Festive Feast at Bengal Quay to celebrate the launch of their New Menu

Last week hubster and me were invited for a preview of the new menu launch at Bengal Quay. So after work on a Monday evening we both made our way from different parts of the city to the beautiful docklands area. I had never been on the DLR before and as I saw the beautiful landscape unfold it put into a very dreamy mood, something to do with the tall buildings and the water reminded me of the amazing south Mumbai roads, glitzy five star hotels and a gorgeous coast line. I could almost feel the salty sea breeze on my face.

Situated within walking distance from South Quay station this Indian – Pakistani restaurant has a fabulous new menu, as we were about to find out.

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I was delighted to finally meet Asma Khan who runs the popular supper club called Darjeeling Express and also the lovely Lisa who writes guest posts for my Fiona’s blog London Unattached.

It was chilly evening so I stuck to my trusty drink of cognac with warm water – Remy Martin this time and hubster too stuck to the same, the other guests enjoyed good red and white wines while the others tripped on tall glasses of Mango Lassi.

The starters were a selection of seafood which made hubster and me very happy as you my readers know well by now about our seafood obsession! We loved the Salmon Sooa which was Scottish salmon flavoured just right and wrapped snuggly in a little portion of banana leaf, it was melt-in-your mouth soft and I would go back just for this and of course the Lamb Nihari – Slow Cooked Lamb Shank in Pakistani Nihari Curry with Onions and Lemon – though opinions over which was the best dish at the table were a bit divided between hubster and me who went nuts over the Venison and Afghani chicken – humm.

The use of cute wooden clips to secure the banana leaf, the stainless steel lemon squeezer and that tangy tamarind chutney made me feel so very much at home.

The other starters were Imli Scallops – a very different approach to spicing up scallops with Indian spices and Tandoori Monkfish which was just the right kind of flaky and went down a treat – thumbs up from both OH and me.

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The mini seabass fillets served with tangy crispies were served with a bhel like mixture in cute cones – which are always welcome for chaat fans like hubster and me and we really liked the seabass – but clearly this not the case with the rest of the table who had mixed reactions. This unusual combination seemed to work for us and was presented very nicely too.

The mains arrived and suddenly there was no navigation space on the table and we were very- very spoilt for choice.

I mopped up with buttery garlic naan the delicious Diced venison in red wine and mushroom curry  – which disappeared fast from the serving dish and as a majority vote it became the star dish of the evening. The special fried rice was great on it’s own while the pulav rice was great with the lamb shanks. The lamb nihari gravy was fabulous and the meat was cooked to fall-off-bone perfection , for all meat fans out there – this dish is something that you must not miss! Game is not easy to pair with spices and serving it up in a curry form with mushrooms seems to be a winning combination – Asma too was very intrigued and happy with this dish in particular.

Neither hubster nor me are fans of sweet or creamy gravy but the Afghani chicken was fantastic, the mild curry flavoured with saffron and cream and the delicious soft chicken was just too good to resist – the chef did something very right with this dish folks.

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The tarka dal was comforting and done to expected standards, which is always a good sign in any authentic Indian/Pakistani restaurant.

Expectedly we were stuffed to the gills and the prospect of consuming a selection of desserts seemed impossible. But that was only until the dessert plates arrived at the table of course 😉

The Indian in me was very happy with not one but two mango desserts to gobble – though the mango sorbet was definitely my favourite. Chocolate brownie came with a very unusual companion – a moreish passion fruit sauce which complimented the gooey chocolate taste very nicely. Again a winning combination.

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Nestled in the by lanes of London’s business hub and a stones throw away from Canary Wharf this is a place I would recommend you visit and do not miss the Lamb Nihari, Afghani Chicken and the passion fruit sauce and brownie and if you can allow yourself the guilty pleasure the mango sorbet too. But if you cannot visit anytime soon and spend time then you MUST take away the Venison curry to mop up with plain pulavAND some garlic naan!

