The Clarendon Royal Hotel, Riverside Gourmet in Gravesend

Blog post by Restaurant, Dining with the Husband, Invitation only! PR events, Non Michelin Restaurants, Uncategorized

Gravesend, Kent, home to a clock tower, Pocahontas statue, the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, New Tavern Fort and the Tilbury-Gravesend Ferry to name a few.  Gravesend is a river side town and has witnessed rejuvenation since the introduction of the High Speed 1 rail service.

Now Gravesend is not somewhere I would usually choose to eat out, to be honest I think my Gravesend eating experiences are limited to a sausage roll from Greggs after visiting Primark.
I received some Insta love from The Clarendon Royal Hotel.  I returned the love and had a look at their pictures.  Wow, really delicious looking food, I looked at their bio, located in Gravesend! No way!
The Clarendon Royal Hotel were reaching out to Kent based bloggers via Twitter to try out their restaurant and being a fifteen minute drive away from home I responded.  Me and hubby were booked in for dinner.
I drove to the venue which fortunately has its own car park.  We were warmly greeted and shown to our table.  The manager Stephen greeted us and told us all about the visions for the hotel and restaurant and raved about how talented and passionate his chef was.  We were impressed of his restaurant knowledge and felt confident the food would be of a ‘foodie’ standard.
We browsed the menus and chose our starters.
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Drinks. A delicious Virgin Mojito & Hop House 13

While we waited we wondered whether the food was going to be as good as it appeared on Instagram.  When the starters arrived I was pleased to see that they were photogenic but what did they taste like?  Bloody good!
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Ham Hock &Pig Cheek Terrine, Cauliflower Puree, Black Pudding Bonbon, Piccalilli, Popcorn Crackling

 

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Goats Cheese on Croute, Honey, Beetroot Puree, Pear Puree, Rosemary, Honeyed Walnuts, Frisee Leaf

 

I chose the Ham Hock, mainly because it was served with a black pudding Bonbon.  The Bonbon was as good as I hoped and I loved the popcorn crackling.   I was impressed that the piccalilli was homemade.  We also went for the recommended goats cheese on croute.  The flavours were great.  Beetroot and goats cheese is always a winning combination
My husband and I exchanged approving nods and smiles, so far we were really impressed with the food.
Next came the main courses of a twist on fish & chips and medallions of lamb rump.  Again, we were just so impressed by the standard of food. The portions are huge, much bigger than the usual London fine dining portions.
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Bawley Bay, Butter Poached Cod Fillet, Driftwood Chips, Gin Vinegar Batter Pebbles, Samphire, Clams, Mushy Pea & Cured Bacon, Pickled Cockles, Tartar Sauce

 

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Medallions of Lamb Rump, Puled Lamb Stack, Chorizo Dauphinoise, Pea & Mint Puree, Baby Carrots, Broad Beans, Petit Pois, Jus

 

The fish and chip dish was fantastic, such a clever and creative dish inspired by the river Thames which can be seen from our table.  As well as tasting amazing it was so beautifully presented.  I loved the crunch of the gin pebbles.  Such a fun plate of food and the flare and creativity of the chef really was showcased in this continuously evolving signature dish.
The Lamb was equally good, I liked the chorizo hidden between the layers of potato in the Dauphinoise.  The lamb portion was very generous and the Jus was gorgeous.
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The choice of desserts was hard to make.  I was torn between the cheesecake and fondant. Fondant won!  Hubby was torn between the soufflé and chocolate brownie, the brownie won for him.
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Both desserts were delicious.  We had been sharing each other’s plates but I begrudged sharing this one.  The molten chocolate lava was encased in a crisp shell and spilled out perfectly when broken open with the spoon.
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Black Forrest Fondant, Chocolate Fondant, Sour Cherries, Ice Cream

 

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Chocolate Brownie, Vanilla Ice Cream

 

We just had three amazing courses, over looking the Thames, a fifteen minute drive away from home, in Gravesend. It’s exciting to have experienced such high quality food made with love and passion so close to home.  As I mentioned earlier Gravesend is known for a lot of things but not its food scene,  but with the town slowly receiving a breath of new life through regeneration I’m excited for The Clarendon Royal Hotel Restaurant’s future and eagerly anticipate the tasting menu that will hopefully be launched in 2017.
Thank you to Stephen Ruffle for inviting my husband and I for dinner at The Clarendon Royal Hotel .

The great Italian feast at Gatti’s CityPoint

Blog post by Restaurant, Invitation only! PR events, Non Michelin Restaurants

I was invited to one of the famous #ZomatoMeetUps by the fantastically lovely people of Zomato. Zomato is an online restaurant guide, which is made up of a vast and diverse community of foodies, including me, who share their restaurant experiences, with the aim of helping others make more informed restaurant choices. Have you ever thought “oh I’d love to look at the menu for the fancy restaurant on the high street”!? Well look no further than Zomato. They have literally scanned on thousands of menus so if you have one of those thoughts you can peruse the menu online at your own leisure, and that was the inspiration of Zomato!! A #ZomatoMeetUp is an event held for an invited selection of active Zomato users. It’s almost like a reward for being part of their community.  
So the meet up was at Gatti’s Restaurant. Ever heard of it? No neither had I. But it’s a real hidden gem, nestled at the bottom of the CityPoint skyscraper. From the window you can see a very impressive bar, with a few tables but hidden away downstairs is a huge dinning room. Which seats up to 130 people and can even offer a private dining room for 10.  

  
When I arrived I was greeted with a glass of champagne and canapés of lovely little blinis topped with smoked salmon and lobster. I mingled with the zomato team and fellow bloggers.  
Once everyone had arrived we were shown down the stairs, past the impressive collection of varying sized champagne bottles and to our tables.  
Awaiting us proudly on the table were a selection of bruschette including cured ham and artichokes, porcini mushroom and roasted cherry tomato and basil.  

  
The first dish of the night was rigatoni pasta with organic tomato sauce and fresh basil. The pasta was perfectly al dente and the sauce was full of flavour. The sprinkle of parmesan made it all the more moreish.  

   
 Next was the fish course salt baked sea bass. The chef proudly wheeled out the fish whilst the blogger paparazzi took photos. I always find this so amusing! A pappazzi taking photos of a trolley of food! I’m so guilty of doing it but still see the comedy in it.  

  
The chef cut the salt crust to reveal a cloud of steam and a beautifully cooked whole sea bass. 10 years ago I would have run a mile from this but I’m much more accustomed to fish now. So when the plate was placed in front of me I wasn’t at all hesitant to tuck in. I actually really like sea bass, this was really lovely. Soft, succulent, with a gorgeously meaty texture and considering that it had been cooked in a tonne of salt, not over salty. It was explained that this impressive dish is available if ordered in advance as it takes a lot of preparation.

   
 Next course was roast beef with all the trimmings. Again the beef was wheeled out and the paparazzi jumped up to get their shots.  

  
This was a rather impressive hunk of meat. It was picture perfectly presented on my plate too. The beef was cooked to absolute perfection. Perfectly seared and pink in the middle. Also perfectly cooked were the Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes. It’s so hard to get a roast where all the components are well made, but Gatti’s definitely succeeded in this! Best roast dinner I’ve had in a long time and I love, love, loved the gravy! 

  
To cleanse our pallets we received a deliciously refreshing sorbet of lemon and Prosecco. My mouth was salivating for dessert now, even though my stomach was feeling rather full! This was my ‘treat night’ so I was determined to eat as much as I could! 

  
A selection of desserts was the grand finale. Home made tiramisu, profiteroles, panna cotta and cheesecake. Each dessert was really good but I have to say the home made tiramisu was amazing! So much so I had no reservations when my fellow dinner offered me hers! It was lovely and moist and the flavours were well balanced and not at all over powering.  

   
 I have to say the food here is very simple but delicious and well portioned. It’s probably hard to find this type of informal Italian good quality restaurant within the city. But even more impressive than the food was the incredible service and hospitality shown by Giulio who kept topping up the wine and making me smile, and also the lovely Jenny the owner of Gatti’s. It’s a very welcoming restaurant and I can see them having a lot of repeat custom due to the lovely service and modest food. It really is a hidden gem here and you’d be hard pushed to find something like this round these parts. You really can’t beat good customer service. I’ve been to so many restaurants where service is so formal and I wouldn’t remember who served me but I definitely wouldn’t forget Giulio. He really is a huge part of the Gatti’s experience.  

