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29 July 2014

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Blog Reviews from Food I Fancy

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  1. Published : Monday, 30th June 2014

    Boulestin | Boulestin: Fine, French, Food

    A victim of the 90s recession, the esteemed restaurant Boulestin was forced to close its doors in 1994. Fast-forward to September 2013 it’s back, and has shimmied over from its old Covent Garden site to the more illustrious setting of St.James’s Street. Owned in 1925 by Marcel Boulestin, hence the name, Joel Kissin now heads this fine French brasserie. Café style dining is at the front of the restaurant, which leads into more elegant and formal dining at the back. If weather permits, there’s an option to dine al fresco in the enchanting and secluded courtyard. I eat at the back of the restaurant, which has just enough other diners, who are mostly seniors, to make for a nice atmosphere...

  2. Published : Thursday, 19th June 2014

    Zumbura | Zumbura, Clapham Old Town

    Some places are worth making that extra effort to seek out and one such place is Zumbura. Set slightly off the beaten track in Clapham’s affluent Old Town, this vibrant restaurant serves Indian food but not as you might know it. Gone are the old clichés associated with Indian dining and gone is the ghee. Instead, a fresh, light and modern décor set the scene, which is reflective of the cuisine. The food is based on home-style, traditional cooking from the Purab region of North India and is designed to be shared – great if you can never make up your mind on what to order like me and want to try the lot, which I near enough did...

  3. As spring leaps into summer, I’m on the hunt for restaurants that give the option to dine al fresco. One such restaurant is The Brasserie at The Tower Hotel. Unfortunately showery weather denied my chance to eat on their outside terrace on the afternoon that I went, but a window seat inside proved just as good with eye-catching views of Tower Bridge and The Shard in the distance. The clientele mostly consisted of elderly staying guests, with a few mid-twenties and business types adding to the mix. The décor is a tad corporate, lacking warmth and character but a charming service made up for it. I was there to try a tasting menu knocked up by Chef Sandeep Chauhan. It’s all very considered with courses named: The Game; The Ocean; The Farm; and The Treat, each including items that one might expect with such titles...

  4. Published : Sunday, 25th May 2014

    Shoryu Kingly | Shoryu Ramen, Carnaby

    Shoryu recently opened its fourth branch, just off Carnaby Street, within the food and retail complex of Kingly Court. If you don’t mind queuing, then what’s inside might just be worth the wait. Executive Chef Kanji Furukawa and Director Tak Tokumine’s home town of Fukuoka is the inspiration for the décor – it’s bright with an open kitchen to spy on the chefs. It’s a place designed to eat quick and go...

  5. Pulling into the gravel driveway, a breathtaking regal country house hotel known as The Manor-at Weston-on-the-Green waits to greet you. It’s a majestic 11th century building in Oxfordshire, with bags of history and for one night, I’m to be the lady of it – well not quite, but one can always dream, right? Inside the place is full of charm with a traditional, inviting style and a certain intrigue, which makes you want to explore every nook and cranny. A log fire shares its warmth and to the right of the entrance is Bertie’s Bar, where travel buddy and blog contributor Claire and I head to straight after checking in. It’s a lovely area to unwind in, with a cocktail or two, after the 2-hour journey from London. There are other areas where you can lounge, with one a front room with big sofas and big cushions, which offers a more home-from-home feel. Given the grandeur of the place and slight formality it’s all actually very relaxed, with genuinely nice staff..

  6. Published : Tuesday, 22nd April 2014

    Assado | Restaurant Review: Assado

    Tasting menus really do offer the best way to get a feel of what a restaurant is about, especially a newly opened one. Assado, meaning ‘roast’ is Cyrus Todiwala’s latest Goan, Portuguese and Indian inspired restaurant – a lot of inspirations going on there. Located on the quieter part of Waterloo Road, Assado snuggly sits just past the Old Vic. Inside greets you with a bustling kitchen counter and a choice of dining canteen style to the right or left in the classic restaurant style area; both have a welcoming and relaxed feel. My friend and I decide to dine on the left, which has booths lining the far wall in which we to cocoon into...

