Lunch at Shampan at the Spinning Wheel

Set amongst rolling hills of the beautiful Kentish countryside is the plush Indian restaurant Shampan at the Spinning Wheel. I was invited to review their new Indian A la Carte menu which boasts of interesting combinations created using locally sourced where ever possible.

Shampan is located about a  half hour drive away from Bromley South overground station. One gets the relaxing feeling of getting away from the fast-paced rush that one feels while travelling around London. When you first walk into Shampan at the Spinning Wheel the fireplace instantly put you at ease while the sleek modern leather couches create an atmosphere of luxury and comfort. Perfect for pre-lunch or pre-dinner drinks the lounge reflects the owner Sufian vision to recreate the oomph factor you would experience while say walking into a modern 5 star in Mumbai. Highly regarded for its cuisine, it’s carefully crafted menu created by Chef Sadek Miah Shampan at the Spinning Wheel, has won many awards and accolades namely the British Curry awards in 2012 and Newcomer of the Year in 2013. They also have been awarded a certificate of excellence for 2015 by TripAdvisor.

Posh interiors at the Shampan

                                                                                        Posh interiors at the Shampan

It was a warm summer’s day and I choose to cool down with a Virgin Mojito and followed it up with a refreshing ‘Apple Julep’. A large basket of fried poppadums sprinkled with a tangy dry masala powder which had the right hint of green mango was so moreish it was almost impossible to stop at one. A host of chutneys and dips accompanied the poppadums that were constantly replenished by the very smart staff. Since we had a very long wait before lunch as some guests lost their way, I had another mocktail this time it was an Almost Amaretto sour but it was far too sweet for my taste.

Refreshing Mocktails at Shampan

                                                               Refreshing Mocktails at Shampan

After a tour of the beautiful premises we were seated and served some delicious starters. I choose the banana wrapped tilapia with coconut and coriander – a fine balance of delicate flavours in perfectly cooked fish. I have tried similar dishes at many Indian fine dining restaurants and ever so often it is not exactly what I look for – either the green chutney is not as pungent as it should be or the fish is not as perfectly cooked – somehow it’s always the seemingly simple dishes that are the most difficult to produce to near perfection. For seafood fans this dish is one you must most definitely try!

 

Banana wrapped tilapia

                                                  Banana wrapped tilapia

A look at some of the other appetisers on our table :

Tempting array of appetisers at Shampan

Tempting array of appetisers at Shampan

I am quite sure I could have had another portion of the tilapia had it not been for the massive portion size of my main – grilled duck breast with goan curry sauce and cumin mashed potatoes. The duck was cooked well and the mashed potatoes were lovely with the grilled potatoes. The sauce was not what I had hoped for though, ideally a Goan sauce should have been spicier and richer but the tomato over powered the other ingredients. I loved the  panner and tadka dal though, which I mopped up with buttery aromatic tandoori naans (with another helping of the yum poppadums!) .

All this while I was eyeing the delicious curry and rice mains the other guests were tucking into – particularly the Punjabi red spiced chicken breast with sauteed vegetables and pilau rice. I also loved the sound of venison smoked and cooked in Jodhpuri spices with crips okra – ummm what a fabulous combination. Another delicious traditional main was the Kerala spiced king prawn with a thick coconut sauce served with a flavoured coconut rice – ultimate comfort food! The grilled mullet was main looked great and I tasted a little but again the tomato like broth surrounding it was not a hit.

Grilled duck breast with goan curry

                                                                          Grilled duck breast with Goan curry

It was a particularly warm summer afternoon and we were served some fresh fruit smoothie’s – again very generous size serves and quite delicious too.

Fresh Mango and Strawberry Smoothies

                                            Fresh Mango and Strawberry Smoothies

A look at what the other guests enjoyed for their mains.

Tempting array of mains at Shampan

                                                                          Mouthwatering array of mains at Shampan

This is probably one of the most generous portion sizes of mains I have ever been served. Naturally that left no place for dessert which was an Indian dessert – samosa filled with gajar halwa with a dollop of delicious ice cream. I did not sample the samosa but did have some of the ice cream. The presentation of all the dishes especially the dessert was lovely and the service throughout was very courteous.

