Food, restaurants

Kouzu Japanese Restaurant: Honesty In Belgravia

December 15, 2014

Kouzu Japanese restaurant

Belgravia is an upperclass oasis in London, where there the streets are clean, the houses white and uniformed and is home possibly to the best Japanese restaurant in the world.

When you arrive at Kouzu Japanese restaurant you are greeted by staff with “Irasshaimase”. It means welcome in Japanese and when you enter this modern, open spaced restaurant you truly do feel it, they want you to feel welcome and they are proud of working there.

We started as always with a cocktail in the bar. Having a drink at the bar before you eat is a good way of seeing the kind of service you will receive. Its also another way to get a sneak preview of the craft they apply to the kitchen. We were impressed; the cocktails were smoothly shaken and served. The two delicious cocktails we tasted made a promise for something extraordinary to come.

Kouzu japanese restaurant cocktails

Kouzu japanese restaurant

The menu at Kouzu is a heavenly parade of Japanese food. We were lucky to have help choosing dishes from the superb Kenichi Kakuta, who is the restaurant manager for Kouzu. He explained and helped us choose our starters:

Yellow tail and white truffle dressing

Yellow tail and white truffle dressing

Yellow tail and white truffle dressing

Beef – Sirloin Amiyaki

beef sirloin kouzu

beef sirloin kouzu

Salmon with Youz soy dressing

Salmon with Youz soy dressing

A special collection of sushi 

kouzu restaurant sushi

A special collection of sushi

All the dishes were extremely well prepared. The dishes were like art pieces, simple but mind-blowingly executed. Kouzu’s secret lies in their use of the best possible products; these are chefs who take pride in making perfection.

Kouzu spicy tuna roll

Kouzu spicy tuna roll

Sharing is the way to dine in a restaurant like Kouzu as the menu is so rich in variety. We had Mr. Kakuta roll out a red carpet of dishes: Sushi, Makimono rolls, and Nigiri. It was overwhelming. By the time we had finished we were like fattened calves.

Sushi chef Nobuyuki Yamaguchi showed us the honor to come to our table, and explain how he creates sushi and how he only uses special rice from a certain area in Japan. He also educated us by explaining that there isn’t just one type of soy sauce. Soy sauce has as many varieties as Balsamico.

Nobuyuki Yamaguchi

Kouzu sushi chef Nobuyuki Yamaguchi

The desserts we tasted where also sublime, delicate and well executed. Each mouthful had fireworks going off in our mouths. They were a nice way to end a fantastic meal.

dessert Kouzu restuarant

Kouzu’s style is clean and sharp and when you first enter you may think it is a little too utilitarian to be pitched as high class. However, when you visit please sit down, order your food, and the penny will drop. Kouzu is all about the food they don’t need a funky or rich décor to please their customers. A visit to Kouzu is all about honesty; a higher experience and they do not cut corners.

Please do yourself the favour, and visit them, it’s a treat, it is an experience and they will not let you down.

Travel, Weekends away in UK

A Perfect Stay in Polzeath, Cornwall

December 5, 2014

perfect-stay

Cornwall is fast becoming a favourite of my partner and I. The last time we visited was in the summer staying at The Scarlet Hotel near Newquay. This time for our second trip we decided to pick somewhere a bit more homely and private. After a bit of googling we discovered Perfect Stays luxury holiday rentals.  I don’t have an exhaustive list of essentials for the perfect holiday let, but it does help to have a cracking fireplace and a modern kitchen. The house we chose ticked all these boxes and more.  The house we eventually decided on was called Seagrass, a large newly built luxury house with all the mod cons you can think of from a fully equipped gym to Sonos surround sound and even a nespresso machine. Everything we would need to make this our home away from home. A nice touch was that when we arrived we were greeted with some essentials like eggs and milk and of course some Cornish scones and cream. Happy days! The house had five bedrooms which would be perfect for a large family looking for somewhere to go away.

