Monday, September 27, 2010

The Ledbury (Notting Hill, London, UK)

2 Michelin Star Rated

I didn't really enjoy the food at this restaurant very much.

Scallops - really disliked
Tomato with goat cheese - loved! Best tomato dish I've had
Foie gras - fail
Mackerel - Really crisp and had so much flavor. I will definitely be ordering more mackerel in the future.
Cod - meh
Lamb - good
Pre Dessert was ice cream - very boring
Dessert was something weird like olive oil ice cream mixed with other stuff. - surprisingly good and came with a side of freshly baked beignets.

Tomatoes with goat cheese

Very boring pre dessert

olive oil ice cream with other stuff

freshly baked beignets 

Yuatcha (Soho, London, UK)

Yuatcha was created by the same people who created Hakkasan. This is a more casual version, with dim sum served all day. I had the King crab Shanghai siew long bun (a variation of xiao loan bao). I didn't like their version really much, Hakkasan makes it better. I was excited that they had chicken feet in chlli black bean sauce here. The flavor was more prominent then normal chicken feet dim sum dishes. The best thing I had here was the prawn and beancurd cheung fun. It had such great texture and taste. The outside was soft dumpling texture, but the next inner layer was the asian churro texture (think chalupa) and filled with deliciousness. For dessert I had the warm vanilla rice pudding with banana sorbet and caramelized pineapple. It was disappointing. So I bought some of their macaroons (yuzu chocoloate, coconut, green tea, vanilla, lemon, and chocolate) to go.

Chicken Feet

Prawn and Beancurd Chueng fun

King Crab Shanghai Siew long bun

Warm Vanilla Rice Pudding with bananas sorbet and caramelized pineapple

Macaroons (green tea, vanilla, lemon, yuzu chocolate, coconut, and chocolate)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Punjab (Covent Garden, London, UK)

Best Chicken Tikka Masala EVER! I swear every time I eat at a new Indian Restaurant in London it just gets better and better. The tikka masala sauce here has some spice to it and is very addicting. The naan bread however, was probably the worst I've had. It was too hard to tear and not soft at all. I'd probably go here again just for the chicken tikka masala.

Cantina Laredo (near Leicester Square, London, UK)

Mexican food in London?!

Right after we order, they bring out two kinds of salsa. The warm tomatillo salsa has to be the best salsa I've ever had! It's got a lil spice to it, but not too much. We also ordered the guacamole appetizer which they made fresh right in front of our table. The guac was a little plain, it needed some garlic and more lime juice in my opinion. So I mixed in the tomatillo salsa with the guac and it was PERFECT! I could eat that for every meal of the day for about 8 days before getting sick of it. (Prop bet me, I dare you!)

Main course: I couldn't decide between the chile relleno or the enchiladas, so I got the enchiladas de chile relleno. Bad choice, it sounded like a great idea at the time and looked like it would have tons of flavor, but it failed.

Dessert: Mexican Brownie!!!! WOW! Don't you dare even think about not getting dessert or getting something else! It's a chocolate brownie with pecans served on a hot skillet with mexican brandy butter poured onto the plate and Vanilla (sometimes cinnamon) ice cream on top. The smell that comes off the dish is one of the most delectable scents that will grace your nose in your entire life! Like, if I bottled it up and sprayed it on Pee-wee Herman, he would be intensely irresistible to you, that mouthwatering!

Even though I didn't like my main course, the salsa and brownie were so damn delicious that I have to go back.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley (London, UK)

2 Michelin Stars

One of the best experiences I've had at a restaurant. At the end of dinner I got a tour of the kitchen and met the man himself Chef Marcus Wareing. The service here is intense. Once during dinner my friend got up to use the restroom and while she was gone they took away her dirty silverware and replaced it with new ones. And every time one of us left the table they wouldn't just fold our napkins, they would bring out a fresh one!

Got there early so had drinks at The Blue Bar first: I forgot the name, but it was basically a lychee martini

Amuse Bouche - mushroom soup in a shot glass. Best mushroom soup I've ever had. I could have pounded down 10 of those.

Lobster with squash - It was good, nothing amazingly special about it.

Foie Gras with prunes and walnuts - Great variation, especially if you are new to it and need to be weened onto that foie gras taste. Personally I thought the walnut overpowered it and wasn't able to taste the foie gras.

Crab with Heirloom tomatoes, some razor clams, and crunchy potato bread in an herb sauce - Refreshing

Quail with corn and onion rings - The onion rings were the best and the quail wasn't bad either.

