Tis the season to eat Sunday Roast Dinners, fa la la la la, la la, la la!
We went to The Black Lion pub one Sunday recently after a walk in Hampstead Heath for a belly warming roast dinner.
We started off with a mulled cider and shared a baked Camembert. It was nice having a warm drink after being in the cold and the hot strings of Camembert on the oven baked bread was a perfect start to the meal.
For mains we all went for the roasts. I got the pork because the menu said it came with crackling and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like crackling?
It did not disappoint.
We finished the meal with teas and coffees and a game of scrabble, before we then joined in on the pub quiz and another drink.
We probably stayed in the pub for about 5 hours and we really had a great time.
I definitely recommend for a chilled out Sunday with friends and family.
I hadn’t heard anything about it at all and then one day on the bus home, I realised that San Daniele (a restaurant which was always fairly empty) was absolutely buzzing and full of people. I also realised that there was a new sign outside and quickly jotted down the name in my handy dandy notes on my phone under my “Where I want to eat” page.
We booked it for Sandra’s birthday for the first weekend of December.
It was full of people again and we went into the candle lit restaurant that still had hints of San Daniele’s existence, but as a pop up, Seb really has transformed the place.
We wanted everything on the menu, so it was great that they had a tasting menu so that we didn’t need to make any decisions and we could just try it all.
Everything was so full of amazing traditional flavours of the South East and it definitely made me feel like I wasn’t in London and back in Asia while we were eating there. Seb definitely has the Asian touch.
Our top dishes (in no specific order) were:
The Prawn in the Betel Leaf – it was a really nice start to the meal because of all the zingy refreshing flavours.
The Tempura Chicken in Scotch Bonnet Sauce – So spicy! But so so so so good.
The Whole Seabass – I literally kept eating this until the plate was clean (don’t think they needed to wash the plate after I was done with it). Not only was the fish cooked to perfection but everything on the dish was amazing!
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.
Today I am flying to Italy for a long weekend in the Italian Lakes – In fact I have probably just landed in Milan while this post is going live – so I thought it would be appropriate to post an Italian Restaurant that I have been to recently.
Established in 1990, Giuseppe’s Ristorante Italiano (as they like to call themselves) pride themselves in being London South Bank’s oldest family run Italian restaurant (as they state in their website). In an alley way in London Bridge, there is a door way with stairs leading down into a lively, little underground, very authentic Italian restaurant. With live music playing in a corner, the restaurant completely full, the very warm welcome from the Italian waiter – we immediately felt that we had found a gem, even before we had tried the food.
The restaurant was full but they kindly let us know that if we went to the pub next door and had a drink, they would come up and let us know once a table was ready for us. So we did just that and they came and got us in no time.
We were sat in a booth in the cozy, little restaurant and were served straight away. Between the five of us (Jack, Frank, Sandra, Victoria and I) we decided to share 3 starters and then get a main each.
For the starters we ordered the Bruschetta, a plate of antipasti and some calamari to share. It all came how I would imagine it to come if I were in a family run restaurant in Italy. Simple, tasty Italian food. No frills and nothing fancy.
For my main I had the Spaghetti Pescatore, which is my absolute favourite pasta dish of all time – seafood with either with linguine or spaghetti. It was honestly cooked to perfection – with loads of seafood (clams, mussels, calamari, prawns and fish) and a gorgeous tomato based sauce that coated it all.
It was a great atmosphere, great service, great food and overall a great little find!
Karen, Jack and I had a very experimental, fusion meal in the little seaside town of Alcossebra. The setting was lovely on a quiet side street with an artsy, oceanic vibe about it with pottery in all different shades of blue for decoration.
For the beginning of the meal they brought us some complimentary bread which was served in a basket still warm with a couple of dips on the side.
And next came the amuse bouche which had really interesting textures and flavours.
For the starters we shared three: The Chicken and Foie Gyozas – a Western take on the traditional Japanese gyozas, The Chilled Tomato Salad with Basil Mouse – which was freezing cold and so refreshing, and The Prawns in Thai Sauce – which were giant prawns. It was all delicious.
For mains I had the Pork ribs with Hoisin Sauce which just fell apart and was so tender it melted in my mouth. Jack had the fish and Karen had the fillet steak. Everything was cooked perfectly.
We ordered Irta’s Island for dessert which was an orange mouse, cocoa crumble and vanilla ice cream put together on a dish to look like an island in the middle of an ocean coloured ceramic dish.
I am usually not a fan or orange flavoured sweets – but this was absolutely stunning and crunch of the cocoa crumble was like a triple chocolate cookie crumbled over the top and it really make the dish.
After the dessert we ordered and shared, they brought out complimentary sweets for us the end our meal. There were chocolates, slices of melon and sticks of Marshmallow.
I was quite surprised to learn that this little town had a restaurant that was so new age and experimental with their dishes. And you could really tell that a lot of time and passion had gone into all their dishes.
It might look like a take out kebab shop as you pass from the outside, but as you walk in you will see all the fresh meat skewers and the long hot coal grill with its smokey, mouthwatering and incredibly inviting smell drawing you in. At the back there is a large restaurant seating area.
Mangal Ocakbasi is a Turkish grill house based in Dalston that Jack, his mum Sandra and I discovered one evening.
We ordered a plate of mixed dips to share as a starter – which came with a basket full of warm Turkish bread.
For our main we ordered a large mixed grill plate to share which came with a large plate of salad. The spices on the meat enhance the flavour and are not overbearing and there is a barbeque like taste to it. We were actually surprised at how delicious it all tasted.
We ended the meal with some sweet baklava and a Turkish tea – which was nice to have a little bite of sweetness after all the spiced meats.