After-work tapas at James Cochran’s restaurant

As you all know I am a massive foodie. I work in the City of London (near Monument) and I always enjoy discovering hidden-gems where I can unwind after work. I recently visited EC3 restaurant by James Cochran who received 2 Michelin stars at The Ledbury. The restaurant was names in Fay Maschlers top 10 restaurants of 2016 and James Cochran definitely deserves this as he is an excellent chef. I was impressed by his tapas menu which I experienced after work a couple of weeks ago.

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Atmosphere: 

James Cochran’s restaurant has a very casual atmosphere. It has a modern decor with a few paintings and a vibrant, bright yellow chairs adding some chic to its interior. Its guests have an option to pop-in for some drinks or sangria which are served at its 16-seat bar in front of the restaurant or to have a meal / tapas. The restaurant also offers take-away menu.

Location:

James Cochran EC3 restaurant is located in the heart of City of London. It is just a few minutes walk from the Liverpool Street and Aldgate stations and easily accessible if you are travelling here by tube or bus.

Menu:

James Cochran offers its dinners original Scottish and Jamaican influenced dishes that are made from fresh, regional produce. During the summer, the restaurant offers its dinners tapas style dishes. There are 13 dishes to choose from and they are perfect for sharing with your friends or loved ones. I really like tapas as sharing food stimulates conversation and is great for any occasion. I was accompanied by my husband and we ordered 6 dishes between us:

  • pork kromeski served with peppers and mayo

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  • lamb kromeski with marmite mayo

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  • hackney n’duja Scotch egg

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  • Jamaican jerk buttermilk chicken

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  • smoked cornish mackarel with some picked fennel, pepper puree and coriander crumb

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  • smoked salmon with some apple, cod’s roe, radish, chorizo crumb and basil oil

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All of the dishes were tasty and delivered different culinary experience. My favorite were the pork and lamb kromeski – amazing croquettes dipped in batter and deep fried. The restaurant is also known for its hackney n’duja Scotch egg – it was top notch and had just the right ratio of meat to egg to crispy exterior. In addition, we both really enjoyed one of the restaurant’s signature dishes – the famed Jamaican jerk buttermilk chicken -it’s fragrant and had a perfect balance of heat, sweet and savory flavors.

The portion size of the dishes we ordered was just the right size to share between two of us. What appealed to me was that all of the dishes were reasonably priced so I will definitely return to try their A La Carte menu during the autumn.

Address:

19 Bevis Marks,

London

EC3A 7JA

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Pauline

Vietnamese meal at Pho & Bun in London, UK

Do you like oriental cuisine? I definitely do. During my honeymoon, I visited Vietnam with my husband and I was really impressed by how beautiful the country was and how friendly its’ citizens were. I like going out and discovering different restaurants so this Monday, I visited Pho & Bun for a dinner with my husband.

Atmosphere: 

Pho & Bun offers authentic Vietnamese food in a casual setting that will make you feel as if you’ve stepped foot in Vietnam.

Location: 

Pho & Bun is located in central London on the popular Shaftesbury Avenue which is a few minutes away from the Tottenham Court Road & Piccadilly Circus stations. It is also around a corner from both Chinatown and Soho. It is surrounded by many West End theatres, shops and tourist monuments so it is a great place to go to for a lunch or dinner if you are nearby.

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Menu:

Pho & Bun offers its dinners great selection of authentic Vietnamese street food at a reasonable price. There are 2 menus to choose from:

  • A La Care
  • 5 – courses tasting menu

We decided to order from the testing menu. Firstly, we selected 3 starters each to share.

  • Fresh summer roll with tiger prawn;
  • Pork & crab spring roll;
  • Mango salad with tiger prawn;
  • Chilli salt and pepper squid;
  • Sticky honey chicken wings;
  • Honey glazed spare ribs.

All starters were tasty but my favourite were the honey glazed spare ribs and pork and crab spring roll.

Secondly, we ordered our mains. I had some honey glazed BBQ pork with vermicelli. The dish was a combination of delicious pork, fresh vegetables and noodles seasoned with different herbs and spices.

A0BD95CE-9B3F-417C-B5AA-5B5E7C7A2934My husband ordered some Bun Sa Lemongrass beef rump steak with vermicelli.

We found both of these dishes really filling and tasty. I would recommend them especially when you are hungry as the portion size was really generous and we finished about half of our mains.

Lastly, we ordered some desserts. I had some mouth-watering pandan & coconut panna cotta whilst my husband decided to have some homemade soft yoghurt ice-cream. I love desserts and they were both delicious.

Overall experience:

Pho & Bun offers a range of original Vietnamese dishes with a  twist. The service was quick and friendly, atmosphere was casual so this restaurant is perfect for a casual dinning experience with your friends or family. What’s more, the restaurant is reasonably priced and our 5-course tasting menu was only £27.95 per person. I would definitely visit again!

