There’s a German Food revolution happening in London and it’s called Berlin brünch

The Berlin brünch a new German food based brunch roams around London’s quirkiest venues and this August has two super-cool venues, which will certainly get the party started on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The Berlin – Bread Brunch Booze vibes will be in full flow as each venue offers a quirky and fun atmosphere while enjoying a proper Sunday Berlin-style brunch with all the trimmings. brünch has stumbled upon two as yet undiscovered London insider gems – Playground & Proof in London Fields and converted garage venue in Peckham.

Quirky venues around London

Quirky venues around London

On Sunday 16 August Berlin brünch will be hosting a bottomless Berlin-style brunch at ‘Playground & Proof’, an amazing new rooftop venue above London Fields’ Railway Arches. Experience a little bit of Berlin overlooking London Fields. Indulge in generous Berlin-style brunch with fantastic cocktails, hard-to-come-by drinks straight from Germany and some hot Berlin tunes from a local live DJ. And if the Saturday night hangover is hard to shift then we’ve got bottomless Volcano Coffee Works coffee and unlimited fresh bread from E5 Bakehouse to kick start your Sunday.

This isn’t all! If you can’t make the 16th August, don’t despair – they’ve got a second event in late August, just before Berlin brunch goes on holiday in September.

On Sunday 23rd of August, South of the River to take you to The NINES – a new hidden Peckham den. brünch has a one-day residency in a converted garage bar behind the Bussey Building, in the heart of Peckham. The area is known for music, theatre, film, anime, art and comedy – almost feels like home for brünch. Head down on Sunday 23 for a long lazy Sunday brünch and Berlin vibes in Peckham.

“Every time I see people’s reactions as they enter the venue I know why I am doing what I am doing. It is such a buzz to share our passion with people that love Berlin and great food. We’ve been very lucky and are excited about hosting more quirky and eclectic pop-ups in the months to come.” commented Noemi Dulischewski, creative founder of brünch.Berlin Brunch founder

Each of the weekends will have two sittings from 11.30am until 1.30pm and then 2.30pm onwards for those who want to carry on their day with more drinks and chilled music for a perfect mellow Sunday. Tickets are just £24 via brünch. A taste of Berlin that’s not to be missed. Tickets are limited and to book please go to: http://www.bruench.com
Food Menu
● Selection of fine German cold meats and cheeses
● Smoked Mackerel Pâté
● brünch signature Amaranth & Chia Granola with German Quark
● Topless Eggs with Remoulade
● Home-made Jams & Nutella
● Typical German Dessert
● Fresh Berliner Waffles
● Unlimited fresh Sourdough from E5 Bakehouse *supplier change per venue
● Bottomless filter coffee from Volcano Coffee works * supplier change per venue

Drinks Menu* (not included in the ticket price)

The drinks menu, includes some of Berlin’s coolest drinks, which are hard to find
anywhere else in London
(Club Mate, fritz-kola, Berliner Weisse, etc.).
And if you like it boozy, the bar will sort you out with the best Bloody Mary and other brünch specials.
There will also be unlimited coffee and a variety of teas & juices available.

Every Berlin brünch includes locally-sourced cheeses, German meats, smoked fish, fresh fruit, home-made Granola with quark, fresh breads, home-made jams, Nutella, typical German desserts & fresh waffles. As well as much-loved Berlin drinks such as Club Mate, fritz-kola, Berliner Weisse and sometimes surprise guest drinks too – from Germany of course! Noemi is also turning her hand to being a music promoter creating a platform for some talented new DJs, that put on some awesome tunes to compliment the Berlin vibe at brünch. brünch also hosts and caters for parties and other tailored events, bringing together the best of Germany’s drinks, food & music scene.
Brunch time menu

Secret Food Tours of London.. Brings London’s History of Food and Culture into one Melting Pot

I recently spent a Saturday afternoon on a Secret Food Tour around London Bridge and Borough market area, not just any foodie tour but a secret one complete with a history of London, the spots we visited and an affable guide.

Secret Food Tour - Bermondsey

The Secret Food Tours company offers tours around London, Paris and Rome with plans I learnt to also expand to Madrid later this year. The London tour has two secret food tours, Traditional British food tour around London Bridge and Indian Food tour around the East End of London. It has a clever approach of using local guides whom know the various traders and restaurateurs and insider knowledge that proves really helpful when you’re limited on time and want to see the best each city has to offer, but in the most painless way.

On tour with visitors

I’ve been on several ‘foodie tours’ in my time around Bangkok and New York City and they were good but what I personally enjoyed about this insight into Borough market was the in-depth knowledge from the guide and the history and details he told us with each stop. I was also impressed that he gave us a few extra tips and facts along the way and spent I suspect a little more time with us.

