Tuesday, 28 June 2016

ATTEMS WINEMAKER'S DINNER AT RISTORANTE FRESCOBALDI

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Attems Winemaker's Dinner at Ristorante Frescobaldi, tucked away on a quiet street off Regent's Street, at 15 New Burlington Place. The first UK restaurant and bar from the famed wine making Frescobaldi family of Tuscany in partnership with the Good Food Society, it brings together over 700 years and 30 generations of wine makers from the Marchesi de'Frescobaldi.
 
Winemaker's Dinners are held regularly at the restaurant to introduce guests to wines from the Frescobaldi Estates alongside Tuscan-inspired food. On this occasion, they showcased wines from the Attems Estate, located in the Collio district of Friuli, with a special guest wine from Luce della Vite.

We were lucky enough that the rain had passed just in time for us to enjoy a bit of fresh air and sunshine out on the outdoor terrace, where we sipped on glasses of fruity and crisp Friulano 2014 alongside canapes. 







Head Chef Roberto Reatini had created a special 4-course menu to complement the fine wines from the Attems Estate.
For the Antipasti, we were served a sea bass carpaccio, so thin and delicately sliced, topped with sweet cherries and a drizzle of olive oil. I really enjoyed the fresh and clean subtle flavours, and also had the joy of eating the Marie's portion of cherries too ...

This was paired with Pinot Grigio Ramato 2014, and a Sauvignon Blanc 2015. The Pinot Grigio Ramato, which was my favourite of the two, had a pale copper tinge that comes naturally from the skins of the grapes, and was really clean and refreshing.



The Primi Piatti was a courgette ravioli with veal ragu and almonds. The pasta was well made with delicious fillings of flavoursome veal, and a lovely added crunch from the almonds. A good, hearty dish that I would happily have second servings of.

The dish was accompanied by a glass of bright and fruity Pinot Grigio 2014, and a crisp and lemony Cicinis 2013, with its rich golden yellow colour a result of oak aging. 



The highlight of the meal for me was most definitely the Secondi Piatti of lamb rack with pea puree and dauphinoise potatoes. Grilled to perfection and still pink in the middle, I couldn't resist picking up the bone with my fingers to (discreetly) nibble on any leftover meat that I could get my teeth on ...
The potatoes were on the side were really rich and indulgent and a great accompaniment to the dish.
I also had a little taster of Marie's alternative fish dish which was also very tasty. 

There was certainly much appreciation for the special guest wine from Luce Della Vite: Luce 2012 ("20th anniversary"), which had a bright and attractive Garnett colour to it, with pleasant notes of dark chocolate and cherries. I don't usually drink a lot of red wine, but this was rather pleasant on my palate, with a good balance and lovely finish.




Keeping a close eye on the time, my eyes lit up as the dessert finally arrived, and I guzzled up the refreshing dessert of semifreddo with melon in about a minute before rushing to catch the tube home. This was of course after I had downed a glass of sweet Attems Picolit 2011 ... I do love dessert wines.



For those looking to celebrate a special occasion, they also have a private dining area and cocktail bar downstairs that looks quite charming and cosy. Some have commented that it felt somewhat like being inside a super yacht - not that I have ever experienced being in one, but I would certainly be inclined to accept the offer if one does come up ...

A word of thanks to Ristorante Frescobaldi for a splendid evening of delicious food and wines. For those who work in the area, they also do a great lunch set menu, alongside a delicious looking a la carte menu.

The Cheekster, signing out x

The meal was complimentary, but views remain my own.

Friday, 24 June 2016

WINTER GARDEN AT THE LANDMARK HOTEL

I've always wanted to visit The Landmark Hotel after admiring some beautiful images of the stunning architecture, so what better time and excuse to visit than to celebrate our second girls reunion this year. Now that the three of us have settled in different parts of England (Newcastle, Birmingham, London), London seems to be the most strategic location to meet up - which definitely gets a thumbs up from me (!)
 
