30 July 2015

My Summer Round Up

Hi everyone. As you may have realised, I have been a little MIA recently. This is due to a mixture of things; looking for a new job, working on a complete re-design of ForkTalk (*watch this space*) and perhaps most importantly, my lack of enthusiasm for London's recent restaurant openings. :/ 

So instead of doing one of my usual restaurant reviews, I thought it would be a good idea to give you a few snippets of my foodie summer to date. You may need to grab a cup of coffee and a biscuit for this one; there's lots to get through!  

Dukes Bar 

A stand out moment for me this summer was a pre-dinner cocktail at Dukes Bar in Mayfair. It is located in the Dukes Hotel and it's a low key classy bar specialising in martinis....three shot martinis to be precise. The bar is also said to be the inspiration for the classic 007 line "shaken, not stirred." The drinks are very dear at a whopping £18, so save this one for a very special occasion. 


Then there was brunch at Kopapa. Kopapa is a fun place with a quirky menu. My Chorizo Hash with fried eggs and chilli (top) didn't disappoint but the Turkish Eggs (bottom) were a surprising let down. I'm sure this is just personal opinion as the Turkish Eggs are the restaurant's signature brunch dish. They're poached and come with whipped yoghurt, hot chilli butter and two slices of toast.

What I really liked about Kopapa was the fact that the layout and decor reminded me of my favourite brunch spot in Vancouver, Cafe Medina. Cafe Medina has the most innovative brunch menu I have ever seen and I am eagerly awaiting something similar in London...!

Crosstown Doughnuts

What? New gourmet doughnuts in town
Where? Soho
Yummy? Yes
Favourite doughnut? The mini passionfruit and chocolate :)

Cartizze Bar 

My friends and I had a lovely evening out at Cartizze Bar and M Restaurants a few weeks ago. Cartizze is a cocktail bar in Lancashire Court, Mayfair; there are lots of bars and restaurants down this lovely little mews and I'm keen to go back on a sunny day. 

Cartizze is small but glamorous, it was the perfect place to start an evening out with a group of friends. It's relaxed and light with large open windows looking out onto the winding cobbled street. 

To top it all off, we had a Time Out voucher - 4 cocktails for £16, which is incredible value considering some of the cocktails on the menu were £16 alone! 

The only downside was the fact that we were treated as "second class" customers due to our voucher; we were repeatedly asked for our voucher code in front of our guests and upon arrival, we were reluctantly seated at a "good" table.  However, I wasn't going to let that ruin my evening! 

M Restaurants

I could do a whole blog post on M so I'm going to try and keep this as short as possible. Beautiful restaurant, excellent service and the tastiest steak (Blackmore Wagyu) I have ever had. Unfortunately my pictures don't really do the meal justice. 

We had the Truly Tasting Experience (sample seasonal menu below) but "upgraded" to the Wagyu instead of the Sirloin. The Wagyu and Razor Clam were the stand out dishes for me. M are opening a new site in Victoria later this year.  

  • Razor Claim, Yuzu, Lemon Cream
  • Kangaroo Fillet Tartar, Mushrooms, Confit Egg Yolk Sauce
  • Argentine Black Angus Sirloin (300g)
  • Dulce Fondant, Salted Caramel, Coconut Ice-Cream, Crumble 

The M group should be on all steak-lovers "must try" lists! 

Food Festivals

I love going to food festivals during summer. I attended the Taste London Festival in Regents Park and Street Feast in Dalston Yard this year. The two are completely different but lots of fun. 

I found two drinks at Taste which are definitely worth a mention.

The first is the Beauty & Go Radiance drink. Complimentary bottles were handed to us in the VIP lounge and after a few sips, I was tempted to check out their stand. Turns out they are Spanish based with four skin enhancing features; (1) Anti-ageing (2) Detox (3) Radiance and (4) Vitality. I am a complete sucker for things like this and the fact that Radiance tasted really good is a massive plus!  The Beauty & Go drinks are available at Selfridges and Tesco. 

The other favourite of the day was Nomadic Lassi. Lassi is a South Asian yoghurt based drink and I'm not usually a fan. However, the Nomadic lassis are flavoured - my favourite was the passion fruit :)

The second food festival was Street Feast.  Street Feast is so much fun. Imagine a derelict warehouse packed full of street food vendors, bars and music. I have been to  Street Feast two years in a row and it never fails to disappoint. It is open every Friday and Saturday until late September so there's still a chance to check it out. 

There is some serious talent at Street Feast. The bite size creations are messy and tasty and my favourites of the day were:

The beef short rib taco and the buttermilk fried chicken taco by Breddos Tacos...

The Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich by Chin Chin Labs...

I do not have a sweet tooth but the quality of the ice cream and brownie were exceptional. The ice cream is made to order; it's all very exciting as liquid nitrogen fills the air  right in front of your eyes. Check out my Instagram account for a video of it. There was also a Salted Caramel and White Chocolate option which looked equally delicious.

And there you have it, my summer round up...!  Other places that I have visited over the summer and would recommend are:

  • Percy and Founders - for dinner and after-work drinks in Fitzrovia. 
  • Casse Croute - Hearty wholesome dining at this intimate French bistro in Bermondsey. 
  • Bump Caves - Wonderfully weird cocktail creations in this basement bar near Tower Bridge. 
Photos and more details of all of the above are on my Instagram account @esjay_forktalk  - click here to see more....

Esjay x