Desert selection at Shampan

                                                                                            Desert selection at Shampan

First opened in 2011, this destination restaurant has much more to offer than just great tasting Indian food and swanky interiors. It is the perfect venue for dreamy weddings and has a separate function room too called the Saffron Room with a lounge area called ‘The Mumbai Quarters’ – aptly so because when I first walked into to lounge area it reminded of some of Mumbai’s best loved posh five-star restaurants. The location offers ample parking space again ideal for business lunches or a family get together. The soon to be done up bridal suite promises to be just as lush as the rest of the venue. To book the venue for events or reserve a table you will find all the contact details on their website here.

Shampan at the Spinning Wheel

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*With thanks to Humayun Hussain and Shampan for an invite. All opinions expressed are as always my own. No monetary compensation was provided for a positive review.

 

Pasta Please – Round Up July 2015

And yet another calendar month this year has flown past at lightening speed. The weather was brilliant over the weekend but it is acting up again… but don’t let the grey skies bring you down for I have a round up here of some really creative entries for the Pasta Please blog linky hosted by me last month for Jacqueline of Tinned Toms.

First up is a slimming world recipe for Spring Vegetable Orzo from a blog called Penelope’s Pantry. An easy to make recipe that Penelope has customised to make it dairy free, it is loaded with veggies. Great for using up any veggies lying around so a god way to prevent food wastage. What’s more is that it tastes good at room temperature too, Penelope recommends adding chopped tomatoes if you want to have this healthy and filling dish cold.

Up next is a moreish Pea and Mint Gnoochi Bake from Allotment2Kitchen – blog from a Welsh Vegetarian who has loads of vegan and vegetarian recipes. And girl when you say you have a small freezer I totally hear you! Me with my mini fridge freezer in a small but very cute flat – my little matchbox world – I too ALWAYS have frozen peas – ready for emergency meals. And kudos to her for not giving into cravings for chips but coming home and making this baked pasta dish with a crispy,golden cheese topping.

Orzo seems to be the popular choice this summer as the next recipe is a Sicilian Orzo with Cauliflower and Saffron by Kate of The Veg Space. The very mention of such a rich combination of ingredients and saffron roasted cauliflower has me hooked. She describes her dish as cross between a pasta and risotto – am sure that got your attention. Go Drool!

Shrimp pasta with spinach sauce topped with crispy Brussels sprouts from the blog Law students cook book is a perfect example of how a  great dish can be created with some imagination and ingredients that you have at hand. I especially like the way the brussels sprouts have been flash fried to a garnish, I love the sprouts and can eat them plain or in absolutely any form – well almost.

Pasta Please July 2015 round up - creative recipes

Pasta Please July 2015 round up – creative recipes

Top L -R – ClockwiseSpring Vegetable Orzo , Sicilian Orzo with Cauliflower and SaffronPea and Mint Gnoochi Bake and Shrimp pasta with spinach sauce topped with crispy Brussels sprouts

Easy Cheesy Pasta by Anitha of Veggiesome blog is a quick and easy pasta dish to rustle up when you need something delicious in a jiffy. Whole wheat pasta and cheese come together in lovely combination of flavours.

A bowl full of deliciousness is the first thing that I thought of when I saw this Slivered veggie and soba salad with maple tofu. A superb combination of Asian flavours this is a healthy and wholesome meal with no compromise on flavour. I especially love the whole avocado in there! I see myself making this for a weekend lunch soon.

Another fabulous money saver meal is the Pasta with tomato and bacon sauce from Jane at Onions and Paper blog. I simply adore thrifty recipes that combine leftovers, vegetables leaning towards being chucked out, store cupboard cans lurking at the back of a drawer and other odd things which can spare you the guilt of ordering a takeaway when faced with an empty fridge staring back at you when you know tummies are rumbling.

Hot smoked salmon, fennel and pea pasta by Linzi of Lancashire Foods is a another quick to put together dish. The hot smoked salmon is something hubster and me love too.I love the sound of adding fresh garden fennel fronds which I imagine will add a fragrant touch to this comfort food.

Pasta Please July 2015 round up - inspiring recipes

Pasta Please July 2015 round up – inspiring recipes

Top L -R – Clockwise:  Slivered veggie and soba salad with maple tofuEasy Cheesy PastaPasta with tomato and bacon sauce and Hot smoked salmon, fennel and pea pasta.

