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Category Archives: Food
From 20th – 23rd November food fever is set to grip London’s East End, as the very best of London’s chef and restaurant talent unites for four days of food extravagance – at Taste of London Winter! And one of the chefs that will be cooking up a storm at the Taste of London is Scott Hallsworth from Kurobuta. I went to Kurobuta in Marble Arch a few months ago and instantly fell in love with the place.
Kurobuta is a Japanese izakaya (think Japanese ‘pub’) style restaurant with two London locations; Kurobuta in Chelsea and Marylebone. On saturday I was so lucky to catch up with Scott Hallsworth himself to talk to him about what he’ll be cooking at Taste of London Winter this week. I met Scott at his Kurobuta King’s Road restaurant which initially started as a pop-up but was so popular that it’s now pretty much a permanent site.
To give you some background on his awesomeness, Australian born chef Scott was Head Chef at Nobu Park Lane for 6 years and even launched Nobu Melbourne in 2007. Following that he took over as executive chef at the Mirai Restaurant Group in Dubai and Bahrain. He then moved back to London, where in 2013 he opened Kurobuta which is all about offering fabulous Japanese cuisine to the masses in a relaxed setting. Kurobuta’s approachable, fun rock n’ roll vibe and incredible food was a huge hit straight away and since then he’s opened a second permanent site on Kendal Street near Marble Arch, and just recently opened another late-night dining venue, called Ramusake in South Kensington.
You can definitely understand the vibe of Kurobuta when you meet the mastermind behind it all. Like the restaurant, Scott is super laid-back, approachable, fun and a little rock ‘n roll. We straight away kicked of our chat with shots…yes the ‘Get Farkt’ ones! Scott is all about making sure his diners have a jolly drunken experience with great food and genuinely fun servers – it’s less fine dining and more ‘get over yourself and just have some fun’.
Scott has a busy week ahead of him, because commencing on Thursday he will be appearing at Taste of London Winter, held at the Tobacco Docks. He will doing demos, creating their famous pork belly buns, miso aubergine, tea smoked lamb, miso grilled hot wings and he will also be serving roasted rice green tea ice cream! He will also be doing a demo on the main state and one at the big fire pit. He’s very much looking forward to the event as it will be a few nights of fun for himself and his staff. I definitely can’t wait to see Scott in action at Taste of London Winter plus of course many of the other talented chefs that will be there. After our chat and full tour of the restaurant, we made ourselves comfortable at the bar, ordered some cocktails and got to taste some of the dishes that Scott will be serving at Taste of London. Are you ready for some food-awesomeness?
First up – Beef Fillet Tataki with Onion Ponzu and Garlic Crisps. Meat perfection on a plate. The contrast in flavours is delicious and it’s so soft it pretty much melts in your mouth.
Next was the Yellowtail Sashimi with Kizami Wasabi Salsa and Yuzu-Soy and the Tuna Sashimi Pizza with Truffle Ponzu, Red Onions and Green Chillies. The Sashimi Pizza may sound crazy but trust me the mix of the crunch and soft sashimi is so good.
More cocktails were ordered – this time their signature cocktail ‘The Green Bastard’ which is a mix of Hendricks gin, fresh cucumber and Midori. I’ll admit that I am not usually a Midori fan but this drink for sure went down a treat!
And then my favourite dish of the night: Nasu Dengaku, which is Sticky Miso Grilled Aubergine with Sesame Seeds. This really is the yummiest aubergine I’ve ever eaten! I had it when I dined at Kurobuta in Marble Arch and I really haven’t been able to stop dreaming about it since. The soft smokey eggplant has such a melty dreamy texture that I just can’t get enough of, and combined with the sweet miso caramelised sauce…oh my word!
Next up was the Baby Shrimp Tempura with Spicy Mayo and Warm Ponzu Dipping Sauce and his now famous Kurobuta – melt in your mouth – BBQ Pork Belly in Steamed Buns with Spicy Peanut Soy!
