Category Archives: Lifestyle

Foodie heaven at Taste of London Winter 2014

Last night me and a friend went to the opening night of Taste in London Winter to see all the foodie action in person at the London Tobacco Docks. And let me tell you, Taste of London Winter was truly a winter feast!  Taste of London Winter is basically one big food festival, featuring some of the best chefs and restaurants of London’s restaurant scene.  So if you’re a food enthusiast like me you will understand my excitement about being able to try dishes from amazing restaurants like Andina, Ember Yard, Kurobuta, ShakeShack and Hixter.

Some of the other things to explore at Taste of London : Catch the latest food trends from the culinary masters in the Electrolux Taste Theatre as they showcase their skills and you can free your inner chef // There’s a big fire pit where some of the biggest chefs in London will bring the BBQ to life this winter, including dishes like char-grilled deer to flame-smoked salmon  // Sample drinks and cocktails at one of the many bars at the venue! For example the LP Winter cocktail at the Laurent-Perrier Bar which is a combination of refreshing combination of Laurent-Perrier Brut champagne, cloves, honey water, lemon juice, sloe gin and a sprig of rosemary // Sample delicious goods from 180 fine and boutique food and drink producers including the Meringue Girls, Big Mama’s, Popcorn Kitchen, Cinzia Cicolella and plenty more!

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I’d never been to Tobacco Docks before but was very impressed with the venue. It felt like a winter wonderland and and exploring all the different areas was a lot of fun (albeit a tiny bit of a confusing maze sometimes, but maybe it was more the wine that made us get a little lost occasionally haha). Here some more photos of our delicious and wintery fun night out at Taste of London Winter 2014, showing you some of the scrumptious dishes we tried!

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‘Nasu Dengaku – Sticky Miso Grilled Aubergine with Candied Walnuts’ or also known as the best Miso Aubergine in the world, from Kurobuta! Just had to have this dish again after my visit to Kurobuta in Chelsea last weekend. It was the first dish of the night we had and both of us went “oehhhh, ahhhhh sooooo gooood” a lot!  // Christian Stevenson, aka barbeque legend DJ BBQ, in action on the Fire Pit. I can tell you that the smells coming from this were incredible! // The ‘Charcoal Grilled Octopus Pinchos with Saffron Alioli’ from Ember Yard. I just love the combination of chorizo and squid/octopus!

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I am a big fan of Ceviche restaurant in Soho so was keen to try a dish from their newest east London restaurant called Andina. We absolutely loved their ‘Seabass ceviche with avocado, sweet potato, golden berries, cancha corn, red onion and amarillo chilli tiger’s milk’. I am going to East London tomorrow for lunch so might try out Andina because this ceviche tasted like more more more // We chatted for a while with the guys from Deliveroo which I think is one of the best things to hit London in a while. Basically it’s a food delivery service that allows you to get your favourite local restaurant food delivered to your door in an average of just 32 minutes, at delivery cost of only £2.50! I so can’t wait to try this service, nom nom just think of all the amazing additional ‘takeaway’ options now all of a sudden available to us all!

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How can anyone resist a mini burger? Check out this yummy ‘Lil Shack Burger’ Aberdeen Angus beef cheeseburger from ShakeShack // The ‘Hyderabadi Duck Haleem’ from Roti Chai which was a slow cooked duck wheat and saffron stew. Warming, spicy and did I mention delicious?

One of the stands we just had to visit was the Action Against Hunger 5 Star Haute Dog restaurant. Once again this year Action Against Hunger, one of the leading charities fighting against child malnutrition around the world, is the main charity partner for Taste of London. This year for their stand they worked with 5 top chefs to design their ultimate 5 Star Haute Dog, with all the proceeds supporting their worldwide programmes.

