Wednesday

Claude's Kitchen



On Tuesday night, Mr D and I decided to head to my favourite champagne bar in Parsons Green. Here there is an incredible little restaurant serving up some of the best food I have tasted for a long time called 'Claude's Kitchen'. 

The bar has an excellent atmosphere every night of the week and serves up one of the biggest selections of champagnes I have ever seen. Naturally, I had a glass of exactly that and Mr D settled for one of their bottled beers.



Claude Compton is the new Head Chef, and the kitchen's namesake, previously working at the highly acclaimed Petersham Nurseries and also the popular Club Gascon. His aim is to focus on great seasonal ingredients and michelin dining within a relaxed environment. He could not have got it more bang on. 

We sat by the window and our menus were brought to us immediately along with some toasted bread and a choice of two butters, salted or tomato. 



Settling on a carafe of house red (it was a Tuesday after all) for our tipple we browsed the menu, which changes weekly, offering a choice of 3 or 4 starters and the same with mains and puds - Excellent, no huge problem with choosing? WRONG! I found it impossible, even the non-carnivorous choices sounded delicious... Beetroot (curried), toasted spices, coconut, lentils and flat bread? - yum!



We decided there and then that we would share our choices 50/50.

Mr D settled on wood pigeon (seared) celeriac mash, cardamom, pickled red onion, lavender, honey and a port jus. The pigeon breasts were so tender and the sticky port jus was so delicious when mopped up with the mash, I didn't want this to end. The lavender hit was really subtle but such a nice addition along side the punchy pickled red onion. It just shows the skill of Claude's pallet. An all round winner and possibly the dish of the day. If you can get here this week, this is a must!


I chose the Cornish mackerel (line caught), crunchy red grape, blood orange, beetroot and Bloody Mary sauce. Really fresh zingy flavours complemented the oily fish perfectly. I was reluctant to hand over Mr D his half as it was a tasty, refreshing dish to start a meal with. The acidity of the orange and crunchy grapes brought the whole dish together in flavour and also texture. It was also a very pretty dish, lots of lovely spring colours to help you forget this delightful British weather we're having! 



Our mains arrived in good time - finally a restaurant that isn't pushing you to leave and lets you to enjoy your time with them!

Mr D went for the Megrim whole Sole (chargrilled and Cornish), wild garlic, almonds, new pots, shaved sprouts, sprouting broccoli and lambs lettuce. At least 3 of those ingredients I could eat everyday so we were onto a winner already. What was fantastic about this dish was the simplicity of it and the textures, soft perfectly cooked fish, al dente broccoli and then a hard crunch from the almonds were such a great combination I would attempt this again at home, however in fear it would never taste the same. The new pots were fluffy and buttery, a great added extra to an already perfect dish. 



My main choice was pork belly with butternut puree, quince, black cabbage and Romesco. The pork was perfectly cooked and had a fantastic layer of crackling which we both saved (the best) till last. Romesco, a type of nutty, red pepper sauce often used in pasta was served as a quenelle and worked well with the succulent pork. This and the quince cut through the pork belly's sweet fattiness and the plate was licked clean.   



One thing that we thought was fantastic about Claude's Kitchen, was that there is no need for additionl sides. With the Chefs' impressive knowledge of food and ingredients, everything comes with exactly what it should.

Not quite bursting, we decided on having puddings. Mr D chose the 'sweet and sour rhubarb' which came with lemon and star anise possit and a hot piquillo tuille. The lemon possit was a sweet pallet cleanser and worked brilliantly with the sour rhubarb. The spicy tuille was unexpected but added a lovely crunchy texture.



My choice of sweet was (of course) chocolate parfait, red wine figs, beet crisp and fizzy grapes. The fizzy grapes came in an almost sorbet consistency and was delicious, cutting through the rich chocolate parfait and sweet figs. A good pud for you chocoholics!!




Overall, one of the most enjoyable meals we've had. All aspects of this British inspired menu focus on great ingredients, textures and fabulous tastes, all served in a relaxed and homely environment. It's on our doorstep, therefore, I will be back very soon...and wait for it... I was on 'Claude 9'!

51 Parsons Green, SW6 (020 7371 8517). Dinner Tues-Sat from 6pm. For two with wine, about £80 including service.

Square Meal


Claude's Kitchen on Urbanspoon
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Tuesday

Individual Tiramisu....easy




I not the biggest of dessert fans, but give me a sticky toffee pudding and i'll eat it all day. I do however enjoy making them almost more so than anything else.

On this occasion I decided to make individual tiramisu's for my guests at home. Super easy and can be made the evening before, my kind of entertaining!!

