Friday, December 5, 2014

Banh Mi Bay

Being Vietnamese I'm usually quite picky when it comes to dining out at Oriental restaurants but I read a lot of positive reviews from Banh Mi Bay just off Chancery Lane and thought it looked too good to miss.

The restaurant looks really cute from the outside with its bright blue paint job, reminded me of a bakery. The inside is decorated with wooden furnishings and is smaller than I thought. The menu is written on a blackboard above the kitchen, which you can scan as you wait for a table.

I love Vietnamese food, the herbs and ingredients use are so aromatic and fresh. I chose the shredded caramel pork banh mi, which is a baguette filled with pickled carrot and mooli, cucumber, coriander and fresh chilli. You can then choose between wholemeal, white French baguettes or home-made Vietnamese baguettes, I obviously went for the latter. The banh mi was really filling and I didn't feel guilty eating it as it was stuffed well with fresh vegetables.

Shredded caramel pork banh mi
We also ordered banh xeo, which is a Vietnamese pancake made with rice flour filled with seafood and pork and some summer rolls. I forgot which one we actually ordered but it was delicious, I loved dipping it into the fish sauce. The banh xeo really hit the spot, it's one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes and Banh Mi Bay got it right. I really liked it.

Banh xeo and summer rolls

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bibimbap Soho

It's been a long time since my last blog post, life has been crazy and then I went on holiday for three weeks which didn't help. I'm looking through my photos and boy do I have a big backlog to fill. 

So to start a couple weeks ago my friend and I stopped off at Bibimbap for dinner after a long day shopping and woo they do a great Korean bibimbap. Prior to visiting I read countless reviews on Bibimbap so naturally had high expectations for this eatery. The interior is modern and in your face, there’s no subtlety with the bright green paintwork and bold read writing on the walls. Stuck on the main wall are polaroid photos of many happy customers, which I thought was different.

The menu is simple and very affordable. We chose the pork and vegetable mandoo, which is fried pork and vegetable dumplings served with a chilli, garlic, seasame soy sauce. This was delicious and set the standard for the rest of the meal in which I chose the spicy pork bibimbap with a raw egg.

They say the best way to eat Bibimbap is to mix it as much as you can and this is certainly what I did with my chopsticks. The stone pot was burning hot, which made the egg cook quickly and combined everything together. You do need to keep mixing until you finish as the food is constantly cooking and you don't want the rice to harden. 

One of my irks and this doesn't only apply to Bibimbap but a lot of oriental restaurants in London is use the cheap wooden chopsticks. I hate these and I think food would taste a lot better if they used proper plastic or metal chopsticks. Other than that, the food and service was great, I'd definitely be happy to come back and try other dishes. 

Spicy pork bibimbap
My spicy pork mashup

Bibimbap Soho on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Adesso - Richmond

It was a beautiful sunny day in London so my friend and I decided to venture out of the city and into Richmond. We went for a long stroll through the park where we saw deers and slowly built up quite an appetite by the time we got back into town.
Richmond is not short of restaurants and pubs, but we wanted to eat at a non-chain and settled on Adesso (an Italian restaurant actually run by Italians). What won it for us was the outdoor seating and the cured meat hanging from the celings.
Garlic bread
The staff were absolutely lovely, really attentive and helpful. My friend and I shared the garlic bread, which looked like a mini pizza. It was light and crispy, the perfect appetiser as it didn't bloat us.
For my main I chose the Rigatoni Siciliana, which was Rigatoni pasta with homemade Sicilian sausage with courgettes and a light pistachio cream sauce.The sauce was to die for, it was creamy, had nice flavours and wasn't too thin. The Sicilian sausage had a peppery kick to it and it was good to see they weren't stingy on quantity. My only negative was that some of the pasta could have been boiled for a few minutes longer, I found some parts a bit hard.
I don't think I'd come back here again, Adesso didn't really give me the wow factor and I'm sure Richmond has a lot of better restaurants to offer.
Rigatoni Etna
Adesso on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dotori - Finsbury Park

There is only one reason why I'd be near Finsbury Park and that's to go see Arsenal play. Usually I stop off at one of those hog dog vans on the walk towards the Emirates Stadium, who charge a premium price for a bit of meat and bread but after reading so many positive reviews on UrbanSpoon about Dotori, I thought this place was a must visit.

