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25 July 2014

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Blog Reviews from Mitziesbubble

(menu)

'Favourite pastimes include wine glugging and cake scoffing


  1. It’s nearing the end of July and the summer is in full swing. The sun has got its hat on and us Londoners are feeling rather pleased, as we wind up outside beer gardens, terraces and rooftop bars swigging beer/cider/rosé (delete as appropriate) by the gallons. This is one of the my two most favourite traditions of this great nation. The other is afternoon tea. Thanks to the 7th Duchess of Bedford’s lightbulb moment in the 1840′s, we now all have the option of an extra meal in the day, to head out and celebrate our many occasions over. I know I’ve indulged in many a lavish afternoon tea across the capital in some of the finest establishments; the Palm court at the Langham, Fortnum and Mason, the Spatisserie at the Dorchester and one of my all time favourites – Prêt à Portea at the Berkeley Hotel. So I was rather curious when I was invited by the UK’s leading hospitality guide – Square Meal – to a tea at Boyds Brasserie, a relatively unheard of dining venue in the heart of London, and only a few steps from busy Trafalgar Square...

  2. Restaurant rave: Absolutely riveting food from Scott Hallsworth and team at Kurobuta London (Marble Arch). Much raved about, Kurobuta has been on my wish list for some time now. The pop-up in Chelsea is still running but fellow mummy, ‘the blonde’, and I took our lunatic toddlers on a lunch mission to the recently opened marble arch restaurant (following a morning of musical adventures at nearby Wigmore Hall). Service is swift and endearingly friendly (Basketball-clad guy was a star), even with a floor full of rice cakes and raisins under our mischievous little ones, they seemed happy to have us, and we where happy to not be shoved in a corner for once...

  3. Pinot Noir tasting and Tom Cook’s ravishing Ravioli at Le Pont De La Tour I’m something of an old hand when it comes to wine tastings, spending many a tipsy evening with hubby dearest at the charming and dangerously local Le Pont Wine Shop. Their tastings are just the right balance of informative without being formal. I also love how each tasting varies dramatically depending on the producer/distributor leading the evening, which keeps the programme fresh and intriguing. Though I should note I shan’t be attending another Austrian night. As much as I love my Gruner V, I simply cannot drink wine whilst watching a PowerPoint presentation ‘for fun’!...

  4. Most of the contents of this very charming, saccharine-sweet afternoon tea are lost in a hazy sugar-cloud, so I’m grateful for the photo evidence I had the good mind to take. The Sanderson has been offering a Mad Hatter’s tea for some time now, at least a year or so, but it seems to have retained its popularity judging by the packed tables around us. Outside is where the hotel believes its prime seating is, but I disagree, on account that it’s almost always cold /grey /windy /rainy in London. Instead, the high tables that my friend and I occupied just on the other side of the glass, were better for that smug ‘almost outside but much warmer inside’ feeling...

  5. ast but by no means least, I have to mention a very quaint little wine bar, a Venetian Bacaro actually, called Augustus Harris. Foodie frappy and I stumbled upon this after our trip to see the rather weird and wonderful works of David Bailey and before our reservation at Sticks N Sushi. We were in a wine mood and must have walked around half of covent garden before finally being saved by AH. Interiors are fresh; a combination of woody furniture and a beautiful copper bar. I’m not too hot on my Italian wines, and I’m sure there are more grape varietals besides Falanghina and Malvasia but if there was ever a place to learn about them, it’d be here. The rosé I had and the Sangiovese I recommend for foodie frappy went down a treat and if we didn’t have dinner plans, I would have happily explored the wine list further...

  6. Published : Friday, 11th April 2014

    Hispania | My baby (blog) is one year old!

    A year (and and a few weeks ago) I clicked the publish button on a concept I’d been toying around with for quite some time and had no idea how far it’d grow. It was designed as a journal for my love of food and dining out. A record of what I liked, loved and hated and somewhere in that, if you the audience got something out of it, then that was a bloody good bonus!