It’s after such a meal that I forget that I am in London and walk out with a wide grin on my face half expecting to see a Bombay black cab whiz past, I feel I will be passing by my favourite Bombay sights and take in the familiar sounds and the magic of my darling city … until I actually step out into the biting cold and the cold breeze envelopes – but then in so many strange ways I find even this comforting as we stroll into the quiet night air, the sense of intense activity behind the deceptively quite larger than life glass mammoth buildings of Canary Wharf  is obvious to the those who care to observe and the bright Christmas lights can’t help make me feel warm and fuzzy inside – a feeling I could get used to very easily.

*With  thanks to Humayun Hussain and Bengal Quay for the invite. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review .All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Find the menu here follow me on Zomato

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Le Restaurant de Paul – Boulangerie transitions into a restaurant

Originating in France in PAUL bakery  continues to be be a family owned company  five generations on. Today they are present in more than 25 countries  in London, Washington, Dubai, Tokyo  ,Singapore and Moscow. They have been the go to bakery for authentic French bread, cakes and pastries for Londoners with  30 other branches located across the length and breadth of the city.

Their first bakery in London at  Covent Garden has recently become a  full fledged  restaurant . We were invited there for a relaxed dinner on Sunday evening .Located in the heart of theatreland , its walking distance from Covent Garden tube station but I prefer walking from Waterloo station . Walking beats taking the crowded tubes and my reward is a beautiful walk by the river with stunning views of the London eye on one side and St.Pauls cathedral on the other.

The famous black shop front with the name in stately lettering made famous by Francis Holder in 1993, is difficult to miss amidst the evening crowds, theatre goers and many shops.The aroma of freshly ground coffee beans is a welcome olfactory assault that is complimented by the the beautiful display of meringues, cakes ,pastries and fresh bread .

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The restaurant was packed when we arrived  and the front of the restaurant which functions as a delicatessen  had people queuing up for French bread , coffee and cake at the counters up front when we reached , so we busied ourselves taking pictures of the beautiful baked goodies .

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Our waitress for the evening was a smart young lady who showed us to our table a beautiful semi circular sofa against a wall and comfortable chairs on the side. The beautiful décor which is comprised of hand picked antiques is pleasantly distracting and a lot of photos later we finally settled down.

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Our two sharing ,one a charcuterie and one a vegetarian platter arrived with a large tray full of colourful glass jars stuffed with bright ,preserved vegetables – which were used as a base to rest the sharing platters wooden boards on – now that is going to be an idea all of us will end up using for our food photography !

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The charcuterie is a selection of saucisson, jambon cru, coppa, rosette,terrine,smoked duck breast, pickled baby onions ,cornichons,butter and assorted breads.

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The veggie platter was such a beauty – so colourful and fresh – selection of grilled and marinated vegetables,tapenade,aioli,hummus,sauce vierge and PAUL cheese gougere.

Heidi enjoyed her oven baked Camembert and  toasted Campagne bread.

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If anything these starters had made us hungry for more and our mains were so good that when they arrived all conversation came to a standstill ….

My main of Loup de Mer – Pan roasted fillet of sea bass, braised fennel with sauce vierge was flavourful and the sauce was faulous , my sea food loving self was very , very happy!

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I also had a delicious side of Gratin Dauphinios – Traditional French potato gratin   (£2.95)

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We shared a bottle of red which went well with the mains – a French Pinard Classique  2013 – best described as a lively bouquet of plum, bluberry and hints of blackcurrant on the nose, the palate is beautifully rounded, soft and juicy.

