Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mestizo - Warren Street

If you want real authentic Mexican food then I would highly recommend Mestizo. It's a bit more expensive than your average"Tex-Mex" but worth it. When it comes to Mexican food people tend to think of the out of the box Old El Paso meals, but at Mestizo you need to be open minded and understand that Old El Paso meals does not represent real Mexican food. Mestizo cook with native ingredients like mole and have a great selection of traditional dishes on the menu from different regions in Mexico.

For starters we had the:
- Chicken with chilli strips and mushrooms tamales - green tomatillo, onion, garlic, jalapeƱo chilli, green pepper, thyme and coriander cooked with chicken and chicken broth. Placed in the corn meal in a banana leaf and steamed for 1½ hours. 
- Chicken mole tamales - tomato, traditional mole paste (the one with chocolate) and shredded chicken breast added to a corn meal in a corn husk, then quickly steamed.

Both starters tasted better than they looked. I've eaten food before that has been wrapped in banana leaf and it always has that distinct flavour, which makes everything taste the same.

Tamales unwrapped
For my main I had the house special ‘Mestizo’ - the restaurant's famous dish. You can choose between beef, chicken or a vegetarian option as the main ingredient. My friend and I went for chicken, which was served in a sizzling stone pig-faced bowl with cheese, chorizo, spring onions, coriander and avocado. This was delicious and I would recommend this dish to anyone who visits Mestizo. I loved how the sauce was continuously bubbling as we tucked in, infusing the flavours in front of our very eyes. With each spoon we lifted out of the bowl you could see the melted cheese hanging off the spoon. 

I loved the pig head on the stone bowl
I greatly enjoyed my meal at Mestizo, the restaurant is modern and the service was great. The waiter was very attentive and always checked if we enjoyed the meal and kept topping up our complimentary nachos. 

Mestizo on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 27, 2014

I Caruso - Rome

I would highly recommend I Caruso gelateria in Rome. It was just incredible, the best I tried out there.

Vanilla and pistachio gelato

Sunday, January 26, 2014

China Buffet - London

After a few drinks my friends and I wandered through London's Chinatown in search for a place to relieve our appetite. My last food experience in Chinatown wasn't great as I got an upset stomach from eating at Little Wu's and told myself that I wouldn't eat at another Chinese buffet restaurant for a while. Unfortunately hunger got the best of us along with the majority vote and we made a decision on China Buffet.

All I can say is that with a cheap price comes cheap quality food and terrible service. I really didn't like it here. The moment we stepped in we were taken upstairs and seated in a dark corner with the air con blowing cold air on us. The restaurant had low lighting probably to mask the terrible decor, the menu was sticky and for a Chinese restaurant there were no chopsticks on the table. Disappointed. 

The buffet selection was average with similar choices to other restaurants around, only it was bland and greasier. The food was shining off my plate. One thing is that it didn't give me an upset tummy, but in turn probably clogged my arteries with oil. I would not recommend China Buffet and would avoid coming here again. I also really despise how buffet restaurants enforce a service charge when you go get your own food. Terrible.

My plate of grease

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Potty about Potli - Hammersmith

After spending the morning shopping at Westfield Shepherd's Bush I grew quite a large appetite and was really looking forward to pigging out at Potli. For some crazy reason I decided to walk it from Westfield down to Hammersmith then along King Street to the restaurant, this actually felt like it took forever. When I arrived at 14.45 I saw a sign, which said it closes at 3pm and reopens later. For a second my heart sank until the waiter kindly greeted us and said we were welcome to stay and eat as long as the starter and main could be served at the same time. This was fine with me.

I chose the aloo papri chaat, which is spiced potatoes and savoury fritters laced with date, tamarind relish, mint and coriander chutney, whipped yoghurt, topped with crispy vermicelli and the lamb coconut fry(a house speciality). The aloo papri chaat was not the best I've had but still very tasty. Each mouthful was a blend of tangy, sweet and spicy flavours, which ended with a crunch. The lamb coconut fry was delicious, it was hot, fiery and made my nose run but I couldn't stop eating it with my with garlic and coriander smothered naan. 

Potli really does deliver on big authentic Indian flavours and fuse some incredible tasting spices. The portions are quite big and for a very reasonable price. I was really happy with my meal and understand why this restaurant has such high praise on review websites. 

Lamb Hara Masala with chickpeas, naan, rice and salad
Aloo papri chaat, lamb coconut fry, Tawa fish
Garlic and coriander naan bread

Potli - An Indian Market Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Okawari - Ealing Broadway

Okawari was a consolation prize as we initially planned on eating elsewhere until we found out the restaurant had closed down and was turning into Bill's. But nonetheless Okawari managed to fill the empty hole in my stomach with its Una-Don and for my boyfriend who chose Bento box E with pork tonkatsu, tempura, rice, pickle and salad.

