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!

 

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Family feast at The big easy

Dining with the Children, Non Michelin Restaurants

The service in this place was great, especially as we had taken the kids. This was my first experience of an authentic American BarBQ shack. It will certainly not be my last.

We had planned a family day out to the London transport museum, my four year old son is crazy about trains, buses and pressing the button at traffic lights so he was in his element. Then we announced it was lunch time and a tantrum erupted! “It’s ok were just having lunch and coming back” I reassured him! We left the museum and headed in the wrong direction, towards the tube station, but thanks to google maps we found The Big Easy. Its not hidden and very easy to find. We’d even walked past Maiden Lane on our way into Covent garden!
We arrived slightly too early so had to wait until the restaurant opened. My son got upset again at being told he had to wait. I dread family days out when my son behaves like this! My daughter, who is one, is very good and waits contently in her stroller. The staff at the desk announced they were open, even though there was a gathering of people already waiting they let us in first. We were shown to a corner with a back wall filled with American number plates, this was a great way to keep my son occupied asking him to find numbers and letters! My daughter was very delicately strapped into the booster seat by a staff member, and she was immediately grabbing anything within reach, the steak knife was moved pretty sharpish! Boom boom! Another family arrived and were sat at the table opposite. Although it can feel like we’re being confined to an area away from the other dinners it’s quite a relief as there is a feeling of comradery too, knowing we’re all in it together and we won’t get frowned upon if the kids get a bit noisy. Don’t get me wrong my kids are angels when I see how some children behave, but they do have the devilish moments.

After swapping the seating arrangements we were ready to order our food. I’d heard good things about this place so I was very excited. We ordered our drinks, a round of milkshakes peanut butter and chocolate for the adults and chocolate for my son. The milkshake was incredible! It was like liquid reeses, absolutely delicious! Best milkshake to ever pass my lips.

We ordered the food, an enormous sharing platter, BarBQ Blow out. It consisted of the hugest ribs I had ever seen, half a chicken, pulled pork, fries and coleslaw, we also ordered sides of mac n cheese, voodoo wings, beans and a cesear salad. When the food arrived I gasped! The plates barely fitted on the table! The staff were very careful not to put anything in grabbing distance of my ‘little lady’ as they referred to her.

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We dived straight in. The ribs are like none I’ve ever eaten before, I’m actually embarrassed that I’ve eaten the pathetic ribs unauthentic American chain restaurants serve up. These were enormous! They were succulent, smokey and had loads of meat on them. Literally the best ribs I’ve eaten in my life. The chicken was so tender and the pulled pork was almost all gone before I got to even sample it.

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My son is going through a fussy eater phase at this point in his life, he used to eat everything but now he needs persuading and reminding that he likes certain foods because he’s eaten them before. His plate consisted of mostly chips and mac n cheese. My daughter is not going through a fussy phase at all. She devoured the pulled pork.
The food here is amazing and had lived up to my expectations. The smokey BarBQ flavour is incredible and the meat is so moist.

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It was time to go, the children had eaten and were now getting restless. The bill was taken care of really quickly. That can really spoil the experience if I’m left waiting ages to pay. The meat mountain was only half eaten, so we took the remains home in a doggy bag. The Chicken was delicious cold for lunch the next day.

I will definitely return to The Big Easy, it would be great to return without children and enjoy the X-Rated shakes and cocktails. We were really well looked after and the staff were all really attentive towards the children. I would highly recommend this place it’s great for families and would be great for any occasion. If you want to try real ribs then go here! I’m definitely going back for more.