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Our group of food bloggers had these fabulous French delights :

Clockwise Top left to right – Demi Poulet au Grain Rôti à l’Estragon – Roasted free range corn fed half chicken marinated in tarragon ,lemon & garlic ,green salad (£12.50) ,

Saucisses de Toulouse – Traditional course cut Toulouse sausages served with crushed buttery potato mash & Bordelaise sauce (£10.50)

Poivron Fraci  (£7.50)  and

Confit de Canard aux Olives – Slow-cooked duck leg, crushed buttery potato mash, black olive & red wine sauce (£10.50)

Pauls restaurant sept 2014

I am glad I could squeeze in some dessert as well after all that food – I really needed some coffee so mini macaroons paired with a latte it was.

Am positive that I shall be returning to dine at Le restaurant de Paul and would highly recommend that you check it out for yourself – a taste of authentic French food in the heart of  London – with a sensibly priced menu too – Why not ?!

Have a look at what Karen had to say about our foodie meet up here and what Heidi thought about the food at PAUL here , Nayna’s thoughts are penned down here , Tina , who is still dreaming about gougeres, shares her thoughts here ,the lovely Sylvia shared her thoughts here. Read Karen’s post with beautiful photos here.

Radha Krishna Bhavan – Tooting , a review

On a dreary Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago after my weekly Indian shop form Dadu’s at Tooting, not feeling particularly in the mood to cook , we walked into Radha Krishna Bhavan for an early lunch . The place was open and barring one table we could pick and choose where to sit , unusual for a Saturday afternoon , little did I know that minutes later the place would be buzzing with activity.

 

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This is a sea food lovers heaven with authentic ,well balanced south Indian cuisine. We ordered a starter of spicy Vadas – flat, fried lentil dough spiced with green chillies and onion , this was crunchy and delicious and just the thing needed on a boring Saturday afternoon when the weather was playing traunt ! (£2.95)

 

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The first thing I noticed was the many sticker on the glass outside with various ratings from the Good Food Guide, Square Meal etc  and a bright yellow mini menu saying ”3 courses for just £5.95′ ! Super ! That definitely drew us in.

 

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But we decided to go a la Carte and ordered for some Kerala Fried Rice (£4.50)and Kerala Fish curry (£7.50) .The fish curry was yum but the portion size was a bit small to share , same with the rice and we found the rice had more than a generous use of oil but it was delicious all the same.

 

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Hungry for more we decided to experiment with some Vellappam – a pancake made of fermented rice with ground coconut and coconut milk with a  lacy egg like appearance . These were light yet  filling and 2 panckakes per dish came with the curry at a combined price (£7.95 ) .The pancakes were mopped up with the accompanying  curry –  a spicy King Fish Malabar.

 

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With no room left for dessert after this we decided to skip and just get ice lollies on our way home 😉

 

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I’d definitely recommend you visit Radha Krishna Bhavan if you are looking for delicious and authentic  flavours of South India at budget rates in a clean , welcoming atmosphere with quick service head (opposite Sainsburys on Tooting High Street)

 

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*This review was written by me of my own accord . I bore the expense of this meal. All views  expressed as always are my own and no monetary compensation of any sort by provided to me by either the restaurant or any other third party.All opinions expressed are valid for this particular visit .

Square Meal Bloggers Meet at Boyds Brasserie

Square Meal is one of the review websites that I post my reviews too and they invited me for a lovely afternoon tea with other blogger reviewers to the very posh Boyds Brasserie at Trafalgar Square , in July .

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That day I was under the grips of a massive , massive Hayfever attack (which went on to develop into a full blown pollen induced chest infection – who knew an innocent bunch of flowers could do something so evil !?!)  and therefore starting the evening with several cups of warm tea was just what I needed ! In spite of it being a really warm evening I enjoyed cradling my hot cuppa and chatting up the other bloggers. Boyds also had a very special treat for us – Brut Ruinart Rose Champagne – I had to unwillingky refuse though …

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The potted shrimp was silky and luxurious and was polished off in no time.

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We had a selection of lovely sandwiches made with soft bread and they went down a treat .

