Brand New Festival Lets People Taste Over 20 Brixton Restaurants & Pop-ups for a whole day


An exciting day-long food and drink festival is coming to South London this autumn, on Sunday 26 October, to celebrate the delicious tastes and cultural delights of Brixton. Brixton Flavours – Brixton’s Food Festival, will bring together locals, Londoners and tourists alike to enjoy and revel in the warm atmosphere and diversity that is making Brixton a world renowned food and cultural destination. The headline sponsor for the event is OpenTable, the UK’s leading online restaurant bookings service.


With so many fantastic restaurants, bars and eateries to choose from, Brixton Flavours allows customers to taste as much as possible in one day. Brixton Flavours tickets can be purchased from as little as £15 with lots of extras. Ticket holders will get 15 Brixton Pounds (B£) to be spent in any of over 20 participating venues, with diverse cuisines from Brazilian to Mexican, Japanese to Dim Sum, French to Italian and Caribbean to Modern British. As well as OpenTable, the festival will be supported by Brixton Bid and local food blogger Miss South.

Additionally, only ticket holders will get a wristband allowing them to eat free samples and secret dishes at all participating restaurants letting people try new places and get out of their ‘food comfort zone’. There will be a fun filled carnival atmosphere with several local artists playing and adding to the day’s entertainment. Tickets for Brixton Flavours can be bought in advance via the website (and a free Zinco Coconut Water or Alibi drink will be given out on the day to the first 250 people to buy a ticket online).

Oliver Mernick-Levene, Founder, Brixton Flavours commented: ‘I love Brixton and as a local resident and foodie, I was keen to help support the food and cultural scene, to help celebrate its diversity and bring people together over their passion of food, drink and music.”
He continued: “With so many cultures and different people populating the area, here in Brixton, eating and drinking are not just pastimes but a ‘way of life’. As such, the area has some of the best restaurants, bars and eateries in London. There are no lazy taste buds here and with one ticket you can try all the different flavours of Brixton. It’s an exciting day for us and we can’t wait to welcome people to the festival and make Brixton proud.”

The festival will include and cover Brixton Village, Market Row, ColdHarbour Lane, Atlantic Road and Windrush Sq, areas on Sunday 26 October From 11.00am – 7.30pm. It will see a host of new and firm favourite cafes, restaurants and craft shops taking part in this cool and exciting festival. All venues will be offering special discounts and secret new tapas style dishes to visitors and will also be offering delicious free samples to wristband wearers. From the original Brixton set to the newly arrived, the festival will play host to a really special day, which is set to be become an annual food and drink fixture in Londoners diaries.


On the day visitors can also buy wristbands and Brixton Pounds (B£) from strategically located vending kiosks around Brixton Village and Market row and outside The Ritzy Picturehouse, in Windrush Square. Location maps will also be given out and downloadable as a guide to where all of the participating restaurants, venues and music locations will be throughout the day.

Mike Xenakis, Managing Director, OpenTable International, said: “With Brixton now at the epi-centre of the London food scene we’re excited to support this new food festival and the diverse selection of local restaurants that are putting the area firmly on the foodie map. The Brixton Flavours festival is a fantastic way to showcase the evolution of London dining at a local level, encompassing a fun carnival style atmosphere and friendly neighbourhood appeal.”

The restaurants on the day will include: Brindisa, Brixton Village Grill, Carioca, Casa Morita, Courtesan, Duck Egg Café, Etta’s seafood, FGB- Foccacia, Fish Wings & Tings, Ichiban, Jalisco, Kaff, Market House, Lounge Bar, Prince of Wales –POW, Satay Cocktail Bar, Senzala, Snugg, Sponge & Cream, The Ritzy Picturehouse, The Wine Parlour as well as the pop-up stalls, which will be positioned in Windrush Square.

Brindisa - Bellota Jamon slicing. An art form

Brindisa – Bellota Jamon slicing. An art form

Elly Foster, Chair/Non-Executive Director, from Brixton BID, said: “We are proud to be supporting Brixton Flavours festival and welcome people throughout London and further afield to enjoy and taste our wonderful food. Brixton is a Mecca for people who want to try all different cuisines in one area. We see the value in developing and maintaining the ethos and cultural diversity of community projects such as this, which help benefit local businesses and bring further awareness to the area we love and call home.”

A perfect London Summer evening at Angelus Restaurant, Bathhurst Street

My love affair with London continues, there is always a new street to explore or new restaurant to discover and I may have just found one of my favourite restaurants in London in this place. My supper at Angelus restaurant, on Friday was one of those special London evenings; where the company, the food, the ambience and setting all came together to make a perfect summer evening.