Our Perfect stay apartment in Cornwall We instantly fell in love with the house, and at the end of the week it was really hard to say goodbye (especially to the kitchen). As well as the house being catered to our every whim Perfect Stays also provided a book of essentials like numbers for taxis, nearest supermarkets, recommendations for places to visit and a number for their around the clock concierge service. We were very impressed by their concierge service who were able to secure a hard to book last-minute table at Rick Stein’s Seafood restaurant.

seagrass house perfect stays cornwall

If you love surfing then you will love Polzeath, the waves are wild and the water is cold! Personally I’m more of a land lubber so we spent much of our stay going on coastal walks and exercising those muscles that we forgot we had. We took a two-hour hike upon the gently sloping cliffs, saying hi too a few sheep as we passed by. When we reached the peak of the cliff we were rewarded with the most stunning view of the atlantic. The clean air and exercise really helped me really relax and unwind. We had thought that by choosing to visit in Autumn we wouldn’t have good weather but we were lucky as while we were there we only had a couple of days of rain and most mornings we had wonderful sunshine to wake up to. I would recommend visiting Cornwall at this time of year if you’re not too bothered about sunbathing as it’s a lot quieter. Most of the holiday homes around us were empty and when we went to sleep it was in perfect silence.

polzeath-cornwallSome images from the coastline in Polzeath….

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photo 3

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photo 16cornish flowerIt was lovely to see flowers like the specimen above still blooming in this cold and windy season.

photo 15As you can see from the pictures Polzeath, has wild unspoilt beaches, it was very romantic watching the sunset everyday. photo 8

A beautiful sunset

sunset-walk-polzeath

After spending a couple of days exploring the beaches of Polzeath we were ready to journey a bit further afield. Ten minutes walk from the house was the St Moritz Hotel. I enjoyed a luxurious massage in the Cowshed Spa whilst my partner enjoyed a glass of spiced rum and ginger ale in the bar upstairs.

For our next trip out of Polzeath we took the ferry across to Padstow, a little fishing village, famous for its fresh fish and famous chefs. Read about that in part two!

Art

Hang-Up Gallery Christmas Exhibition 6 Dec 2014 – 11 Jan 2015

November 25, 2014

hanguppics-under500

Hang-Up is a London based contemporary art gallery located in the vibrant and bohemian neighbourhood of Stoke Newington. The gallery represents both young artists at the early stages of their careers alongside established names from the art world and seeks to show artists whom in some way break the mould from the traditional, pushing the boundaries either in terms of their work, their message or both.

The Hang-Up  Christmas Exhibition launches in two weeks and all works will be under £500, including exclusive new releases and unseen works from both gallery artists, perfect for those looking for a unique Christmas gift or just looking to treat themselves.

Some of the artists who will be featured are  Joe Webb, Mark Powell, Magnus Gjoen, Dave White, Lauren Baker, Mason Storm Russell Marshall, and the eponymous Shepard Fairey.

Head along to their private view on 5th Dec for a first peak.

Dave White at hangup gallery

Dave White at hangup gallery

Magnus Gjoen hang-up gallery

Magnus Gjoen

Food, Things to do in london

The Tasting Room at Broadgate Ice Rink

November 20, 2014

Smokestak at The Tasting Room

If you like you food big bold and smoking then this December you need to get down to The Tasting Room at Broadgate Ice Rink. Backed by foodie experts from Roka and Sourced Market The Tasting Room will aim to  provide a dreamy destination for Londoners to ‘fill their boots’ with the best craft beer, authentic smoked street food and artisan cuisine.

Head along to enjoy Texas inspired BBQ of smoked meats cooked onsite, including pulled pork buns, ribs, chicken wings and beef brisket as well as smoked canapés, and freshly prepared salads. For the early birds in and around the capital, London’s finest gourmet doughnuts from Crosstown and an exclusive coffee blend by London roasters, Mission Coffee will be served from 7:30am on week days, and 10am at the weekend.

For those of you who just want to enjoy a hot drink after a bit of skating drinks will be served courtesy of Peppermint Bars, offering craft beers from London’s finest breweries, winter cocktails, bourbons and signature wines.

The Tasting Room officially launches on 24th of November and will run right through until 26th February 2015.

For more information please visit: http://www.thetastingroom.london

Food, Things to do in london

Visit Skandilicious – Swedish Christmas Pop Up restaurant Nov/Dec

November 20, 2014

swedish-Christmas

 

This November and December a bit of Scandinavia is coming to London with the Swedish Christmas Pop Up restaurant – Skandilicious. This is your chance to enjoy an authentic and truly unique experience this winter. Celebrate the festive season in a (candle-lit) Scandi-chic environment whilst sampling authentic festive cuisine from the all-you-can-eat Swedish“Julbord” (the Christmas version of a Smorgasbord). Examples of what you can expect to eat are dishes like herring, cold cut meats, salads and pates and of course smoked salmon & gravad lax. Different types of breads & spreads as well as beetroot salad, roe-dip and little eggs with prawns. It wouldn’t be a Swedish Christmas without one meatballs!

Check out the sample menu below:

swedish-christmas-menu

Join in with traditional snaps-songs before retiring to the Loft Bar post dinner and sample cocktails from the specially designed Christmas Cocktail Menu.

Tickets to Skandilicious are £45 and include a welcome Glögg and the all-you-can-eat Swedish Christmas Smörgåsbord.

Things to do in london

Things to do this Halloween in London

October 29, 2014

Pumpkins at King's Cross

So you’ve left it a bit late to plan your Halloween, we’ll never fear – here are a few ideas for things to do this Halloween. MUAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Free pumpkins at Kings Cross!

3,000 carved pumpkins will be creating a beautiful lighting display all the way up the Regents Canal from Thursday 30 October to Saturday 1 November. The pumpkins will form a sea of russet vegetables, twinkling lights and grimacing faces designed to both delight and scare.

The pumpkins are being specially created by Global Generation and some master carvers, and you will have the chance to take one home on Saturday 1 October when there will be a mass give-away of pumpkins. Each pumpkin will come with a recipe card from King’s Cross restaurants like Grain Store and Dishoom.

For more information please check out: http://www.kingscross.co.uk/halloween

image004

Party with vampires at the Halloween Raveyard

30,000 square feet of abandoned, underground Victorian brick office space that used to be a morgue facility for London’s rotting corpses. Yes, the perfect place for a Halloween party then. On Thursday 30th Oct and Saturday 1st Nov The Halloween Raveyard at The Vaults will house guided dissection labs, cabaret and cocktails, live music, coffin testing and a zombie disco dance hall. Tickets cost £15 on the door. For more information please visit: http://www.the-vaults.org/#!raveyard/c1vvr

Enter the Dreamery! If you dare….

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This Halloween, enter a terrifying horror maze inspired by the Day of the Dead and incorporating installation art, live performance and interactive challenges. In the basement of the old Hackney archives, survive a series of treacherous worlds in order to escape Mictlan, the Aztec Underworld.

For more informationn please visit: https://www.picatic.com/lasmaravillas

Art

Paintings and Photographs by Derren Brown at The Rebecca hossack Gallery

October 27, 2014

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Who knew that illusionist and master of mind control Derren Brown is also a painter (or maybe he has hypnotised me to say that). Well as surprising as it may seem he is actually pretty good. He will be hosting an exhibition of his work titled the Painting and Photographs as The Rebecca Hossack Gallery from the 5th November.

His work has a hyper-real quality and his six foot painting of Dame Maggie Smith is captivating.  Accompanying his new work will be a selection of earlier portraits, and, for the first time, a collection of his street photography. Armed with his Leica, Derren has pursued his fascination with the poetic in the everyday, taking to the streets to capture the moments of wonder hidden in the relationships between people and their environments. As a well-known figure, he has tended in the past to keep his head down in public; now this passion for photography has promoted a new connectedness with people as they become his unwitting subjects.

The exhibition runs until 29 November

 

Food, Things to do in london

Visiting the Bettane+desseauve wine experience at The Saatchi Gallery and A trip to The Duke of York Square Market

October 27, 2014

B+D wine 5On the last Saturday in October, we were blessed with sunshine in London and we got to see the city from its finest side. It also got people out of their apartments and houses, to explore the cities many events and sites. I was invited to the Bettane+Desseauve wine experience at the Saatchi Gallery. I took my sweet boyfriend under the arm and headed towards Chelsea to try some tasty wines, not a bad way to spend time on a Saturday.

Outside the Saatchi Gallery, there are 5 statues, called Warrior made by Xavier Mascaro. They looked very impressive and in the sunshine, they were like guards leading the way to the gallery.