  • Salted Beef, Pickled Cucumber, Dijon on Brown Bread
  • Egg Mayonnaise & Watercress on White Bread
  • Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, Dill on Brown Bread

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The scones served with strawberry jam and Devonshire clotted cream were next and Susan told us about the ‘Scone Test’ , apparently if you twist your scone and breaks away in half without much fuss , it has been made well and is fresh too ! So we all spent the next few minutes trying to ‘break’ our scones , twisting our faces into weird construed frowns and scaring the staff in general 😉

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That is Emily putting her scones to the test ! 

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I gave up after a while resigning to the fact that trying not to die of Hayfever was already too much work for me. I decided to also focus on the other sweet treats that came with the warm scones  – Fruit Cakes, Mini Chocolate Eclairs , Lemon Drizzle Cake, Lemon Curd  and the very tempting Mini Strawberry Tarts.

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It was one of those blogger meets where all the bloggers who came were really were friendly and conversation flowed easily . Each one followed the others on twitter and instagram and on other vitual spaces all this while sharing our foodie adventures.

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L R – : @MyDailyDose8 ,Ele – @cakeoverworld and Snita – @herfavfood

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Far Right : @Mitzie8cake

I quite agree with what the Food & Drink Guide 2014 has to say about the  Boyds Brasserie :

‘Unashamedly British, Boyds delivers quality food and service in opulent surroundings, with a nod to its Victorian heritage, but with none of the stuffiness that might imply. After just one visit to the buzzy bar, glamorous lounge and relaxed modern restaurant, I can promise you’ll fall in love and become a regular guest of this superb restaurant.’

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No wonder then that they have just won the OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award for the third time in four months!

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Last but definitely not the least came these cute mini ice creams – I didn’t dare try one though…took all of me to stop myself from devouring these treats !

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By the time we left the sun had set on London and there was a pleasant much needed breeze waiting to greet me as I stepped out in the chaos before being swallowed up by the evening crowds heading into the tubes , everyone in a rush to get home .

I kept smiling to myself seeing the voucher in our goody bag with an invitation for a dinner for two at the Boyds Brasserie .

*With  thanks to  Square Meal for the invite and to Boyds Brasserie for hosting us. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review . All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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Uni brings Nikkei Cuisine to Victoria

The largest Japanese settlement outside of Japan is in Peru and the unique fusion cuisine that is Japanese Peruvian is called Nikkei.Fiona invited me to accompany this time to discover Nikkei , she is an award-winning freelance writer and marketing consultant who currently writes about travel and London lifestyle for a number of publications and runs her own London lifestyle blog called London Unattached.

So it was a bright summer Monday afternoon that I trooped in Uni (the Japanese word for the sea urchin, a Japanese delicacy) restaurant and sushi bar designed by Andrew Martin, in Belgravia minutes away from the travel hub that is Victoria station.

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I was shown to a cosy table downstairs.

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For starters I got some steamed edamame with a spicy chilli and garlic sauce (£4.50) and some refreshing green tea served in a typical cast iron heavy pot which I would love to have as part of my growing food prop collection which now occupies every corner or of our tiny rental flat much to the chagrin of my hubby – I guess the last straw was trying to pass off a very heavy cast iron pot as a ‘place to keep his usb drives and wire hehehee

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I had happily managed to forget my phone at home and therefore Fiona tried in vain to inform me of her delayed train. Blissfully unaware of this I sipped my tea and munched my edamame all the time trying to ignore some stuffy banker type folks on the table next to me talking shop – how boring…

So when Fiona arrived she managed to move us to a bigger table away from the ‘big boy talk’ as she aptly called it and onto a table where I could dump my bags and lay my camera lens and other paraphernalia – I do not travel light …

To make life easier we chose to have bento boxes for our mains and mine came with the udon noodle and fish cake soup while Fiona had a light Miso soup. I was feeling ravenous by the time the soup arrived and devoured it in a flash! (£24.5 per bento box – comes with soups, salad, sushi, & maki, main dish, side, rice and dessert)

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Nabe Udon  – Noodle and Fishcake Soup with Prawn Tempura.

