Browsing Tag

dinner

Blog, Date Spot, Eat, London

Megan’s by the Green, Fulham

July 18, 2018
Megan's by the Green

I’ve always loved the Megan’s on the Kings Road, the ideal place for brunch (read more about it here) or a relaxed dinner.  So when Megan’s by the Green opened last year I was delighted, as it was even closer to home.

Megan’s by the Green is in the perfect location, right by the Green, opposite the Tube station.  It’s very welcoming and I often see passers by looking in through the huge open windows.  Their ceiling covered in roses also makes it very eye catching. Especially now in this incredible sunny weather, there’s no better place to come for brunch/lunch or dinner, though in the winter it has a very cosy, intimate feel to it.

Megan's by the Green, FulhamMegans by the Green, Fulham

Last weekend I came here for dinner and sat by the huge open windows in the breeze, enjoying a bottle of their lovely pale rosé (£30 a bottle).  I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my Saturday evening.

Megans by the Green, Fulham

I have to say I love their menu, with so many healthy but filling options.  They have an all day brunch menu which is fantastic (their shakshouka eggs are my favourite) and for their evening menu they offer a range of sharing boards and starters, as well as healthy ‘bowls’, grills and pizzas.

To start with we shared the ‘gambas pil pil‘, which came sizzling in a pan cooked in chilli and garlic and served with fresh bread.  Delicious.   For mains I had the ‘posh lamb doner‘ (one of their ‘open kebabs’).  I’m a sucker for lamb and it was a real treat, especially because I don’t eat meat that much during the week anymore.  I had some grilled cauliflower to go with it.  The photo below does not do it any justice, it was incredible.

Megans by the Green, Fulham

Rob had one of the ‘deconstructed pan kebabs‘, the chilli chicken one with extra halloumi on top.  He also loved it., especially because the tomato sauce adds such a nice freshness to it.

Megans by the Green, Fulham

Pudding cannot be skipped (though having said that, last weekend we did as we were so full).  But their half baked cookie is one of the best puddings I’ve eaten.

I think the beauty of Megan’s is the variation of the food they offer, and the price point.  Depending on how much you feel like drinking, food wise one of their kebabs costs on average about £12, which is a total bargain, especially for Parson’s Green.  This coupled with the relaxed but upbeat vibe of the place makes it the perfect place to come with friends or on a date.

It’s easy to see why it’s always full, so I would recommend booking ahead.  And good news is that they have now just opened their third restaurant, this one is in Balham.  I can’t wait to visit it next.

Megan’s on the Green

UNIT B 69, 57 Parsons Green Ln,

Fulham,

London SW6 4JA

Blog, France, Paris

Alcazar, Paris – EAT

October 10, 2016

Saint Germain de pres is one of my favourite areas in Paris.  Ever since my grandmother first took me to Paris, and we stayed there in a beautiful pied a terre, I’ve been enchanted by the area.

And so it only seemed natural to return, this time for lunch.  I’d heard via via about the Alcazar, had seen on Instagram quite how pretty it looked, and heard about its ‘epic’ brunches.  We were not going for brunch, but Saturday lunch, and we arrived having walked through the city for a solid 3 hours that morning.

Alcazar, Paris

Arriving at a beautiful restaurant, with a mouth-watering menu, and being hungry, is one of my favourite things.  The minute a basket of ridiculously good bread was placed on the table I nearly inhaled the lot.  Which was a mistake as I still had lunch to eat.  They do a great lunch deal: two courses for EUR28, which is perfect.

Alcazar, Paris

To start Gene opted for the terrine and fois gras which was heavy (as predicted) but melt in the mouth.  I had wanted to go for the burrata, but it was finished, so I tried the ceviche.  It wasn’t particularly French, I know, but it was very well done.  For mains Gene tried the duckling, with butternut squash puree and baked figs.  The duck came a little too pink, but they whisked it away without a problem and returned it perfectly cooked.  I went for salmon tataki (again, not very French!) which was the perfect light main course (though a huge portion).

Alcazar, ParisAlcazar, Paris

Apart from the food itself, the restaurant’s interiors need a little praise.  Visually it is stunning; it may be one of the most instagrammable restaurants in Paris  I love being surrounded by plants, and here it feels almost like you’re eating in a greenhouse.  But with elegant marble tables, and an extraordinary light installation.  It has two levels, the ‘balcon’ has a very cool bar and you get great views of the restaurant below.  Plus the staff are very friendly and helpful, which I still find a bit of a rarity in Paris.