  7. Published : Monday, 3rd February 2014

    The House of Ho | 2014: Warp speed ahead

    Last but not by any means least, this latest venture by international chef (and comedian too it seems) Bobby Chin opened its doors to Londoners with a soft launch in December. With a limited menu and 50% off the bill (way to go!) hubby and I hotfooted it down to see what all the fuss was about. Although the set up looks less authentic Vietnamese and more like it’s been freshly delivered from IKEA that day, the food was in part sincere to its homeland. Though foodie bloggers and critics opinions on this seem to vary greatly. For me though, there were certainly elements of authenticity in the sticky sweet monkfish in caramel and lemongrass, and the execution of the mangosteen ceviche, served with half a coconut shell (coconut flesh included)...

  8. Published : Friday, 25th October 2013

    Gymkhana | Gymkhana: No ordinary curry night

    Speaking of which, here’s my latest outing, a curry night with the hubby at the much hyped and talked about Gymkhana. A restaurant that pays homage to the good old days of the British Raj, particularly the trend of the Gymkhana – ye olde gentlemans club. Now you know my feelings about hyped up restaurants. They tend to make me more nervous than those that are hardly reported because they have a greater tendency to disappoint. However I just couldn’t resist this time because the man behind this latest venture is Karam Sethi, whose successful endeavours include the London branch of Mumbai seafood favourite, Trishna and Charlotte Street’s gourmet hotdog and champagne joint, Bubbledogs. So disappointment at Gymkhana shouldn’t be on the menu...

  9. ‘Don’t go, you’ll be disappointed’, ‘overpriced and under serviced’. The husband said it, our friend (one half of the Sloane rangers) said it. The plentiful negative reviews said it. But I went along with my girlfriends for a night out anyway. I wasn’t being foolish. In the back of my mind, I knew there must be a valid reason why I hadn’t made the effort to visit a restaurant that’s been on my list for over half a decade. But I had a strong urge to finally close the case on this first world problem and cross Sake No Hana off my list for good. And now I have. It all started off swish, escalators up to our table, menu with all the usual fancy ingredients, me salivating over Champagne Yuzu seabass. But it didn’t take long for the well-renounced bad service to start sticking out like a sore thumb...

  10. Published : Wednesday, 4th September 2013

    The Pearson Room | August round-up: Chinese food and Gin cocktails

    From the creators of Marlyebone favourite, Trishna and the ever popular Bubbledogs, The Pearson Room has burst onto the scene along with several new restaurants hoping to strike it lucky in the wharf. Two visits and I’m afraid I’m not convinced. I was an ardent fan of the Reebok restaurant, it’s predecessor, from my not so long ago working days in the wharf. When I heard it had been replaced and with what, I just had to make a trip back and drag a few equally curious ex-colleagues with me too. However, shoddy service, forgotten drinks orders and a surprisingly under seasoned and over tomatoey Smoked Mozzarella & Purple Aubergine Parmigiana made it clear as day for me. I don’t want the Pearson Room. I want the Reebok back. I’d like my trio of fish with spicy pearl barley cous cous back and I’d like the ever helpful manager Jon Flower back. Old habits die hard I guess, but I won’t let this put me off checking out the group’s latest venture; Gymkhana. A tribute to the old gentlemens clubs in colonial India. The bar is already touted to be a real find...

  11. The Delauney bills itself as a grand European cafe, and it certainly is grand inside. it oozes old world charm from the hefty marble to the stained oak panelling, the linen table cloths and napkins (which are great until you find half the lint has attached itself onto your black dress!) and of course a grand old clock face at the back. There’s an emphasis on quality too, evident in the freshly baked bread and a plate of butter I could have gobbled up all on its own...

  12. Entering the Shard brought us right back to our sky-high dining and drinking ventures in Hong Kong. The tall steel structure, zooming lifts (not to mention popping ears) and sleek glossy interiors. Then there’s the staff who look like they’ve just jumped out of a Vogue magazine shoot. At Hutong, they were clad in charcoal and ebony. The plentiful greeters played tag team with a kind gentleman in a rather smart suit, who walked us up to the restaurant and then handed us over to the manager. This seamless procession of ‘hello’s', ‘welcome’, and even ‘how was your day?’ seemed a little insincere at first but actually became quite endearing by the time we reached our table. And what a table it was...

