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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Taste of Winter 2014 

Food Festival

With a VIP pass hung round my neck I walked into the buzzing tobacco dock.  This was the opening night for Taste of Winter.  We had arrived later than anticipated as we had walked from Westminster and as we approached to cross Tower Bridge it opened for an illuminous gummie bear to pass under?! I know, Random!!!!

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Tower Bridge opening

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Gummie Bear?

Turns out it was Nicole Scherzinger promoting Candy Crush

Anyway, we headed straight for the Electrolux chefs secrets theatre hoping to get a place on the cook along and luckily there were a few spaces left! The chef hosting the cook along was Rakesh Ravindran Nair from the cinnamon club.

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Me & Rakesh Ravindran Nair

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We made lamb kebabs with mint and cucumber yoghurt.  This is something I often make at home so it was good to be instructed by a professional and to get some tips.  This was really good fun, my husband and I were quite competitive, even though we were cooking together, we both think we’re head chefs! Haha!

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The host was John Quilter, The Food Busker and he was really fun and a great motivator as he walked round poking fun at everyone’s efforts.

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Chef with Food Busker John Quilter

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Our efforts were judged and the winner was rewarded a bottle of Vodka, it wasn’t us, but we were all winners as we got to eat our delicious kebabs.

Next stop was the VIP lounge to collect our complimentary glass of champagne and a copy of The Incredible Spice Men cookery book.  The Assado stand was directly outside the lounge so we got our books signed by Cyrus Todiwala, who was a pleasure to meet.

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Me & Cyrus Todiwala

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Belly of Pork

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Ostrich Bhuna

We ordered the Belly of Pork Assado on Shredded Red Chilli Risotto and Ostrich Bhuna.  The chef even came over while we were eating to see if we were enjoying our dishes, which we thoroughly were.

Whilst walking about we saw DJ BBQ, who I recognised from Food Junkies and Alex James, one of my husbands idols, more photo opportunities!

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Alex James with Hubby

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Me & DJ BBQ

My husband went to the Hixter stand and ordered Yorkshire pudding with whipped chicken livers.

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Yorkshire pud & whipped chicken livers

Next stop was Club Gascon one of our favourites! We ordered the Duck & Dog and the Squirrel Terrine.  Chef Pascal Aussignac served the dishes, and posed for a pic.  The duck and dog was my favourite dish of the night, this restaurant frequently win best in taste award at these events, this was my winner.

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My Husband with Chef Aussignac

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Duck & Dog

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Squirrel terrine

We took our dishes into the Electrolux Taste Theatre to watch a demonstration by Atul Kochhar of Benares Restaurant.  He was cooking with Brussel sprouts.

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Atul Kochhar

To be honest we left early as time was running out and we had loads of crowns to spend!

Kurobuta was the next stand we visited, this was the most popular stand, but they had a very organised system.  So after a short wait I received my BBQ pork belly in steam buns with spicy peanut sauce and Miso Grilled Hot Wings, the food was definitely worth the wait.

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Pork Belly Bun

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Miso wings

We made a return visit to Club Gascon for the Gascon Mess, Chef Pascal was in a playful mood and greeted me through the ‘O’ hanging from his stand.

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Gascon Mess

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We were both absolutely stuffed now, so we frantically went round trying to use up the crowns on our cards but unfortunately the stalls we has visited did not have the terminal for the taste club cards.  Some were only accepting cash too.  Fortunately now you can apply online for a refund for any unused crowns, which was not possible with the paper crowns.  The card is a much better way to pay and it made the transaction quicker, rather than having to stand counting out the paper crowns.

So the time had slipped away, the session had flown by, tobacco dock is a great location although it did take a while to get to know the layout it was very cosy and really suited the winter theme.  There is so much to do and get involved in, so many food outlets and stalls to browse.  There are lots of free samples too, so it can be as expensive or as cheap as you want, it’s great for foodies or just a great night/day out.  Its a great way to meet and interact with the chefs.  Taste of London and taste of winter, as a foodie, are by far my favourite food festivals.  So I look forward again to the summer and Taste of London in Regents Park.