Thanks to all the bloggers who linked up their creations to Pasta Please for July 2015 and I hope you enjoy browsing through them as much as I did. And last but not the least thanks once again to Jacqueline who blogs at Tinned Tomatoes for letting me guest host the food blog linky challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta Please – July 2015

After almost a year am happy to be hosting the Pasta Please  food blog challenge once again. For those of  you who don’t already this is a fun food blog challenge where you simply make your favourite pasta dishes, post them on your blog and then add them to the linky below. This challenge has been created by Jacqueline who blogs at Tinned Tomatoes and is an accomplished vegetarian blogger and recipe developer. She has many delicious and fabulous recipes made from scratch.

So what will you be cooking up? Am very excited to see the recipes that are linked up. Vegetarian, meat, fish, green , gluten -free or the latest fad courgette pasta noodles! – Bring it all on.  There is no theme and I am a meat eater so all types of pasta recipes can be linked in.

If you would like to browse some of delicious recipes that bloggers linked up last time I hosted, have a look at my round up post here.

I have just ordered yet another kitchen gizmo much to the dismay of my hubster who worries I now need a new kitchen on stat! I am hoping I can make some cool courgette pasta or my new favourite – sweet potato noodles or ‘snoodles’ as the jargon goes.

But here is one of my all time favourites that I make often at home , my Spicy Chorizo Pasta with loads of veggie goodness

Spicy Chorizo Pasta with loads of veggie goodnes

Spicy Chorizo Pasta with loads of veggie goodnes

All we ask is that you have a read through the following rules :

  1. Post your pasta dish on your blog and add it to the linky at the bottom of the current challenge.
  2. Link to my bloghttp://www.sliceoffme.wordpress.com and Tinned Tomatoes
  3. Use the Pasta Please logo in your post
  4. If you use twitter, tweet  me your post at @travelsfortaste  and Jacqueline at @tinnedtoms with  #PastaPlease and we will re-tweet it.
  5. Only one entry per blog.
  6. Recipes must be added to the linky by the 28th of each month.

pasta please

 

 

Add you linky below:

 

Exploring SOHO on a gastronomic adventure with Scratch London

SOHO – London’s famously infamous district where sex shops sit comfortably nestled between artisan bakeries, will always hold a sense of intrigue to everyone who visits. No matter how many times you go to SOHO each time the place will reveal a new facet of it’s colourful personality. I truly believe that there is no better way to discover any place than on foot. And a walking tour that involves eating at 10 very different foodie joints is what you will experience on a SOHO walking tour with Michelle of Scratch London tours.

SOHO Square

SOHO Square

A chef and ex-restauranter who has worked in some establishments in SOHO it is fair to say that as regards the food scene in SOHO Michelle is an insider. She also hosts Marylebone’s Scratch SupperClub.

On a bright and crisp Saturday morning a few weeks back Michelle met a small group of people including me at SOHO square from where the tour normally starts. After a background into the history of the surrounding area Michelle indulged us with a quick little treat of mini croissants with fruity and chocolaty fillings. Procured from a local artisan bakery. It is fascinating to hear how an area once populated by aristocracy is now home to swanky bars, sex shops and Michelin starred restaurants. Immigrants from various European countries who migrated here like the Huegenots had a profund impact in the development of the area in the pre WWI era.

SOHO, London

SOHO, London

First stop was Princi – an Italian casual dining restaurant – brainchild of entrepreneur Alan You – who founded Wagamama , Hakkasan and Yauatacha.

Princi SOHO

Looking at the large amount of variety on counters behind glass panes got us all salivating and craving to dig our teeth into some food.

With our appetite whetted we walked through the by-lanes of SOHO sampling various types of world cuisines taking in the sights, sounds and more nuggets about the history of SOHO from Michelle. Michelle has lived in London long enough to give you a real insight into this dynamic neighborhood. While we spotted Grade II listed buildings, mock-Tudor style architecture and half timbered buildings oozing old world charm we also took in the unmissable sign boards for massage parlours and posters advertising ‘models’ .

SOHO, London

SOHO, London

Of all the different tastes that we experienced the most indulgent was fresh Oysters. Randall & Aubin – a quaint French restaurant complete with Victorian fittings and a humongous millor ball is a SOHO institution. As a special birthday treat for one of the guests on the tour that day Michelle had managed to get us some Champagne too.

Oysters at Randall & Aubin, SOHO, London

Oysters at Randall & Aubin, SOHO, London

Next we moved onto another fabulous seafood grill and oyster bar where we were introduced to ordering food using an ipad and very tuna ceviche. My past experience of indulging in ceviche at Uni in Victoria has made me a great fan and I genuinely adore the taste of Tuna which in my humble opinion tastes great raw as a ceviche and medium rare in a steak.

