Friday, March 29, 2013

Foodilic - Brighton

I ventured back home for Easter and met up with a few friends in Brighton. After a long day of shopping for a housewarming present we decided to rest and fuel up on food.

What I love about Brighton is that the choice in food is fantastic and varied like London, only in Brighton everything is so close together and my strong choices are often there in one spot. My friends and I decided on Foodilic, as the food in the window looked fantastic and there were so many vegetarian options for a buffet (one of my friends is a veggie). When we entered the restaurant it was a bit crazy, the buffet is in the corner near the door so there is a line of people queuing up crowding the front. As we walked through to get seated the tables were so close together and we were led upstairs which was a bit more spacious.

The queue for the food took ages (this place was so busy) and I had to strategically keep moving in and out between people whilst waiting, as the tables were cramped together. When I finally arrived at the buffet corner I was quite impressed and forgot about my queuing woes. There were two meat selections (beef and chicken) and a great range of colourful vegetarian dishes, which is perfect for healthy eaters or if you are vegan. I would describe the food as fresh, new, inventive and super tasty and the best bit is that you can keep coming back for more. 

I would highly recommend Foodilic, if you can get over the how cramped the restaurant can be. It was nice to eat at a restaurant where food is prepared with care and they make an effort to present it beautifully on the buffet spread. For £6.45 I thought it was great value for a delicious buffet and totally understand why this place is so popular. 

Tried to put everything on my plate
This was so sweet and did not taste nice at all

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Coal Grill and Bar

I do love eating a good hearty burger especially when its topped with crispy onion rings and dressed with a tangy relish. The Coal burger at Coal Grill and Bar delivered this and hit the spot on a hungry Saturday afternoon. The restaurant was modern with real coal embedded into the walls and I loved the open kitchen where you could see each chef in their designated areas.

The restaurant attracted crowds of all ages and was so busy, the downside of this was that it took quite a while for our food to be plated up and served. When it did though the dishes were well presented, although I thought the Firesticks meal (Coal's signature dish) was a bit over the top. They served the vegetables on a hot plate and the meat on two long metal skewers in which the waiter pulled the meat off onto the vegetables. I thought this was a bit unnecessary and took a lot of table space. My Coal beef burger was topped with bacon, lettuce, Swiss cheese, tomato, onion rings and spicy relish accompanied with chips in a cute little metal basket and coleslaw, all for £10.25 which I thought was reasonable. The downside was that my beef burger was a bit dry, I should have really asked for it to be cooked medium-rare.

My boyfriend chose the Piri Piri marinated half chicken, which was tasty and better than Nandos in my opinion. The chicken was juicy and the Piri Piri sauce had a lovely kick to it. It was a good meal altogether apart from the wait for our food and that my apple juice had the metal seal from the juice box at the bottom of my glass. 
Coal beef burger with chips and coleslaw (terrible photo)
Piri piri chicken with coleslaw and chips

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Little Wu - London Chinatown

Out of all the buffet places in London I think I pulled the unlucky straw and went to the worst one. My boyfriend and I chose this place because from the outside it looked clean, price looked reasonable and being busy is never a bad sign.

Inside there were bain-maries lined up along the window and the seating arrangements was like Wagamamas (long tables and benches). I didn't mind sitting close to the person next to me, but the tables hadn't been wiped properly and there was still pieces of food dotted around our place mat, not only this but our cutlery was missing until we asked the waiter. 

The choices available in the buffet were pretty much your predictable dishes like spare ribs, spring rolls, prawn on toast and chow mein. There were probably only 4 dishes which weren't fried, for example I expected the chicken skewers to be grilled but they tasted like they had been deep fried and seeped out oil when I pressed my fork against the chicken. I found the food either greasy or too salty and the quality of the food was just poor. I also thought it was a bit cheeky of them to add a service charge of 12.5%, as it was a buffet and the service was terrible in general. To add more salt to the wound, after we left my stomach did not feel great and I was sick when I arrived home. I'll never eat at Little Wu again and it has put me off at low cost buffets in Chinatown.

Prawn on toast, chow mein, satay sauce
Spring rolls, chicken skewers and bit of rice
Buffet selection 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

See Sushi

I stumbled across this little gem by accident on Google as I was searching for a place which sold chicken gyozas. When I saw See Sushi on Google map I realised that it was round the corner from where I lived and after looking at the website the food looked too good to miss.

