The Secret Garden

Now I think it’s fair to say from previous posts I am a fan of the lovely chef Jimmy Garcia and his wonderful food. His new summer pop up launched a couple of weeks ago and I was lucky enough to snag a table on opening night (hectic days has caused a delay to this being posted!). Called the Secret Garden, it leads your imagination to think of all things summer, and even though it was raining the night we went, I do believe the restaurant exudes summer!

The Secret Garden

Buzzing the bell to get in you make your way up stairs through the vines, candles are lit and you are on an outside terrace. As you make your way inside and are greeted by the front of house you are not quite sure what to expect as the diners are behind a set of double doors. Walking in you are greeted by quite a dark room, lit with candles, the floor covered in grass ( the fake kind, don’t worry ladies no mud to be had in this garden), vines and flowers hanging from the ceiling and there in the middle in all its grandeur a beautiful wooden tree. Its like the kind of garden everyone wants, low maintenance, no bugs or mud and it has a bar in it!

The centre of attention, the grand tree of the Secret Garden

The centre of attention, the grand tree of the Secret Garden

Sitting at a table by the bar, long grass created a bit of a divider from the bar area which was a nice touch, we had a view of the whole place. It was busy, and tables continued to empty and fill throughout the evening even though we didn’t sit until 9pm proving the popularity of this pop up chef.

Now the menu has changed a bit since we first went, the indoor BBQs have unfortunately gone and the menu is now a standard Starter, Main and Dessert using the dishes that made up the small plates element of the original menu. Do not let this put you off because we had the small plates (which are now bigger plates) and they were great. The menu like with Jimmy’s other pop ups are seasonal, using as much local produce from small producers as possible and of course his dad’s Spanish chorizo. The meat on the menu is varied using a range of game and fish such as pigeon, rabbit, Guinea fowl and sea bass, which adds a varied depth to the menu and when paired with ‘garden’ inspired foods you have delicious plates.

‘Run Rabbit’ Wild Rabbit Loin, Pickled Baby Veg, Rabbit Veloute, Rabbit Pop Corn

‘Run Rabbit’ Wild Rabbit Loin, Pickled Baby Veg, Rabbit Veloute, Rabbit Pop Corn

'Porky Beans' Belly, Smoked Eel Beignet, Fava and Bacon Beans, Carrot Puree

‘Porky Beans’ Belly, Smoked Eel Beignet, Fava and Bacon Beans, Carrot Puree

Papa G’s Chorizo, Guineafowl ballotine, Chorizo and Parmesan risotto, skin shard, cherry tomatoes and Spinach

Papa G’s Chorizo, Guineafowl ballotine, Chorizo and Parmesan risotto, skin shard, cherry tomatoes and Spinach

Seared Sea Bass, Deep Fried Oyster, Radish, Squid Ink Aioli, Chardonnay Foam

Seared Sea Bass, Deep Fried Oyster, Radish,
Squid Ink Aioli, Chardonnay Foam

As always presentation is faultless. The plates are delicate and beautiful even though some are carrying these hearty and robust meats on them. My favourites were the ‘Run Rabbit’ rabbit ballotine and the Chorizo and Guinea fowl, both hearty, delicate and busting with flavour.

If you have room for dessert then go for it. The Edible Garden is lovely and chocolate heaven while the Ice Cream Factory allows you to fill your face with sugary goodness and throw caution to the wind for any future dental visits!

This is definitely a must try so if you can get yourself a reservation do, as this is great food in a cleverly put together theme.

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The Lodge

The wood paneling, the antlers on the wall, warm blankets and a steaming bowl of fondu! I could be in the Alps, but alas I am not, I am in the heart of Balham and at the latest pop up from Jimmy Garcia, The Lodge.

The Alpine lodge theme runs through not only the decor but also the menu which is filled with fondu, hot cocktails and wild meat mains. All of which makes you long for the snow.

Feeling the Alpine spirit at the Lodge

Feeling the Alpine spirit at the Lodge

The Lodge

As with Jimmy’s other pop ups, this is a relaxed affair. With communal tables and a couple of smaller ones this is the place to go with friends, grab a couple of bottles of wine or a round of mulled cider from the drinks menu and then settle down for a natter over delicious fondu. Outside you can sit under big toasty blankets and heaters and really get into the Alpine swing of things by having the chill on your cheeks.

