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 

VIP Treatment at The Square, Mayfair

Dining with the Husband, Michelin Star Restaurant, Two Michelin Star

My husband and I had the luxury of going out for dinner.  Our kids were staying at their grandparents for two nights over the half term so we decided to take full advantage of this and go to dinner after work.

My husband chose the two Michelin star restaurant The Square, Mayfair.  My husband and I are fans of the TV programme Great British Menu, it’s a cookery show in which Britain’s most incredible chefs compete against each other to cook in a themed banquet.  We had watched Phil Howard, chef and co owner of The Square, go from being a contestant to a judge.  So we were already fans of the Chef, and wanted to taste his food.
We arrived at The Square and were shown to our table.   The restaurant was far smaller than it looked from the outside and from what I had imagined.

We chose champagne as an apéritif and enjoyed some canapés.   There was foie gras in a cone, pork cheek and some (squid ink?) crackers.  I really need to start listening when they explain what’s been put on the table, but I’m so desperate to eat it!

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All the canapés were delicious but the pork cheek was an absolute show stopper! Wow! A tiny little morsel packed so much punch.  Amazing flavour.  The standard of canapés I’ve eaten lately is so high, it’s amazing how delicious just one purposely made mouthful of food can taste.  Hooray for canapés!

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So while sipping and nibbling and reading through the menus we decided to go for the tasting menu.  To be honest we always go for the tasting menus, because they showcase the best of what the restaurants have to offer.  We went for the paired wines too, we don’t know a great deal about wine, or pretend to, but an enjoyable part of our dining experience is engaging with the sommelier.  We like hearing the descriptions of where the wine has come from and what smells and tastes the sommelier suggests.

When asked if we were happy with the menu I expressed my dislike for Mackerel, unfortunately for me this was one of the first courses.  I cheekily suggested crab lasagne as a substitution.  Well if you don’t ask you don’t get!  Our server said he’d speak with the kitchen and see what he could do.

After a few moments we were given individual menus, to remind us of our dishes.  I took a sneak peak and to my delight my wish was their command, the makeral had disappeared and the crab lasagne had been added to my menu!

Our first courses arrived, for me smoked beetroot, and for my husband mackerel.  The sommelier brought out two separate wines.  As I had a different course in a different order to my husband this had been reflected in the wine pairings.

What a great start, cheese, pear and beetroot are always a winning combination I loved the smokiness too.

IMG_4105Salad of smoked white beetroot and salsify with organic curd, hazelnut praline, white balsamic and pear 

My next course for me was a signature dish of Dorset crab lasagne, my husband had the smoked beetroot.

IMG_4110Lasagne of Dorset crab with a cappuccino of shellfish and champagne foam

Oh My Goodness, this dish was sooooooo good!  The crab was layered in a tiny lasagne and foamy gorgeousness was poured over the top.  Although he would never admit it there was serious food envy going on.

My husband and I were both in receipt of the same dishes now and next up were langoustine tails.
One of my favourite foods is langoustine.  This dish was incredible as anticipated.  I loved the tiny little deep fried shallot rings delicately balanced on top. The langoustines were so plump and juicy and a lovely shaving of truffle just made it perfection.

IMG_4114Sauté of Scottish Langoustine tails with parmesan gnocchi and an emulsion of potato and truffle

The next course was chicken wings, and no they were absolutely not how I had envisaged.  The bone was removed and it had been stuffed and served on top of pasta.  I eat a lot of dry pasta at home, it’s very quick and easy when you have a family, so eating fresh pasta is a dream.  Another delicious dish, such a fantastic and diverse menu so far.

IMG_4118Stuffed and glazed black foot chicken wings with egg yolk Campanelle, chanterelles and cauliflower

Now I don’t usually get excited over a fish dish but this was beautiful perfectly flaky soft cod, I loved all the components and presentation.

