Year: 2016

A Sunday Roast at MeatUp, Wandsworth

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been invited to a lot of restaurants since I started up this  little old blog at the start of last year, and I’ve been very grateful for each one. But now and again, an invitation pops into your inbox that really gets your mouth watering! For me, that happened when I received an invitation recently to try out MeatUp in Wandsworth – as any regular readers of Got To Be Gourmet will know, high quality meat is very important to me, and I love nothing more than tucking into a good piece of beef! MeatUp opened a few months ago in Wandsworth, which is pretty close to where we live, and where my sister-in-law and her husband live, so it was exciting to find a potential new local place for us to hang out. Head Chef Stephen Hinkley has been working with the finest meat merchants in the country to serve up the very best British meat, cooked to order on their special Josper grill, which I was very excited to …

Fine Dining at Two Michelin-Starred Don Alfonso 1890, Sorrento

There are some restaurants you visit that you just know you’re going to remember every little detail of forever, as it really blows you away. That happened in September at Don Alfonso 1890 in Sorrento. Tim and I were in Italy for my friend Kelly’s absolutely stunning wedding, and we had a day to ourselves afterwards before heading back to Blighty. We thought we’d treat ourselves to a luxurious date night, at Don Alfonso 1890 which is around a 20 minute drive from the centre of Sorrento. It’s a family-run business for over 40 years, and upon arrival we were introduced to Livia Iaccarino, pictured bottom-right. She was wearing some very cool sparkly multi-coloured trainers under a long skirt, and was one of the most charming and polite people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in a restaurant environment. We would soon learn that those shoes were an analogy for the whole dining experience. Don Alfonso 1890 was modern yet old-school. The decor was clean and fresh with bright tones of pinks and purples, adorned …

Chocolate Week Afternoon Tea at The Langham with Cherish Finden

Chocolate Week seemed to come around very quickly this year! Last year you might have read my round-up of The Chocolate Show – if not, you can take a peek here. This year, I was very excited to be invited to try out the Chocolate Afternoon Tea hosted at Palm Court within The Langham Hotel. You may have read my review of Michel Roux Jr’s ‘Roux at the Landau‘ which is in the same beautiful hotel, so I was delighted to return! The centre piece of The Langham, London,  the dazzling Palm Court, is famed as the place where the tradition of afternoon tea was born 150 years ago! As soon as you step inside, you immediately feel relaxed and at home, while surrounded by beautiful, luxurious decor. We were greeted with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut before making our tea choice. We were advised to try the 150th Anniversary Langham Blend, which is officially the most complex tea blend in the world, with a unique combination of 150 ingredients! Created by the ‘Master of Tea’ Alex Probyn, …

Dinner at View 94, Putney

I love discovering new restaurants, especially when they’re fairly close to home – a great example of this is View 94, located right on the river between Putney and Wandsworth, where I was invited to a group dinner recently. We were seated upstairs overlooking the river – I liked the look and feel of the restaurant, it felt a bit like being on a boat moored at the side of the river. The food is described as a fusion of modern European cuisine – Head Chef Antonio Sanzone says on the website: “My passion for cooking comes from the way I was brought up. My father, a retired cook, has taught me how to transform a job into a hobby and my mother taught me how to use simple and organic ingredients without compromising on quality and taste.” This all came across in the menu we were presented with, and I found it really difficult to choose as it all sounded so good, and really up my street! We were treated to an amuse bouche, a …

Tequila Dinner Pairing at Mestizo

A few weeks ago I was invited to a Mexican restaurant called Mestizo in North London, for an evening of tequila and food pairing. Tequila seems to have a bit of a ‘Marmite’ appeal in the UK, most likely because us Brits like to knock back the shots, which I think has potentially cheapened what is a high quality and traditional spirit. That said, I didn’t know a huge amount about tequila, so I was keen to learn more. And having the largest selection on display in the UK (260+ and counting), Mestizo seemed like a good place to do this! We started with the classic frozen margarita before moving on to a selection of Don Fulano tequilas, while being given an introduction to the production methods and types of tequilas. Tequila takes from 7-10 years to produce, unlike many other spirits such as rum and vodka) which can be made on a yearly basis. It is made from the Blue Agave plant that grows principally in the State of Jalisco and takes its name from …