Inside we each got a glass, and then it was time to go off for a taste of wine, from around the world. In the welcome brochure we were given was written “A rendez-vous with European wine excellence” so we where quite optimistic.

B+D wine 7

Domaines Rollan De By, served us some great wines. Their Chateau is situated in the Bordeaux region. The Medoc wines are well known and they live up to the areas reputation for producing excellent wines. The majority of the grapes here are Merlot, combined with Cabernet Sauvignon and some Petit Verdot. We tasted 8 different wines, guided by the representative from the Chateau who was very informative.

B+D Wine 2

Next we tried some wine from Chateau Lafron-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe, again a well-known region. Then we moved on taste Champagne from Paul Goerg, and then more red wine from Tuscany and LeMacchiole.

B+D wine 9

We ended up, talking to Mrs Cecilie Naldoni Piccin an Italian winegrower, who had some excellent wine. She runs her vineyard with her husband and son who is studying oenology. The area that they make the wine is called Grifalco, and is situated next to the heel of the boot of Italy. Lots of sun, gives this wine a floral taste and makes you think of summer.

“Il vino veritas”, (In wine there’s truth) and this woman had undoubtedly the best wine at the event, simple honest with charisma.

B+D wine 8

The venue is a gallery, and should be used as such, and not a place for Michel Bettane & Thierry Desseauve to have a wine experience. Secondly, yes there were some great producers, especially Champagne Ruinart, but they didn’t come with their top products, so it was not near excellence. I missed top producers from Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy. I missed water to clear my tasting glass and when asked where I could buy the wines I tasted, many had to say they where not represented in the UK.

It’s only the third year of the event running so, hopefully they will come back stronger next year. Wine is passion; its art making grapes into wine and the whole process is a foundation for countless tales. There was no room in the Saatchi Gallery for storytelling or even proper introductions to the products from the representatives. In summary the event was “Much Ado About Nothing”.

B+D wines 3 (market candy)Just next to Saatchi Gallery, is the Duke of York Square. It’s market is open each Saturday and on this sunny day, it was packed with smiling people, buying street food and small goodies for the Saturday lunch or afternoon tea. All ready in a very French mood, after tasting the wine from Bordeaux and other Regions of France, we stood in line, to have a Duck Confit burger, apparently the best sandwich in Chelsea according to the sign. I chose mine to have caramelised onions with chilli sauce, which was yummy.

B+D wine (market food)

B+D wines 4 (market food carnad confit)

Six pounds of Duck Confit burger saved the trip to Chelsea.

 

 

Hotels, Travel, Weekends away in UK

A stay at The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall

October 18, 2014

TRANQUILITY2

I’ve discovered a secret oasis, a place that makes you feel instantly at home and provides you with first class luxury and it’ s right here in the UK. I had heard about the beauty of the Northern Cornish coast before but this summer was the first time I got the chance to experience it.

My partner and I stayed a week at the ultimate couple’s retreat – The Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall. The hotel is owned by three Cornish sisters and they have managed to create a hotel that is not only completely eco-friendly but also first class in service and food.

Situated on a cliff top the hotel had beautiful views of the coast. We opted for one of the larger suites and our room at the Scarlet was the epitome of luxury. Our large and plush bed faced the sea view so each morning we were awoken to a glorious stream of daylight and lovely breeze from the sea.

We also had a lovely deep bath (perfect for two) and a monsoon shower filled with spa goodies. I especially enjoyed the large terrace which afforded us the privacy to relax in the sun without fear of being overlooked.

Thescarletroom2

We knew that we had discovered somewhere very special when we arrived at the hotel and found that the Scarlet doesn’t have a reception desk – they want all guests to receive a personal experience and so check in happens while you enjoy view from the terrace. Followed by a guided tour of the hotel and its facilities.

Each day we went down to enjoy a varied breakfast menu filled with locally sourced food, which tasted fresh and delicious. I am quite fond of mint tea and one of the waiters remembered and every morning brought fresh mint in from his garden. That is true service!

Dinner was also amazing – every evening we had a different menu and each course was beautifully prepared and tasted exquisite. Dessert offerings at the hotel were to die for – we enjoyed the most delicious white chocolate mousse served in a honeycomb ball. Which I have been craving since we returned home.

