Monday

Señor Ceviche - Peruvian BBQ at its best


Now, I say 'at its best' however, I haven't actually come across any other Peruvian BBQ's in my eating history...  Señor Ceviche has fast gathered a fair amount of groupies since its opening in just over a month ago. 

Mr bro and I arrived early at 6:30pm due to working close by and already tables were filling up and a decent atmosphere was already starting to kick in. 

The open BBQ gives of wonderful smells that hit you the moment you walk through the door and into the vibrantly decorated restaurant. We were sat by the grill which actually was a great spot due to creating even more of an authentic atmosphere with the heat, chefs chatting away and the fizzing of meat when it hits the charcoals... 

I ordered one of their non alcoholic cocktails (crazy, I know!) a refreshing 'Amazonian Elixir', which consisted of elderflower cordial, apple juice, gomme syrup, lime juice and soda water with basil leaves. Super refreshing and thirst quenching.



Being told to order around 3/4 dishes per person we more or less got a good smattering of different dishes across the menu which comes to your table 'as it's ready'. 

We pre ordered with our drinks the Yucas which were small, deliciously crispy croquettes served with a soured cream dipping and crunchy corn. 



First up was the salmon ceviche AKA 'Mr Miyagi'. Thinly sliced raw salmon was doused in a tangy 'tiger's milk' (lime, chilli, onions...) crispy salmon skin and pomegranate. One of my favourites of the evening as it was really fresh and zingy, thus meaning, I could have eaten plates of the stuff. 



The Spaniard was our other ceviche dish made up of sea bream, king prawn, a tomato version of the tiger's milk and chorizo. I liked the additional slightly smoky flavour of the chorizo as another element to bring down the sourness.



So onto the meatier items... Pachamama pork rib was huge and well worth trying should you visit. Covered in a sweet, sticky traditional Inca paste made up of yellow chilli peppers then also given a second BBQ sauce coating the meat fell off the bone and was super succulent and really tasty... 



Anticucho was in the form of two sticky beef skewers sadly not tasted by me, due to not loving beef, but an all round thumbs up was received.

Spicy lemon Chicken wings, luckily, came as a three and were devoured at rapid speed. Thoroughly enjoyable and another I could eat bowl after bowl of.



Tamarind BBQ chicken was a similar version of the above. Full of flavour, sticky, sweet, slightly spiced and ridiculously tender.




We also shared a plate of the fries covered in a spiced cheese and tomato fondue. I wasn't overly enamoured by these as they were a little stodgy as they had soaked up too much of the sauce before hitting our table.

What I loved about Señor Ceviche wasn't just the food but the incredibly energetic atmosphere and wonderful staff. Even at such an early hour of the evening, people were in high spirits, which could mean for a dangerously fun evening ahead. Great for friends, even better for dates...

Approx £30/40pp with a cocktail or two... 

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Senor Ceviche on Urbanspoon


A: 1st Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby St, London W1B 5PQ
T: 07540 624255


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Tuesday

Rabbit... Kings Rd's newest hip hangout


Finally the oh so famous KR is getting a decent smattering of good grub! Why it has never seemed to attract such venues with the wealth that surrounds it is beyond me. But, Rabbit is one of those 'hip' hangouts that has followed Kurbuta's lead, and thank goodness it has!

Our house is under renovation so, with no kitchen, living room and well... no downstairs! We're smashing through a good handful of new places.

Mr D's university friend, Mr H, and his lovely girlfriend Tibby were our dates for the evening and I cannot tell you how happy I was that this was the venue of choice... it is SO good for groups of 4+ as we managed to sample most of the menu - perfect.

Much like it's slightly older sister, The Shed, Rabbit focuses on small plates for sharing. All made up of fabulous flavours and some even home grown on their pops' farm in Nutbourne. Try their 'Nutty' home brewed champers I believe it's starting to win high acclaim! 

We ordered four of each of the small mouthfuls and then many, many other dishes all as good as the last and never faulting on combinations. 

So, first up the mouthfuls:


 



Mushroom Marmite eclair (above, front left)

Brown crab bomb, lemon and dulse (above, back left)

Beetroot crisp with goats cheese and pear jam (above, back right)

Woodcock pate, smoked potato, quince (above, front left)

All the above were amazing taste sensations in one... mouthful. Really packing a punch and just so well put together it felt like you were in a fine dining restaurant with attitude! 

We then had many of their larger dishes in quick succession...each plate we served between the four of us with the odd one having two of...

Red Grouse, rose hip and wood sorrel. Yummy pink grouse which was cured and then served a top a really beautiful simple 'salad'...