We kicked off the tour with some traditional fish and chips at the famous Fish Kitchen and tasted some beer battered haddock and generous portion of chips with homemade tartare sauce .. soo good. We then had a little tour around Bermondsey market at various coffee and chocolate specialist shops, which all looked very tempting before we stopped at a local fruit and vegetable producer to taste some succulent strawberries.

Our Tour Master - OlliOyster Time

Then it’s onto an amazing oyster tasting with a secret ingredient and fire show .. ok well almost a fire show as the Spanish server very nonchalently throws around a blowtorch to heat and burn off the secret ingredient of cheese and a pesto looking mixture, while having a conversation in very fast Spanish .. it’s quite a skill and I’m suitably impressed. After the show we then each try to devour our oyster as delicately as possible, it’s tasty but I still wince as i struggle slightly with oysters.. am I bad?!

Oyster time

Oyster time

arrggghhh

Moving swiftly on we have a bit of a history lesson about the buildings, and cobbled lanes around the market area as we walk over towards London Bridge and The Golden Hind and Sir Francis Drake’s defeat of the Spanish
Armada. Oliver our guide explains that the next stop is a surprise and we’re simply not going to guess where or what the building was in its hay day.

One of the final stops on this tour is a former stables underneath the arches of London Bridge in a very cool pub that the next time I have people to stay in London will definitely take advantage of. Oliver has arranged for us to have a cider and cheese and fig tart tasting.. quite an unusual combination as it goes, but as he starts to explain the reasons behind choosing the cider over beer it all become crystal clear.. well almost. The cheese board is a generous mix or cheeses such as English Stiltons, Stinking Bishop Cheese Caerphily cheese and a Yarg cheese along with a fig cake that went really well with the light summer cider.

For the final chapter of this epic afternoon we headed to the river for some fabulous views and the most important dish of the today pudding and lots of it.. Traditional English puddings with stolen recipes by the French and the best eton mess i’ve had in a long time, was certainly a highlight for me and not to missed along with a cup of English breakfast tea and a history of tea lesson from our guide.

Pretty colours in umbrellasDessert time ..

All in all not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon learning more about London and getting to eat and drink along the way.

Tours can be booked directly at

Price per person per tour is £60.00 and takes approximately 3-3.5 hours to complete the tour along with plenty of insider knowledge and history about the area as you walk around.

Meringue and Mandarin double cream

Your recipe Against Hunger Ibérica launches Tapas recipe competition for Action Against Hunger

Competition: 25 November – 8 January 2014

Final: 19 January 2015 | Tickets: £35

Authentic Spanish restaurant Ibérica is raising awareness and funds for humanitarian charity Action Against Hunger, by offering consumers the opportunity to have their very own tapas recipe included on Ibérica’s menu. The winner of the recipe competition will also jet off to Asturias, Spain, where they will visit Ibérica’s Executive Head Chef Nacho Manzano’s two Michelin starred Casa Marcial.

Calling All Budding Chefs

Foodies are invited to submit their own Spanish tapas recipe via Ibérica’s website. All entries must be received by 8 January 2015, with the five best recipes shortlisted and announced on 9 January 2015. The finalists will be invited to attend exclusive 1-on-1 masterclasses with Ibérica’s Group Head Chef César García, to develop their dishes and ensure that they can be rolled out in a restaurant kitchen. Competition entry page: http://www.ibericarestaurants.com/recipe-club/send-recipe/

Bellota Jamon slicing. An art form

Bellota Jamon slicing. An art form

The Tapas Showdown

On 19 January Ibérica Canary Wharf will host the competition finale, in which the 5 finalists will present their dishes to an impressive panel of judges: The London Evening Standard’s Comment Editor and wine critic Andrew Neather, Olive magazine Editor Christine Hayes, the founder of 3 Michelin starred DiverXO and casual dining StreetXO David Muñoz and Ibérica’s Executive Head Chef Nacho Manzano, who has two Michelin Stars for Casa Marcial and one Michelin Star for La Salgar, to his name.

Squid ink gnocchi with atlantic prawns, clams and samphire

Squid ink gnocchi with atlantic prawns, clams and samphire

Consumers will be invited to attend the event and be a part of the judging process, as they sample the final 5 dishes, along with a selection of Ibérica’s signature dishes, alongside the judges. There’ll also be a drinks reception and a raffle, with all money raised going to Action Against Hunger.

