Sunday, 30 June 2013

GALETO, SOHO

Another day of good weather! Not one to be stuck at indoors on a sunny day, I headed out to Soho to try out Galeto, a Brazilian street food joint on Dean Street - solo trip this time, no food buddies available...
Located just a few doors down from a number of my favourite places a.k.a. Burger & Lobster, Ducksoup, it was (suspiciously) quiet (and empty) inside except for the table that was occupied outside...
Nevertheless, I wasn't looking for anything too heavy and took a chance, intrigued enough to try out the chicken.


 


The layout consisted of mismatched vintage furniture, and wall art from Brazilian graffiti artist Milo Tchais - a fun, quirky concept embracing the carnival mood maybe?



Ordered a glass of Argentian white wine (Torontes Santa Ana) to cool down.


 


For my main, I went for the 'signature' Galeto (Young Chicken) with the tropical fruit barbeque sauce - 1/2 chicken marinated in house for 24 hours, grilled and served with super fries.
Personally I found the description a bit deceiving...
I'm not sure if the '24 hours' made any difference, as it tasted rather blend and ordinary to me - it made me sort of miss Nando's (which I haven't been to since my University days...that sums up a lot doesn't it!?)
The 'super' fries were basically pale, unappealing, stringy french fries. Definitely an inappropriate use of the word super...kind of like the much overused word 'curvy' instead of the 'politically incorrect' word 'fat'...
(Apologies in advance to those who have taken offence!)
I was also offered a basket of various sauces - not that I needed them, except maybe for the ketchup to make my fries more palatable.

 

The sequence of my order was a bit backward as I only ordered the starter after I had finished my main course - just wanted to make sure I had enough room in my tummy. 
The Bolinhos de bacalhou (salted cod fish cakes) sounded tempting, which came served with a slice of lemon and sprinkles of coriander. They were thankfully not too salty, although nothing very exciting...just some plain deep-fried, mushed up cod. A dip may have helped maybe?
Didn't really bother with dessert as none of them sounded that appetizing. 

Going solo meant that my selection of dishes was limited by my appetite, but based on my little experience snippet, I won't be rushing back again anytime soon...
Or maybe just for the strawberry caipirinha, as there seems to be some good words about it. 
I guess it's pretty economical and okay for a quick bite.

The word 'street f00d' always makes me miss the awesome hawker food we have back in Malaysia. 

Anyway, still in the midst of drafting and organizing the photos from my Hard Rock Calling 2013 experience. 
Watch this space x

Brace yourselves for the start of another week people!


Saturday, 29 June 2013

ARBUTUS, SOHO

The brother, my partner in foodie adventures, was back down in London again! This time we tried out Arbutus on Frith Street in Soho - a contemporary bistro serving Modern British/European cuisine.

Weaving through the crowds (tourists and slow-walkers!) and rushing like a maniac after collecting my online order from House of Fraser, we made it in time for our 7.00pm dinner reservation.

 

It wasn't that busy yet when we arrived, walking through the narrow bar area with high marble counters and stools, before entering the dining area.

 

 


As my starter, I had the Squid and mackerel 'burger', with Cornish razor clams. The burger was really flavoursome with a delectably springy texture. Razor clams soaked in the juices was fresh and tasty - I did like the little flower petals on them as well. Very happy with my choice - would definitely have it again.

 

My brother ordered the Warm crisp pig's head, served with potato puree, pickled turnip and pistachio. Another very good starter, though I still had an odd feeling at the back of my mind about eating pig's head...
The potato puree was smooth and rich, and I liked the little bits of crunchiness from the pistachio.


 

My main dish - Spit roast leg of Welsh lamb 'Lebanese style', spinach and lemon, which came with a small side salad.
First impressions (in terms of presentation) count, and I was a bit crest-fallen when my dish was placed in front of me. But I suppose taste-wise, the meat was nice and tender - maybe just a tad bit too much cumin (?)...such a picky eater.


Roast turbot on the bone, 'Grenobloise', Scottish girolles, crisp salad - clearly much better presented than mine!
A thick, firm piece of turbot that had a nice flaky texture - though had to be a cautious to avoid choking on the bones! Curious to find out what 'Grenobloise' was, I obviously Google-d it...(the wonders of the internet!) - basically it's a preparation of brown butter, capers, parsley, lemon juice and lemon meats with tiny croutons (Ahhh...). See, even eating teaches you something new everyday!






For dessert, we shared the Cold chocolate fondant which came with a luscious scoop of stout ice cream.

Service was generally efficient. I must admit that the noise levels did put me (and my brother) off a bit - we're obviously siblings that prefer a more relaxed and soothing dining environment!
Overall, reasonably priced for a Michelin-starred restaurant.

A bit of a short review...but there you go!
Got a few places I'm eying for my next visit, some requiring a bit more of a travel - good food is after all worth the extra effort.