IMG_4121Roast Cornish cod with celeriac milk, Savoy cabbage, salsify and roasting juices

Onto the main event, 55 day aged rare breed pork.  It was served pink!  I know some people would be alarmed by the colour.  It was perfectly fine.  I was taking about it when my husband had left the table and it was explained that some breeds of pork, the higher quality ones, are fine to eat pink as the pigs are feed on a special diets which make a huge difference to the meat.  I was never concerned, I trust the restaurant and will always eat the meat the way the chef recommends anyway.  It was really tender, the tea smoked sausage was lovely and the pork crackling was fantastic, great crunch.  Fabulous dish and a first for me eating pink pork, I didn’t hesitate for a second.

IMG_4127Roast 55 day aged rare breed pork with creamed potato, Tokyo turnips, tea smoked sausage, apple, earl grey and prune

As our plates were cleared we were offered a tour of the kitchen.  My husband and I are very passionate and love to engage with the staff, so we accepted.  Unfortunately Phil Howard was not in the kitchen that night, its amazing how small restaurant kitchens are and how cool and calm the staff appear.  We were then shown the wine cellar which was also really small but very well organised.  Truly fascinating!

When we arrived back to our table our cheese course was ready and waiting.  I like it when a actual cheese course is created, and it was quite simply a  piece of cheese and some chutney.  There was a cheese trolley, but my husband and I tend to get a bit greedy so we stuck to the menu.

This was served with port, I find this drink very strong, it’s not a drink I enjoy.  So the sommelier adjusted my wine pairings.  He made his own judgement and I really appreciated this.

IMG_4129Winter Beaufort with pickled walnut and honeycomb

The first of the desserts was a rhubarb and vanilla fool served with a tiny little warm doughnut on the side, which reminded me of being at the seaside and eating a bag of hot sugared doughnuts, obviously this one was a lot less greasy!

IMG_4132Yorkshire rhubarb and vanilla fool

Time for the ultimate dessert, souffle.  I do love a souffle and you have to admire restaurants who are confident enough to have these on their menu.  The chef had nailed the souffle, text book perfection.  Light and airy with a great crunch from the salted toffee.

IMG_4135Medjool date soufflé with salustiana orange ice cream and salted toffee 

We had our coffees and petit fours and thanked all the staff for their fantastic welcoming service, we had been made to feel like VIPs with such incredibly attentive service and food to match.

The Square Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The insanely amazing Sketch lecture room and library 

Dining with the Husband, Michelin Star Restaurant, Two Michelin Star

We pulled back the curtain stepped over the hopscotch and checked in at the front of house.  As we waited for someone to collect us I sat and admired the art.  This was the first time I had visited sketch its such a fascinating place with so much art to get lost in.  The red rope was pulled back and we were shown up stairs.  We passed the toilets, which I must say are by far the most glamorous toilets that I have ever seen! Wow! 

We climbed the stairs “have you been here before” “no”we replied then the  double doors swung open and an amazing world opened up in front of our eyes.  What an entrance! I almost expected to walk into moulin rouge.  It was like the moment Willy Wonka opened the door to his magical room where everything was edible.  

We were dining in the lecture room and library, the room is absolutely beautiful.  Gorgeous reds and golds with sunlight pouring in through the window.  We took our seats and I gazed around the room absorbing the beauty of it.  


My husband had spotted chef Pierre Gagnaire, he was sat behind a wall scribbling away.  Being that the world famous head chef was here today we were anticipating great things.  As the dinners began to fill the room the chef made his way to the kitchen.   

To start we had a glass of Sanger champagne and the trolley was parked behind me, great photo opp!


The canapés were presented, and actually took up the whole table!


A dirty martini, hummous, foie gras and chocolate, squid ink sticks in olive oil and cheesy bites ( I couldn’t remember all the correct descriptions).  We were really excited, these were just the canapés!


We were going to the theatre this afternoon so we ate from the a la carte menu as we knew we didn’t have time for a tasting menu.  

Onto the starters.  

I chose the langoustine addressed five ways and my husband choose a starter titled winter.

