Stunning view and dining at Le Pont de la Tour | London

Walking along the Thames always makes me feel lucky to be living in London. It makes me fall in love with London that little bit more each time I see the Tower Bridge lit up at night. She looks beautiful and different every night. On a mild autumn evening like this and with friends from home, it makes it extra special. I'm really glad I get to show them one of my favourite views of London.

Tower Bridge at night

Having walked pass Le Pont de la Tour many times, I thought this will be a great place to take my friends to for some quality food with a beautiful view. Seeing that it was the London Restaurant Festival, it was the perfect timing to let them experience a scenic dining by the Thames.

The experience starts from London Bridge station walking along Tooley Street, through Hays Galleria and the Horniman pub, strolling past the HMS Belfast by the river, then towards the glass buildings of More London and City Hall, and finally the gorgeously lit Tower of London. Slightly further up towards the Design Museum is where the restaurant is situated. On a warm summers day, it would have been perfect to sit outside but too bad it was a little chilly that night.
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Mushroom consommé

As we entered, we were promptly greeted with a very happy smile and was then led to our table. I liked that it was lit with elegance and even though it was busy, it was not noisy or loud. Tables were arranged at a good distance apart so conversations amongst us could be well heard. What I liked most was the live piano playing on the background throughout the evening. It really made the ambience.

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Boudin noir, confit pork belly, celeriac puree and puy lentils were flavourful and nicely presented.

IMG_7675London cured salmon with buckwheat blini

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Roast Pheasant, Jerusalem artichoke purée, wild mushroom sauce

My pheasant was well cooked, pink and tender with smooth artichoke puree and earthy mushroom sauce. It was a very enjoyable main course.

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The lamb was although good, was quite a big portion and becomes too heavy.

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Steamed lemon sole matelote with mushroom flan

The sweet steamed sole was definitely a good lighter main course with rich sauce and very soft and wobbly mushroom flan.

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Sorbet

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Almond chiboust, coffee dacquoise & essence

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Blackberry iced parfait, jelly and crumble

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Apple tarte tatin

The winner of all four desserts was definitely the blackberry parfait followed by the tarte tatin. The parfait would be the more refined version of dessert but the classic tarte tatin was well, the heart warming hug of a French dessert. £30 for a three course meal here was well worth the experience. (This was the special London Restaurant Festival menu)

Smile..


Prompt and friendly service with a good London Restaurant Festival menu. Loved the live piano playing throughout the evening. Good for an elegant date night.


Frown..


It was too chilly to sit outside but that had nothing to do with the restaurant. It's just autumn. It will be great if they offer a similar London Restaurant Festival menu throughout the year. Otherwise, the a la carte can be pricey.


Will I return?


Yes and more likely when they have the LRF menu or similar.

Le Pont de la Tour

36D Shad Thames, London
SE1 2YE United Kingdom.
Tel: +44 (0) 207 403 8403

Closest station: London Bridge (jubilee line, northern line)

Le Pont de la Tour on Urbanspoon


Alimentum | Cambridge

It is rare that I am in Cambridge. The last time I visited Cambridge was probably 5 years ago. And since I was there for work on a week night, I wanted to explore the dining scene in Cambridge before heading back into London. Being unaware of the Cambridge dining scene, I started looking at restaurants not far from the station so I could still catch the train back into London without fuss. When I found somewhere interesting, it excited me even more knowing that it is actually by Mark Poynton, the former head chef of Daniel Clifford's 2 Michelin Star Midsommer House. Plus they offer a fixed-price menu on Mondays and every other day between 6pm-7pm.

Lovely Cambridge | The Trishaw
A lovely house in Cambridge

Alimentum has red and black themed interior, with a grand piano sat behind the reception just by the bar near the entrance. The bar and dining area are separated by a wall to provide a more intimate dining experience. The inner section of the dining area has a rectangular cut-out through the wall exposing the chefs at work in harmony in the bright and clean kitchen. There were diners coming in constantly and for a Monday night, it was not quiet at all.

Gougere & crisps | The Trishaw
Gougere and crackers

The gougere and crackers were served promptly even before the the menu was presented. Then again swiftly after ordering, two varieties of bread appeared on the table. They were milk loaf and sage & onion bread, both came warm with crisp exterior and pillow-like soft inside. It reminded me of my duvet. If the milk loaf came in a giant sized slice, I wouldn't mind using it to keep me cosy and warm in bed. Okay, that was just me day dreaming amongs the clouds in the sky. The sage and onion bread on the other hand, was although not as fluffy, tasted of the sweet savoury onion and a mere hint of sage.