The fondu is the star of the show, made with Coolea and Ogleshield Somerset provided by Neals Yard Dairy and blended with white wine and kirsch, it sits proud in the middle of the table surrounded by potatoes, bread and salads. We of course had to have the delicious charcuterie served on slate to go with our cheese, because what meal is complete without charcuterie!

An Alpine spread of glorius fondu

An Alpine spread of glorius fondu

I very much recommend you get yourself down to the Lodge and get your urban apres ski on as it won’t be around forever! This is the ideal place to meet up with friends as the winter draws in either for dinner or sunday lunch ( the venison looks divine!).

Bobo Social

Now London isn’t short of Burger joints, they are popping up all over the place either as restaurants, street food vendors or pop up restaurants. The burger phenomenon is well and truly upon us and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

Of course I am not going to argue with this because I love a good burger, a big old patty of high quality flavoursome meat, gooey cheese and amazing topping choices. I admit it, I have a burger problem! This is only aided by the opening of new burger restaurants. So on hearing about BOBO social, offering lux burgers then I of course had to try it out.

BOBO social sells itself as offering a new dining experience. In their own words “Take a seat and relax, pop the champagne,enjoy an innovative small plate of deliciousness, a succulent burger made with fresh British ingredients, indulge yourself with a decadent dessert cocktail and laugh among friends… after all, what’s the rush?”

Now I agree with their statement in the most part, but not so much whats the rush! I booked a table for Saturday night at 7.30 because I thought, its Saturday night in London on Charlotte Street it will be busy, plus I had somewhere I needed to be at around 9pm. The restaurant located in a converted house is on split layers, the entrance being on one along with the kitchen and then as you head towards the back you drop a level. There was a group in the back room but out front there was no one else. In the bright white restaurant it was empty. We were seated at a table near the door and kitchen and the staff we instantaneously cheerful and friendly. We decided to order cocktails to start, thinking they would turn up quickly ( seen as there was no one else around) and could sip them while we decided on food, alas we were wrong. After 10 minutes we had to ask where they were and then only one turned up. You don’t offer a long cocktail list and sell yourself as a place for burgers and cocktails if you cannot whip them up quickly, how long would we have had to have waited if the restaurant was busy? Eventually we had to remind the waitress we were waiting on a drink. Then throughout the meal we were constantly asked if everything was ok, and once we had finished our food we kept being asked if we wanted desert even though we had told them we need some time to let our food settle. There was no point rushing us we had half a bottle of bubbles to finish! It all just seemed rather odd, that even when the place got busier ( about 8.15) it almost seemed like they had nothing to do but ask us if we were ok or needed anything else. It felt like we were being rushed but by the nicest people. I know they hadn’t been open very long and maybe the staff were just getting to know their roles but asking once if fine, but continuous ‘ is everything ok?’ is a bit annoying.
Inside BOBO Social

Inside BOBO Social

We may have had to wait a while but the cocktail was good - gummy bear included

We may have had to wait a while but the cocktail was good – gummy bear included

Sigh! Enough about my moan about the weird interrogation by the staff, what about the food?!
They sell themselves as the place for experimental burgers, unique flavours and quality British produce. The food, it didn’t disappoint. Seen as the restaurant was so quiet our burgers turned up incredibly quickly, so quickly we hadn’t even finished our cocktails.Served on mismatched china plates and the fries in china cups it was an odd mix of china in a sleek modern environment.
We ordered the Peanut Butter and the Capsicum and split them. The Peanut Butter does what it says on the tin, it’s a succulent beef burger topped with monterary jack cheese and maple cured bacon and yes peanut butter. I couldn’t help but be intrigued, but by George it worked. The salty sticky peanut butter with the bacon and the meat, it just worked. I thought maybe the peanut butter might over power the flavour of the meat but it didn’t.
The Capsicum was a beef and chorizo patty, topped with Manchego, tomato and chilli salsa and jalapeno chillies. There was some chilli in the meat as well. This was a very nice burger, I am not sure how much chorizo I got through the beef but there was a slight heat from the chilli which was delicious.
The Peanut Butter burger

