage) and watching TV. The sun even came out- which for England at this time of year is a rare occurrence.

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Our cheese board, Christmas Eve (eve)

Christmas Eve:

My mum, sister and I decided to have cheese to start (if you can’t tell already we LOVE cheese). Taking inspiration from Twisted Food on Facebook, we decided to recreate a camembert ‘snowflake’. Essentially, it is pastry that is assembled with bits of crispy bacon and cranberry sauce with a whole camembert in the middle, shaped into a snowflake, sprinkled with rosemary and cooked in the oven. THIS WAS DELICIOUS. Crispy salty bacon goes so well with the oozy camembert and sweet cranberry. We also decided to make some extra pastry sticks with the remaining pastry (had to be done). I am having a dinner party for New Year’s Eve as a sort of sophisticated pre-drinks, and I think I will have to whip this one out again– (there you go! for the people attending, a sample of what you can expect haha).

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For our main, we then went for salmon en-croute. I have always wanted to make it, and while my mum felt incredibly lazy, I was up for the task. Using spinach, shallots, parsley, lemon juice  – and zest – creme fraiche all cooked in butter, we created the tasty filling, which was placed on top of the salmon fillets and covered with a layer of pastry. We also served this with creamy mash potatoes, adding milk butter and creme fraiche – (calorie counters, you may want to leave this page). I’ve mentioned this already, but my sister Rebecca is not a fan of seafood so she made her own dinner, which was a juicy pork chop crusted with sage and served with apple and shallot butter – I must admit this made me slightly jealous. Nonetheless, the salmon was definitely the right choice and the sauce filled in the buttery pastry was super yummy! It didn’t even take that long so for all you salmon lovers out there, this one is for you.

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Christmas Day:

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a traditional roast with all the trimmings, am I right? Surprisingly, I’ve never really had a traditional Christmas roast, as my mum is Italian and we’ve usually headed out in the past so I was definitely excited.   Taking inspiration from my friend Laura, we decided to pimp up our Brussel sprouts. Using bacon, shallots and balsamic vinegar, it turned a mundane dish (in my opinion) to a real contender and while I’ve never been a fan of plain ones, these were the shi*.dsc02193dsc02205We also had crispy potatoes (not as crispy as I would have liked sadly), roasted parsnips, carrots, potato rosti’s as well as a turkey with pork, onion and sage stuffing. This was all served with some flavourful gravy – concocted with juices from the meat to make it extra moreish. We had this with some bottles of prosecco and to finish it all off… a black forest cheesecake! We also realised how much we were into Monopoly and it turns out the more you drink, the more competitive you get. We got the turkey pretty exact, remaining juicy and tender, which meant all the sides were the perfect accompaniment. No matter how much we ate, it’s safe to say, we have a lot of leftovers. Which brings me to…

Boxing Day:

Today we decided to go for the classic boxing day dish: bubble & squeak!. Again, never really had the chance to use leftovers to make any boxing day dishes so this was fun. We took all our vegetables, diced them up and mixed them with an egg. Forming them into patties, we shallow fried them in olive oil and topped them with cranberry sauce, turkey slices, stuffing and a drizzle of gravy. Great use to get rid of leftovers and makes a filling meal. I don’t always enjoy eating the same thing twice so it was a nice way to recreate a Christmas roast.

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After feeling content with all my food and reminiscing about the last few days,  I am currently sitting on my sofa in a fluffy robe watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix.

Christmas time is bliss.

A favourite Korean Restaurant of Mine: Jinjuu

Checking up on the status of my blog, I realise I haven’t blogged in a while, but in my defence, I have recently been ill and only ate what I could chew, which thanks to my wisdom tooth infection was not a lot.