  7. Published : Thursday, 20th March 2014

    Layla Restaurant | Review: Layla Restaurant, Wimbledon

    Dining at Lebanese restaurant, Layla is a fanciful affair. The restaurant has two distinctive areas – the blinging, posing, lounge for those who want-to-be-seen, at the front, leading into the more sophisticated eating area at the back with the most gloriously magnificent chandeliers. And at the back there are several intimate booths to one side, which overall brings a touch of ornate eastern promise to the heart of Wimbledon Village. Meze is a staple of Middle Eastern food and Layla keeps with tradition offering a very good selection to choose from...

  8. I can’t talk about The Gallivant without mentioning the food, where not only the hotel guests eat, but where people go specifically to dine. The nautical driftwood theme continues into the restaurant. During the day the light and airy décor works well, but could benefit from having some warmer hues dotted about to make evening dining that little bit more comforting. However, the vibe is unpretentious and relaxed. Recently promoted head chef, Ben Fisher, previously of The French Laundry, heads their 2AA Rosettes ‘Beach Bistro’. Most of the produce is locally sourced and the menu reflects this with reasonably priced dishes designed around land and sea...

  9. Published : Wednesday, 30th October 2013

    The Pig | Day Tripping to The New Forest to Visit, The Pig

    London is great, love it – I wouldn’t live here otherwise, but every now and then it’s good to clear the lungs and head out to the countryside. And this little piggy recently went on a stonker of a day trip to Brockenhurst to check out The Pig, which is located right in the heart of The New Forest National Park. After an easy hour-and-a-half train commute, with a few other bloggers, followed by a 5 min cab drive, we reached our gorgeously impressive destination. As soon as you step inside the revamped 17th Century building, a lovely homely feel immediately warms you. The style is rustic, shabby chic with mismatched furniture, which is done well with real attention to detail – the environment is relaxed and welcoming and actually rather special...

  10. Brick Lane, food wise, is synonymous with Indian restaurants and Bagels. There are, of course, other types of eateries though and last month I went to one with blog contributor Claire – who happens to live in the area – to dine at Swedish restaurant and bar, Fika. Fika, which loosely translates as a “coffee break”, is located at the Shoreditch end of Brick Lane. With its modestly sized room, brick exposed walls and vintage furniture it does indeed look and feel like a place to go and have a chillaxing coffee break in. But here they offer more than just coffee. They have an upstairs, shabby chic looking roof terrace, which can cater for about 25 people. You have to squeeze up a tight staircase to get there mind, but once you reach the top it’s pretty pleasant and it’s where we decide to eat...

  11. Published : Saturday, 28th September 2013

    Imli Street | Review: Imli Street, Soho

    Established in 2006, Indian restaurant Imli Street had a revamp and relaunch earlier in the year. I went along recently to the heart of trendy Soho to check out the food and vibe. The menu is designed to share and is inspired by four distinct areas of India’s street food scene. Food Carts; inspired by street-side and highway stalls, Coastal Shacks; celebrating India’s coastline and beach-fronts, Railway Cuisine; food you get whilst on a journey around India, and Beyond Borders, which are dishes with foreign influences. There is also a simpler option, which has a set meal type of offering in the form of the Imli Stand or Street Stand that have 3 of their core dishes with sides at a fixed price of £19.95...

  12. Published : Sunday, 15th September 2013

    Clockjack Oven | Clockjack Oven – Rotisserie Chicken

    After the burger buzz of last year, chicken has been having its moment on the food scene, and as it lends itself well to a variety of cooking styles it’s easy to see why. Southern Fried was the thing earlier in the year, followed more recently by Korean fried chicken. Trying to get in on the poultry action is Clockjack Oven, with rotisserie chicken. Located off Piccadilly Circus, this compact, modern restaurant with factory style décor sits just on the edges of Soho. I went on my tod for lunch, which caters well for lone diners, couples and groups alike. There’s a mixture of high, low and bench style tables. I perched myself on the high table next to a fellow lone diner with the perfect view of the rotisserie chicken in front...

