29 July 2014

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Blog Reviews from little swallow : china doll


two halves to every whole : two sides to every story

  1. Published : Monday, 23rd June 2014

    Hutong at The Shard | Hutong, The Shard

    Mum came to soak up her first grandchild (read: completely spoil) which handily coincided with her birthday. We headed to Hutong to celebrate with views over London. When we were growing up, peking duck was my brother's favourite, and I was always a little bit envious of the excess portions he would always be offered first when we were lucky enough to have any. Hutong's offering is some of the best I've had, with a particularly good hoisin sauce, and the second course they serve the remainder of the duck up as is a delicious version of sang choy bow...

  2. Published : Saturday, 11th January 2014

    Pearl Liang | Pearl Liang, Paddington

    Pearl Liang is definitely the new top of my dim sum list. Top quality taste, everything comes out steaming hot, and *drumroll* you can actually book. YES. Gone are the days of starving in line outside in the freezing cold until our number is called. Hello happiness. I'll spare you the million pictures of dumplings, sticky rice, spare ribs and chicken feet that accompanies all good dim sum excursions but trust me when I say this is the place to go. For everything...

  3. Published : Monday, 16th December 2013

    Barshu | Bar Shu, Soho

    If you like spice, this is the place for you. We had a couple of non-chilli lovers with us so we curbed back on ordering the super chilli charged dishes, but I'm going to have to go back to set my mouth on fire sometime soon. Asian is my comfort food. Chinese vegetables, noodles, fatty pork, dumplings, chilli. Pure comfort...

  4. Published : Friday, 6th December 2013

    The Harwood Arms | Harwood Arms, Fulham

    I've eaten (and cooked, if I do say so myself) some damn good roasts in my time. So when I say The Harwood Arms is in my top five roast experiences of all time, you can be assured it's worth a visit. As in, make it your mission to go. Now. Don't skip the bread to make sure you've got room for the main. It's worth it. And if you're really ambitious and are willing to donate a little bit of room to a starter, share a scotch egg with someone. Just look at that deliciously runny yellow yoke. LOOK AT IT...

  5. Published : Saturday, 30th November 2013

    Benihana at The Grange Hotel St Paul's | Benihana, St Paul

    Where we headed to Benihana for some hibachi, or teppanyaki, action. I'm usually very weird about restaurants that require cooking to happen at your table because of the cooking smell you walk away with in your hair and clothing. I'm pleased to report that ventilation has certainly stepped up a notch since the last time I visited a teppanyaki restaurant, and I walked away smelling of nothing more than roses (my natural musk, obviously)...

  6. Published : Wednesday, 27th November 2013

    Heliot at The Hippodrome | Heliot Steakhouse, Leicester Square

    I'm got no stomach for gambling. I haven't the nerve required for betting big enough to make money, and I haven't got enough money to give me the nerve. Every loss is like a stab to the heart of my travel fund. A week in Vegas resulted in only a dollar spent on some slot machines just to say I'd done it. But when Heliot Steakhouse in London's Hippodrome Casino is offering a three course meal with sides and a £10 gaming chip for £20? You can bet your bottom dollar I'll give the wheel a spin...

  7. Published : Sunday, 24th November 2013

    Amaya | Amaya, Knightsbridge

    I have a confession. I don't enjoy eating Indian. I KNOW! I know. Living in the UK and all. The problem seems to be two-fold: one, poppadoms with all their dipping sauce glory are the highlight which means I've always peaked way too soon, and two, the after effects. People talk about KFC or fish and chips leaving that "ugh...so wish I hadn't done that" feeling post-pigout, but for me that's a guaranteed post-Indian effect. So imagine my delight at Amaya - no post dining regret, and a brilliant meal to boot...

  8. Published : Thursday, 19th September 2013

    Caravan King's Cross | Caravan, Kings Cross

    We headed to Caravan for our lively discussion. Newsflash: two prawns doth not make a dish. No matter how small the plate is. We hadn't realised so many of our selection were fried and crumbed (I blame the pregnant lady) but the best dish in our small selection for me was the lamb gnocchi...

  9. Published : Monday, 16th September 2013

    Grain Store | Grain Store, Kings Cross

    We trooped over to Grain Store for a little Tuesday eve dinner action as the sun went down (which is definitely not cool, summer, these shorter days are NOT. COOL.) There's something strange but equally interesting about having a meal that doesn't fall neatly into any particular cuisine. I'm still not 100% sure how I feel about it. It seemed like every dish we had was inspired by a different part of the globe - from Indian to Spain to Russia...

  10. Published : Tuesday, 3rd September 2013

    Flesh and Buns | Flesh & Buns, Covent Garden

    Bloggers all over London have been raving about Flesh & Buns, so of course we had to go check out what all the fuss was about. I fell in love with hirata buns at Momofuku in NYC so I was pretty damn excited for the main course. Steaming buns are served up to your table for you to stuff full of whatever meat takes your fancy...

  11. Published : Sunday, 1st September 2013

    Aqua Shard | Aqua Shard, London Bridge

    Aqua Shard was beautifully decked out in exactly the kind of thirty-something-storey way you'd expect, with the restaurant and seating oriented towards the views out the window. Fabulous in theory, astronomically hot and squinty when faced with a glorious sunset. Our cocktails were killer and the perfect start to our meal...

