All posts filed under: Dinner

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, …

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 + …

Mum’s Birthday Dinner at Norse, Harrogate

Since Mum has been living back in the UK, she’s had a rather impressive social life with friends who have been amazing! But something she rarely gets to do is go out for a fancy dinner. Getting dressed up and going out to a nice restaurant was one of my Dad’s favourite things to do, and something which has been notably absent in Mum’s life since he has been gone. So in December I though I’d treat Mum for her birthday to go out for dinner in one of the nearby towns in North Yorkshire. The question was, where would we go? She had always been amazed by the tasting menus Tim and I had been fortunate to experience, so I was over the moon when I discovered a restaurant in Harrogate which offered just that. Norse restaurant, led by Head Chef Simon Jewitt, is located within Baltzersens, a Nordic cafe in the centre of town on Oxford Street which transforms into a fine dining restaurant in the evening. As such, it has a relaxed …

Dinner at Plot, Broadway Market Tooting

I’m always so excited by new restaurant openings in Tooting. At the weekend it’s great not to have to trek into Central London to get awesome food and so having an even greater selection of restaurants and cuisines on your doorstep is a bonus. I recently came across a new opening called Plot on Twitter and managed to get a table on the opening weekend earlier this month. Well, I say table, more like two seats. We arrived at Broadway Marketing and found the new restaurant with a very cool layout – a nice marble-topped bar with stool seating around it, and gas heaters keeping people warm, because it was bloody cold in that market, despite being indoors! On the other side of the worktop was the whole restaurant – a small kitchen area with everything being cooked on display, an area for prep/plating and a bar. The menu is equally compact, but hey they say good things come in small packages. And that’s certainly the case at Plot! The restaurant was opened by cousins …

Birthday Dinner at Martin Wishart, Loch Lomond

One of my favourite foodie experiences in this world is an extensive tasting menu – you’ve probably read quite a few of my reviews on here if you’re a regular reader of the blog. For my birthday during our stay at Cameron House on Loch Lomond in October, we visited Martin Wishart’s Michelin Star restaurant for dinner. It’s quite a small and beautifully designed restaurant set within the Cameron House hotel, and I was pleased to see the tables were large with a good amount of space between them (there’s nothing I hate more than being bunched into a small place where you can hear everything the people on the next table are talking about!) The service was impeccable from the moment we stepped foot inside (greeted with the spectacular cheese trolley at the door, which I had to tear myself away from). We decided to go for the very impressive-looking 8 course tasting menu, paired with wine. As always when I post about tasting menus on here, the photos really don’t do the food …

Dinner at Jackson + Rye, Bank

Sometimes you just need some hearty comfort food, and I found exactly that recently at Jackson + Rye, in the City. It opened a few months ago, with other locations in Soho, Chiswick, Kingston, Richmond and Guildford. The City-located restaurant is on Old Jewry, right in the heart of the financial district. Tim and I visited on a Tuesday evening and the bar was incredibly busy – I can see this being a very popular post-work haunt for people working nearby. But you should note that many of said people can be rather noisy, particular en masse! So this probably isn’t the place to go for a quiet romantic meal – expect a lot of buzz and lively atmosphere. We were seated in the main restaurant and I was (contently!) overwhelmed by the huge menu. There’s something for everyone at Jackson + Rye but as everything sounded so tasty, it was difficult to choose! We ordered some Truffle & Polenta Hush Puppies and Popcorn Chicken as ‘nibbles’ to begin with. I’ve never paired polenta and truffle …

Lunch at Temper, Soho

I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so excited about a new restaurant opening as Neil Rankin’s ‘Temper’ in Soho. I read about it in the Evening Standard earlier in the year, and their description of the new BBQ restaurant where diners would be able to see their meat being prepared and cooked before them had me drooling from the start. I’ve got a bit of a gripe with many British BBQ restaurants, in that most of the ones I’ve been to slather their ribs, chicken etc with a thick, sticky BBQ sauce. In Cyprus we had an enormous gas BBQ in an outdoor kitchen area which was my Dad’s pride and joy. He was infamous for his BBQs amongst our family and friends, both when we lived in Yorkshire and in Cyprus. And there was no glimpse of a burger or sausage in sight – he would do steaks, pork chops, lamb chops (to name just a few!) and a plethora of side dishes and even puddings cooked in silver foil. You hadn’t had …

Dinner at The Square Pig, Holborn

A few weeks ago I was invited to try out the new menu at the recently refurbished ‘The Square Pig’ in Holborn. It’s a short walk from my office and it’s always useful to find good restaurants around that area, as it’s a great spot for meeting friends for a quick bite after work. As you walk into The Square Pig, it’s got a typical ‘gastropub’ feel to it, with a lively buzz and mix of people drinking and eating. Now I have to point something out right away in this review – it was particularly dark on the night I visited, and my camera was having absolutely none of it! I tried the flash a few times, but no fellow diners want to have a paparazzi show on the table next door. So The Square Pig kindly gave me some photos for this post, which were much needed. I’ve never had to do this before, so it must have been particularly dark in there! But hey, dark means cosy, and there’s nothing better than a …

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 …

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 …