30 Apr 2013

THE QUALITY CHOP HOUSE

The Quality Chop House is a historical restaurant dating back to the 19th Century when it used to be a place for working men to get the chop of the day. This year, it has been restored in a manner bringing it back to its roots. It is a small eatery serving straightforward British food in a cosy, Grade ll listed space. I didn't go for a full meal in the dining room, but had drinks and small plates in the wine bar. I still wanted to post about this restaurant though, as I thought it was very charming. I believe it has a lot of potential as a dinner spot, and I would like to go back to try it. With the possibility to dine in a private room upstairs or to pick up a hot take-away sandwich at lunch, this restaurant has something for every occasion. Whisky is served in old-fashioned crystal glasses, and the dainty tableware could be taken out of a grandmother’s home. The night we were there, the drink delivery was running late, so the wine list was pretty limited. I didn't mind though, as it made the decision-making easier. The wines are described in a vivid way so even I could have some idea of what I ordered. Out of the dishes I tried, the warm Spring Greens with Almonds was my favourite. Several portions of sourdough bread and butter also helped fill me up. The veal was served with fish that was overpowering; I would have preferred it on its own. The bar menu changes every day, so these things might not be there anymore. I enjoyed the service and the atmosphere at the Quality Chop House, and will probably go back soon.  




92-94 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3EA


The Quality Chop House on Urbanspoon

29 Apr 2013


When in New York it is always essential to have a slice of classic New York pizza at one of the typical pizzeria landmarks. Such a landmark is Joe’s Pizza, which is as synonymous to Manhattan as the yellow cab. Joe’s is a force to be reckoned with among New York pizzerias, and pizzas come served by the slice or as a full pan. I made a quick stop at Joe's on my way to a house party by Union Square. The selection at Joe’s is simple, where you can choose from the classic cheese pizza, the mozzarella cheese or the cheese and pepperoni pizza. I opted for two slices of the classic cheese pizza with a soda. I cannot stress how simple and delicious the food is; what you see is exactly what you get and what you get is an amazing quality, deliciously tasting cheese pizza. The two large slices didn’t leave me bloated, but full enough to keep me going for a night out. Joe’s is the real deal, it’s simple in its menu and its décor and comes as no surprise as being as of the best pizzerias in New York. 
 















150 East 14th Street, New York, NY 10003

28 Apr 2013


For the longest time London has been in dire need of a good quality all-day brasserie, which wasn’t too formal or too casual. Lately, however, such brasseries have been popping up all over London, with the arrival of Balthazar from New York, the opening of the Zedel Brasserie and the renovation of the Sloane Square institution Oriel into the chic and charming Colbert brasserie. As the brainchild of the proprietors of The Wolseley, expectations were high! Since its opening, I have visited Colbert on many occasions at different times of day, and each experience was as pleasant as the other. My latest visit to Colbert was on a very sunny London day; it was the perfect day to have an outdoor lunch at one of my favourite lunch spots (Colbert, obviously!) overlooking Sloane Square. The ambience in the restaurant that day was particularly spectacular, which is obviously due to the great weather; everyone was smiling and happy. Upon arrival we were immediately sat outside and shortly commenced ordering our lunch. I went for the chicken salad and a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice, and my brother ordered the chicken club sandwich with a glass of iced tea. The chicken salad was basically a chopped salad served with mixed greens, tomato and avocado. It was light and tasty and the dressing was very delicious, although I feel the salad could have used a bit more dressing. It was the perfect light dish on such a sunny day. The chicken club sandwich was incredible; it came served in a baguette and can easily go down as one of the best club sandwiches I have tried in London. The taste is explosive and what makes it stand out as a unique take on the club sandwich is that it is served with full pieces of grilled chicken, with the honey mustard dressing and the endive salad on the side. Colbert proved to be the ideal lunch spot for such a beautiful day, and has now become one of my favourite restaurants to frequent in the neighbourhood. 




