All posts tagged: fine dining

An evening with Kikkoman at Frog by Adam Handling

A few months ago, our (equally foodie) friends Matt and Tilly visited The Frog restaurant in East London’s Brick Lane, owned and run by former MasterChef winner Adam Handling, and raved about it – they even brought us back some of the infamous ‘chicken butter’ because it was just so good (more on that later). It’s a restaurant I’ve been wanting to go to for so long but just sadly hadn’t got around to it. Well that all changed recently when I was invited to a private dinner by the lovely Kikkoman team at Adam’s brand-new restaurant ‘Frog by Adam Handling’ in Covent Garden. You might have read last year I attended a Kikkoman dinner at Sushisamba (you can catch up here if you missed it) and had a fantastic experience – it was fascinating to learn more about the soy sauce products and how they were incorporated into the dishes. Sushisamba might have had a more obvious connection for an event related to soy sauce products (for those who haven’t been, they serve a …

Birthday Lunch at The Black Swan at Oldstead

Ever since my Mum moved back to Yorkshire, I’ve been dying to visit The Black Swan in Oldstead, but felt like I needed an ‘occasion’ given its Michelin-star quality food (and prices!). I finally had the perfect excuse for my 30th birthday in October and asked my Mum if a trip there for lunch could be my present (a bit cheeky, but it worked, and she got to enjoy it too!). I booked at the start of the year last year as it’s high in demand. Mid-way through last year it was voted the ‘Travellers Choice Best Fine Dining Restaurant in the World’ by TripAdvisor, so I was glad I got my booking in before then, as I’m sure the requests went through the roof. It all seems so baffling for a tiny restaurant in a humble little village such as Oldstead. Despite it being around 20 minutes from where my Mum lives and where I grew up as a child, we didn’t know anything about it until its incredible rise to fame over the …

Dinner at Rijks, Amsterdam

At the end of September, I went on a girlie weekend to Amsterdam with two of my awesome former colleagues, Pia and Lieke – at 2K I really did make friends for life! We did lots of fun things during our trip (I’ll get to writing about these at some point!), with huge thanks to Lieke who is from the Netherlands and knew all the great spots to visit. One of those was Rijks restaurant. Rijks is located within the world famous Rijksmuseum. Just as the museum tells the story and history of the Netherlands with some influences from other countries from across the globe, the restaurant follows suit. It describes itself as being “the Rijksmuseum served up on a plate”. The kitchen is headed up by Joris Bijdendijk who you could see working hard away in the open plan kitchen with his team. He’s obviously well recognised in the cooking scene in the Netherlands, with a new book launching next week. So, on to the food! To try a little bit of everything, we ordered the …

Dining at The Forest Side, The Lake District

I’m becoming acutely aware that every time I try a new tasting menu, I say it’s one of the best I’ve had. But the tasting menu at The Forest Side really was spectacular, and I think a big part of this was down to the freshness and seasonality of the dishes. It boasts a superb kitchen garden within the grounds of the hotel, which I wrote about in my previous post about our stay (you can read here). This extended to all of the food and even drinks at The Forest Side. Upon arrival, while most people were sipping coffees and tucking into Afternoon Tea, we got started on the cocktails! I kicked off proceedings with a Flowering Currant Margarita, with blanco tequila, flowering currant, cointreau and lime. It was stunning! I stupidly didn’t write down what Tim ordered and looking at the menu it’s impossible to work out what it might have been – the menu and selection of foraged ingredients is vast! Those cocktails went down very nicely (and rather quickly!) so we …

Taste of London 2017

Last month was my absolute favourite foodie event of the year, Taste of London. I’ve attended and written about it in 2015 and 2016, and now it’s time for this year’s instalment. And I was craving it more than ever. Food festivals are becoming increasingly popular in this country and I visit as many as I can for both work and pleasure. One of these was the London Evening Standard ‘Night Market’ a few weeks ago which I’d been really looking forward to, but unfortunately it was a big disappointment. There wasn’t many food stalls (or at least, not as many as I was expecting) and because the stalls were street food rather than restaurants with kitchens, the queues were long. Seriously long. In the whole evening I had two dishes and one drink. It was a real shame. As soon as I walked into Taste of London on a beautiful sunny evening at Regent’s Park, I breathed a sigh of relief. The atmosphere is always fantastic and each year I’m honestly like a kid …

Experiencing Norse’s new home in Harrogate

You might recall in December I took my Mum for a superb tasting menu at Norse restaurant in Harrogate. If not, you can refresh your memory right here. I was very impressed with the intricacy of the dishes and combinations of flavours, and I was so pleased that a restaurant of this quality (and excellent social media channels, always a bonus for me!) had opened up in my Mum’s ‘neck of the woods’ in North Yorkshire. The restaurant offered the tasting menu during the evening, in the restaurant where Scandi café ‘Baltzersen’s’ was housed during the daytime. Quite simply, it wasn’t ‘theirs’ (although owned by the same owner, Paul Rawlinson). And this was reflected in the ambience, design and décor of the restaurant. It felt like a café, which indeed it was. But with fine dining and higher prices in the evening, it was a little jarring. I’d heard that they were hoping to relocate to their own premises, and so when I saw their Kickstarter campaign, I knew I had to back them. The …

Learning about Soy Sauce with Kikkoman at Sushisamba

How much do you know about soy sauce? If you’re anything like me, then probably not a lot! I love it, and happily pour it over stir fries and sushi (mixed with a little wasabi). But I was embarrassingly ignorant about the story and history behind it. I was recently invited to an event by Kikkoman and I was excited to learn more about it, and banish my soy-related ignorance. Not only that, but the event was hosted on the 38th floor of Heron Tower at Sushisamba, a Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian restaurant which had been on my list for some time but I’d just never got around to visiting. Upon arrival (after getting rather giddy and excited by the glass lift journey to the top – I know I’m late to the party but I challenge anyone not to get excited by it if you’re a Sushisamba lift virgin. Unless you’re scared of heights, then it’s probably not for you!), we were greeted with cocktails. With Kikkoman soy sauce in them. As regular readers will know, I’m …

Mother’s Day Michelin-Star Lunch at The Star Inn at Harome

Since Mum moved back to Yorkshire from Cyprus, we’ve had great fun exploring new places in the area (places I would no doubt have visited as a child but don’t remember), but most importantly places that do very good food! I was back up North for Mother’s Day and I’d booked a table for the two of us for lunch at The Star Inn at Harome. We visited on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend so we could enjoy a full day and evening together rather than me having to head back to foggy London Town in the late afternoon. The Michelin-starred ‘The Star Inn’ is a couple of miles outside the quaint market town of Helmsley, and has origins believed to date back to the 14th Century. It was certainly very unusual to see a thatched roof in this area! As the website describes, Owner/Executive Chef Andrew Pern’s ‘Modern Yorkshire’ style of cooking places great emphasis on regional and seasonal ingredients and is firmly rooted in North Yorkshire, as indeed is Andrew himself, having grown …

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 …

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 …