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 

P:0203 475 4158
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Fire and Feathers - A posher Nando's

So, yesterday was National Burger Day! In that case I went for a Chicken dinner at the brand new Fire and Feathers on the Fulham Road. It's a Piri-Piri joint so, a spruced up Nando's (which I must admit, for the right occasion, I'm a fan of). 

We reached the door by 7pm to be more or less the only people in here for a good 20mins or so (it eventually became pretty busy). There's a no reservations policy so, if you're craving spiced chicken then head down early(ish). 

The décor is upcycled rustic materials and there's a hint of Portuguese traditions in the tiling, which I'm lead to believe are authentic. 

We started off with some cocktails which were Portuguese twists on the originals we are familiar with. I started with a Piri-piri bloody Mary which wasn't as spiced as one was expecting but still, a pretty good BM. 

Miss A chose their 'Os Espumante’s Prosecco' with raspberry. 

The menu is short and snappy... a couple of starters and very few mains. 

Chicken 3 ways, steak, sandwich, a fish and a veggie and to be honest what more do you want?

Whilst we waited on the other members of our party to join whom were coming a while later we decided to share a few starters between the four of us.

Chorizo: Plentiful and delicious in taste however, quite a few pieces were what one would call a little 'over-charred' (AKA burnt).

The platter of Iberico cured meat was, again, on the larger side that I was expecting but who can complain about over-sizing portions?! The meat had fantastic flavour and is obviously well sourced but was just ever so slightly too thickly cut in parts. 

The girls amongst us ordered some gluten free bread to mop up the juices which was as good as gluten free bread can be... 

The all-round favourite starter of the evening were the garlic King prawns which came in a fantastic tomato/garlic/oily sauce. Half shelled for the diners ease and seriously succulent they had a good amount of spice and were simply heavenly.

For mains I think we all thought it would be a sin not to order the chicken and managed to get all three flavourings amongst us. Reading up beforehand I was aware that the 'whole' chicken is in fact a poussin (approx 550g of meat incl. bone) and we were also informed by the lovely waitress that the 'half' is actually coming off the menu very soon (possibly due to so many people being confused by the size).  

The competitive (girls) amongst us decided on the so called 'Dynamite' whole poussin chicken. And yes, they aren't wrong in telling you to get a whole chicken per person. The chicken is expertly cooked with crisp skin and succulent meat. The dynamite marinade is pretty blow your head off stuff even for the chilli fiends amongst us (it does come with a warning). But all in all I thoroughly enjoyed every (burning) mouthful!

For the £12.95 whole chicken you get a choice of side of which I went for the African spiced rice (more spice!). Peppered with peas, corn and bacon it was a great side and even greater to pour into the sauce from the above chicken.  

I sampled Mr D's Piri-piri chicken. This immediately brought me back to my childhood plonked in a shack off Val Do Lobo beach - heaven! A nice mild spice in comparison to the dynamite and again the meat cooked to perfection. The only slight gripe was that it was a little on the greasy side. 

The chips were a triumph crisp outer, fluffy inner. 

We continued the evening until the bar was shut (around 10:30pm)drinking reasonably priced prosecco and Portuguese beers. 

For a quick bite and a cheap eat en route home, this isn't a bad new spot. The relaxed atmosphere is welcoming to larger, rowdier groups (there was a large b'day party when we were in) and I think that adds to the charm of the place. It is a grown-ups (or a Chelsea) Nando's and a great one at that. We spoke about there being an additional middle spiced version between the Piri-piri and the dynamite for those wanting a chilli kick over a rather large blast!!

£45pp with booze
A: 343 fulham road. sw10 9tw
Website: hereT: 0203 0110 081 

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House of Ho - Lunch special

House of Ho has launched a lunch special for August where some of their signature dishes can be had for a fiver (unless stated otherwise)! All inspired to “...get you in hungry and out happy in 20 minutes!”. Sounds too good to be true?

Mr E (whom is a regular lunch companion of mine) and I meandered over to the restaurant around 12:30 to be seated straight away and were quickly given menu's and water. The staff seem to be perfectly well aware that the clientèle will be wanting to eat and zoom back to work pronto - perfect! 

The menu is pretty good considering you're eating in a restaurant for around the same as your average sandwich/sushi lunch.

Lobster cellophane noodles was my choice for grub and for a fiver I was rather pleased. The photo is deceiving however you get more than enough noodles and plenty of lobster, well, far more than I imagined for the price! It was steamed lightly in sake however I couldn't taste much of this as a flavour, I didn't find that a problem at all. Topped with fried crispy onions, a smattering of spring onions and coriander made for a really pleasant lunch time dish. 

Mr E had Bun Bo which was a beef noodle soup type dish. This was a great feast in itself. Packed full of goodies, greens, herbs, carrots, seeds - definitely well worth the money.

Feeling rather ravenous due to a semi fuzzy head from the evening before at WC I decided to have a couple of sides to share between us which Mr E accepted gratefully...

Hot crispy rolls (3) with pork, prawns and mushrooms. Like many Vietnamese rolls should be these were light, crisp and packed full of filling. The simple flavours weren't complicated or over powered by any form of herbs I thoroughly enjoyed these. Even more so when dipped into the hot sweet sauce. The accompanying cold noodles and lettuce wasn't needed however these were still polished off. 