The Peanut Butter burger

The Capsicum Burger

The Capsicum Burger

Both burgers were delicious, the meat full of flavour and the toppings paired well. I liked that the burgers were a little different. The menu itself is short with only 6 burgers on offer plus their weekly experimental burger ( one created by guests visiting on a monday night at their experimental burger night), even the veggie option sounds tempting. The sides were fairly standard, I liked that they offered sweet potato fries but not sure about serving them in a tea-cup…. maybe I need time to adjust to this new way of serving chips!
Now usually after a burger I cannot physically fit in any dessert but seen as we had half a bottle of bubbles to finish and were not in a rush, after an appropriate amount of time to let the burger settle itself we dived into Dark and Milk chocolate salted caramel mouse. It came served in a small kilner jar. The mouse wasn’t light and fluffy but thick, solid and like a beautiful smooth truffle. It was sickly sweet but the salted caramel that ran through it cut through this and made a wonderfully delicious dessert.
the fabulous chocolate and salted caramel mousse

the fabulous chocolate and salted caramel mousse

Overall I very much enjoyed the food and would go back as the burgers were good, I would also be interested to see how busy it gets on a week night and whether the service has gotten better. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t terrible service but just needed work.
If you are looking for a burger that is a little different to the run of the mill in settings that mix minimalist modern with vintage china then this is the place….. plus the cocktails aren’t bad either!
Enjoy xx

Lunch at the Gherkin

“The Gherkin is opening its restaurant to none members in August” “What?!  Yes, yes we need to go! ” Yes that was my reaction to hearing that the Gherkin was celebrating its 10th Birthday by opening its members only restaurant right at the very top of the building for the month of August to us lowly folk! Firstly I couldn’t believe the Gherkin was only 10 years old, it feels like its been there forever, it’s so iconic in the London skyline. But 10 years old it is. The iconic building designed by Sir Norman Foster which was opened in 2004 is 180m tall and from the top offers spectacular views of London. The opportunity to get in the Gherkin, and enjoy the views over food could not be passed up.

There she is!

There she is!

The restaurant itself is owned by Searcy’s and is a private members club so normally you cannot get up there if you are just ordinary folk. The top floor is the dome of the Gherkin and is usually a bar / restaurant, the floor below is the proper restaurant. We ate in the dome which was amazing!

Dining in the dome of the Gherkin

Dining in the dome of the Gherkin

Approaching the Gherkin, as you get closer and closer and you realise just what a beautiful building it is, the glass shimmering in the sunlight. I should mention at this point we ate at the Gherkin the day storms were hitting London. Thanks to the tail end weather of a hurricane London was being hit by freak rain. This only added to the atmosphere in the restaurant. So as we reached the base of the tower, a question was raised, where is the entrance in this circular building! As we walked around the circular base we finally found the entrance and were met with a crazy amount of security. ID, check. Through the X-ray machine and metal detector, check. Accompanied in the lift by security, check. As we finally reached what we thought was the top and the restaurant entrance we checked out coats and were ushered to another lift – we are going higher! So level 39 here we come. The staff were incredibly polite, and as we stepped out of the lift at level 39 we were told we were dining on the top floor, level 40 – excited we were. Up a few stairs and you enter the dome of the Gherkin, the very top, a room made of glass. Outside you are surrounded by the London skyline, simply stunning, and luckily the rain was still at bay. The menu was simple, three choices on each course. To start I went with the Serrano Ham Eggs Benedict. It was a great choice, although it did fill me up as it was a little large for a starter. For Main, Poussin, fondant, leek ash and saffron sauce. The Poussin was beautifully cooked. The desert, something light, lemon tart with raspberry sorbet. Again it was very nice. The tart was fresh and zingy, but the pastry was a little hard but I survived. Overall the food was very nice, however, it wasn’t a meal that would blow you away. Would I go back….  I am not sure. The main reason for going is that you are in the Gherkin and you are dining with amazing views, but for food like this you could go to a number of other places in London that do the same thing at the same level or better for the price.

