I went to Madame D in October as I had seen so many delicious looking photos on Instagram and needed to try it for myself.
The menu is ever changing based on seasonal foods, but they stick to keeping about 10 different sharing plates on the menu and they do every single one very very well. It was honestly very hard to choose what to order because we wanted to try everything, but we settled on the Curried King Prawns, the Steamed Whole Seabass, the Tenderstem Broccoli and the Himalayan Fried Chicken.
Everything was really tasty and we left feeling incredibly full and satisfied. It was a buzzing atmosphere, the service was great and the food was just as delicious as it looked on Instagram and I was so pleased we went to check it out.
They also do have a cocktail menu which looks brilliant, but we stuck to wine and beer and it worked well with the food.
Sunday Dim Sum was a family favourite of ours growing up and it still is when I go to Hong Kong to visit my Grandma.
It is essentially a Chinese version of brunch with lots of little dishes of dumplings. You will go in a big group with your whole family and sit around the table for a couple hours chatting away while all the plates of delicious dumplings and congee and rice and roasted pork etc continue coming out from the kitchen.
My current favourite in China Town is London Chinatown Restaurant. Everything comes steaming and fresh from the kitchen to your table, they have a good menu, the food is authentic, it all comes fairly quickly after you have ordered and it is really well priced. And the best thing is that you can usually get a table – which can be an issue on Sundays in China Town for Dim Sum.
This is the real Hot Pot that I grew up knowing and loving, not the recent Lancashire Hot Pot I have recently been introduced to that is essentially a stew (why is it not just called a stew? This is beyond me!).
The Chinese Hot Pot is a bubbling pot in the middle of the table with delicious soups (usually two or more) and you have plates of thinly sliced beef, prawns, tofu, vegetables, etc which you put into the bubbling soups to cook. It is a fun, social meal but also extremely delicious, fresh, healthy and homely.
We recently tried Little lamb in China Town which does a £22 per person for whatever you want on the menu – you just cannot waste anything. So we got king prawns, thinly sliced beef, tofu, calamari, vegetables, noodles, fish balls and we ordered two broth soups – one stock broth and one spicy broth. And the cooking commenced.
This was the perfect meal for a cold, rainy evening. The service was great and they didn’t rush us at all so it felt really nice being tucked up in the restaurant with the hot bubbling soup in front of us.
I know I have blogged about Wong Kei before – but a) that was quite some time ago and b) it is a London China Town institution so deserves the extra attention.
Anyone who studied in London for university knows Wong Kei and it has definitely helped many a poor, struggling London university student in its time.
My favourite thing about Wong Kei is that it is a no frills, well priced, quick and easy restaurant that serves good Chinese food. It genuinely reminds me of the small corner rice and noodle cafes in Hong Kong where the waiters and chefs are shouting at each other and throwing menus at people and slamming food on the tables and it has quite a busy, lively vibe where the waiters are even too busy to have the time to be polite to anyone – which can be comical.
If you have been to the very local cafes in Hong Kong with no English menus and roasted duck and pork hanging in the windows and what we would perceive as rude staff – then you definitely know what I mean. Obviously they do have English menus in Wong Kei but it is pretty much the same kind of vibe.
Wong Kei is a bit like Marmite. You either love it or you hate it.
The key to an enjoyable meal in Wong Kei is to a) appreciate the very low prices b) take the rude waiters light-heartedly c) get the right things on the menu.
I love Chinese roast meats on rice. This is very typical to find on most street corners in Hong Kong. This is very well priced here. I always go for the belly pork and bbq pork (Char Siu) on rice but I have a friend who love the duck and belly pork as well.
I do also love the Chinese vegetable Choi Sum. It is similar to tenderstem broccoli but instead of the flowery green top, it has long luscious dark green leaves. I order this with oyster sauce.
Then there are the noodle soups – the won ton soup being their most famous. Obviously it isn’t as silky as the ones on the street stalls in Hong Kong but it is still good and there is always something homely about having a simple broth based noodle soup.