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When we set out on the tour little had I expected that in half a day we would be taking our taste buds on a world tour while discovering some hidden gems in an area buzzing with energy.

Walking Tour with Scratch London in SOHO

Walking Tour with Scratch London in SOHO

Of course all gastronomic adventures should end on a sweet note and Michelle does not disappoint. Not only did we sample hand crafted artisan chocolates from London’s leading chocolatier we also got a cool discount on our purchases. I managed to find some black truffle chocolates from Mast Brothers which had made their long journey from NY just a few hours ago.

Walking Tour with Scratch London in SOHO

Walking Tour with Scratch London in SOHO

As the danger of the modern property market and campaigns to ‘clean up’ SOHO are rapidly changing the look and feel of neighbourhood from grunge, quirky and a hub of adult entertainment, it is important to experience SOHO and all its varied foodie offerings in it’s original and natural setting. To do so with a knowledgeable guide like Michelle as part of a small group where you do not loose yourself and can actually make sensible conversation is a great pleasure.

Randall & Aubin, SOHO, London

Randall & Aubin, SOHO, London

For £61.50 per head a Scratch London tour will  include all ten food and drink destination on the route.

*With  thanks to Michelle  for inviting me on a gastronomic adventure through SOHO. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

The Queensbury Kitchen – NW London’s fab new All Day Bar and Grill

First impressions of  walking out of Willesden Green Tube station is of a quite suburb where even the high street seems welcoming and not maddeningly crowded.  My reason for the venturing into a leafy suburb in NW London that evening – an invitation to attend a bloggers review dinner at The  Queensbury Kitchen – a New All Day Bar and Grill which opened to the public late last year.

We had the long central communal table with high stools reserved for the evening and a tempting selection of cocktails to start with.

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I loved the interiors which seamlessly incorporate the industrial chic feel with the understated. White tiles, rustic tables , a turntable sitting in the corner belting out numbers on the L.P’s,  tungsten filament bulbs illuminating the tables add a cosy touch this lovely new grill and bar.

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The Mango Chilli Caiprisoka (£7) is just what you need to unwind after a long day , the sweet and sour taste of fresh mango slices work fabulously well with Vodka and the chilli gives your palate a sharp kick neatly balanced by the chilled ice and lime wedges. If you want to try something quirky I recommend the Evergreen cocktail, avocado and alcohol why not!

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First up we were served several sharing platters with BBQ Chicken (for £15 you get a whole organic chicken in a selection of 3 fab sauces – BBQ, Cajun and Bloody Mary!), Blackened Salmon (£9) and mini burgers (£7) – both regular and chickpea and feta too.

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Then followed mixed leaf salads (£3) , sweet potato fries (£4) and onion rings  (£3). When the Macaroni cheese (£4) came along, it was like nothing else on the table mattered – I thought it would start a war at the table 😉

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If that is making you salivate , you can well imagine what happened when the ribs came to the table . I had waited all evening to try the  the pièce de ré·sis·tance and I wasn’t disappointed. Not bad for £15 huh?

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Though we were sure that we wouldn’t be able to eat another morsel, one look at the desserts and our defenses crumbled. After all platters of cheescake, brownies with ice cream and tall ice-cream sundae glasses are simply impossible to resist right? Just £5 each too 😉

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And it’s not just British classics and Quirky cocktails that they do well, they also serve up a good selection of breakfast menu options at great prices, am talking Eggs Benedict/Royal or Eggs Florentine for £6 – now why not go get yourself a lazy breakfast or brunch with freshly brewed coffee this weekend? Go on, you know you want to!

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This is another one of those epic review dinners that I will always remember for the fabulous food, great company, brilliant staff, fab service and the Chef for spoiling us with a great selection of food. A special mention to the PR agency and all their team members that went our of their way to make the each one of us feel well looked after, making for a really comfortable and enjoyable evening.

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So if it’s great evening out with your friends or simply chilling out with your colleagues after work that your after then head to The Queensbury Kitchen, it’s a stones throw away from the Willesden Green Tube station and good on your pocket too. Am thinking new favourite watering hole on Friday nights for those around Waterloo . Well, you got to try the ribs and the punchy Mango and Chilli Caipiroska atleast once to know what I am talking about!