Seabass with 7 textures of cauliflower - It was interesting to see different ways cauliflower could be prepared. The skin on the seabass was perfectly crisp.

Suckling pig with barbecue and ranch dressing - Best dish of the night! I was so full (like food baby twins) by the time this came out and I still finished it.

Cheese - biggest portion of cheeses I've ever been offered.

Pre dessert - couldn't understand what it was when they brought it out and couldn't figure it out by taste. It was okay.

Basil parfait, lemon caramel, sherbet - such a different taste! It was a nice change from the super sweet deserts I've been eating.

Out of all the tasting menu's I've done, this place has the largest portions. Everything was good, but there were only a few items that I really enjoyed here. The best part was the tour of the kitchen:

Gordon Ramsay (London, UK)

3 Michelin Stars (the food seems to be about equal from 2 stars to 3, only difference I can see is the ridic attention to detail (service wise))
Slightly difficult to get into so book ahead of time.

Foie Gras

The foie gras dish here is so different and unique from any other variation I've had. It's serious. Most of the seafood courses were okay, but the sauces just made them so much better. I had pigeon for the first time. According to the waiter, they were the kind from the woods and not from Trafalgar Square. Also, just in case you were curious, pigeon meat is very tough and red. It was alright. The smoked pork belly that came on the side wow! Just wow! It's a bacon lovers dream!

Creme Brulee and fresh apple juice

Okay now onto the cheese. Wow such a large selection of cheeses and the cranberry bread that came with them was amazing! Pre-desert (hah! love this, that the term pre-desert exists that is) was a creme brulee variation with a side of freshly pressed apple juice. It was like a non alcoholic wine pairing and it worked perfectly together. Next was a strawberry champagne smoothie and we finished off with a chocolate and hazelnut concoction. It had ginger mouse on top and was of course wonderful. Arriving with the check, was what looked like a pot of dry ice (it was underneath). It was white chocolate covered strawberry ice cream! I love how fancy restaurants always give you gifts of food throughout the meal.

My friend Erica sipping the smoothie through a glass straw. Classy.
Chocolate and Hazelnut Cylinder
White chocolate covered strawberry ice cream

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Square (Mayfair, London, UK)

I didn't like the food at this restaurant very much. It started off great, but then went downhill after the Grouse. The service was excellent as it should be for a 2 Michelin Star rated restaurant. Also, this restaurant is one of the pricier tasting menus I've done and there are just better places to spend your money.

Walnut & raisin bread - freshly baked warm and soft, loved it.
Canapes - amazingly delicious
Quail consomme with truffles - like high quality chicken broth, perfect for such a cold night
Crab lasagne with champagne foam - finally a great crab dish
Scallops - better than most scallop dishes
Foie Gras - did not like
Turbot (white fish) - was okay
Grouse (bird) - It was my first time having this before and I thought it would have been a white meat. It looked like it was still raw on some parts (it was cooked, just really red). I did not like the taste and texture of the meat at all.
Cheese - okay I'm never going to comment badly towards any cheese.
Cheesecake and ice cream - standard
Fig soufflé with almond ice cream - sounds like it would be great and was really excited to finally having soufflé while in London, but it was just okay. Nothing will be as good as Morton's chocolate soufflé.

St John (No. 43 in S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants)

St. John is not a fancy schmancy restaurant. Only go here if you're an extremely brave foodie, like Anthony Bourdain no reservations brave. I've eaten some weird foods before, but everything on the menu was not normal. The roast bone marrow & parsley salad is probably the most famous dish here. The marrow it self was so rich and fatty alone. The parsley salad does a great job toning down the richness of the marrow. For my main course I had roast middlewhite & courgettes (pork and zucchini). It wasn't very good and way too fatty. I felt so unhealthy after eating here. The only good thing that came out of this was the half dozen freshly baked madeleines I took home (my favorite!).