Angelus, Thierry Tomasin

Angelus, Thierry Tomasin

Angelus restaurant and bar is tucked away on Bathurst Street in an unassuming but historical part of London, not far from Notting Hill and Lancaster Gate area. We’re immediately greeted by a beautiful young French girl, who asked if we’d like to sit in or out, we opted to start our evening sitting outside on the little terrace and soak up the summer evening and London atmosphere.

A hidden corner of effortless indulgence, the warmth and energy Angelus is renowned for is personified as you enter the restaurant, and meet the fabulous founder Thierry Tomasin, and ex-Gavroche Head Sommelier for 20 years and his staff. Far more than a stunning interior and mouth-watering cuisine, Angelus has become a beloved secret spot in London.

A little bit of history..
Formally a pub and covert meeting place for political figures such as Winston Churchill, Angelus boasts elegant Art-Nouveau interiors which have been cleverly incorporated into the original architecture of this early 19th century building. Named after the Angelus Bell, this “brasserie de luxe” is located in one of London’s last working mews.
My plan for the evening had been not to over indulge or drink as I’m into week 1 of a new training and diet session (my blog – Diary of a WBFF newbie – which is for a challenge I’ve scarily decided to attempt in November. However, the plan went out the window for several reasons, some of which are listed above, A) the menu was simply too tempting to say no to a glass of wine with dinner, and B) the other reason was boy issues.. so I felt I should take some solace in my favourite French cuisine.

Thierry Tomasin, the owner was also convincing with his charming French accent and easy manner, his pitch being a “Salesman of Pleasure” that we girls should be indulged! Not going to argue with that, what an excellent way to twist mine and my companion’s arm.

The Girls on Friday Night

The Girls on Friday Night

Enjoying a glass of Marsanne

Enjoying a glass of Marsanne

The menu is seasonal French cuisine, bistro cooking from the heart and we had the option of choosing from the summer á la carte menu or anything from the brunch menu, there was quite a lot to choose from a mixture of classic French cuisine dishes and specials.

We decided on two entrees from the á la carte menu:
• A divine Light Maroilles Cheese soufflé with walnut crust, fresh endive, sliced green apple and Parmesan consommé
• English Pea and Broad Bean Velouté, with a poached Sussex farm duck egg, with grilled Romanesque cauliflower florets

Veloute with Poached Duck Egg

Veloute with Poached Duck Egg

I like to try slightly different and unusual dishes from time to time for my reviews, it keeps it fresh in my approach and is also a great way to widen the palate and be open to new experiences and tastes. We both opted for fairly light entrée dishes – the Velouté is a light vibrant green which tastes of spring garden vegetables, I carefully broke into the poached egg and it was a lovely bright yellow runny egg, just as it should be. The Cheese Soufflé was divine the small mouthful I tasted with a beautifully balanced and light Parmesan consommé. Thierry attended to us with his passion for food & wine and the restaurant shining through, and I knew we were going to be well looked after. The wine list is superb, with a heavy nod to French wines, but as a French restaurant I would expect nothing less. There are also some good quality new world wines on the list just in case you’re averse. We however, in an effort to be good opted for a glass of wine and Thierry, who was the Head Sommelier at Le Gavroche working under Chef Michel Roux, recommended the Marsanne Viognier, a light white wine with some complexity and minerality and also some floral notes. It was delicious and needless to say we didn’t just have one glass!

Main dishes:
• Seared Monkfish with green olives, shellfish and wild rice with baby fennel
• Roasted whole pigeon D’Anjou with peach and pink pepper puree, and crumbled black pudding

For our main plat we decided to move into the restaurant as it was getting a little chilly and I also wanted to savour and soak up the atmosphere of this lovely restaurant. It was fairly full and we were given a little table for two, not to close to our neighbours, so we were able to relax a little more. The interior has a very French, dare I say Parisian feel to it and it’s absolutely charming. I certainly felt as if I’d been transported to France for the evening and adored the dark wood tables, art deco lights and flooring which added to the ambience.

I chose the fish option of the Monkfish, light, yet meaty and succulent with an array of green and black olives delicately presented over the seared monkfish stuffed with shellfish, perfect for a warm summer evening. We remained on the same white wine as it matched our dishes well, my companion opted for the roasted whole pigeon with a peach and pink pepper puree and black pudding, also very good and a contrast to the fish. Meaty and rare (very rare) well we were practically in France at this point (she could have opted for a light red wine with this meat, but decided to stay on white). Our only suggestion would be to have some more vegetables with the plats or some further vegetable options as side dishes would have been good.