The following two dishes were in the £5 for two 'wok tossed' section. 

Plentiful and moreish, the beansprouts with shrimp, ginger and scallion onions satisfied my need for a crunchy veg, such simple flavours but still delicious. 

The morning glory in shallot oil and crunchy garlic slightly disappointed in that is was a little soggy and claggy. Perhaps just a little too much oil and possibly a little too long in the old wok.

The House of Ho has mixed reviews for dinner, due to poor service or disappointing portions (I am yet to go at night). Maybe to go on a lunch was a better idea as service was fast and food was fab! 

I still feel I am yet to find a seriously good Vietnamese to replace my beloved Mekong (Howard, come back!!). Reader's please help me! 

 Square Meal

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WC Clapham

The trend for reusing old Victorian loo's is still amongst us, and 'WC' is the newest member to this club. 

Playing on the name WC also stands for 'Wine and Charcuterie' which is what this place does well, very well. Eight of us girls gaggled around a booth table for the youngster's birthday and ordered our first of many bottles of prosecco (around 7:30pm) within what was a relatively calm and quiet wine bar. Towards the end of the evening it was a different matter. The lights had dimmed, the atmosphere buzzing and the ten or so tables filled with happy customers and many, many dates (it's rather cute and romantic, if ever an old loo could be!).

Charming French wait-staff made sure we were constantly watered and quaffed throughout our time there which made for a really pleasant evening. The interior has been renovated to still have the Victorian charm and almost all of the furnishings look to be reclaimed, let's hope they gave the floor a good ol' scrub!

Pop into the (actual) loo's and you'll find original old love letters in the women's and 60's pin up pictures in the men's which had been found when they started the building work. It's lovely that they've kept so much of the charm and history. There's even scrawling on the walls which look like they've been there for many, many years...some of which is rather amusing! 

So, onto the main event(s). The menu here is simple - Bread, meat, cheese, DONE! With a couple of added nibbles of olives, biltong and pork scratchings (picture below: these were SO.GOOD!).

We ordered the lot (literally)...

p.s. it's really dark underground so please excuse the dreadful photos!

Mixed stuffed olives and mixed olives...

The cheese board was suggested for two people but this went a long way. A fantastic mix of hard, soft and blue cheese served with a delicious chutney, ciabatta and pickles. 

The mixed meat board comprised of a huge selection of air dried hams, saucisson, bresaola and terrine (plus more breads and pickles.) All expertly sliced each ham was exquisite (I think I tried almost all) and for £13 you can't really get a better plate of meat. The terrine, for one, was exceptional. 

We had a wonderful evening which went well into the night and didn't leave us out of pocket too badly. A place you could happily pop in for a glass or stay put for an evening it's informal yet you feel rather special being there. 

As the birthday girl said 'cheese, wine and meat three of (my) favourite things' they're onto a good thing here. Add a handful of friends or a gorgeous date and your evening at WC will be a winner. 

Bookings: no bookings unless over 5/6 people 0207 622 5502
Add: Underneath Clapham Common tube station, London. SW4 7AA (what a fab address!)
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Ben's Canteen , Battersea

So, after a few years of popping up and down St John's Hill to visit friends/family, we finally made it to Ben's Canteen. This neighbourhood hang out always has a long snake like queue forming for brunch and happy customers stuffing faces with delectable breakfast goodies. 

On Sunday we met with three of Mr D's university friends and headed down for 11am to be seated straight away - perfect! However the queue was beginning to form so we considered ourselves lucky...

Once seated our drinks order was taken and one thing I loved on the menu I had to have - purely as I just wanted to order one and see how it came...Berocca by the glass... 

I'm not entirely sure how they did it but seemingly just by adding some ice, limes and orange segments made this so utterly refreshing that, if it wasn't going to totally OTT my Vit C levels I would have ordered another. Maybe it was watered down more than when I mix it up but it really was thirst quenching... 

The boys amongst us knew immediately what they were having and opted for the 'Eggs Pig Out' - pulled pork, on muffins with hollandaise. Quoted on the menu as 'Outrageous' they weren't wrong... 

I went for one of my faves 'Sweet corn fritters' served with avocado, bacon and a spiced cherry tomato salsa (not the best photo).

The 'fritters' had an excellent flavour however, I much prefer the crispness of the fritters from Barossa Fulham. Ben's were more of a pancake consistency whereas on previous orders, of the same dish, they had a little more bite to them. However, still a great breakfast staple and I can't fault them for their own version. The bacon here is crunchy and the smashed avocado was delicious. My only gripe was that the salsa lacked spice, I didn't really notice it at all apart from the off tomato flavour hit. 

The two Others round the table had the smashed avocado on toast (exactly what it says on the tin and a good one at that), and a smoked salmon poached eggs on toast. Both going down a treat.

Coffee's were excellent all round, so we had double helpings of these and nestled in for a couple of hours catching up over our summer antics...

The vibe is relaxed, the staff friendly and the food? - Exactly what you need when feeling a little woolly. I'm looking forward to going back to try the soft shelled crab burger which kept going past - it looks insanely good!

 Square Meal

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