  
So if you want to escape from the city and experience an informal relaxed and highly welcoming dining room with simple but delicious food then head here.  

Thank you to Zomato for inviting me and to Gatti’s for your generosity and fantastic service.  

Gattis City Point

1 Ropemaker Street

Moorgate

London

EC2Y 9HU

Food perfection at Brasserie Chavot

Blog post by Restaurant, Dining with the Husband, Michelin Star Restaurant, One Michelin Star

Brasserie Chavot offers a French inspired menu created using the finest produce from the British Isles and France.

The Parisian inspired dining room has white tablecloths, red banquettes, a beautiful mosaic tiled floor and extravagant chandeliers.

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Executive chef Eric Chavot is highly acclaimed and has worked with iconic chefs  including Pierre Koffmann and Raymond Blanc.  He opened this Michelin star Brasserie in 2013 and It’s conveniently located on Conduit Street, Mayfair, which is just off of Regent Street, perfect for a pre/post shopping spree slap up meal.

My husband and I were on a date night.  We had already decided what we were eating before we had even got to the restaurant.  Brasserie Chavot is famous for their soft shell crab.  I love soft shell crab too so there was no doubt I was going for this.  My husband and I always tend to order different dishes, I’m not sure why, I think we like to compete for food envy but my husband was already envious before we’d even ordered so he too went for this as a starter too.

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Deep-fried soft shell crab, whipped aioli
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So was it as anticipated? Omg yes! Deep fried Light crunchy batter on a succulent soft shelled crab served with gorgeous whipped aioli, the ultimate food porn, smartly served on a grease proof French newspaper, c’est magnifique!

For our main course we both chose the classic Brasserie dish of steak frites! Again my husband didn’t want to risk food envy, because If you’re ordering steak and chips from a Michelin star kitchen you know it’s gonna be très bien.

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The Beef ribeye comes with either a choice of echalotes (shallots) or bearnaise sauce, but we went for both.  The steak is also served with a side of watercress.  Pommes frites were ordered separately and we also ordered an additional mixed leaf salad.

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The steak was cooked to perfection, as expected gorgeously pink and tender.  I spread the softened shallots on top of the beef and dipped each cut into the bearnaise.  We were also  offered ketchup and mayonnaise, which I’m ashamed to say I used for my chips.  My husband is a condiment-a-holic he will literally have some sort of condiment with every meal eaten at home.  So to have all these lined up on the table was a real pleasure for him.

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The watercress side was coated  in a Roquefort blue Cheese dressing, it was so delicious.  The chips had been triple cooked so were soft inside but crisp and crunchy.  Quite honestly this was the best steak,  chips and salad I’ve ever had!

Although we were absolutely stuffed we still found room for a dessert.

Surprise surprise we actually ordered different desserts.  I went for the Chocolate and pistachio pot de crème.

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Hubby went for the Baba au rhum with creme Chantilly

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The desserts were very generously sized.  We were both very happy with our choices.  My husband’s dessert looked huge, but he had no problem scoffing it in about 10 seconds, I barley got a taste.  I savoured mine, and it was a delicious combination of smooth rich flavours and textures.  As my husband and I are used to having small tasting menu courses we were pleasantly surprised by how big the dishes were, although we were almost in a food coma we definitely felt satisfied like we’d eaten a good meal.

We headed off and thanked the staff for their great service, they were very engaging and really passionate about the food and their chef, we did ask to meet him but to our chef stalking disappointment he was not in. So walked our happy bellies to the train station whilst reminiscing about the amazing food we just ate.

Brasserie Chavot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Zomato Jamón masterclass at the swanky new Camino Bankside

Blog post by Restaurant, Invitation only! PR events, Non Michelin Restaurants

I was invited to my first #ZomatoMeetUp by the lovely people of Zomato.  Zomato is an online restaurant guide, which is made up of a vast and diverse community of foodies, including me, who share their restaurant experiences, with the aim of helping others make more informed restaurant choices.  A #ZomatoMeetUp is an event held for an invited selection of active Zomato users.

So for my first meet up I was invited to Learn the art of Jamón carving at Camino, BanksideCamino’s exciting new tapas bar which has just opened behind the Tate Modern at Bankside.