Anyways, as I sit here at my desk, I started thinking about what sort of food I was craving. I am currently in the fifth week of my internship at the Culture, trip and I usually spend most of my day looking at food articles and images, which doesn’t help my obsession with eating food – now, I have to look at tasty dishes constantly too. Doing this made me think of my last delicious meal I enjoyed and immediately, Jinjuu came to mind. Mark and I went a couple of weeks ago, and while I Instagrammed a picture of our meal, I never got round to writing about everything we ordered (as well as what I liked most- because that’s what we all care about the most right?)

Jinjuu is situated in Carnaby, next to Oxford Circus, the perfect sort of place to visit if you are shopping and you need a good meal after scouring the clothes rails of your favourite shops. It serves modern Korean food, and since Mark had never been and I had been introduced by my friend Amar, I was excited to return.

Regarding drinks, we decided against the alcohol (shocking for us) and went for a delicious honey & lemon tea. For food, we wanted to get a range of different items, so we carefully went through each menu item before making our decision (not shocking at all). We decided to go for a variety of dishes. These included:

  • Jinjuu’s signature fried chicken paired with two tasty sauces: Gochujang Red & Jinjuu Black Soy. £9.50
  • Pork Belly Tacos marinated in Korean spices, apple, kimchi & Asian slaw. £8.50
  • Short Rib & Kimchi Mandoo crispy dumpling stuffed with braised beef, mushrooms & kimchi with spicy dipping sauce on the side. £8
  • Bibimbap filled with white rice & seasonal vegetables and served with gochujang sauce on the side. Topped with a fried egg. £9 (We took the option of adding some bulgogi beef for an extra £2.50)

First off, let me start by saying that every dish was mouth watering! But, if I had to rank them in order of preference I’d start with the short rib dumplings first. The softly braised beef combined with the crunch of the fried dumpling and the sauce on the side were the perfect mix. 

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I also loved the fried chicken and how it came with two little sauce bottles, not only making the experience more enjoyable but ultimately letting you decide which and how much sauce to use. I always find that with the sauce it can either be TOO much or TOO little and I liked that we could have it with both.

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Next, I would say the Bibimbap- the sauce came on the side which I liked because if you can’t really handle a bit of heat you can adjust it to how you want. The beef was also wonderfully tender, and the whole thing was presented in a traditional bowl which made the bottom of the rice go nice and crispy (my favourite part)!

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Lastly, I would have to say the tacos, only because there was more Asian slaw than marinated pork slices, but that being said, they were fresh and light and still tasty nonetheless.

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Although I was full, vowing how I couldn’t eat another thing, we obviously had to order a dessert. I honestly have such a sweet tooth and feel like I need it to finish any dining experience.

We decided to share one (the only way I could get Mark in on it, so I didn’t feel like a total fattie (To be fair I do still end up eating most of it)… no shame! I decided to go for the Snickers Hotteok, which essentially is a Korean doughnut, stuffed with salted caramel, roasted peanuts, peanut parfait, chocolate ganache, praline & Nutella powder. £7

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Obviously, if you don’t like peanut butter, this dessert probably isn’t for you. However, if you are obsessed with all things peanut butter like me, it is perfect. Nutella and peanut butter also go together so well and throw in a salted caramel doughnut in the mix? Well, you’re sorted. I’d highly recommend the dessert, it’s super yummy.

Overall, I would recommend Jinjuu for anyone looking for good Korean food, the prices are good, and despite its touristy location, the food is moreish and delicious.

In case you were worried about my wellbeing, I am also better now thanks to a week dose of antibiotics so i’m back to my blogging game,

did you miss me?

xoxo gossip girl (sorry that’s just how I envisioned a gossip girl episode to end and if you haven’t seen gossip girl, well we can’t be friends)

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Feasting

Last Sunday, Katrina (who makes a regular appearance on this blog) invited me and some of our other friends around for a Thanksgiving feast.

Her family are American and so, naturally, have always celebrated the holiday and are used to the great abundance of tasty dishes traditionally available. I, on the other hand, had never really done anything for Thanksgiving before until I met Katrina, who had kindly invited me around to her house the year before. Making this my second official edition and knowing what to expect, I eagerly anticipated all the amazing food I was about to consume.

