24 Nov 2013


London, UK

Living in a city like London, one is spoilt for choice from available brunch spots, and having been here for eight years, I can safely say a lot of the places opening tend to conform to a prototypical, prescribed vibe. The trend has succumbed to being all about the rustic and home cooked, which was fine at first but after the surplus in their emergence it's been quite some time since something new and energising has graced London. Enter Berners Tavern; a triple threat of an establishment, designed by the famous hotelier Ian Schrager, housed in London’s new and ultra hip Edition hotel, as well being led by the Michelin starred chef Jason Atherton (who’s restaurants Pollen Street Social and Little Social have been reviewed on the Food Grid). With such impressive credentials and a highly publicised opening, expectations were very high. I visited Berners Tavern for Sunday brunch, and with whatever preconceived notions of what a tavern should look like, this place puts all those ideas to rest; if only all Taverns were this beautiful.

The restaurant is housed in one huge and majestic open space. Upon entering the restaurant my eyes twinkled looking straight at the chandelier suspended from the adorned high ceilings, while the walls are covered in paintings and photographs from the Renaissance to the post modern. Despite the grandiose features of the space, it does not make you uncomfortable, in fact the warm tones and palettes lend it to feel like what a tavern would indeed feel like: relaxed and actually cozy. This reminds me of Fitzgerald quote from the Great Gatsby: “I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy”. This was very true to what we were experiencing in this place, where despite the largeness of the space and how busy it was it felt very intimate and not at all loud, which can usually expected in such a setting. 

When it came to the food, it was nothing short of extraordinary. Prior to the arrival of our orders we were served with the customary bread and butter, and the bread was so fresh and delicious that we knew we were in for a treat; the bread is usually a sign into the quality of the food. To start we sampled the poached eggs with avocado on toast, which was sublime. The eggs were perfectly cooked, the avocado was zesty and refreshing and the toast provided that ideal crispiness to accommodate the eruption of flavours in my mouth. For my main dish, I could not resist ordering the cheeseburger (call me crazy but I am always compelled to order one when I go to a new place), and my friend ordered the Sunday roast. Both orders were complimented with a side of duck fat chips and steamed broccoli with roasted almonds. Both the burger and the roast were to die for, and the portions were very generous, which left us both giddy with joy and satisfaction. The steamed broccoli is a must, its lemony flavours matched with the roasted almonds made it the ideal side dish. Accompanying our meal was the Dill or no Dill cocktail that was so good we each had two. For dessert we sampled the chocolate filled doughnut and the caramel apple éclair with cream and salted caramel ice cream. Both were very good and were a sweet conclusion to our very successful meal at my now new favourite dining spot: Berners Tavern.

10 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NP


Berners Tavern on Urbanspoon

18 Nov 2013


London, UK

I was really excited to try Flesh & Buns because it is operated by the team who also run Bone Daddies; one of my favourite restaurants in London. I called last minute to make a reservation, crossing my fingers and hoping I would be able to get a table. They said we could just show up, and I thought it was surprising that the restaurant would be so empty on Sunday lunchtime. The venue is underground, accessed by a staircase under a screen showing Japanese animations. We started with soft shell crab, similar to that served in Bone Daddies, but this one was even better. Sadly, it was only downhill from there. The Prawn Tempura Roll was just okay, the Grilled Beef Skewers tasted weird and the Warm Mushroom Salad wasn't memorable. Our main dish was the Crispy Piglet Belly with steamed buns. The texture of the meat was unappetizing and frankly it tasted bad. It is possible that we were just unfortunate with our orders, as a friend of mine who doesn't eat meat was very happy with her experience there. Either way, one should be able to order outside of seafood and vegetarian and still be served a quality meal. Flesh & Buns was overpriced and disappointing, and I’ve never left that much food on my plate in a restaurant before. I was annoyed that I wasted time, money and space in my stomach on Flesh & Buns instead of going to one of the many delicious spots in the Covent Garden area.

Covent Garden, 41 Earlham St, London WC2H 9LX


Flesh and Buns on Urbanspoon

8 Nov 2013


London, UK

Lately, around my area of work, Kings Cross, I have grown quite bored of the usual lunching options and so The Kerb has become my saviour whenever I wanted to try something new and refreshing. The Kerb King Cross is a food market located just off the newly completed Granary Square, and attracts many food vans and karts that spread their deliciousness across London. It has become the place where up-and-coming restaurateurs and newly established food places go to promote their name. On my latest visit to the Kerb I finally got to try The Grilling Greek, a food van serving delicious souvlakis (Greek style fast food wraps), which I’ve been hearing a lot about lately. I went at 12:30 pm on a Tuesday and to my relief there wasn’t much of a line ahead of me. The van itself with its blue colours and Greek accessories screams Greece and was very in tune with the culinary offerings about to be enjoyed. The menu options are threefold where you can choose a pork, chicken or halloumi souvlaki. All are served with red onions, tomatoes, and Tzatziki (Greek yoghurt mixed with garlic, cucumber and mint) wrapped in pita bread. I was particularly hungry on that day so I opted for both the chicken souvlaki and the halloumi wrap, as well as a side order of the French fries that are cooked with oregano and topped with feta cheese.  The friendly staff prepared the food quite quickly and within five minutes of ordering my food I was ready to dig in. Both wraps were exceptionally delightful and refreshing (thanks to the Tzatziki), very easy to eat and not messy at all since they were cleverly wrapped. The halloumi was grilled and very light, and the chicken was nicely grilled although a bit burnt in some parts. What I didn’t particularly enjoy was the pita bread, as it was a bit too doughy and at many instances disguised the flavours of the other ingredients. Also, the French fries were excessively oily and over-cooked, and I only managed to eat a few, so I would not recommend them. As an alternative to my usual lunch spots, the Grilling Greek has proven to be a successful lunch option, but I would not go as far as travelling out of my way to go to it, but I will definitely return on my lunch breaks when I am strapped for choice to have another souvlaki.


Kerb @ Kings Cross

4 Nov 2013


New York, NY

On my very first trip to New York, I went to Café Habana in the beautiful Nolita area. It had recently been featured in a travel guide, and there has been a perpetual queue outside ever since. The meal was so memorable that I have made a point of going back every time I am in town. This casual Cuban/Mexican restaurant serves tacos, salads and even burgers, along with their famous corn on the cob. This renowned snack means that a lot of tourists go to Café Habana, so it is not necessarily the most local and authentic New York eatery in that sense. There is usually a half hour wait, which can be spent in a nearby bar as you are allowed to leave your name and come back. On my most recent visit I was too hungry to do that, so instead I went to the next-door casual drop in where you order at the counter. This was quick and comfortable, as we got a table right away. The corn on the cob is great; served with cotija cheese, chili, mayo and lime. It’s such a simple dish, and so tasty. The quality of their skin-on fries is unstable, but when they are crispy they are amazing. Their food goes perfectly with a cold Mexican coke drunk from a glass bottle. Café Habana is a casual and colourful place, perfect on a sunny day out in Manhattan. 

17 Prince St,  New YorkNY 10012

Café Habana on Urbanspoon

Café Habana on Urbanspoon