I arrived and as I walked into the restaurant I instantly saw the open jamón counter where the legs are proudly hung.  Dinners are able to sit here sipping cava, whilst enjoying traditional Spanish ham carved right before their eyes by the highly trained cortador de jamón.  So by the end of the evening I too was hoping to be a (slightly trained) cortador de jamón.

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The evening kicked off with the whole group gathered round a slightly eerie looking pig leg, hairy trotter and all.  We were given a demonstration in how to cut the ham.

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We were also informed all about the welfare of the pigs and diets of different types of hams, as a slide show looped behind us with cute little piggies, and no I didn’t fell guilty at all!

The group was split into two, whilst the other half carved my half sat and had a delicious selection of tapas.

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Manchego ewe cheese & quince jelly

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Crispy fried baby squid & alioli

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Pimientos de padron peppers

Now for those who do not know, eating these peppers is like playing a game of roulette.  The peppers are usually mild in heat BUT if you choose one of the godfather hot peppers you might notice your tongue tingle.  There’s no way to differentiate, its just pot luck.

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After mingling and munching with my fellow foodies we were called up to the leg.  I’m a generally clumsy awkward person with hardly any grace.  So I took the knife and attempted to carve.  I was very conscious of my other hand just hanging there and it naturally wanted to hold onto the ham, so I was given a small tong as a distraction.

Oh my goodness, I never knew that something which looked so simple was actually really difficult.  My hands were awkward, the angle of my knife was wrong, even the way I was standing was wrong, oh dear!

The pork is quite tough and the knife does not glide through the meat it has to be sawn through as if playing a violin. I did somehow manage to get a few good slices.

Here’s some pics of me carving, told you I had no grace!

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So after we had all had a go we all gathered downstairs at the ham counter and watched the professionals carve a variety while we got to taste them all.

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Jamón Teruel DO (20 months) – white ham

Jamón Iberico Cebo (24 months) – the ham we carved 

Jamón Iberico Bellota Etiqueta Roja (32 months) – red labeled ham

Jamón Iberico Bellota Etiqueta NegraCinco Jotas (36 months) – the black labelled ham

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The more mature the ham, the more expensive the cost.  I was already a fan of the black label though, these pigs are pure acorn fed and its incredible how strong the acorn flavour comes through.  I actually really enjoyed the white ham too as it was such a contrast in taste, a really subtle flavour.

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We were also served another couple of tapas bits of Pan con Tomate and Tortilla de patata

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Then it was time to say goodbye and head home.

So that was my first ever #ZomatoMeetUp, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I really enjoyed meeting some fellow Zomato users.  It was also my first ever carving experience which I did enjoy although I wasn’t very good at it.  Its a great thing to do with a group of friends as you can just ridicule each other while you’re sitting back and eating the ham that you have just butchered.

New Jamón masterclasses are held at the swanky new Bankside Venue starting September 23rd and are £30 per person where you will learn how to prepare, slice and serve Jamón directly from the leg.  (Hopefully better than me)  And as well as being able to take what you carve you can also purchase a leg of your own to show off your new skills.  Spaces are very limited, click the link to reserve your place here

Thank you to Camino and Zomato for your amazing food and hospitality.

Camino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tasty Tasting menu at Northbank 

Blog post by Restaurant, Dining with the Husband, Non Michelin Restaurants

I was given the opportunity by squaremeal to write a blog post about Northbank. The prize included a cocktail on arrival, 6 course tasting menu and paired wines.  
Northbank opened in 2007 and offer modern Cornish influenced British cuisine. Ingredients are sourced from Falmouth and surrounding areas of Cornwall. And the daily delivered fresh fish is sourced off the Cornish coast.

Northbank is located near the Millennium bridge. I had walked from Victoria so was quite parched and welcomed my recommended cocktail of the week, an Amaretto Salisa. My husband had a Pear of the Caribbean. Both cocktails were absolutely delicious, they were so good they were gone in less than 60 seconds! Priced at £8.50 I think that’s very good value for such a great tasting drink. 

  
We were seated at a romantic table for two at the window. Northbank have a prime riverside location. From our table we had a great view of the South Bank, Shakespeare’s Globe, Tate Modern, The Shard and Millennium Bridge. This side of the river definitely has the better view.  

  
I adore the wallpaper here, it’s a modern twist on the willow pattern (the old fashioned blue and white painted porcelain). The print is on the menu too. The green images remind me of the lyrics to Lily Allen’s song LDN.  

  
We were given bread and an amuse bouche of carrot, honey and ginger soup. The bread was freshly baked and so lovely and warm.  

   
 First course of the tasting menu was Devon red beef carpaccio with red wine braised octopus and sweet baby onions

  
Traditionally carpaccio is thinly sliced raw meat. This was a generous chunk. The braised octopus was beautifully soft and served as a whole tentacle. I love the way you can see each little sucker. Baby onions were spot on. It was a great modern twist on a surf and turf.  

Second course Pan fried Seabass with cockles, clams and seaweed crumb.  

  
The skin on the fish was incredible, perfectly crispy and crunchy I almost thought I was eating chicken skin. It was amazing! Seabass is one of my favourite fish as it’s not overly fishy. The addition of the cockles gave it the fishy kick, I must admit I sneaked these onto my husband’s plate as I’m still a bit fussy with seafood.  

Next up Confit rabbit, foie gras and chorizo terrine with fennel salad and vermouth cream. 

  
The terrine had a very meaty texture so the cream on the side made the texture smoother. The foie gras was quite subtle but the chorizo had a lovely tingly heat. This was a really good dish, it’s nice to see rabbit on a menu as its such a great ingredient but not seen that often.  

Next course was the Cornish catch of the day! Consisting of Sea trout and crab gnocchi.  

  
The fish again had a perfectly crispy skin. The gnocchi was delicious. The crab gave it such a lovely sweetness. Definitely a highlight of the meal.  

Roasted guinea fowl with smoked bacon, gem lettuce and broad beans was the next course.  

  
This dish tasted great and looked fantastic. The pink bacon and green lettuce look so good together on a plate. This was a great combination of flavours, colours and textures.  

Next desserts, there were two to choose from so we ordered one each.  

I had the Bakewell soufflé with cherry sorbet, hubby had the Perry jelly with summer fruits and elderflower ice cream.  

  
Perfect soufflé and a gorgeously cherrytastic sorbet. I loved this dessert. And after all that food it worked well as it was light and fresh. The jelly dessert was lovely too especially the accompanying ice cream.  

My husband and I declined coffee as we had a train to catch from Blackfriars, which is conveniently a five minute walk away.  

Our Northbank experience was fantastic. The staff are all so happy and enthusiastic which is reflected in the attentive service. Each of our courses was matched perfectly with wine. A wine paring is not offered with the tasting menu but can be arranged on request. I always go for this option as its a great way to try out new wines. The location is amazing, riverside in the city, what more could you ask for? On the opposite side of the river are the generic chain restaurants, I almost wanted to shout to their customers to cross the bridge for some decent food! 

  
Our tasting menu was priced at £55 per person. This is incredible value and the portions are huge compared to most tasting menus.  

I can’t recommend Northbank enough. Good value, great location, amazing food and attentive service. My husband and I were made to feel like VIPs.

Thank you to Square Meal and Northbank for the complimentary meal, this has no reflection on my option of the restaurant.  

Romantic meal with a view – Galvin at Windows

Blog post by Restaurant, Dining with the Husband, Michelin Star Restaurant, One Michelin Star

Galvin at Windows, situated on the 28th floor of the London Hilton on Park Lane, was one of the first ‘posh’ restaurants my husband and I went to. Within our first year of getting together we went there to celebrate his birthday. We also spent our wedding night at the Hilton Park lane and although we didn’t dine at Galvin at Windows that night, they sent some of their marshmallows to our room, simply because we had mentioned how nice they were to the person who checked us in. As the restaurant is quite sentimental to us my husband surprised me and took me there for a date night.    As we were shown our seat, right next to the window, we were given postcards, which could be sent anywhere in the world courtesy of the restaurant. I wrote them out to my children, all the way in sunny Kent. The views are incredible, you can see for miles, from our table we overlooked Buckingham Palace. We were given an Amuse-bouche of crayfish and some freshly baked bread. The bread was delicious, still lovely and warm and the butter melted into it as I spread it on. My husband had purchased a voucher which entitled us to the Menu Prestige. The menu had a good variety, for starter I choose San Marzano tomato gazpacho, Sicilian red prawns, peach compote & basil and my husband, shockingly didn’t order the foie gras, went for the Scallops ceviche, Aquitaine caviar, pickled kohlrabi & sweet soy. My dish was really good, the gazpacho was so refreshing and the little tomatoes had so much flavour and were lovely and sweet. It looked pretty too. I had a little taste of hubby’s, that was pretty impressive too. Next up was the main course, now my husband and I very rarely order the same dish but I love lamb so I choose that, he would have ordered the beef I think if it were not for the supplement. There were additional sides too, at a cost, we didn’t order those.  Rump of lamb, slow cooked belly, devilled sweetbread, spring vegetables & spiced jus The mains were presented, the portions were huge! Sides were definitely not needed as the portion was more than adequate! The lamb was gorgeous so tender and soft, not at all chewy. The sweetbread, which I’m used to eating fried, wasn’t fried but still a nice addition. The slow cooked belly was melt in the mouth. The jus on the dish was incredible, it had a spicy cumin kick and worked so well with the lamb, I literally moped every drop up with the bread. Such a hearty flavoursome filling dish. I’m used to tasting menu portions so this left me felling very full! Dessert menus were given to us, great choice of desserts. I liked the sound of meringue and black pepper ice cream so opted for that. Hubby went for the chocolate dessert.  Dark chocolate Palet D’or, raspberries & white chocolate ice cream  Nougat parfait, caramelised banana, Muscovado meringues & black pepper ice cream Both desserts were presented beautifully! My was quite funky. The taste and texture was like a banoffe pie, and the crunch on top of the banana was pefect. My husband was very selfish with his and I barely had a taste. These were awesome desserts, a real treat. I loved having a full size dessert! Along with the bill came some chocolates and the amazing marshmallows. When my husband asked for the bill, there was a bit of confusion, the manager was very apologetic, he arranged drinks in the bar to make up for the mistake and amazingly we got to even walk through the kitchen out onto the balcony!!!! We had been quite privileged to this and this more than made up for the slight error.    So overall a great meal, the food is absolutely delicious and filling, I know some people complain about small portions in Michelin star restaurants, but it definitely isn’t the case here. My only negative of the meal is I personally feel the service could have been slightly more attentive, by that I don’t mean the service was bad, quite the contrary, I just would have liked more interaction. I would have liked a description of my food when the dishes were presented to the table. But this is a personal preference and something that I am accustomed to. I think Galvin at Windows is a great restaurant. The views are incredible, the food is amazing. I think it’s a great starter restaurant if you are new to fine dining and Michelin Star restaurants. You are made to feel welcome but not fussed over and it’s a perfect venue for a romantic date.

Click to add a blog post for Galvin at Windows - London Hilton on Park Lane Hotel on Zomato

Square Meal

GELINAZ! TAKES OVER THE WORLD.  The Grand Gelinaz! Shuffle – July 9th 2015 at Hibiscus

Blog post by Restaurant, Dining with the Husband, Michelin Star Restaurant, Pop Up Experience, Two Michelin Star

I was part of an exclusive event called the grand Gelinaz! Shuffle. Gelinaz! is a collective of some of the best chefs from around the world. And for one night only something incredible happened. From Japan to Chile, from Brazil to Slovenia, France, Turkey, Sweden, Thailand, Australia, UK, Italy, Peru, Spain, Canada, Belgium and Denmark and all throughout United States, 37 of the best chefs of the planet swapped restaurants! Our one off diner was being hosted in Hibiscus, London as Claude Bosi is one of the Gelinaz! Collective along with Massimo Bottura, Andoni Luis Adruiz, Rene Redzepi and Alain Ducasse to name but a few. So Claude Bosi had jetted off to a secret location and our guest chef was not to be revealed until we sat down on the night and opened the menu. We waited eagerly in the lounge area on arrival to Hibiscus. We were one of the first to arrive. As more guests arrived it was quite amusing to see how many people asked who the chef was tonight only to be told all will be revealed at 7!  
Twitter had been buzzing with #gelinazshuffle cryptic tweets were being posted to give clues as to which chef was where. A few clues had actually gave me an idea as to who would be cooking tonight. I had mentioned to my husband earlier that I thought it may be Sean Gray. Would I be right????
As we were first to arrive we were first to be lead into the dining room. We sat down and opened up the menu to reveal our chef…………… Sean Gray! I was right! Sean Gray is the Chef de Cuisine of Momofuku Ko. Ko is located in New York and boasts two michelin stars. I had guessed as there were a couple of crucial tweets which gave the game away! 
Once the dining room was full the meal kicked off. After some delicious snacks our first course was presented.  

  
Honeymoon melon, cherries, oregano, Alsace bacon. The flavour of the melon was so intense in this dish. Great start! 

  
Cornish mackerel, cucumber, new season almond. So it’s no secret I’m not a fan of mackerel. I did try a slice of the fish but I passed the rest over to hubby. I enjoyed all the other components and soaked up the cucumber with some bread.  

  
Hereford Snails, coco bean, lemon grass, coriander. This was my absolute favourite dish of the night. I’ve had snails a few times but never presented like this. I think the mention of snails is scary for most people, but trust me if your first taste of snails was served liked this you’d be an instant fan.   

  
Scottish Langoustine, cauliflower, Szechuan pepper. Langoustine is one of my favourite ingredients and this was perfect as anticipated.  

  
Wild turbot, tarragon, Jersey royals, carrots. The star of this dish was the potato. The tiny little spud had been smoked and was bursting with flavour. A surprisingly delicious addition to the plate.  

  
Milk fed veal, English mustard, girolles & wild chervil. Stunning course, the crispy BBQd fat on the side was delicious. 

  
Oakchurch Farm raspberry, basil, lime, Szechuan pepper. The pastry casing was perfectly crumbly. The cream filling was delicious with the raspberries and basil.  

  
English peas, shiso Meringue. I have never had peas as a dessert before so was really surprised by how lovely this dish was. Peas are sweet anyway so it kinda makes sense to use them as a dessert. They complimented the meringue beautifully and were a perfect finale to such an awesome meal.  

  
As we were savouring our last morsels Chef Sean Gray entered the dining room to an applause. He then made his way round to each table shaking each diners hand. My husband got his menu signed. The grand Gelinaz! Shuffle was such an amazing experience and what contributed to it being so amazing was the incredible service from the restaurant staff, especially from the sommelier. I look forward to future events and hopefully the Grand Gelinaz! shuffle 2016 

Club Gascon April 2015

Blog post by Restaurant, Dining with the Husband, Michelin Star Restaurant, One Michelin Star

I’m a big fan of Pascal Aussignac and Club Gascon, although this was actually my first visit to the restaurant. I’ve sampled their food at the Taste of London festivals and my Husband and I always said that we must visit the actual restaurant, imagine what the food would taste like from an actual plate in a dining room as opposed to a plastic dish in a park. So that’s exactly what we did and my husband booked us in for lunch on April fools day.
Club Gascon is home to Head Chef Pascal Aussignac and specialises in cuisine from the South-West of France. The food is made with imagination, passion and most importantly love!

We were the first to arrive for the lunch service, and no surprise we had decided on the tasting menu, as usual. Prior to our arrival I had tweeted my excitement at having lunch at Club Gascon so we were given a special treat, a tour of the kitchen before we began our meal. We got to meet Chef Pascal in his domain prepping the foie gras which we would be trying for dessert?!?!?

The kitchen was teeny tiny, it’s so impressive how relaxed the chefs are in such a tight space. I know in my tiny kitchen at home it’s complete chaos cooking for just four people. I sometimes feel like a bit of a wally going into their kitchen but my husband and I are geeks who like meeting our chef idols, ha! I’m sure they appreciate their ‘fans’ too.

We took our seats and kicked off our meal with a glass of bubbles.  We were also given gorgeous cheese sticks, bread and a small bowl containing a single ravioli in a beautiful coloured liquid.



First course was Catalane spring cress, sea urchin jus & charcoal shallots.


I really liked the presentation of this dish. I know sea urchin sounds a bit scary but they’re really not, they’re actually quite delicious.

Next up Landes white asparagus, black pudding emulsion, pork crackling.

This was one of my favourite courses. I love asparagus and it pairs so well with pork. I could not get enough of the black pudding emulsion. I asked for more bread so I could mop up every last drop.

Now for the most beautiful course of food which was Violet tea smoked seatrout, cardinale pulp, pickles, linen oil.

I’m finding seatrout appearing on menus a lot more recently. This dish was so artistic and pretty to look at, it was almost a shame to mess it up with my knife and fork.

For main course we had another stunningly presented dish of Roast guinea fowl, elderflower glazed chicory, mustard & wild garlic. It was delicious.

The dessert, Duck foie gras tagada, wafer & aromatic strawberries.

My brain didn’t understand the foie gras as a dessert but I could understand the concept as foie gras is very rich and creamy, obviously strawberries and cream is a classic combination. So I could understand why the components were put together but it wasn’t for me. I prefer a sickly sweet chocolate dessert. I did enjoy the fact that I had a sneak preview of this dish as we were informed that it would be one of the dishes presented at Taste of London.

At the end of the meal, to my gratification, we were presented with some chocolaty petit fours.


Such a lovely restaurant with such attentive service. We really were made to feel special. There were great wine choices to accompany our meal. Aside from the main courses all the other little bits were also delicious. Every plate had a contrast of beautiful colours, really artistic presentation. The plates of food are truly stunning and as well as tasting great they are beautiful to look at. My husband and I left very satisfied and feeling very spoilt.

  
  

Club Gascon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay revisited

Blog post by Restaurant, Michelin Star Restaurant, Three Michelin Star

first visited this incredible restaurant back in 2011 for my husbands birthday. Back then my husband and I had recently started exploring fine dining in michelin star establishments. It sounds ridiculous but years ago we felt slightly awkward in these restaurants as they were so ‘posh’ and we weren’t sure of the restaurant etiquette. Fast forward to 2015 and I can’t believe we ever felt like that! Visiting a michelin star restaurant is my absolute favourite thing. I know I keep banging on about michelin stars but in my opinion it guarantees amazing food and fantastic service. Now days there are such good lunch deals on offer it’s just as cheap to eat at a michelin star restaurant as it is a chain restaurant.   Anyway, we had decided to return as it was again my husbands birthday and we wanted to fully appreciate the dining experience this time. We had 12o’clock lunch reservations and had already decided we were going for the menu prestige.      We started off the birthday celebrations with a glass of bubbles.     The dining room is very intimate and mostly filled with couples. It’s such a romantic venue.      The first plate was served, an eggshell filled with potato mousseline with smoked egg yolk generously topped with black truffle.     My husband had researched before our visit and heard rave reviews so we added an additional dish of linguine with an emulsion of aged Parmesan again topped with Perigord truffles. The truffles are presented to the table in a wooden box and shaved generously onto your plate, so luxurious!      Pressed foie gras with green apples, turnips, watercress and smoked duck    Ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon poached in a light bisque, oscietra caviar and sorrel velouté.  The pasta is incredible and each mouthful is so moreish.    Isle of Gigha halibut with Atlantic King Crab, finger lime and ras el hanout infused broth.  Such a beautifully presented plate, the flowers looked stunning, the broth was so fragrant and delicious.     For main I chose the Cotswold lamb and winter vegetable “Navarin”, braised shank and confit breast    Hubby went for Roast pigeon with fennel, sautéed foie gras, lavender, honey and orange    Before desserts we ordered the optional selection of cheeses     Pre dessert was a pallet cleansing Cucumber sorbet, salad burnet, lemon verbena and mint.  The herbs had been freeze dried to be crushed in the pestle and mortar by the diner at the table.      For dessert we went off the menu and ordered Assiette de l’Aubergine which is a miniature selection of the entire dessert menu!     Lemonade parfait with honey, bergamot and sheep’s milk yoghurt sorbet Smoked chocolate cigar with blood orange and cardamom icecream Carrotcake with mead, bee pollen and creamcheese icecream    Caramelised tarte Tatin of apples with Tahitian vanilla ice cream     English peppermint soufflé with bitter chocolate sorbet Hubby’s birthday didn’t go unnoticed, he was presented another little dessert with a candle and sang to!   I absolutely adore this resturant, one of the best in London.   Each dish is as good as the next and cooked perfectly.  This restaurant holds THREE michelin stars, because it’s a class above all the others. The food is incredible. The plates are presented beautifully and the flavours are extraordinary. This is formal fine dining at it’s best, if you want to feel special, spoilt and pampered, have your crumbs swept away and napkin folded and want to make an effort for a special occasion then this is ideal. I’m a big fan of fine dining and Michelin stars and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is absolute PERFECTION.

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