Monday, 21 July 2014

L'ANIMA CAFE, 10 APPOLD STREET

I have had quite a (heavier than normal) week of eating last week, one of the places which included L'Anima Cafe. The first time I visited here was when I attended the Chowzter Awards where there were small canapes to sample, so I was looking forward to what the actual restaurant menu had to offer. 
The sister cafe to L'Anima on Snowden Street, London's award winning Italian restaurant by Francesco Mazzei,  L'Anima Cafe offers rustic Southern Italian food in a more casual setting.

 

As soon as we were seated, the bread trolley was brought to us, as we ogled at the selections before us...the best bread trolley selection that I have seen so far.
As much as we would have liked to grab as much as we liked, we were only allowed as much as our little ceramic bowl could contain. This came with some dips on the side - nduja and a fish-based paste.
My favourite was probably the rose shaped pastry with nduja filling, and the focaccia was pretty good as well.


 


We ordered a 1 litre carafe of white wine (Trebbiano) to share between the both of us - before we actually realized how big a 1 litre carafe was...thankfully it wasn't too strong.

 

| Impepata di cozze e vongole |
- Steamed cornish mussels, clams, basil sauce -

These came served on a piece of bread which was made to look like a large shell. We nibbled a bit on the bread once we had cleaned out the mussels and clams - soaking the bread in the basil sauce to soften it, but only had a bit as the sauce was quite salty.


| Calamari alla griglia |
- Grilled calamari with pappa al pomodoro -

I really enjoyed this dish - the squid was soft and slightly chewy, but not tough or rubbery, and it went well with the pappa al pomodoro.

 

| Peperone ripieno |
- Stuffed pepper -
 

| Linguini al nero |
- Ink squid linguini, chilli, lemon - 

Another squid dish for us - yes, we do love our squid...


| Filetto d'orata al sale |
- Sea salt-crusted baked bream -

This somehow didn't quite turn out as we were expecting. I guess we both had different visualizations and interpretations of the dish. The fish was cooked well, but lacked seasoning and tasted quite bland, even with the sauce. My least favourite dishes that evening.

 

| Pancia di maiale e sanguinaccio |
- Norfolk pork belly, sanguinaccio -

Tender and juicy meat with a nice bit of crispy crackling. I don't usually eat blood, but I have just realized what I actually ate... I actually liked it, as it was a blood sausage after all, and I do love sausages...


And finally, ending with my favourite part of the meal...DESSERT!

| Pannacotta, mirtilli e grappa |
 - Pannacotta, blueberries, grappa -

The pannacotta was really smooth and creamy, and my dining companion particularly liked the blueberries soaked in grappa...

 

| Cassata siciliana |
- Sicilian cassata -

Recommended by the waitress was this delicious Sicilian dessert - a ricotta and chocolate-filled cake, with layers of sponge and pistachio.


| Affogato |

And of course I just had to order an affogato, which came with a madeleine one the side.
It was nice, although I did find that the ice cream had a bit of a powdery texture...



Service was smooth and pretty efficient despite it being their soft launch period, and overall it was a pleasant experience.

The Cheekster, signing out x

Square Meal

Saturday, 19 July 2014

LIMA FLORAL, 14 GARRICK STREET

Having received a sweet surprise in my inbox just one day before, I made a last minute change of plans, and the next day, there I was, sat excitedly at the new Lima Floral in Covent Garden - the second restaurant after the first Lima from Virgilio Martinez opened in mid-2012.
I really enjoyed my first visit back in February, so my taste buds were definitely looking forward to this.

We were served some pisco sours whilst we perused the menu - one of my favourite cocktails, and typical of South American cuisine.




 

 

 


| Sea Bream Ceviche |
- Sea bream, tiger's milk, avocado, crispy onions, cancha corn -

Beautiful vibrant colours, and really nice textures.


| Tuna Causa |
- Yellow potato, crudo vegetable roots, tuna tartar -

Another brightly coloured starter - The tuna was finely chopped and nicely seasoned, and the mashed yellow potato was very smooth and creamy - simple yet really tasty.

 

| Beef Sudado |
- Seared entrecote, coriander, heritage tomato, white quinoa -

The beef was cooked medium rare - nice, clean cuts with a lovely pink centre.
Served with a delicious warm bowl of quinoa.


| Organic Lamb |
- Lamb rump, eco dry potato, queso fresco, black quinoa, crispy blue potato -

The lamb was really delicious. WK isn't quite a fan of medium rare meat, so he requested his to be cooked well done - I would have totally gone for medium rare of course...
Nonetheless, still very tasty with lovely textures - overall a beautifully presented dish.