Serrano Ham Eggs Benedict

Serrano Ham Eggs Benedict

Poussin, fondant, leek ash and saffron sauce

Lemon Tart with raspberry sorbet

Lemon Tart with raspberry sorbet

The views of course did not disappoint. As I mentioned there was freak rain going on throughout the day. As we ate desert we watched a storm move over London from West to East, the dark grey sky getting closer and closer until all of a sudden we were in the of it and the heavens opened around us and then as quickly as it came the rain was gone and blue sky followed. Sitting in a glass room with a storm around us was simply fantastic!

Views from the top - hello shard!

Views from the top – hello shard!

Views from the top

Views from the top

The Storm is coming!

The Storm is coming!

I am glad that we got the chance to go up to the top of the Gherkin, it was I think a once in a life time thing…. unless of course I come across a handsome gentleman that has a membership! I love going to the top of London and looking out upon this fabulous city, so much below, the history and the architecture. If you ever get the chance to go to level 39 and 40 of the Gherkin do it – standing in that circular glass room is a fabulous experience.

Jimmy’s Underground Pop Up Restaurant

Jimmy’s passion and excitement for his food is infectious as he explains the evenings menu. The food is locally sourced as much as possible and carefully considered. From the rabbit that was shot by his friend to the chorizo from his grandmothers village in Spain, it all gives such a personal touch that I think is sometimes forgotten in many restaurants today.

The pop up is located beneath Dvine wines in Clapham North, which is a great place to grab a bottle of wine. There was the choice of matching wines to each course for £15 but we decided to just grab bubbles.

Down the stairs you are whisked away to Jimmy’s Underground pop up. There are two tables of 8 and one of 10. If your party doesn’t fill a table then it all gets a bit communal so get to know your neighbours it makes for a much more fun evening.

In the intimate setting you are never far from the food!

In the intimate setting you are never far from the food!

The food itself was delicious, everything was brilliantly cooked, full of flavour and beautifully presented. The evening started with a trio of canapés, two were presented on slate and the chicken lollipops in a jar – very fun! For starter and main you get a choice, I went for the Duck and Orange Salad, which was a mince duck ball breaded and fried ( a touch of foie gras in the middle) with duck skin and fresh orange. It was light and fresh and just the right amount to get you salivating.

Duck and Orange Salad

Duck and Orange Salad

In between starter and main comes the surprise course, this was one of my favourite things, rabbit ragu! This rabbit ragu however had a Spanish twist with chorizo in it. It was lovely ( not sure it was as good as mine – sorry!) and I liked the idea of adding chorizo, something I will try next time I make my ragu. The main course was what we were all waiting for – Old Gloucester Pork and Apples- pork loin, crispy bacon and pork belly served with apple puree and fondant potatoes. Pork belly is one of my favourite things and when served with two other types of pork – divine!

Wild Rabbit Ragu

Wild Rabbit Ragu

Gloucester Old Spot Pork and Apples

Gloucester Old Spot Pork and Apples

Now desert…… what can I say it was like a girls dream desert! Chocolate brownie, nutella ice-cream, shortbread and raspberry coulis – yum!! The brownie was delicious and I am determined to get the recipe, it was rich, dense and not too sickly, perfect!!

Desert!! Nutella Ice Cream and Chocolate Brownie!

Desert!! Nutella Ice Cream and Chocolate Brownie!

Overall this was a fabulous introduction to Jimmy’s cooking skills, especially as I had heard so much about them from his girlfriend! We all enjoyed the evening immensely and all said we would go back. This of course isn’t Jimmy’s only venture, he has a pop up in Brixton on a Tuesday and also does catering for weddings – he is one busy chap! Next on the list is heading over to his Tuesday night in Brixton, and I really should squeeze in a night at his Burger and Bordeaux before he disappears to France for the winter.

I would recommend a trip to Jimmy’s Underground Pop up to everyone, as it is great, fresh food with little fuss and if you live in SW London then its just around the corner!

Sinabro

As I walk to work everyday across Clapham Common and down Battersea Rise its hard not to look in all the shop windows that I pass, it allows your mind to wander and get ready for the day ahead, however one day not so long ago I noticed a new restaurant was opening, Sinabro. Then a couple of days ago my colleague walked past and said it looked like it was open, oh the excitement, somewhere new to try!