50-52 Sloane Square, Chelsea, London, SW1W 8AX


Colbert on Urbanspoon

21 Apr 2013

HAN KANG

In the little alley that also houses Hakkasan lies a small Korean restaurant called Han Kang. I was introduced to it a few years ago, and it was a very welcome addition to local restaurants near my university. I’ve been there quite a few times, but only recently did I discover an amazing dish, their fried chicken. Turns out Koreans really know how to do it well. Only a little bit spicy, and crispy and soft at the same time. Make sure you order the wings and not the nuggets though, as the nuggets are a bit squishy. Some of the typical Korean dishes, such as Bi Bim Bap are flavourless aside from the chilli sauce, and too healthy-tasting for my liking, so I tend to go pick whatever seems the greasiest from the menu. The fried seafood pancake is a hit, and everything is better alongside the house hot sake. Downstairs are karaoke rooms with K-Pop, which indicates that this restaurant is authentic enough to be popular among London’s Korean society. Each table has an integrated hot plate where the waiters cook thin slices of meat from the BBQ menu. However, I’ve found that if I order anything from the barbeque and I am not accompanied by any Korean friends, they just cook it in the kitchen, which takes away from the experience a little. The flavour is still as great and fresh though. Han Kang does cheap lunch deals, and the prices overall are very fair for the quality of this restaurant.  It’s always busy at dinner time, so I recommend booking if you are in a large group.







 16 Hanway Street, London W1T 1UE



Han Kang on Urbanspoon

20 Apr 2013


After hearing so many rave reviews about the great breakfast Norma’s serves I decided to put it to the test before making my way onto Madison Avenue for some much needed shopping. My very first impressions upon entering the restaurant were very good as it is located in the beautiful and ever so chic Le Parker Meridien on West 56th Street. The restaurant layout is a large open plan dining room, which is directly exposed to the double height marble lobby of the hotel, so the restaurant retains a busy and truly New York City vibe. Without any reservations we were seated within 10 minutes and were offered a large selection of newspapers and magazines to read while waiting, alongside a refreshing glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. I was definitely impressed by the great service and super friendly staff. Once we were seated we were given our menus, and were further offered a refill on our orange juices. The dilemma however was choosing what to order as the menu offerings all sounded delicious, and the yummy smells coming out of the kitchen didn’t help us make our decisions any faster. After much careful thought I decided to opt for the highly recommended Egg White Frittata of Shrimp, as well as a cappuccino. Along our chosen dishes we were also served a basket of toasted bread that came with butter and jam. The frittata itself was delectable and in one word: perfect. It came served with oven roasted potatoes, tomatoes and spinach. The shrimp offering was also generous and left me very happy and full. Overall Norma’s satisfied my hanger and certainly lived up to its hype. Norma’s isn’t cheap at a price of $75 a head for breakfast, but with all its extras and great service it is well worth the visit for the perfect breakfast or brunch. 
  






















































Le Parker Meridien New York,  119 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019


Norma's at Le Parker Meridien on Urbanspoon
GRAY'S PAPAYA

A classic New York destination, Gray’s Papaya serves the best hot dogs in New York at really cheap prices. My trip to Gray’s Papaya wasn’t planned as I only stopped by for a quick bite while I was making my way through the Upper West Side. It was 11:30 in the morning and thus I avoided the busy lunch hour queue and managed to be served within 10 minutes. I ordered a plain hot dog with relish, mustard and ketchup and a soda to drink. The hot dog itself was simple and unpretentious and tasted fantastic. With each bite I had the biggest smile on my face; it was that good! At a total price tag of $5 I was even more ecstatic. What’s amazing about Gray’s Papaya is the simplicity of the product and the fact that something so simple tastes so good is a true testament to the high quality of the beef that go into the hotdogs. An absolute must when in New York. 





























2090 Broadway  New York, NY 10023



Gray's Papaya on Urbanspoon

16 Apr 2013

THE PANTECHNICON

After a gruesome long winter, it seemed that spring had finally arrived in London last weekend with sunny, clear blue skies and people outside basking in the sunshine. Having walked from Kings Road to Knightsbridge, we decided to make a pit stop for some afternoon dessert at one my favorite local eateries: The Pantechnicon. When we arrived it was really busy, but since we were only a party of two we managed to find a small table in the corner. In this heat we both decided to have a glass of their amazing iced tea, and I topped mine with some Schweppes lemonade to make it an Arnold Palmer. We ordered the milk chocolate mousse which came served with a dark chocolate ganache and mint sauce. It was epic, the taste was superb and the mint sauce perfectly complemented the bitter dark chocolate taste of the ganache, and the mousse itself was soft and delightful. What blew my mind however was the rosemary crème brûlée with a honey citrus salad and lemon iced gelato. Never mind the spot-on texture of crème brûlée, the taste itself was perfect. It was so unique and refreshing; it excited my palette with every bite. It was the perfect light dessert for such a nice warm day. The Pantechnicon has never disappointed me; mainly known for their amazing burger and great Sunday roasts, their desserts are also well worth taking note of. 