As recommended on many of the reviews, I booked a table and I was really grateful that I did. The restaurant got so busy and if there was an empty space there would be a reserved sign on the table. My impression is that Dotori is run by a family, as we arrived dot on 12pm and they were all seated around a table eating their lunch.

Restaurant before the influx of hungry people
One thing I didn't know was that their sushi chef doesn't arrive until around 1pm on Saturdays and we couldn't afford to wait until then as the Arsenal match started shortly after. I was bit disappointed about this as I had really looked forward to trying out their sushi dishes. Despite this there were a lot of other dishes I wanted to try, such as the spicy pork bbq. This was dished up on a sizzling hot plate with lettuce and soy paste. The meal was really good, the meat was tender and had a hot spice to it, but lacking on the lettuce to meat ratio, I think there should have been more lettuce to eat with it.

If I remember correctly my friend had the pork tonkotsu, it was a big slab of breadcrumbed pork on a bed of rice. Great value for money.

Dotori is a restaurant I would highly recommend and is defintiely one of London's cheap eats. If you want to make sure you get a seat then do book in advanced as the tables fill up quickly.

Laminated sushi menu
Spicy pork bbq with lettuce
Pork tonkotsu
Dotori on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 25, 2014


It's not very often I dine at higher end restaurants so when my friend suggested eating at Christopher's in Covent Gardens, I couldn't wait to try it especially after reading about their beef steaks.

The restaurant is located in a populous theatre zone so I'd imagine a lot of the clientèle are people wanting to eat prior to seeing a show. When we arrived our jackets and bags were offered to be taken to a cloakroom and then we were led up an interesting looking staircase to the restaurant. I got excited looking at the photos of the dining room before coming but when I saw it with my own eyes I was just taken aback. The room was so grand with large windows stretching from the floor to the ceiling and mirrors at every angle making it larger than life.

A selection of warm bread and butter was bought to the table, which we quickly tucked into. I had built quite an appetite since leaving work and couldn't wait to get to the main. The menu offers a good selection of dishes and it was the steak and lobster page which drew in my attention. They offer steaks bred from cattle in the US, Scotland and Australia and for some dishes would have to fork out quite a bit. I chose the 6oz prime rump, where all their prime steaks are minimum 30-day aged from Black Angus Cattle and parmesan truffle fries as a side. 

At first glance I thought the steak was tiny, like the size of my clenched fist, I expected it to be larger especially for the price I paid. Although I'm sure any dietician would probably tell me that was the correct portion for someone my size. To compliment my steak I chose Bernaise sauce, which was delicious, it was buttery, creamy and went with my medium rare cooked steak like a match made in heaven.

The parmesan truffle fries were tasty, but I expected better from a place like this.

I was so close to not ordering dessert but am extremely grateful that I changed my mind because it was the highlight of my meal. It looked incredible and tasted even better. The plate was made up of chocolate fudge brownie with warm chocolate sauce, New York cheesecake, peach Melba, pecan pie topped with salted caramel ice cream and key lime pie. Every single spoonful of dessert made my worries disappear. The peach Melba was the star of the show for me, I didn't expect to like it but when I dug through the layers of sweet confectionery it was just heavenly. 

I thought the meal and service at Christopher's was great. I think a little more could have been given for the price we paid but nonetheless, I left a happy consumer. In hindsight I left Christopher's very full, so the steak was definitely a good size for me. 

Christopher's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Mighty Meat Market

I heard and read so much about Meat Market, Meat Mission etc from friends, collegues, almost everyone path I've crossed in London and today I finally visited this burger joint to see what all the commotion was about.

Out of the three Meat chains I visited Meat Market, located on Tavistock Street. When I walked towards the entrance I felt like i was walking into an abandoned school from Silent Hill. As i led my friends up the stairs there were double doors, opening into a dark hallway. It wasn't until we turned and could see bright signs and funky music coming from the restaurant. We made it to Meat Market.

As you walk through the entrance the menu is written up on the wall, you then place your order at the till then wait for your name to be called out. I felt almost too old to be here, the place was full of trendy youngsters.

