Friday

Villandry - (another) wonderful French-med mix

Villandry St James' is just a mere 20 steps from my office front door. Perfect for a spot of lunch and even better when I can meet my Mr D there for an hour's quick feasting...

Sitting beautifully at the bottom of Waterloo Place, the moment you walk in you're transported across the channel and into a high end French brasserie.

To the left, there's an informal Cafe and on the right a more formal dining area which is where we were seated. Wonderful staff greeted up promptly and sat us in one of their banquettes.

The menu reads very well (a mix of different Mediterranean dishes) and I wanted everything I read. Crab salads, ceviche, salmon..the list goes on. Mr D and I both went for squid in different way. 

His, salt and pepper wit tartar sauce...





Mine, spices with fresh chillies and a wonderful harissa mayo. mmmmmm...




Both dishes were excellently done, so much so that the salt and pepper was one of the best variations we both have had recently. Light, crisp and just the right amount.  

Seemingly my mind was not after a light lunch today I chose the Saffron risotto with scallops and a side of Aspen fries to share with Mr D...

Risotto was cooked al dente (perfect) and was wonderfully rich and flavoursome with the added parsley and chives. Three plump and juicy scallops finished the dish off leaving me thoroughly happy with my choice.



The fries were crisp and yet fluffy within.... tossed generously with truffle oil (but not over powering) and finished off with a grating of parmesan - yum!!! I think I had my fair share of these and literally could not stop eating even though incredibly full... super scrummy!



Mr D opted for the Fresh Taglitelle with Wild Mushrooms and jus. I has a good mouthful of this and it was delicious. Super garlic-y it really showcased how a few simple ingredients, executed well, can make a really wonderful and pleasing dish. 


Villandry is a perfect lunch spot for us working souls, it's even better (I think) for anyone wanting to get out of the hellish hustle and bustle of Piccadilly Circus as it's a lovely, tranquil setting in a very pretty spot of London, that you may not venture towards.

A: 12 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AU (There are other locations)
T: 020 3544 0682
W: www.villandry.com

Villandry St James's on Urbanspoon


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Thursday

Roux at the Landau


So, my (soon to be) brother-in-law is a dab hand with food. He works at Albert and Michel Roux's 'Roux at the Landau' which is nestled in a beautiful dining room at the infamous Langham Hotel, Mr D and I popped in to see him last night for a date night to FINALLY celebrate our home!

Although this will be somewhat of a biased review, I, much like his mum, think's he is the bees knees as a chef and for a big guy Jamie, Head chef Chris King, Oli and the rest of the kitchen cook some of the most de-licious, refined food and delicately plate up their labours looking as pretty as a picture. 

The Landau dining room is stunning, vast and grand. If you get there early, in fact, I INSIST you do. Head to the world famous Artesian Bar in the hotel, even at 6pm on a Wednesday the room was flying high with atmosphere and happy customers. The mixologists there are simply mesmerising and the way they serve up their cocktails is both innovative and just beautiful. On this occasion however, I had a very simple, but refreshing, prosecco.

The entrance to the restaurant is quite dramatic. A hallway showcasing some of the most exquisite wines they have to offer...




This is a restaurant for fine dining and you certainly feel special here. Intimate booths are cleverly positioned so that you feel completely on your own whilst wait staff quietly buzz around you. The restaurant is well known amongst critics for it's excellent service and you definitely notice this when dining at a Roux establishment.


Jamie kindly served up a mini tasting menu so we could taste as much of the kitchens fabulous skills as possible. Thus making this an even better blog as you lucky people get to see lots of the incredible food...

A fantastic selection of in house made bread is presented... I went for the white bread, fig roll.  



We kicked off our feast with scallop with raisins and capers. An incredibly plump, well cooked scallop went perfectly well with the sweet 'sauce' that accompanied. 




Foie gras on a savoury scone, cherries and a sweet jus. 


Mackerel for me, with beetroot and what I think were bits of fried Serrano ham - amazing


Guinea foul, truffle and boudin blanc for Mr D...



Followed by a rather scrumptious rabbit 'pie' for Mr D...




And a perfect Halibut and delicate hand made pasta 'bows' 


Pudding was next up (thankfully as I was near to popping!)

Refreshing panna cotta, as a palate cleanser for the two of us...


Followed by some breath taking(ly) beautiful desserts...

Caramel choux bun (I think!!)- one of those 'oh my god' moments with every mouthful, just incredible!