 Awarded 2 AA Rosettes, the Winter Garden is an all-day brasserie that is situated in the heart of the soaring eight-storey glass roof atrium. I do love places with high ceilings and natural light, and the palm trees gave the feel of being back on a tropical beach resort - now if only the temperature outside would warm up a bit ...




Upon being seated, we were welcomed with chilled glasses of bellinis and warm bread with butter.
For my starter, I went for the warm terrine of slow cooked pork and black pudding. The pork was really soft and tender, and I liked the black pudding which gave a bit of texture. The smoked salmon ballotine was very vibrant and a lovely starter as well.



I ordered the roasted breast of maize fed chicken as my main which was served on a bed of tomato fondue, puy lentils, roasted cauliflower and broccoli. I found some bits of the meat a bit dry, but otherwise the vegetables and combination of flavours were quite nice. I also had a cheeky taste of Sarah's and Chloe's dishes. The pan seared fillet of seabass had a crisp skin and the slow cooked barbecue beef was deliciously succulent and flavoursome with a creamy mash.




I was quite happy with my choice of dessert, which was a light sponge of white chocolate and lime cream topped with refreshing blood orange sorbet. I am generally quite partial towards chocolate, but unfortunately the warm chocolate fondant was a bit dry and average, and could have done with a slightly more refined presentation ...






And because we were also celebrating Chloe's birthday, they brought out a sweet little cupcake with a candle after our desserts. A birthday is after all never quite complete without (more!) cake ...





On the whole, we all had a wonderful evening with lovely food, and the staff were really professional and attentive as well. If you've been tempted to experience this for yourself, then I would also recommend booking via this Bookatable Star Deals link, which includes a complimentary champagne cocktail with your 3-course meal - who doesn't love a bargain!

I enjoyed my experience there, and would love to return again in the future, maybe to try out the afternoon tea, because one can never have too many afternoon teas ...

The Cheekster, signing out x

Square Meal Winter Garden - The Landmark London Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 20 June 2016

CHINESE CRICKET CLUB: QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY MENU

I previously visited Crowne Plaza during their hotel showcase where we had a little sample of the food at the restaurant, but this was my first time dining at the Chinese Cricket Club. 
Located within Crowne Plaza London - The City,  just opposite Blackfriars station, the restaurant is known to specialize in Sichuan cuisine, led by Executive Chef Ken Wang.
Judging by its location, I would assume that it's main clientele would be business and city workers, but also caters well for the wider public, as we observed a large family reunion that took place on the evening that we visited.




A special Queen's Birthday menu was on offer that evening, on the day of the big street party on The Mall, designed by Chef Ken Wang.

We started with some dumplings which were freshly prepared and handcrafted in their kitchen. Unfortunately I missed out on the past Dim Sum masterclasses, which I'm sure would have been good fun! We sampled the prawn har gau and scallop and prawn sui mai which are classic favourites. The prawn inside was fresh and juicy and topped with some caviar that gave a pleasant popping texture. The scallop and pork was just as delicious.




The mains consisted of beef tenderloin with black pepper and Yu-xiang chicken Sichuan style, served with a portion of brown rice and egg fried rice. The beef was really soft and tender with bits of straw mushrooms. The Yu-xiang chicken was also tasty, which is a classic Sichuan stir-fry dish which consists of shredded chicken cooked with carrot, bamboo shoots, and peppers in a pungent sweet and sour garlic sauce. 
Both dishes were quite simple but still tasty, and with lots of sauce to have with the rice.

Our meal ended with a slice of birthday cake which was a light sponge cake with cream and cherries.







Overall it was a simple and satisfying meal, although I would be interested to see what the main a la carte menu would be like. 
If you happen to work in the area, they also do an Express Lunch and Dinner menu for those pressed for time... 

Check out their website for further details.

The Cheekster, signing out x


The meal was complimentary, but views remain my own.
Square Meal Chinese Cricket Club - Crowne Plaza London The City Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato