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31 July 2014

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Blog Reviews from Kavey Eats

(menu)

the belly rules the mind


  1. Published : Monday, 7th July 2014

    Uni | Uni Restaurant | Nikkei Cuisine in London

    I recently started a new job in Victoria, an area jam-packed with mediocre chain restaurants and coffee shops. When I asked food friends for recommendations, Uni was a name that popped up more than once, with its salmon tacos singled out for particular praise. Taco shells filled with salmon tartare isn’t a dish I’ve ever come across before, so of course, I was intrigued. It turns out that although Uni takes its name from the Japanese for sea urchin, it’s not a straight Japanese restaurant. Rather, it describes itself as offering Nikkei cuisine, a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian food. Japanese food is enormously popular in parts of South America; indeed Brazil is home to the largest population of people of Japanese descent outside of Japan and Peru the second largest. My only reference for the term Nikkei was the Tokyo stock index but I’ve now learned that it’s also a term for American Japanese...

  2. Published : Tuesday, 10th June 2014

    The House of Ho | Bobby Chinn’s The House of Ho

    I wasn’t expecting an invitation to The House of Ho. I got into a friendly argument with Bobby Chinn you see… I was a guest in the audience for a panel discussion about the Future of London’s Dining Scene hosted by Land Securities, a property development company behind the new Nova complex in Victoria. Nicholas Lander (former restaurateur and FT restaurant correspondent) chaired the discussion, with input from Henry Dimbleby (founder of Leon), Kate Spicer (journalist), Martin Morales (restaurateur, founder of Ceviche) and Bobby Chinn (restaurateur, founder of The House of Ho). In reality, there was very little discussion on the future of the dining scene. Instead, the chatting was mainly centred on where we are today, how we got here and what is popular right now. The rise of social media and blogging was inevitably raised, during which Bobby Chinn took issue with a blogger who’d posted a review of his restaurant after visiting on the first day. He was also frustrated by that blogger’s willingness to pass comment on the authenticity of his Vietnamese food without ever having stepped foot in Vietnam...

  3. Cafe Also is attached to neighbouring business, Joseph’s Bookstore owned by Michael Joseph. I like to imagine a conversation where Joseph first expressed an interest “to open a cafe, also…” The cafe-restaurant sits on the corner of the block, with floor-to-ceiling windows along both fronts and a large door at the corner. Bookshop and cafe are connected by glass-panelled double doors and visitors to one are invited to check out the other. Inside, boxes of beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables front the counter area, though sadly they’re not for sale; rather, they’re part of the cook’s larder, on display to customers. Second hand books line the shelves, including quite a few cookery book titles, if you’re so inclined...

  4. Published : Sunday, 27th April 2014

    Rabot 1745 | Breakfast in Borough Market at Rabot 1745

    everal months ago in early December, Pete and I had a lovely lunch at Rabot 1745, Hotel Chocolat’s newly-opened restaurant in the heart of Borough Market. More recently, we returned for breakfast, before a shopping expedition around the market. My initial worries about the gimmicky nature of a themed restaurant were quickly assuaged. As we flicked through the lunch and dinner menu, it became clear that Rabot 1745’s “cocoa-centric” menu makes use of a wide range of elements derived from pod and bean – subtle cocoa accents are added via crunchy cocoa nibs, the fruity flesh of the cocoa pod, infused oils and vinegars, and only occasionally, actual chocolate. Located in the heart of Borough Market, Rabot 1745 brings to Londoners what sister restaurant Boucan has delivered to St Lucians since 2011...

  5. Published : Thursday, 17th April 2014

    A. Wong | Innovative Dim Sum at A Wong | Victoria, London

    Although I first read about A Wong on the (sadly now defunct) Eat Love Noodles blog back in spring 2013, it wasn’t until this year that I finally visited, in the company of Mr Noodles himself, as well as fellow blogger, the Insatiable Eater and his partner. It was the innovative dim sum that I was so keen to try, as it’s rare to see the dim sum classics so cleverly modernised. We met at the restaurant one sunny Saturday lunch time at the beginning of March, buoyed by the earliness of spring sunshine and with empty bellies at the ready. One of the things I really appreciate about A Wong’s dim sum menu is that items are priced (and ordered) individually, making it easy to order the required number whether you’re dining alone or in a group...

  6. I learned about Chisou Japanese Restaurant during a chance encounter at a United Ramen pop-up I went to in January. A fellow diner told me about it, having recently taken up a job with them. Recently, he extended an invitation to visit and try their Japanese menu for myself. There are actually three restaurants in this mini-chain – the original Mayfair branch which opened in 2002, the Knightsbridge location I visited, which opened in 2010, and the newest one out in Chiswick, which opened in 2012. Each restaurant has its own head chef – at Knightsbridge, Chef Ryota Tsuji is at the helm. The core menu is common to all three restaurants, but each head chef also offers a selection of their own specialities as well. On the website, Chisou describe themselves as closer to an izakaya (casual Japanese bars that also serve food) than to a formal kaiseki restaurant, though I’d place the Knightsbridge restaurant somewhere between the two. It’s definitely more upmarket than most izakaya but not as rarefied as a traditional Kyoto kaiseki restaurant...