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Thinking tactically and arriving with an empty stomach (this backfired as I was literally starving), we all sipped some wine and helped ourselves to the array of delicious snacks and starters, including the amazing crab dip Katrina’s parents made. P.s Katrina and Mel if you’re reading this, can I have the recipe, please?

Knowing this was only the beginning, moments later (and much to my delight as you had probably guessed), the (massive) and succulent BBQ’ed turkey arrived on a platter. Then, a vast number of side dishes also started to appear- another shout out to Katrina and her family for the organisational skills needed to execute a Thanksgiving dinner of that calibre. I am pretty sure me and the others just stared in silence at it all coming out at this point and needed a moment to take it all in. Ellie and Andrea also arrived and made matters even better by bringing the greatest portion of mac and cheese and sweet potatoes known to mankind. Picking up my plate and pretending to contemplate letting others go first (sorry…but also not sorry), I quietly and quickly scurried to the front to fill up my plate.

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I had to try everything – (I mean obviously who wouldn’t?) and I took a small (ok, small ish) portion of each. These included:

  • BBQ’ed Turkey
  • Gammon
  • Dave’s Famous Stuffing (Katrina’s Dad for you guys)
  • Green Bean Casserole made by Katrina- you go, girl!
  • Previously mentioned Mac & Cheese with a Dorito Crumb- YUM
  • Mash Potatoes & Sweet Potato cubes

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Everything was fantastic as expected- I especially loved the mac & cheese and the stuffing, having to go back for seconds…and maybe thirds. If all this wasn’t enough already, Mel had also made delicious banoffee and pumpkin pies. The banoffee pie was probably one of the best I’ve tried as I tactically asked Mel what biscuits she used in the base. Writing this post now has made me crave it all over again… especially on a hangover like today.

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We spent the entire afternoon drinking wine, eating and chatting to one another. The definition of a perfect Sunday. It’s safe to say I was way too full that day to have any form of food for dinner as I was well and truly stuffed and satisfied.  

It’s official- I love Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

 

Review of Jackson & Rye, Bank Branch

My lovely friend Katrina once again pulled it out the bag this week when she invited me along to review Jackon & Rye with her. It serves American style food in a relaxed atmosphere. Knowing we were planning to go all out; I had a small breakfast and lunch in anticipation. It also turns out that my internship requires working on daily food and lifestyle content, which really gets you feeling hungry. All this meant that by the time I sat down for our dinner reservation I was starving. Having arrived a bit early, I was recommended to try an old fashioned cocktail while I waited. I loved the way it was served in a mini bottle and ice bucket, but in hindsight, I’m not a fan of stiff drinks. I had to shamefully wait for the ice to melt until I could enjoy it BUT I did feel slightly cool, and the guy next to me obviously didn’t take me for an old fashioned kinda gal, so I guess that’s always a bonus.

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For food, we ordered a HUGE selection off of the menu, and we did have some waiters tease us that perhaps we had gone a little overboard. Nonetheless, we ate it all like champions and if anyone is looking for people to professionally eat and try as much food as they can at a restaurant- we are your girls. For our starters, we decided to try the:

  • Truffle & Polenta Hush Puppies
  • Corn Dogs
  • Salt & Pepper Squid
  • Crunchy Chorizo Prawns

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I think Katrina and I would both agree- the starters were some of our favourite dishes and a highlight of our meal. For one, I loved the gimmick of the mini corn dogs and the calamari was perfectly crispy and cooked perfectly. Sometimes I find it can run the risk of being overcooked or rubbery and I’m happy to report that was definetly was not the case. The Truffle and Polenta hush puppies were also incredibly moreish, and truffle is THE BEST thing to add to anything – in fact, my sister and I are going to a truffle-themed night on Tuesday. Some shameless self-promotion there. Finally, the prawns were coated in crisp batter and had a delicious mango chilli chutney dip that kept me going back for more.  