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*With  thanks to Fiona who blogs at London Unattached  for inviting me for a great evening out also the PR Agency and The Queensbury Kitchen . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

In My Veg Box – Courgettes – March 2015 Round Up

As you may remember I was hosting the recipe linky challenge called In My Veg Box an event run by Vegetarian food blogger Nayna Kanabar of Citrus Spice UK– with the theme Courgettes for March 2015 and here’s a quick round up of all the fabulous entries I received :

Spinach Zucchini soup – if a bowl of green goodness is what you’r after then this is the recipe for you, just add in more creamy to make it more delicious is the tip from Mayuri who blogs at Mayuri’s Jikoni.

zucchini soup

Zucchini Carrot Salad – another delicious creation from Mayuri – a quick and delicious salad that you can make in a jiffy with very few ingredients.

zucchini carrot salad

Beetroot top and Courgette tartlets with lovely photos from Kelly’s brilliant blog called Kelly’s food to glow, I love her idea of using beet tops why throw away those bright and beautiful stems.

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Moosewood Summer Vegetable Curry – a sunny and bright curry from the blog Taste Space, I love the name of this curry and just one look at the bowl makes me very, very hungry!

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Chardonnay and Samphire brings us a zesty recipe for Courgette Fritters, perfect for when you want a snack with a hot cuppa.

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Another creation from Mayuri this time it’s stuffed Zucchini boats , I quite like the sound of that as I love roasting and stuffing marrows and courgettes with interesting fillings.

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Last but not the least I have some guilt free snacking home-made courgette ‘chips’ or crisps – easy to make and gone in a flash ummm

Baked courgette chips

Baked courgette chips

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Thanks Nayna for letting me host this fun challenge!

At the Gourmet Burger Kitchen Chef’s Table with Peter Gordon

It’s not everyday that a celebrity Chef cooks you lunch, naturally then I was quite excited to know that would be sampling food cooked by celebrated New Zealand chef Peter Gordon. Peter was in town to cook up a feast from his new and exclusive fusion menu at Gourmet Burger Kitchen.

Peter Gordon has been dubbed “the Godfather of Fusion cuisine”. One look at the menu at any of restaurants he is associated and you know that is true.

Peter made his name as Head Chef of The Sugar Club in Wellington in the late 80s. Award-winning incarnations of The Sugar Club followed in Notting Hill and Soho.Today, he oversees the running of The Providores & Tapa Room and Kopapa in London, and Bellota and The Sugar Club in Auckland. In 2009, he was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit by HM The Queen for services to the food industry.

When GBK was first launched in 2001 by owners Adam, Greg and Brandon their aim was to introduce U.K to new and premium beef burgers . Back then to develop the very first menu they worked with fellow Kiwi  Peter Gordon – who now after 14 years is back with a fabulous new fusion menu that experiments with textures, ingredients and flavours.

It was also my first ever meal at any Chef’s Table so soon after I arrived at the Baker Street branch, we were taken to the secret kitchen which is separate from the main kitchen, this is where Tim Molema – the Head of Food at Gourmet Burger Kitchen creates his magic.

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L-RTim Molema – the Head of Food at GBK and Peter Gordon.

For mains we had Peter’s new creation – The Duck Confit Burger. The combination of crisp confit duck with a thick layer of creamy duck liver pâté and melting Cheddar cheese is a heavenly ménage à trois. Though there were those who were not too pleased at the mention of duck liver pâté, I was quite pleased, as I absolutely love  pâté especially when served  as a generous layer on thin, crisp toasted bread (a perfect nibble with bubbly, don,’t you think?)

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The crispy shallots give the burger a lovely crunch (reminded me of layered biryani with crispy fried onion) whereas the fiery ginger and apricot chilli jam is probably what gives this new invention an umami flavour, cleverly combining the rich taste of duck with the other ingredients.

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Encased in soft and fresh brioche buns this burger is simply irresistible.

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The hors-d’oeuvre of sweet potato fries was  topped with a very familiar tasting dressing – Tamarind (reminded me of Mumbai’s famous street food – Bhel!) and also a generous splattering of the Egyptian spice mixture – Dukkah – a nut free version to ensure that those with nut allergies can also enjoy it – Peter is there anything you did not think of ? Guess not 🙂

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For the other side dish – Fresh Summer Homeslaw, Peter has drawn inspiration from Middle eastern spices like sumac and pomegranate molasses. Sumac gives a lovely tart edge to the minty slaw while the mint and pomegranate molasses give it an unmistakable depth of flavour.