Off to get ready for my first Rock Festival! 
Have a great weekend x


Monday, 24 June 2013

SECRET MUSIC: LAURA MARLING | EAGLE BALL 1927

The day for the much anticipated Eagle Ball 1927 finally arrived...

After much time being MIA, I finally managed to get hold of my little Wai Kit who was my date for the ball! 


We grabbed a bunch of posh flowers from Browns and had a rather quick dinner at Roka in Canary Wharf - approximately an hour to order and eat, and still managed to down about 3 glasses of champagne! Who doesn't love free-flow champagne...

Already rushed for time, we hailed a taxi to drop us at The Grand Eagle Hotel - at a secret location (spent about 10 minutes searching through my inbox for the exact address!) but spotting some passerby's dressed in a similar manner, we knew that we were heading in the right direction!
A line was already forming at the entrance, as our tickets were checked and our hands stamped. We also had a tiny heart drawn on our left hands as a symbol that we were 'single and looking for love' (aren't we all ay?)



 


As we entered through the gate, the view of The Grand Eagle Hotel came into sight - an old mansion that had been transformed to depict the faded grandeur of an old hotel from the 1920's. At the front lawn, sat an old piano and some men in suits participating in a game of croquet. 



Our personal telephones were taken in at the reception to be kept away until the end of the event - a way of avoiding the distractions of modern technology? The first handheld mobile phone wasn't introduced until 1973 anyway, so taking into account that we were in 1927, we shouldn't really miss it...

We were shown to our 'room for the night' by Maisie (?), one of the chambermaids - a dimly-lit room equipped with a bed with red sheets (?!), a dressing table (where we could write secret love notes), a sitting chair, wooden cabinet (which opened on it's own - creepy!) and a wall for us to pin up pictures of our 'old lover'.


We were naughty and took some sneaky photos in the bedroom...

 






Whilst I was writing a little love note, the door suddenly opened and in came in Laura Marling who sat at the corner and give us a short private performance in our room!
Stepping out onto the corridor, we began our tour of the hotel. For the majority of us who didn't upgrade our tickets for the restaurant meal, there were little finger food and drinks being sold - at rather extortionate prices (of course). Luckily we filled up at Roka beforehand!

Towards the end of the hallway was a small chapel where classical music was being played on the cello and bass, and from there we wrote more little notes pinned up on boards in the neighbouring room. Walking on, a musician was singing and strumming some tunes on his guitar in the Billiards Room.
At the foyer, we decided to have our pictures taken, which was to be collected at the end of the event. Photography was not allowed so at least we can have a photo to keep as a memory. 
At the other far end, a dilapidated cinema screen where we sat on dusty, rickety chairs...
In the Drawing Room, we drew self-portraits to be cut out and pinned to form a large montage on the wall.
Flowers and love notes were scattered all over the place which added to the mystery and made the experience rather exciting and intimately arousing...
Having read some advice given provided by Master Undine and previous 'guests' at the hotel, I had a little chat with Dotty, one of the chambermaids. Dotty was new to the job and she revealed to me that she had a secret admiration for Master Undine. She secretly slipped me a love letter that I promised to deliver to Master Undine himself - the first of my secret messenger duties! On my other 'task', I delivered a letter from another chambermaid to Benjamin, the bellboy - probably the cause of the ruckus that occurred at the stairs later on in the evening! We all love a bit of drama don't we?
Throughout the night, we kept spotting a waif-like girl wandering along the corridors - engaging in dances with the men, and giving evil glares to the ladies... Yes, including sneering behind my shoulder and stepping on my (ink-less) typewriter as I was typing a letter to my secret lover...

In the middle of the evening, the angelic Laura Marling, in her white floor-length dress, appeared with the guitarist to perform a few songs from the upper floor. Mesmerized guests gathered around as her voice echoed through the corridors and flower petals gentle strewn  down from the balcony above.

Whilst walking past the laundry pantry, we spotted the bellboy making out with one of the chambermaids...sheepishly pulling apart as they noticed our curious eyes watching.

When the time came for the finale, an announcement was made, inviting guests to enter the Grand Ballroom for the much awaited performance by Laura.
Starting off with an opening performance of Once I Was An Eagle, accompanied by double bass, cello and second guitar...



'...Every little girl is so naive
Falling in love with the first man that she sees...'


We've all been through that phase...

'...When we were in love
If we were
When we were in love
I was an eagle and you were a dove...'


 Followed by more songs from her albums - one of my favourites being 'Sophia' from her third album 'A Creature I Don't Know'.

At the end of the night I had lost sight of my date for a few moments as people were slowly streaming out as they prepared to close for the night - we did find each other eventually and made our way home...back to the present year 2013.

Overall a wonderful and magical night - looking forward to my next Secret Cinema experience.

The Grand Eagle Hotel - photo from SC page



''That is where they live:
Not here and now, but where all happened once.
This is why they give
An air of baffled absence, trying to be there
Yet being here.''


It was the year 1927...

It's Monday again - my favourite day of the week! 4.5 hours of ballet/jazz, bruises on my knees, blisters on my feet, and got hit in the face whilst dancing - all great fun!

