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Food, Hotels, restaurants, review, Things to do in london

A Review of Afternoon Tea At The Wellesley Hotel, knightsbridge

January 3, 2014
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The Wellesley Hotel, Knighstbridge

First blog post of the New Year!

So in my last post I talked about how I decided to take a bit of a hiatus from blogging in January….

However, I did manage to squeeze in a trip to the Wellesley Hotel for some afternoon tea. Trying to find a place for afternoon tea close to Christmas is a bit of a mission. So we took a bit of a gamble with The Wellesley but it definitely paid off! The hotel is a fairly new addition to Knightsbridge and is situated next door to the Lanesborough Hotel. Decorated in an art deco style this place is all about detail, elegance and luxury.

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The Wellesley’s impressive marble floored entrance

We arrived on a windy and wet Sunday evening to be greeted by staff  at The Wellesley and were shown to the beautiful  Jazz lounge. Not having had the chance to check the rooms out before we had booked I was blown away by the opulent and luxurious interior, especially the larger than life chandelier ( bling bling)!

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The Jazz Lounge at The Wellesley Hotel

After we had settled into our seats the waiter explained to us the various types of tea and we were given the chance to  test their aromas. I opted for a black tea which had vanilla notes. This proved to be a good choice to counter the sweetness of the pastries.

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Vanilla Black tea

Courtesy of the chef we received a surprising and very tasty extra, a strawberry pannacotta.

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strawberry pannacotta

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Lanky Girl getting ready for some delicious pastries,

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Afternoon Tea and pastries at the Wellesley

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The afternoon tea was pretty extensive – we enjoyed a selection of homemade finger sandwiches,  assorted pastries, warm raisin & plain scones  homemade preserves & clotted cream. While we took tea we were quietly serenaded by a pianist.

For 35 pounds we thought the afternoon tea at The Wellesley was definitely worth every penny. Staff were very attentive and we had as many refills of our teapot as we needed. We couldn’t even finish the array of pastries that we were given, luckily we got to take the rest home in a goody bag!

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restaurants, review

Ffionas British Restaurant – Kensington -a review

October 19, 2013

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Ffionas is a quaint and homely little British restaurant in Kensington run by a formidable lady named Fiona. Recently I was to invited to try their brunch menu.

Situated on Kensington Church Street (we almost missed it! ) the restaurant is small and perfectly formed. I loved the homely look and feel – the musical notes on the ceiling, blue print wallpaper and fresh flowers made it easy to relax here. I suspect it is one of the reasons why the restaurant appeals to customers – it will be celebrating its 20th birthday this year.

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Ordering from the brunch menu my date who was nursing a hangover chose the all day breakfast. When it arrived I was slightly jealous having gone for pancakes, bacon and egg.

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Both of us attacked our food with great gusto and finished it all. Happily full cured of his hangover we both agreed that the food was good and simple, just like your mum may have made at home.
If you find yourself in the area give them a try.

Up until December you can get 25% off Brunch at Ffiona’s which is a nice incentive.

Food, restaurants, review

A Review of McQueen Restaurant and Bar – Shoreditch

October 1, 2013

Where do all the cool kids go for dinner? Apparently Mcqueen restaurant in Shoreditch. Recently I was invited along to try out McQueen’s pre-theatre menu. Most people know McQueen as a funky bar/club in Shoreditch but it actually does excellent food too.

McQueens Restaurant -Shoreditch

McQueens Restaurant -Shoreditch2

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The interior of the restaurant is  vintage and retro with huge leather Chesterfield sofa´s, padded walls which are covered with photos of the great Steve McQueen. Lighting was warm and intimate which in my opinion makes it sexy and inviting a great place to bring a date.

