Author: Megan Hallinan

Serious Steak at The Kitty Hawk, Moorgate

I recently visited The Kitty Hawk for dinner, in the heart of the city. It describes itself as an ‘all-day destination for those with a love of food, drink and discovery, infused with a heady blend of London cool and New York glamour’ with five bespoke dining experiences under one roof: The Bar & Kitchen, The Restaurant, The Coffee Bar & Patisserie, The Bar and The Private Dining Room. We were led downstairs to the main restaurant – I was a little bit scared for my photos when I saw the lighting, but luckily I happened to be sitting right next to a spotlight. I loved the decor and open plan kitchen. A really nice feature of The Kitty Hawk is the complimentary artisan bread, butter and herb-infused oils, which are prepared for you bespoke to your tastes at a little trolley next to your table. I chose to have thyme in my oil, with onion bread. The restaurant also provides complimentary still or sparkling cucumber water, another nice touch. The menu at The Kitty …

Dinner at The Slaughters Manor House, The Cotswolds

You may have read that in January we stayed at the stunning ‘The Slaughters Manor House’ in the Cotswolds for Tim’s birthday. While we were there, we had dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, headed up by Chef Nik Chappel, originally from Yorkshire (woohoo!) and who started out as an artist. Nik’s menus have a focus on fresh local produce epitomising the best seasonal dining, but as you’ll soon see, they’re also beautiful to look at, with some really unusual flavour combinations. We started our evening with a drink in the lounge upstairs, with one of the best barmen we’ve ever encountered – we told him we both love gin and what sort of botanicals and flavours we like, and he created bespoke cocktails for us! The drinks menu opened with “the icy tinkle chimed, ‘gin o’clock’ the room murmured.” This was my kind of place!! We were really torn between the two different tasting menus, the 6 course and 8 course. From our experience these menus don’t usually differ very much – the latter usually just …

A Retro Chicken Dinner at The Holy Birds, Liverpool Street

Tim is literally chicken-obsessed, I’ve mentioned it many times on this blog. I’ve never seen another human be able to devour one so quickly and so thoroughly – not a scrap is left on a bone! We were recently invited to a new restaurant in Liverpool Street called ‘The Holy Birds’ which is completely centred around, you guessed it, birds – chicken, duck, pigeon and so on. I love the concept! Their French, free range birds are brined for 24 hours, and air dried for 12 hours, to give them a delicious depth of flavour. We visited recently mid-week and we loved the decor and style from the moment we walked in the door, with its cool 60’s retro vibe.It was set up by brothers Gerry and Jon Calabrese, of The Hoxton Pony and Wringer + Mangle, both venues which I’ve previously visited and enjoyed. The Holy Birds is a large venue with a big bar area and a spacious restaurant adorned by a beautiful Murano glass chandelier, a perfect spot whether you’re looking for …

Beef and Sushi at Benihana, Chelsea

I first came across Benihana during a work trip to the US a few years ago, but I’d never had a chance to visit. Then there was the infamous ‘Beni-f*****g-hana’ scene in 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street where DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort declares war on the restaurant chain. I love that film, and that scene in particular had always stuck with me. So when I was invited to review the Chelsea venue, I was intrigued and excited to see what all the fuss had been about for so many years. Benihana is a Teppanyaki restaurant with a number of locations around the world. Rocky ‘Hiroaki’ Aoki opened the first Benihana restaurant in 1964 in New York City. It’s largely known for the exciting spectacle of the chefs cooking fresh meat and fish right in front of diners with knives, eggs and all sorts being thrown in the air and food being (purposefully!) set on fire! It attracts a mixed crowd – when we were there, the clientele was largely families with kids entertained by the …

Italian-Japanese Fusion at Bella Cosa, Canary Wharf

Japanese and Italian are not typically two cuisines you would think of combining. On paper they’re completely different! So I was really intrigued by the menu at Bella Cosa, an Italian restaurant with Italian management, but a Japanese chef! A few weeks ago I was kindly invited to a private dinner at the restaurant to discover how this unique fusion of cultures and food would work. Bella Cosa is close to Canary Wharf – it’s a 15 minute walk from the main square or you can get the DLR to South Quay which is just 5 minutes away. Immediately I was blown away by the setting. The restaurant is right on the river overlooking the twinkling lights of the city to the left and the spectacular O2 to the right, with many a private yacht dotted in between. We started off the evening with champagne in the lounge area overlooking this view – a number of canapés were served (Cannoli, Ricotta, Walnut & Beetroot powder, Black Ink Chips, Mascarpone, Salmon Roe, and Pane Carasau, Bresaola, …

Tim’s Birthday at The Slaughters Manor House, The Cotswolds

In January we decided to get away to The Cotswolds for a night for Tim’s birthday. Ever since we got the car last year, it has been so nice to just hop in and escape from London for a night or two at the weekends, and we thought we’d treat ourselves with a stay at The Slaughters Manor House. It was a fairly easy two hour drive from South London and the perfect wintery day – crisp blue skies with a chill in the air. And I just fell in love with the place from the moment we pulled up the driveway. It’s exactly what you’d expect from the Cotswolds, with beautiful sandstone architecture and projecting gables. The Slaughters Manor House is in Lower Slaughter, a quaint little village four miles south west of Stow-on-the-Wold, built on both banks of the River Eye, lined with picture-perfect cottages. As soon as we arrived, we went for a stroll… At the west end of the village there is a 19th-century water mill, surrounded by sheep and ducks, housing a …

Steak, Cheese and Churros at Bar + Block, King’s Cross

We recently moved offices from Covent Garden to King’s Cross and I’ve been so impressed by the range of new bars and restaurants which have opened up in the area. It’s a total foodie heaven! So when I heard about a new steak restaurant opening up a stone’s throw away from the office, I just had to try it out! Tim and I visited early evening on a Friday and as you can imagine, the bar was packed with people enjoying a post-work tipple (or two!) as well as tourists visiting the capital. What wasn’t clear from the restaurant’s website was that it is actually based within a hotel and this is something I’m often a little hesitant about. From the restaurant you can actually see through to the hotel’s reception – ordinarily this might sound a bit off-putting, but with the decor and ambience, it just worked! There are butcher’s style floor tiles, cosy red-leather booths, bold retro chairs, a marble-topped Chef’s Table, where guests can pull up a stool to experience the‘Primed + …