Looking across Meat Market

I decided to go for the Dead Hippie burger, which was two mustard-fried beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and minced onion with chilli cheese fries on the side. Oh my, it was so tasty, why did I leave it two years before coming here. The burger bun was soft and the beef patties were juicy, cooked to how I like it; medium rare. I devoured the burger and did not feel guilty in the slightest in how calorific that was.
The chilli cheese fries were really good too, the fries were still crunchy even with the chilli smothered on top. I could taste the heat from the jalepenos, making my tongue salivate but that couldn't stop me from eating it. I left Meat Market absolutely stuffed after overdosing on meat.
The only negative I have and seems like I'm not the only one who thinks this, is that I thought the burger portion could be a bit bigger. Judging from the rest of the food they serve, everything else is.
Dead hippie burger with chilli cheese fries
Medium rare beef patties

Despite the trendy kids everywhere, Meat Market has a really fun atmostphere. It's a great place for a casual meal with friends, it's so casual in fact that it reminded me of being in a Hawker centre. I loved the decoration and the staff were great, they kept walking around the tables cleaning and tidying up empty trays.

  MEATmarket on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Lime Orange

I know the area around Victoria station pretty well as it's my gateway to heading down south to visit my family, and in all the years I've been in the area I've never noticed Lime Orange. It wasn't until the other day when my sister came up to London and craved sushi, so I Googled sushi restaurants around Victoria, and Lime Orange a Korean/ Japanese restaurant cropped up in the search results.

The restaurant was quiet when we arrived and we chose the table right next to the window. My sister sat down eager to order sushi to then be told by the waiter that their sushi chef had gone on holiday this week and was off the menu. The look on my sister's face was priceless, just her luck. The waiter did offer to check with their current chef if he could make some, but my sister didn't want to make a fuss and chose something else instead.

We ordered to share the beef bibimbap served in a hot stone pot with rice, vegetables, egg yolk and miso soup on the side and the pork bulgogi from their barbecue grill. The pork was incredible, it had been marinated in a sweet and spicy chilli sauce and was so tender. We had lettuce as a side and wrapped the pork inside and dipped it into the soy paste. Divine. Reminded me of being back at my mum's as we eat like this a lot and wrap things with lettuce.

The bibimbap was good too, we stirred all the beef into the rice and veg with a bit of soy paste. It all came perfectly together and tasted great. My sister who had never eaten Korean food before loved it.

By the time we finished up our food the restaurant was packed with people waiting for a table outside. I instantly thought we made a good choice by dining here and not choosing somewhere in Victoria station where is crammed with food chains. The price was reasonable with the bill coming to around £22. I would recommend Lime Orange, its definitely got my taste buds wanting more Korean food.

Pork bulgogi
Beef bibimbap
Our spread of Korean yummy goodness

Lime Orange on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 4, 2014

Death by pork broth

As a kid in a Vietnamese household we always used to have a cupboard stocked up with instant Demae ramen noodles. I grew up thinking ramen was a fancy pot noodle until I started eating out a lot more and realised it's a warm bowl of noodle-y deliciousness soaked in animal broth.

Today I visited Bone Daddies after reading so many positive reviews, I tried not to let that influence my opinion of the restaurant, but to be honest the food spoke for itself. When we arrived there was no queue and were promptly seated. I didn't expect Bone Daddies to be so casual and cramped. You could be sharing a table with 5/6 other people in close proximity, so if you're looking for an intimate meal with friends, then this is not the place to go.

Table spread
On every table was an assortment of well thought out things such as a garlic crusher, sesame seeds, soy sauce, hair bands to prevent your hair dipping into your food and bibs to take the hit for any splashed broth. I thought it was great. 

Branded bib
For starters I had the soft shell crab, the batter was light and crispy but it was the spicy green chilli and ginger sauce, which knocked it out of the park for me. It had a strong kick of chilli and the perfect balance of ginger and lime to neutralise it. I really want the recipe for that.

Soft shell crab with delicious green chilli and ginger sauce
My choice of ramen was the tonkotsu with spring onion, chashu pork served in 20 hour pork bone broth. The broth was to die for, to be brewing for 20 hours you could taste the rich, creamy flavour and there was a good noodle to broth ratio. Nothing worse than having loads of broth with no noodles to compliment it or vice versa. There was plenty of toppings served with the ramen including the soft boiled egg with the gooey yolk. There was nothing I did not like about this dish.

Well presented tonkotsu
My friend went for the spicy miso ramen, which was very good but I preferred the spicy ramen in Shoryu(Karaka Tantan Tonkotsu). Had bit more body and spice to it.