Monsieur Thierry Tomasin, Owner

Monsieur Thierry Tomasin, Owner


The Kitchen Tour next to the Chef's Table

The Kitchen Tour next to the Chef’s Table

With the diet well and truly out of the window and my cheat meal taking on epic proportions, we threw caution to the wind and allowed our host Thierry, to suggest the dessert, which he thought we’d love and he was right!

• A shared plate of Apricot soufflé with apricot homemade apricot and lemon-thyme sorbet, homemade elderflower yoghurt with honeycomb, white chocolate ice-cream and summer berry pavlova with carpaccio of nectarine and strawberry coulis.


"Salesman of Pleasure" Dessert Plate

“Salesman of Pleasure” Dessert Plate

• Glass of Pink Champagne
• White wine – Marsanne Viognier – Domaine de la Cessane, 2012
• Dessert wine – Jurancon, Uruolat – Charles Hours, 2012

Angelus prides itself on an easy gastronomic menu and contemporary approach to the French classics. Its talented kitchen team has created a menu of elegant but unpretentious food that can be enjoyed for any occasion. One of the City’s last remaining secret spots, Thierry’s Gallic passion, combined with award-winning cuisine and a formidable wine list make Angelus a regular treat, to be enjoyed with friends and good company.

This is definitely a firm favourite now for me, and depending on if you want to have a two course lunch or dinner it is has a great variable menu with lunch starting at £22 for two courses in central London, is pretty great and at these standards an exception to the rule.

Dinner a la carte – for two with wine, entrees, plats, dessert was approx. £47.00 per person.

Value rating: Excellent
Atmosphere: Excellent
Food Quality: Excellent

Liverpool’s Stylish Salthouse Charcuteria & Tapas Bar

Salthouse, Menu, Liverpool

Salthouse, Menu, Liverpool

First pit stop of the day, straight off the train from London and I’m in need of sustenance and some good food, after my train journey.. where to go, where to go. Ok so i haven’t done any homework to search out the cool spots to head to in Liverpool and next time will be with planning. My brother and his fiancee and two children (v cute) live up Norff and so I sporadically head Norff from time to time.

This time bad planning as lots going on in London town at the moment, so I literally stop a couple of likely looking stylish Liverpudlians, trust me these people know fashion. It’s actually quite a culture shock from London, as the girls are immaculate, make-up,hair, dressed in all the latest trends and the guys are pretty much the same. i digress. My stylish Liverpudlians, direct me to a restaurant strip just off the main shopping high street, past LiverpoolOne, the shopping centre and recommend me to try ‘Salthouse’ a Charcuteria and Tapas bar for a quick spot of lunch.

Of course this weekend is actually the Golf Open at Holylake, the restaurant is quite packed and I wait for a few minutes, before being seated. The restaurant has two levels, ground and a mezzanine with high ceilings and a New York style feel to it. Exposed overhead heating system gives it an urban city feel, yet the stained glass vertical windows add some warmth to this circular shaped restaurant and bar.

With my training about to kick off I need to be mindful of what is going in mouth..(no gags thank you). It’s about protein, egg whites, good carbs only and veggies.. it’s only for 3 months.. argh!! The menu is looks very tempting and if I was doing a full review I’d definitely be going for some of the fish, scallop and more interesting tapas dishes that they have. There’s a good selection of beers from Estrella beer to lots of Sangria, Spanish wines, Sherry and Cava.

Today, I fancied the sound of the Heritage tomatoes,roasted peppers, fresh basil and capers salad with a chargrilled fillet steak, on a rosti potato and black pudding with peppercorn sauce.

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

Chargrilled Fillet Steak

Chargrilled Fillet Steak

All washed down with one bottle of San Pellgrino, can you see my halo yet.. such willpower resisting a bottle of Estrella and I wasn’t even tempted. Good random recommendation. Thank you Liverppol.

The bill was also very reasonable at 16.75
1 Hanover St, Liverpool, L1 3DW


The Noodle House on Shaftesbury Avenue
The Noodle House on Shaftesbury Avenue

It’s a rainy Monday evening, as I head towards Shaftesbury Avenue’s Cambridge Circus, to the newly opened Noodle House restaurant. Although it’s always hectic with tourists I love this area, it’s vibrant Soho, theatre land and China town make this district buzz even on a dark, wet night. Over the years I’ve found a few favourite restaurants in China town, my Uncle married a girl from Hong Kong, and most Saturday’s she would take me try out a new Dim Sum restaurant.