  13. Published : Friday, 23rd August 2013

    Tompkins | Review: Tompkins Restaurant, Canary Wharf

    Tompkins is located within the chic Pan Peninsula development in Canary Wharf, which so happens to be the tallest residential building in the UK. Style wise, the brassieres of New York with its grand high ceilings and super plush furnishings influence the interior. Although the room is vast, it manages to have a very homely and intimate feel with an eclectic mix of mismatched furniture. You can dine outside too with lovely views of the waterside...

  14. The restaurant spans over the first floor of the balcony area. It’s an unusual narrow space, which overlooks the boisterous punters at the roulette wheels below. The casino is celebrating its first birthday anniversary, so every now and then we have random bursts of entertainment such as the daring acrobats below...

  15. Published : Tuesday, 30th July 2013

    Just Falafel | Just Falafel Review: Healthy Fast Food?

    Just Falafel started in Abu Dhabi and has grown to be the biggest falafel franchise in the world with 1200 outlets in 19 countries and they’re hoping to expand further. I visited their Covent Garden branch, which is on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Monmouth Street. There are huge windows onto the street and it’s a good place for people-watching! Falafels are a fairly healthy and tasty take-away option for vegetarians and although they are usually fried, Just Falafel also have a baked version. I was surprised at the range of falafel wraps with variations inspired by different cultural cuisines. I ordered Japanese with Fresh Avocado, Ginger, Lettuce, Tomato and Japanese Sauce. I loved the combination, which was healthy and fresh with a spicy wasabi kick. At £3.49 it’s a great price and fairly filling on its own...

  16. As the vegetarian and healthy food reviewer for Food I Fancy I went to Namaaste Kitchen, a contemporary Indian restaurant in Camden to find out what it has to offer vegetarians who prefer fresh and healthy food. Generally Indian cuisine is a good choice for vegetarians with a variety of aromatic flavours and spices to choose from. It also tends to be fresh and healthy, although I’ve yet to walk out of an Indian restaurant having eaten a sensible amount! Although Namaaste Kitchen specialises in the lighter dishes from across the subcontinent, their dishes are surprisingly rich and filling...

  17. Published : Wednesday, 26th June 2013

    Buddha-Bar | Restaurant Review: Buddha-Bar’s Bento

    What I like most about Bento is that your meal is contained within a cute compartmentalised box, making it a fun and different way to eat. The name itself translates to ‘picnic’ and Buddha-Bar, in Knightsbridge; known for their Pan-Asian cuisine, has recently added a very decadent ‘Buddha Bento’ to its repertoire. Bento is more often than not, already made up for you, but here you can pick and choose between starters and main dishes to create your own Bento mix. The Bento is very elegantly served – not in the usual box shaped container – but on slate with the individual dishes on top...

  18. Published : Wednesday, 19th June 2013

    Yaneff at Dstrkt | Restaurant Review: Yaneff at DSTRKT

    Located in the basement this stylish Soho establishment is positively bling – from the glistening bottles of wine that greet you on display, to the lavishly dark and boujis dining area. Inside sets out to impress and succeeds, but can the same be said of the food? To put it simply – yes!...

  19. Published : Tuesday, 16th April 2013

    Ceviche | Restaurant Review: Ceviche

    Ceviche, the restaurant, is the brainchild of half-Peruvian, ex DJ, Martin Morales. Inside it’s got that cool Soho vibe with dark wooden floors and dark wooded tables with bright contrasting walls dotted with a few pieces of Peruvian art posters. It actually felt more like a low-key French bistro rather than anything I’d visited on my travels – but nonetheless, it fits in nicely with the trendy surroundings...

  20. Published : Sunday, 31st March 2013

    Elistano | Review: Elistano, Italian Restaurant

    Tucked away in the residential area of Chelsea sits Italian restaurant, Elistano. It’s been serving the locals for years and recently brought in a fresh new team with head chef, Daniele Urbani taking the realms. My mum is a huge fan of Italian cuisine, so it was only natural that she accompanied me when I was invited to try the new menu...

