Tuesday, 27 August 2013

COAL VAULTS, 187 WARDOUR STREET

Coming to the end of the Bank Holiday weekend, we checked out Coal Vaults - a new restaurant and bar, and the latest addition to the bustling Wardour Street. 
The site, which was originally used to store coal in the 19th Century, has been restored to boast a 100 capacity basement venue consisting of an intimate bar and dining area, as well as five separate vaults for private dining.

 

 


 

 

We were welcomed with some lovely glasses of bubbly and devilled popcorn whilst we perused the menu...


 


 

 

Charred Courgette, Caramelized Red Pepper, Goat's Curd and Hazelnut Salad.

Salads are always one of my favourite starters to a meal - nice and light, with a subtle sweetness from the caramelized peppers.

 


Quail with saffron, basil and orange.

The meat was much rarer than I was expecting - the half that I took more so as compared to Dora's half, and we were initially a bit hesitant about putting it in our mouths...
Which was rather strange for me as I've eaten plenty of medium rare red meat and all sorts of tartare. Maybe I'm just a bit prejudiced towards birds...
Nonetheless, we finished up the lot, which was actually pretty tasty.

 

 

'5 Hour' Shoulder of Lamb cooked in hay & lavender, with caper, mint and smoked anchovy couscous.

Not sure if it was by coincidence that the leaves picked are roughly the same shade of colour as the lamb - it sort of gives it an illusion that there is more lamb on the plate than there actually was!
The meat was really soft and I liked the nice minty taste in the couscous.

 


Potted Crab with home baked brown soda bread.

So today I've learnt what the term 'potted' meant, which is a form of preservation used in the sealing of meat, fish or cheese with a layer of fat.
Discovered in the 16th century, this method of preservation descended from the old medieval pie - where pie crusts were used as a form of 'clingfilm' to protect the food inside from air.
(There's a bit of history for you!)

 


Palourdes with fennel tops, garlic, white wine and Jerome's chilli salt.

Served in a cute tiny bucket, the palourdes (also known as Manilla clams) were fresh and steaming hot.

 


'Pulled Rabbit' with smoked black beans, sweetcorn and pineapple relish, avocado, sour cream and flat bread.

This was probably my favourite dish of the lot - the meat was very tender and the combination of flavours was delicious.

 

Salted Chocolate Cake with mint creme fraiche and toasted almonds.

We were already quite full, but we managed to squeeze in a dessert to share.
Gluten-free, it was really chocolatey and rich! I would have however liked a stronger taste of mint in the creme fraiche - we could see some mint leaves hidden in the creme fraiche, but the flavour just wasn't distinct enough. 

And that brings an end to my foodie experience at Coal Vaults.
Unfortunately I didn't try out the cocktails hence am unable to comment on them. Although looking at the menu, they did sound pretty good.


And even if you don't feel the need to go to the toilet...just go anyway to check out the penny floors!

Overall, it was a pleasant experience - however, the space could probably do with some improvements in ventilation as it was quite stuffy and warm...

The restaurant is open seven days a week from 4pm to 12.30pm, with their soft launch running from 26th-28th August (50% off food and glass of bubbly on arrival).


Square Meal

Friday, 23 August 2013

BONNIE GULL SEAFOOD SHACK

A bit late posting this up, but better late than never - especially since the food was really good!

The brother and I had dinner at Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack - "A seaside restaurant in the city..."
Coming from an island...anything involving seafood is right up my street!
 


 

Dressed Paignton Crab Tian, Slow Roast Tomato, Cucumber, Pickled Apple. 

I do love crab...even more so when I don't have to get down and dirty trying to pry the shells open - I usually left that job to dad.

 


Soused Isle of Man Queenies, Orange, Lime, Spring Onion, Chilli, Coriander.

Initially unfamiliar with the term 'queenies', I later found out were Queen Scallops - a smaller scallop species than the usual King scallops that I'm more used to.
So fresh and juicy - I happily nibbled away and savoured every single bite.

 


Half Native Scottish Lobster, Grillade Butter, Skinny Fries, Mesclun Salad.

Yes, the love for lobster continues...
I did a Google search on 'Native Lobster' and the first result was a profile of 'Winkie' who was saved from the cooking pot and now resides at the Great Yarmouth SEA LIFE.
I guess this lobster wasn't as fortunate as Winkie!

 


Cornish Hake, Summer Vegetables, Courgette Puree, Beer Battered Courgette Flower, Courgette Ribbons.

Delicious white flaky texture with a nice crisp skin - and having the courgette flower on the side was a definite plus for me.

 

 

 

Cherry & Sauternes Soup, Cherries, Fresh Almonds, Cherry Ice Cream.

 

Bakewell Tart, Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream, Raspberries. 

Both desserts equally good - a sweet end to an excellent meal.



A delightful little seafood shack in the bustling city of London - definitely a must for seafood lovers.

Square Meal

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

LECOQ, ISLINGTON

It's been a while since I've had some really good chicken, so I was really looking forward to dining at LeCOQ - the newly opened neighbourhood rotisserie restaurant in Islington. 



We poked our curious heads through the door to check that they accepted walk-ins, which they did, and eagerly waited outside the door as the time drew closer for the doors to open...

Upon entering and being seated, we were given free glasses of prosecco for patiently waiting outside - yes!

We ordered some mixed olives and kikones to nibble on whilst we waited for our orders to be taken... 

 
 

We both ordered the 3 course set menu - selecting one of each from every option so that we could try them all!

 


Starters: Seasonal vegetables with lovage mayonnaise + Squid with sea purslane.

Both really light and fresh, and I loved the slight hint of heat from the chillies in the dressing - you know how much I love my chillies...

 


 

 

Main: Rotisserie Sutton Hoo Chicken with grilled bitter leaf bread salad.
Served with some mayonnaise and roasted juice on the side, which I drizzled generously on my plate...Y.U.M.M.Y. 
We weren't quite sure how big the portion of vegetables was going to be so we ordered an extra side salad.
Was really tempted to order the rotisserie potatoes...but we decided to be good...

 

 

Dessert: Gooseberry tart + Summer pudding ice cream.

Both tasted as amazing as they looked! A perfect end to a satisfyingly good meal.


Happy tummies = Happy smiles

Clearly both very happy customers!

 


Not only was the food awesome, but the extra bonus of 50% off our bill was also a nice perk - double win!

LeCOQ offers a weekly changing, two or three course set menu, which undoubtedly will include more delicious surprises, and their free-range English Sutton Hoo chickens from Suffolk!
Open from Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner, they run a no-bookings system - hence best to get there early if you don't like waiting in queues (like the obsessive-about-punctuality me!)

Great environment, great food, and great service - definitely one to add to the recommended list.



Square Meal