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Beautifully light Miso Soup

My Bento box had Kaiso Wakame  – seaweed salad ,prawn and carrot tempura, main of duck tataki – seared duck breast finely sliced and dressed with mirin and soy, fried rice and sashimi selection. The duck tataki was deliciously morish, I also loved the seaweed salad and the sticky fried rice with the sashimi was very filling.

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Fionas bento box came with steamed rice and anticucho sauce  black cod and was very appetising , to read in her own words read her review of our lunch at Uni here.

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We washed down our Bento lunch boxes with some chilled sake.

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The very polite manager came and urged us to experiment with some of the Nikkei range from the menu and we were served two stunning dishes.

Tiraditos of Yellowtail with kizami wasabi,Yuzu and fresh mint presented in a creative and stunning display, it was delightfully fresh, sharp in taste with a delicate balance of colour and flavour. (£15.5)

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Wildly beautiful looking salmon tartare tacos with cucumber,tomato,masago and creamy miso were crunchy and melt in your mouth creamy all at one once exploding with a light flavour in every bite – delicious! (£6)

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Stuffed to the gills now I had to walk around click a few pictures and allow for some space to be created in my tummy to fit in some dessert 😉

To my amusement the very attentive young lady on the staff showed us how the colourful lamp shade were made from bottle of campari that could be detached and well glugged , given it was a hot summer afternoon I think it was a great idea that Fiona ordered us some Pisco Sour shots instead ;).Never having tasted these before I downed them in one go much to my own peril, the sake already in my system the shot gave me quite the buzz!

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Thankfully my cooling Matcha Gelato worked wonders and cooled me down several degrees -phew!

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Fiona managed to stay light with desserts too with a selection of fresh fruit.

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The creation of former Nobu chef Rolando Ongcoy, the menu at UNI offers a good selection of grilled meats ,fish, sushi,sashimi, selection of tempura and maki. The Peruvian influence is prevalent throughout UNI’s menu, ceviche and tiraditos peruano included.

The bar area upstairs also has plenty of seating on high stools and around the bar, perfect for knocking down Peruvian fav’s like the pisco sours or coconut-based Chilli Mojito.

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Victoria being a very office space kind of area is lucky to have Uni in its midst now, with bite sized healthier meal options ,seven- dish bento boxes for short lunch hours are on offer at a price of course. So the big banker boys and girls can have their financial pow-wow meets in the fancy cubicles or basement vaults if you please which can seat about 10 – 12 people, and if the huge ice buckets with bottles of chilled Moet and the power talk we overheard from the table next to us are anything to go by then Uni is already a haunt for these suited and well heeled office folks!

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  • Website:Uni
  • Opening Times: is open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday inclusive

*With  thanks to Uni for the invitation. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review . All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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Square Meal

Dinner at The Brasserie , Tower Guoman – a review

On the day of the Mens Singles Final when Djokovic won  the match against Roger Federer ,I had an invite to go dine with a few fellow bloggers at The Brasserie at the Tower Guoman. I must admit the match was so engaging that I was glued to the tv and only in the game that I was just to nervous to watch so I dragged myself out and kept pestering a dear friend of mine in whatsapp till she gave me updates of almost every move on the court …. I was hoping that Djokovic would win and also hoping that the match would end before I hopped onto the tube and lost network… Lets just say that all invisible divine forces were with Djokovic ( and me )that day coupled with his awesome performance, just as I was about to get into the tube… there it was..,… message I was hoping to see on whatsapp…. ‘He won’… which led to a very comical impromptu gig on the staircase by me watched by bemused passers by…heck a good win deserves a dance ..at least ! Bonus points to all those who also watched this match to oogle at Boris Becker …teehee

After that I needed a refreshing drink and just as I was settling in the beautiful area  just outside the Guoman, an open air bar  and siping my cocktail gazing up the Tower Bridge was perfect. Chilled Prosecco, Cocktails and Mocktails flowed while we chatted up with the manager who also had dinner with us later .Meeting my friends after Food Blogger Connect was fun and camera lens choices, food photography ,the Wimbledon final results and the stunning view dominated our conversation. Before long the rain decided to play spoil sport and we were ushered inside to our huge table at The Brasserie.

