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.

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.  

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.




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!


Me & my Mummy


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.

Gorgeous outdoor pool at Penny Hill Park


Beautiful roll top bath

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





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



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.

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.


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



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


A fantastic Birthday Brunch with my mum at One Aldwych


We took the kids to The Big Easy


Had an alfresco lunch at Cha Cha Moon


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



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.

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!



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



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


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


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.



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



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.


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 penultimate finale dinner in the sky cooked for by Alyn Williams

Dining with the Husband, Pop Up Experience

I was lucky enough to win seats for the penultimate finale dinner in the sky, courtesy of Speyside Glynlevit water. The chef tonight was Alyn Williams, holder of one Michelin star for Alyn Williams at The Westbury.

My husband and I arrived promptly and checked in for our flight, our faces were instantly recognised and the advantage of a second visit were we knew the best seats. We requested seats 3 and 4, we chose these seats purely because they are situated directly in front of the chef, slightly stalkerish I know. We were given our numbered red discs, collected our Taittinger champagne and perched on a stall excitingly watching on while the restaurant prepared for our dinner. As this was our second time the anxiety wasn’t there, it was pure excitement and desire for the food.


Champagne and seat numbers

After a quick briefing we were strapped into our seats. As we lifted off the ground I saw some nervous faces, I did feel a little smug. It’s such an amazing feeling being lifted up into the air feeling the wind blowing and seeing the sun begin to set.

Our first course was already sat in front of us, weighing down the menu.


Belota iberica, cauliflower, soused beach vegetables, cobnuts

I had never had a cauliflower dish like this before, it was very enjoyable. I loved the contrast of textures, smooth and crunchy.


Mersea island crab, watermelon, wild herb coleslaw, gazpacho cucumber

This was as good as it looked, and the highlight on this dish for me was the coleslaw, it was delicious. Obviously the crab was good too.


Confit cod, coco bean casserole, Alsace bacon, autumn truffles.

The coco bean casserole was soooooo good, I had to resist licking the bowl clean, this was served with a very generous grating of truffle.


Cumbrian rose veal, braised brisket, sweetbread crumbs, brassicas

Highlight on this plate was the brisket, it was perfect! Also loved the sweetbread crumbs, which are not suitable for vegetarians! 😉


Cornish cows curd cheesecake, spiced figs, gingerbread crisp

Gorgeous dessert, another plate licker!

It was an absolute pleasure to be sat in front of chef Alyn Williams and his assistant Rory. I guess it’s a great opportunity for them too. Not for me to be sat in front of him, but to be so close to the diners and get instant feedback. This intimate setting is such a fantastic way to interact with the chefs, the couple sat to my left were asking lots of questions, and my husband and I had the opportunity to speak with him and tell him that we were actually going to be dining at his restaurant in two weeks. My husband made the reservation before we knew our fate. When I told him how I bagged my seats for tonights dinner he shook my hand and congratulated me. He’d seen my name appear on twitter quite a few times! Hehe! I asked for my menu to be signed and before we knew it we were back on the ground. We’d gone up into the sky in daylight and came back down in the dark.





It really was a privilege to be part of Events in the Sky’s Dinner in the sky, I’d taken off at the opening weekend and landed on the finale weekend I really felt part of the journey. Both nights were very special and I will always cherish the memories of such a unique dining experience.

I look forward to trying out the tasting menu at Alyn Williams at The Westbury with my feet firmly on the ground in the luxury of a warm dining room. If the food was this good served 100ft in the air in the freezing cold wind then I know I’m in for a real treat! Maybe I’ll get the chance to stalk, I mean meet, Alyn again and get my menu signed.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon 100ft in the sky

Dining with the Husband, Pop Up Experience

Since I saw this on an episode of Heston’s great British food I have been intrigued, so when http://www.eventsinthesky.co.uk launched I was desperate to dine in the sky, unfortunately the price tag was out of my budget. 

EITS describe it as a unique sky table, suspended 100 feet in the air. The table seats 22 guests, with a guest chef, sommelier and waiting team serving from the centre of the table. It’s truly a gastronomic experience like no other!

I watched the frenzy on twitter and after seeing the images, video clips and news articles from the press night I was determined to bag a seat. I had entered every competition going but as each one was drawn my hopes of winning were dashed. I was seriously determined to go and as luck would have it I stumbled upon a competition on L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon’s twitter page, to win seats I had to describe their new website, moments later I got a tweet @FoodObsessedSam THX, real good effort. U got ur golden ticket for 2 peeps, see u you tonight at 19:30 #londoninthesky
I was literally jumping for joy!!!!! I had absolutely smashed it!!!
I replied and my flight was all booked for Saturday at 6:30, I was excited beyond belief, my hubby was a nervous wreck!


Restaurant preparing for lift off

As we arrived we were greeted with a glass of Taittinger champagne and given the safety rules.



Safety rules

We were given numbered disks which were our assigned seat numbers. My husband stared nervously up at the crane, it didn’t actually look that high.
We were gathered up and given a quick briefing by Dale Agar of Events In The Sky. It was time to board.


Ready for lift off

We were strapped into our racing style seats, suddenly we noticed our attendants shrinking, we were going up! The lift was smooth, but we did stop halfway as there was a lady who was far more nervous than my husband, after reassurance from the team we were on the up again. We reached our sumit. I wasn’t actually phased by the height, it was an incredible feeling. It was quite windy, and there was slight movement but I felt completely safe.
We literally had the best seats, sat in front of XAVIER BOYER, EXECUTIVE HEAD CHEF and AURÉLIE ALTEMAIRE HEAD CHEF of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon.


Chefs at work Xavier Boyer and Aurelie Altemaire

We watched on as our sky high dinner was prepared. First of five courses was Royale of foie gras, aged port reduction, parmesan foam. This little shot was perfectly balanced, the sweet port and salty parmesan worked beautifully with the foie gras.


L’Amuse Bouche

Second course was Sologne Imperial Caviar on a symphony of salmon tartar. I’m not a lover of salmon but this was delicious, I devoured it, the little crisps were gorgeous too and I scooped the rest up with my bread. I loved the tiny little mother of pearl sea shell spoon.


Le Caviar de Sologne Imperial

Third course, marinated black cod miso served on a daikon and yuzu mousseline. Warmed by blow torch and so tender I ate it with a spoon.

black cod

Le Black Cod

Fourth course, Free range quail stuffed with foie gras and mashed potatoes. This mash was made with love, it was paid constant attention during the flight, it was silky smooth. I’m a big fan of quail, this stuffed with foie gras is a dream!


La Caille

Dessert, lemon bubble with lemon custard, yuzu marshmallow and yogurt ice-cream. This dish was beautiful, I adored the plate it was served on too. I felt guilty braking the sugar bubble but the delights inside were heavenly.




La Sphere

My husbands fear passed really quickly, he was even persuaded to recline his chair so chef XAVIER BOYER could take a photo of us. The scared lady opposite even seemed to relax. The staff were great at reassuring her.


Reclined 100ft in the air! photo taken by Xavier Boyer

I had the most incredible dining experience of my life. The food was fantastic, the restaurant was mind blowing, the atmosphere was a buzz of excitement and the banter between everyone was hilarious. As well as having the opportunity to experience this I was also privileged enough to be sat in front of the chefs and interact with them. This seriously was a priceless experience and now I’ve done it, I can justify the price tag. An opportunity not to be missed.


Signed Menu


Villa Maria wines


Couldn’t resist a Shoe Selfie


Sun set sky