Onto mains- ( i told you, we went bigggggg!). We decided to go for the: buttermilk chicken, (one portion each you’ll be pleased to know) with Cajun fries and a wonderfully broad array of sides. We tried:

  • The baked mac and cheese,
  • The Tenderstem broccoli with gremolata 
  • A portion of the Gem lettuce wedges with ranch dressing, bacon crumb & blue cheese. 

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For anyone that knows me, I always enjoy a bit of fried chicken, so I feel like I’ve become a fried chicken expert. It was certainly crunchy, juicy and I loved the cajun inspired flavours, however, I have had better. I think that’s because I have usually gone to restaurants that only serve that on the menu and the great thing about Jackson and rye is the assortment of different options available. Furthermore, regarding the sides, the broccolini was nice and light, and I think we both decided we needed some greens amongst all the carbs. The gem lettuce salad was also tasty, and I enjoyed the contrast of the crunch of the bacon crumb and the smooth dressing, but it was ultimately not my favourite out of the side dishes. However, regarding the mac and cheese, who doesn’t love a good portion of melted oozing cheese?

Just when you thought we had finished our meal and called it a day, we naturally had to try the desserts. Katrina and I had been messaging in the day analysing the food options and deciding what we would go for. I’ve mentioned this already, but my friends are all foodies, so it was hilarious (and perfect) that we had some idea of what we wanted to try. We went for the pecan pie with caramel ice cream and a bourbon and maple syrup sauce, as well as the Peanut Butter Fudge S’mores. Both of these were amazing. Especially the smores dessert. I am a huge fan of peanut butter, and the marshmallow was charred to the perfect consistency, so it was still soft and gooey in the middle.

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Overall, I felt like I would never be able to eat again considering how full I was and I think its safe to say we had a great time. The staff were attentive; there’s a vast option of different dishes and drinks, and it’s the tasty sort of comfort food anyone would love. Next time, I would like to try a different main and perhaps even try more starters…

No judgement okay?

 

 

Anniversary dinner at Yauatcha, Soho

On Friday, Mark and I officially celebrated our four-year anniversary together. –(I know! I don’t think we can still quite believe it either, where has the time gone?). Naturally, we thought it best we celebrate by having a nice dinner together with some drinks. We decided to go to Yauatcha, Soho.

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Mark and I had already been here once before. Picture this: me and mark four years ago trying to be fancy as fu*k on my 19th birthday and realising we were desperately out of our depth. For one, we had little (if any) idea of what to order and we were also not yet used to London’s extortionate prices, still adjusting to our newly found university freedoms.  We both shared a gasp of shock and horror when we realised drinks were £11.50+ and allowed ourselves to only have one each.- No one on Instagram will know! Yet, I still want to applaud my former, younger self for taking the chance and finding the restaurant. Props to you girl. A foodie and you didn’t even know it.

This time round, we were well equipped, prepared and looking forward to taking full advantage of the food. Although we were thirty minutes late (my bad- I am never on time) we quickly sat down and tactically scoured the menu. Mark had the chai la la cocktail (Belvedere vodka, black grapes, oolong tea, apple juice and champagne) and I the Lemonberry Martini (Ketel One Citroen, raspberry, vanilla, lemon and cranberry juice). Mark loved his and mine similarly went down a treat because I was drinking them like they were water and kept on ordering more.

For food, we ordered a selection of dumplings, these included: the pork and prawn Shui mai (£5.90), the Striploin beef and enoki mushroom Cheung fun (£9.80) and the fried Roasted duck pumpkin puff with pine nut. (£5.80). My ultimate favourite was definitely the roasted duck pumpkin puff which was crispy and flavourful, although I have to say that I really enjoyed all three and because we chose each from a section on the menu, we had the perfect assortment of dim sum.

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Roasted Duck Dim Sum

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Prawn and Chicken Shui Mai

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For our mains, we decided to go for the Stir-fry rib eye beef in black bean sauce (£21.20) and the Kung pao chicken with cashew nut (£15.90). We did initially want to try the sweet and sour pork but were told that as it was quite heavy and a greasier option. I’m glad we were given that advice because my preferred out of the two was the chicken. However, the beef was also succulent and tender, and both dishes were perfected to a high-quality standard. We also decided to order an accompaniment of egg white fried rice with dried scallop and asparagus(£10.00). This side dish was more expensive than the other more simple egg fried rice option, but I am not usually a big fan of rice, and I found I particularly enjoyed the twist on a classic and had no problem topping up my plate with more. I would like to say that while it was fantastic Chinese food, the mains were not the highlight of our visit and next time I think I would like to try more of the dim sum instead. The dim sum list is extensive and from what we tried, each moreish and delectable in their own way.

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Stir-fry beef in black bean sauce

Mark always tries to avoid the dessert part but guess what it’s a celebratory dinner Mark, and I call the shots. (joking… sort of). For dessert, we had the Milk Chocolate, Jasmine and Honey. This was a silky milk chocolate and jasmine flavoured mousse with a caramelised honey pannacotta and popping candy. I spent a good fifteen minutes at this point asking myself if I was drunk or if I could ACTUALLY sense some popping candy. While Mark had absolutely no idea what I was talking about it turns out I was right- even when tipsy, go me. This dessert was delicate, creamy and decadent. I loved it.

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Overall, it’s safe to say we had a lovely evening over a yummy dinner set in the perfect ambience. We decided to continue the night back at mine with some red wine. Two glasses in and I… was ready for bed.

Happy four years to us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taste of London: The Festive Edition

This Thursday, my friend Louisa and I finally got to go to Taste of London. We have always wanted to go ever since we have both been based in London but have never been organised enough to get tickets. This time we told ourselves, we would definitely book them in advance (and so we did!). We went for the standard ticket option which was only £15 pounds, and I have to say that when you actively choose to make the most of all the events going on it is a great deal.

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Louisa is (like many of my other friends) a foodie like me, so we were both excited and keen to try all the food, take part in the events and get some festive drinks going. From the get go I tried and was quickly swayed to buy some mulled whisky (it is delicious), and we tactically went round trying samples of different cheeses, drinks and food itemsLouisa somehow managed to get a bottle of prosecco for £12 which really got the party going and was an absolute bargain. In hindsight, it was most definitely an error of judgement on the part of the seller. When we went back, we quickly realised the man was not supposed to be selling bottles, gritting his teeth as he awkwardly whispered the managing director was stood behind us and he was about to be lectured. Nevertheless, a personal shout out to the man for getting me tipsy!

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The first thing we wanted to do was watch one of the taste theatres which were free of charge. This is where we got the chance to watch famous chefs cook. We sat down sipped at our prosecco and watched Abdul Yaseen, The Chef behind Darbaar, a new Indian restaurant on the scene. Based on an Indian Christmas, he made an aromatic vindaloo curry with an abundance of fragrant spices. The smell radiated around the room, and while we were not allowed to try it (CRY), his restaurant colleague made a minty spiced cocktail to tantalise our taste buds (that is such a cliche saying isn’t it- but it works). It is safe to say I will be visiting the restaurant in the week as it has left me permanently craving a comforting curry.

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Next, we obviously had to go round and try some of the festive food that the restaurants had to offer. We tactically scoured the menus and decided on our must try items. (i told you- foodies, everything has to be planned).

We went for:

Wagyu Beef with a Bulgogi sauce and mushrooms from Chi Kitchen, a Contemporary pan-Asian restaurant. £10 – (definitely not real wagyu but it was mouthwatering nonetheless)DSC01533.jpg

BBQ pork belly in steamed buns with spicy peanut soy From Kurobuta £6dsc01540

  • Truffle Mac n’ Cheese from Tom’s Kitchen ( Never looks good in photos, so I left this one out – I love truffle though so this was a winner if not a bit too small for £5
  • and finally for dessert a tasty Oreo cookie from blondie’s kitchen accompanied with almond milk for accustomary cookie dunking! – There was the option to have malted milk, but Louisa and I don’t particularly like the taste of it) £5dsc01613

However, I think we would both agree that our favourite part of the night was the live cooking class which were also free of charge and operated on a first come first serve basis. Having got drunker as time went by- we stumbled upon this by pure chance and as the eager beans we are- we made sure to line up 15 minutes before in case anyone dropped out. Our tactic was as follows: people are drinking- drunk people are forgetful- may not show up – we take their place. It turns out, this actually worked.