Food-the-scarlet

fresh-fish-from the sea

white-choc-mousse

If you do visit The Scarlet you must also indulge in their spa experiences. My partner and I went on holistic “journey” together this consisted of us having full body massages, a couple’s rhassoul treatment where clay is applied to your body before steam and heat is administered to purify the skin. After that came a salt scrub to exfoliate away all the dead skin. We finished the experience lying in a hammock to relax and unwind.

We also enjoyed some of the other wonderful facilities that the hotel had on offer such as sipping champagne in one of their lovely hot tubs overlooking the ocean and taking a dip in their top-rated chemical-free, self cleaning outdoor pool.

hottub-scarlet

matchlessWe also enjoyed walking around the hotel and looking at all the original artwork by local Cornish artists, also available to buy.  Experiencing The Scarlet is not only about the hotel, Mawgan Porth itself is wild and beautiful and we enjoyed many walks along the cliff tops taking in the stunning scenery. The beach was quiet and clean and perfect for those who love to surf. The blue waters of Mawgan Porth and warm climate of the bay made us forget we were still in the UK.

flowers-pic

footprints in the sand

If you’re looking for somewhere to escape the pressures of city life then – The Scarlet hotel is the place to visit, we ended the week feeling rejuvenated and relaxed making arrangements to visit very soon!

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Food, restaurants

Nozomi Japanese Restaurant Review, Knightsbridge

October 18, 2014

Nozomi-knightsbridge

On a warm September evening, we traveled to Knightsbridge to visit Japanese restaurant, Nozomi as a guest of Nozomi’s brand ambassador Max George.

London is slowly getting its feet back on the international food scene, why it has taken so long is unknown as London truly is the capital of Europe when it comes to culture and diversity in cuisine. Hopefully the days where restaurants put time limits on how long you can stay and dine are over and people will actually start demanding their food to be made with passion and quality.

Nozomi gives you all this; excellent service, surroundings that make you forget where in the world you are, pure craftsmanship and attitude in their food all presented in a relaxed and smooth way.

We visited to try their new a la carte menu, and found it be very inspiring. Devouring the huge variety on the menu was best done with a cocktail
and their huge Cocktail menu was mouth-watering just to read.

watermelon-cocktailberry-berry-cocktail

My guest chose a Watermelon Bumbum And Sake Cocktail, with vodka, fresh watermelon and cucumber syrup. I had the Mango Mai Tai. Both of the cocktails were absolutely delicious. The cocktails always give away, how dedicated the restaurant is, so this was promising.

For starters we had the Nozomi Nigiri Sushi selection and the Seafood Dumplings. The sushi was artistically styled on a plate, it was so tasty and I have to say some of the best I’ve ever tasted in London. The Dumplings, filled with sea bass, scallops and prawn, was also tasty but I found the presentation and taste terribly boring compared to the sushi.

Nozomi’s French restaurant manager keeps a cool flow in the restaurant, so you feel the waiter’s intention is to make your experience perfect, without having them constantly at your table.

The main courses are complemented with a well thought-through wine selection. It was nice to see, that small brands are well represented in their selection. You can travel all over the world and enjoy superb wine from Cloudy Bay, New Zealand, to the great Brunello from Tuscany in Italy.

We enjoyed glasses of Chianti that went perfectly with the Wagyu Beef and the Black Cod. The Beef itself was a masterpiece in cooking. It deserves a standing ovation. The Chef has prepared a dish, where both the eye and the heart of any foodie, will be pleased and satisfied. The Black Cod, served in leaves, is grilled to perfection. Its caramelized skin was delicious and the fish itself was full of flavour and so juicy. Not many can prepare a fish dish like this!

sushi-nozomi waygu

After being pampered with the amazing food it was hard to fathom dessert, but luckily we took up the restaurant manager’s suggestion and shared a white chocolate fondant with ice cream and two absolutely naughty dessert Cocktails. It was a wonderful end to a dreamy food experience.

chocolate-fondant-heaven

naughty-dessert-cocktails

Nozomi takes you away with its combination of calm, excellent service and superb international kitchen, dazzled with dope cocktails.

 

Nozomi

14-15 Beauchamp Pl, London SW3 1NQ

020 7838 1500