Looks pretty incredible right? Well it tastes even better! The last dish of the night we tried was the Tea Smoked Lamb with Smokey Nasu and Spicy Korean Miso. Just squeeze over the grilled lime, slap some of the smokey aubergine paste onto the chops and dig in!
After all this food we were so full but so very happy. We finished off our fabulous evening by celebrating with one more ‘Get Farkt’ shot with bartender Paps – who had made our night at Kurobuta so much fun. CHEERS, here’s to you Paps, Scott, Alice and all the other lovely people we met at Kurobuta on Saturday!
Scott Hallsworth will be appearing at Taste of London Winter 20th – 23rd November at Tobacco Dock. For more information and to book your tickets visit London.tastefestivals.com or call 0871 230 7132.
Also do add Kurobuta to your foodie must-visit-list. It’s probably one of my favourite restaurants in London, which in my books is a huge call! The food, the vibe – it’s got it all and I will definitely be back again soon! To make a booking at Kurobuta visit www.kurobuta-london.com or call (020) 3475 4158.
When Rabbit Restaurant opened on the Kings Road last month it pretty much immediately ended up on the top of my to-visit-foodie list! Rabbit is the latest venture by the clever Gladwin brothers, who are behind The Shed in Notting Hill. The Shed is actually one of my favourite little places in West London. I know shame on me that I’ve never blogged about it before, but I always just end up having too much of a good night that I forget to take photos haha.
Just like The Shed, Rabbit is all about celebrating British ‘wild food’ with an emphasis on sustainability and nose-to-tail cooking. Keen on keeping things authentic and within the family, the Gladwin trio Richard, Oliver and Gregory stock the kitchen (not to mention wine cellar) with produce from their family farm and vineyard in West Sussex (Gregory); as well as running front of house (Richard) and manning the stoves (Oliver). And it seems a recipe for success! Right in the heart of Chelsea, Rabbit Restaurant is located on the Kings Road and has that same lovely rustic feel to it as the Shed.
Me and my friend kicked off our Friday evening with their ‘daily loosener’, the Damsel in Distress which contained Chase GB Gin, Damson, Pineapple Weed, Lemon and Soda, followed by a nice big bottle of Dog Point Sauvignon Blanch (one of my favourites!)
The menu, which changes often, is divided into Mouthfuls, Nutboure Cured Meats, Slow cooking, Fast Cooking and of course Puds! The mouthfuls (at £1.50 each) are literary mouthful and not meant for sharing. We each got a ‘Beetroot Crisp with Goats Cheese and Pear Jam’ and a ‘Mushroom Marmite with Confit Egg Yolk’. Both went down a treat but the beetroot crisp was my favourite – goats cheese nom nom!
They recommend you get 2-3 plates per person and share them so we decided on 5 between the two of us and that was plenty because the servings are actually pretty decent. From the meats section, we both instantly knew we had to have ‘Chorizo with Labneb, Crisp Bread and Kale (£7.50). They have the same dish on the menu at the Shed and I am just obsessed with it. Crumbly spicy chorizo with crispy flatbread and creamy labneh….order this one, trust me!
From Slow Cooking we got the ‘Black Cuttlefish with Gnocchi, Tomatoes, Sea Aster and Almonds (£10) and the ‘Lamb Chips with Lemon, Parsley and Harrisa (£8). Lamb chips you ask?! Well they are actually slow cooked lamb made into chunky chip form, coated with breadcrumbs and then deep fried. I know, wowzers!
From the Fast Cooking we got the ‘Rabbit with Crab Apple, Radicchio, Nutbourne Bacon, Sultanas and Mustard’ (£10) and the ‘Cured Scallop with Nutbourne Air Dried Ham, Wiltshire Truffle and Dulse and Buckshorn (£13.50). When at Rabbit you have to eat Rabbit don’t you agree? The Rabbit and Apple salad was delicious but think next time I am keen to try their Rabbit Ravioli as that also sounded amazing.
