Friday

You me Sushi - delivery sushi, at its best

You Me Sushi rang me up and asked if I would like to try some of their menu knowing full well how much of a killer sushi eater I am this could only go one of two ways...

I have had excellent and also terrible delivery sushi and Japanese food. One causing two whole days in bed and others just utterly disappointing. Not only that, it is certainly a 'treat meal'. One I often get when home alone as a treat 'pour moi'...

You Me Sushi have a vast menu covering all sorts of sushi and some regular Japanese main dishes. We decided to try an array of the whole menu (the little piggy's we are) so's to get a good idea of what they have on offer... 

We weren't disappointed with our rather large feast for two...

I ordered for Mr D their sweet, sticky chicken teriyaki which was absolutely superb. The chicken was tender and not dry in the slightest. Served on perfectly cooked rice and a smattering of crunchy veg and pickles.

The You Me Sushi Super box, consisting of California Uramaki, Salmon Nigiri, Salmon Sashimi, Salmon and Avocado Temaki seemed excellent value and too good to miss. The salmon and crab tasted really fresh and the sushi rice was perfect in both consistency and temperature (which so many get wrong). All ingredients were plentiful and well worth the £8. 


Much like my review at Koji last week I can't not order the Salmon Roe Gunkan...


Another slightly dull photo but one not to miss for those non-fish lovers amongst us is the duck hand roll. Filled with crispy duck, cucumber, spring onion, rice and then doused in hoi sin sauce. A glorified 'duck pancake' - if you will. 

You can order by phone or online Here,they're based in several North of the River locations.

Order and enjoy a night in with your feet up, a glass of crisp vino, good conversation and something decent on the box.

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Wednesday

Koji - Parsons Green

The infamous Mio Tai on the New Kings Rd has had a total change over and is now a swanky Japanese restaurant and cocktail bar which, quite frankly, looks exactly the same but with an added sushi bar, new menu's and a new name...Koji. 

One balmy Saturday evening before heading to a birthday in Putney Mr D and I popped in for a bite and to check out what was once our 'go to' cheer up place if I ever got a parking ticket (that happens far too regularly!). I have often wondered whilst living in Parsons Green why there has never been a sushi bar due to an abundance of the yummy mummy types and health concious it seemed to make sense... Mio Tai's owners have obviously seen the light... 

We started with a bowl of garlic and salted edamame, served warm and slightly spiced, whilst sipping on non alcoholic cocktails and Japanese beer...


Once ordered, our food then came out staggered and every one presented beautifully.

First up was a gloriously fresh sashimi salad with allium dressing.


Then my favourite and one that was regularly ordered at the previous establishment...wild pink prawn tempura with creamy togarashi sauce. Crisp, golden batter encased perfectly cooked prawns. These were tossed in a creamy spiced sour mayo-like sauce. So delicious. I could have ordered plates and plates of the stuff. 


Salmon egg Nigiri - never differs from restaurant to restaurant. But my absolute favourite nigiri to order!


Miso aubergine... salty, sticky, sweet and utterly delicious. This dish alone could turn me into a vegetarian any day...



Tuna and avocado maki is as good as one would imagine an ex-Nobu chef's sushi to be...pretty much perfection and liberal on the gorgeously fresh tuna. 


Soft shelled crab maki was filled generously with crispy fried crab in a wonderfully light batter and again, a great version of a sushi classic. 


Duck with wasabi dressing and vegetables was a highlight for Mr D however, there was something about the accompanying sauce that my taste buds weren't keen on (Mr D loved it). The duck however, was cooked perfectly pink with a crisp skin and the julienne vegetables underneath were cooked al-dente and cut through the sweet fat of the meat. 


Passion fruit creme brulee was certainly not needed but we were pleased to find that it was one of the lightest, tastiest creme brulee's we've both eaten in a long time. 


I love the new concept however, I do miss the old 'bar snacks' especially the ribs which were just, to die for... 

A must for dates, birthdays and any special occasion. Or, just do what we do and pop in for some killer cocktails, served in chic surroundings and a nibble of beautiful food. 


Address: 58 New King's Rd, London SW6 4LS

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Friday

Jimmy's pop up - The Secret Garden Clapham

Above The Clapham North is a little space which is let out to a few pop ups every now and then. More recently the 'pop up king' has brought his experience to Clapham and a bunch of us South of the River folk went there last night...

The restaurant is a little... odd. But, pop-ups have to work with what they have...the central focus point is a huge fake tree which hangs (it needs more oomph!) above a canteen like dining space of around 12 or so tables mostly seating couples - of which, almost every couple had their mobile phones out, talk to each other, please!! 

The menu read well, four delicious sounding starters, and the same for mains. All focussing on the 'BEST of British produce' and the wine is extensive enough to have a couple of decent bottles of each and be happy...

Our menu choices were followed by some excellent warm bread and salted butter. It then went slightly pear shaped from here on in...

Sadly, our first complaint went in after waiting almost an hour after ordering our starter... Nothing was rectified. Instead we found ourselves somewhat ignored, no apology and just a passing of excuses. I appreciate that waitresses get the brunt of complaints which isn't easy as I worked at a Gastro pub, in Devon, for two summers.

Our waitress told us the reason being was due to other tables arriving an hour late. So, we were being penalised for arriving on time?! 

Eventually our starters did get 'plonked down' and every single one was sublime, all was forgotten and thoroughly enjoyed...

A couple of us had boudin blanc (my picture is embarrassingly bad!!) this was served with a BBQ corn puree, crisp black pudding cubes and cauliflower florets. Oddly, there seemed to be some white meat (possibly quail?!) on the plate which wasn't accounted for on the menu. But, it was all completely delicious. 



Crottin goats cheese, balsamic vinegar, candied walnuts and baby beetroot was chosen by Mrs SB and tuna tartare for a few others. Both got rather large thumbs up.




Sadly, our small table of 6 seemed to be pushed further down the line. At ten past ten (2.5hrs after being seated) when our mains still hadn't arrived we had to ask where it was... 'It's on the pass' - (a restaurant favourite reply of mine) and then saw said 'pass food' go to another table... So, we waited... 

The manager came over and finally apologised for the exceptionally slow service but said it was due to us having both a starter and a main. Is that not expected in a restaurant?!

Another reason followed...'the whole restaurants dishes were being cooked in batches. First the lamb, then the hake etc etc...' that just doesn't make sense to me. But hey ho, our dishes arrived and again, all totally delicious...

My hake in a tasty seaweed and sea vegetable broth was beautiful, light and warming. The fish cooked perfectly, with flaky iridescent flesh and a good crisp skin. 



LJ's Roasted wood pigeon, butternut squash, girolles, braised potato, Fat Hen (?!) and blackberry jus. The potato 'gratin' was sadly, undercooked. Yet, every other element was triumph.



The previous mentioned 'sitting on the pass' rang alarm bells when Mrs BL's English lamb rump, olive oil mash, artichokes, samphire, peas and aubergines arrived with a rather 'crusty' looking sauce on the side from sitting under the heat lamp. However, I was assured that is was another winner...

We had a final apology and the booze wiped off the bill due to it being too late (10:40pm) for us all to warrant a free pudding (thank you). And we left somewhat baffled and slightly deflated...

I honestly, hardly ever complain in restaurants as I appreciate how much effort and time is consumed into running one. I SO wanted to love this place in every possible way but, it simply didn't happen. It's an incredible shame as the kitchen shows a huge amount of talent if you love your food go, just be prepared for an exceptionally odd roller coaster of an evening.

Website: HERE 

Address: 409 Clapham Rd, London SW9 9BT
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Thursday

Searcys at The Gherkin


Every now and then Bookatable have a deal that I'm drawn towards... two weeks ago their star deal was for Searcys which, I had never heard of. What drew me to Searcys restaurant was that it is within The Gherkin, 40 floors up and therefore ticking off another of my high rise dining experiences looking over our beautiful city. 

The deal was 3 courses and a glass of bubbly for £45... not bad. But, what makes this extra special is that this dining experience has a rather fun bar above based on a Moroccan Souk which is only open for a limited time to celebrate The Gherkins 10th year (has it REALLY been that long!!). So, extra special. 

With the Moroccan theme in mind you can opt for a 'Taste of Morocco' tasting menu fr an extra £10pp on arrival or, afternoon tea which is only available to book in advance...

On this gloomy rather grey weather summers evening we were ushered through security quickly and zoomed up the 39 flights to be greeted by friendly faces and shown to our table right on the edge showing beautiful birds eye views below our feet and they immediately poured our glass of crisp, dry champers... 



The menu for our 3 courses was far more extensive than other offers I have come across. Six starters and six mains including interesting vegetarian options which is sometimes a rarity. All the meat and fish dishes all sounded delicious making it ever so slightly hard to choose from. 

Some warm bread with churned, salted butter arrived and was so comforting I ate it in quick succession. 


Wait service here is super attentive without them getting in the way... staff were friendly, informative and didn't intrude on our meal. The room was almost full at 7pm on a Tuesday which made for a wonderful atmosphere and is, of course, flooded with light being surrounded 360 degrees by glass and not a single building gets in eyes way... it's quite stunning. 

Once ordered our starters came in good time. 