Address: 

76 Shaftesbury Avenue,

W1D 6ND,

London

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Pauline

 

 

Lunch at Talli Joe – the best Indian restaurant in London

As you know, I am a massive foodie! Eating out with my husband is something that I am always up for. Recently, we enjoyed a special occasion together, we celebrated our 6th anniversary of us officially ‘going out’. Since my husband absolutely loves Indian cuisine, we decided to investigate “Talli Joe’ near Covent Garden. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of authentic Indian restaurants and take-away shops in London, but ‘Talli Joe’ was voted the best Indian restaurant in London, so it seemed like a no-brainer to book a table on a Saturday afternoon.

Location:

Talli Joe is centrally located in Covent Garden –  a popular theatre and foodie district of London. You can get there easily by public transport; Leicester Square, Covent Garden and Tottenham Court Road stations are just few minutes walk away.

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Atmosphere:

I went to the gym in the morning and when I arrived, I was welcomed by a smiley waiter who took me to my table. Whilst waiting for my husband, he took my drinks order and made me feel welcome.

The ambiance of this restaurant is very laid-back and relaxed. I really liked the funky décor and trendy finish.

 

The menu:

When my husband arrived, we reviewed the menu and discovered that there were lots of dishes we fancied trying. Talli Joe’s menu takes a modern day twist on classic Indian dishes and offers its diners a vibrant selection of small plates which I can only describe as being similar to Indian tapas and great to share in addition to half plates which we ordered as our main dish.

To start with, we ordered a few small plates to share:

  • Kale Chaat – my favourite dish;
  • Kolhapuri Chaap – nice and tender lamb chop;
  • Old Delhi Butter Chicken Samosa – Tandoori Chicken thigh;
  • Truffle Ghee Kulcha.

 

For our mains I had  Kochi Beef Fry. It was a nice Scottish Beef rump tail fried with some paratha. My husband had Gol Baari Kosha Mangsho – a lovely Lamb roast on the bone + luchi.

To finish our meal, we ordered some traditional Indian desserts. Talli Joe’s Black Gajar Halwa was voted one of the Time Out Top Ten Dishes of 2016 so I decided to try it and it was just right to finish my meal whilst sipping a bit of green tea. My husband doesn’t like desserts much thus he decided to have Gulabo omemad- a rose-flavoured ice cream and he enjoyed it.

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We finished our dining experience with a great cocktail.

 

Overall experience

Talli Joe is a perfect destination for a relaxed Indian meal with a twist. The food was delicious and the service friendly so I will definitely visit again soon!

Website:
For more information and to book visit:

http://tallijoe.com/

Address:

152 – 156 Shaftesbury Avenue London,

United Kingdom,

WC2H 8HL

I hope you enjoyed reading this review!

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Pauline

Saturday lunch at Galvin at The Athenaeum

Have you heard of Michelin-starred London chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin? I definitely have so I decided to visit their restaurant for a Saturday lunch with my husband. Today, I would like to tell you about our culinary experience.

Location:

Galvin at The Athenaeum is a hotel restaurant located in the famous area of Mayfair in London. It is situated opposite Green Park and only a few minutes walk from  Green Park station walk and around 10 minutes walk from the Buckingham Palace.

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Atmosphere:

As soon as we arrived, we were welcomed by a friendly door hostess who informed our waiter of our arrival. He took us to our table and made us feel welcomed.

The hotel and the restaurant both have a classic and modern décor. AS we visited during lunch, the restaurant was buzzing with Londoners enjoying their afternoon in the beautiful surroundings, most with a glass of prosecco in hand. There was a soft music playing at the background.

The menu:

Galvin at The Athenaeum offers its dinners a few menus to choose from – Afternoon Tea, Prix Fixe and Lunch Menu. We decided to have a set, bottomless prosecco menu.  The menu is developed Chris and Jeff Galvin who focus on British specialties. They champion Britain’s delicious local produce and support independent farmers across the UK.

To start with, I ordered some classic crayfish salad with Espelette pepper whilst my husband decided to have some deep fried whitebaits served with a bit of tartare sauce. Both dishes were tasty and presented well.

For our mains we both decided to have a Rose County rib-eye, Béarnaise sauce and chips. It was cooked to perfection and my husband cleared his plate in no time.

I love desserts so I was in heaven when I discovered that the restaurant offers an unlimited desserts buffet to its dinners during the Saturday & Sunday lunch. I was able to choose from:

  • Blood orange cheesecake
  • Chocolate mousse & coco nibs
  •  marinated pineapple & vanilla cream Yorkshire rhubarb,
  • champagne & white chocolate trifle Fruit salad,
  • meringue & blueberry coulis
  • Apple, pear & almond tart Pistachio éclairs
  • Macaroni

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My husband prefers savoury options so he had some cheese from a selection of English cheese and accompanied it with some grape chutney.