  12. Published : Sunday, 18th August 2013

    Le Comptoir Gascon | Comptoir Gascon, Farringdon

    I'd heard a lot about Comptoir Gascon, particularly their duck specialties, so I knew I'd have a tough choice on my hands. Every great French meal features bread and wine, non?..

  13. Published : Tuesday, 23rd July 2013

    Adam's Brasserie | Jenson Button and Adam

    After a long day on our feet, the remaining team headed to Adam's Brasserie for an alfresco dinner - a rare treat in England. The baked camembert and seared scallops were the top picks for me...

  14. Published : Sunday, 21st July 2013

    Hana | Hana, Battersea

    We kept it local and popped into Hana, which was celebrating its first birthday, with M in tow. Korean is fast becoming one of my favourite cuisines, I gotta say. Their home made steamed pork and veg dumplings (Hana Mandu) were SO good. Yet another thing I need to learn how to make. And eat. And make and eat and make and eat and EAT...

  15. Published : Saturday, 20th July 2013

    Soif | Soif, for dinner this time

    S & F were the latest to announce their impending arrival, and get hitched, so we headed to Soif for a mid week congratulatory toast. After enjoying Sunday lunch there not so long ago, I was keen to try dinner - and I was not disappointed. The terrine was one of the best I've eaten and had me vaguely thinking I should try making one at home to really impress Miss B and Lizzie next time I have them round for dinner. Then I slapped myself and decided I'd just swing by Soif and pick some up. Job done...

  16. Published : Wednesday, 17th July 2013

    Rock Lobsta at Mahiki | Rock Lobsta at Mahiki, Mayfair

    So Peter Griffin singing Iraq Lobster was pretty much all I could hear in my head every time I thought about where we were headed last Wednesday: the new Rock Lobsta at Mahiki. And even though I despise Peter Griffin (yes, you can feel extreme dislike for a fictitious character), it still made me giggle...

  17. Published : Sunday, 14th July 2013

    Hakkasan Mayfair | Hakkasan, Mayfair & littleswallow.me

    Miss S popped back into town this week, on a "little" (5 week) holiday from home. We headed to Hakkasan for lots of food and tonnes of giggles...

  18. Published : Friday, 5th July 2013

    Stein's | Stein's

    The usual Sunday lunch crew headed to Stein's for a giant sausage fest. Literally. Everyone over ate, which I think tells you all you need to know about the sausages and meatloaf...

  19. Published : Thursday, 13th June 2013

    The Ship | The Ship, Wandsworth

    We waited patiently on Sunday for the sun to show itself. Even at 2:45pm, with not a sign of a break in the clouds or a rise in temperature, I clung desperately to my iPhone weather app which foretold of fabled sun and a balmy 18C. It was all a lie. We headed to The Ship anyway, despite the chance of us soaking up the sun in the beer garden rapidly disappearing. In a fit of ridiculousness (likely spurred by the lack of sunshine, and the fact that we were eating lunch at 3pm) we ordered starters. Let me assure, you do not need a starter when you're having Sunday lunch at The Ship...

  20. Published : Friday, 17th May 2013

    The Square | The Square, Mayfair

    Last Friday really knocked me for six. The CG got some very unexpected news, and we had to make a really tough decision to cancel a significant trip this year as a result. Luckily, the CG was still his usual resolutely upbeat self in the face of adversity, so I told him how proud I was of him, and headed to dinner at The Square with the usual suspects. (Don't judge me. It was booked a long time in advance.) We opted for the tasting menu. 9 courses and 8 wines later, I was certainly glad we had...

  21. Published : Saturday, 20th April 2013

    The Fat Duck | Heston

    Words cannot begin to describe what an amazing day I had today. And possibly not even pictures. But I'm willing to give it a shot. Two months ago, the CG enlisted the help of multiple friends so he could bag us a table at Heston Blumenthal's famous The Fat Duck for my birthday present. Miss J came through with the goods (have I mentioned how much I love this woman?) so on a gorgeous sunny day, we headed to Bray for the foodie experience of a lifetime...

  22. Published : Sunday, 14th April 2013

    The Shiori | The Shiori, Bayswater

    Luckily, my irresponsible 'buds returned just in time for a meal with the girls I've been very much looking forward to for a number of months, at The Shiori. Twelve perfectly presented portions showcasing a broad array of Japanese cuisine, were laid out in front of us over the course of nearly four hours...

  23. Published : Monday, 1st April 2013

    STK at ME London Hotel | STK, Aldwych

    Thinking it would be warming up a little since his birthday is well into Spring, I crazily booked dinner at a place with access to a rooftop bar. Let's just say, we didn't last long in the 0 degree temps. Luckily, the inside of Radio Rooftop Bar was just as cool as the outside. With a DJ spinning tunes in the corner, plush seating and cool lighting, dinner was like eating in a very chilled club - which is thankfully right up the CG's alley...

  24. Published : Saturday, 30th March 2013

    Roka | Roka, Soho

    Non-reservation counter seating wraps around the robata grill in the restaurant, where we precariously propped our drinks, dishes, and soy sauce on its naturally uneven wood surface. My good lady and I discussed getting older, work, living abroad, love, and Oz while we nibbled our way across the menu. The ribs and eggplant were sensational...