So with the opening of The Noodle House on Shaftesbury Avenue I was keen to try their new Asian fusion menu, and see what it has to offer Londoner’s. It’s conveniently located close to Leicester Square tube on Shaftesbury Avenue and great for a pre or post theatre supper. It’s also next door to Covent Garden a hip place to hang out afterwards for a few drinks or spot of late night shopping.

the_noodle_house,_london.kitchenTNH Calamari

The restaurant is quite empty when we arrive, but began to fill up as we settled in for the evening. The menu is essentially an Asian fusion menu covering dishes from China with Dim Sum to Thai dishes with the standard staple Chicken Satay, their tagline ‘Flavours of South East Asia.’
The interior is contemporary and stylish, and feels warm with its modern style wooden tables around the edge of the restaurant and a sprinkling of modern booths and open kitchen on the ground level. Downstairs is a hidden gem with an amazing bar area and stylish toilets (design wise I might have the bar upstairs).

The restaurant’s bolthole basement bar which holds a unique drinks list designed by creative Indonesian brothers, and Metro’s Young British Foodie winners, Platterform. Glass jars brimming with the beautiful Damask Rose, Goji Berry, Chrysanthemum, Lychee, Kaffir Lime and White Peony loose teas line the walls around the horseshoe-shaped bar where mixology masters blend, steep and brew them with exotic fruits and spices to create their own range of bespoke syrups and spirits. Apothecary bottles and jars of varying shapes and sizes – Spiced Tea Gin, Lapsang Souchong Rum, Star Anise and Kaffir Lime Gin, contain homemade concoctions that are exclusive to the noodle house. Their signature cocktail, Moonshadow, of Jasmine Lillet Blanc and vodka over frozen Jasmine and Hibiscus tea ice pops, don’t mind if I do!

We start with a shared selection of starters – Har Gou (King Prawn) steamed dumplings, Chicken satay sticks and peanut sauce, unfortunately the chicken sticks were overdone and therefore tough and the dumplings were too doughy we move onto the mains with more hope.

We opt to share again and go for a traditional thai green chicken curry with jasmine rice, steamed seabass wrapped in banana leaf with steamed greens and a mee gerong with prawns, chilli and pak choi.Pleasingly the mains are extremely good, with fresh ingredients and great flavours. The seabass is meaty fresh, no bones and steamed perfectly, with subtle hints of lemongrass and thai flavours. The mee gerong noodles were also very tasty with just the right amount of chilli and lots of succulent King prawns and pak choi. All very good but the piece de resistance was the thai green curry ,filled with marinated tender chicken pieces and aubergine, the curry sauce was moreish, so much so I couldn’t stop going back for one more spoonful.

Steamed Seabass wrapped in banana leaf Steamed Seabass wrapped in banana leaf

TNH Curries<

We also opt for some freshly squeezed juices and jasmine green tea, which are very good and are inspired by ancient teahouses, the restaurant uses a wide variety of hand-picked, single-estate, artisan produced teas, ethically-sourced directly from tea gardens across Asia by LuLin. Black teas, Oolong, Green and White teas, beautiful blooming teas and caffeine-free tisanes are all readily available in a total of 17 blends, seven of which are unique to the noodle house.

The influence of the teas delicate flavours can also be seen in select dishes on the menu as well as in innovative soft drinks and cocktails including the superfood-charged mocktail Dr Taja; a blend of Aloe Vera, ginger, lime, ginseng and oolong tea… I’m in!

I’d recommend this as a great respite during the week for lunch or dinner,the bar is definitely a great asset and worth thinking about for somewhere new to go for drinks as it’s quite funky and fun and service by the staff is good, nicely attentive and thoughtful, which is always appealing and stands out in a fast moving restaurant world
Address: 117 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8AD
Telephone: 0203 725 5777

Canada’s Capital City – Ottawa an undiscovered Culinary and Cultural Haven…

Stepping off the viarail train from Kingston to Ottawa, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Capital of Canada. I had done a little research on each area I was visiting in Ontario, but nothing indepth. Taking a taxi (Blueline taxi service) from the station to The Fairmont Chateau Laurier, I was struck by the beauty of the city, the stunning architecture of the buildings and characteristic French style limestone and cooper roofed buildings was aesthetically pleasing.

The Fairmont -Chateau Laurier

The Fairmont -Chateau Laurier

View from My bedroom Suite

I was lucky enough to be staying at Chateau Laurier in one of their suite’s with a view over the main shopping street area. The hotel is the ‘Grand Dame’ of Canada’s capital city, it is a beautifully elegant and charming hotel with a long and distinguished history of past Presidents and Royalty as its guests. Located in downtown Ottawa next door to the Parliament Buildings, Byward market shopping area and the Rideau Canal which offers miles of bicycle and inline skating paths in the summer and the world’s longest skating rink in the winter. It’s the perfect luxurious treat for a romantic weekend getaway or indulgent girls’ weekend.