Alcazar, ParisAlcazar, ParisAlcazar, ParisAlcazar, Paris

We were too full to even consider pudding, and decided to walk to the newly renovated Les Halles for a coffee at the very cool Champeaux instead.  But seriously, if you’re in Paris, make sure you reserve time (and appetite) for St Germain, you won’t regret it.

NB If you come here for dinner and looking for a place for post dinner cocktails, head to the nearby Prescription Cocktail Club.

Alcazar

62 Rue Mazarine,

75006 Paris

 

Blog, Eat, Healthy, London

Honey & Co, Fitzrovia

September 26, 2016
Honey & Co, Fitzrovia

Word of advice.  When a restaurant says it’s fully booked when trying to book a table online, don’t let this put you off going.  I’ve been wanting to go to the much praised Fitzrovian restaurant Honey & Co for ages now, but every time I try and book, it says ‘nothing available’ or offers me the 9:30pm slot.  So last week, having read that they do allow some walk ins, I decided I was just going to risk it.

I arrived at 6:30pm and it was full.  This was to be expected, and I was not put off.  Things looked positive when I spoke to a very friendly waitress, who said she’d take my name and number, and call me when a table was available.  Seemed reasonable.  My friend Emily and I grabbed a glass of wine at the pub next door and eyed up Honey & Co’s small outside terrace.  It was a beautiful, warm September evening, but we could sense that people were leaning towards eating inside.  After about 30 minutes I got a call, ‘We’ve got a table free, but it’s outside I’m afraid.  When can you be here?’   Bingo.  We were there in seconds.

There is one disappointing thing to mention first, then we’ll focus on the positives.  Emily is a vegetarian and, despite the Middle East being so good at vegetarian food, she was disappointed to have only one choice of main course.  Which was, incidentally, a very delicious baked aubergine dish.  But still, I had five other options to choose from.  Funny also that all the starters were vegetarian.  It just doesn’t quite make sense.  Perhaps they should offer the starters also in larger portions as mains?

Honey & Co, Fitzrovia

However, moving on swiftly.  The starters were delicious – we shared a basket of fresh bread (how do they make pitta quite so good?) and a labaneh and a spicy pumpkin and pepper dish.  The ideal first course, filling but not overly so.  I could have licked the plate.  As Emily devoured her aubergine, I opted for the roasted lamb salad with plums, tarragon, greengages and fennel seeds as my main course.  While lamb is my big go to, the rest of the accompaniments were not very ‘me’ (I don’t really like fruit in my food, unless it’s pudding).  But the combination worked beautifully and it felt both healthy and delicious.

Honey & Co, Fitzrovia

The place has a very local, neighbourhood feel to it.  Everyone is friendly, the staff lovely, and there is a pleasant buzz about the place.  It’s one of those places which makes you want to return.  It’s as far from a chain restaurant as you can get.

Too full for pudding, I decided I would return here for brunch, as this seems to be most legendary here.  Since drinking wine at the pub at 11am at the pub next door may not be quite so appropriate, I might have to surrender and actually book that (well) in advance.

Honey & Co

25 Warren St

London W1T 5LZ

Blog, Date Spot, Eat, Healthy, London

Rök, Shoreditch

February 13, 2016
Rok, Shoreditch

I was asked a number of times which restaurant I had chosen for my birthday dinner last week.  ‘Rök’, I said.  ‘Oh’, replied the curious ones, ‘Great choice.  I do love Roka’.  On each occasion I then explained this was Rok without the a, and in fact very different to the popular, award-winning Japanese restaurant.  ‘It’s a smokehouse.  You know, Scandi food’.

Rok, Shoreditch

If Rok is not well known among Londoners, it should be.  Foodies will undoubtedly have either heard of it, or eaten there.  It’s been applauded by critics (Grace Dent named it one of her 2015 favourites) and you can book a table.  And finally – and this is an advantage perhaps purely for me – it’s not in Hackney or Dalston or Peckham, where for some reason every London restaurant on my list is located (a deterrent as it’s quicker for me to fly to Amsterdam than get home from there).

Shoreditch-based Rok is tiny.  That’s perhaps its one drawback; it’s a squeeze.  The tables are too small for the jars of pickles and plates of smoked and fermented food which come your way.  But it does make it cosy, and warm, and friendly.  All things which help on a cold February evening.  And the interiors are right up my street, stylish in a laid back way, lots of wood and simple white walls.

