Sunday, 31 January 2016

AFTERNOON TEA AT PARK CHINOIS

Park Chinois has been on my list for a while, but I never realized that they did afternoon tea until a friend of mine suggested it. Walking through the heavy red velvet curtains, we are greeted at the front reception desk before being led through another set of doors, above it hung a notice with the words 'On Air'.
The red colour theme continues throughout, with interior decorations and furniture that give a 1920's Chinese dance hall feel to it.








The place is rather lavish looking, with floors lined with red carpets, sparkling chandeliers hanging from the ceilings, and waiters smartly dressed in white jackets. A string quartet starts to play, which adds on to the ambience.


There was the option of having the afternoon tea with tea, coffee or hot chocolate - there was quite an extensive variety of teas, from which I chose the Rare Earl Grey tea. 

We started off with a Selection of Traditional Sandwiches:

Cucumber, cream cheese, pickled cucumber, tomato, shiso, whole wheat bread
Norwegian smoked salmon, crème fraîche, dill, whole wheat bread
Egg mayonnaise, mustard cress, whole wheat bread
Chicken coronation, buckwheat bread

Each one neatly cut and filled with generous fillings, like they should be. 


 The warm raisin and plain scones were served with homemade strawberry and bitter orange compote, and organic Cornish clotted cream.


And finally the selection of pastries and cakes were brought over to the table, and what a scrumptious looking selection it was:

 Apple crumble
Hazelnuts & apricot sacher
Honey & pistachio financier
Vanilla, saffron & mango mousse
Lemon Victoria cake
Chocolate duo
Fior di fragola
Religieuse

Each one of them were really tasty, but my favourites were the honey & pistachio financier, and the religieuse which had a light and airy choux pastry.




I also have this thing about fancy toilets, so if this floats your boat too, I would recommend a visit, even if you didn't have 'to go'...


The afternoon tea experience was one of pure indulgence that I would add to my list of recommendations if you are looking to treat yourself. The dim sum menu also looks pretty tantalizing and reasonably priced, so I will definitely be visiting again soon.




The Cheekster, signing out x







Square MealPark Chinois Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 21 January 2016

CABANA BRASIL, BRIXTON

I do love a visit down to Brixton every now and again, especially on the weekend when there's a lively and buzzy vibe.
This was my first visit to Cabana - they have a few branches scattered across London and the Brixton branch opened just a few months ago. The interior is bright and colourful, which suits the vibe and feel of the area, with rustic wooden floors and furniture, and sofas lined with rugged denim material. There is an open plan kitchen down one side where succulent skewers are cooked over an open fire pit.
The restaurant is not as busy during lunch hour on a weekend, and I requested for a booth by the windows at the end of the room where there is also a bar along the back wall. 





We both ordered some sweet and fruity cocktails to start - Strawberry Caipirinha, and one of the Cabana Cocktails, which was the Red Tail Parrot, made with cachaça, strawberry and passionfruit purée, lime juice, and topped with Prosecco. It's never to early to have cocktails, especially when they are this drinkable.


Whilst we waited for our orders to arrive, we nibbled on some Guaca-Molho - homemade guacamole with limitless (!) corn chips, which is great if you're feeling peckish.
It was very more-ish and I had to hold back a bit to avoid filling up before the starters and main arrived. We were also advised to have them with some Spicy Mighty Malagueta Sauce, for that extra spicy kick.



For starters, we shared the Spicy Malagueta Prawns and Cheesy Baked Dough Balls. The prawns were grilled and basted with their spicy malagueta sauce, which actually was not as spicy as I had expected. I do generally have a high tolerance level towards spices, but Marta who usually can't handle too much spice also found the spice level manageable. 
As neither of us had really tried Brasilian food before this, the Cheesy Dough Balls were recommended to us, which is a traditional Brasilian snack, otherwise known as
Pão de Queijo. They were served warm and had a nice, chewy texture, served with garlic butter on the side.