Spicy miso ramen
Overall I really liked Bone Daddies, the atmosphere is so laid back and chilled. You can tell they use high quality ingredients and put a lot of effort and perfection into making the broth. I thought our bill was on the pricer side, especially as they add a service charge of 12.5%. For a ramen place I don't think that's quite right as the turnaround is quite quick so staff don't really need to give you much attention.

Bone Daddies on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ed's Easy Diner

I like the concept of American diners as I feel it reels me back into the 70s and at Ed's Easy Diner everything from the chequered floor, jukebox, neon lights and high red stools at the counter made me feel like I was in a scene from Grease. Just needed the T-Birds to jump out. 

This was my second time at Ed's Easy Diner, the first time I came it was in the Soho branch and we sat and ate at the counter. This time we chose seats outside under the canopy, which shares the same space as YoSushi.

The menu has everything you'd expect from an American diner from soda floats to chilli fries and hot dogs. I chose Ed'uardo's Fiesta burger topped with American cheese, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream and spicy salsa. You have the option to order the burger on its own or Ed's plate which includes fries, onion rings and coleslaw. My friend had the bbq pulled pork hot dog topped with melted cheese. This was so tasty, the bun was soft and the pulled pork had a really nice sweet taste to it. I also had the Oreo milkshake, which I think is better than the one served at TGI Fridays. It tasted like it was made from Oreos and you could distinctly taste it in comparison to TGIs. 

Ed's Easy Diner has great service, good food and a fun atmosphere. So if you're not worried about your waistline or calorie counting then I'd recommend giving this place a try.

Ed'duardo's fiesta
De-luxe pulled pork dog

Ed's Easy Diner on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I came here with my brother who made a rare visit to London and his friends. He was recommended Shoryu as he loves Japanese food, especially ramen since he recently came back from Japan. 

My first impression of Shoryu is that it's a modern Japanese ramen restaurant that has been well decorated. I loved the draped split cloth outside and the hanging lanterns. When we walked in we didn't have to wait long until we were seated and ordered the soft shell crab tempura and Hakata Tetsunabe Gyozas. 

I liked how the gyozas were served in a skillet and piping hot. These were tasty and well seasoned. For my main I had the signature dish Ganso Tonkotsu ramen which was yummy and the portion size is pretty big. Every ramen dish is topped with nitamago egg, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion, sesame, ginger, nori & mayu (caramelised black garlic oil). I loved the egg, it had a soft texture and a gluey centre of yolk yumminess. 

My friend ordered the Kirin frozen beer which had an ice cold froth on top, this was tasty and like nothing I've had before. It was kind of like a beer flavoured slushie. Perfect drink on a warm summers day.

I enjoyed the food and the style of how every dish was presented at Shoryu, everything was eye candy. 

Ramen bars have recently been cropping up all over London and it's not like I wouldn't come here again, I think I just want to try out other restaurants of a similar kind.

Shoryu Soho on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 20, 2014

Football World Cup-cakes

I walked past Lola's Cupcakes in Selfridges and these baked goods caught my eye. The colours were so vibrant on each and every cupcake, I really wanted to dip my finger into the icing. I hope they taste better than they look. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Gourmet Pizza Company - Southbank

This was my second visit to the Gourmet Pizza Company on Gabriel's Wharf and I loved the food just as much as I did the first time. The restaurant is one of two, where the other is located in Winchester, so I can't speak for that one but this pizzeria impresses me. It sits next to right next to the Thames and has outdoor seating where you can people watch and view the beautiful St Paul's cathedral across the river. 

Today was a glorious sunny day so my friend and I made the most of it by dining outside. I have such a terrible habit in people watching but I could also see passer bys ogling at our pizzas. The pizza I chose was generously topped with chunky pieces of Cajun chicken, crispy bacon and creamy goat's cheese on a crispy base, it was just delicious. The pizza is a good size and I'm glad it's not any larger as I would not be able to resist eating it all. Gourmet Pizza Company is so far one of my top places to eat pizza in London and I'm just so glad its only a few minutes walk from where I work.

Cajun chicken, bacon and goat's cheese
Along with the great food, the service was good, their staff very attentive and friendly. I would recommend Gourmet Pizza Company, its a few more minutes walk away from the cluster of restaurant chains from Waterloo Bridge but well worth it. You will also get to see the city of London's high rise skyline as you walk towards the pizzeria.

Gourmet Pizza on Urbanspoon