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Every good burger should be washed down with a thick and delicious milkshake – or so I think and Peter’s creation – a Banana Biscoff milkshake is a mind-meltingly fabulous fusion of banana ice cream and Lotus Biscoff caramelised biscuits, also known as Speculoos cookies- a great way to create a fusion of flavours.

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To watch Peter Gordon live in action, cooking up a what he does best – create a fusion of flavours and being able to drink in the experience of being at the Chef’s table was truly memorable.

After that fabulous and exclusive Lunch preview, I spoke to Peter for an exclusive interview where he gave me an insight into the inspiration behind his new menu.

In Peter Gordon’s words, “The UK burger scene has evolved hugely over the last 14 years. It seems like every day a new burger is making headlines, so when it came to creating my own, I knew it had to be something unique to stand out. Putting my own stamp on the menu has been an exciting process and I’ve put the same care into this as I do with every dish I create for my own restaurants. Our fans are always on the lookout for the next big thing in burgers and I am confident they will agree this one is something a bit special.”

You too can get behind the scenes with Peter in the GBK kitchen with this little video clip:

Still here? There surely is a GBK branch you can get to in time for dinner today right ? All you need to do is … grab your coat and …leave!

**Peter’s Menu is now available at Gourmet Burger Kitchen restaurants nationwide.

 *With  thanks to the PR Agency and Gourmet Burger Kitchen for the invite. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.Kindly do not re-produce any images without my prior permission.

Inito – a journey into the flavours of Indian street food in London’s East End

Journey into India’s by lanes without leaving London? Yes it’s possible well at least transporting your taste buds is. Simply head to London’s east end for a treat to your senses. Located a stone’s throw away from Liverpool street, @Inito_UK has the look and feel of a really cool dhabba plus an old college canteen rolled into one.

While we waited for all our friends to arrive we were served some thick and delicious lassi, I love salted lassi and this one made me greedily want another round – it’s the kind of lassi that you will happily drink and not worry about your ‘lassi moustache’ – I almost thought I was stuck in the dhabba scene from Rang de Basanti for a minute there (which reminds me I must add a road trip to the North of India to my bucket list – with loads of stops at roadside dhabbas included and if I can do this one a motorbike – waah!!) As expected the Mango lassi was most popular choice.

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We were then served Chicken Lollipop with a mini masala dosa, the chef was generous enough to even give some dosa batter away to experiment at home to one of us. Chicken lollipop is another very popular ‘item’ on the menu in India and is very popular even as a starter for parties. Dosa stalls dot streets where dosa lovers throng to eat a variety of different dosa’s with delicious stuffing , there is at least one dosa stall to be found outside every big railway station in Mumbai.

Inito served the dosa with some delicious coriander and mint chutney.

Then came Pani- Puri – the one snack that makes me go weak in the knees. Everytime I go to Mumbai I must head to Elco Pani Puri to gobble up as many plates I can possibly stuff myself with! The pani puri was ok and much better than what I have tried elsewhere in London but amongst everything we sampled that evening I would put this at the bottom of my list. This has nothing do with the what they served per se but more to do with what type of pani puri I am accustomed to having back in Mumbai.

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Then came the bhel and the dahi chaat – both were excellent and the tamarind chutney was fab.

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Then came a huge platter with various roti- rolls – basically loads of meat or veggies with some fresh veggies and chutney stuffed inside. I loved the chicken and lamb – the meat was cooked tender and it was what I would expect in terms of taste. Reminded me of Tibbs Frankie ummm The prawn roti roll was my least favourite – I would rather have had the prawns on their own.

We were given a selection of different dips and chutneys to go with these roti-rolls, my favourite was a chewy aubergine chutney, very good. The adventurous few can even design their own roti rolls. No wonder then the Chef Saurav Nath is an award winner – he has managed to retain the authenticity of most of the dishes while coming up with clever fusion dishes like the pau slider and roti rolls.

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Then came the Tikka’s – tender and succulent portions of meat, chicken and paneer- Indian cottage cheese – marinated in Awadhi spices and yoghurt and then skewered inside a tandoor. I loved the mini pau-sliders too. Highly recommend pairing the tikka’s with Bombay Blonde a blonde beer crafted specially to compliment the complex flavours of curry and a great alternative to Indian Lagers.  For those who have had Cobra beer before can order Cobra, Mongoose or Kingfisher too. I love Kingfisher especially when I am in Mumbai or Pune over summer – nothing better to help me survive temperatures upwards of 32 deg cel!

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The chef then got us some curries to try and dum-biryani. While all of us went into a frenzy clicking pictures and capturing the moment when the lid was lifted off the biryani , the air filled with the unmistakable biryani fragrance of basmati rice, spices and meat  The very thought of that steaming hot biryani  makes me salivate even now  -ummm . I had fun explaining to my one of blogger friends who had never seen anything quite like that before. Folks its worth the trek to this place just for the biryani! – Head over to my Instagram feed to check out a cool ‘biryani’ video here

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The curries were delicious and I am biased in favour of the lamb. But by this point I was ready to explode and so were the others. It was good then that some jumped at the chance to take some the curries home, I would have hated to see the food go waste.

No Indian meal is complete without some freshly made pipping hot gulab jamun and ice cream and even with full tummies , everyone did justice to the sweets. I was quite delighted to hear that the ice cream was Horlicks flavoured – Horlicks and Bournvita were my favourites while growing up and made drinking hot glasses of milk bearable. The mini Gulab Jamuns were irresistible little bite sized ones in sugar syrup. (as confirmed by my friends since I did not touch them – had vowed to stay away from sweets – whyyy???!! But I just had to try the ice cream and allowed myself as teensy weensy taster)

The rasmalai was fabulous too (as confirmed by my friends) with the right consistency and topped with pistachios and cardamom floating in a sweet thickened milk.

The best thing about going for a review dinner with blogger friends is that you have great company sorted and you hope for good food and when food is fabulous it just turns into one of those evenings that you wish would happen more often. I got to meet my friends, eat fab food, discuss things food and blogging related that only like minded folks can fathom and enjoy discussing – what more can one ask for, huh?

We were served by smiling and courteous staff and sampled a large variety of dishes from the vast menu. The Chef came and spoke to us at length and I loved chatting him up in Hindi. The food is brilliant and I would certainly  recommend anyone who wants to try fabulous melt in your mouth tikka’s , steaming hot biryani and tangy chaat – If the food managed to transport my taste buds to Mumbai then am sure they got that bit right!

The minimalist decor goes well with the street food theme and the bright wall art will have you clicking away to share pictures on Instagram – I did !

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*With  thanks to the PR Agency and Inito for the invite. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

 

 

MoBa – New Boulangerie with a French-Asian fusion menu opens in London

The new artisan bakery where Bánh Mì meets  Boulangerie called MoBa opened it’s doors to the public on Monday at Goodge street in London.

MoBa press day

Before I dive into the details about their unique and well thought of menu, a bit about the background – the how’s and why’s ( humm ,maybe all those hours am spending watching House M.D have started affecting the way I think – need to know the why first..)

The Paris born founding duo – Thibaut and Theodore, met while studying Hotel Management in Switzerland and then kept in touch even when their careers took to various locations across the world.  They recently moved to London with the aim of  bringing a new concept of dining to London. Though they are still in their early 20’s this duo has gained lots of experience between the two of them and have been exposed to various culinary influences.

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With a bold and fabulous new fusion menu this new casual dining spot promises to serve up interesting food, which like their lovely window display will change with the seasons. ‘MoBa’ an acronym for Modern Bakery aims to combine traditional French cooking with fresh and simple flavours from Asia – a culmination of friendship, passion for creativity and of course a shared love of good food.

The interiors are cool and fresh, the minimalist look adds a soothing touch while the sleek leather lined stools give it just the right edge.

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I also got a feel of a  bit of behind the scene the counter action – a masterclass of sorts. Thibaut Voury, one of the founders , who was managing the kitchen showed me how to make my own Bánh Mì.

MoBa press day

Because I wasn’t too keen on a heavy lunch, the naked Bánh Mì sounded good and Theodore Charoy the other founder suggested that I choose ‘Tokyo’ because of the fabulous flavours of the Salmon gravlax. He was right! I absolutely loved this mix of seasonal veg wok, Japanese lime and garlic cream served on a bed of noodles. Not only is it light and fresh it is still full of wonderful Asian flavours.

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I resisted having any beer but they have my favourite Asian beer – Asahi, while the other bloggers loved Bellerose – a blonde beer from Northern France.

MoBa press day

I also learnt that the word Bánh Mì was born out of a misspelling for ”pain de mie” which simply means ‘sliced bread’. This sandwich dated back to the time when French colonised Indochina, a perfect example of a fusion born out of the meeting of two very different culinary worlds.