Winter 

Foie gras ice cream with tandoori Duck consommé and turnips

As weird as it may sound, probably not if you’re a foodie, foie gras ice cream works because of its creamy texture, another thing I have learnt about foie gras is that it works great with sweet dessert wines too.

Flash smoked root vegetable cocotte, red beetroot jus with walnut oil Jurusalem artichoke consommé with black winter truffle

This dish was presented to him in a huge cassoulet/ BBQ type pot, the lid was taken off and the smoke rose out, this wasn’t put on the table, the dishes were prepared on a trolley parked in front of our table.  In my opinion anything with truffle tastes amazing 

Marinated artichokes lardo di colonnata red cabbage cubes

Sea urchin royale grilled hand dived scallops

Langoustines 

Pan fried langoustines with terre de sienne green put lentils apple enoki mushrooms 

Langoustine mousse perfumed with manzanilla 

Langoustines marinated in a shell jus and grilled a la plancha crunchy daikon

Langoustines slightly smoked carpaccio olive oil redcurrant coriander beeHot langoustines consommé horseradish Chantilly

I loved the way this was presented a bottle of beer was opened and drizzled onto the carpaccio, a very pretty dish. 

Plate after plate after plate were placed onto the table.  There were so many plates of food that the starters were actual served in two halves, like a football match.  


I love langoustines so I was in my absolute element with all these dishes.  

My husband was pleased with his choice too, he loves anything with foie gras and is a big fan of scallops.  

The food was exciting and we felt like royalty at a banquet being presented with all these plates of delicious food.  

Between courses I wanted a toilet break.  I was more desperate to see the actual toilet rather than use it.  I opened the door and walked through a curtain of crystal beads.  


There was unusual carousel/music box type music playing, the room was black and spider webs were studded onto the walls in crystals.  The toilet roll was sat on a crystal swing.  

These toilets were insane! I think sketch is famous for it’s quirky toilets, ive seen so many pictures of the pod toilets, but these were something else!  I took a few pics then made my way back up to the table.  

For the main I chose suckling lamb, hubby chose organic pork.  

Chef had requested my husbands piece of pork was brought out for my husband to witness before it was carved, then it was taken back to the kitchen. 

Organic pork

Pan fried rack of pork with sage Red cabbage marmalade with prunes

Black pudding ravioli fondue of romain salad

Pigs ear celeriac salsify black garlic

Suckling lamb 

Piece of suckling lamb roasted then sliced with oregano Raw and braised endives tamarind jus

Organic spelt crispy lamb sweetbreads golden raisin saffron

Braised shoulder a l orientale with dates served chilled


The food was amazing, this is a two michelin star restaurant, which is very obvious but personally I think it deserves a third.  I’ve been to all the three stars in the UK and I think this is up there with them.  But hey I’m not an inspector, but what a cool job though! 

We unfortunately had to dash off so didn’t have time for desserts, we were devastated about this.  But the silver lining was we had the incredible honour and privilege of meeting chef Pierre Gagnaire.  He signed our menu and drew a smiley face sunshine, he also took us into the kitchen for a picture.  

What a lovely lovely man he is.  My husband and I have quite a collection of signed menus and chef pictures now, we’re a bit geeky, like autograph hunters.  

So we went to the theatre, the show was ok, although the theatrics in the restaurant were more impressive to be honest.  Coincidentally we saw Charlie and the chocolate factory.   It was meant to be a pre theatre meal before an amazing show but turned out to be an anticlimax due to the orgasmic experience at Sketch.  This restaurant has had such an impact on me I was desperate to return even before I had left.   I want to come back for a table full of desserts, explore all the other rooms and of course get a picture of the toilet pods.   I will be back….. Hopefully very soon! 
sketch Lecture Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Happy Birthday to Me! Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons

Dining with the Husband, Michelin Star Restaurant, Two Michelin Star

I celebrated my birthday in January and my husband surprised me with a lunch reservation at Le Manior Aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire.

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We sipped on champagne and nibbled canapés as we browsed the menu and relaxed.  The reception and lounge area reminded me of The Waterside Inn, the conservatory dining room reminded me of Midsummer House, where I had celebrated my last birthday.