So like eager children we got on the internet and pulled up the website, a soft launch today and tomorrow – half price, well that is just an offer we couldn’t refuse. So a table was booked for a thursday lunch time and we patiently waited.

The freshly painted blue front is instantly welcoming, as you step inside its simple decor, with light and airy colours used to create the illusion of space. There is no getting around it, this is a small restaurant of only 30 covers. There are two tables in the window and then a bar that overlooks the kitchen and round the back there are a handful of other tables, which in an evening if looking for a touch of romance it would be perfect as its quiet. We were instantly greeted by Sujin Lee the manager and chef who is also partner to Yoann Chevet the head chef and owner (both their CVs are detailed on their website which is an interesting touch but emphasise how much they want people to know their background and food pedigree). It was quiet but it was lunchtime and they have only been open for a day so its to be expected.

Inside the restaurant

Inside the restaurant

the small tables nestled at the back of the restaurant

the small tables nestled at the back of the restaurant

We were seated at the bar and had prime seats to see everything that was happening in the small but proficiently organised kitchen. The menu is short and simple and with a kitchen the size they have anything more would be overly ambitious. With a choice of three for Entrée, Main and Desert it doesn’t take long to decide what to have. Its a nice change to go into a restaurant and not be faced with a ridiculous number of choices and then be faced with food envy when someone elses plate arrives – I like this simple menu, may it spread to other establishments!

A lovely glass of Prosecco

A lovely glass of Prosecco

Vichyssoise amuse bouche

Vichyssoise amuse bouche

Naomi, my lovely colleague, went with entrée and main while I, having an enormous sweet tooth, went for main and desert. Her entrée was Mackerel, Beetroot and Spinach – mackerel filet on a bed of wilted spinach with beetroot puree. It was simply but elegantly presented and tasted lovely. Unexciting we both went for the same main dish of Risotto, Green Vegetables and Parmesan. The risotto was beautifully cooked, creamy and not too rich. The saltiness of the parmesan created a slight edge to the fresh asparagus and broad beans, I couldn’t find a fault with it.

Mackrel, Spinach, Beetroot

Mackerel, Spinach, Beetroot

Risotto, Green Vegetables, Parmesan - delectable!

Risotto, Green Vegetables, Parmesan – delectable!

Desert of course is the real test, my favourite thing. Overlooking the kitchen meant I got to see the whole dish get put together. Crisp short bread topped with piped creme patissiere, artfully positioned strawberries and sweet strawberry ice cream. To top it all off chewy meringue sticks. This was a beautiful looking desert, all the flavours and textures worked together, it was summer on a plate.

Strawberry, shortbread, meringue - perfect!

Strawberry, shortbread, meringue – perfect!

I couldn’t fault the food it was all delightful and I would go straight back to try the other menu items. I am, however, not sure I would want to sit at the bar again, being so close to the kitchen does mean you can feel the heat from the oven and on a warm summers day it’s not the best seat in the house. The restaurant is small and they have gone for optimising space which is great, other people may enjoy being able to see into the kitchen and seeing these chefs at work and not bother about the heat, but for me I think I will ask for a table next time.

Overall this was a great introduction to a new Clapham Junction restaurant and one that I know I will go back to. Speaking to Sujin you can feel their enthusiasm and their drive to do well, and I really hope that they do well as the food was fabulous, simple and flavourful, Yoann has really bought a little bit of French fine dining to the area.

Duck and Waffle

Located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower is the UK’s highest restaurant, and that restaurant is Duck and Waffle.

I have been wanting to go there for a while as I only hear good things and lucky enough so did my sister so as her birthday present I took her there for lunch. We were blessed with the weather, gorgeous blue sunny skies, so the views out over London were superb! One of the things that they are known for is being open 24 hours……. the food was great but it’s definitely not the sort of grub I want at 2am when I have had a little bit too much to drink or danced my socks off…. but I guess everyone is different. I know people who have booked a table for 4am just so they can watch the sun rise over London, nice but I like my sleep, so I think I will stick to lunch and dinner visits.