Pickled Beetroot was my choice and came with whipped Vulscombe goat's cheese, basil, apple and vanilla. It looked as good as a Michelin starred dish and was a real treat to eat. I didn't taste much of the vanilla but, every other flavour shone through. 


Mr D's starter was a confit of duck roulade, white peach, candied walnut and rocket... 



Of the mains (and I wish one of us went for the Moroccan lamb as it looked delicious) I went for Butter roasted monkfish, heritage purple carrot, crisp bone marrow and bacon foam. My fish was exquistely cooked, one of the best monkfish dishes I've eaten - it could be to do with the 10,000grams of butter which went into the dish succulent and tender a real winner. The bone marrow was a little over-crisp for my liking but all other aspects of the dish worked perfectly. 



The better half opted for pork tenderloin, broccoli and navet (a Moroccan nod - it means turnip) and leeks. Sadly the pork was completely overcook, so much so it look a little sad on the plate and we were surprised it even got past the pass. But, the accompanying sauce was worthy of a mention as were the perfectly cooked al dente leeks.



Mr D's pudding, for me, was the stand out dish for the evening. Looks wise, it was incredibly pretty...taste wise completely delicious. Opalyse (an exceptionally good Parisian white chocolate) cremeux, charred lemon, lemon rose sorbet. It has every aspect you would want in a dish both sweet and sour flavourings and a mix of different textures - divine. 



I rather boringly went for the cheese trolley for an extra £5 supplement from a selection of about 15 cheeses they asked what I liked flavour wise and gave me a good selection of hard, soft, goats and smoked. 



Searcys is a lovely restaurant with just a few tweeks here and there the food could be top notch. If, like me, you're sucker for a romantic high rise supper (and also a bargain) it's a must - hit it before it vanishes....

Bookatable's deal link HERE
Searcys website HERE

A: 30 St Mary Axe, off Leadenhall Street, London,EC3A 8EP
Tube: Bank



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Cambio de Tercio

I adore tapas and how it creates table conversation through sharing food, discussing flavours with your companions and all cooing over the dishes at the same time. It's perfect for large groups, romantic for two and a decadent treat for one... Cambio de Tercio in South Ken has been my families 'go to' for (I think) over 20 years. It's still owned by the same lovely faces and still has a wonderful cosy 'unique' atmosphere even after expansion into several other branches. 

The Old Brompton Rd houses four of them and there's another in Fulham. In a word it's DELICIOUS and has never faltered on any of my visits. 

Last week my parents came down to celebrate my little bro turning 25... Tube strikes thus meant we needed to eat near their hotel and there's simply no point in us trying anywhere new when Cambio de Tercio is on the hotel's doorstep.

We arrived, ordered Aperol Spritz and Sherries (they specialise in the liquor) and got stuck into their mouthwatering menu. The other restaurants are solely 'tapas style' but, Cambio de Tercio's menu has tapas style starters and also a mains section. Putting my brother and I in charge of choosing the tapas (always dangerous if you ask me!) whilst Dad ordered a plate of the delicious acorn fed Iberico ham to munch on whilst we decided. 




Our tapas feast went as follows:

8 hr roasted Tomatoes in sherry and served with basil caviar and potato cubes



Foie Gras 'from the tree' a wonderful mind boggling Heston-esque apple jelly covered foie gras pate and poached pear.
Incredibly lightly fried squid, lemon aioli.

Their version of 'patatas bravas' - so SO good and an absolute must when here.



and finally their infamous Iberico ham croquettes... crisp outer shell and a creamy oozy delicious inside - what's not to love?!



Mains were as epic as the starter for us all...

My Dad and brother went for the Cambio classic of Crispy roasted suckling pig from Salamanca, pickled kumquat, caramelised shallots, roast parsnip... I had a mouthful of this and it is rather incredible, crispy skin and succulent meat - heaven.



Mum - Flame grilled pluma iberica (the finest cut from acorn feed pork) pineapple, lime puree. This was, sadly, not to mum's taste as it was very sweet but the meat had a wonderful flavour. 



I went for one of their fish dishes... Red mullet roasted with cauliflower, nameko mushrooms and in a rich mullet jus. 




Puddings were a necessity with it being the bro's birthday and he already has his eyes set on their 'egg and chips'. Mandarin egg yolk which oozed as it should. Mango as the chips and strawberry sauce as the ketchup (which has ketchup consistency). Mr brother loved it.



 A terrible photo of the egg yolk... 



4hr baked vanilla custard was also shared amongst us all and was utterly delicious. 


Another playful way of presenting food came with our rather delicious 'petite fours' chocolate truffles on dry ice...



Innovative, playful and still managing a good nod to Spain's traditional dishes - Superb as ever and a definite must go.

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