"If the milk loaf came in a giant sized slice, I wouldn't mind using it to keep me cosy and warm in bed."

Parsnip & Apple Veloute | The Trishaw
Parsnip and apple velouté with caramelised popcorn and pickled apple

The velouté  was smooth and light. Acidity of the apple came through really well with the parsnip, giving it just enough refreshing kick. The sweet and crunchy texture of the caramelised popcorns and slightly sour pickled apple cubes gave it a whole dimension. It was definitely a Michelin star worthy start.

Wild Boar | The Trishaw
Wild boar, squash, onion & red wine

The main course was very well presented and every single element of this dish was cooked to perfection. The wild boar itself was tender and perfectly pink, puréed squash was smooth and silky, even the sauce was of good consistency and shiny. The only let down to this almost perfect dish was a single element of the torn up braised meat which was slightly salty for my liking. It was still edible and tasted good of course. And I still very much enjoyed it.

Passion fruit parfait & Coconut | The trishaw
Passionfruit parfait & coconut

The parfait was a great end to the meal. Passion fruit and coconut really does make a good marriage. I was all smiles after, with a filled up belly. What more does a woman want.

Smile..


Charming and prompt service. Very affordable and enjoyable fixed-price menu with quality ingredients, cooking and presentation.


Frown..


One component of my main course was slightly salty for my liking. It wasn't that bad though. Still tasty.


Will I return?


Well yes of course.

Alimentum

152-154 Hills Road, Cambridge,
CB2 8PB United Kingdom.
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 413000

Near Cambridge train station

Alimentum on Urbanspoon


Halloween Black and Orange Pasta

Scary costumes, gory looking food, horror movie and all that is spooky is what Halloween's usually about. But Instead of making bloody looking cupcakes or food that looks like eye that just popped out from someone's head, I am making something simply black and orange themed, inspired by Gourmet's Halloween pasta.

Black and orange pasta 2

Halloween Black and Orange Pasta

Adapted from Gourmet
Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 sweet potatoes (2cm cubes)
  • 1 small onion (sliced)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 sprigs of lemon thyme
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • half red pepper
  • half orange pepper
  • 12 medium sized prawns
  • lemon
  • 120g black spaghetti or enough for two
  • 1 chilli finely diced
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven at 180C.
  2. Cut the top of the garlic off, rub with olive oil and wrap in an aluminium foil.
  3. Wrap both halfs of the peppers in an aluminium foil, separate from the garlic. Set aside
  4. Cube the sweet potatoes and slice the onions and place them in a baking dish.
  5. Pour a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over the potatoes and onions.
  6. Pluck the little leaves from two sprigs of thyme and sprinkle over the sweet potatoes and onions.
  7. Season with paprika, zest of half a lemon, salt and pepper.
  8. Mix with your hands to make sure the sweet potatoes and onions are coated with oil and the seasoning.
  9. Cover the baking dish with aluminium foil then place it in the oven.
  10. Place the wrapped garlic and peppers in the oven together with the baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
  11. Once the time is up, remove the aluminium cover of the sweet potatoes and put it back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
  12. In the mean time, boil a pot of water with salt and cook the pasta until al dente then drain the water.
  13. Season the prawns with salt and pepper and heat a tablespoon of oil on a hot pan. Pan fry the prawns for about a minute on each side or until just cooked. Set prawns aside.
  14. Remove vegetables from oven. Remove the garlic from the aluminium wrap and squeeze the soft roasted garlic on to the pasta.
  15. Season pasta with salt, pepper and the finely chopped chillies. Mix until well incorporated.
  16. Plate the pasta on two clean plates then the sweet potatoes, pepper and prawns. Serve.

Note:

  • For a vegetarian version, simply omit the prawns.


Little Georgia | London

One sunny summer's Saturday while we were on our way to lunch at Broadway Market, we stumbled upon this little charming cafe and ended up ordering from their special's board. This cafe presents a friendly and peaceful vibe with homely wholesome meals served simply. They even let you bring your own alcohol with no extra charge.

IMG_6442The drinks were served in very nice contrasting coloured cups and saucers. The hot chocolate was alright, though not great. 
IMG_6438Their version of English breakfast that has no resemblance but was delicious in its own way, served with home made sausages.
IMG_9483Ajapsandali - hot bowl of aubergines and red peppers topped with mozzarella was rich and flavourful, I wouldn't mind being vegetarian for the day.
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The Gupta meatballs were big, round and juicy, cooked in tomato sauce served with flaky rice and fresh salad.
IMG_9485During summer, it is perfect to lunch outside to soak up the sun and people watch. It is located on the route leading to Broadway Market. Now that Winter has arrived, you can always sit inside. There are more seating downstairs decorated with vintage items and photos.
IMG_9495Downstairs seating
IMG_9488Before I left, I managed to take a picture of this very beautiful Samovar Tea Urn sat behind the counter.