  13. Having caused quite a stir within the gastronomic community, I excitedly skipped into Grain Store and was greeted by a friendly set of staff, the host correctly guessed who I was as soon as he saw the buggy and whisked us to our table. It seemed we were to be the only mummy diners again. At midday, we were one of the first to park our hungry selves and our inquisitive babies at a table but it only took a matter of minutes for the lunchtime crowd of local suits to spill in and fill the large airy and echoing space...

  14. Published : Thursday, 27th June 2013

    Le Cercle | Late night carbs at Le Cercle

    So off we hopped behind the Kings Road, which the Sloane Rangers know like the back of their well manicured hands. A stones throw away from the gallery, we entered a blackened door and skipped down some steps into a rather intimate den. Floor to ceiling curtains frame the main dining area, whilst dim lighting and cosy booths fill the rest of the room. Being a Wednesday night, it was pretty quiet, which we’d hoped would serve our cause for quick food...

  15. Published : Tuesday, 25th June 2013

    Sushisamba | Sushisamba: farcical fun in the clouds

    Now there are no surprises as to what you are likely to get at Sushisamba. We’ve all heard about the wave of Peruvian/Japanese/ Brazilian fusion that’s taken our city over by storm, as if we’ve never eaten a plantain chip or consumed raw fish before! Here though, I like the way the menu is laid out and sectioned off by the three thrilling nations involved in this food revolution. So you can easily ensure you get a real taste of it all...

  16. Time moves in a hazy fashion here, you feel instantly rested, like you’ve just walked into a spa for a day of bliss. The luxurious and plush interiors, rich dark wood, and roaring log fire all work to give you a warm and fuzzy feeling, whilst the uber professional yet smiley staff immediately fill you with confidence. Then, as if by magic, the champagne trolley wheels its way towards your table...

  17. Published : Thursday, 18th April 2013

    Skylon Grill | Skylon Grill: A fishcake rant

    I don’t quite know what it is about D&D (the owners of Skylon and a dozen other London restaurants) and me. I can only describe our relationship as that between two lovelorn teenagers; sickeningly in love one minute, bored the next, then engulfed in bitter ‘I hate you arguments’. They have this unique ability to offset the impressive flair, ambience and refinement in venues like Le Pont De La Tour...

  18. Published : Wednesday, 10th April 2013

    L'Autre Pied | Understated excellence at L’Autre Pied

    Upon entering L’Autre Pied, on a rather cold and blustery day, I noticed that it wasn’t too dissimilar to its big sister. For instance, swathes of black across a darkly lit and intimate room but there were subtle differences such as invisible table linen, which told you this was a more chilled affair. Thankfully this laid back approach did not extend to the food and by course no.2 of our tasting menu we quickly saw why it was awarded and has retained its star...

  19. As the square mile proved a mutual meeting ground, we opted for the mighty sweary’s recent venture – Bread St Kitchen. Now, when I cast my mind back to its much delayed opening, it received some pretty dire reviews that should have seen it close its kitchen almost as quickly as the customers and critics leaving it. But as its still standing and that too in such vast square footage, I’m assuming something must have changed, so off we went to break bread but mainly drink wine...

  20. Published : Saturday, 6th April 2013

    Yauatcha | Yauatcha: a dim (sum) affair

    Ive spent nearly seven years making it my mission to eat out in London, and in all that time I’ve had Yauatcha on my wish list. So why have I waited this long? A crop of seriously bad reviews all focusing on one unforgivable flaw; service, or lack thereof. If you’ve read my previous rant, you’ll know that this one annoyance is enough to send me running for the hills...

  21. Published : Friday, 22nd March 2013

    Giraffe Southbank Centre | Service please

    This week a friend and I had brunch at the newly-monopolised Giraffe on the South Bank. I hadn’t been in years and we both had little sprogs attached to us, so it made sense. They also have a more than decent brunch menu. For proof (excuse the shoddy pic) see this delicious veggie Huevos Rancheros Mexican Breakfast which tasted largely fine...