Chateau Laurier

Chateau Laurier

Parliament on the hill

Parliament on the hill

Ottawa is easy to navigate around and I took a walking tour courtesy of the Ottawa tourism board to get the ‘local insider’ track on the best things to see and do. We started at Byward market, which is not just a local produce market, it is also home to boutique designer shops, restaurants and bars and is where the local nightlife happens. I was introduced to my first delicious ‘Beavertail’ and devoured it in seconds – it’s a local delicacy of fried pastry with any topping. I went for a classic with lots of cinnamon atop and had to stop by the following day for another one before I left, it was that good.

Beavertails Pastry at Byward Market

Beavertails Pastry at Byward Market

Obama Cookie at Byward Market

Obama Cookie at Byward Market

There are also several noteworthy museums and art galleries; I visited the National Gallery of Canada which is housed in a stunning contemporary building. A light-filled structure of glass and granite, in which visitors can find a cloistered garden courtyard, a glass-bottomed pool, and a reconstructed 19th-century chapel, is well worth the time to visit. My other museum of choice was the National Canadian Museum of Civilization, it currently has an interesting and unique ‘Voodoo exhibition’ ,. Take a 5 minute ferry taxi across the river from Ottawa, or cycle the scenic Voyageurs route if preferred.

Ottawa River and Rideau Canal

Ottawa River and Rideau Canal

Culture done and ticked box, it was naturally time to eat and discover the new and emerging culinary delights of Ottawa. I checked out a local restaurant close to Byward market – Play, Food and Wine on 1 York Street <a href="”>, a contemporary modern, open and friendly ambience in the restaurant, an interior of dark wooden floors and light wood coloured tables worked well. Play,food & wine offers with a good wine list and contemporary fresh modern menu. To start I choose a dish of scallops with snowless cauliflower puree, scallions and a parsley vinagarette, the scallops were cooked to perfection although the scallions slightly overpowered the dish for me. I also choose a Moroccan radish salad with raisins, carrots, white cabbage and harissa spice accompanied with a fruilli white wine.

Restaurant - Play, Food and Wine

Restaurant – Play, Food and Wine

Moroccan Salad

Moroccan Salad

My other restaurant of noteworthy comment was the surprisingly awesome Vegan restaurant – Zen Kitchen – 634 Somerset West Street which is a definite ‘local insider’ knowledge tip. From downtown Ottawa you will need to take a taxi and the Blueline service was the taxi company I used. The restaurant concept is healthy, environmentally sustainable food and produce. I absolutely fell in love with all of the dishes I was served by Executive Chef Kyle Mortimer -Proux, even down to the vegan organic wine, which worked to compliment the different courses. The staff and owner were adorably attentive and I tasted several dishes including: Vegan cheeses, and pickles with hummus and homemade bread, a fine herb gnocchi, with locally farmed ‘Le Coprin mushrooms from Ottawa with a white Chardonnay from Prince Edward county ‘Rosehall Run’. For dessert a trio of vegan desserts of raw chocolate, vanilla swirl cheesecake, a warm chocolate mexican cake with cumin and mexican spices and a peanut butter and chocolate pie (100% vegan and raw).

Ottawa is also well known for its festivals in particular Winterlude, the Tulip Festival and countless other special events, Ottawa is a flurry of activity. Your stay is guaranteed to be a memorable one and its worthwhile using the Ontario Tourism board’s website to research and book your trip, if you plan to also go beyond Ottawa.

Summer or winter, Ottawa is certainly worth a visit from its plethora of good quality restaurants and first class shopping it’s a good alternative to a weekend in NYC and only 7 hours from London Heathrow. It’s a capital city with a relaxed Parisian Cafe culture and laid backed leisurely friendliness, the locals are only to willing to have a chat or help with recommendations on what to see and do.

Zen Kitchen, Deep Fried Locally grown mushrooms

Zen Kitchen, Deep Fried Locally grown mushrooms

Zen Kitchen - Vegan Gnocchi

Zen Kitchen – Vegan Gnocchi

Byward Market - Locally loved, French Patisserie Shop

Byward Market – Locally loved, French Patisserie Shop

Byward Market - Mello's Restaurant

Byward Market – Mello’s Restaurant

Travel details:
Train travel Ottawa from Kingston on Viarail –
Return flights with Air Canada – Ottawa to London –
Ontario Tourism –

Sumptuous Secret Supper Club with Malaysian Chef Norman Musa

A secret supper club is always going to be a cool concept and I love the anticipation of where you’ll be eating and what the dishes will be that evening. I tend to build these type of nights up with schoolgirl excitement, it’s my new take on Christmas now that I know ‘Santa’ won’t be coming down the chimney.

