Tuesday, 30 June 2015

SATURDAY NEW YORK ITALIAN STYLE BRUNCH, HYATT REGENCY LONDON

 Weekends are made for indulging, and what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than having a lavish brunch buffet at one of London's finest 5 star luxury hotels. Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, is located just a few minutes walk from Marble Arch tube station and Hyde Park, a calm and tranquil spot, away from the bustle of Oxford Street.



The New York Italian Style Brunch is served every Saturday at The Montagu restaurant which offers delightful views over Portman Square garden. Guests who arrive early are also welcome to relax in the lounge with some drinks before proceeding on to the dining area.
The restaurant is bright and airy, and the ambience is warm and inviting as natural light shines through the large windows. Glistening chandeliers hang elegantly from the high ceilings and long mirrors adorn the walls, further illuminating the vast space, embellished with modern and contemporary designs.



The waiter came by our table and filled our glasses with prosecco, informing us of the other free-flowing beverages available upon request – white and red Italian wines, lagers, Bellinis, soft drinks, and speciality Bloody Marys that we definitely kept in mind for later on. As we toasted our glasses to mark a great start to the weekend, some live music started playing in the background, creating more of an upbeat atmosphere.



Towards the front of the restaurant is the cold food counter, with a display of mouth-watering sliced salami, a selection of cold cuts, salmon bagels and refreshing salads. The server behind the counter offered to make us a couple of prawn cocktails, which we accepted without hesitation. A generous portion of juicy prawns and creamy avocado, served on a bed of crisp lettuce and finished off with marie rose sauce - the classic retro starter that will never go out of fashion.
On the table next to it, were some homemade foccacia, ciabatta, and Mediterranean bread, as well as a selection of cheeses and nuts.








Boozy brunches call for the obligatory Bloody Mary, a cocktail favourite amongst many and a well known New York icon. We beamed with excitement as the waiter made his way to our table with his trolley of ingredients. We tried one of the classic spicy Bloody Mary, as well as the sweeter Mediterranean version.




And of course, no trip to New York would be complete without a slice of pizza - maybe even two, or three, but who's counting? Depending on how big a pizza lover you are, most will find it hard to resist the varieties of freshly baked gourmet pizzas personally presented by each waiter at the table. I was particularly a fan of the aromatic porcini mushroom and truffle oil pizza.
Other special offerings included a variety of savoury hot dishes which were made to order, including risotto, spaghetti and meatballs. Our waiter came by our table to take our orders – we went for the spaghetti with meatballs, and the delicious creamy risotto with mushrooms.
At the opposite far end of the room where the open-plan kitchen is, there were some meat and fish dishes and baked potatoes.






With the wide selection of food available, it is important to pace yourself so that you have enough space at the end to indulge at the dessert bar. Desserts include the classic New York cheesecake, Grand Cru Maracaibo chocolate cake, dainty glasses of creamy tiramisu, pecan tart, and caramelized Sicilian lemon tart. And just in case you are still hungry, you can also order freshly prepared pancakes and waffles with your choice of toppings. We just about managed to squeeze in a pancake topped with blueberries, another brunch favourite amongst many.








When we were finally finished with dessert, we ordered coffee which, instead of a biscuit, was served with fortune cookies containing quotes from the inspirational Sir Winston Churchill. “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” - wise words indeed Sir Winston Churchill.

The atmosphere is unhurried, and the staff attentive, always making sure that our glasses were never empty – one of my favourite things about bottomless brunches, a trend inspired by Manhattan that many London establishments seem to have embraced and honed over time. Food is plentiful, as you would expect from most buffet style brunches, so make sure you arrive hungry.

The Saturday New York Italian Style Brunch is served from 12:30pm to 3:00pm, and is priced at £49 per adult (VAT included), with children under the age of 12 receiving a 50% discount. An optional 12.5% service charge will also be added to every bill. If you decide to take your weekend up a notch, they also do their Sunday Champagne Brunch Pommery Brunch with unlimited Pommery Brut Royal champagne from 12:30pm to 3:00pm, priced at £65 per adult. 
Reservations can be made via the Brunch.London website.

There is also the stylish Churchill Bar & Terrace if you are looking to linger on after a lazy, drawn-out brunch, where you may seek pleasure in their signature Churchill Martini.
Or for those who are afternoon tea lovers like myself, there is the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea experience that will be taking place from 15 June to 8 September 2015.

The Cheekster, signing out x


This review was conducted on behalf of Brunch.London 

Square Meal

Monday, 29 June 2015

CRAFT LONDON, NORTH GREENWICH

After a painful hour and a half taxi journey, mostly due to rush hour traffic, we finally made it to Craft London in Greenwich. 
Craft London is a project by Stevie Parle and Tom Dixon, which features a New British restaurant, café, cocktail bar and shop.
There are a few menu options for you to choose from: a la carte menu, 6 course menu, set lunch and a 60 minute menu if you are looking for something quick before a show at The 02.
The food is almost exclusively based on fresh British produce with many of their products made in-house such as cured meats, honey, and butter.

Starving from the journey, I immediately dived into the bowl of warm bread whilst perusing the a la carte menu. We ordered a couple of carafes of red and white wine for the table. 



For starters, I went for the smoked and grilled eel, deliciously marinated with treacle, malt vinegar and served with brine-pickled leek. I love eel, and this was excellent with a nice balance of sweet and sour flavours. I also had a taste of the chopped highland beef with dripping, pear, crisps and salmon roe. Finely chopped and you could still taste the delicate flavours of the beef, accompanied by the nice crisp 'popping' of the roe in your mouth. I can never resist a good tartare dish, and would definitely order one for myself next time.

Smoked & grilled eel, treacle, malt vinegar & brine-pickled leek


Chopped highland beef, dripping, pear, crisps, salmon roe

We decided to share the clay baked duck main between the four of us. The dish was first brought out to the table, still encased in its clay shell. The clay was then smashed open at the table revealing a juicy whole duck before it was taken back to the kitchen to be sliced up and plated.





Each portion was actually much more than we expected and was just about right for me. The meat was tender and still nice and slightly rare in the middle, the flavours complemented by the delectable sweetness from the honey. We also shared the monkfish main which was also pretty tasty.

Clay baked duck, honey, broad bean & barley 'miso', brine-pickled carrots & cabbage

Slightly salted wood grilled monkfish, essex trumpet squash & British lardo

King Henry spinach

Fireplace potatoes

Coming in a larger group logically meant that we were able to order most of the desserts, one of my favourite parts of a meal. My favourite was the chocolate, coffee and burnt ice cream - rich, indulgent, and keeps you wanting more. This was closely followed by the creamed barley pudding with fresh strawberries and crunchy meringue bits. And to top it all of, a selection of British and Irish cheese from Neals Yard.

Creamed barley pudding, strawberries & meringue


Warm honey rye cakes with raw cream


Chocolate, coffee, burnt ice cream

British & Irish cheese from Neals Yard

After all that rich food, we washed it down with some cleansing pu-erh and oolong teas.


Overall a satisfying meal and thankfully was worth making the long journey there for.
Just remember to check the schedule of concerts playing at the O2 to avoid having to cram into the tube stations with the crowds coming out of the stadium...

The Cheekster, signing out x


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