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The other bloggers choose the Toulouse (£7.20) which as they described as a fabulous combination of spicy mango sauce and duck confit in a traditional baguette stuffed with seasonal veg wok. It was massive and looked very delicious , I do hope to go back soon for this one.

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Apart from the fusion menu, the Boulangerie also stocks beautiful breads and some baguettes with unusual combinations like the soya-ginger baguette which I got to take home in goody bag. I was greedily eyeing the green tea croissant while photographing the place and the mango croissant looked so tempting with the beautiful glaze over it – wow – almost irresistible!

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Ever since I started having my matcha green tea everyday I am totally addicted to the taste of green tea and the match green tea brownies were my absolute favourite from the sweet treats we were given to sample. Of course the fusion of flavours spills over into the dessert menu too then and the exotic sounding Zen Lightning Éclair packs a punch with a strong tangy flavour while the Speculoos Mango Cheesecake is delicious too and a perfect companion with a steaming hot latte. What I loved most is that the dessert tray came lined with the MoBa ‘newspaper’ – hot off the press!

MoBa press day

MoBa is conveniently located a short walk from Goodge Street tube station and is a fabulous lunch option for lunch go-ers and would make for a great place for a casual catch up over dinner with friends too.

Don’t know about you but I think MoBa is going to kick off a new trend in London with their  fusion menu!

*With  thanks to the PR Agency and MoBa for the invite. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.All images without my watermark for ‘travelsfortaste’ are provided by the PR Agency. Kindly do not re-produce any images without prior permission.

In my Veg Box: Courgettes – Recipe Linky Challenge

After a whole year am guest hosting In My Veg Box again, an event run by Vegetarian food blogger Nayna Kanabar of Citrus Spice UK. In March last year,  the vegetable of choice for In My Veg Box was Cauliflower and you can view the recipes in my round up post here.

I have a long standing love affair with courgettes. Why? I think it goes back to childhood habits of eating loads of fresh cliced cucumber and in dahi raita with biryani very often. But now I am obsessed with getting just the right amount of Courgette curls for a Courgette ‘pasta’ OR  even getting to bake a cake with Courgettes.

I have recently taken it upon myself to go on a weigh loss journey and in the process eat healthier, eliminate food waste and of course educate myself about the health benefits of various foods. Courgettes are very low in calories and fat, and have a high water content. 100 grams of Courgettes contain approximately only 15 calories!

Besides this the biggest health benefit is that Courgettes have anti-cancer properties and are known to inhibit cell mutations and therefore help in preventing colon and lung cancer. Not only that they contain a whole host of beneficial and necessary Vitamins – Vitamins B1, B2, B6, Vitamin K and Vitamin A.  It is also a good source of folic acid, potassium, fiber, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium and copper.

They are also known to help prevent a whole host of diseases like:

  • Stroke
  • Heart Attacks
  • Scurvy
  • Multiple Sclerosois

Now with so many health benefits this delicious vegetable must form a very important part of your diet, don’t you think?

Besides I think those who are lucky enough to grow their own vegetables can enjoy amazing dishes like stuffed Courgette flowers and make the most of this summer squash . At it’s peak in July, the Courgette which is part of   Curcarbita is actually a fruit and is commonly mistaken as a vegetable. Popularly known as Zucchini in America, the beautiful golden yellow Zucchini makes for beautiful salads and is a gorgeous addition to many recipes.

Rules to Participate:

  1. Please prepare any vegetarian recipes using Courgettes and link your dish to the linky code below. You will need  to enter the name of your dish, as well as the url of your blog.
  2. Current theme is COURGETTES.
  3. You must link your blog post to both this blog post on Sliceoffme and to Citrus Spice UK, this is mandatory.
  4. Use of the logo is not mandatory but it helps to spread the word if you can use it.
  5. Multiple entries are allowed.
  6. Archived entries are also allowed, only if they are re-posted and updated with this event link, as well as the Citrus Spice UK link.
  7. Recipes must be added to the linky by 31st March 2015.

In the event of any problems with using the linky code, please email me your entry to fruitsnveg@yahoo.comPlease include your name, recipe name, url and an image no larger than 300 pixels. 

An InLinkz Link-up

Thank you! Can’t wait to see variety of recipes that I am sure are possible with the humble cauliflower! Get Cooking Bloggers!

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References: Courgette Recipes,U.K

*Disclaimer : I am not a trained health professional and what I have written about is from what i have read, please ensure that you consult a certified health professional and/ or consult your Doctor for advice relating to any serious illness, ailments, queries etc.