I went on a Saturday evening and the restaurant was quiet, I suppose this place thrives more during the week where people are in and out of the office and not to mention that its also tucked away behind busy Praed Street. The restaurant was big, modern and very clean, we were seated next to the radiator which was perfect for me as I was freezing from the cold outside.

We ordered the chicken teriyaki and unagi bento boxes, which came with miso soup, salad, vegetable gyozas and kabocha koroke (pumpkin croquette) and we ordered chicken gyozas as a side. The bento box was larger than I had expected, the unagi was tender and was marinated in a yummy fruity sauce. The vegetable gyozas weren't too greasy and I loved the kabocha koroke, it was my first time trying it and I loved the pumpkin filling and crunchy breadcrumb coat. The only downside of my meal was the dressing on the salad, it was salty and I'm not sure if it was soy sauce that was used. 

However overall we were impressed with our mains so decided to have dessert which was banana fritta with a choice of ice cream (I chose black sesame). The actual fritta didn't have the crispy batter, which was a bit disappointing but I loved the ice cream and orange sauce, it all went so well together.

I really enjoyed See Sushi and ended up sitting there for about three hours chatting away, it was really quiet which I appreciated. The prices of the bento boxes were decent and I plan on coming here again but to try their sushi dishes instead.

Clean and modern inside
Miso soup - camera was blurry as the lighting was dim
Chicken teriyaki bento
Chicken gyozas
Unagi bento
Banana fritta with black sesame ice cream

See Sushi on Urbanspoon

Asian style afternoon tea

I got treated out today for being someone's girlfriend for two years. At first when my boyfriend said he was taking me out for afternoon tea my initial reaction was "Ooo tea, scones and cupcakes" but in actual fact he was taking me to an Asian inspired oriental afternoon tea at the Grand Imperial next to Victoria Station. When we stepped inside the restaurant it was so elegant and grand with its high ceilings, long draped curtains and a beautiful centre piece full of purple orchids.

Once we were seated we were provided with a choice of champagne or tea, we decided on the non alcoholic drinks and went for Jasmine and Oolong tea. Throughout our meal the waiters were so attentive and kept topping up our drinks, without us barely noticing them.

The Grand Imperial Afternoon Tea consisted of:
- Prawn and spinach dumpling, deep fried black cod roll, crispy chicken bun
- Crispy duck salad, mixed vegetable lettuce wrap
- Oven baked egg tart, mango and sago cream

This set us back £20 for two people with a discretionary service charge of 12.5%, which I thought was reasonable. The food wasn't heavy on the belly and filled me up right until dinner time. My favourite dish on the menu was the prawn and spinach dumpling, it was soft on the outside and the filling just melted in your mouth. I should have ordered extra on the side. The mango and sago cream was also equally as impressive, it was fresh and just finished the meal perfectly. I would recommend the afternoon tea at the Grand Imperial, for me next time I would love to try the dinner or lunch menu and see if it meets the same standard.

Me grinning with food happiness
Large white teapots
Prawn and spinach dumpling, deep fried black cod roll, crispy chicken bun
Crispy duck salad, mixed vegetable lettuce wrap
Oven baked egg tart, mango and sago cream
Inside the Grand Imperial

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Leon Restaurant

I apologise in advance that I don't have photos from my experience at Leon Restaurant, but hopefully you will get the gist of what I think from my blog. From what I understand the concept at Leon is trying to promote healthy eating using natural ingredients sourced from trusted farms. I have seen this chain gradually pop up all over London and my friend who I was dining with recommended it. At first when I entered I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be a restaurant or a take away until the waitress gave us the option. Thankfully we chose to sit in as the menu board confused me at first glance.

The restaurant menu was much more simplified than the large billboard above the order counter, I chose the Leon Meatball Burger - 100% beef meatballs, pickle, garlic yoghurt and Leon-made tomato sauce with Leon Baked Fries. The meal was ok, I thought the burger was quite small, probably the size of my palm and was really messy to eat. It was served on a small board wrapped in paper. The "baked" fries were average, I wouldn't have advertised it as baked but fried and again the portion was quite small for what you paid for. Another negative was that the male and female toilets were all in one, I am not a big fan of mixed sex toilets but that's my preference. On a good note what I did like about Leon was that you could see straight into the kitchen, it was clean, tidy and exactly how I would expect a restaurant kitchen to look like.

Would I come here again? Probably not as the place didn't really excite me and neither did the menu have anything worth coming back for.