I took the seat the far end of the end but the view from any where inside is just as brilliant , it’s the first time I was so close to the Tower Bridge and you can be guaranteed you will have the best seats in town at The Brasserie with superb views of Butlers wharf thrown in.

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The table was neatly laid out with our special menu for the evening there and fresh bread , warm and just out of the oven with 3 different dips arrived.

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Our rustic bread selection with truffle oil and olive oil.

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To go with our Rustic Bread selection we had the smoked paprika dip – the bright orange one and my fav of the 3, one with chives in the middle and a plain one which I found a tad too salty.

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I choose to have the Grilled Vegetable and Goat Cheese Tart to start off my meal with – it sounded very appetising – Tomato olive salsa,balsamic reduction,pine nut,sekura cress – hummm yes please.

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The thin crisp  pastry base was not one bit soggy or eggy, the grilled Manchego cheese ( a cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the manchega breed) tasted great in combination with summery veggies like asparagus and grilled peppers and the salsa was very good ,I loved the taste of the olives and hints of fennel, the cress made the whole dish so fresh not just to look at but to taste too.

The Head chef Kamaldeep Singh (left) and his colleague decided to take us through the process of how the new menu was created , the origin of ingredients and basically make us hungry for more!

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Madeleine seated next to me choose the other option as her first course :Peppercorn Cured Beef Carpaccio – Manchego cheese , home cured tomatoes,charred artichokes,mizuna and micro cress. I was avoiding red meat that so was very happy to photograph her dish and ask how it tasted but equally satisfied with my light tart.

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The carpaccio was hammered thin and artichokes placed over – it looked great, to find out in her Madeleine’s own words what she thought of her dish go check out  her review here.Very happy with my first course, I expected the second course to deliver and impress me a bit more. Must say my Pan-Fried Fillet of Sea Bass served with diver scallop,caper crushed potatoes,mixed bean salsa and ‘sauce vierge’  did not fail to do so. It looked amazing and I had to photograph it from various angles – we food bloggers!

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But  this was simply delicious and worthy of praise for more reasons than one – made using farmed sea bass responsibly sourced scallops, a lighter than most sauces that usually accompany a fish main the scallop sat one a delicious pea puree and cream base.

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The mixed bean salsa tasted great with the morish caper crushed potato, the cress balancing off the dish in a subtle way.Nayna my vegetarian food blogger friend chose to have the Spinach and Ricotta Raviolli made with heirloom tomato salsa and served with freshly made basil cream sauce , to read her views go onto her blog here.Our first wine of the evening accompanied the first course , Vidal sauvignon blanc from New Zealand , aromas of gooseberry, passionfruit and guava lead into a palate that exudes tropical and passion fruit flavours.

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After that very satisfying sea food dish ,we moved onto the next course , I stayed away from red meat again and the Garden pea,mint and pecorino cheese risotto was fabulous for me , I love my rice and many a times I really need some to complete my meal and make it me feel full, maybe a psychological thing but coming from the coastal side of western India ,fish curry and rice is our most staple everyday far.One of the staff members asked me where I was from and when I said Mumbai, pat came the next question which I was sort of expecting – was the sea bass as good as the Pomfret, well no! For me pomfret is the king of  all fishes on this planet – but its a matter of what taste one has grown up with and our method of cooking is also so very different. But yes Sea Bass , Salmon and Basa are my favorite buys,best eaten fresh on the day of purchase ,hate frozen fish,tastes muddy and weird in curries especially.

