29 May 2014


London, UK

London’s latest arrival on the culinary scene comes courtesy of the team that have brought us the delicious Goodman Steakhouse and the London breakout, and now staple: Burger and Lobster. Suffice it to say expectations were high and our palettes restlessly eager to try what new offerings were to be bestowed upon us in this new mecca of meat and crab. Some important facts to know about Beast, firstly it offers a set menu consisting of beef as a first course and crab as the second, so if you’re a vegetarian this place is not for you. As a matter of fact considering how good it is, if you’re a vegetarian it’s about time to consider eating meat (no offence intended). Secondly, Beast accommodates its diners on communal dining tables in its candle lit dining room; three dining tables sculpted of heavy wood and set with candelabras, creating a medieval and equally mystical vibe to the restaurant, one of a wine cellar almost. One last and important detail to note is that dinner at Beast costs £75 a head excluding drink and dessert.

Now in terms of my experience at Beast; it was nothing short of sensational. Arriving at the restaurant, the ambience on its ground entrance floor is quite the antithesis to what was to come after. The entrance features an oversized beast (bear) sculpture in a triple height glazed and marble floored lobby, giving it a very corporate and sterile ambience. Once my reservation details were gathered by the maître-d, I was shown to the lift to take me down to the restaurant. In the basement, a waitress addressing me by my name (nice personal touch) was waiting and escorted my party and me to our side of the table. Moments after being seated, a smiling waiter briefed us on the concept of the restaurant, took our drink orders and prompted an oncoming waiter to serve us with the antipasti. The antipasti consisted of parmesan cheese (a whole wheel of parmesan was presented) with pickled onions, artichokes and olives. We nibbled on parmesan while sipping our wine until our first course arrived: the meat. The beef served at Beast is Nebraskan beef, served in a New Orleans style steak, which basically means one thing: it’s delicious. The meat was of an exceptionally high quality, which is to be expected from the patrons of Goodman steakhouse. Cooked to medium, it was tender, juicy and melted in my mouth. The steak was served with a side of a smoked tomato salad, green salad and asparagus as well as a delicious creamed truffle sauce to compliment the steak. The tomato salad was divine, and the truffle sauce heavenly although the steak was too good to have a sauce with it; instead I enjoyed it with the grilled asparagus. Upon completing our meat we were given at our request a 10-minute break until the crab arrived. The King Crab from Norway surpassed any crabmeat I have had (excluding a clambake in Cape Cod years ago), extra-large in size and rich in meat and just simply heavenly. Despite how full we already were we could not resist ordering dessert and opted for one of each type: the cheesecake and the lemon mousse. The lemon mousse had an excellent texture and a refreshing zest, and the cheesecake that was a deconstructed concoction of bliss just blew my mind. The whole experience at Beast was a triumph, and as it slowly garners attention it will undoubtedly become an ‘it’ place contending among the London heavy weights.

Update: Beast now also has an a la carte menu. 

beast restaurant king crab
Beast Restaurant Interior DesignSteak at Beast restaurant by goodman

Beast cheesecake parmesan tomatoes

Beast Restaurant on Urbanspoon

19 May 2014


México DF, México

Restaurante Loma Linda is a historical restaurant in Mexico City's Chapultepec area. After overdosing on seafood for a week, I was excited to go to this reputable Argentinian steak place. We had made reservations at the semi-covered terrace, but we were 15 minutes late, so the table was given away. They seem to be quite strict with timing tables in Mexico, as several times on this trip we lost our spot when we were a bit late. After some discussion we managed to get another table in the beautiful and green pergola area. The terrace seating is very popular not only because of the warm weather, but because you are still allowed to smoke in these in Mexico. We started with a dish I had heard about before going to Mexico, called chori-queso, which consists of lots of melted cheese with bits of chorizo in it. You simply put it in a soft taco, and enjoy greasy deliciousness. We then shared two different cuts of steak. Both were served on a hot plate, so we quickly threw all of it unto our plates to make sure the rare beef didn’t overcook on the table. Next to it were fried onions with green chillies that should not be mistaken for Spanish padrón peppers. I was luckily warned that they were very spicy, so I stayed away. As sides we had crispy fries with truffle oil and a simple salad with lots of crunch and freshness to the vegetables. As with most of our lunches in Mexico, the food was accompanied by lots of classic margaritas on the rocks, and the ones at Loma Linda were served to an archetypal perfection. This restaurant also prides themselves on their homemade desserts. We were all very full, so we only shared one piece of cheesecake between the four of us. It was very good, but I generally prefer lighter desserts after a meal like this. I was so happy with all of the food that I forgot to photograph it until I was full, thus you only see the reject pieces of meat that cooked a bit too much on the sizzle platter. I loved Loma Linda, both for the consistency of the quality of the dishes and for the peaceful setting. Lots more posts from my trip to Mexico to follow. 

11 May 2014


Burlington, USA

When I asked for recommendations of restaurants in Burlington, Vermont, Farmhouse was the one that came up the most. It is located just off the main street, in a site that used to house McDonald’s. This branch of the infamous burger chain is one of the few that has closed down due to little turnaround. The people of Burlington are very health-conscious (despite it being the birth town of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream), so the Farmhouse took over, selling locally sourced food and beer. We went there on a weeknight, and the place was packed. After a quick drink at the downstairs bar, we got a perfect table outside. To start with I had a tiny portion of VT Cheddar Ale soup with garlic croutons. This was super good, and I’d gladly have it as a main dish. We also shared a starter of Marrow Toast, from which you couldn’t taste any bone marrow, so I don’t recommend that particular dish. The staff kindly divided our mains into two plates so that we could share easily. We had the burger of local grass fed beef, and gnocchi with rabbit meat. I always hesitate to order rabbit because I had them as pets when I was little and they’re cute, but they were also pretty darn delicious. The house-made gnocchi was in the shape of wide, flat bands, which made it feel closer to pasta, something I really enjoyed. The burger meat was cooked to a very juice level, and we got a sense that all of the ingredients were fresh. The fries were crispy, which is a must, and the portion sizes suitable. All in all it was a really good meal, with friendly service and a lively but relaxed ambiance. I understand why it is so popular. The Farmhouse Group also have a nearby Mexican cantina called El Cortijo, which I really wish I had tried while I was there. It’s a good reason to go back to the cosy town of Burlington though.

Farmhouse Tap and Grill on Urbanspoon