Tickets cost £35 and can be purchased at: https://endhunger.actionagainsthunger.org.uk/pages/2015-ibericas-recipe-against-hunger

1st Prize: The winning dish will feature as a special on Ibérica’s menu from 15 February – 15 April 2015 and will be available at Ibérica Marylebone, Ibérica Farringdon and Ibérica Canary Wharf.

For the ultimate culinary experience, the winner will also fly to Asturias and visit Nacho Manzano’s two Michelin starred restaurant Cassia Marcial. They’ll also receive £300 to spend at Ibérica and the chance to record a professional video for Ibérica’s Recipe Club.

2nd Prize: £300 to spend at Ibérica and a private meal for friends and family cooked by César García at the finalist’s home.

3rd Prize: £300 to spend at Ibérica Restaurants.

 A Worthy Cause

One pound from the proceeds of each winning dish sold will be donated to help support Action Against Hunger’s lifesaving projects. Ibérica is proud to be partnering such a commendable cause, with the charity working to end world hunger.

 

www.ibericalondon.co.uk

http://www.actionagainsthunger.org.uk

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.

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.

http://www.balthazarlondon.com

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.

http://www.rhodes24.co.uk

Images to follow

Restaurant Review: Mele e Pere, Soho Trattoria

46 Brewer Street, London W1 (020 7096 2096). Meal for two, including wine and service, £120

Soho’s family run Meleepere on Brewer Street, is an eclectic Italian trattoria, which has a charming rustic character yet contemporary and inviting feel to the restaurant.

MeleePere, Brewer Street

MeleePere, Brewer Street

Downstairs bar

Downstairs bar

Mele e Pere meaning “apples and pears” is an unusual name for a restaurant, but given today’s crowded West End restaurant market, it gives it some stand out. Upstairs is a trendy Italian café bar vibe, while in the basement restaurant there is a more vibrant café restaurant feel with marble topped bar and beautiful copper coned shaped sinks (worth a peek just for the loos).

Restaurant

Main Restaurant

The Head chef, is Andrea Mantovani, previously head chef at Arbutus, also in Soho. His dishes offer good Italian seasonal fare, with a few surprises along the way, which may appeal. The service and staff is good and they have adequate knowledge of the dishes and how the menu works, although less so on the accompanying wines.

The menu starts with a recommended 3-4 ‘sharing plates’ but they are certainly generous portions, so if you intend to also have a pasta dish I’d actually recommend 1-2 plates. We chose two dishes Vitello tonnato (£4.50) and a smoked tuna carpaccio, fennel and orange (£6.50). I was expecting to be wowed by the carpaccio and while it was good, it didn’t wow and I wasn’t fan of the veal dish, but this perhaps could be from a presentation position as the plates needed to be larger to show the food better.

Sharing Plates

Smoked tuna carpaccio, fennel and orange

Vitello tonnato

Vitello tonnato

The drinks menu has a good selection of indigenous Italian wines and to accompany our sharing starter plates we were recommended a 2012 Est!Est!Est! Lazio white, glass (£4.50) which was new to the wine list, but slightly acidic. We fared better with the main course and accompanying red wine, a superb Iuli (Nino) Pinot Nero, carafe (£25.00) with a lovely depth of character and richness which went brilliantly with the Parmesan risotto with Emilia Romagna truffle,(£9.50, £18.00) Squid ink gnocchi with atlantic prawns, clams and samphire (£8, £15.50).

Iuli (Nino) Pinot Nero, Monferrato

Iuli (Nino) Pinot Nero, Monferrato

Parmesan risotto with emilia romagna truffle

Parmesan risotto with emilia romagna truffle

Squid ink gnocchi with atlantic prawns, clams and samphire

Squid ink gnocchi with atlantic prawns, clams and samphire

We stayed with the same wine to wash down  the main course of 28 day-aged surrey farm rib-eye steak with Barolo sauce (£19.00) and were not disappointed with the coupling on our  palates. For dessert I was hard pressed to find space but pushed forward and went for a scrumptious homemade raspberry tart with lemon sorbet (£6) and extra scoops of homemade pistachio and honey-comb ice-cream (£2.50). My companion complaining she couldn’t even look at the desserts suddenly came back to life when the dish arrived and elbowed me out of the way after one mouthful! Rude!! That’ll be two portions next time then.

Raspberry tart, and lemon sorbet

Raspberry tart, and lemon sorbet

For a great working lunch or date night I thoroughly enjoyed Meleepere restaurant and would recommend as a great option when exposed to the plethora of Soho options. I’ll certainly be back soon for a plate of the risotto and scoop of honey-comb ice- cream delicious times.

http://www.meleepere.co.uk/