Tuesday, 26 July 2016

MACELLAIO RC, SOUTH KENSINGTON

Walking down Old Brompton Road after being given brief directions on it's location, I spied a shop front with a bright red awning, and a strangely matching sofa at the front. I remembered Marie saying to 'look for the shopfront with lots of meat' - I looked at the window and knew that I was in the right place.
Upon entering, it feels like I've just walked into a butcher's shop. After a slight hiccup due to a glitch in the system, we were shown to our table, our menus brought to us which at first looked like folded sheets of newspaper. Some homemade bread is placed before us which we dipped into grassy Ligurian olive oil poured generously from a tin can.



I can't resist ordering a steak tartare whenever it appears on a menu. I ordered it as a starter, and liked that it was not over-minced and still had a bit of texture to it, seasoned quite lightly.
I tried a bit of Marie's oxtail in vaccinara sauce, which although was a bit tougher than we both expected, was served with a smooth, creamy mash.



The starter dishes were cleared away, and minutes later butchers knives drop down from above onto the table, snipping off a couple of stray hairs hanging from my fringe (!). One lands an inch away from Marie's manicured nails.
... Okay, maybe not quite as dramatic - our waitress actually carefully stabbed a couple of sleek Pintinox knives upright before us.
Sometimes my imagination gets a little carried away - I also don't even have a fringe, just some very unruly strands of hair that aspire to be like one.

Whilst perusing the menu, my eyes focused in on the 'Meats Fit For  Prince' - or 'Prince-ss' in my case. A girl can always dream. 
I was recommended the Filetto, a beef tenderloin cut from Fassone cattle (a breed native to Piemonte, in North-west Italy) which was nicely seasoned with Toscana extravergine and rock salt. 
I requested it to be medium rare and was happy to see that it was tender and pink in the middle. Marie had the rump steak with some sweet gorgonzola on the side.
We both shared a couple of sides of mixed vegetables and creamy mash.







We finished off with some sweet desserts - Marie went for the traditional tiramisu, whilst I felt a bit more naughty and went for the latte dolce fritto. Crispy, golden, deep-fried desserts, filled with nutella - how could I say no?



Overall we had an enjoyable evening, and we left feeling full and satisfied. 
I haven't eaten a lot of meat recently, but I would say that this would be a good option if you're looking for some good steak.
They have a couple of locations in London, and you can find more information from their website

The Cheekster, signing out x

The meal was complimentary, but views remain my own.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

THE LAKSA KITCHEN POP-UP AT TOLLI CAFE

I have always been a fan of laksa, and I was rather excited to finally try out The Laksa Kitchen, who did a two-week stint at Tolli Cafe in Kentish Town.
Being Malaysian, it's always nice to see more Malaysian offerings popping up in the London food scene, and it was also fun to be able to help create some doodles for their menu (as pictured below).


I tried the 3-layer iced teh tarik which was really sweet yet refreshing, followed by the lighter coconut water with lychee juice - both great to cool down on a warm summers day.



All the small plates sounded good, so of course I had to try one of everything ...
The pork and taro loh bak had a nice, crisp beancurd skin, filled with succulent pork - I haven't actually had loh bak in a London restaurant, but this really tasted close to what I have back home in Malaysia.
They also have a vegetarian taro version.
The cucur udang was slightly different to what I've had (usually with the prawn shells and head still on), but it was nonetheless deliciously crispy with fresh and juicy prawns inside.
The satay chicken skewers were tender and served with a creamy peanut satay sauce.




I have tried quite a lot of curry laksa, so this time I opted for the Sarawak Laksa, which is a lighter regional laksa from East Malaysia (Borneo). 
The laksa is inspired by their travels across Malaysia, where they went in search of 'the perfect laksa'. The laksa soup is made daily using Chef C. Y Lim's Malay paste recipe, dried shrimp, coconut milk and a full-flavoured chicken and prawn stock. 
The Sarawak Laksa soup is less rich and coconut-y with a slight hint of peppery and spiciness to it, which was warm and pleasant.
I also had a spoonful of the Curry Laksa soup which was good.



I was pretty full after all that food, but I couldn't miss out on dessert, which was Pulut Inti and Kuih Dadar, courtesy of Pandan Bakery. I do miss those traditional kuih muih, I was tempted to take a whole bag away with me ...



