Tuesday, 14 April 2015

ZOE'S GHANA KITCHEN, THE KING & CO.

I have never had Ghanaian food before, so I was intrigued to finally try Zoe's Ghana Kitchen, the latest in the series of kitchen takeovers at The King & Co.
 
A little bit about Zoe's Ghana Kitchen...

Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen is not just a ‘pop-up’ restaurant — it’s a food event: creating a look and feel from its Ghanaian roots that merges with a contemporary dining experience. 
Zoe’s journey began in the Hackney supper club scene before taking her modern homespun twist on classic Ghanaian flavours to pop-ups across London, Berlin and Russia. She has also showcased her critically acclaimed street food at prominent venues including Bestival, The Feast Collective at Camp Bestival and Diesel’s pop-up store on Regent’s Street.

And now onto the food...
There was a good selection of Ghanaian beers - I don't drink beer, but I could see that the majority of the rest round the table who drank did enjoy them.





We sampled some of the vegetarian options - my favourite was the okra tempura which was really tasty and more-ish, served with shito, a traditional ground prawn and chilli dip.
The cassava croquettes were also pretty good with a nice, crisp batter. Unfortunately I was not a fan of the spinach and agushi (ground melon seed) stew - probably one of those dishes that require an acquired taste!

Okra Tempura w/ Shito

Cassava Croquettes

Spinach and Agushi (ground melon seed stew)

We were also served some of the side dishes from the menu - plantain chips which I really liked, jollof rice, and a scotch bonnet and chunky heritage tomato salsa which had a nice spicy kick to it.

Kelewele Chunky Plantain Chips

Jollof Rice

Scotch Bonnet and Chunky Heritage Tomato Salsa

Next up were the mackerel fillets and the jollof chicken skewers - I particularly liked that dip that accompanied the chicken skewers. The pork belly was juicy and tender, and there were some delicious chunks of sweet plantain.

Mackerel Fillets in Chilli Lemon & Garlic

Jollof Chicken Skewers

Pork Belly w/ Sweet Plantain Jus

And my favourite dish of the evening, as I'm sure the majority would agree as well, was Zoe's Signature peanut butter stew with mutton. I LOVE peanut butter, and have had plenty of peanut butter desserts, but never in a savoury dish. The stew was really smooth and thick, and the mutton was really tender. 
A must-order dish! - unless you have a peanut allergy...
 
Maybe peanut butter is more versatile than I thought it was. 
Like sambal, that goes with everything. I love sambal, mmm...

Zoe's Signature Peanut Butter Stew w/ Mutton

And to finish off, we had the Chin Chin Banofee Pie, made with Chin Chin which is a popular West African snack food.


For those of you visiting on the weekend, Zoe will be offering a range of hearty brunch dishes like spiced black eyed beans with fried eggs, sweet plantain pancakes, and a signature ZGK breakfast burrito; alongside a lunch “Chop” bar menu that gives the opportunity to sample a selection of Ghanaian classics in a single platter. 
Zoe’s unique Sunday roasts are also not to be missed, such as tender Lamb Palaver (a five hour slow cooked hoggat shoulder with baby spinach and ground melon seed stew).

Get yourself down there whilst you can to try this contemporary twist on traditional Ghanaian flavours.

Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen’s residency at The King & Co will run from Monday 30th March until Sunday 31st May 2015, during the following kitchen hours:

Monday - Friday: 17.00–22.00
Saturday: 12.00–22.00
Sunday: 12.00–20.00
To book a table or reserve an area, please email hello@thekingandco.uk


Address:The King & Co
100 Clapham Park Road
London
SW4 7BZ


"It's Ghana Be Tasty!"

The Cheekster, signing out x


Monday, 13 April 2015

CINDERELLA AFTERNOON TEA, JUMEIRAH CARLTON TOWER

After watching Cinderella at the cinema the previous week, I was still very much in fairytale princess mode, so I was pretty excited when I saw that the Chinoiserie at Jumeirah Carlton Tower was doing a Cinderella themed afternoon tea, specially created by Executive Head Pastry Chef Stephan Will. 
There was some soothing music being played by the resident harpist - I do love places that have live classical music.







Our afternoon tea was served as depicted on their website - it looked so pretty that we spent the first few minutes snapping away with our cameras.
The top tier had the savoury sandwiches - I liked the roast Scottish beef, watercress and creamed horseradish sandwich, but was not quite a fan of the quail egg tart which was a bit dry. 



The second tier had a pretty array of sweet desserts shaped into various miniature objects related to Cinderella - marshmallow carriages, yuzu tart clocks, white chocolate shoes, and white chocolate brownie and popping candy wands.



And the final tier was some buttery plain and fruit scones, served with jam and clotted cream on the side.



The afternoon tea was nicely presented, although the sweetness was maybe a bit too much for me towards the end. I have to admit that I am not that big a fan of white chocolate, but if you are then you would probably enjoy this.
Service was overall very pleasant and efficient, and we had a lovely relaxing afternoon. 