For the first course I went for butternut squash and coconut soup which was more was really rich and smooth, it was more butternut than coconut and the chilli gave it a nice kick. My fellow dinner Tiny Cook N kitchen, opted for the Fig, toasted goat’s cheese, crispy parma ham and roasted hazelnut Salad which she liked so much she has said she will tried to make at home.

butternut squash soup and coconut

butternut squash and coconut soup

Fig, toasted goat’s cheese, crispy parma ham and roasted hazelnut Salad

Fig, toasted goat’s cheese, crispy parma ham and roasted hazelnut Salad

Next was the main course I went for the grilled rib chop of pork, crushed sweet potatoes, wilted bok choi and peppercorn sauce. The sweet potatoes were so creamy and sweet I could have eaten a whole bowl and the pork was nicely done. The bok choi I found to be bit overcooked and to be honest It didn’t really add much to other parts of the dish for me. My dining partner opted for the mixed pepper and leek rice, roasted breast of chicken and salsa verde which kind of reminded me of something we often eat in Nigeria.

Grilled rib chop of pork, crushed sweet potatoes, wilted bok choy and peppercorn sauce

Grilled rib chop of pork, crushed sweet potatoes, wilted bok choy and peppercorn sauce

Mixed pepper and leek rice, roasted breast of chicken, salsa verde

Mixed pepper and leek rice, roasted breast of chicken, salsa verde

Lastly came dessert which we both agreed was delicious! I am now a fully fledged salted caramel convert. I chose the mixed berry cake which was light, moist and creamy.

Assorted ice cream Salted caramel

Assorted ice cream Salted caramel

mixed berry cake

mixed berry cake

Mscqueens Shoreditch Bar

All in all I really enjoyed my trip to McQueen and considering the pre-theatre menu is only 15 pounds this makes the meal a bargain, I will be back!

 Tiny cook n kitchen said:

I can’t speak for the rest of the menu but the pre-theatre menu is a steal! My dishes were well presented and more importantly, really delicious. I’m still salivating over the goat cheese and fig salad starter and the ice cream for dessert was a winner. The bouncer we encountered on arrival was a little grizzly but our waiter for the evening was charming with the right level of tact, which many restaurants often fail at. Best served with a bunch of good friends or with a dinner date.

restaurants, review

Yaneff at Dstrkt Spring Tasting Menu – Restaurant Review

June 24, 2013
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Dstrkt London Restaurant

I recently had the pleasure of dining at Dstrkt London in Piccadilly Circus, a club, bar and restaurant that has become a bit of a  celeb haunt.  It was my first visit  to try their Spring Menu and I was pleasantly surprised by how good the food was. This  coupled with their extensive cocktail list makes this place somewhere that I think is worth a visit!

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Dstrkt Cocktail

As I entered the rather dramatic doorway and gave my name to the very glamorous receptionist, she showed me downstairs where I was met by another glamorous assistant who took my coat and showed me into the lounge bar.

While waiting for my friend to arrive at the bar I got the chance to sample one of Dstrkt’s lovely  cocktails, which had a lovely floral scent and fruity taste. Once my friend arrived we were led to our table to begin our culinary adventure! Dstrkt’s unique selling point is its small dishes which are perfect for sharing. Now, I must warn you that the Dstrkt Spring Menu is no mean feat, this menu was a mammoth 12 dishes each paired with wine. By the time I had finished I practically had to be rolled out of the restaurant!

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Chefs in the Kitchen at Dstrkt

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Fresh Bread at Dstkrt

I always judge a restaurant by the state of the bread that they serve and Dstrkt’s selection of bread passed the test, fresh and spongy, we had to stop eating it all before we even had our first dish.

This is what we ate: 

Yellow fin tuna

Yellow Fin Tuna Cubes, Soy Air and Avocado Mousse

Our first course consisted of two dishes the Yellow fin tuna and caviar blini.  The tuna was tender, moist and had a lovely Umami flavour.

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Caviar and blinis:Sevruga, citrus creme fraiche

This was served with a glass of Viognier 2011

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Viognier 2011

Off to a great start we were continuously impressed by the array of dishes that followed:

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Devon Crab Salad, Jersey potato

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Grilled Octopus Caramelized Garbanzo Beans, Preserved Lemon

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Sand Hutton Asparagus Salad, Yoghurt Emulsion

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Pan fried Salmon

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Marlborough sauvignon blanc 2012

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Wild Seabass and Confit Baby Fennel, Capers Chives and Lemon

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Saudi Prawns Charred Scallion oil

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Carte noire cotes de provence rose

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Grilled British Lamb Cutlet, Smoky Eggplant Puree And Piquillo

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Grilled broccolini with burrata, pomegranate, micro basil and garlic

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BBQ Gloucester Old Spot Pork belly

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Delas Muscat Beaume Venise La Pastourelle 2011

Final course of dessert, my favourite had to be the pannacotta with raspberry flakes that were slightly sharp and tangy.