Friday, September 17, 2010

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (London, UK)

The L'Atelier location in London is ten times better than the one in Vegas. So if you've been to the one in Vegas and didn't like it, then give this location a try. It's definitely worth it. It's about 8 courses and like the Vegas location you can sit at the bar and watch them make your food. The dishes that stood out for me here were the foie gras, butternut squash soup, quail and of course dessert. The dessert was ice cream mixed with a bunch of good things and sprinkled with Oreo crumbs (yum!). I give this place a B+. Just about everything tasted as good as it looked.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wagamama (The one by the Tower of London, UK)

was out doing the touristy thing, so yes brought out the nice camera

Need a noodle fix? It's not perfectly authentic, but close enough. I had the chili ramen beef. It wasn't that spicy at all and the beef was too tough. The soup and noodles were satisfying. I even was able to order freshly squeezed apple juice. It was my first time having it so fresh and wow was it good. This is a great lunch spot, they are quick with your order.
Tower of London in the background 

J Sheeky (London, UK)

Other than sushi, I'm not a huge seafood eater. If you are, this place is the nuts. This was my second dinner of the night (had just finished a tasting menu an hour earlier) so I wasn't very hungry. I had the tomato salad and split the grilled turbot for two with béarnaise sauce. Both were very good. The béarnaise sauce was amazing, it was thicker, almost a butter consistency, and made the dish great. The butternut squash side dish is the best I've had. I also had some of the creamed cauliflower soup with oxford blue cheese and walnuts. London makes the best veggie soups. For all of you struggling veggie eaters, the soups here make it so easy to get your daily suggested servings. It was only an hour long dinner break for my husband (poker tournament) so we didn't have time for dessert, but I assume it would have been amazing.

Go here NOW!: Pied A Terre (London, UK)

This is the best tasting menu I've had in London so far. It's french and two star Michelin rated. This is the first restaurant while in London that I have eaten everything, like licked my plate clean everything (except I didn't finish the brie because I was trying to pace myself for dessert). The service is impeccable as well. Here is what I had:

They offered me juice after I declined the wine so I went with tomato and got it spicy. It tasted and felt like I was drinking shrimp cocktail sauce. Which isn't bad if I'm sipping it, but I usually gulp down tomato juice pretty quick so my first taste was very powerful.

Selection of Canapes - Beautiful presentation and it tasted as good as it looked. I'm not sure what I ate, but it was all fantastic. I spilled about 3 eggs of caviar onto the bottom charger plate (the one thats there for decoration, that you never actually eat off of) and they instantly changed it to a new clean one.

Bacon roll - wow what a great bread selection. Of course I had to get the bacon roll! It looked like a mini cinnamon roll, minus the frosting and with bacon sprinkled on top instead of cinnamon. And to make this moment even more epic for me, a newlywed Chinese couple just sat and they have british accents! I still can't get used to asian people with british accents.

Yellowtail Tare Tare - delicious! Had crunchy stuff on top and was seasoned differently than most restaurants yellowtail. It was a great change.

Scallops with purple cauliflower - It was good for scallops (sorry scallop lovers out there, I just think they always taste plain)

Pan Fried Foie Gras on top of one big piece of ravioli filled with beans and bits of bacon. On top of the foie gras was crispy tempura-esque veggies. They poured a consume on top and it just made the dish. I think this is the best foie gras dish I've ever had.

John Dory encrusted with green powder topped with fennel foam and squid on the side. - It was good, a little plain.

Lamb - It had those tiny tart red european fruits in it along with some kind of tasty sauce. The fruit added a little zing that brought the dish together very nicely.

Cheese - two kinds (didn't catch the name of the first one and brie) came with these awesome paper thin crackers.

Blueberries wrapped in cantaloupe with ice cream and sweet thick lime juice poured on top. It was sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds that just made it crazy good. Wish this dish was bigger.

Bitter sweet chocolate tart, ice cream and macadamia nut cream, plus two macadamia nuts (caramelized on the outside). Loved it!

green tea(I don't drink coffee) and petits fours - wow 6 little treats and I took them all down. It always came with this paper thing sweet crispy things. I don't know what they are or called, but they go perfectly with tea.

I never do the wine tasting with the menu because I'm such a light weight, but hearing the other people in the restaurant, it seems like a good one here. They make it a guessing game for you. They don't tell you what kind and where its from until the end of the course. So if you are a wino you should go for it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

No. 35 (London, UK)

The hotel the restaurant is located in is all white inside and has secret doors everywhere. It was cool, just hard to find. Food here was a B-.

Amuse Bouche - fruit jelly on the bottom with what I think was cheese flavored whipped cream and crunchy nuts and caramel bits on top. It was delicious.
Chilled Cucumber Soup - It was a little salty, but still good
Terrine of Spiced Duck - It was served foie gras style, but had pieces of duck in it. It tasted really good with the pickled plums
Gilthead Bream - This fish was perfect! The skin was so crispy and had a hint of lemon juice on it. The clam dressing made the dish.
Roast Chump of Lamb - nothing special
Pre Dessert - very similar to the amuse bouche except with crunchy chocolate bits on top
Floating Island - wow! it was a poached peach on the bottom, with a custard on top, floating in amoretti.