Exploring Capri

We recently travelled to Sorrento in Italy for my good friend Kelly’s stunning wedding, with so much love, laughter and you will be pleased to hear, excellent food! We were only in Italy for the weekend so we wanted to fit in as much exploring as possible – we’d visited Sorrento a few years ago before I started the blog, which included a day visit to Amalfi and Positano. So this time we thought we’d try somewhere new which we didn’t get around to visiting last time – the beautiful island of Capri! It’s a 20 minute ferry ride from Sorrento port, for approx 18 Euros each way (not exactly the cheapest ferry ride for that length of journey, but worth it!) The arrival into Capri is quite a sight to behold, with the green hilly backdrop behind, and the seafront dotted with cute multicoloured shops, restaurants and boats. There’s certainly lots to explore on this island with quite a few hotels – lots of people were turning up on the ferry with big suitcases, …

National Curry Week 2016

Living in Tooting, we’re fortunate to be very close to a number of excellent local curry restaurants, although we do enjoy cooking curry at home. Over the past few years we’ve tried out a few curry ‘kits’, some of which include a few fresh ingredients, others which just include the spices, and they’ve always been really good. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that at university I used to buy the jar mixes of various curry sauces (hey, I was a student after all!) but I wouldn’t touch one any more, knowing how delicious the curries are that you can create with one of these kits. Did you know that this week is National Curry Week here in the UK? To celebrate, the fab team at Kingfisher sent me a box of Kingfisher beers and a curry spice kit from Tyga, as well as some peanut sprinkles from The Cheeky Food Company. I was looking forward to cooking up a storm! Kingfisher has always been my go-to beer when dining out for a curry. It’s India’s …

#FoodieFriends: Mel’s Fish Pie and Easy Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Recipes

I haven’t had a new #FoodieFriends post up on here for a while, so I’m very excited for this one from Mel. I have known Mel since I was around 8 years old – she and her husband Lloyd were our neighbours when we lived in Yorkshire and we have all been friends ever since. Here’s a serious throwback photo from 2009 when Dad was still with us: Lloyd also did a beautiful reading for us at our wedding. Mel is a fantastic cook and it’s a real treat to be invited round for dinner. I was up visiting my mum a couple of weeks ago and Mel cooked us a delicious fish pie, followed by an ice cream meringue pudding, which she was kind enough to share the recipes for: Fish Pie Mixture of cod, smoked haddock, salmon & cooked prawns Place all fish except prawns into a dish and cook for 10 mins in preheated oven of 180c covered with 1 pint of milk, seasoning, 2 bay leaves and some dried thyme. Drain …

The World’s Most Expensive Pho at Pho & Bun

Last week I was kindly invited by the lovely Sheepa to try out the world’s most expensive Pho at the Vietnamese restaurant Pho & Bun in Soho, named ‘Super Pho’. And it was all for a good cause, to highlight a campaign the restaurant is running to raise money for Action Against Hunger! So what goes into the world’s most expensive Pho?! Taking 2 months to prepare, the beef stock is cooked for 72 hours using a whole leg of dry aged beef.  Owner of Pho & Bun, Andy Le and his head chef Graeme Hibbs are using A5 grade Kobe beef which is retail priced at around £600/kg – the most expensive on the market, using two different cuts of beef to make both tender and rare beef. All Kobe beef cows are carefully monitored and fed a specialized diet which includes corn and pineapple. The cows are also massaged regularly in order to maintain their muscle tone. Pho & Bun are only using organic produce and herbs for the Super Pho Bowl. The Tam …

Cooking Cabrito Goat Meat and ‘Goatober’

Growing up in Cyprus, we were quite literally surrounded by goats – we didn’t eat them (that we knew of!), but we ate cheese produced from their milk on a near daily basis. I was therefore so saddened to learn recently that a huge number of male goats (estimated 40,000 per year) are killed at birth because they are simply not needed. Goats cheese is in such high demand that goats are being bred for the female goats to continue to produce milk. There’s an interesting article about this on Munchies here, if you’d like to read more into this (and I recommend you do). Now a number of companies, such as Cabrito, are encouraging people to eat goat meat and to ensure these billies aren’t dying in vain. I recently tried out goat meat for the first time at Gourmet Goat in Borough Market – an absolute must-try if you’re in the area. It was delicious with a unique and very ‘meaty’ flavour. After this, I was keen to try it out at home, …