  7. Published : Friday, 21st February 2014

    The Fable | No Magical Tales To Tell at Fable

    I really wanted to like Fable Bar & Restaurant. I really, really did. But it wasn’t to be. The venue takes inspiration from “fairy tales and the fabulous fables of Aesop” and is described as an all-day bar and restaurant and event space. It is certainly an attractively decorated venue, spread across three floors. There are fairy-tale touches from walls papered with pages of books to a glass bell jar over a pair of shoes filled with succulents. And there’s lots and lots of light spilling in from enormous windows. Much of the seating on the top floor is at tall bench tables with tall stools to match, but if (like me) you prefer regular tables and chairs, there are plenty on the other two floors...

  8. Published : Monday, 18th November 2013

    Duck & Waffle | Duck & Waffle, Heron Tower, City of London

    A restaurant on the 40th floor of a shiny city skyscraper, with all of London spread out like a sparkling map below, could probably just let the view pull in the punters. But at the Duck & Waffle, the view (admired through wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows) is secondary. While the view is amazing, the food is even better. Of course, if you are plugged in to the food twitterati, are an avid reader of London restaurant blogs or just read a newspaper restaurant critic’s column now and then, this is old old news...

  9. Published : Monday, 11th November 2013

    The Sportsman | Me and The Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent

    I am not a classy bird. The truth is that words like elegant, sophisticated and lady-like are not ones you’d choose to describe me… and that’s OK by me. On the inside, I’d like to think I’m intelligent, fun, passionate, surprising and all kinds of other interesting things… and I reckon those aspects of me are far more worthy of attention than my body, my clothes, shoes and handbag, how I wear my hair, the fact that I don’t wear make-up or that I walk a little pigeon-toed. I say this because The Sportsman in Kent reminds me of myself in pub form. On the outside, the pub looks a little tatty, perhaps even unkempt. If you judged it on its cover, you might not even bother to stop, let alone go in and get to know it. But step inside and it’s warm and welcoming. The space is stripped back and open, with wooden floors, (generously sized, uncovered) tables, chairs and panelling. There are dramatic paintings of seascapes hanging on plain pale walls. Early on an October evening, huge windows spill in lots of light; later candles and pendant lights keep things cheery. And the staff are full of smiles, as they bustle behind the bar getting ready for the dinner service. Throughout the evening they are attentive, eager to help and to share the delight of dinner in this wonderful place...

  10. Published : Sunday, 13th October 2013

    Chipotle | Chipotle Mexican Grill, London

    In just 20 years, American restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill has grown from a single store in Denver, Colorado to a cross-country and international chain of over 1500 stores. He opened his first branch in 1993, with the second branch following less than two years later and the business has grown and grown and grown ever since. In 2010, the company came to the UK and now has 6 stores in London. (Note that only two of the six branches here currently make all the menu items at their own site, Charing Cross Road and Baker Street. The chain plans to convert the other stores to operate full kitchens in 2014)...

  11. Published : Friday, 20th September 2013

    Kirazu | Kirazu, London

    I had been looking forward to dinner with friends at Kirazu for weeks. This tiny Soho restaurant describes itself as “Japanese Tapas” – a cross-cuisine shorthand (for the small dish menu) that is guaranteed to drive my friend Mr Noodles to near apoplexy. Reviews since its launch in April seemed positive and one of our group had been before, for the ramen, and deemed it good. The handful of dishes shown on their blog looked appealing...

  12. Published : Sunday, 9th June 2013

    Blue Elephant | Blue Elephant’s Sunday Brunch

    The space had already been interior designed as a Thai restaurant when the Blue Elephant team took it over, adding their own touches. It’s modelled on a traditional Thai house, with lots of dark wood panelling, beautiful artwork and statuary and fresh tropical flowers...

  13. Published : Tuesday, 26th March 2013

    Bincho Yakitori | Yakitori Heaven at Bincho Soho

    Bincho Yakitori has been on my radar and mental wish list to visit since it opened a few years ago but it’s taken the current love affair with Japan to give me the impetus to actually make it there. It is Inspired by Japanese izakayas, bars in which a menu of snack items such as grilled skewers of meat, fish and vegetables and other small dishes are served alongside an extensive range of booze...

  14. Published : Saturday, 5th January 2013

    Bone Daddies | Bone Daddies Rock n Roll Ramen

    As I mentioned recently, 2012 has seen London restaurant openings conspire to create a grand Soho ramen crawl. Bone Daddies, the first solo venture from chef proprietor Ross Shonhan, is a bit different from the rest. Definitely rock and roll – as the sound track in the restaurant testifies...