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Raspberry Sorbet

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Orange cake

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Pannacotta with cherries

Looking back, I can’t believe that I ate all of this! However I enjoyed every minute of it. If you’re up to the challenge then please visit DSTRKT London, 9 Rupert St, Leicester Square, London W1D 6DG

Website: www.dstrkt-london.com

restaurants, review

A review of Zorita’s Kitchen Spanish Restaurant, London

February 13, 2013

By Kirsty M

Zoritas Restaurant Broken Wharf

Zorita’s Kitchen, Broken Wharf

I wasn’t sure what to expect when Lanky Girl and I recently went along to Zorita’s Kitchen. Tucked away between Blackfriars and Mansion House, it’s not the easiest restaurant to find, but it proved to be well worth the wait.

Food and wine experts David and Louisa guided  us through a bespoke menu, sampling delicious cooked meats and cheeses from across the Duerto Valley. The ethos of Zorita’s Kitchen is on ‘slow grow’, focusing on the simplicity and high quality of food and wine served in the restaurant, and you can really taste it in the meats and aromatic cheeses.

There’s a real emphasis on quality ingredients, and the cheese is even made at Zorita’s Kitchen’s very own farm, all complemented by wines recommended by staff who really know their stuff.

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tosta with wines

meat platter

meat and cheese platter

Tosta Dehesa – Torta and Salchichón

Tosta Dehesa – Torta and Salchichón

salted caramel ice cream  from Jude’s in Devon

salted caramel ice cream  from Jude’s in Devon

The wines are definitely one of Zorita’s Kitchen’s selling points,  my favourite had to be the Hacienda Zorita Veiga de la Reina Verdejo 2011 (£9.99 plus a 7.50 corkage fee when dining in) which won best white wine in the world 2012 at the Concours Mondial Brussels.  If you fancy yourself to be a wine connoisseur,  Zorita’s also run wine tasting events.

As the area is mainly populated by business people who have little time to spare for lunch and may prefer to dine alone, I’m not sure how the heavy oak tables – designed to encourage a Mediterranean communal dining experience – will be used to best effect. However, with a new restaurant opening in South Kensington soon, I’m sure Zorita’s Kitchen will have scores of families flocking to try a flavour of the Duerto Valley.

For more information about Zorita’s Kitchen please visit: http://www.zoritaskitchen.com/

Food, restaurants, review

Pho Spitalfields Vietnamese Restaurant Review

February 1, 2013
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Pho Vietnamse Restaurant Spitalifields

I’ve been a bit of a greedy little piggy the last few weeks eating lots of nice food. Pho Spitalfields  is one of the many places I have been lucky enough to dine at. On an icy cold day in London, a friend and I popped into Pho Spitalfields  Vietnamese restaurant on Brushfield Street for a spot of  lunch. With the weather being so cold all I was thinking about was eating some hot spicy food to get the blood pumping again.

Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese Coffee

Pho’s concept is very laidback and simple, Pho Spitafield’s is housed in an old building and the furnishings were spartan and simple, much like you would find in an old Vietnamese cafe. We were shown to our table by a very nice lady before starting our Pho experience by enjoying a cup of Jasmine tea and Vietnamese coffee. The coffee was a nice wake up and the condensed milk made it nice and sweet.

Pho Jasmine Tea

Pho Jasmine Tea

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Nem Nuong: delicious pork and lemongrass meatballs

For starters I opted to try the Nem Nuong which are pork and lemongrass meatballs. I expected these to be really spicy but they were fairly mild and I couldn’t really taste much lemongrass but with the chilli dipping sauce the balls were nice. Ewa went for the Goi Cuon Tom which were delicious prawn rolls served cold.

