28 May 2013


If what you’re after is a New York style steak, then Goodman Steakhouse is the place to go. In all my years in London I have found it difficult to find any steakhouse to contend with Goodman, as it not only offers delicious steaks but it does so at moderate prices, as some steakhouses tend to get extremely expensive. On my latest visit to Goodman I went for an early dinner with my mother and brother, and we were all quite hungry, so when time came to order we knew exactly what we wanted. To start I had the Lobster Bisque, my mother ordered the Lobster Cocktail and my brother went for the Prawn Tempura. The Lobster Bisque with crème fraiche was creamy and delicious and the subtle hints of tarragon amused me all the way through. The lobster cocktail was also yummy and the prawn tempura, which was accompanied with a mango and Cajun mayonnaise was also quite good, but not as yummy and refreshing as the lobster cocktail.  For our main dishes we obviously all ordered steaks! My brother and I ordered the USDA 350g New York Sirloin, whereas my mother opted for the 250g Fillet. Both choices were excellent but the Sirloin is always my preferred cut (the fat on the edge gives the meat a lot more taste). Served medium-rare, it and was tender and juicy.  For our side dishes we ordered the honey glazed carrots, the truffle chips and the regular chips; all were exceptionally yummy. Dining in Goodman is always a pleasurable experience because the food is consistently excellent and the staff has got to be the friendliest in London. Thumbs up!





24-26 Maddox St, London W1S 1QH


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24 May 2013


When it comes to quality chocolate, Godiva is always a good choice. I have long been a fan of Godiva’s chocolates, truffles, chocolate dipped strawberries and of course their legendary iced cold chocolate milkshakes! It then comes as no surprise that Café Godiva is a chocoholics dream and a dentist’s nightmare. The café, which is located on the second floor in Harrods, serves delicious desserts that are ideal when browsing through Harrods and in need of a quick Chocó – pick me up. It was a Saturday afternoon, and after an exhausting shopping spree I was feeling a bit peckish and stopped at the chocolate bar for a quick snack. To refresh myself I had a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice alongside a chocolate crepe with bananas and strawberries, while my friend ordered a cappuccino and a slice of the Godiva Milk Chocolate Sin Cake. The crepe, which was naturally served with Godiva milk chocolate, was really yummy and managed to give me the energy I needed. The Sin Cake was as exactly as it sounds; sinful! It is a glazed chocolate cake with rich chocolate ganache and a silky milk chocolate mousse accompanied by a warm Godiva chocolate sauce; it is rich, moist, decadent and delicious. Café Godiva isn’t cheap (it’s in Harrods!) but if you really love chocolate then you should pay this place a visit as it’s worth both the price and the queue.



87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7XL


Cafe Godiva at Harrods on Urbanspoon

YAUATCHA

London, UK

Yauatcha is a Chinese dim sum restaurant in Soho from the owner of Hakkasan. The colourful and elegant display of macaroons and desserts in the window was what drew me to it the first time, but this restaurant has so much more to offer than just pretty sweets. The interior is sleek, and dining downstairs is almost like a nightclub experience. Yauatcha always seems to have a table free, and I often use it as a backup if the queues are too long in other Soho places. It works for any occasion; I’ve celebrated New Years Eve there, but also dropped by for a small meal after coming straight from the workshop with paint all over my clothes. Every time I go I order the Prawn and Beancurd Cheung Fun, which is prawn in deep fried beancurd and an amazing white, squishy, gooey rice noodle wrap. The mushroom version is equally tasty, and both portions are very generous. You can’t go to Yauatcha without ordering one of these two. Other of my regular orders include the Blue Swimmer Crab Shu Mai and the Har Gau. These are light and delectable, but not as satisfying Cheung Fun, as the portions are a lot smaller. Some of their cocktails are quite generic and sweet considering how elaborately and tastily they are described in the menu, but a couple that are worth trying is the Lalu and the Chilli Martini with Aperol and Champagne. The service has never been good, but the last time I went it was disastrous. When we were still on starters, my friend had to grab onto her plate in order to stop the waitress from taking her last Chive dumpling. Even after telling the waitress that she was still eating, she took her chilli dipping sauce. They really rush their customers in order to stay within their 90-minute time limit, even when there is no one waiting for the table. Despite this, I’ve been there more times than I can count, sometimes twice in one day, so I think this means Yauatcha qualifies as one of my favourite restaurants in London. 







Yauatcha on Urbanspoon

20 May 2013

VESELKA

New York, USA

Veselka is a Ukrainian treasure in New York's East Village, naturally offering Borscht, Pierogi and Kielbasa. However on my first visit to Veselka, I was strictly instructed by a fellow food aficionado to go and try the burger. I was skeptical at first as to why I would go to all the way to a Ukrainian restaurant and have the burger, but my friend had been living in New York for twenty years so I knew I had to take his word for it. It’s quite simple really; the burger here is by far the best burger I have had. I am usually quite careful to use the phrase 'best burger', but considering that I was overcome with glee and joy while eating it, it has to be noted that I have not tasted a burger so delicious and yet so simple. The burger is very straightforward and comes served in a sesame bun with American cheese; it looks like what a classic cartoon burger would look like. The ingredients are uncomplicated and as such are a testament to how delicious the beef was from its delectable taste to its perfect texture. I was speechless.


144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003


Veselka on Urbanspoon

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KOYA

London, UK

Koya is a Japanese noodle bar in Soho that specialises in udon; thick soft flour noodles. There is usually a long line outside, but it moves quite quickly, and it’s definitely worth the wait. There are three main types of dishes to choose from; hot udon in hot broth, cold udon served next to hot broth and cold udon served with a cold sauce. These options are meant to reflect the seasons, meaning you eat hot noodles in the winter and cold in the summer. The last time I went it was sunny and warm outside, so I opted for the cold Kinoko Hiya-Atsu (mushrooms with walnut miso). This is a very good dish, with a great set of textures. Udon is my favourite kind of noodle, and Koya’s authentic Japanese ones are chewy and amazing. Apparently they are made on the premises every day in the traditional way that involves kneading the dough with their feet. I couldn’t get enough of the walnut miso, and when my friend tried she also had to order some on the side for her dish. The broth, however, was lacking a bit of flavour, which led me to add a lot of chilli powder. My friend ordered the hot Niku (beef) and I had a taste. In my experience, the hot Atsu-Atsu dishes are generally better. The £12 bowls are not as big as I would have wanted, so a starter or a side is necessary to fill you up. We went for the Kamo Roast, which is duck served in a really tasty broth with spicy mustard. Koya overall feels healthier and lighter than Bone Daddies, but this is perhaps a compromise that means their noodles lack some of the punchy tastes of the latter. In any case I wholeheartedly recommend Koya, even though it doesn’t get the top score of the HangerMeter. 


www.koyabar.co.uk

49 Frith Street, London, W1D 4SG



 
Koya on Urbanspoon

16 May 2013


When it comes to searching for a good burger joint in New York, chances are that Shake Shack would always come as a recommendation. I was introduced to Shake Shack over five years ago, and ever since I have fallen madly in love with it, and whenever in New York I always make a point of eating there at least once; if not twice.  Since its establishment as a humble milkshake and hot dog cart in Madison Square Park, Shake Shack has become an iconic emblem of New York and has now become a global sensation. When at Shake Shack I always opt for the same choices which seem to cover a good portion of the menu. My typical order consists of the Shack Burger, which is a cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and the secret shack sauce (incredibly yummy) and the Shack-cago Dog,  which is a beef hotdog served with relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, sport pepper, celery salt and mustard. Both of these delicious choices, and an order of French fries and a vanilla milkshake, make this the perfect meal for lunch or dinner. The shack burger is delicious, the patty is juicy and delectable and the shack sauce is to die for! The Shack-cago dog however is explosive; it is one of the best hotdogs I have had. The spicy zest of the pepper and the sweetness of the relish along the other condiments concoct the ideal taste in a sandwich. Their signature crinkly French fries are golden and crispy and taste even better when dipped in the incredibly rich and creamy vanilla milkshake. Shake Shack is a must when in New York and at the Food Grid we are just thrilled that it comes to London this summer. We cannot wait.


691 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10036


Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

12 May 2013

AL PARCO

London, UK

This pizza restaurant was recommended to me as being one of the best in London, but it is so far away from anywhere I would usually go, that I didn’t think I would ever make the trip there. I went online to check if they do delivery, but unfortunately they only do take away if you pick it up yourself. I ended up coming across Al Parco by chance one day, after I had visited the nearby Highgate Cemetery and I had started walking down the street looking for a taxi. When I suddenly saw the sign across the road, I had to go in even though I had a huge brunch just a couple of hours earlier. The décor of the restaurant is very unassuming, and looks like it could have existed in the same state for decades. I ordered a Capricciosa to take away. This is my favourite pizza, and the I usually order, so for me it’s a good gauge for the quality of a restaurant.  The crust at Al Parco is thinner than Firezza, but not too thin as in the Story Deli in Shoreditch. The textures were great and the amount of cheese and tomato sauce was perfect; juicy but not soggy. It was simply a very tasty pizza at a reasonable price. I don’t know any Italians who went there, so I’m not sure where it scores on the authenticity level, but I daresay this is the best pizza I’ve tried in London. It is a bit of a mission to make the trip there, as it is not near any tube stations, but I know I will go there again one day, it was really that good. 

2 Highgate West Hill, London, N6 6JS



Al Parco Bar Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

7 May 2013

CECCONI'S

London, UK

Few restaurants have withstood the test of time in London, but Cecconi’s happens to be one of these institutions that consistently draw Londoners and jetsetters alike into its beautiful Venetian inspired art deco style dining room. Dining at Cecconi’s is always an event, whether it’s for a casual brunch or formal dinner. On our latest visit we were meeting some friends for Sunday brunch, on what was a beautiful sunny day, so the dining room was flooded with natural light. To start we ordered the Calamari Fritti and Beef Carpaccio to share. Both were exceptionally delicious and light, just enough to warm our tummies up for what was next. For our main dishes, we each ordered something different, but still managed to have a little tasting of all the delicious offerings on the table.  The Lobster Spaghetti was not my favourite as I felt it could have used more tomato sauce (à la Scalini on Walton Street) and the lobster serving could have been more generous, but nonetheless it was very tasty. The Crab Ravioli was sublime but the portion size was not; it could have easily been double the portion. The Taglioni with samphire, prawns and bottarga was delicious and triggered volcanos of different but complimenting flavours in my mouth. Both the Eggs Benedict and Royale were also very tasty, perfectly cooked and simply presented. To conclude our feast we ordered a Tiramisu and a Colonel (a lemon sorbet with a shot of vodka), which is outstandingly refreshing. The Tiramisu was very creamy and not overloaded with liqueur, which can sometimes be the case. With a few glasses of fresh juice, wine and Rosé, this proved to be quite a delicious and successful brunch. A restaurant like Cecconi’s doesn’t need a recommendation, as it is a London icon. It’s a must when in London and goes down as being one of our favourite brunch spots in the city.











Cecconi's on Urbanspoon

3 May 2013

SARABETH'S

Sarabeth’s is well known for its legendary brunches, but to be honest it’s amazing any time of day. Overlooking Central Park, the Sarabeth’s Central Park South dining room is a place to see and be seen, where everyone dining there appears to have walked out of the latest Vogue issue. It is a very trendy dining destination, but not at all pretentious as the friendly staff attend to your every need, making the experience extremely comfortable. I was meeting a friend at Sarabeth’s for brunch on a Saturday, at its very peak hour! We arrived on time but were asked to wait an additional 15 minutes, which was quite annoying at first, but the maître d' was kind enough to offer us each a complimentary cup of coffee at the bar for making us wait. We were finally seated in the rear dining room which is adorned with hand painted floral ceilings, and fresh flowers all along the windows overlooking the courtyard. It had a summery and light vibe which instantly cast us into an enjoyable mood. Since we were not very hungry my friend  ordered the Chicken Ceaser Salad with a side of French fries and I ordered their famous French toast alongside an Arnold Palmer. The Ceaser Salad was excellent and didn’t have an excess of dressing, and the grilled chicken offering was generous and wasn’t at all dry which can often be the case. The prize winner however was the French toast, which is by far the best French toast I have had in a very long time; ever actually. It was perfectly cooked, was moist and soft and came served with fresh strawberries, butter and maple syrup. I could not have wished for a better dish; I was genuinely impressed. The fries were also golden and crispy and the drinks were delicious and refreshing. Despite the hefty bill at the end and having to wait for a while, I strongly recommend Sarabeth’s as the excellent quality food and great service make it the ideal brunch spot in New York. 



























 


















































40 Central Park South (5th/6th Ave) New York, NY 10019


Sarabeth's on Urbanspoon