Not that after this feast we really needed dessert but I couldn’t help myself trying something from the Puds section. And their ‘The Shed Magnum Viennetta Parfait really was the perfect combination of creamy vanilla ice-cream, bitter shards of dark chocolate and sweet oozing salted caramel sauce. Plus accompanied by an espresso martini meant we were two very happy girls!
The Rabbit is definitely another winner for the Gladwin brothers. Delicious quality food, cosy and fun vibe and good service. Oh and did I mention they take bookings? That’s always a big whoop whoop in my books. I definitely recommend adding both restaurants The Shed and Rabbit to your foodie to-visit-list if you’ve not yet been!
The first time that I had the Turkish Eggs at The Providores in London, I was hooked. I ordered it because I was a bit sceptical to see how the combination of yoghurt and eggs would work together, but oh boy does it work! Garlicky yoghurt topped with poached eggs and then drizzled with chilli infused butter, served with bread to mop up all these delicious flavours. The original dish actually comes from Turkey and is called Çılbır and you can enjoy this for lunch, dinner and of course brunch!
Turkish Eggs: Poached Eggs with Herbed Yoghurt & Chilli Butter
Greek yoghurt (I used FAGE Total 0%)
1x tbsp of finely chopped fresh dill
1x clove of garlic, crushed
Salt & pepper
4x Eggs for poaching
approx. 50 grams of unsalted butter
1 tbsp of chilli flakes
1/2 tsp of paprika
1/4 tsp of ground cumin
Toasted pita, turkish bread or sourdough bread slices, to serve
To make the herbed Greek yoghurt*: Evenly mix Greek yoghurt, chopped dill, grated garlic, salt and ground black pepper together. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 1 hour (you can serve this immediately too but letting it sit for a while does allows the flavours to really sink into the yoghurt).
To make the chili butter*: Combine unsalted butter, chili flakes, paprika and ground cumin in a sauce pot. Heat over medium heat, and once the butter has melted, let cook for another min. Turn off the heat and set aside. Warm up over low heat before using.
*Can be made up to 1 day in advance
Poaching your eggs: Fill a (deep) frying pan or pot with boiling water from the kettle. Bring it to a light simmer over a medium heat, add a pinch of sea salt and a splash of white vinegar (if you prefer) which will help to bind the egg. When the water is simmering swirl the water with a spoon and gently slide the egg into the centre. Ensure you crack it as close as possible to the water, or break the egg into a teacup first if you are a little new or nervous about doing this so closely to the water. Add the remaining eggs, one at a time, in the same manner, and cook them for about 3 minutes, depending on your egg yolk runniness (is that even a word) preference. When the eggs are ready, gently remove each egg from the water with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper to drain.
To serve: Divide the herbed Greek yoghurt in two plates, and place two poached eggs on top on each plate. Drizzle over a generous amount of the chili butter and finish off with a sprig of fresh dill. Sprinkle some sea salt on top and serve with your crusty bread of choice for dipping!
Trust me that the perfect harmony of eggs, yoghurt, and chilli and paprika is simply delicious. This is such a comfort dish and I also really like it because it’s just something different from your regular poached egg brunch recipe. Plus it’s easy to make, very light, and yummy. Do let me know what you think if you try this Turkish Eggs recipe at home!
For my work leaving lunch recently we decided to check out Union Street Cafe in Southwark. Conveniently it was just a short walk away from our office and it had been on my list to vision for a while. Union Street Cafe, by Gordon Ramsay, opened about a year ago and has an Italian inspired menu that changes daily. I loved the warehouse/chic industrial fit out and feel of the place. Modern but cosy at the same time. I know this style of design is super trendy these days and all seen all over the London restaurant scene, but I am definitely not sick of it just yet.
Because it was my leaving lunch and my last day at work we decided it was definitely appropriate to order a bottle of wine (or two) to enjoy. The menu looks very pretty as it’s all scribbled in this lovely hand-written font, but it does make it a little hard to read. Anyway, the menu is definitely more Italian then Mediterranean (as they describe it on their website) with sections like Antipasti, Primi and Secondi. They have a set lunch menu that offers two courses for £19 or three courses for £25 – or you can order a la carte.