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Goi Cuon Tom: fresh summer rolls with prawns and fresh herbs

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Wok fried flat rice noodles with lemongrass, chilli and onion. Served with peanuts and nuoc cham*.

Now, for my favourite part of any meal the main course. I tried the wok fried noodles, with chicken and chilli. This tasted amazing! Lovely succulent chicken with firm noodles cooked in a spicy sauce, very yummy. The peanuts were a nice way to give the dish a bit of a crunchy texture. I completely cleared my plate! Ewa opted for the Bun Tom Hue soup which I was shocked at how large it was when it arrived, I would think that it could easily serve as a dish for two. Also we both had a bit of giggle when Ewa was asked if she wanted a bib. I can see why though, as trying to drink the soup with the wooden spoon was messy.

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Bun Tom Hue: hot and spicy juicy tiger prawn soup

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Missy Ewa doesn’t look impressed with the bib…

We were so stuffed after two courses that we decided to pass on dessert.

Overall, we had a nice lunch at Pho, it definitely has a fuss-free laid back vibe about which we liked. The staff were courteous and friendly and we didn’t feel hurried to leave. For a chain Pho serves quite reasonable food in terms of price and quality.

For more information about Pho Spitalfields visit http://www.phocafe.co.uk/locations/spitalfields

London, restaurants, review

Primo London Restaurant Review

January 28, 2013
Primo London Restaurant

Primo London Restaurant

In Italian Primo means ‘one’ or ‘first’ and I have to say after my visit last week, that the service at Primo is ‘first rate’. For those who haven’t heard about new Italian restaurant Primo now open on Shaftesbury Avenue, they are aiming to  resurrect our love of  ‘Pollo Sorpresa’, more commonly known as the Chicken Kiev. The day that we went, London was covered in snow which could explain why it was rather quiet.

We were welcomed by a friendly doorman which was a nice classic touch and shown a very nice table in the corner. As you can see, the interior of Primo is classic and sophisticated. My dining companion also noted that there was a good amount of space between tables which is good when you are trying to have an intimate date.

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Meal started off with some lovely olives and bread

To start with we were presented with some lovely olives, brushcetta and tomato dipping source. This also came with a basket of the most tastiest homemade bread with olives and fruit baked inside.

Selection of cured meats from their Cicchetti

Selection of cured meats from their Cicchetti

For starters we decided to opt to share a plate of cured meats, which in hindsight considering the size of our main was a good idea.

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Primo London’s fabulous Chicken Kiev

The Pièce de résistance the chicken kiev, arrived on a bed of spinach with chicken jus.  It looked amazing! It definitely made up for all the crappy chicken kievs I have had in the past. It tasted crispy and succulent, and the chicken was obviously of a high quality. To go with the chicken kiev we opted for sauteed potatoes, broccoli and bread which were nice, simple accompaniments.

Sauteed Potatoes, broccoli and bread

Sauteed Potatoes, broccoli and bread

Desert was tiramisu in a cup and the chocolate piece was a lovely touch. I eat a lot of tiramisu when I dine out and this was probably in my top 5 of one’s that I have eaten in London.

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Tiramisu served in a cup – best I’ve tasted without a doubt!

Apple tart & vanilla ice cream

Apple tart & vanilla ice cream

Painting by Ronnie Wood

Painting by Ronnie Wood

Once we had finished our meal, looking around I noticed that all the paintings in the restaurant were by none other than rolling stone Ronnie Wood, so if you do visit be sure to take a peek.

Overall I really enjoyed my visit to Primo London, the food is off a high standard and even though it is a bit on the posh side, I don’t think we ever felt uncomfortable. If you’re looking for simple well executed food then I highly rate this place. Price wise mains range from £16-24 which main seem a bit dear for some, but well worth it if you are looking for a treat.   I for one will be definitely be going back for more of their chicken kiev and tiramisu.