The other options are the usual Western-Chinese dishes such a fried rice, duck pancakes, sweet and sour pork, beef in black bean sauce, deep fried spare ribs, etc – which are all good here.
I would recommend just ordering off the menu instead of getting any sort of set menu because then you can just get whatever you like and it is cheap enough to do this.
And there you have it. Wong Kei. A London China Town Institution.
It was the beginning of the end of summer in London. “In London? What summer?” I hear you ask. Don’t worry I am with you there, but this is when it started feeling cold enough to put tights and a trench coat on and a light scarf in my bag just in case. It was drizzly outside and all we wanted was a big bowl of bone broth noodle soup (to be honest all we really wanted was to be inside the house all day, stay in pajamas and watch telly but we were productive humans and went to work and then met for dinner afterwards).
We decided on Kanada-ya which my friend recommended was really good for ramen, so off to Piccadilly Circus we went and into the tiny little ramen bar and luckily we got a table downstairs in the warmth.
We genuinely wanted everything on the menu and as it was Friday, we thought we would treat ourselves with a portion of Karaage, a portion of Chashu Don, and a Tsuna Onigiri to share and then a bowl of ramen each! Yes, this was a lot of food in hindsight, but at the time we just wanted it all!
The karaage (or fried chicken bites) were absolutely delicious especially when dipped in the side sauce of yuzu mayo – this was my favourite of the . The pork on the Chasiu Don literally fell apart because it was so soft and along with the sauce and the rice, it was a marriage made in heaven. The Onigiri was probably my least favourite but only because the other two dishes were both bursting with great flavours and it was very difficult to compete with those flavours.
I had the spicy yuzu ramen and I was pleasantly surprised at how good the broth was. It was extremely creamy from all the hours of bone broth creating. I did try the vegetarian ramen broth and it tasted very much like a creamy mushroom soup. The ramen was all very good. I would say it was disappointing that none of the ramen options on the menu came with the famous ramen egg that has been soaked in soy sauce and we all had to order this as an extra to our dishes – this felt a little bit wrong as traditionally there really should have been an egg in there or at least a ramen option with an egg on the menu.
Overall the food was great! It is a nice, warm, little noodle bar. The service was very quick and the food was reasonably priced.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I booked a table at Freak Scene. There weren’t many photos online of the food at the time and not many people had been yet as it had just opened up so I couldn’t find much to read about it online.
We went in the beginning of August because, although we hadn’t heard much about the place, we had read up on Scott Hallsworth and his food sounded great!
It was BYOB so we got a bottle of wine from a wine shop around the corner and got our table.
Everything on the menu looked amazing but luckily its more of a tapas-type fusion food restaurant, so we could order a few things to share – with some help and guidance from the Freak Scene Team.
Everything was exceptionally good. I would have to say my favourite was the duck curry. Jack’s favourite was the crab and avocado wonton bomb. There is something on the menu for everyone to enjoy with something a bit different or special about it.
After dinner we met Scott and his team and stayed for a few more drinks. It was such a good night – I genuinely recommend going and I really hope they get a permanent spot there!
Since opening in 2009 in Marylebone, they have grown to be able to open up eight restaurants in total. All their ingredients are from sustainable & ethical sources (which I LOVE). They a say on their website that they always select the freshest, best quality ingredients to go into their menus and they only use suppliers who share their philosophy about quality, provenance, traceability and the impact on our environment.
It is a treat for a work lunch out because it isn’t the cheapest meal for a weekday lunch time (I am not about spending much on a work lunch), but they do make some great juices, coffees and salads here and you really are paying for the quality of the produce.
It is also a great vibe so it is a fab place to have a good old catch up with a colleague or friends as a midday break away from the office, computer screen and desk chairs.
I absolutely adore their salads and I usually get either the tuna or hallumi salads but they do have a bigger menu with hot foods as well.
If you work in the area and want something wholesome and healthy – this is a great place to treat yourself.