Archives for posts with tag: London

 

It is very rare for me to feel that the design of a restaurant and its management style can work so badly with each other that it turns the dining experience miserable, until I went to Dumplings Legend.

Its name suggested their dumplings, or Xiao Long Bao in Mandarin to be precise, are so amazing that they are legendary. It is hard to find great dumplings in Chinatown. Chinese Experience used to do the best ones but they folded last year, unfortunately. You can imagine my excitement when I first heard about this restaurant.

If you eat on the ground floor like we did, you would walk past a gallery kitchen in which the chefs prepare all the dumplings fresh. It was a pleasure to watch and certainly my appetite was stimulated. Promising start!

The restaurant is mainly decorated in white- white painted plastered wall with mirrors. It certainly looks smart and modern from Gerrard Street. But what the owner and the designer overlooked is that this kind of wall finishes are very bad in absorbing sound.  Continue reading >>

Marmite– I must confess I belong to the ‘Hate it’ group.
Chocolate– l love it.
Marmite + chocolate= I have to try it! It is also eagerly anticipated by a lot of Marmite fans. 

I like the packaging. It is mysterious and seductive. Even non-Marmite fan like me want to give it a go. Continue Reading >>

Places  that  sell  falafel  usually  display a  bold  statement in the stall/shop saying that  their falafel is the best.

But only one gets the crown of the best falafel wrap in Winky’s good book.

This stall only opens 4 days during the week (plus Saturday). It closes at prayer time on Fridays, the exact time varies between summer time and winter time. Sometimes, you have to queue for 5 to 10 minutes before you can even make an order. And from then, be prepared to wait for another 5 minutes before you can get the food. Despite this ‘inconvenience’, it is always busy at lunch time. This shows its special status. Continue reading >>

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By Gerald Chong

During meal time, you see the queue before you can see the shopfront of Koya. What is the crowd magnet? Fresh Udon.

Koya is one of the few restaurants in London where you can get this white beauty at a reasonable price. It is served in 3 different ways: Hiya-Hiya (cold Udon with cold sauce to dip), Hiyashi Udon (cold Udon with cold sauce to pour) and Hiya-Atsu (cold Udon with hot broth).

Koyo’s Udon is fantastic! As it was fresh, it was less starchy and more chewy than the pre-made ones. It is as good as what you can find in Japan. Serving Udon with cold dipping sauce is pretty common in Japanese restaurants here in London. In Koya, you can have it plain, in sesame sauce, with tempura. Koya’s dipping sauce has sesame and spring onion (see photo above). It had a hint of sweetness but it was not too salty. It is a great complement to Udon. A light batter was used for our prawn and vegetable tempura. It is a nice difference.

I was fascinated by Hiya-Atsu as I never had noodles served this way before. Though it actually makes perfect sense as this is the best way to make sure the Udon will not be overcooked by the broth by the time it is eaten. At home, we always run cold water through hot noodles when they are ready to stop it from over-cooking. Continue reading >>

What a delightful way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Hyde Park- a bit of a walk, a bit of art and a bit of a treasure hunt!

Equipped with our free guide from the Serpertine Gallery, it did not take long before we spotted our first treasure from a distance.

It was the Sky Mirror 2006! It looked beautifully surreal but it also seemed ‘natural’. I could not stop imagining a bird accidentally flying into it!

Continue reading more about Anish Kapoor >>

 

Chocolate ice-cream with pig’s blood?

This is the kind of ice-cream served at Gelupo.  I had pig’s blood many times in savoury dishes but never in dessert. How could I resist trying it out?  Wondering whether it was just a gimmick, I asked the guy at the counter how much pig’s blood is in it exactly? ‘1 in 8’ he said. Exactly 1 in 8 of what? I had no idea as I already got distracted by the taster he handed out to me.

Sanguinaccio (its Italian name) does not taste like the pig’s blood I had before nor did it taste like human blood (I am sure most of us bite our lips and taste our own blood before). It has a hint of unique irony flavour, which goes very well with the smooth chocolate. I ordered it, together with one scoop Pistachio ice-cream. (photo below, right). It is a good combination as the latter is nutty and full of natural pistachio flavour. In all, the ice-creams feel lighter than some Italian ice-cream I had before.


There are some seasonal flavours on offer, like pumpkin with cinnamon (it’s around Halloween afterall!) My friend had a Ricotta, pear and cinnamon one, together with a Mirabelle plum sorbet. (photo above, left) He loved it though I think it was a little too sweet for my liking. I am not a sorbet person generally speaking though it does come in tempting flavours, like coconut and cachi. While we were there, we saw some being served in fresh fruits too! The ‘made to order’ service could be a refreshing treat for summer parties. Continue reading >>

 

I must confess we were not going to Rosa’s if it was not because Koya had a 30 minute wait. (I hate queuing!) We decided to be adventurous and wondered around SOHO to see if there was anywhere interesting to try. (Now that I have tried both, I actually prefer Rosa’s!)

My favourite is Rib-eye Yang (char-grilled rib-eye beef served with spicy dry chilli sauce and cooled steamed vegetables). I had a good feeling about it when the waiter asked us how we wanted the beef when we ordered. (It is rare for diners to be asked such a question in Oriental restaurants!) The medium rare beef is well seasoned with a nice smoky flavour. It is so tasty on its own that I prefer to have it without the sauce.  The cool and lightly pickled vegetables complements the meat well.  We had this dish with steamed coconut rice, which was fragrant and soft. Continue reading >>

 

Koba is a small Korean restaurant just off Oxford Street. The decoration is modern and neat. The main dining area has a big rooflight- I can imagine the space being flooded with nice daylight during lunch time and mid-summer evenings. Booking is recommended as you will be asked to sit by the bar if this area is fully booked.

The menu is easy to understand as all the dishes feature photos. All the dishes are beautifully presented. Unfortunately, the food is not up to the same standard.

Yook Hwei (Seasoned raw beef with sliced pears) is a dish I always order in Korean restaurants as it can really distinguish a good restaurant from the ordinary. Koba’s raw beef is fresh but the pear pieces are too chunky. Even though the taste is good, the overall texture is less balanced- I have had better ones at Arang before.

Pajun (Korean Pancake with spring onion & seafood) is crispy on the outside and soft inside. With chopped chewy squid, it is a nice combination.

For Barbeque, we had Koba Modeum Gooi, which is highly recommended by the chef. It is a selection of rib-eye slices, beef short rib, pork belly slices,  chicken, baby octopus, prawns, melon slices, mushroom and onions. Pork belly slices are my favourite Korean barbeque meat but at Koba, it is a big disappointment. The pork slices are too thin and the dipping source had too much sesame oil in it. If I did not dip the belly slices into the sauce, the meat was tasteless. If I did, I felt like I was just eating oil. The rib-eye slices and prawns were dull. They were not fresh enough for me to taste the natural flavour. It was disappointing. Continue reading about Koba >>

I tried a couple of times but failed to find anything interesting for lunch at Apostrophe. (their sandwiches are quite dull) To my surprise, I discovered last week that they serve amazing hot chocolate, which reminded me of the one I had in a lovely small cafe in L’Aquila, Italy about 13 years ago. I have not been able to find one like it in London since.

The chocolate has an attractive dark brown sheen and lovely aroma. It has a good balance of sweetness, bitterness and creaminess. I enjoy the sensation when the thick (but not heavy) warm chocolate gently flows into my mouth. It is smooth and velvety. It is as cosy and soothing as getting into a nice warm thick duvet in a cold winter night.