Anyone else know of any other quirky themed afternoon teas worth trying?
Drop me a line and I shall slowly be nibbling my way through the list!

The Cheekster, signing out x


Sunday, 5 April 2015

BIRTHDAY AT THE CHEF'S TABLE, PARLOUR

Running two weeks behind, but better late than never!

After many little lunches at Parlour, I finally booked the Chef's Table at Parlour for my birthday lunch celebration.
I first had a taste of Chef Jesse's food back in 2013 during the collaboration with Urban Woot Four Fridays - time sure has flown by... 
Parlour has so far been my solo lunch spot, and I thought that it was time to bring along some friends to share the experience.

Chef Jesse did pre-warn us not to eat anything beforehand, so that we could 'prepare' our stomachs for the feast that lay ahead...
Viv and I did have an early breakfast before checking out at the Royal Horseguards Hotel, their complimentary breakfast buffet was too tempting to miss out on. 
Good thing that we Malaysians have big appetites!



We kicked off our lunch with a bottle of prosecco, opened with a machete, as you do.
One of Chef Jesse's many talents.
We also had wine and some specially made mocktails to go round the table.






First up was McTucky's popcorn chicken nuggets - which unlike KFC's version, this had actual popcorn in it!
The chestnut hummus was very much a favourite for many of us, served with rosemary pitta bread. A step-up from your regular chickpea hummus.
Another yummy dipping dish was the taramasalata, topped with black olives.

 




Then came the 'Back Door' Smoked Salmon with crispy salmon skin served on a wooden plank, and THAT soda bread, which is one of my favourite breads. Another favourite (of many favourites) amongst the table was the duck liver pate with cold toast aka. 'yesterday's bread'. I've only just recently started liking pate, and this was definitely up my street, topped with crunchy bits of duck scratchings. Apparently the first dish that he cooked for his wife, where she then decided that he was definitely a keeper.
Maybe that's where I've been going wrong with my dating life - I'm going to make sure that cooking becomes a mandatory requirement on their dating CV.





Ever wondered whether the chicken or egg came first? Well, it doesn't really matter in this case, because the chicken (legs/lollies) and the egg came together in this case, and yes they were both very tasty.
We kept them safe in our bellys so that they didn't have to 'walk the plank'. 
Oh, was that a bit too corny? Maybe you should spend more time in Neverland, I heard that it's good for the soul.


Another familiar dish was the Raw Vegetable 'Ravioli' with Goat's Cheese. A clever alternative if you happen to have missed out pasta on your shopping list. Unless of course you're about to serve a whole table of pasta lovers, then you're probably screwed.
If you love goat's cheese as much as me, then you will probably love this. And for the skinny gym bunnies, well, vegetables are healthy, so it pretty much balances out the calories of the cheese...right?


The pork croquettes had a nice, golden coating, and was really tender and juicy on the inside. I eyed the dish hoping to swipe another one after my first.
Actually, I MAY have had a second helping...I eat so fast, sometimes I don't remember what I put into my mouth...


Next up, was some stilton custard and hazelnut praline served in an egg shell with a pretzel stick on the side. Proper Clarence Court eggs, because Chef Jesse likes keeping things classy - it's how things work in the West.



Ran out of serving dishes? Well, as we all know, there's always an alternative...
Just don't turn the lever.


A lot of chefs are very much into Instagram these days, and that includes Chef Ryan, snapping those sexy duck legs.



And then it was eventually time for the main courses - each of us were served a different dish. And being the birthday girl, I was of course served the humungous Cow Pie. 
I was already quite stuffed by that time, and wanting to save space for dessert (I knew what was coming...), I had a few nibbles and passed the rest round the table. 
Andrew did the honours of polishing off the last bits - those situations when it's always good to have men at the table!
A good and hearty pie, though I'm still not quite convinced that it was better than Dandy's Cow Pie...
Maybe we need a battle of the Cow Pies.









There's my smiley face.


My grumpy face...


And then there's JESSE's face...
This is why bloggers should be more cautious when handing your cameras to chefs...

SELFIE!

And then it was time for the Grand Finale...everyone put on your headphones!
Because everyone needs a bit of Mary Poppins and Willy Wonka in their lives.



Chef Jesse rolled out his art canvas made from (errr) kitchen foil, and started assembling our platter of desserts before us.
Saves on the washing up - less water wastage, and saving the planet a day at a time...
Some special effects going on here - it looks like Jesse is 'AT ONE WITH THE MIST'...


Jesse does take his work very seriously...








And no dessert would be complete without a blowtorch, and a...drill? You can tell that I'm not much of a DIY person.



Did I mention that I LOVE blowing candles..?
I'm hoping that this will increase my chances of my wish(es) coming true.




The Aftermath...


Four hours...I don't think I've ever dined for this long before!
I would definitely recommend it to those of you looking for a fun, quirky dining experience.
Chef Jesse will be waiting for you. 
With his machete.

The Cheekster, a year older, and hopefully wiser, signing out x


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