Marta ordered the Guava-Cue Chicken, which is a sticky, barbecue chicken - a non-spicy version, as opposed to the Spicy Malegueta Chicken, their bestseller which is marinated with their secret marinade. 
I opted for the 8oz Cabana Steak, a classic Latin American cut, best known for its rich flavour. It was marinated in Chilli and Cumin sauce, giving it a slight hint of spice, and served with french fries and small Rio Beans. I requested for it to be cooked medium rare, so it still had a nice, pink centre and tender texture.
Both our mains were brought to the table on skewers, fresh off the grill before being served on our plates.








The dessert menu looked just as tempting, and we narrowed out choices down to the Chocolate Raindrop Doughnuts and Brasilian Overload.
The fried doughballs were stuffed with nutella, with more to dip on the side. Warm, gooey and slightly chewy, they were tasty, but also quite heavy so we didn't quite manage to finish them.
The Brasilian Overload consisted of Caramel Choc Chip and White Chocolate “Cupuaçu” ice creams with “Brigadeiro” chocolate truffles and doce de leite caramel sauce - an indulgent dessert that is definitely one for those with a sweet tooth.



The bar downstairs is closed during the daytime but I had a little peek and it looks just as fun and colourful. I've been told that the place is much busier during the evenings with an equally lively atmosphere in the bar area. I just might have to swing by again sometime to check it out for myself.



The overall experience was pleasant, and I would recommend checking out one of their branches for some good, hearty Brasilian barbecue cuisine. The space is also rather extensive, which would be great for large groups and a fun night out - find a branch closest to you here.




The Cheekster, signing out x

 





I was invited to review, but views remain my own.
 Cabana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Square Meal

Thursday, 14 January 2016

BRUNCH AT JACKSON & RYE, SOHO

Weekends are made for relaxation and doing things that I love in life, and what better way to spend it than enjoying brunch with family. It sure has been a while since my last visit to Jackson and Rye, and I remember my first visit with Wilkes when they first opened where we were both rather fascinated with the slab bacon (!)

The place was packed as you would expect on a weekend, and our cosy corner table was thankfully ready shortly after we arrived. The brunch menu is quite extensive, and as is the norm with our family, we ordered dishes to share, which is always the best way to go.

We started with some appetizer dishes to share, including the Truffled Mac & Cheese with creamy Parmesan sauce with crispy kale topping, and Crunchy Chorizo Prawns served with mango chilli mayo. The Salt & Pepper Squid was light and crisp, served with crispy rice vermicelli noodles and tangy house sesame & lime sauce.




The Entrees and Steaks & Grills all sounded very enticing, but we eventually managed to narrow it down to three dishes. The Whole Nova Scotia Lobster was a no-brainer - juicy chargrilled lobster, served with smoked garlic and herb butter, watercress and fries.
We also ordered the Blue Swimmer Crab Cakes which I enjoyed on my last visit, coated in golden brown breadcrumbs, with chilli, radish slaw & chipotle sauce on the side. 
And of course we didn't miss out on the Smoky Rye-glazed Pork Ribs with spicy slaw and fries. A delicious and tender rack of ribs that is definitely one for the meat-lovers out there.








To finish off, we ordered a trio of desserts - because good things some in threes (!)
 We ordered a portion of the Buttermilk Pancakes with blueberry compote & house whipped cream, which were thick and fluffy, although we found it slightly dry and could have done with a bit of syrup. The Pecan Pie had a nice buttery pastry with sweet crunchy pecans, served with rye whiskey ice cream.



My favourite was the Melting Chocolate Sundae - topped with a chocolate dome which melted as the warm butterscotch sauce was poured on top of it, revealing creamy milk ice cream and indulgent chunks of chocolate brownie pieces underneath it.
Naughty chocolate desserts like this are always a winner.



Tummies filled and smiles all round the table, which is usually a good sign of a satisfying brunch. Thank you Jackson & Rye for a pleasant meal, I look forward to returning soon.



 The Cheekster, signing out x

The meal was complimentary, but views remain my own.
  Jackson + Rye Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Square Meal