Gurnard, Mussels, sea purslane, chanterelles and artichoke (opening pic and below)... crisp skin made a great contrast of texture to some seriously well cooked fish. The artichoke was puréed serving as a sauce and some earthiness came from the mushrooms - an incredibly well balanced dish and one of my faves of the night. 


Venison Stogies, cranberry and tarragon. Cranberries (I think) were slightly air dried giving some bitterness thus cutting through the dense, yet sweet venison which was lightly encased in pastry and fried to give a crisp outer shell. Really pleasant to eat and one to definitely order!


Lamb "chips", lemon, parsley and Harissa I think was one of the boys' favourites. The harissa serving as a decadent ketchup in which to dip these incredible meaty 'chips' into. Packed full of sweet, succulent lamb and lightly breaded and fried this is another winner and one I hope to stay put on the menu as a Rabbit 'staple'... 



Brussels sprout, hazelnut, cheddar and apple salad -  I will be recreating this fab chopped salad idea! Really light, refreshing and crunchy, a welcome green hit amongst our sea of (delicious) proteins.



Rabbit ravioli, bone marrow, yellow chanterelles and lovage pesto. Now, lovage is not my favourite of things (no idea why I simply don't 'love-it'...sorry!). However, I couldn't taste it thankfully, and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the dish - a real winter warmer. 



Calves tongue, duck hearts, garlic and black cabbage this I didn't try so much as I'm not the biggest offal fan but the boys were singing its praises... 



Partridge, crispy potato, romesco and shallots. Slightly tricky to divide this was up there with my beloved gurnard for the night as a stand out dish. Fabulous cooked game bird served with a sweet finger licking sauce and plenty of textures to please any foodie.



Magnum vienetta parfait. Caramel, ice cream...layered...what else can I say but...OH.MY... AMAZING!



Now, Rabbit can be expensive if you seriously 'go all out' but I think it serves two purposes as it can also be a fantastic place (should you be able to get in) where by you could pop in for a light supper of just one or two plates... every element of every single dish is thoroughly well thought of. Each ingredient has it's own purpose and sings it's own tune on the plate. Since my visit to The Shed I have always sung its praises and now, I'm pleased I have one a little closer to home... the Gladwin boys...well done once again!

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Thursday

Bocca di Lupo - already wanting to go back


Last night was a much needed catch up with one of my uni girls. Bocca di Lupo, which has been high up on my 'must go' list for quite some time, was booked and I was pleased to note my dining companion was dying to go also...

We were seated to the back of the restaurant at its cosy bench seats and it's apparent that everyone here is thoroughly enjoying their meals.. the atmosphere is vibrant and full of energy. 



Settling on a lovely bottle of vino we chomped through wonderful house made bread with an incredibly punchy (in a good way) olive oil, those fabulously big green nocellara olives and ummmed and ahh'd at the delicious sounding menu, thus meaning, it's a tricky one to choose from!



Most of the dishes are available in a 'small' or 'large' portion. Wanting to try as much of the menu as possible we decided to go for all small plates and basically leave our starters in our waitresses hands asking her to order for us from the 'fritti' menu and then also a plate of Crudità di mare - raw red prawns, scallops and tuna tartare which arrived looking fantastic and tasted like heaven...



From the fritti menu our waitress chose an excellent selection...



Sage leaves filled with anchovies (£1.50 each) I could have had a bowl full of these...

Buffalo mozzerella bocconcini - delish



Baccala - home salted cod, a very posh 'fish and chip shop' fish (yum)


and, Olive stuffed with minced pork and veal - absolutely awesome flavours!



All of the above was pretty sensational and I couldn't have picked better myself. Highlights were the sage leaves and the crudita (the raw prawn in particular).

Onto our mains which again, we asked the staff to help with choosing as it was proving near impossible for us to decide what to have.

Pappardelle with hare was an excellent pasta dish, the ribbons of dough perfectly cooked and a decent thickness. The ragu was seriously tender and had a great depth of flavour.



Foie Gras sausage was a decadent as it sounds. Served with a rich pearl barley and cep risotto.



Roasted pumpkin with sage and parmesan was as good as it looks. A seriously tasty side dish dressed and (I think) roasted in a rich balsamic vinegar.



Romanesco broccoli, boiled with oil and parsley was our choice for a 'bit of green' another winner. 



I don't think I could have eaten a better meal to compete with my high expectations...everything from the restaurant to the last mouthful exceeded. It's a fantastic date place, an even better group place and I simply cannot wait to visit again...


Address: 12 Archer St, London W1D 7BB

Prices:£50pp incl. wine

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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 us 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 two different ways. 

His, salt and pepper with 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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