Have a good week everyone x


Sunday, 23 June 2013

10 GREEK STREET, SOHO

First foodie adventure of the weekend! After passing by this place numerous times, it's finally ticked off my to-do list.
Met up with Lili, my usual food buddy (after 2 weeks...TWO weeks!).
I usually prefer lunch times when it's not very busy, but I made a reservation just in case - I'm sure everyone knows about my obsession with organization by now.

 

 



Started off with a shot of coffee for the day - never too early for a cocktail!

Martini espresso
We made a few selections from the menu to share... 


First to be served was the grilled asparagus, burrata and olives.
 One of my favourite vegetables - all you need is salt and olive oil and it always turns out so good. Loved the smooth texture of the burrata - mozzarella and cream...yum. Nicely complemented with the slightly bittery/peppery rocket leaves and saltiness of the olives.


 

Courgette flowers, ricotta, lentils, wild mushrooms and truffle.
Another favourite dish to eat during the summer months (or all year round!) - so good, I'm always tempted to order another portion.
Lightly battered, and biting into the smooth, creamy ricotta filling made me smile like a little girl inside (and outside!). Then again people say I'm always smiling... - I'm not high on drugs, I swear!


Brecon lamb cutlets, chickpeas, aubergine and courgettes.
Lamb is one of Lili's favourite meats, so I thought that this would be a good selection. 
Medium rare - pink in the middle with just a bit of blood oozing out - just the way I like it. The courgettes were thinly sliced, light and refreshing that helped balance out the meat.

 

Seabass, cucumber, dates and samphire.
Haven't had seabass in a while - pan-fried so the skin was nice and crisp.
And also my first taste of samphire - a little strange at first, but it grew on me after a few more nibbles. Never had dates in a savoury dish, but my inner sweet tooth attacked it on the plate - Lili kindly let me have most of it, hehe.


A tough decision to make for dessert, but in the end we opted for the mascarpone semifreddo served with strawberries and balsamic. I was tempted to order more desserts (the neighbouring table ordered three!), but I don't think my tummy and hips would forgive me if I did...
I thought I was enthusiastic about my food, but the table next to us seemed more animated about it than me (?!). Maybe I should have made friends with them as well...
Overall a light and refreshing dish, perfect for summer days (if summer ever decides to show up).

Didn't get to try the steak tartare - Lili doesn't eat beef and I wanted to order dishes we could both enjoy. There's always a next time!

More posts to follow, including a post from my 'Secret Cinema presents Laura Marling' event. Yes, my THIRD Secret Cinema/Future Cinema/Secret Music experience within a month!

Watch this space x


Square Meal

Friday, 21 June 2013

PICTURE RESTAURANT PART II

So it's my second visit in less than a week...told you I'd be back (if not sooner than I expected)
But the brother was visiting from Glasgow for work, and he was turning 30 (the big brother is getting old!) so I thought I'd be a nice little sister (which I am...most of the time...) and give him a little treat since he's just as big a foodie as I am.
And yes, I was naughty again and skipped my dance class - for a valid reason this time though.

I did try quite a few dishes on my first visit, but it seems that the lamb breast chops and heritage carrots that we didn't order have been playing on my mind...


So here's what we ordered...

 

The house cocktail and freshly made ginger beer - not that hard to guess who ordered the alcohol...

 

I LOVE steak tartare, so this was an obvious choice...
Raw meat + Raw egg = YUM!


The crisp pork cheek with bbq sauce and raw salad was really flavourful - the meat so soft that all my teeth were but redundant...
Each bite was melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Just DON'T think about the fat and calories...(at least there's vegetables right?)

 

Rabbit shoulder and mushroom ravioli...
So I've always tried to avoid consuming rabbit meat, for the simple reason that I was born in the year of the rabbit...plus the fact that they're such cute fluffy creatures...
Clearly my love for food didn't stop me this time. 


Lincolnshire smoked eel and pickled vegetables...
Another tasty dish, and the rabbit in me was rather excited at the sight of carrots - missed out on the heritage carrots which were previously on the menu on the last visit!

 

Last but not least, lamb breast chops with harissa and cucumber. 
SO tender that all it took was a few nudges of my fork...
My craving has been satisfied!

I did order a few other repeat dishes for my brother to try - the lamb bites, slow poached egg with mushroom marmalade, and the same two desserts that you saw on my first post. All just as good as the first time round.

 And to finish off, some surprise cocktails...

 



Too many good dishes that I find it hard to pick my favourite...
I would recommend trying...EVERYTHING... ;)


110 Great Portland Street, W1W 6PQ


Just over a week now since they opened.
Great food and drinks, relaxing atmosphere, and an amazing team at Picture Restaurant - I would definitely recommend visit. 

For those of you who missed my first post on Picture Restaurant, click HERE.

It's been another long week, but it's finally Friday...! 



 The Cheekster, signing off x



Square Meal