To make 8

570mls cream
3 tbsp runny honey
250g marscapone 
80mls marsala wine
400mls of strong good quality coffee made with 3tbsp of granules
2 x packs of Savoiardi sponge fingers (you'll use approx 20)
25g dark chocolate
cocoa powder for dusting

Cool your coffee, I found my conservatory as it's (still) winter did the trick, after about 10 minutes it was ready to use.




Firstly out your cream, honey and marsala into a large bowl and whisk until combined and thick, stiff peaks have formed.







Get your glasses or serving dish ready.

Put the coffee into a separate shallow dish and dip in a few sponge fingers turning them over and then take them out- do NOT put them all in at once you'll find you get soggy sponge which is disgusting. Break them into 4's and place the quarters into the bottom of your glasses. If using a single large dish keep them whole and lay these side by side on the bottom until covered. 





Spread your cream on top of the sponge and grate over some of the chocolate. Repeat with a second layer of sponge then cream.



Cover and pop into the fridge overnight or for a few hours before serving.

To serve up, dust with cocoa powder and grate over the remaining chocolate.



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Monday

The Brown Cow

My lovely local, The Brown Cow, is consistently busy everyday. You have to book a wee while in advance to get a table for a Friday or Saturday supper and certainly for Sunday lunch (they do a mean roast). My lovely school friend J was down from Harrogate and fancied a visit to the flat and then an early lunch/brunch.

After meandering down the road, in the now thick snow, I entered the toasty warm pub and we were seated in an instant, ordered a couple of bloody mary's to ease fuzzy heads and settled in for a good gossip and browsing the menu.

It a gorgeous, light and spacious pub, decorated with vintage finds, rustic wood and French 'shabby chic'style furniture. The huge old mirror at the back and the retro hanging bar lights being my personal favourite pieces.


Pic courtesy of http://www.thebrowncowpub.co.uk/

Pic courtesy of http://www.thebrowncowpub.co.uk/


The weekend menu serves up regular British inspired foods and also some 'off track' dishes too such as snails, pigeon and pigs cheek on the bar snack menu.

Yorkshire lass J and Miss Roberts settled on a caesar salad. This came with thinly sliced croutons, baby gem leaves, parmesan, plenty of anchovies and tangy caesar dressing. All of the aforementioned ingredients were exceptional, with the only disagreement on the dish was that it was slightly over-swimming in dressing.




Miss.G went for the sausage, mash and onion gravy. Again a decent dish the mash particularly was smooth and creamy. I'm not sure whether you can do much wrong with the classic combination and so this was met with another satisfied customer.





As I had decided to have a rather hefty Friday evening with Mr D I was gunning for a (rare) burger, triple cooked chips. As my hangover food craving kicked in, I randomly had it with a side of salt and pepper squid with tartar sauce. The squid was delicious and had a lovely batter coating which was well seasoned. Even though I really did not need this I was pleased I ordered it to satisfy an urge! 




The recent craze to try and find 'London's best burger' hasn't quite hit me (yet). I'm not rushing all over the city to try and get a taste of these so called 'winning burgers' but I appreciate a good 'un when eating one. The Brown Cow burger, is a decent example of good ingredients thoughtfully put together to give you a good pub staple. Ordering it as 'rare as possible' this came exactly that which is something you don't often find these days as 'medium rare' seems to be as low as they'll go. However they are confident in that their ingredients are the best and therefore no hesitation on how rare they can go. 






The filling consisted of gherkin, tomato, red onion, cheese and baby gem lettuce.  All giving a great texture against the juicy beef patty. The bun also held it's own and I managed to eat the burger with no issues of it falling apart and creating a mess - bonus!!
The 'triple cooked chips' were a little under done, however I was full enough to not let this bother me at all and I ate a few that had a nice crispy coating and fluffy inside. One thing that is worth a mention is the delicious chilli ketchup/relish that is served on the side. I could have simply had a bowl of this and chips and left a happy girl! 

All in all the bill came to approx £70 including drinks for the 4 of us. For a posh pub lunch and a good girls gossip I personally thought this was worth every penny. 

The Brown Cow Pub on Urbanspoon
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Tuesday

Brew - Nothcote Road

For years I have been wondering what all the hype was about looking at the queue outside this tiny cafe on the Northcote road.  So on Sunday finally got to try it out. 

We got into the queue at 11:20am and had a five or so minute wait until we were seated. This by the looks of things was pretty short and therefore, I think, we were lucky. 

It started badly, we were squished into the outside conservatory space, heaters blowing so it was warm however being on the edge of the 'room' I had an ice cold draft wafting up my back and my feet were numb throughout the meal - we should have known that being given a rug as we sat down was not a good sign. Coldness aside we looked at the menu which does have some interesting and innovative breakie dishes that got us excited, 'smoky bacon Boston baked beans', 'Turkish eggs' and as it's an Aussie influenced gaff expect Vegemite with the option of Marmite throughout and good coffee. 



Miss Evans and I ordered some drinks whilst we waited for the others and settle in trying to guess what others around us had in order to help make up our minds. The menu is vast, so choosing took some time even when the others arrived. 





CK chose the daily special which was chorizo, potato and red onion hash with poached eggs, hollandaise and sourdough. Arriving  at the table, this had us all wishing we'd ordered it (especially moi) and noting it was also popular with other diners within this ice box of a room. It looked delicious, popping the eggs revealed  runny golden yolks mmmmmmmm. The only issue with this dish, was that there could have been an extra slice of toast to mop up the oily chorizo-y yolk, we therefore ordered an extra side dish of toast to share amongst us all. 





Miss Evans chose well, it looked 'cutsie', soft boiled eggs with soldiers and Vegemite/marmite. It was presented nicely with a small amount of pepper and salt added to the board, buttered soldiers and soft boiled eggs. She was feeling nostalgic as went on to tell us that this is what fuelled her through her ski season(s!!) and added even as a simple breakie dish she really enjoyed it and the eggs were superb. 




L.J went for similar to what I had previously had at Raoul's in Hammersmith. Chorizo scrambled eggs on sourdough toast. Not only did this look seriously tasty, the chorizo packed some punch being top quality and the scrambled eggs looked (and apparently were) perfection, not too soggy, not too over done...just right.  




My recently regular brunch companion, Mr Jones, ordered the treacle cured bacon sandwich with vine tomato, baby gem and mayo. Now I know not everyone enjoys crispy bacon, but for bikini body concious Aussies I'm not sure that 90% soggy, stringy, fatty bacon is something they enjoy, I've never been, so I may be wrong. The taste of the bacon was fine but the amount of fat was, well in a word... yuk. I genuinely felt sorry for Mr J as he sat there eating his lettuce and mayo sandwich after discarding the main element of the meal. We wanted to complain however, in order to do so it would mean trying to manoeuvre around the freezing space, which was as big as a postage stamp in order to get the waiting staff's attention, probably knocking our neighbours tea out of their hands (or even off the table) so we therefore thought it too much of an effort and carried on as though he enjoyed his meal... 





Being a fan of sweetcorn fritters and avocado for breakfast I chose exactly that. Brew's version came with tomato jam, lime ailoi and bacon.  If only I had ordered it without the bacon this would have been perfect, however as did Mr Jones I found this far too fatty and close to inedible - cry! The sweetcorn fritters were on the other hand, cooked well and the avocado was perfectly ripe. Sadly the tomato jam got a bit lost with everything else going on, maybe it could do without the aioli, As the jam is delicious when tried on its own. Overall this was fine, however looking across the table at CK's oozy egg, chorizo hash I felt slightly underwhelmed... 






It's a cute place for 2 people, where ingredients are obviously important to them however, as much as I am reluctant to post negatively on places this is simply how I felt. I came here with such high hopes of a wonderful brunch to then, (in reality) leave leaving some what stressed out and well... a bit disappointed - more so also as I had dragged a few hungover faces to a very hectic environment. 

Aspects of this brunch were great...the ingredients were mostly fantastic and super fresh,  all bar mine and Mr Jones' meals were great, and I would imagine, in less of a rush hour this could have been an enjoyable brunch catch up - maybe on another day but for now this is within the 'been there done that' category... 

Brew Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Monday

The Admiral Codrington...

Tucked behind the back streets of the 'Brompton' area within South Kensington, is this little gem of a local serving up delicious food to locals and stumblers.

I booked for an 8pm seating on Friday evening, for a much needed catch up and drinks after a long working week (well, two of the four of us work long hours...). Arriving early Mr D and I sat in the bar for a G&T and a lager before our friends arrived - yes, spot the early finishers! The pub is busy most days of the week however, I would say on a Friday evening it acts more as a bar/pub with music playing and the atmosphere (for me) is great, really buzzy and generally good fun. 

Our other diners arrived and we were seated, coats taken and drinks orders done and dusted. I went in thinking I wanted fish or that incredible burger, no starter, but a pudding I ended up with quite the opposite. The menu makes you rethink your choice and then change it, again!

Sadly my pocket camera is on the blink and typically, as I am nearing the end of my contract, my phone is playing up (why is that?!) so excuse that some of the photo's are indeed VERY grainy and a little bit...well...rubbish to say the least... 

For starters, two of us had their 'famous chilli salt squid, green chilli and coriander'. A decent portion size and the amount of fresh chillies present, the heat lovers amongst you would not be disappointed A.S. being one of these! I was told that this was really good, light crispy batter and the spring onion and chilli giving a sharp bite in contrast to the fried seafood. The dipping sauce was sour and sweet, so again another great accompaniment to go with the squid. 