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The  pecorino cheese added a subtle tangy taste to this very morish and filling risotto, its easy to get this dish so wrong because often the seemingly easier to make dishes are the toughest to produce to perfection . I am a great fan of the risotto that my elder sister hubby makes , he is a trained chef but now a very busy and senior marketing head honcho so it’s very rarely that we meet and even more rarely that I get to eat the risotto he makes. Ah sweet nostalgic family moments, only truly good food can bring on such an attack for me.. 🙂

By now the light had really faded and my risotto photo and all that follow look terrible!

I must admit Madeleine was very kind and allowed me to have a taste of burnt celeriac which I loved with some of the calvados sauce I scooped it off her plate with from her Confit of Gloucestershire Pork Belly. She enjoyed  my cheesy risotto too.

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The 14 hour low heat cooked pork belly looked so very appetising, the burnt celeriac adding to the earthiness of this dish,the cinnamon compliments the pork  and the savoy cabbage and compressed apple give it a tart almost tangy twist on the side. This was washed down with several glasses of a full bodied Chilean Merlot – Errazuriz , almost opulent with notes of berry and cassis fruit.

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It’s at this point that I slipped into blissful food coma and saw this beautiful rainbow emerge right in front of my eyes… the photo does no justice to the what we actually saw…

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That is us at the table – L- R – Bintu who blogs at Recipes from a pantry, Nicki who blogs at Baking Beardy,seated opposite her is Fiona who writes an award-winning blog – London Unattached,Nayna – who blogs at  Simply Sensational Food her other blog is Citrus ,Spice and all things Nice, and the lovely Madeline who blogs at Kitchen Journeys and documents heart healthy recipes at From the Healthy Heart.

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Was too full by now and the dessert platter served with a large shot of margarita in shot glass lined by sugar , managed to cut the sweet taste that was bound to settle on the palate after cheesecake ,a panna cotta that failed to impress because I was expecting the usual wobble and a refreshing pista flavoured ice cream  – my fav from the selection.

As we strolled out for an impromptu photo session and gazed happily at the beautiful Tower Bridge,I couldn’t help but wonder that though the exterior of  the Tower Guoman leaves one wanting the view of two world Heritage Sites – Tower Bridge and the Tower of London certainly makes up for it!A massive refurbishment project is on the cards too.A few more plus points include a convenient location within easy reach of the financial district, Canary Wharf, the Excel Centre, London City Airport, historic Greenwich, the West End and Westfield Shopping Centre. Also the newly launched menu at The Brasserie definitely warrants a visit. The menu is bold and one where the chefs have really gone the extra mile to hope that if they try ambitiously to achieve the Zero Mile Ingredient mark and grow their own herbs fresh on the terrace garden which is to come alive very soon!

The staff was very polite, genuinely attentive and ensured we had a great evening.

*With  thanks to The Tower Guoman for the invitation. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review . All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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Verde and Company Ltd, London – Review

What I love most about London is the abundance of quaint cafe’s , no matter which part of the city you choose to wander around in, you are certain to stumble into at least one really pretty ,local cafe that is just begging you to walk in and have a cuppa and that tempting slice of cake or two 🙂

On one sunny and wonderful afternoon last year my two foodie buddies S and N decided to wander the streets around Spitalfields after a glorious lunch at DISHOOM- Shoreditch (review to follow soon!), after a browse through the many pretty shops around we had to rest our tired feet and there it was Cafe Verde with these beautiful wicker baskets hanging on the walls outside calling us in, our feet automatically moved towards the place – honest!

The first thing I noticed when we were inside was this brilliant display of bottled jam jars and a bust with a backlight , it looked so divine…

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Everything about this tiny cafe was warm and welcoming including the polite staff at the counter.I couldn’t stop taking pictures at this cute cafe with some really stunning displays!

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The optimum utilisation of ever nook and cranny of this compact little cafe is really impressive

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We did manage to curb our desire for more cake but it was very difficult – I mean just look at that cake !