 






































 



























10 Motcomb St  London SW1X 8LA


The Pantechnicon Public House & Dining Room on Urbanspoon

12 Apr 2013

TARO

Taro has become one of my main cravings these days, and not only because it is close to my home. In fact, I have gone to this sushi restaurant so many times that I need a break to make sure I don’t tire of it. It is a small, simple Japanese place located on the busy Finchley Road. People certainly don't come to Taro because of its charming location or for the hip décor, but simply for the good sushi. It is crowded every night of the week, so reservations are recommended. My usual order is the Salmon Avocado Maki, Scallop Nigiri and Nasu Dengaku, which is fried aubergine with miso sauce. The Prawn Tempura is also one of my favorites, and comes with little flakes of some unidentified crispy substance on top. Everything at Taro tastes very fresh and homemade. The sushi pieces aren’t perfectly rolled or presented, but that only adds to the feeling of this being home cooked sushi. The fish comes fresh from the local market, and the scallops are truly amazing. My friend once tried to experiment and order outside of our usual maki repertoire, but found that the Ramen Bowl was bland and boring. The Miso Soup is perfect though, and along with the other dishes, works great with the house Hot Sake. It is not a place for imaginative and contemporary dishes, but rather straight-forward, quality food. Taro has a delivery service, but only in the North West London area. Even though this restaurant is quite a random destination if you don't live nearby, I would actually recommend the trip.






























293 Finchley Road, London NW3 6DT


Taro on Urbanspoon

9 Apr 2013

KATZ'S DELICATESSEN

A Manhattan legend, Katz is a place of pilgrimage for any meat lover and exemplary New Yorker. Katz arguably offers the best beef pastrami in the city at great prices and overly generous portions. The presentation of the deli is uncomplicated; you can either choose self service at the very long deli counter or table service. Upon our visit it wasn’t very busy and thus we opted for the self service, which is usually the most popular alternative. When it came to ordering it was no question that we would have the classic pastrami on rye with cucumbers on the side. When ordering at the counter you are invited to sample slices of pastrami in order to give the nod of approval that you are satisfied with the quality and taste of the pastrami (a sort of deli equivalent of a wine tasting). The sandwich was simply sublime; the pastrami melted in my mouth and the spicy Dijon mustard flattered the texture and taste of the meat. With a side of their signature cucumber pickles and a Pepsi this proved to be quite the delicious meal at a great value and price in the Lower East Side of New York. 




205 E Houston St  New York, NY 10002


Katz's Deli on Urbanspoon

7 Apr 2013

ED'S LOBSTER BAR

New York, USA

Ed’s Lobster Bar is the quintessential emblem of New England style seafood. On every visit to New York I make it a point to stop by this very charming and delicious restaurant located on Petrosino Square in Soho. On a lovely sunny day while shopping on Prince Street I decided to pop in for a quick bite solo, and managed to get a seat at the bar. The layout of the restaurant is quite simple with a long narrow bar at the entrance with a few tables towards the rear; the casual and warm vibe is that of a classic New England fish shop that you would find along the coast of Maine or Cape Cod. It is every bit authentic down to the delectable menu offerings. When eating at Ed’s, I always look forward to their mouth-watering Lobster Roll and the Shrimp Cocktail. The Shrimp cocktail is to order per piece of shrimp and comes served with a cocktail sauce that is the perfect dipping condiment for practically anything. The Lobster Roll itself is quite simple and comes served with a side of fries and pickles. I can confidently say that this Lobster Roll goes down as being the best I have ever tried. The brioche bun was perfectly toasted and the lobster offering was generous and was not over-dressed with mayonnaise as is often the case in other restaurants. The fries were also crispy and tasted even better when dipped into the cocktail sauce. To quench my thirst I ordered a classic Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade) which was as yummy and refreshing as the food. Ed’s Lobster bar is a gem in Manhattan and stands out amidst the surplus of restaurants in the city. It’s not cheap, but it is worth every penny and I will definitely always keep looking forward to their delicious food. 



222 Lafayette St  New York, NY 10012


Ed's Lobster Bar on Urbanspoon