The Una-Don had a nice sweet and tangy taste to it but I wished there was more sauce to mix in with my bed of rice. For the Bento box the tempura batter was light and fluffy, exactly how I like it but it was the tonkatsu that let it down. It was too dry and chewy.

The restaurant itself is run by Chinese people and could be decorated better, I felt the front was like a cafe kitchen and each time the door opened I would get a sweeping gust of cold air in my face. I did noticed at the back there were some low level seating, unfortunately I can't say much on this as I didn't sit there. However what I can say is that Okawari is definitely popular with the local,s as people were constantly streaming in and out the doors for either a sit down meal or takeaway.

Bento box

Okawari on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Shake Shack - Covent Garden

There was such a big craze when Shake Shack and 5 Guys hit London and I refused to stand in a 30 person queue or anything longer than 15 minutes for a takeaway burger. And I am so glad I did(well for Shake Shack anyway). I'm not sure whether it was because there was so much hype behind the anticipation of its launch or I was expecting something spectacular from one of America's beloved food chains but what ever it was it did not enlighten me.

The branch in Covent Gardens is small, which explains why the queues flow out the door. As you walk in you can pick up a menu from the super friendly staff or read it off the wall. It has an open kitchen, where food is produced in a very efficient production line.

I ordered the ShackBurger, which was a cheese burger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce that set me back £5. The patty was good and the bun was so soft, but I thought it was well overpriced for such a small and unsatisfying burger. Don't get me wrong, I love my burgers and when it comes to judging one I always like to check the burger to bun ratio, how soft the bun is, the patty, what toppings does it have and how easy is it to consume, that is does it give me a locked jaw when I try to bite it. The ShackBurger passed each one only I felt something was missing to give it that edge and make me come back again. This was a shame as I really wanted to like it.

Would I come here again? Probably yes but to try the shakes. When I glanced over the menu I noticed that they use Paul A Young chocolates, which I absolutely adore! So I'm hoping the shakes are better than the burgers.

Presentation of the burger when I lifted the top bun - not great
Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Peking-Seoul - Paddington

I am gutted that I deleted the photo I took from this restaurant by accident as I wanted to show everyone how tiny the portions were. My friends and I chose different dishes and each cost between £7.50- £9. When it was dished up on our table my mouth dropped at how small the portion was, there were measly strips of beef, which lacked any sauce. Even worse the food was served on a big plate, so made it look even worse.

The service was terrible, there was a girl standing behind the counter doing some calculations and as we walked in she just ignored us. Then throughout the meal not once did she come and ask us if we needed extra drinks or anything, bear in mind we were the only customers in the restaurant at the time. I tried to catch her attention but she continued looking down at this book. Absolutely ridiculous.

If you want good Far Eastern food then I would highly recommend Bonda Cafe. This Malaysian restaurant is only a stone throw away from Paddington station. It's not the fanciest of all places but serves traditional Malaysian food using authentic flavours. If spicy food is your game then Bonda Cafe is a must visit. The portions are very fair for the price you pay.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Bleeding Heart Restaurant

Who would have thought that one of the most romantic restaurants in London is called The Bleeding Heart. For your information there was no blood or hearts served here, just really exceptional food.

Rug as you enter
Decor in the restaurant downstairs
Complimentary warm bread and butter
For starters we had the Winter vegetable soup and steak tartar with soft-poached quail egg and Parmesan, which was just sublime. The tartar just melted in your mouth, it was seasoned so well and the flavours just poured through. 

Winter soup
Steak tartar
My main was the Assiette of suckling pig and crackling with apricot and sage faggots, pommes fondants and Bramley apple sauce. It was to die for! The crackling was crunchy (as expected) and the pork was a match made in heaven with the apple sauce and potato. I did my best to soak up the gravy and sauce with every piece of pork I devoured. Incredible food, but expect to pay a price. I would make this restaurant a place to visit for special occasions. 

Suckling of pig
Roast rump of Suffolk Blackface lamb
I read some old reviews about how terrible the service was, but tonight the staff were faultless. They were attentive and really helpful in explaining the menu. The only negative of the restaurant was the toilets, there was only one female cubicle in our area, which was small and cramped. Other than that, I take my hat off to the Bleeding Heart Restaurant. It has been a delight to dine here and be treated with a first class service.

Bleeding Heart Restaurant on Urbanspoon