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We pretended that we were on holiday in Paris and posed outside the cafe for pictures…errmm no way ..am not sharing those pictures 😉

If you are around Spitalfields for work or pleasure and need time to recharge your batteries then THIS is the place !

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MASALA ZONE ,SOHO,London

The word ”authethtic” has never felt so apt as when I use it to describe the offerings from Masala Zone. I am a frequent visitor to this place and it all started with my very first visit 2 years ago.New to London, needless to say terribly homesick , my husband decided to treat me to some delicious Indian cuisine. He couldn’t have chosen a better place.

The instant I walked it , I was greeted by a beautiful idol of the elephant headed Lord Ganesha and a massive urn decorated with floating flowers.The walls an earthy brown with delicate warli paintings all over.A welcome sight and instantly made me feel at home:)

I love Indian street foods,so gorging on CHAATS was in order.A masala Coke is lovely with the chaats and I can rarely stop at one masala coke. We went A’ la carte and got some spicy dal (lentil curry) and plain rice to go with it,closest in comparison to, my favourite comfort food which is varan bhaath- meaning simple yellow moong dal with ghee and steaming boiled rice!

Image below is of Sev Puri- thats small fired crunchy puris topped with mashed potato mix spiced with finely chopped tomatoes,sev which is the fine yellow crisp gram vermicelli,green mango bits and a tangy tamrind chutney with some finely chopped coriander sprinkled all over.

Image above is fried onion fritterr called Bhajiya in Hindi – thin slices of onion coated with gram flour mixed with spices and deep fried served with green chutney and tangy tamrind chutney.

In the image above there’s 2 plates of Ragda Pattice and a plate of Dahi Puri in between- Absolute CHAATilicious !Ragda Pattice is fried potato patty served with a gravy made from dried white peas cooked in a thick garvy and spiced with many different flavours topped off with various chutneys and sev. Dahi Puri is made by stuffing the puffed puris with a mix of mashed potatoes,sprouts,chutneys,sev and adding dollops of flavoured curd over it.Great for those who want to try a chaat dish and still avoid anything too spicy as the curd soothes your palate.

Last month we had a lot of friends and family visit us from India and U.S.A, all craving to have ”authentic” Indian food. All the edible looking snaps I have taken with my new Samsung Galaxy sIII are taken over several dinners.

Highly  recommended are the tasty and varied  ”Regular thalis” (mixed platter with a lentils,vegetable preparation of the day,another mix vegetable,some fried papad, rotis or rice as you choose,a sweet mango chutney, a green chutney and the main curry dish that you choose from the veg or non veg menu)which are quite filling and satisfy any cravings one has of either sea food,lamb,chicken or just good old plain veggie fare. Down it with some Mango Lassi and you are well on your way  to food heaven. One has to choose the gravy dish from their menu to go with a thali or their choice, I love Roghan Josh – a spicy lamb curry and both chicken gravys one with a coconut gravy and the other spicier and packs a real punch.The staff are quite helpfull, friendly and will explain each item in your thali once it arrives which is great considering the many tourists who come here.

If your planning an early dinner , a beer or wine with some chaat dish or fried  pakodas is apt.

If you want to go the whole hog, the dessert not to be missed is a serving of GulabJamun with Ice cream topped with pistachios.A perfectly sweet end to a meal fit for a king.

As their website says,it’s the place to go to for ”seductive Indian desserts”,”Sophistcated Indian Grills” and really wholesome Thali’s.

Masala Zone has 8 outlets in London, the one at SOHO,also the only one I have visited several times.

The service at this branch is prompt and most times it’s crowded especially on weekend evenings,if you are going in a big group to this particular branch, it makes sense to book yourselves a table.It’s a short walk from Oxford Circus tube station off the lively Carnaby Street area.

To check out Masala Zone‘s website click on the hyperlink.

Cheers!

 

 

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