Mr D went for one of his ultimate favourites 'sticky Chinese BBQ ribs, pea shoots and coleslaw. The meat fell off the bone and the sticky sweet sauce was delicious. The accompaniment of coleslaw was different and not expected with a starter rib dish but it was super and creamy, which cut through the heavy sauce. 




I chose a half pint of prawns, buttered sourdough bread and aioli. A really simple dish, not always what I would choose, however 'A.S' said I was boring if I went for a salad. So, pressure got the better of me, but it was just what I wanted and the aioli was so yummy I mopped my bread in it when I ran out of prawns (naughty).




A fifth guest arrived ordered a larger and a side of chips to arrive with our mains (he 'wasn't hungry'). The staff were more than accommodating for this extra body and didn't mind one bit. In fact, I would go as far to say our waiter was utterly charming, all the staff that evening were which, for us, made for an even better evening.

For the mains A.S. went for their 8oz Cheeseburger, bacon and hand cut chips, 'without question' and said it was seriously good. The only thing that bugged me with this dish was presentation in that the chips looked a little lost on the plate, they could have done with being in a bowl or something more innovative than being plonked on the plate... however fussiness aside, these were also very good, crispy and fluffy on the inside. 




K.E settled for the 'Chicken Kiev with mash and buttered spinach'. This was in a word...HUGE! The Kiev was made from a (very, very large) chicken breast sandwiched together with a crispy bread crumbed coating, which was succulent and injected with loads of oozy garlic butter (no kiev should ever be scrimped on this element). The mash was smooth, creamy and buttery. All in all a good home comfort dish that had many satisfied faces...our fifth guest was happy to polish off the dish 'to help' and was very happy with his 'freebie'. 




Mr D went healthy, and chose their fish special, 'Roasted Pollock, saffron broth with spinach, mussels and clams...' I had food jealousy (not that mine wasn't scrumptious but I love fish, and this looked so good). The broth was amazing and not over powering, the fish was roasted to perfection and the mussels and clams added an extra depth to an already moreish dish. YUM-MY!




I had 'Confit of duck, winter veg hash, spinach and jus' (they love their spinach here!). Not eating duck regularly at home I tend to chose it when on a menu('Dinner's' version still being my favourite). The skin was crispy, and the meat was really tender I hardly had to use my knife to pull it off the bone...mmmmmmm. The veg hash was scrumptious and great to mop up the yummy jus, I could easily have slurped this up with a spoon!



Tummy's full, we sadly opted out of desserts and carried on nattering away with the booze flowing. The staff were happy for us to stay put till 12:45 whereby we were asked politely to move into the bar, which we did, however this definitely made us realise it was possibly a good time to call it an evening. A wonderful evening, fantastic place to meet friends with wonderful food and a great atmosphere.

Admiral Codrington on Urbanspoon


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Raoul's Hammersmith Grove...

Taken from Raoul's website
Raoul's in Notting Hill was one of those places where I used to trek after a late Saturday evening, for a delicious tummy settling brunch, with with my flatmate Miss ADG or whichever Uni/School companion joined me for cocktails the evening before...it never failed to do the job.

After a (very) long train journey back from the Alps on Saturday night I needed this exact fix again to feel...well... normal again...and on this occasion my uni friend Mr Jones was my tummy filling partner in crime and as Raoul's was always our 'go to place' for us for brunch we thought we'd go back down memory lane.
Taken from restaurants.livebookings.net

Being Mothering Sunday it was very busy, however we were warmly greeted and seated after a mere minutes wait, and the waiter took our drinks order straight away.

Portuguese influenced, the brunch menu reflects this serving a few dishes with chorizo etc and also classics such as, eggs Benedict, crumpets with blueberry butter and a huge 'full English'. This touch on the Portuguese lifestyle also flows slightly throughout the main lunch menu, however it mainly focus' on good hearty homely meals.

Mr Jones had eggs Benedict with ham on a toasted muffin Fearing the ham may be a little fatty when ordering, he was pleased to find it was not and the eggs were perfectly oozy and the added bonus of a grilled tomato was also perfectly done = a satisfied tummy no 1.




I decided to go for the frittata of chorizo, spring onion and parmesan served with buttered granary toast. Not my usual choice for brunch as I am a smoked salmon scrambled eggs fiend, I was pleasantly surprised...crispy on top and not over cooked one bit, the chorizo was outstanding, again not too much fat running through it, therefore making it really enjoyable to eat (I am told they use Iberico pork chorizo). The spring onion gave a nice sharpness to cut through the meat and the parmesan was not too punchy so's not to take over the other flavours. Deliciously more-ish I finished this dish rather too quickly and would definitely try this again back home.







It's been almost 2 years since my last visit here at the sister restaurant and I'm not sure why, the food is as remembered, delicious and the atmosphere is always buzzy. Well worth a trip to full your hungry tum.

Raoul's - Hammersmith on Urbanspoon


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