I couldn’t wait to arrive at the location, we were told the night before to meet at Hackney Wick station. Although it’s the other side of London for me, I was hoping it would be worth the slep across town. I know … I’m very lazy and have the Londonite mantra,’that I do not cross London at the weekend’ … however, with the promise of great Malaysian delights it didn’t take much persuasion.

We arrive to be greeted by Chef Norman’s excellent staff and a special little helper one of the staff’s sons, offering us a tray of amuse bouche Malayasian treats, all very cute. The venue is Chef Norman’s private residence when he’s in London and it looks directly out onto the Olympic Park, uber cool.

There were a few different groups of people but everybody takes a seat and we start to mix in together as the first dish of the evening arrives. The menu is extensive with 7 different dishes of Malaysian noodles, the first, dish 1 is a Glass Noodle salad with shredded chicken, chilli, spring onions and soy sauce served cold. It’s completely delicious, so good I’m hard-pressed not to eat more .. but with 6 more dishes to come I’d better pace myself, right?

Ning's Glass Noodles

Ning’s Glass Noodles

Malaysian Celebrity Chef Norman Musa

Malaysian Celebrity Chef Norman Musa

Next the ubiquitous spring rolls, ‘Popiah’ with glass noodles and shitake mushrooms, ok but not amazing, they quickly clear these two appetisers and start to bring the first of the Laksas. The apartment is a huge warehouse style open space – and we can happily watch Chef Norman chop, stir and talk through the dishes to his guests.

Coconut-based curry soup

Coconut-based curry soup

Bihun Goreng Satay with Chicken

Bihun Goreng Satay with Chicken

Dish 3 is a ‘Penang Assam Laksa’ Sour fish-based soup with thick rice noodles, shredded fish, finely sliced vegetables, cucumber, red chillies, pineapple, mint, lettuce and ginger and it’s soo very tasty. I tuck in and conversation stops around the table while we in-hale the delightful flavours. Moving swiftly on the dish gets taken away and dish 4 is placed in front of us, a coconut-based curry ‘Laksa Johor’, with toasted coconut, dried prawns, lemongrass, galangal, spices, vietnamese coriander, cucumber and freshly squeezed lime juice. I’m in food heaven so far.. some of my favourite ingredients in one dish!

My Secret Supper Buddies

My Secret Supper Buddies

Next on the menu dish 5 ‘Char Kuey Teow with Prawns’ this menu really is a marathon of noodles and laksas and I’m still trying to pace myself and not get too full too quickly, as I know the best is still to come. Thick rice noodles wok-fried with soy sauce, chilli sauce, beansprouts and King prawns – delish! I’m beginning to wilt but as dish 6 arrives I get my second wind, at the sight of some devine looking ‘Bihun Goreng Satay with chicken’ served in cool little takeaway boxes. This is a wok fried dish of vermicelli rice noodles cooked with Malay satay paste, egg, vegetables and chicken, a subtle taste with a peanut flavour it’s nice and light. Chef Norman talks us through the dish and the traditional Malayasian cooking style he uses, it’s good to know that he and his team are planning the launch of a new restaurant in London in 2014, Ning London. It will be launching off the back of these secret supper nights in London and their already successful venture in Manchester with Ning Manchester.

Our final Laksa of the evening dish 7 is a ‘Kari Laksa with chicken’ a coconut-based soup with vermicelli noodles, bean curd puffs, beansprouts and chicken. It a challenge but so tasty I just had to have seconds! Thankfully dessert dish 8 was light and cool – a ‘cendol’ which is a delicious sweet iced dessert made with lots of crushed ice in a glass, coconut milk, palm syrup and red beans with a ‘famous’ pandan-flavoured strands of green rice flour. Ah.. The End.

Cendol Iced Pandon Dessert

Cendol Iced Pandon Dessert

It’s all good and we roll home to South London with my girls – dreaming of the new Ning London and our next Laksa.

See You at ‘See Sushi’ in Paddington

It’s a busy mid week lunchtime when I arrive at See Sushi in Paddington this week . I had been keen to try this restaurant out for sometime, tucked away in Paddington within a lovely Piazza style square, complete with pretty water feature to look out onto.

Tatiki Tuna Tartare

Tatiki Tuna Tartare

Sushi is one of my all time favourite cuisines and if I could I would probably only live on a diet of Sushi and Dim Sum, the flavours and subtle tastes in these dishes are always delicious. I was anticipating some of my favourite dishes for this review and was not disappointed with the Maguro Tuna Tatiki dish and chicken gyoza all very tasty. I particularly enjoyed the sake infused Carpaccio of Salmon and Tuna, which were all very good quality ingredients and could be enjoyed as several small plates for lunch not just as appetisers as it suggests on the menu. The fish is all responsibly sourced from around the UK and Scottish waters, also good to know.