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Overall experience

We both enjoyed our Saturday bottomless set lunch at Galvin at The Atheneaum. The restaurant is perfectly located and I would definitely recommend anyone to go for a romantic walk around the Green Park and St. James’s Park after their dinning experience, especially if the weather is nice. The service and atmosphere were flawless and as the menu is very reasonably priced I will definitely return here again soon!

Website:
For more information and to book visit:

https://www.athenaeumhotel.com/restaurant-bar/galvin-at-the-athenaeum/

Address:

116 Piccadilly,

Mayfair,

London W1J 7BJ

I hope you enjoyed reading this review!

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Pauline

Our dinner at Informal Restaurant in Barcelona, Spain

As you are probably aware, I love travelling and I am a massive foodie. During my recent trip to Barcelona, I visited lots of local restaurant and bars but only 2 of them really stood out from the rest. Today, I would like to tell you about my experience at Informal Restaurant in Barcelona.

Location:

The Informal Restaurant is located in the Serras Hotel in Barcelona. It is situated in a famous Bari Gotic area, just a few minutes away from Barceloneta station. It is a 7 minute walk from Las Ramblas.

Atmosphere:
The whole hotel has a minimalist, modern decor with its linen fabrics, neutral colors and use of materials like iron and wood that connect it to the surrounding marina. As soon as we entered the restaurant we were welcome by a friendly hostess and introduced to Rodrigo who was our waiter throughout the evening. There was a relaxing music playing at the background. In the middle of the restaurant there was an open kitchen and grill which was great as you could admire your food being made.

The menu:

The menu at Informal Restaurant is developed by Michelin Star Chef Marc Gascons who focuses or Catalan and Mediterranean specialties. He aims to provide its dinners with a delicious selection of dishes made using locally sourced products from land and sea.

The restaurant offers a nice selection of dishes but we decided to order from ‘Menu Experience: Picasso’.

To start with, we ordered a few tapas dishes to share:

  • some homemade toasted flat bread with tomato and extra virgin olive oil;

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  • salted anchovies from L’Escala with olive oil and pepper;

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  • mixed salad of green beans, green peas, Iberian ham and black truffle;
  • steamed artichokes, bulgur, celeriac, orange vinaigrette and black truffle;

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  • patatas bravas;
  • free-range chicken roast croquettes.

For my main I decided to have a roasted monkfish with peas, squid and chicken juice. It was mouth watering!

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My husband had some succulent veal with potato parmentier and some seasonal mushrooms. His meal was simply amazing and he thought that it was the best veal he’s ever eaten which is a big statement to make as we eat out at least twice a week.

I love desserts and I was looking forward to trying some of Informal Restaurant’s roast apple dessert with puff pasty, pine nuts and lemon cream. It was delicious!

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My husband ordered some chocolate ice cream and gnache with olive oil and salt. It was a perfect combination of sweet and salty experiences in one dessert.

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Overall experience:
We both enjoyed our dinner at Informal Restaurant. Chef Marc Gascons offers its diners a great selection of some of the best best local food with a modern twist. Throughout our meal the service was friendly and attentive. They made us feel relaxed and welcomed. The restaurant is also very conveniently located so I would definitely visit it again next time I am in Barcelona.

Website:
For more information and to book visit:

https://hoteltheserrasbarcelona.com/en/informal.html

Address:

Carrer de la Plata, 4,

08002 Barcelona, Spain

I hope you enjoyed reading this review!

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Pauline

Dinner at The Artist Bistro in Porto, Portugal

Last week, I was with my husband in Porto in Portugal. On our last evening, we booked a table at the popular local restaurant – The Artist Bistro. It was definitely the best meal we had whilst in Portugal.

Location:

The Artist Bistro is located inside The Artist Hotel. The hotel is based in a former art school and provides a contemporary and comfortable environment, inspiring and developing the skills of the current students of the Hotel and Tourism school who work there. It is just around a corner from a famous shopping street and commercial area of Rua de Santa Catarina. The metro closest station (Campo de Agosto) is just a few minutes away.

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Atmosphere:

The Artist Bistro is inspired by the artistic heritage of the building which has previously hosted an Art School. The decoration of the restaurant is classy and elegant.

All art visible in the restaurant is made up of pieces from previous students of the old school Soares dos Reis.

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The dinning experience at The Artist Bistro is designed to socialise with the art one can see, smell, taste and feel. The atmosphere of the restaurant is warm and inviting. We were welcomed by Katia who was attending our table through the night. She was really friendly and professional. Quiet jazz music was playing in the background…

The menu:

Do you like surprises and trying new things? If you are quite open to the new experiences and you like being surprised then you will love The Artist Bistro. The key aim of the Head Chef – Hugo Dias is to surprise his dinners with a unique experience of sampling some great locally sourced food.