Once the orders were placed we were served white and brown sliced bread. It was still warm and came with a dipping dish of super delicious olive oil. So so good, we devoured this in seconds; I am such a sucker for warm bread!
I got a starter of ‘Porcini fritti with parmesan fonduta and hazelnut pesto’ which basically was pan fried mushrooms which was simple but tasty.
A lot of us on the table ordered the ‘Ravioli of beetroot, ricotta, raddicchio with 4 years aged balsamic’ which was gorgeously presented and very good – only not a very big portion. I got the ‘Risotto with italian veal sausage and taleggio’. It was rich and creamy and went down a treat (even after all that bread). Not sure I was that wowed by the presentation of it, just blobbed onto a big plate like that but it did taste good.
After finishing our lunch we decided to order some more wine – just to procrestinate on having to return to the office haha. Which meant by the time we did actually return (uhhh 4pm) we were rather tipsy. But as it was my last day it didn’t really matter anyway!
I enjoyed Union Street Cafe, I think it’s perfect for a work lunch or group dinner. The service was friendly and efficient and the food good. It’s nothing new and exciting but it’s a nice place to visit if you’re in the area. There’s also a bar in the basement which looked very cool and would be a great spot for after work cocktails or to hire out for a birthday party.
I also took a sneaky outfit selfie in the bathrooms! Wearing: H&M leather mini skirt & ZARA silk tunic top. You can’t beat a simple black on black outfit sometimes.
Union Street Cafe
On the Corner of Great Suffolk Street & Union Street
47-51 Great Suffolk Street
London SE1 0BS
Surprise surprise; another recipe post…of another Ottolenghi salad! This recipe, from his book Jerusalem, for Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar is a recent favourite of mine. Actually it’s probably fair to say I am a tad obsessed with it and have made it quite a few times in the last 3 months when having people over for dinner, or just for myself to enjoy. It’s super easy, super fast to prepare, super healthy and of course super delicious. And don’t you just love the look of the bright orange from the squash against the deep purple of the onions? The perfect dish for autumn and winter!
Ottolenghi Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar
1 large butternut squash, cut into decent sized chunks/wedges (leave the skin on)
2 red onions, cut into 3cm wedges
3½ tbsp olive oil
3½ tbsp (light) tahini paste
1½ tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water
1 small garlic clove, crushed
30g pine nuts
1 tbsp za’atar
1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Put the squash and onion in a large mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper and toss well. Spread on a baking sheet with the skin facing down and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through. Keep an eye on the onions as they might cook faster than the squash and need to be removed earlier. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. While the squash is roasting away, you can make the sauce. Place the tahini in a small bowl along with the lemon juice, water, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini if necessary.
Pour the remaining oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown. Remove from the heat and transfer the nuts and oil to a small bowl to stop the cooking.
To serve, spread the vegetables out on a large serving platter and drizzle over the tahini. Sprinkle the pine nuts and their oil on top, followed by the za’atar and parsley. Tuck in!
*For those who don’t know, Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix consisting of dried thyme, sesame seeds, sumac and salt. You can buy pre-made Za’atar in most upmarket supermarket these days and I think it’s a great spice to have stocked in your kitchen. Za’atar has a lovely flavour and can be sprinkled on hummus, labneh, fried eggs or roast meat. Or try dipping a thick, fluffy and warm pitta bread first in great olive oil and then in za’atar – yum!
Roasting butternut squash intensifies its flavour, bringing out the sweetness and this combined with the simple tahini dressing and za’atar spices leads to something quite sensational! You can enjoy this dish on its own (hot or cold) for lunch or dinner as a lovely filling but healthy vegetarian meal, or alternatively it also goes great as a side dish with chicken or lamb or steak! Enjoy :)