For the main we had a mixture of sushi dishes and a main of Black Cod with Miso, which was absolutely fantastic and large – at £15.50 it’s not cheap but for London, it’s also not the most expensive and between two is do-able!

Now I am willing to try quite a few new and unusual things and would say I’m quite an adventurous and inquisitive diner – but ‘Eel’ has always been a turn off even the though of it.. No no no… oh go on then.

With my in for a penny in for a pound motto I pushed myself to try the Maki Dragon roll with tempura prawn.. the dreaded eel, which was grilled, avocado.. it was surprisingly good. So good I might actually be tempted to order it next time.

See Sushi - Maki Dragon Rolls

See Sushi – Maki Dragon Rolls

I know I was in danger of over ordering but I couldn’t resist the Maki Spider rolls as well, always a standard favourite and they didn’t disappoint. We drank green tea and water, as it was lunchtime – but I think these dishes in my humble opinion call for some warm sake personally.

See Sushi - Spider Rolls

See Sushi – Spider Rolls

Overall I think this is a great little restaurant with high quality freshly made Sashimi and Sushi dishes, the Chefs are all Japanese as our most of the wait staff, always a good sign and they seem to genuinely care about the food. If you’re looking for a mid-week dinner or lunch option or even stranded waiting for a train at Paddington Station, bear this in mind next time you are in Paddington and want to avoid the hustle and bustle of tourists and the high street.

New kid on the Covent Garden block – Balthazar restaurant

Balthazar Restaurant, 4-6 Russell Street, London, WC2E 7BN – £60 per head (incl service).

Fresh off the boat from New York City is French restaurant Balthazar in Covent Garden, nestled in the heart of the bustling piazza and tourist central. It has long been a staple of downtown NYC, but was fast becoming a tourist destination to be avoided with hip New Yorkers. Let’s hope this won’t be the case with the London offering.

We can’t get a table until 9.30pm, on arrival this place is absolutely buzzing and still relatively packed three hours later, but then it’s new and even the celebs are keen to get in on the act. We spot Dexter Fletcher aka Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel, Guy Ricthie film and know we were probably lucky as mere mortals to get a table on a Saturday night!

The restaurant reminds me of  ‘La Coupole’ in Paris and  has a smart Parisienne cafe/ restaurant style to it, with beautiful mirrored walls, traditional dark wood tables and chairs and red leather banquette seating. There is a fresh seafood bar with everything from razor clams to scallops and lobster.  The menu has some tasty options and we decide on a traditional prawn cocktail with King prawns and an endive salad with lardons and poached egg. Not to be difficult but the poached egg arrives firmly cooked, I don’t think I’ve ever had a hard boiled poached egg so after a slightly embarrassing would you mind taking this back at £10 a plate I felt I could ask for this. A new salad and new poached egg arrives and it was very good, with the perfect French dressing, lardons and crunchy croutons – vive la France!

The wine list for an establishment such as Balthazar is extensive from the very expensive to the well priced and I liked that I wasn’t about to be fleeced – house wine starts at £4.50 per glass which for central London is a bargain. We chose the cheaper bottle of Touraine Allion at £25 a bottle, it was average and I wondered if we had opted for the £33 bottle of Touraine if it would have been slightly less acidic.

There is also a good choice of mains and something for every discerning palate, from confit of duck to fillet steak and many fish choices. After my recent disappointing spaghetti lobster I decided to try this dish again and it proved to be a  delight, with a lobster bisque sauce, fresh lobster meat and tail and al dente spaghetti, it was delicious. My dining companion chose a whole Dorade (seabass) and a side of spinach which was perfectly cooked.

For dessert I was tempted to my favourite creme brulee or tart tatin with butterscotch sauce, but had the chocolate profiteroles with freshly made choux pastry buns, filled with vanilla ice-cream and lashings of warm chocolate sauce, extremely good, but nothing replaces fresh cream with this classic dish in my opinion.

I enjoyed the buzz of the restaurant, the servers were extremely caring and friendly, which always adds to the appeal of a restaurant especially for central London. We also weren’t rushed or told we had a two hour time limit another bonus, I would recommend you go there with at least 4 people as this seemed to allow for more elbow room. We were slightly squished into our table with a table of four directly to our left and a table of two to our right, who could have listened and probably joined in our conversation if they had wanted.