So when you arrive you get up to that magical 40th floor by a dedicated super fast lift, yes your ears will pop a little, but going up the views are pretty cool of the City. To get to the restaurant you head through the bar area which is all open plan and basically a holding pen for those waiting for their table ( they do say on their website that you only get it for 2 hours if there are two of you, saying that we never felt rushed). The restaurant area itself is all open plan, with an open kitchen at one end and floor to ceiling windows on the other three sides. I would recommend requesting a window seat, however if there are more than two of you that won’t happen as its only tables of two around the windows, the bigger tables are situated in the middle of the restaurant. The views do not disappoint, and on a sunny day you can see the very edges of the city, it makes you remember why you love London town so!

View from Duck and Waffle

View from Duck and Waffle

Now of course what is a restaurant if it’s just all views and no substance – Duck and Waffle impressed as it had the views and the substance. The food was amazing and instantly decided after the first mouthful that I was going back! We were there for brunch so had the choice of breakfast or their brunch menu. As much as the Colombian eggs tempted me we decided on the brunch dishes. The house bread which was freshly baked, puffed up and delicious, accompanied our foie gras crème brulee ( possibly my new favourite thing) which was rich, creamy and sweet and hit all the right notes. The wild Cornish Pollock meatballs in a lobster cream sauce were light and flavourful, the lobster cream was rich but light and to round it all off so we were not completely comatose in cream and butter we opted for the smoked mozzarella salad which was fresh and completely the right thing to go with our rich dishes.

Fresh bread!

Fresh bread!

Pollock balls in lobster cream sauce - heaven"

Pollock meatballs in lobster cream sauce – heaven

Foie gras creme brulee my new favourite thing

Foie gras creme brulee my new favourite thing

Yum!!

Yum!!

We of course went for desert, you cannot go to a restaurant with waffle in the name and not have a waffle. I went for the banana waffle with caramelised banana, nutella and ice cream – divine, while my sister went for the rhubarb compote option.

fabulous banana and chocolate waffles

fabulous banana and chocolate waffles

The food just didn’t disappoint, it was simply presented and left all the impressions to the skill behind the cooking and flavour. This may be a hip place to go and you have to book months in advance to get a table but it has the substance behind it so you know what…. I just don’t mind!

Now I am no wine connoisseur, but the wine list is pretty hefty in price, however, the wine by the glass wasn’t too bad. The cocktail list is definitely worth checking out though, it has a list of the usual suspects but with the D&W spin on it, plus their own creations.

Overall this was a rather lovely visit. The staff were all very friendly and attentive, the food wonderful and of course you cannot argue with the views. I will definitely be returning and would recommend it to anyone that asks!

Machiavelli Kitchen and Dining

Italian restaurants are two a penny in London, so finding a good one is like striking gold. So when Machiavelli was suggested I was dubious as to how good it would be. I am always cautious of going to restaurants in Covent Garden as I have been stung before with terrible restaurants that are just catering for the tourist masses, however on this one occasion I was pleased to be wrong. Machiavelli Kitchen and Dining on Long Acre is calm, relaxing and delicious haven from the chaos of Covent Garden.

I went for a delightful girly long saturday lunch with my mum and sister a couple of weeks ago and have put it top of the list of places to go back to soon. We booked a table and I am glad we did because half way through our meal the place was packed! The restaurant is split into two, upstairs is the more relaxed cafe/deli (during the day) where you can get cakes, light snacks and shop for italian delicacies. Downstairs is the main restaurant. The whole place is decorated in a relaxed, clean and simple way. White wood work and simple tables. There are a couple of long tables so if there is a big group of you then it’s not a problem, there is even an alcove that acts as a little private dining area.

The staff throughout the meal were attentive and knowledgable. The menu itself is simple, one page of delicious, seasonal plates. We skipped starters as we had all eyed the deserts and wanted to keep space! So for mains, I started with Tagliolini with tomato, buffalo mozzarella and basil. The fresh pasta was light, the sauce full of flavour and the mozzarella creamy. Together it was a wonderful lunch. My sister had the Risotto Manzese (saffron and sausage ragu), it was a perfectly cooked risotto with a rich ragu, that I am most definitely going to have to try to recreate. The Melanzane Parmigiana that my mum had was also great, full of rich flavour and lots of cheese! The main courses were perfectly sized, although if I had gone with a starter the pasta would have been too big. The wine list wasn’t too long and when asked for advice on one of the wines that staff were helpful.

