Friday, 24 June 2016

WINTER GARDEN AT THE LANDMARK HOTEL

I've always wanted to visit The Landmark Hotel after admiring some beautiful images of the stunning architecture, so what better time and excuse to visit than to celebrate our second girls reunion this year. Now that the three of us have settled in different parts of England (Newcastle, Birmingham, London), London seems to be the most strategic location to meet up - which definitely gets a thumbs up from me (!)
 
 Awarded 2 AA Rosettes, the Winter Garden is an all-day brasserie that is situated in the heart of the soaring eight-storey glass roof atrium. I do love places with high ceilings and natural light, and the palm trees gave the feel of being back on a tropical beach resort - now if only the temperature outside would warm up a bit ...




Upon being seated, we were welcomed with chilled glasses of bellinis and warm bread with butter.
For my starter, I went for the warm terrine of slow cooked pork and black pudding. The pork was really soft and tender, and I liked the black pudding which gave a bit of texture. The smoked salmon ballotine was very vibrant and a lovely starter as well.



I ordered the roasted breast of maize fed chicken as my main which was served on a bed of tomato fondue, puy lentils, roasted cauliflower and broccoli. I found some bits of the meat a bit dry, but otherwise the vegetables and combination of flavours were quite nice. I also had a cheeky taste of Sarah's and Chloe's dishes. The pan seared fillet of seabass had a crisp skin and the slow cooked barbecue beef was deliciously succulent and flavoursome with a creamy mash.




I was quite happy with my choice of dessert, which was a light sponge of white chocolate and lime cream topped with refreshing blood orange sorbet. I am generally quite partial towards chocolate, but unfortunately the warm chocolate fondant was a bit dry and average, and could have done with a slightly more refined presentation ...






And because we were also celebrating Chloe's birthday, they brought out a sweet little cupcake with a candle after our desserts. A birthday is after all never quite complete without (more!) cake ...





On the whole, we all had a wonderful evening with lovely food, and the staff were really professional and attentive as well. If you've been tempted to experience this for yourself, then I would also recommend booking via this Bookatable Star Deals link, which includes a complimentary champagne cocktail with your 3-course meal - who doesn't love a bargain!

I enjoyed my experience there, and would love to return again in the future, maybe to try out the afternoon tea, because one can never have too many afternoon teas ...

The Cheekster, signing out x

Square Meal Winter Garden - The Landmark London Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 20 June 2016

CHINESE CRICKET CLUB: QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY MENU

I previously visited Crowne Plaza during their hotel showcase where we had a little sample of the food at the restaurant, but this was my first time dining at the Chinese Cricket Club. 
Located within Crowne Plaza London - The City,  just opposite Blackfriars station, the restaurant is known to specialize in Sichuan cuisine, led by Executive Chef Ken Wang.
Judging by its location, I would assume that it's main clientele would be business and city workers, but also caters well for the wider public, as we observed a large family reunion that took place on the evening that we visited.




A special Queen's Birthday menu was on offer that evening, on the day of the big street party on The Mall, designed by Chef Ken Wang.

We started with some dumplings which were freshly prepared and handcrafted in their kitchen. Unfortunately I missed out on the past Dim Sum masterclasses, which I'm sure would have been good fun! We sampled the prawn har gau and scallop and prawn sui mai which are classic favourites. The prawn inside was fresh and juicy and topped with some caviar that gave a pleasant popping texture. The scallop and pork was just as delicious.




The mains consisted of beef tenderloin with black pepper and Yu-xiang chicken Sichuan style, served with a portion of brown rice and egg fried rice. The beef was really soft and tender with bits of straw mushrooms. The Yu-xiang chicken was also tasty, which is a classic Sichuan stir-fry dish which consists of shredded chicken cooked with carrot, bamboo shoots, and peppers in a pungent sweet and sour garlic sauce. 
Both dishes were quite simple but still tasty, and with lots of sauce to have with the rice.

Our meal ended with a slice of birthday cake which was a light sponge cake with cream and cherries.







Overall it was a simple and satisfying meal, although I would be interested to see what the main a la carte menu would be like. 
If you happen to work in the area, they also do an Express Lunch and Dinner menu for those pressed for time... 

Check out their website for further details.

The Cheekster, signing out x


The meal was complimentary, but views remain my own.
Square Meal Chinese Cricket Club - Crowne Plaza London The City Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 27 May 2016

MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING!

I think it's probably quite obvious how much I love weddings, and after months / years (!) of anticipation, my best friend is finally getting married!
... Well, officially married as of last week - time sure flies when you're having fun.

Childhood friends since we were both just 8 years old, it's a blessing how we have managed to keep in touch, even after years of living in different continents.
And it was pretty cool when we both lived in London - hers was London, Ontario, unfortunately #wishfulthinking

This was my first experience attending an Indian wedding which took place over four (!) days, so here's a few snaps from this special occasion...

The first evening was the Sangeet, a Sanskrit term which means as sung together, a pre-wedding ceremony where celebrations, dancing, and singing take place. 
The dress that Harpreet wore that evening was probably my favourite amongst the many outfits that she changed into - and in my favourite shade of pink too!










The second day was Maiyan which took place at home. During the ceremony, turmeric paste is applied on the bride's face, feet, and hands, before mehendi (henna) is skillfully drawn on her hands and feet. I had a mini one drawn on my arm, knowing how clumsy I am, and that I probably wouldn't have the patience and not have my hands free to snack with...











This was followed by the Sikh ceremony in the Gurdwara, where Harpreet was once again an image of elegance, this time with a veil that completed the look. 
Harpreet kindly lent me one of her Salwar Kameez outfits for the day. We were required to cover our heads and remove our shoes in the temple - the dupatta was a bit heavy and tricky to keep balanced on my head, but I loved wearing it nonetheless. I'm just really clumsy in general...















The final day was the Hindu ceremony where the reception took place outdoors at the beautiful Lakeside Gazebo at The Royal Ambassador, with a stunning view of the lake in the background. We were once again extremely lucky for the warm sunny weather - a huge improvement as opposed to the weekend before where there was rain, snow and hail all in one day (!)
I did love the colour of our matching bridesmaid anarkali suits, pink is just the perfect shade for (almost) any occasion.
This was the longest day of them all, which ended with one final dinner, with dancing and music playing on through the night ...
 











Congratulations once again, Harpreet & Shivam - you two make the perfect couple, and I'm looking forward to our next 'Team Water' reunion!

Canada Rockies Roadtrip 2014

Canada Rockies Roadtrip 2014
 
And not forgetting a word of thanks to the Gill family for letting me stay in your beautiful home for the week - I'm missing you and your homemade chai, Aunty! 
I look forward to seeing all of you again in the near future.

The Cheekster, signing out x