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There were quite a few birthday celebrations, so I was in good company.We opted for the 5 course tasting menu with an additional cheese course and an additional dessert, well it was my birthday, hehe!

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First course was a pumpkin soup with a perfectly cooked langoustine.

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Next course was a mackerel dish which I opted to substitute for a mushroom risotto, which is my favourite dish of the year so far and will take some beating, It was amazing, it was creamy, rich, the rice perfectly cooked, the truffle generously coated the top. This dish was absolute perfection. Top marks!

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Next course was slow cooked hens egg, to be honest I only really eat the burnt fried kind but I actually enjoyed this far more than anticipated. I really enjoyed the different textures of this dish.

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The main course was Jacobs ladder, melt in the mouth tender as expected, looked beautiful on the plate too.

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Next we had cheese from the cheese trolley. I chose 4 different types but my husband greedily ordered the remaining cheeses I hadn’t. We do love a cheese trolley, the staff serving the cheese were very passionate and very generous with the portions.

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First of the desserts was citrus. And this was a gorgeous pallet cleanser for the rich millionaires shortbread which followed.

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I was very excited to see that my dessert had been pimped up with a happy birthday plaque and a candle.

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We were full to bursting so I took a mint tea in the lounge in front of the open fire, very romantic. My husband shocked me, he was so full he did not even touch the petit fours! Now that’s a first, all the more for me!

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This was a perfect choice of restaurant by my husband to celebrate my birthday. I really enjoy the traditional formal dining and getting dressed up and being in company of others that have made an effort. I really did have a very happy birthday indeed.

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2014 – My year in restaurants

Afternoon Tea, Brunch, Dining with friends, Dining with Mum, Dining with the Children, Dining with the Husband, Food Festival, Michelin Star Restaurant, Non Michelin Restaurants, One Michelin Star, Pop Up Experience, Three Michelin Star, Two Michelin Star

2014 has been a year of amazing restaurant experiences for my husband and I.  Halfway through the year I decided to start documenting my meals on WordPress to share with fellow foodies and to remind myself of the delicious plates of food that have been sat in front of me.

January
The year started off with my birthday meal at the Midsummer house.  As we approached the restaurant, walking over the bridge, the beautiful fairy lights looked magical.  The food I encountered was also magic.  I loved this restaurant, it was very romantic and felt special, the food was incredible and a perfect destination for celebrating my special day.  I loved the BBQd beetroot.  

February
Birth month for my husband and we dined at the Ledbury for his special day.  The service was amazing we had the tasting menu.  We were actually allowed into the kitchen and got to meet Brett Graham who was very welcoming to us.  

We also got to celebrate Valentines day in style at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester.

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March
I took my Mum for Mother’s Day to The Skylounge at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel – Tower of London.  It was a gorgeous sunny day, and the champagne and cocktails went down a treat!

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Me & my Mummy

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April
We celebrated our wedding anniversary and stayed at Penny Hill Park and we dinned in their 2 Michelin Star The Latymer.  This was an incredible evening away, the hotel upgraded our room, the spa is the best I’ve visited and to have this incredible restaurant located in the hotel made it perfection.

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Gorgeous outdoor pool at Penny Hill Park

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Beautiful roll top bath

May
We ate at the highly anticipated Fera, hubby was desperate to get a table for the opening week but had to settle for the opening fortnight.  I loved this meal.  I loved the excitement in the dining room, I loved the way Simon Rogan presented us one of our courses and I loved that it’s so much like L’Enclume (another of my favourite restaurants).

During May I also experienced the John Lewis Garden Room pop up restaurant, twice

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And attended the ‘too many chefs’ event at the Drapers Arms in aid of action against huger.  10 chefs, 10 different courses.

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I also had a catch up with a dear friend at the two Michelin star restaurant Hibiscus. We ate from the amazing value set menu and had such a lovely time before we knew it we were the last two people in the restaurant.   I loved the ‘Pork Pie’ dish.

June
We attended the best food festival London has to offer, Taste of London.  I have been to most of the London food festivals this year and in my opinion this is head and shoulders above the rest.

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I also had a fab girly night at Shaka Zulu, Camden

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I attended a meet the makers event at Bread Street Kitchen with Gonzales Byass Sherries.

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July
A fantastic Birthday Brunch with my mum at One Aldwych

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We took the kids to The Big Easy

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Had an alfresco lunch at Cha Cha Moon

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I made marvellous macarons at Jenius Social, which was really good fun, and hard work too!

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August
I visited the lovely Tamarind of Mayfair, where I had my first taste of lobster in the form of a masala and I particularly enjoyed the Papdi chaat.  This is a fantastic restaurant the staff are lovely, it’s like being in your local Indian, but they have a prestigious Michelin Star.

This was the month I also faced my fear trying Sashimi at Yashin ocean house and actually enjoyed the experience.

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One of the best and most underrated restaurant I visited this year was Launceston Place.  I was certain this would get a second Michelin star as the food and service we received certainly deserved it!

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September

I dined 100ft high in the sky with L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
London and Alyn Williams at The Westbury.

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I also experienced a kitchen takeover Glynn Purnell at Nathan’s Outlaw’s at The Capital

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October
We visited the sophisticated Alyn Williams at The Westbury, my second experience of Alyn Williams’ food but with my feet firmly on the ground.

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Booked almost a year prior to the visit we eventually visited Tom Kerridge’s famous pub The hand and flowers.  It was great and the food was fantastic particularly the desserts.

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Drakes restaurant Woking was a lovely treat and with no expectations I was very pleasantly surprised.  Great feel to the dining room and fantastic food really liked way the cheese course was presented.

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November
This was a casual month where I dined with friends.
I dined at the The Fish & Chip Shop, Islington and it definitely is the best fish and chips I’ve had.  I loved the quirky decor too.

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Another place I visited was The Remedy wine bar, a fantastic little gem. Real cosy place offering great  charcuterie and cheese boards and quality wine.   My friend and I had a fab evening here. I will definitely be revisiting in 2015 for more catch ups with friends.

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We attended Taste of winter for the first time.  Had loads of fun and I tried food from Kurobuta London and it is a restaurant I look forward to visiting in the new year.

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I also attended a SPIES event at South Place Hotel and had a fantastic magical mystery evening.

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December
For the second year running I enjoyed a festive afternoon tea with my friends at the Conrad Hotel, Westminister.  With free flowing champagne for £45 I think this is an absolute bargain! I’m sure to be back again next December.

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So that’s a round up of my year, what a great year it has been too!  Thank you to my hubby for taking me for all these incredible meals and thank you so much to all the restaurants for the incredible food and service received.

Here’s to 2015!

 

The Hand & Flowers, LUSH!

Dining with the Husband, Michelin Star Restaurant, Two Michelin Star

I recently came here for a Saturday lunch, the table had been booked nine months in advance.

Our booking had coincided with head chef Tom Kerridge’s new TV show Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes on BBC2. I imagine you have to wait a lot longer than nine months now to get a table on a Saturday.

My husband checked their website out of curiosity whilst the programme was on air and it had crashed.

I’m a huge fan of Tom Kerridge and I had the pleasure of meeting him last October at a cooking the books event at Sonny’s Kitchen. He cooked a three course lunch inspired by recipes from his first book, Proper Pub Food.

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Meeting Mr Kerridge at Sonny’s Kitchen event November 2013

I was very excited, unfortunately I had to drive as getting there by train would have taken forever, the positive of this was that I got to experience the best Virgin mojito ever!!!!

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Me

The booking was for 12:45 due to an incident on the M25 I left far earlier than I needed and we arrived very early, but luckily managed to bag a parking spot. We sat in the bar and had an aperitif and some bar snacks.

I had a cheeky kent sparkling rose, and hubby had a pint of Hand & Flowers Ale. We ordered bar snacks of spicy nuts and pork puffs. I remember hubby making these pork puffs from the first cookery book, I definitely prefer the professional version. 😉

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Hand & Flowers Ale

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Balfour Brut Rose, Kent

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Bar snacks

As we took our last sip we were offered our table. We were shown to a cosy corner and we were very pleased with our designated table. It was nice to be able to sit next to each other in an informal dining room. The atmosphere was buzzing. Everyone here had been waiting as long as us for their golden ticket to dine in this two Michelin star pub.

My husband continued to drink pints throughout the meal, as I was driving I opted for water and a virgin mojito. The mocktail was was proper lush, I can only imagine what the real cocktails would have tasted like.

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White Bait & Bread

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Best Virgin Mojito EVER

We were given bread and white bait as we waited for our starters. My husband had planned his meal well in advance, I wanted to chose on the day and see what I fancied. My attitude to dining out has changed lately, rather than eat what I like and be safe I have started to order what I normally wouldn’t have. So I ordered lovage soup with smoked eel.

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Lovage Soup with Bramley Apple, Smoked Eel, and Ham and Cheese Tortellini

Hubby ordered crispy pig face.

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Crispy Pig’s Head with Spiced Date Puree, Apple, Blackberry and Pancetta

When the starters arrived I definitely had food envy. Mine was delicious, especially the tortellini hidden at the bottom, but hubby’s dish was something else. It was just perfect. I’m salivating just remembering the taste.

Next main course. Hubby ordered the duck, I ordered the grouse, I chose this as I’d only ever had this once before so wanted to try it again. The plates arrived and the portions were huge! I had ordered a side of chips too. I’m so used to eating smaller portions on tasting menus I didn’t realise how large the main course would be. I did have slight food envy again hubby’s research had definitely paid off.

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Yorkshire Grouse with Black Pudding Purée, Morello Cherry Ketchup, Frosted Almond and Game Pie

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Slow Cooked Duck Breast with Savoy cabbage, Duck Fat Chips and Gravy

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Mains & Sides

The chips were a-maze-ing, the pie was really delicious perfect puffed pastry top and lovey rich filling. There were two pieces of grouse but I was really struggling to finish so passed one over to my hubby.

The food so far had been incredible and now looking back I appreciate it even more. Living in kent I have eaten in little country pubs before but this was a class above any pub I’d ever been to before. Well two Michelin stars above to be precise. Although I was absolutely stuffed I always manage to have room for dessert. Sometimes Michelin star desserts are a bit disappointing but The hand and flowers’ desserts fulfilled and exceeded expectations. The dessert menu was very hard to choose from so we actually chose three. I couldn’t resist the soufflé, well it was the Parma violet ice cream that swung it actually. Hubby chose the chocolate malt cake, this came with a potent shot of reduced ale, and in addition to those, a malt gateau. All three desserts were as luscious as each other. I’d of loved to have worked my way through the entire menu. Trying three out of the seven wasn’t bad going.

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Blueberry Soufflé with Parma Violet Ice Cream and Lemon Verbena Syrup

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Sweet Malt Gateau with Malted Milk Ice Cream, Yeast Tuile and Crème Fraîche

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Hand & Flowers Chocolate and Ale Cake with Salted Caramel and Muscovado Ice Cream

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Table full of desserts

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The service here is great, very attentive, my water was constantly topped up and even though you are allocated a two hour sitting it does not feel at all rushed, it’s incredible how quickly the tables are turned and new guests are sat, such precision. Although it has been said that formal fine dining is dying out I have to admit I do prefer formal. I loved the hand and flowers and would definitely return as the food was outstanding but I prefer the traditional white table clothes and grand chandeliers and my chair being pulled out for me. BUT I have recently eaten in my local pub and now comparing the two it seems crazy to pay similar prices and receive such average food, now I can definitely see Tom Kerridge’s vision, it is not meant to be ‘fine dining’ this is just perfect proper pub grub!

(Now this isn’t something I usually take pictures of but I was really impressed with the flower arrangement on the toilet and the Hand & Flowers branded soap)

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