Rok, ShoreditchRok, Shoreditch

It’s not for everyone.  Fermented/pickled/smoked food never is. Though it does seem to be one of London’s latest crazes: fermented food is very on trend (kimchi is everywhere), plus it’s super healthy, which helps in the popularity stakes.  I know eating – let alone loving – meat is not so on trend these days.  But that was the reason I wanted to come here.  I heard the lamb and the beef – grilled using a charcoal-fuelled BBQ – was incredible.  And I was not disappointed.  Despite a horrid cold I could still appreciate the beautifully grilled lamb rump, and devour the fermented monksbeard (I promise you it tastes better than it sounds).   Plus, who knew pickled fennel (and cabbage) was so delicious?

Rok, ShoreditchRok, ShoreditchRok, Shoreditch

Sadly their chocolate cake had run out, or we would definitely have had that.  Rob worked his way through some British beers, and I enjoyed the house wine.  Their bar actually stays open until quite late.  But I guess I just have to remind myself this is East London, not Fulham.

Rok, Shoreditch

This is a place for those who want to try something different.  Vegetarians will enjoy the pickles, but it would be a shame to come here and not try their meat.  And their bone marrow mash.  Move aside Roka…

Rok

26 Curtain Road

Photo credit: Rok

Blog, Italy, Rome

Marzapane, Rome – EAT

February 9, 2016
Marzapane, Rome

Rome has some fantastic restaurants.  My favourite for a long time was Casa Coppelle, and it is still one of the loveliest restaurants for a date in Rome.  I’m also a fan of some of the more traditional, proper ‘local’ places, like La Quercia, Maccheroni and Taverna Trilussa.  However, I recently read about Marzapane, a restaurant not in the ‘centro storico’ like the rest, but in the more residential Rome.  Having lived in Rome for a year, I’d never actually been here and so I persuaded the family to bundle into a cab and take the short 15 minute ride across town.

The initial hesitation of leaving the beloved historical centre was abandoned upon walking into this wonderful place.  It is very different to most Roman restaurants.  The interiors are bordering on Scandi, but without being too minimalist.  There is plenty of light wood and the design is simple, but it’s cosy and welcoming and yes, stylish.  Small touches like little wooden chairs for your bag (or your dog, I was thinking) are welcome.  Wine bottles stacked in the wall add more warmth.

Marzapane, Rome

And then comes the food. If you’re hungry, go for the tasting menu at EUR39 for five courses.  It’s a steal.  We decided to just choose a starter, main and pudding.  Choosing was the tough part.  The carpaccio with an Asian twist was a hit with my father who normally doesn’t even really like Asian, the prawn tartare with burrata was fresh and unique (and I loved the pistachio biscuit). The vegetable starter was also a surprising hit (they’re really into the word Crucifer in Rome), we’re not sure how they got the cauliflower cream like they did.

Marzapane, RomeMarzapane, RomeMarzapane, Rome

And the main courses were equally delightful.  The carbonara was more delicious and heavier than any we have tasted before.  The lamb with a Mexican hit (chilli), was so tender and delicious, even the fat was a joy to eat. The roe egg linguini was another treat.

Marzapane, RomeMarzapane, Rome

Pudding maintained the high standard, as did the petite fours which came with the coffee in a remarkable dish.  By which point none of us could fit anything more in our mouthes (meanwhile I’m writing this hungry and wishing we’d eaten them all).

Marzapane, RomeMarzapane, RomeMarzapane, Rome

And the wines we had were all different, all wonderful (and Italian of course – mostly either Sicilian or form Piedmonte), and all very reasonably priced.  My Dad did see a Gaja on the menu but the EUR200 price tag kept that one at bay.  Next time.

So, bottom line.  It is worth parting form the historical centre, and taking a 15 minute (10 euro) taxi across town.  It is also worth booking ahead, as this is apparently one of the most popular restaurants in town (it was completely full when we dined).  For me, it was fine dining without the ridiculous price tag, and I’d recommend it to all.

Marzapane

Via Velletri 39

Rome

Phone: +39 06 6478 1692

Blog, Cape Town, South Africa

La Colombe, Cape Town – EAT

January 20, 2016
La Colombe, Cape Town

La Colombe.  It just has that wonderful ring to it.  It sounds French.  It sounds like fine dining.  It sounds like you can’t miss this restaurant when you’re in Cape Town.  Which you most definitely can’t.  

La Colombe and the Test Kitchen have been constantly battling for the number one restaurant in South Africa.  So far (according to the critics/awards), the Test Kitchen is winning.  But I was curious to see which one would win for me.  We went to the Test Kitchen for dinner on the Saturday, and then La Colombe for lunch on the Sunday.  Talk about how to stuff as many good restaurants into 72 hours in Cape Town.

La Colombe, Cape Town

I wish we’d had more time at La Colombe, so we could have properly taken advantage of the Lunch Tasting Menu, which not only looks phenomenal, but is also very nicely priced (9 courses for £36).  Sadly we had to return our rental car, and so had a time limit.  Which meant a starter and a main, and all the little tasters in between.  It was so worth it, despite the rush.

Location wise it’s quite special.  It moved to Silvermist fairly recently, and now it is truly a restaurant with a view.  Located quite high up, you have views of the valley and the vineyards.  It’s not a completely open view, but it’s beautiful.  While initially I was disappointed not to be sitting outside (it can get quite windy, they warned), if you sit right by the large windows, you can still enjoy the views no matter what.

La Colombe, Cape Town

It is a wonderful, airy and light restaurant, with a much more ‘fine dining’ feel than the Test Kitchen, but without being stuffy or stiff.  The service was very professional but incredibly friendly; they were clearly proud of where they worked.

And the food?  Out of this world.  From the beautifully presented tuna with mirin in a can (see the photo below before you turn your nose up), to the stunning lamb (which we both had as a main course) – I was blown away.

La Colombe, Cape Town

For starters Rob had the scallops with the pork belly and I had the beef.  They were exquisitely cooked, every mouthful a different flavour.  So much care and expertise was clearly put into every dish.

La Colombe, Cape TownLa Colombe, Cape Town

Verdict?  You can’t really compare La Colombe and the Test Kitchen.  They are both unique, and both a must do when in Cape Town (though getting a booking is easier at La Colombe).  But perhaps La Colombe is best for lunch, so you can enjoy the beautiful views.  And the restaurant seems at its best with the sun pouring in.  This is a restaurant I will return to  – given the chance – time after time (and yes, that means I am 100% returning to Cape Town).

La Colombe

Silvermist Wine Estate,

Constantia Main Rd,

Constantia, Cape Town, 7848

Booking essential

Photo credit: La Colombe & City Turtle

Barcelona, Blog, Spain

Cornelia & Co, Barcelona

October 18, 2015
Cornelia & Co, Barcelona
Cordelia & Co feels like you’ve walked into a trendy Manhattan Brasserie, except you’re walking distance from Plaza Catalunya, in Eixample.  With a lovely terrace on a leafy, quiet street, this is a perfect place to come for brunch or lunch (note, they do not serve brunch in August), though dinner is meant to be good too.
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Cornelia & Co, Barcelona
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While I was not wholly enamoured by the service, I am a sucker for beautiful interiors.  And Cornelia & Co boasts a stunning bar and dining area, with laid back but tasteful decor.  They also prepare picnics for take away lunches, to the beach or the mountains. Their cappuccinos were incredible.
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Cornelia & Co, Barcelona
Cornelia & Co, Barcelona
Cornelia & Co, Barcelona
Cornelia & Co, Barcelona
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I also loved their shop, with beautiful copper salad bowls and other homeware items which made me want to start my Christmas shopping early.
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Cornelia & Co, Barcelona
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Cornelia & Co
Carrer de Valencia 225
08007 Barcelona
Photos all mine
Barcelona, Blog, Spain

Llamber, Barcelona – EAT

September 6, 2015
Llamber, Barcelona

It’s not hard to find good tapas restaurants in Barcelona.  But it is hard to find one like Llamber.  In the popular district of El Born and around the corner from Passeig del Born, I was expecting it to be fairly touristy.  But it felt as local as it could be.  That, coupled with very stylish interiors, exposed brickwork and up-cycled wooden tables, made it the perfect venue for a Friday dinner.  During the day you can enjoy lunch on their terrace too.

Llamber, Barcelona

We sat at a high table, ideal to observe the restaurant from, and waited with anticipation for every tapas plate to arrive.  This is not your standard tapas.  Every dish was beautifully, and creatively presented.  Their cod croquettes were light and fluffy, and were served in the cutest dish.  Their tuna sashimi was so fresh it melted in your mouth.  I loved their sardine meatloaf, which was something I would never normally have ordered.  Lastly, the thinly sliced beef was served in the most original way, with ‘edible coals’ (we saw it served at a neighbouring table and promptly ordered it), but we found the beef not as tender as it could have been.

Llamber, BarcelonaLlamber, Barcelona

If you want to try the local cheeses, order one of their cheese boards.  They line up the cheeses (goats on one side, dairy on the other) in order of strength.  The strong ones were unbelievably overpowering (to the point of drying out your mouth), but it was fun to try them all.

Llamber, Barcelona

The service here was also surprising.  I can’t say I have found the Catalans to be the friendliest, yet here the staff were wonderful. They were warm and helpful – letting us try different wines to see which we preferred, advising us on which tapas dishes were best and generally really adding to our evening.

Llamber, Barcelona

We stumbled out of the restaurant past 1 in the morning, a food coma not adequate to describe how we felt. Luckily for us there were a whole host of bars still open on Passeig del Born a few minutes’ walk from the restaurant, so we ended up drinking vodka, soda and lime for a few more hours at the originally named bar El Born.

Book ahead and don’t miss this place.

Llamber

Carrer de la Fusina, 5

+34 933 19 62 50

Photos a mixture of Llamber’s own and mine from Instagram.

 

Blog, Eat, London

The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell

July 17, 2015
Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell

Getting to the Modern Pantry from Fulham on a Sunday morning is no mean feat.  After the Piccadilly line, the walk from Holborn to Clerkenwell is long, and through a less picturesque part of London.  One of grey, nondescript buildings, busy roads, shabby corner shops.  And then suddenly you pass the Zetter Townhouse and get to St John Square: so pretty, so homely.  The Clerkenwell I love.

The Modern Pantry is hard to miss: a brick townhouse, with pots of bright red geraniums resting on dark grey window sills, and a large, green terrace.  Inside is all clean lines, greys and whites, with an elegant, feminine feel.  It is overwhelmingly suitable for brunch.

Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell

And so, after having been meaning to eat here for years now, I met a friend for brunch on a gloomy Sunday morning.  Two flat whites and a dish of Cornbread, chorizo, fried eggs, charred sweet corn, avocado and red pepper salsa later, I was feeling pretty happy.  It’s hard to choose what you want here, because everything on the menu sounds interesting, or at least different.  It’s not your usual ‘smashed avocado on toast’.  It’s fusion food – that overused term which few restaurants can actually get right – but where the Modern Pantry triumphs.  British food fused with the rest of the world, especially, it seemed to me, with the Middle East and Asia.

The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell

I will have to go back for their pandan waffles, which was my second choice, but which when it came by looked so divine I almost ordered it for desert.  Then told myself that brunch doesn’t need a pudding.  But, looking back, perhaps it does here.

The Modern Pantry

47-48 St John’s Square
Clerkenwell
London EC1V 4JJ

 Photos The Modern Pantry’s own, the Instagram photo mine.

Blog, The Hague, The Netherlands

Fine dining at Maxime, The Hague

May 5, 2014

Maxime, The Hague

My Dad commented today that I have shamefully not done a single post about The Hague, where my father lives and the little city which has always been ‘home’ to me.  So from now on this will change.

Yesterday we went for a lovely lunch at Maxime with my father, grandmother and Mini Turtle.  Since we usually opt for something simpler, like Dendy, which is opposite and serves classic (and good) lunch dishes, Maxime was a treat.

Maxime

THE ENTRANCE

The Michelin Guide describes Maxime as a ‘chic bistro’, which I agree with, though the decor is not my favourite.  While you can tell it’s upmarket, I’m not a fan of all the blacks and purples.  Still, we went for a family catch up and for the food.  Both of which were a huge success.  And its location on the Denneweg is perfect – right in the midst of things, with wonderful people (and dog) watching through their huge windows.

Maxime

NOT A HUGE FAN OF THE DECOR

Maxime

GREAT FOR PEOPLE WATCHING

Maxime

THE WINE MENU

There is no a la carte option – just two set menu options.  But you can form a ‘coalition’ between the menus should you wish, so no food envy is necessary.  In our case we had a Nicoise salad with sashimi tuna as a starter, which was to die for.

Maxime

OUR STARTER

The main course was Giant tiger prawns with Carmarque rice and spinach.  A small portion, but cooked to perfection.

We had coffees to finish, and they brought out a plate of petite fours with homemade cream, which were the perfect sweet touch to end the lunch.

Maxime

DESERT

It’s not cheap; I’d say for dinner it’s just about affordable (depending how much wine you drink) but for lunch it is certainly a splash out option.  But you’re also paying for the address and the excellent service.

Highly recommended.

Also worth trying is Calla’s; its Michelin-starred sister restaurant, around the corner (which, at 78 Euros for their 5 course taster menu, is a totally different ball game).

Maxime

Denneweg 10B, Den Haag 2514 CG

+31 70 360 9224

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