Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sen Nin - Isnlington

Now days when I feel like I'm on a budget there are so many websites which offer 50% off meals or special deals where food is heavily discounted. My boyfriend bought us a voucher for Teppanyaki-Style Japanese dining for two at Sen Nin with two strawberry margaritas. 

The voucher was sold to us as “Enjoy dinner and a show as a feast of Japanese food is prepared before your eyes at the newly re-launched Teppanyaki restaurant Sen Nin. Their theatrical and skilled chefs will astound you with their skills as they whirl, juggle, flip and flame raw ingredients into stunning dishes at the Islington restaurant”

Upon arriving at the restaurant we were seated on a table very close to the entrance of the restaurant. We asked the waitress whether it was our permanent table for the night or whether we would be moved to a different location for the "Teppanyaki" experience. The waitress replied saying ‘our restaurant was refurbished around 2 months ago, unfortunately since then we do not offer a Teppanyaki experience’. Both our jaws just dropped, we had bought the voucher with the intention to see the chefs throw food in the air and wow us with a Teppanyaki show. We were left disappointed and the voucher had been mis-sold to us, if we had known we would have gone elsewhere.

This aside, the food was actually quite good. To start we had the miso soup and spicy seafood soup. 

Our second choice was the Dragon roll which was delicious and presented beautifully. It was a tempura prawn rolled up in rice served with unagi and decorated with spring onion and a drizzle of teriyaki sauce.

I chose the Wagyu beef cooked medium rare served with mushrooms and chive. The beef was juicy and succulent but I didn't really think this dish was Japanese. 

It was the same for the lobster, it was presented and cooked perfectly but this dish could have been easily served to me in a French restaurant and I wouldn't have known.

We had a disappointing start to the meal after not meeting our first expectation and then the food being classed as Japanese but not. Nonetheless despite my opinion of it not being Japanese the food was a good standard but I wouldn't come to Sen Nin again as our experience has been tainted by the lack of Teppanyaki effort and has left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Sen Nin Japanese Teppanyaki on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 25, 2013

Konditor and Cook

So its Friday and my manager has yet again spoiled us with a delectable cake from Konditor and Cook. I guess this is a perk from working in the Gkerkin, you have an amazing bakery below, which produces incredible homemade cakes. To name a few I've tried the Curly Wurly cake, Victoria Sponge, a peach tart, toffee and apple crumble and more. 

As soon as the cake is put in front of me, its usually devoured before I'm able to take a photo. However, today I managed to suppress my eager to immediately gorge on the cake with my bare hands and take a few photos. Not sure if my amateur snaps do it justice, but I had to show you.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Penang! - Westfield Shepherds Bush

One of my favourite things about Westfield (Shepherds Bush) is the ample of selection of restaurants dotted around the shopping centre. My usual go to spot is the "hawker centre" area inside Westfield, but today my friend and I decided on dining out on the Southern Terrace. The restaurant which stuck out most was Penang! with its bright, bold, blue exterior. 

The menu is inspired by Malaysian street food where the name say it all. Penang! The king of street food across the states of Malaysia.

I recently went to Penang back in April and and can say that the food here is not 100% authentic, but nonetheless I thought it tasted good. The menu has a selection of little dishes where you can choose several things to share, similarly like tapas and also larger meals for one. 

My friend and I ordered prawn crackers, steamed bun sandwich, which was filled with duck, hoisin sauce and a lot of spring onion. The duck was full of flavour but I couldn't taste any hoisin sauce, which I love. We also tried the Sayur curry puff served with mango chutney. From first glance I thought the pastry would be dry, thick and make my mouth taste of cotton wool, but I was wrong. The pastry crumbled in my mouth and had more filling than I had anticipated. I was definitely pleased with this choice.

For my main I chose the Kari Kambang, which was described as a classic Malaysian curry, rich and beautifully aromatic. It was certainly flavoursome with large chunky pieces of lamb and had a kick of spice, which left my tongue salivating. However my only displeasure (quite a big one for me) was that it was really oily to a point where I could see my reflection. From the photo below you can see how much oil there was in the curry, no matter how much I stirred it within a few seconds the oil would rise to the top and form a layer. This was quite off putting.

I also ordered roti parata to eat with the curry and for £1.50 I thought it was expensive. They should have at least provided you with two pieces. The roti itself was not the usual type you would have in an Indian restaurant, this one was crispy and flaky but I did enjoy it.

Overall I had a good dining experience at Penang!. The food tasted good and the service was great. Some dishes were debatable to be just Malaysian, to me I would have called it fusion. I understand that are Malaysian dishes on the menu but it just didn't give me the same buzz as real street food in Penang did or reminded me of it.

Penang! on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 18, 2013

Poncho 8 burritos

There are far to many places to eat lunch around the Gherkin. From cafes, take-outs and fast food chains that are squished into every corner of the city. I recently passed by Poncho 8 a small shop that makes fresh burritos and decided to try it for the first time. It reminded me of Subway with its "production line" of burrito making. 

The menu is simple, self explanatory and is broken down into four sections, which you read from right to left and pick what ingredient you want from each. I chose tomato rice, refried beans, chicken, cheese, sour cream and lettuce all wrapped up into a warm tortilla goodness. As I paid for my meal the shop assistance asked if I wanted a free bag of nachos and chilli sauce, as it was coming towards the end of the day and they couldn't keep it over the weekend. I was pretty happy with my freebies.

The burrito was very filling but tasted a bit too salty for my liking. For £4.99 it was a decent price for lunch, especially with my complimentary nachos. So if you want to try something different from the common Pret a Manger, Itsu and EAT then I would recommend Poncho 8.

Chicken burrito, nacho and medium chilli sauce

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

La Sophia - Notting Hill

Its not usual to find a Mediterranean Halal restaurant, but I came across La Sophia when researching restaurants and took my best friend here for her birthday. Our dinner choice came from the seasonal a la carte menu and did not displease. 

The food was presented beautifully and at first glance the portions looked small, but this was deceiving as I was stuffed halfway through eating my main course.

Aubergine mille-feuille , grilled hallomui, chilli, tomato concasse and pecan 

I chose rabbit for my main as this was an uncommon meat choice on restaurant menus and I had never tried it before. It was really good and the pomegranate tabouli and saffron couscous complimented it perfectly. 

Pan-fried marinated rabbit, ras el hanout, caramelised onions, garlic, herbs pomegranate tabouli & saffron couscous 
My best friend chose the chicken dish and it just burst with flavour, the truffle sauce was amazing.
Pan fried free range chicken breast, garlic, artichoke, potato gratin & truffle sauce
Delcious dessert to top off a great meal. The fondant was warm and gooey and I really should have stopped eating after main. But after such an impressive starter and main course I could not resist ordering something sweet.

Warm chocolate fondant & vanilla ice cream
La Sophia on Urbanspoon