 

| Suspiro Ardiente |
- Dulce de leche, beetroot, dry limo chilli pepper -

Smooth and creamy dulce de leche, but not overly sweet, and a nice hint of spiciness from the chilli pepper in the crispy bits.


| Chirimoya |
- Chirimoya mousse, maca root, purple potato -

I remember those purple potatoes from my last visit to the original Lima - I could munch on them all day. And the mousse was undoubtedly smooth and delicious.

 


A couple of days later, I was back...this time to try the tapas menu at the 'piqueos bar' downstairs.
Not quite sure how I managed to forget to bring my camera on this occasion (the one thing that I always carry with me!), so I had to rely on my iPhone. Back to basics...so please do excuse the lower quality of photos...

| Sandia |
- Orange and lemon skin infused pisco, watermelon, pomme verte, creme de casis, mint, lime juice, soda water -

Cooling and refreshing, and perfect for that hot summers' day.

 


 



The portions are generally quite small, so we managed to work through quite a few dishes...

| Tuna. Rocoto Tiger's Milk |



| Aubergine. Limo Chili Pepper. Huancaina Sauce |

Full of flvaour, and that huancaina sauce was seriously addictive...



| Beef Tenderloin. Panca Chili Pepper. Pachamanca Sauce |

The beef cooked to a lovely medium rare and served with creamy pachamanca sauce which is made with fresh cheese, flour and milk.
They also have veal heart, which was unfortunately not available that day, but sounds like something worth trying.



| Scallops. Heirloom and Tree Tomatoes |

One of my favourite dishes from the Ceviche section - nice citrus and zesty flavours and really moreish.


| Sea Bream Ceviche. Yellow Tiger's Milk, Camote Chips |



| Veal tartar. White Quinoa, Panca Chili Pepper |



| Octopus. Botija Olives. Annatto Cream. Red Shiso |

 

| Asparagus. Avocado Uchuta. Onion Ashes |

 

| Chocolate |
- Palo Blanco Peru Cacao. Oat and Wood Sorrel -

If you love chocolate just as much as I do, then this would be the perfect dessert for you - rich, smooth and deliciously creamy, with a nice crumblw at the top.



| Cafe Peruano |
- Purple Potato, Coffee Ice Cream, Red Kiwicha -

Having now tried the entire dessert menu, this is probably my favourite amongst them - maybe because I really love ice cream, and coffee...
Very beautiful and I really love the purple colours.



The dining area downstairs is more chilled out and great if you're looking for some drinks and small tapas dishes to snack on.
All the tapas dishes that we were served were all very good - vibrant and exciting colours and all very moreish.

I really enjoyed both visits to Lima Floral. A much more casual setting than the first restaurant, but overall, the service, ambience and food was great, and I would gladly visit again.

Address: 14 Garrick Street, London WC2E 9BJ 

[ Lima Floral officially opens on 23rd July 2014 ]

For my previous post on the Michelin-starred Lima at 31 Rathbone Place, click here.

The Cheekster, signing out x

Square Meal

Friday, 18 July 2014

AFTERNOON TEA AT THE LONDON MARRIOTT

So, last weekend, I was given the opportunity to have afternoon tea at The London Marriott, County Hall. Exiting from Waterloo Station, we battled the hoards of tourists along South Bank, before entering the peaceful grounds of The London Marriott.

 

 

Entering the Library Lounge, and we were sat by the windows with a lovely view of the River Thames - a comforting escape from the hustle and bustle of tourists and the weekend crowd outside.
A selection of teas enclosed in a bookcase was brought to us, and we were given time to have a whiff of the teas before making our selections. I went for the Signature Lady Grey, whilst WK went for the Peppermint & Lemongrass.
And of course, there was also champagne...

 



 

 

 


Served on a silver three tiered stand was a selection of sandwiches, freshly baked scones (Orange crusted and golden raisin, Montgomery cheddar and Hampshire watercress) with jam and clotted cream, and a range of delicate homemade cakes.

 
 
 


| Sandwiches |

Roasted Angus Beef and Horseradish
Wiltshire Ham and English Mustard
Cucumber, Cream Cheese and Chive
Burford Brown Egg Mayonnaise and Cress
Foreman & Son “London Cure” Salmon, Caper Butter




 

 The atmosphere was really warm and relaxing, with calming live piano music in the background. Service was professional and efficient - food was served promptly and our drinks were topped up regularly.
Overall, a pleasant experience, and I would happily visit again.

Address: London County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7PB
Tel. No.: 0207 928 5200 
Traditional Afternoon Tea Prices: £32 per person (£38 with champagne)

The Cheekster, signing out x