And the prettiest chocolate millefeuille - wow! Heaven on a plate... there's one thing they never fault on - their puds...



 Petite fours...


And finally... our night caps... (not needed as we paired wine with each course!!)



Although I may be biased, Roux at the Landau is so, SO special. We've enjoyed everyone of our meals there and it has (somehow!) managed to get better and better every time. 

The front of house team are so accommodating (Franco is wonderful!) and we cannot forget the kitchen never faltering to amaze us - thank you.

Cost: Minimum £70pp without pairing wines.
Add: 1 Portland Pl, London, UK 
Phone: (020) 7965 0165 reservations recommended.



 Roux at The Landau on Urbanspoon







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Friday

Flat Iron - steaks, well done!


So, Flat Iron is one of those places I walked past, saw the queue and jotted down on my list of 'go to' places to then find it always seemed to crop up in conversation, and my desire to go burnt stronger.

Us girls like a reason to celebrate and Miss K hadn't had her girls celebration yet for her engagement. So, Thursday last week we popped into Soho and knew exactly where to head. Arriving just in time for us to be able to pop our names on the door we grabbed the table buzzer and zoomed downstairs for 2-4-1 happy hour cocktails in their quaint little bar. 



Upstairs decor is relaxed and follows the trend of reclaimed and upcycled. We had what I thought was one of the nicer tables (due to it being round) for the four of us. My only gripe was that it was right by the loo. Which, when people are queuing behind you whilst eating it's ever so slightly cramped. 


 The menu is simple. For a steak restaurant one may expect a mixture of cuts etc. Well, here at Flat Iron they serve one type called, you guessed it 'The Flat Iron' recommended to be served med-rare for £10. On our visit they also had an onglet for £15 which I sampled below. 

Beef dripping popcorn was ever so scrummy. We ate the lot within seconds and were swiftly brought another. Which again disappeared within rapid time.



The two cuts on offer were sampled.

The Flat Iron by Miss E and Miss C and the onglet by your truly and Miss K. 

Flat Iron
Onglet or 'Hanger Steak'
My onglet was incredibly tender I don't think I really needed the gimmicky cleaver knives that were on the table, and had a wonderful butter-rich flavour to it. Cooked to perfection (rare) with a decent and not over-powered charring to it. I'm not the biggest fan of red meat but this may have converted me. 

I had mine with 'Fred's' sauce. Which was a tomato based chilli sauce.  Giving a decent kick to it it was enjoyable but, I have had better. 



Between the four of us we ordered all the sides....

A very, very good aubergine dish. Creamed spinach, extra salad which came with pecans and blue cheese and a yummy dressing and some expertly done chips - crispy on the outside and super fluffy within.




 There's only two puddings on the menu a chocolaty thing and this...mother of all simple, naughty, delicious puddings. Salted caramel mousse! OH-MY-DAYS...

We had two and I think I basically scraped the cup clean with my finger afterwards. It was amazing...really, light and fluffy but full of flavour. We were told to add more salt on top to being out the caramel more and it certainly did. 


Flat Iron may be one of my most enjoyable places I've been to recently of the 'no reservations' trend that has emerged which, (usually) infuriates me. That said, they do a mean steak, fantastic sides and a great drink menu. We came out spending approx £30 per person including service and (plenty of) booze - bargain!

Flat Iron on Urbanspoon

http://www.squaremeal.co.uk/restaurants/london/view/109151/Flat_Iron?utm_source=Blog&utm_medium=Blog&utm_campaign=Link
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Brasserie Chavot

I haven't blogged in a wee while which some people have noticed...I am sorry I've been a little busy...

So, last week was my birthday. I'm now fully into my final year of my twenties by just a week and I'm coping...just!

But, last weekend my love, my best friend asked me to marry him, and I said 'YES' amidst tears of happiness and total surprise. It's the most incredible, wonderful, indescribable feeeeeeling (I bet you're singing Aladin now aren't you?!). He asked me at my favourite place in the world which, I happen to have blogged about before, The Wellinton Arms

So, I am a week behind and now back to the food...

Mr D was away on work and therefore hoping my spare room would at least have a bed in it I demanded asked my parents to pop down and stay. The bed is still at Peter Jones and currently I have no hot water - the JOYS of home owning! But, my family still came down for a long weekend, they're good like that.

To be honest this will possibly be one of the shortest blogs I've done, ever! I didn't want to get my blogging brain on for the means of a post. I just wanted to enjoy the food and the company I was in. 