You can now be surprised by selecting one of 3 sampling menus:

  • Myth 5 experiences
  • Musa 7 experiences
  • Bistro 9 experiences

What all of these menus have in common is that they change on a daily basis and they offer dinners a combination of unforgettable flavours. At the beginning of the meal, we were asked if we had any allergies and whether there were any ingredients we really didn’t like. Our waitress took notes and explained that every course we’ll  receive will be a surprise-we could only choose what type of main dish we wanted to receive (fish/ meat / vegetarian). The really unique think about this restaurant was that we didn’t know what we will have for any of the courses!

We decided to try a Musa – 7 course dinning experience. Each dish was beautifully presented and made from fresh seasonal foods.

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While sipping some crispy white wine, our first course arrived- oysters with some red onions.

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We finished them in no time and the waitress brought us some mouth-watering mushroom soup with some olive oil, croutons and chives. It was delicious.

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From the next course onward we were surprised with different dish each. We received ‘Samosas de Artist’. We decided to play a game and identify the ingredients of our samosas-a great way of having fun whilst enjoying your meal. My samosa was with goats cheese with pumpkin and my husband received a samosa with a chicken and chorizo filling.

Next, we received some vegetable brioche with some potatoes, carrots, peppers, balsamic vinegar, courgettes which were all baked with egg. It was really enjoyable.

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Moving on, I received caramelized scallops with a cauliflower mouse-they were divine.

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My husband, on the other hand, got an octopus with a lime foam with breadcrumbs and site salad. It crackled like a sea because of the foam popping up.

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Following on from our great seafood dishes, I received some green beans stew based on a traditional Portuguese sausage and bread in a rich tomatoes sauce.

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My husband got some pork belly, crackling with balsamic vinegar.

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Before our main dishes were served, our waitress brought us some lemon & vodka sorbet to clean the palette. It was really refreshing.

At the begging of our meal I decided to have a fish main and I received some beautifully cooked sea bass paired up with an appetizing vegetable puree.

My husband decided to have a meat main and he received some quail with roasted carrots, potatoes pure in a port sauce with some figs and rosemary. It was the best quail he has ever eaten-extremely tender and cooked to perfection.

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If you read my reviews regularly then you will know that a dessert is always my favorite part of any meal. I received a delectable chocolate brownie with large pieces of nuts and some vanilla ice-cream.

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To finish off his meal my husband received a pear that was boiled in port and paired up with some raspberry ice-creams.

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Overall experience:

We both had an amazing time at The Artist Bistro. As I like surprises and trying new food, I was delighted with the concept of discovery. The restaurant serves delicious food with a twist. In addition to food, the service was great and the restaurant is conveniently located so I would definitely visit it again.

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Website:

For more information and to book visit:

http://www.shotels.pt/restaurantetheartistbistrot/en/home

Address:

 Rua da Firmeza 49,

4000-099 Porto, Portugal

I hope you enjoyed reading this review!

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Pauline

 

Mangia DC Italian Food Tour – Dupont Circle

As some of you probably remember, I was in Washington a few weeks ago. As I am a massive foodie, on one of the evenings I decided to go for a foodie Italian walking tour.

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The tour was organised by Mangia DC.  “Mangia” is Italian for “Eat! Enjoy!” Mangia DC motto is to help locals and tourists alike enjoy Washington D.C. and show them all it has to offer.

The food tour takes place around the Dupont Circle neighborhood which is around 15 minutes walk from the White House. I was welcomed by a friendly and knowledgeable guide who introduced me to the other tour attendees. He described our tour as an informal historic sightseeing tour—with the added bonus of stops in some local Italian restaurants for tastings.

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Our tour started at the ‘Darlington House’.

The staff in this establishment were extremely friendly. Charlie-the Chef and Ernesto-the Manager welcomed us and served us a traditional tomato and mozzarella starter and a delicious mushroom risotto.

I really enjoyed them and would definitely return to this restaurant when I am back in Washington D.C.

Secondly, we walked to ‘Tomate’.

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We sat down and tasted some duck ragu. It was nice but as I don’t really eat pasta it wouldn’t be my normal choice of main.

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After our main we walked around the Dupont Circle and learned about the history of this area. It was fascinating to listen to our guide and I really enjoyed wandering down picturesque streets of this area.

Lastly, we went to Pasha for a dessert and after having some traditional Cannoli the tour ended.

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Final thoughts:

Mangia DC walking food tour will take you on a unique, interactive journey of the Italian wines and foods. I had an unforgettable evening with a progressive dinner at 3 different establishments and I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to discover Washington whilst at the same time having some great Italian food. The tour costs $65 and is definitely worth it.

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Pauline