The ‘Haute Dogs’ on offer are; ‘The Jose Pizarro’ – Diced Spanish chorizo with Manchego and caramelised onions // ‘The Jason Atherton’ – Apple puree with onions, topped with crispy pancetta and grilled Gruyere // ‘The Valentine Warner’ – Alpine inspired cheese sauce and smooth apple sauce, with diced gherkins and crispy onions  // ‘The Alfred Prasad’ – Mumbai ‘vada pav’ hotdog with chilli coconut chutney, mint chutney and red onions // and ‘The DJ BBQ’  – Fiery chilli con carne with Red Leicester cheese and sour cream. Hot sauce available for the daring!

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It was too hard to decide on just one, so we got the Jose Pizarro and the Jason Atherton! And we also got the ‘Sweet mango, cashew and pomegranate slaw’ to add some greens into our dinner that night ;) The hotdogs were pretty amazing – which Haute Dog do you think you’d choose?

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Last but not least we feasted on the ‘Truffled Mac and Cheese’ from Ember Yard – which we had spotted earlier in the evening and had especially saved a little final spot for! // Plus our last crowns (how you pay for your food at the event – uploaded onto a Taste Card) were spent on the ‘BBQ Pork Belly in Steamed Buns with Spicy Peanut Soy’ from Kurobuta. I love this dish (as seen here) and my friend had never tried it, so I just had to introduce her to this food-deliciousness. It’s my duty as a good friend right?

Time flew by at Taste of London and at 10pm when it closed, we headed on our way home as two very happy and full ladies! To see the full Taste of London Winter restaurant line-up click HERE and for the full Chef line-up click HERE. Taste of London Winter is on from November 20th until November 23rd. Tickets are available to purchase from www.london.tastefestivals.com or by calling 0871 230 7132.  Ticket price is between £19 and £23.50. Are you keen to check out Taste of London Winter this year? Then book your ticket now before it’s too late!

  
1 Comment | Posted in Food, Lifestyle, London, Restaurants

Meeting Scott Hallsworth from Kurobuta Chelsea

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.

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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’.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

Kurobuta King’s Road
251 King’s Road, London SW3 5EL
Kurobuta Marble Arch
17-20 Kendal Street, London W2 2AW
www.kurobuta-london.com
Email: info@kurobuta-london.com
Twitter: @KurobutaLondon

  
Leave a comment | Posted in Food, Lifestyle, London, Restaurants

Rabbit Restaurant – Kings Road

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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

Rabbit Restaurant
172 Kings Road, Chelsea
London, SW3 4UP
For a booking call 020 375 00172 or email info@rabbit-restaurant.com
www.rabbit-restaurant.com

  
3 Comments | Posted in Food, Lifestyle, London, Restaurants

The Tower of London Remembers…

On Saturday I finally made it to the Tower of London to see the impressive ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ installation! Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins to remember all the people that sadly were killed in  WW1 as this year marks one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War. The installation features 888,246 ceramic poppies and each poppy represents a British military person that died during the war. The installation has been at the London landmark since the 5th of August and nearly four million people are expect to have visited it by 12 November, when it will start getting removed. Here are some photos I took at the Tower of London Remembers..

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I am so glad I went to see the Tower of London Remembers installation. It is visually spectacular and good place for personal reflection. The scale of seeing all those poppies really shows the magnitude of such a tragic part of the history of our world.

I kind of think the poppies should stay there longer, if not forever. But as it stand they will be starting to remove them (because they’ve sold all the poppies) on the 12th of November but to allow as many people as possible to see the installation, the poppies will be lit from 04:30 GMT until dawn and then from dusk until midnight. For more information visit http://poppies.hrp.org.uk. For you Londoners, I strongly recommend you go and see this while you still can!

  
2 Comments | Posted in Lifestyle, London, Photography

Turkish Eggs – Poached Eggs with Herbed Yoghurt & Chilli Butter

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!

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Turkish Eggs: Poached Eggs with Herbed Yoghurt & Chilli Butter

Ingredients:
(serves 2)

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

Method:

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!

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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!

  
2 Comments | Posted in Brunch, Cooking, Food, Lifestyle, Recipe