  21. With a name suggesting a cheap, dodgy, Mexican joint, Chino Latino is very far from that. It is instead, a stylish, modern, Pan-Asian cuisine restaurant with a Latin cocktail bar, with branches in Leeds, Nottingham, London and Cologne, Germany. Last week I visited the London branch, along with fellow food blogger friend Snigdha...

  22. The tour was a great build up to what I was most excited about sampling – the food at Lord’s Tavern. The tavern serves both local St.John’s Wood residents and visitors alike. Food isn’t included with the tour ticket, but they do offer various discounts if you do both. Most of the menu is standard pub grub affair; burger, fish and chips, Ploughman’s lunch etc. But there is a dish on there that stands out from the rest – the Pig’s Head Croquettes....

  23. The restaurant has two dining areas set across two floors. We’re given a window seat next to a wall adorned with a huge map of Greece, which is about ‘as Greek as it gets’ décor wise, elsewhere it’s comfortably modern looking. Athens born manager, Dimitri, is our host and is professionally on-hand while we dither about what to order. The menu reads with a mix of traditional Greek staple dishes alongside a few contemporary ones...

  24. Published : Sunday, 24th February 2013

    Boqueria | Restaurant Review: Boqueria – Tapas

    It’s named after Barcelona’s extremely popular food market, and is located a little further out from the hub-bub of Brixton’s centre towards the Clapham end of Acre Lane. Inside it’s contemporary, bright, sleek and the night I go with my friend, Paul – rammed!...

  25. Published : Saturday, 16th February 2013

    Fire & Stone | Restaurant Review: Fire & Stone – Pizzeria

    Crispy roast pork belly with apricot and almond stuffing, caramelized shallots, chopped sage and apple sauce – Sunday roast? Nope, these are toppings for a pizza called Berkshire at Fire & Stone restaurant, Covent Garden. The pizzas are primarily themed around cities from around the world. I’m in an adventurous mood...

  26. Published : Friday, 23rd November 2012

    RIBA Cafe & Restaurant | Restaurant Review: RIBA Restaurant

    A dose of culture along with food is an inspiring mix for me, and that’s what you can experience at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The culture part comes in the form of various talks, exhibitions, film screenings, building tours and live music sessions that are held there on the last Tuesday of every month, and is simply called ‘Last Tuesdays’ with changing themes each month...

  27. Published : Wednesday, 15th August 2012

    Tuttons | Restaurant Review: Tuttons

    I seem to be doing the refurbished, restaurant rounds at the moment, this time it’s Tuttons in Covent Garden. Tuttons, which sits on the east side of Covent Garden, has been there for 30 odd years. I remember it back in the day (mainly because of its large outside eating area), when that part of Covent Garden had rows of outdoor stalls that sold all sorts, though mainly second-hand clothes, but alas, I had never eaten there. So I was quite intrigued when I received an invite to sample its new menu and brought a friend with...

  28. Published : Monday, 16th January 2012

    Honest Burgers Brixton | Restaurant Review: Honest Burgers

    Issy knew exactly what she wanted to order – their ‘special’ at the time which was a venison and cranberry burger. I liked the fact that the menu wasn’t extensive as I can sometimes take an age deciding. I opted for the ‘Honest Burger’ which consisted of beef, red onion relish, smoked bacon, mature cheddar, pickled cucumber and lettuce and an extra of venison sausage, both came with triple -cooked chips....

  29. Published : Wednesday, 2nd November 2011

    Wahaca | Review: Mexican Restaurant Wahaca – Soho

    It was my friend Salome’s birthday and as such she wanted to go to one of her favourite Mexican restaurants, Wahaca. She’d been raving about it for a while, but I’d not managed to make it to any. So what better occasion to go for my first time. We were a party of seven – word of warning, if you’re a group this size arrive with all members in tow and get there early, as they don’t do bookings and queues can end up running outside along the street – it’s easy to see why. The place is bright, buzzing and simply brilliant...