We managed to get into Jeremy Pang’s School of Wok. We got to make a variety of dishes in half an hour. 

dsc01571dsc01582These included a warming festive chai tea with spices and condensed milk, a steamed cod fillet with sha cha & sweet soy and festive fried rice (cranberries/pancetta/ Brussel sprouts).

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SO GOOD. The staff also kindly went round serving Crispy 5 Spice Crackling which made a perfect accompaniment. It was super fun (and I understand this may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but we loved it) to cook along with the chef and do it all together as a group. We learnt a couple of wok skills, and for our level of tipsiness our food came out pretty amazing.

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London’s New Wok Master (ignore all the mess)


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Drunk and Satisfied

 

Overall, Taste of London was a great event and because it was the festive edition it really got me into the spirit of Christmas. One of my favourite things about this time of year is all the events that go on around London, and this was no exception. I loved the food, but I also loved the vibes and all the things there was to do in the space of one evening.

Safe to say, ill be back next year.

 

Sunday Brunch at Smokey Tails

If you can’t already tell I am a sucker for breakfast dishes and so on the weekend it is only natural I take advantage of brunch- let’s face it, we all should. It’s that unique part of the day where you’re not quite sure if you’re still eating breakfast but it is still acceptable at lunch, and dishes usually range from the traditional to the wacky and wonderful.

Today, Mark and I were craving something different. My rule with brunch is I try and look for dishes that I couldn’t easily make at home or that I wouldn’t think of ever making myself. We decided to walk to Hoxton as I wanted to try out Smokey Tails. Nestled in Hoxton Square, it is a bar that also serves food which they coin as ‘Midwest Modern’ and inspired by home styled BBQ flavours. Upon arrival, we were eager to try out the menu, and since I had had no other food this morning, I was particularly hungry.

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Didn’t know Mark was taking this obviously…

We spent about a good 15 minutes debating our choices as per usual. I have mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating that when Mark and I go for brunch, we have a pact where we share our dishes. This is so if Mark’s dish is somehow better than mine (which sometimes can happen) I won’t have to deal with his subtle laughs and sniggers of triumph. This also requires great thinking and deliberation in case we’re then left with a bad choice and sour taste in our mouths as we sit there moping in regret.- We take our food seriously. 

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Laughing at my jokes cause, I’m so funny

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I decided to go for the fried chicken on a crispy French toast brioche with maple syrup and bacon ( I’m aware I always seem to write about fried chicken and waffles, but we couldn’t resist after hearing about its crunchy base, and we do usually have waffles – The French toast is on some next level).

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Mark, on the other hand, went for the pulled pork benedict with poached eggs and HP hollandaise. I will say that in our excitement to eat I forgot to take a mental note of prices, but each dish was around £8-10.

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I’m definitely going to say that this was a winning place if you’re looking for a brunch that does things a little different. For one, the flavour combinations were delicious! It’s that sort of food where you feel guilty because it’s so indulgent, but you just don’t care enough to stop or give it a second thought. I will say that it was good sharing both as the BBQ pulled pork was both tangy and salty which went well with the runny egg and thick hollandaise. I also liked that they switched up a classic with the HP and pork. In terms of the fried chicken and french toast, that was another winner for me– although I must say we did end up asking for extra maple syrup.. oops

Overall, Smokey Tails- you are officially another brunch win on my list and as I sit here and write this I’m still feeling stuffed but most certainly satisfied.