Brasserie Chavot has been awarded a Michelin star, since our first visit, and I love that it still remains very much the same restaurant I loved then. It is wholeheartedly French. I was transported back to my wonderful weekend in Paris. It's opulent, without being OTT and just feels a little bit special.

Ordering glasses of Ruinart and bottles of wine our meal commenced.  

Starter for me:



The lightest, crispest soft shelled crab. served with a whipped aioli. The crab had a great flavour to it with spice added to the batter mix. Simple but completely delicious!

Main:


Sea Bream, perfectly cooked with a crispy skin. Served with a refreshing chunky raita. 

Annnnndddd...



The Baba au Rhum was a dessert I totally fell in love with from this very same restaurant, over a year ago. I shared this with the lovely Miss G and enjoyed every.single.bit. Completely soaked in sweet rhum the sponge still stood proud and was super bouncy. Yet still managing to be light and just, delicious. The thin ribbons of pineapple gave a contrasting sharpness.

If you have a love for Paris, like me, head here. It really won't disappoint.

Brasserie Chavot on Urbanspoon


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Kurobuta Marble Arch




So one of my girls has gone and got a rather beautiful sparkler on her finger (and a new job!). Already having a larger get together to celebrate with the men in our lives, last night called for a girlie catch up and a good try on look at that sparkler. 

Kurobuta has opened another fantastic restaurant in what I could call Connaught Village but it is often described as Marble Arch. Take a short walk past Mr Blair's house and you'll find it nestled in the quaint little village-y area which is a stones throw from Marble Arch itself.


The interior is super sleek and effortless. Much bigger than it's sister restaurant which I have previously blogged about here and far, far less cramped. But, I do LOVE the charm of the Chelsea spot as it feels so much more intimate and original. 

Blagging a table at 6:30 was easy enough, although any later and we wouldn't have been seated till 9ish. The place is buzzing and has a great atmosphere even for our early sitting. 


Wine ordered, we had a bowl of their incredibly more-ish edemame beans which has been flame licked and doused in lemon, salt and butter. The butter made these little beans sing and Miss G and I quickly finished the bowl.(not photographed).

Then came the hardest part, deciding what to have. Seemingly difficult as we wanted more or less the whole menu we decided on choosing two items each and going from there. Apologies for the photos I was more interested in gossiping and it was (sadly) getting dark - at 7pm!!! CRYYYY!!!

First up Scallop sashimi with Kimchee Butter and Tobilco. 



Another flame kissed delicacy these plump beauties were swimming in a sweet/sour sauce. Topped with lashing of baby onions, roe and sesame seeds. Seemingly getting mixed reviews from some I actually rather liked the sharpness of the sauce. It was a refreshing little number...



Squid Kara-age with jalapeño dipping sauce was a little underwhelming. Perhaps as the portion size was a bit stingy for £8.50. The flavour was there and the dipping sauce was scrummy, it just didn't look as appealing as one could make it. 


Spicy tuna maki was incredibly fresh and some of the better I have tasted. But gone have the tempura crunchies I so loved at my previous visit. Still, an awesome bit of sushi and decent value.


One of my favourites to order when gorging on Japanese is miso-aubergine and here it is done excellently. Little nuggets of a smoked, sticky, silky aubergine were set perfectly against a crunchy, candied walnut. Great contrast in flavour and texture, I'm sorry my photo (especially here) does not do it justice in the slightest!


The 'Pièce de résistance' came in the form of three mini wagyu beef sliders in a steamed bun, crunchy onions, cucumber and umami mayo. Yes, OH.MY.GOD! The crisp onions were (I think) in panko crumbs so gave a brilliant crisp element to the very succulent beef. The buns were of the hirata type and perfectly light and fluffy but with a little scorched topping thus adding a slightly firmer texture from the usual. Really delicious however I'm still not over fussed on the wagyu craze, I'm not entirely sure I could tell any difference when in burger form. But, I would definitely have these beauties again.

A bottle and some glasses down we called it a night. This was actually the perfect amount for three people however, I was eyeing up the ribs on the table next door and will definitely be trying some of their house Sake the next time. It's a fabulous place. Wonderful atmosphere and yummy, innovative Japanese cooking. £40-50pp 

A: 17-20 KENDAL STREET, LONDON, W2 2AW
P:0203 475 4158
Kurobuta on Urbanspoon

http://www.squaremeal.co.uk/notfound?item=%2frestaurant%2fkurobuta-marble-arch&user=extranet%5cAnonymous&site=website




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