Panoramic views from Tower 42 – Rhodes Twenty Four

Tower 42 | 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ, England (London Bridge) £80 per head (incl service)

Gary Rhodes’ restaurant, Rhodes Twenty Four loacted on the 24th floor of tower 42 in the City of London. It was a restaurant I had been anticipating many great things from, from the food and wine to the panoramic views.

Luckily we had a fantastic table with fabulous views over the city overlooking the Gherkin and Canary Wharf, it certainly set the tone for a memorable evening, even though there was no sign of Gary.

The British menu held lots of tempting and exciting choices, with a good selection of fish and meat main dishes and very good wine list – slightly too tempting and after my Burgundy days I had to reign myself in slightly.

My dining companions opted for fish and meat so a well matched white for the fish and light red for the meat and summer weather was required. With the help of the sommelier we chose a Burgundy, Saint Veran – a light, crisp white with supreb minerality and slight buttery taste and for the meat eaters a Beaujoulais Village, light with some body for the duck and beef dishes.

As complimentary amuse bouche we had a broad bean and mint green jelly with truffle oil, which although tiny all jokes aside was a little mouthful of heaven. For my starter I decided on the scallops with mashed potatoes which were cooked to perfection with a beautiful jus. I thought however, that the mashed potatoes while designed in a stylish conical shape was slightly too heavy for a summer menu and I would have preferred something lighter with the scallops. The Saint Veran however, was the perfect accompaniment and I would recommend this for most light fish dishes and even meaty fish as the acidity and minerality adds a clean and pleasing taste to each mouthful.

For the main I couldn’t resist the fillet of British beef with garlic and parsley potato dumplings, snails and beetroot, cep mushrooms and red wine sauce and you guessed it I requested medium rare, which was rarer than at The Brigade but again not as rare as I would have liked. The meat was superb in quality and the red wine sauce worked very well with the beaujoulais village wine.

My companions chose the roasted monkfish in black olive emulsion, British seaweed,wilted greens and asparagus risotto and the pan fried sea trout with tempura scallops, oyster mushrooms, sweetcorn puree and tarrgon butter sauce, all delcious and cooked to perfection.

It was actually so good that nobody could manage dessert, but we were pleased to see some rather yummy looking petit fours of carrot cake, chocolate flakes with fresh cream and rice jellies.

For a special night cap and digestif we headed to Vertigo bar with some views of Tower bridge and the river and a cheeky bottle of bottles.. well it would be rude not to right.

For a special evening or impressive date venue it’s worth the price tag, but you can also look at special deals with toptable and timeout.

Images to follow

No ordinary restaurant – The Brigade, Fire Station, Tooley Street

Meal for two: £50 per head including wine (excl service).

The Brigade on Tooley Street, London Bridge, is buzzing when we arrive – there’s a busy bar area with city workers and diners waiting to be seated. We’re greeted straightaway by a waitress who seats us in the open plan restaurant, which is a contemporary modern offering and open plan kitchen area.

The Brigade is not just a restaurant it also has private dining rooms, a cookery school upstairs and a wine club. And it doesn’t stop there they are working together with the ‘Beyond Food Foundation’ and ‘Babcock International’ to make a difference to young people who have been at risk or have experienced homelessness are offered an opportunity to take part in a unique apprenticeship programme called United Kitchen.

The Brigade restaurant

The Brigade restaurant

The food concept is seasonal British produce and the menu lists the best produce for the month, which is a nice touch from sesaonal vegetables to seasonal fish.

The wine list is excellent at The Brigade with a wide selection of some lovely new and old world wines and fun cocktails and ales.  We started with a glass of  Rias-Baixas Bodegas Castro Martin Albarino matched to a salad of  spiced seared tuna and a glass of New Zealand, Spa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc with the Wiltshire Venison Carpaccio with truffle oil and aged winchester cheese.

The spiced seared tuna salad whilst perfectly seared and fairly tasty lacked the wow factor of the Venison carpaccio, but perhaps I’m being slightly bias as I can’t get enough or truffle oil recently which is rocking my taste buds world.

For the main my companion chose a roasted monkfish with parmesan gnocchi and glass of rioja rosada and I chose the seared British beef fillet and glass of Argentinian Catena Malbec. The British beef was excellent quality but I had requested it medium rare and it was closer to medium, while disappointing it’s not unusal for British restaurants; so for my next steak in the UK I’ll be requesting rare and see if that works!

What I particularly loved about The Brigade is there charity concept working with people on the apprenticeship programme and making an concrete contribution to people struggling in the UK, it’s refreshing and great to see, may other restaurants folow their lead.

Overall the meal was excellent and is in a convenient spot for weekday post work drinks or dinner and even a good reliable weekend choice if you have visitors.