 

 

recipes, review

Hello Fresh Revisited – One year on

January 22, 2013

Recently I was contacted by the lovely people at Hello Fresh and asked if I would like to give their service another go. Of course I jumped at the chance, three days of not having to worry about what to cook? Er…yes please! So the following Monday a box of Hello Fresh goodies arrived at my door with a rather nice hand written note.  It also turns out that Hello Fresh are celebrating their one year birthday. Eagerly I opened the box to see what I would be preparing for that week. Inside was all the ingredients to make a chicken, fish and pork based meal. Below you can see how I got on:

Day 1 – I decided to cook that night the Smoked Paprika Chicken with Avocado and Barley Salad.

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Ingredients ready to cook.

Not having to worry about not having the right amount of ingredients was great and as you can see they were indeed fresh!

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Cucumber, tomatoes, celery

First part of the recipe of consisted of chopping the vegetables, I’m not the best chopper so they are a little bigger than the recipe states but I don’t think it mattered very much.

Then I prepared the chicken by covering it with olive oil, paprika and black pepper and then placing it under the grill. I think I am definitely going to start using paprika to flavour my meat it gave the chicken an amazing taste!

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Chicken covered with paprika

Then I boiled the pearl barley, which was probably the most nerve-wracking part as I have never cooked or eaten this before so I was a bit worried it would go wrong.

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This was then drained and rinsed and put to one side. For the salad dressing I mixed balsamic vinegar and olive oil together. To finish I mixed the chopped avocado and the rest of the vegetables together with the balsamic dressing . I then sliced the cooked chicken and laid it on top. Below is the finished dish which tasted unbelievable! My mother who is the most critical person of my cooking couldn’t get enough of  it and we have decided to add it to our weekly dinner schedule at home. I think this dish is great if you are looking for something fuss free and easy and even if you don’t like cooking you will find this easy to prepare.

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Day 2 – I decided to make the Ribollita with pancetta and Garlic Parmesan croutons

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Ribollita with Pancetta and Garlic Parmesan Croutons

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Ribollita with Pancetta and Garlic Parmesan Croutons

This was probably for me the most fiddly and time-consuming dish to prepare but it was also the most filling. Ribollita is perfect for when the weather is chilly as it is sure to give you the energy needed to keep you warm. Unfortunately because I had used all the celery in my first recipe I had to forgo it for the Ribollita, although I don’t think it was that detrimental as the dish still tasted lovely.

Day 3 – Pan-fried Salmon with homemade Guacamole and New Potatoes

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With this recipe I’m not too sure what happened, but maybe I should have cooked my salmon dish first because when I checked the salmon I wasn’t sure it was still OK to eat. It doesn’t help that my fridge can be dodgy. I ended up throwing away the salmon and going to purchase a new one. With fish I’d rather be safe than sorry.

 Pan-fried Salmon with homemade Guacamole and New Potatoes

Pan-fried Salmon with homemade Guacamole and New Potatoes

The finished dish tasted amazing, the guacamole gave the salmon a spicy edge, and the potatoes were a nice accompaniment. The dish also felt really easy to whip together. I could definitely see myself attempting to make this again.

Overall I really enjoyed my Hello Fresh experience, it was nice to not have to worry about having the right ingredients in the fridge and even for  someone who doesn’t think myself much of a good cook, I was quite pleased with my attempts. I will definitely be adding the pan-fried salmon and the smoked paprika to my recipe book.

If you want to try Hello Fresh for yourself visit their website: www.hellofresh.co.uk

Food, London, restaurants, review

Dinner at Mash Steakhouse, Brewer Street, Soho, London

November 21, 2012


Mashsteak London

Mashsteaka Modern American Steakhouse run by Danes? Yes I was a little surprised to learn so myself but then again having tasted some bloody good steaks at the Danish Imagination Festival Pop Up during the Olympics I had high expectations. Taking advantage of the 50% off deal during their soft opening Lanky Girl headed down to Soho one evening to see what it was all about.

Arriving at the restaurant we were greeted by a doorman and friendly reservation staff who called down to the reception to see if there were any free tables. After a bit of a wait when it seemed like we may have to find somewhere else to eat we were told to go on down. Yay! Descending  a very long flight of stairs we were welcomed into what I can only describe as the largest restaurant I have ever dined in!