Smile..

Charming and homely. They make good cheesecake too!

Frown..

Hot chocolate can be better but it's not all that bad.

Will I return?

Of course, and I've been back a few times.

Little Georgia

87 Goldsmith's Row
E2 8QR London, United Kingdom.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7739 8154
Closest station: Bethnal Green (central), Hoxton (overground)

Little Georgia on Urbanspoon


Assa, my favourite Korean | London

It has taken me so long to write about Assa. It is truly my favourite Korean restaurant in London by a mile. I've been going to the original Assa on St. Giles High Street for as long as I remember being in this city. It is a very cosy and homely little restauarant which has gotten popular seeing them open a branch on Romilly Street not far from St Giles Street. I have never been to the new branch but I don't feel the need to as I have gotten attached to this simple little cosy Korean restaurant. I like feeling as if I am in a small little restaurant in Korea.

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The simple interior 

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Pork and kimchi Hot Pot

The hot pot is such a winter warmer, one of my favourites during winter or any other time of the year. It is packed full of flavour, hot and spicy with lots of ingredients. It gets tastier at the end when the water in the broth has slowly vaporised and and the simmering had garnered the flavour and sweetness from all the goodness in it.

IMG_1455Hotpot's ready!

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A bite of the BBQ marinated beef could tell that it has been marinated for hours, if not overnight. It was WHAM BAM BOOM in the mouth!! (yeah, out of words)

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Stir fried spicy marinated beef was so delicious, we finished it in a blink. 

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Stir fried spicy marinated beef, all gone and we almost licked the plate clean.

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Pan fried mackerel, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Well tasty.

Smile..

Cosy ambience and fantastic Korean food with no fuss. My favourite Korean in London.

Frown..


There will be a long queue at peak dining hours so get there early. Unless you're in a big group, they don't take reservation. It is a small restaurant.

Will I return?


Yes. And I have return many times over the years.

Assa

53 St. Giles High Street (Closed. Now relocated to Romilly street)
WC2H 8LH London, United Kingdom.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7240 8256

Closest station: Tottenham Court Road (central, northern)

Assa on Urbanspoon

Halloumi, Fig and Pomegranate Salad

Fresh figs has slowly become one of my favourite fruits. It's easy to eat, with no seeds and no peeling. Since figs are still in season, why not make full use of it to make a refreshing and easy to make salad. There's nothing complicated about this dish. The only cooking involved is grilling or pan-frying the halloumi slices. So if you are too busy at work and have no mood to cook a full on hot meal, this will be a good option. Cut, grill, toss, plate and eat. Simple.
Halloumi, fig & pomegranae salad

Halloumi, Fig and Pomegranate Salad 

Serves 1

Ingredients:


  • 125g haloumi (sliced)
  • 2 figs (quartered)
  • 1/2 orange
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • pomegranate
  • salad leaves
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful of mint leaves
  • honey

Methods:


  1. Segment half of an orange and reserve its juice in a bowl.
  2. Quarter the figs and remove the pomegranate seeds from the fruit.
  3. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon into the bowl with orange juice.
  4. Pour a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and mix.
  5. Slice the mint leaves and save some whole leaves for garnish.
  6. Grill the halloumi slices and set aside.
  7. Place the sliced mint leaves and salad into the bowl with dressing.
  8. Toss until salad leaves are coated with dressing.
  9. Transfer dressed salad on to a plate, arrange the quartered figs and segments of oranges on the plate.
  10. Drizzle some honey over the salad.
  11. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the salad and garnish with a few mint leaves.

Halloumi, fig & pomegranae salad

Lake Głębokie | Szczecin

Not far from the city centre of Szczecin lies the picturesque Lake Głębokie (pronounced as Gwembokia) surrounded by the woods. It is a perfect place to get away from any city stress and be close to nature. The locals like to go there to cycle, run, fish, swim, chill and read. It is also a great place for bond fire gathering with a big group of friends as they have wooden huts dotted around the banks of the lake and areas to light up the fire to keep warm or barbecue some food. It was a really good experience being able to live like the locals for a short while I was there.