I think the food in London isn't so good because they spend all their time perfecting dessert. The dessert is serious here.

Maze (London, UK)

This is my first Gordon Ramsay restaurant, I give it a B.

Chilled watercress soup  with cured sea trout - was too salty
Some crab dish - plain
Roasted Hake (fish) - not bad, sauce was good.
pork medley - getting better, again had really good sauce

Rosemary buttermilk pannacotta with strawberry jelly and black olive caramel - yummmm
shared cheese - cheese is always good

Devon milk and yogurt mousse with berry sorbet - pretty good

shared bitter chocolate delice with honey gelatine and honey ice cream wow, high percent of cacao in that chocolate, the honey ice cream compliments the dark dark chocolate very well.

Not really much to say about this place, I wouldn't go here again. If you happen to be a vegetarian they do have a special chef tasting menu for you.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Asadal Korean BBQ (London)

If you have had really good Korean bbq before, then stop reading and just don't go here.

If you've never had Korean bbq, then you will like this place.

I had their £18.50 set meal (BBQ set II)

Kye Ran Soup (Egg soup) - like homestyle chinese egg drop soup
Buh Seot Tang Su Yook (Sweet & sour deep fried mushrooms) - I love mushrooms so this dish was good.
BBQ: Bool Go Gi (specially marinated cuts of topside beef) - wasn't marinated well enough, but still good
Ban Chan (selection of varied vegetable side dishes) - kimchee, the cucumber in kimchee sauce, bean sprouts, some other asian vegies.
Sang Chu (fresh lettuce) - put the brown sauce and the meat on the lettuce to make an asian taco and eat.
Bab (steamed white rice) 
Dessert: Fruit and Korean dessert drink (ginger is one of the ingredients which is very good for digestion)

Sweet & Sour Fried Mushroom

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nobu (Berkeley St. London)

Nobu is just about every poker player's go to spot for sushi so over the course of the past 20 times I've been I have a list of plates I usually order (plus a few new ones). There are two Nobu locations in London. The one on Berkeley St. is the newer trendy one. The other one is usually used for business meetings and is more family friendly.

Kaffir Lime & Lychee Martini

Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno
new style white fish (I think this was it) - not as good as the yellowtail, but if you want something different its a nice change

Main Courses (Usually just eat everything family style):
Black Cod with Miso
I don't know the name, but it was steak with mushrooms (was soooooo good, steak melted in my mouth)

Toro (O-toro is the best)

Chocolate bento box - like a chocolate lava cake and green tea ice cream
Mochi - ice cream wrapped in a gummy layer (made of rice I think)

I honestly wouldn't try sushi anywhere else while in London. Nobu = nuts

Hakkasan (Soho, London)

Modern Chinese restaurant (think Mr. Chow).

*not allowed to take pictures here* oops!

You can't get dropped off right at the entrance of this restaurant because its a very skinny alleyway that leads to it. If you get dropped off of Oxford St., walk down Hanway Place and when it forks stay to the left. Go all the way down and the restaurant will be on the left at the end. Go down the flight of stairs and be greeted by a bouncer. 

The inside of the restaurant is all trendy asianed up. It is actually huge downstairs. I came here for dim sum.  All the items were a modern version of the traditional dim sum (no chicken feet here :( . The best dishes to order are xiao loan bao (I don't know the english name, but if the server doesn't understand you they are steamed pork dumplings that come with the ginger and vinegar sauce on the side). *Also when eating these dumplings, you need to let the soup inside drain out before you put it in your mouth or you will burn your tongue.* I'm not really sure what I ordered, I just asked the waiter for the most popular dishes. Here is what I didn't like: chicken soup and duck egg rolls. The pan fried chicken and shrimp dumplings were okay. I had this sea bass something dish that was interesting and would have been better if there was more sauce. If I go back I would probably skip the dim sum and go straight to their main dishes.

Okay, again with the desserts in London. Amazing! I don't know what my friends dessert was called, but it was soooo good. It was shapped like flan, but was more like ice cream and came with something similar to peanut brittle on the side. It seems like every place I try, the desserts get better and better. I decided to go the healthy route and ordered an exotic fruit platter (warning its huge!) If you come here, please save room for dessert, its the best part.