Apparently this place is aiming to do 300 covers for lunch and dinner which is no mean feat! I was pretty impressed with the decor which was definitely American, bold, stylish and large! I really liked the choice of red interior and booth seating areas.  I did wonder though that the sheer size of the place may have meant that the quality of service would suffer but my fears were put to rest as our waiter for the evening was both friendly and attentive.

The menu at Mashsteak is pretty varied and even if you’re not a steak lover like my dining partner there are a couple of fish options for you to choose from, although this place isn’t really for pescatarians.

American Steak at Mashsteak London

American Steak at Mashsteak London

Creamed Spinach and Fries at Mashsteak London

Grilled sea bream and Mash potato – Mashsteak London

Okay, so what about the food? Well I decided to opt for the American style steak (from Greater Omaha, Nebraska and corn-fed) and fries with creamed spinach accompanied by a glass of Charles Smith Riesling and my partner went for the grilled sea bream with mash potato. The American steak was probably the safe option and I think I return I shall try the Uruguayan and Wagyu varieties. Overall I was happy with the quality of the steak, it was cooked nicely, tender and had a lovely smokey flavour. London has a lot of quality steak floating around at the moment and for me Mashsteak will have to do more to stand out.

I do think though due to its size and ambience it will be popular with large groups of friends looking to dine out and businessmen who are looking to impress their clients.

A meal for two at 50% off came to 70 pounds.

A lanky Girl rating of  three stars.

Food, review, Uncategorized

Friday Night In With Dinnr: A Review

October 31, 2012

Last Friday, I got a chance to try out a new addition to London’s food scene. Dinnr is  concept by ex Googler Michal Bohanes which aims to take the hassle out of preparing your meals by providing a variety of recipes and  ingredients in the right quantities. Their unique selling point I suppose is that the food can be ordered online on the day and delivered to your office or home (central London) before it’s time for tea!

Now, I have to be honest I hate following recipes as I find the whole process of checking the measurements, timings etc stressful! Not that I can’t cook just most of my knowledge comes from watching my mother in the kitchen when I was younger. However, I was willing to give Dinnr a try. There is a variety of dishes on the site to order and the prices are pretty reasonable. I decided to opt for the Herb-roasted Salmon with Smashed Potatoes and Truffled Fennel Salad which serves 2 for 22 pounds. It arrived promptly two hours after I ordered to my workplace in a lovely brown bag.

Inside all the ingredients where nicely wrapped up in little brown packages and the food was fresh when I opened it up.

Also included was a step by step guide to preparing my meal with nutritional information.

Fairly easy start to recipe, I washed and boiled the potatoes with sea salt till they were soft.

While this was on the fire I started to prepare the salmon. Have to say I was pretty impressed with the quality, it arrived fresh and cool, organic from Waitrose.

500g Salmon fillet, 20g fresh rosemary, 7g fresh thyme, score the salmon brush with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. End with a sprinkling of parsley.

This went into the oven for 20 mins on the middle shelf.

Next step the fennel salad:

Fennel Salad: Lemon infused Olive oil, Chop 1 fennel bulb, 1 can artichoke hearts (240g drained), 5g flat leaf parsley, a drizzle of truffle-infused olive oil, 85g Pecorino Romano cheese

Two ingredients I have never used to cook before; Fennel and Pecorino cheese, I thought the cheese was so delicious I had to stop myself nibbling on it before I had finished cooking. I will definitely buy this again when I go shopping.

My Herb-roasted Salmon with Smashed Potatoes and Truffled Fennel Salad, excuse the presentation skills.

The finished meal tasted lovely and the fennel salad had a lovely sweet and sharp flavour. Another great selling point for Dinnr is the fact that with your meal they include suggestions for wine and music which is very handy if you’re trying to impress a date.

Overall I was very impressed with  the Dinnr service, for time pressed Londoners it is a god send and if you want to cook a meal for a loved one you will find the variety of recipes helpful. You do have to have some cooking ability for some of the recipes though. Also all the recipes are currently for servings of two so not so helpful if you have family of mouths to feed. A Lanky Girl rating:

For more information about Dinnr please visit https://www.dinnr.co.uk/