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The beautiful Lake Głębokie

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We had a really long walk around the lake to find the best spot for our evening of just hanging out by the lake and burning dry wood from found in the forest to make our dinner. All we needed to bring were some drinks, sausages, bread, ogorki (pickled cucumber) and some sauces.  The rest, we get them all natural. We even made skewers out of tree branches made pointed with a knife.

???????????????????????????????Duck in the swamp

???????????????????????????????Starting the fire


I must say, I really enjoyed watching the sausage fat drip out, the skin change colour and crisp up. Even toasting the bread on open fire was interesting. It makes cooking dinner so much more exciting, even made eating such simple food satisfying. I got a little nostalgic of my teenage girl scouts camping time. Another beautiful memory for future nostalgia.

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Caravan King's Cross | London

Granary Square

Exmouth Market was a very popular market to be at for delicious food with the likes of Moro, Morito and the first Caravan which was always full and almost impossible to get a reservation. Finally they opened up a more spacious restaurant in Kings Cross at the Granary Square where the new Central St Martins is. The day I was meeting up some friends for dinner here was the day it decided to rain so heavily that even an umbrella was not of much use. Well, lucky it is so close to the station, it only took a short few minutes of walk through some building sites and across the little bridge across the river and into the square. There were 1,000 choreographed and individually lit water fountains that hop and pop, spray and gush with rhythm and hues of changing lights. It was a spectacularly beautiful scene especially in the dark.

Interior of Caravan

As soon as I got in to the restaurant, I was shown to my table very quickly. The service was prompt and friendly. While drying out myself and waiting for the girls, I got myself the tea cocktail which was a really good drink to start off a Friday evening. As I waited and waited, I realised something was wrong after over half an hour of wait from when she texted me her arrival at the station. Oh great both of them were lost!! Well, separately lost. They headed towards the wrong way cause the iPhone map told them to! And there I was, sat inside away from the rain wondering how a five minutes walk took them forever!! So if you're looking for this place on your map, don't use the iPhone map! If you are using the Google map, type in Caravan Kings Cross, not just Caravan cause that will take you to Exmouth Market! You think it will be smarter to pin the closest Caravan when one is outside Kings Cross station!! Why would anyone get off at Kings Cross and want to walk to Exmouth Market when there is Caravan just 5 minutes away! So well, one of them finally found her way after over an hour with her jeans wet up till her thighs!! Poor thing. And the other was too hungry and tired that she decided to go home instead. Seemed like it wasn't a TGIF for her after all.

Kitchen 2
And because the restaurant had the next booking coming in soon that needed the spacious table we had initially, we were moved to a table next to the open kitchen which we didn't mind at all. Lucky I ordered some flat bread to keep my tummy from rumbling through the long wait.

Curried onion flatbreadCurried onion flat bread, yoghurt, coriander and nigella seeds was crispy and delicious. 

Grilled asparagus with chilli corn salsaGrilled asparagus with chilli corn salsa and tomato jam

Grilled prawns with cszabai sausageGrilled prawns, csabai sausage, piquillo peppers was a rather small, small plate but had the sweetness of the well cooked prawns with the spicy paprika Hungarian sausage and peppers.

Scallop carpaccio with spiced popcornI thought the 'scallop carpaccio with grapefruit, ginger, jalapeno and spiced pop corn' was quite weak as a dish.

It was unsure of what it was supposed to be, with the soft almost tasteless popcorns plonked on the plate. I would prefer it to be simpler with just the scallops, grapefruit and coriander leaves so the beautiful scallops could shine through. 

Poached peaches, meringue, raspberry sorbetRoasted peached, meringue, raspberry sorbet

The roasted peach dessert was good and refreshing but it was no peanut butter parfait. We really wanted the apparently very sinfully indulgent dessert of peanut butter parfait with strawberry jelly to end our meal but they ran out!! It must have been so good that it was sold out so soon but they could have made more. The way it was described to us gave me the urge to return the next day just to satisfy the peanut butter parfait craving. Too bad I did not live close enough to be able to do that. On my next visit, I make sure they reserve that naughty dessert until I finish my meal.

Smile..


Prompt service, friendly staff, good food, good cocktails, nice location.

Frown..


Portions are pretty small even for a small plate. Some good and not so good dishes. Also, who runs out of their best dessert half way through the second dinner service?

Will I return?


Yes, and they serve brunch too.

Caravan King's Cross


Granary Building, 1 Granary Square
N1C 4AA London, United Kingdom.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7101 7661

Closest station: King's Cross (northern, piccadilly)

Caravan Kings Cross on Urbanspoon