Fresh pasta with tomato, basil and mozzarella

Fresh pasta with tomato, basil and mozzarella

Risotto with Saffron and sausage ragu

Risotto with Saffron and sausage ragu

Melanzane Parmigiana

ooh a little blurry!!!! Melanzane Parmigiana

Sides - Rocket and Parmesan salad and Sardinian piano bread

Sides – Rocket and Parmesan salad and Sardinian piano bread

Desert continued to hold up the high standards of the meal. Our choices were Tiramisu, flourless chocolate cake ( yes the kind with a melting middle) and I went with a cake from the cabinet – a salted caramel tart. All three were delicious. The Tiramisu had just the right amount of coffee in it, the cream was light. The chocolate cake was rich but not sickly which is always a plus side, and the caramel tart was sweet and the pastry crisp. Nothing disappointed.

Salted Caramel Tart

Salted Caramel Tart

Flourless chocolate cake

Flourless chocolate cake

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

This is most definitely a restaurant top of my list for revisits, and would recommend you put it on yours if you like simple real Italian cooking. The food is fuss free and all about the flavour and the simple rustic presentation reiterates this.  If you haven’t been already then get yourself a table!

Enjoy!

Bubbledogs

I finally did it, I went to Bubbledogs, the wondrous restaurant that combines hot dogs and champagne! Amazing! Why has no one thought about this combination of food before? I realise it has been open for quite a few months now, but it was on my list and I have finally ticked it off.

Following the trend of quite a few establishments at the moment,  you cannot book a table unless you are six people or more, slightly annoying but if you are not in a rush then it’s not too much of  a problem. We went on a Thursday night and arriving at 6.45 there was already a queue.  After about 20 minutes the assistant manager came out and explained there would probably be an hours wait…. Sigh! We decided to hold strong and would wait it out to see what all the hype was about.

As we get closer to the door you can see why there is a queue, inside is small, every last bit of space is taken up with high tables and bar stools, this is space utilised. The menu above the bar can be seen from the queuing area so you can peruse while you wait.

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The menu, simple, you choose your dog – beef, pork or veggie and then your topping.  I went with the Sloppy Joe, why not, whats wrong with meat topped with more meat right?! The chilli could have done with a bit of heat, but as a chilli goes it wasn’t bad, a touch sweet but full of flavour. My sister had the Forth of July which is wrapped in bacon and topped with coleslaw. The slaw was flavourful and had just the right amount of crunch.  The sides continue with the simplicity of the menu, a choice of coleslaw, sweet potato fries or tots.  Having not seen tots on a menu outside of school dinner menu we couldn’t resist the novelty.

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Of course as the name suggests the main drink of choice are the bubbles. The champagne list was long and varied and had a good price range, so all wallets are welcome. We went with one of the cheaper bottles (£32) and found a crisp, fresh and delicious champagne, There is no worry about your bottle getting warm as the waiters keep the bottles in ice buckets off to one side and keep you topped up at all times. In fact the service throughout the evening was great, from the assistant manager keeping us updated about wait times, to the happy helpful waiters.

In fact, other than the waiting time we had a delightful meal. I would certainly go back and have already recommended it to everyone who asks. The queuing is a bit of an issue, and I would certainly plan my next visit with this in mind and try to only go when there was a group of us so we could book in advance, but if you get their before 7pm and are not in a rush then you shouldn’t have too much of a problem.

Bubbledogs is a nice change to the ever-increasing population of burger restaurants, and its two main menu items certainly makes it novel. For good food and great service this is a must visit in London.

http://www.bubbledogs.co.uk/home Bubbledogs is found on Charlotte Street in Central London ( closest tubes are Goodge Street and Tottenham Court Road stations).

( the images on this post are taken from google search as my camera decided to die that day and I was cameraless… images are referenced accordingly)