31 Jan 2014


Tokyo, Japan
One of the many perks of being in Tokyo is the surplus of delicious restaurants to choose from. Like London in many ways, Tokyo is a foodie’s heaven and one is spoilt for choice when deciding what to eat. Having spent the morning exploring the charming little streets of Harajuku, my friends and I popped in for a traditional Japanese lunch at the much-recommended Sakura Tei restaurant. Specializing in Okonomiyaki (a self prepared savoury pancake) the restaurant is situated in a traditional Japanese house which was all the more surreal in Harajuku, which is uniquely contemporary and avant-garde. The layout of the restaurant proved to be quite confusing as it was organized in a maze-like arrangement with many small corridors and dining areas located in separate rooms scattered all over. Despite the confusion, we embraced the vibe and proceeded to ordering momentarily after being seated. We naturally ordered the Okonomiyaki with chicken and noodles, both preceded by the house salad. Minutes after ordering, the grill we were sat around was lit up and our food started arriving. The salad was sensational and delicious, its ingredients so fresh that it made us order another portion. Garnished with capers and generous portions of salmon, it opened up our appetites for the main dishes. The Okonomiyaki ingredients arrived neatly arranged on side plates, and having carefully read the instructions we tested our cooking skills by mixing the ingredients to make the pancake (more like an omelette). Loaded with many vegetables, and drizzled in teriyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise, it was spectacular, albeit quite heavy! Shortly after, our noodle ingredients arrived and we exercised our wits by cooking the noodles. Feeling unable to eat anymore, we braved to try the noodles and after the first bite we had forgotten how full we were. For being rookies in the kitchen, we managed to grill some yummy noodles, which were the great conclusion to this grand meal.


27 Jan 2014


London, UK

I ended up going to Andina, a new Peruvian restaurant in Shoreditch, kind of by accident, as I had wanted to go to Big Apple Hot Dogs for lunch, but it was closed. I should have checked, as they are never open on Mondays. The second choice was less casual, but not a bad option at all. Andina is run by Martin Morales, the same man who started Ceviche in Soho, previously reviewed here on the Food Grid. The bright and airy space on the ground floor was full, so we were seated all alone downstairs, which would probably have been cosier at nighttime with more people around. It’s a nice space, but not as hip as the Soho counterpart, but I almost find this refreshing in Shoreditch. There are clear parallels with Ceviche in the food and cocktail list, and my Pisco Sour was equally refreshing here. I was informed that they buy liquid egg-whites and don’t crack a fresh one for each drink, as they do not have use for egg-yolks. This takes away from the experience a little, but wouldn’t stop me from ordering another. My friend had the Urubamba smoothies, one of many menu items that contain quinoa. I ordered the Choclo corn cake with avocado and salsa criolla. I absolutely loved this, and it tasted healthy while still being filling. I thought my friends would have food envy because they “only” got quinoa burgers, but they seemed very happy with their choice, and said was juicy when I asked if it was as dry as it looked. We all shared the seabass ceviche, which was a zesty highlight. