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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Twitter competition win – dinner for 4 at Shaka Zulu

Dining with friends, Non Michelin Restaurants

I’m fairly new to twitter so I still get excited when a notification flashes up on my phone “Congrats @FoodObsessedSam! You have won a meal for 4 with @ShakaZuluLondon.” Yes!!! I shouted to myself inside.  I was sat at my work desk so had to refrain from jumping up and down and getting too excited!

I sorted out a reservation and invited some friends that I have kept in contact with since school. Since having children my lifestyle has completely changed.   I can’t just do as I please anymore my life revolves around my babies.  So I was excited to meet up, have a good catch up and relax without a child’s endearing strop at the dinner table.IMG_1006

I travelled in from Kent, when I arrived in Camden I got lost in stables market, I had to ring ahead and say I was lost, the lady who answered the phone did try to direct me but I’m useless at listening to directions.   I’d come from chalk farm station, I should have checked their website and come from Camden town as my friends did.   I’m really not familiar with Camden.   This was my second visit in about six years.   The last time I was in Camden was for a gig at the roundhouse preceded by a drinking session in the Weatherspoons.

We went through the front door and down an escalator to the front of house, my friend was already impressed just with the escalator, she’s easily pleased.   We were greeted and shown to our table, to my friends delight we went down yet another escalator!   First impression I have to say the restaurant is incredible.   The atmosphere is buzzing and there’s no shortage of diners.   There are two gigantic golden warriors guarding the restaurant and beautiful carved wooden murals covering the walls.   It was truly stunning and I was really impressed, I was quite blown away actually.

We were presented a glass of champagne, and were asked if we wanted a bottle of red or white, I chose white wine, surprisingly it was really decent. I only say that as I’ve progressed into a bit of a wine buff.

We ate from a set menu, starters were served on an impressive sharing platter including Ham Hock, Wildebeest Terrine with Papaya Salsa and Springbok Carpaccio.

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These were both really delicious, all the accompaniments were really good too.   For main I chose spit roast of the day which was pork.   The fat was a little too soft for my liking, but I still enjoyed the dish it had a great kick to it.

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The desserts also came on a sharing platter including panna cotta and chocolate tart, all the little desserts were lovely.

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I won’t lie and say the food was amazing just because it was complimentary.   The food was good, and better than I had expected, but what was amazing was the service and the restaurant itself.   Our server was very attentive but left us alone to talk and enjoy ourselves.

The restaurant is not serving up Michelin quality food but it is not claiming to they are however serving, Zebra, crocodile and ostrich which is there USP.   One of my friends was keen to bring her next date here.   I would like to come back to try the more exotic meats.

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I had a great evening and I was really impressed.   The venue really is stunning !   It had a great atmosphere and everyone is dressed to impress. This is a great place for girls nights and groups and the food offerings are great.   I do recommend this place as it’s great fun and not many restaurants can claim that.