For those who missed their two-week pop-up, you now have a second chance to try these delicious offerings, as starting Friday 22nd July, The Laksa Kitchen will be re-opening at Tolli cafe for the next TWO WEEKENDS!
Everything that I tried was really tasty, so if you have enough space, I would recommend ordering everything ...
I might be tempted to return to try their Hainanese Chicken rice, and maybe more laksa ...
You can book a table via reservations@thelaksakitchen.co.uk

My all-time favourite type of laksa will always be Penang Laksa from my hometown, but I am always open to trying out different variations - hit me up with your favourite laksas (or anything Malaysian!) in London x

The Cheekster, signing out x

The meal was complimentary, but views remain my own.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

BYOC SOHO FT. JAMES COCHRAN

I have always wanted to visit BYOC, and what better opportunity than at the launch party of BYOC ft. James Cochrane at their latest branch in Soho.
BYOC (aka 'Bring Your Own Cocktail') is a speakasy where you are welcome to bring your own bottle(s) of poison (alcohol/spirits!), where expert mixologists with their array of syrups and bitters will be at hand to shake up concoctions to your hearts desire.
The Soho branch has taken it to the next level by teaming up with young and exciting chef James Cochran (formerly at Harwood Arms and Ledbury) to deliver mouth-watering dishes, specially crafted using local and seasonal produce.
 
We were first shown upstairs to the bar, a rather dim and intimate setting, where we were served champagne, cocktails and oysters - not a bad start to a Thursday evening. The Whitstable rock oysters were topped with bone marrow and black radish, and was a delicious mouthful, I only wished that I could have grabbed one more (or an armful) before we proceeded downstairs to the ground floor restaurant.



We were each suggested to order four dishes from the menu, so we ordered eight different dishes between the two of us - we do like variety. 


The first of the fish dishes that we ordered was the treacle cured smoked salmon with smoked cods roe, radish, rye, mustard cress, and a small cube of whiskey and apple jelly on the side.
The next fish dish was the Cornish mackerel, served with charcoal mayonnaise, pickled wild cherries and (dehydrated) seaweed. I do love mackerel dishes, both raw and cooked, and this one was seared nicely. Some may find this too fishy, but it was perfect for my tastes.  
The third and also my favourite dish of the evening was the Cornish ray wing topped with samphire and a thin slice of cured pork collar which enhanced the flavour. I do love the smoothness of ray wing flesh, I would have happily had seconds (and thirds) ...





Moving to the meatier dishes, starting with the braised short rib of red ruby beef which was tender and juicy, served with a flavoursome girolle marmalade. This was followed by a thick cut of crisp pork belly with yogurt, purple sprouting broccoli and pinenuts which added an extra crunch. To balance it out, we had the Wye valley asparagus topped with a light egg and garlic mousse - one of our 5-a-day ...




Unable to decide between the desserts, we eventually settled for a sweet and savoury dessert to share between us. For the sweet dessert, we went for the English raspberries with lemon verbena buttermilk and feuille de brick, which consisted of thinly crisp slices of pastry. And you just can't go wrong with cheese ...



I didn't have much time to check out the bar upstairs, but I'd definitely be interested to pop back in again to try out more of their bespoke cocktails, and the famous Buttermilk Jerk Chicken that I've been hearing about ...




Check out their website for more details.

The Cheekster, signing out x

The meal was complimentary, but views remain my own.  

Friday, 15 July 2016

JAZ & JULS CHOCOLATE BRUNCH

Love brunch AND chocolate? Then Jaz & Juls Chocolate House will be the ideal destination for you. Located just a few minutes walk from Angel tube station, at the far end of Chapel Market, Jaz & Jul’s new weekend brunch menu features an array of tempting delights that are perfect to indulge on during the weekend.
Start off with one (or two!) of their award-winning hot chocolates that are made with real chocolate shavings, using single-origin chocolate sourced from small producers. These are available as pure chocolate or in a range of natural flavours. You can even go full out with toppings of artisan marshmallows and whipped cream, and even add a shot of liqueur to make it boozy.
If you prefer something cold to cool down in the summer months, they have some thirst-quenching chilled drinks on offer.

There are both sweet and savoury waffles to satisfy both parties. I tried my first cornbread waffle which was topped with Mexican-inspired black bean chocolate chilli and avocado, and the farinata which are chickpea pancakes. My sweet-tooth cravings were then satisfied by the sweet waffles: plain waffles with baked cinnamon-apple slices with Kentish cobnut ice cream, followed by the decadent chocolate-stout waffles with banana, chocolate sauce and crushed peanuts.
French toast lovers can also get their fix with their (vegan) coconut, almond and banana batter French Toast - extra delicious when drowned in maple syrup ...
For those looking for some lighter options, they do a couple of granola-topped smoothie bowls which includes the Chocolate Avocado, and Berry & Almond - both just as tasty and filling. 














Some of you may be glad to know that almost all of Jaz & Jul’s new all-day breakfast dishes are also vegan - so there's something for everyone to enjoy. 
A selection of special brunch cocktails will also be available at the Chocolate House during the day on Saturdays and Sundays to accompany the new menu, as well as the renowned independent producer’s full collection of handmade single-origin drinking chocolates served hot or iced with whipped coconut cream. 
And ONE last thing not to miss out on - gourmet ice lollies and choc ices - I missed trying one of these that day, but it sure looks and sounds good!

The Cheekster, signing out x







The meal was complimentary, but views remain my own.
Jaz & Jul's Chocolate House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato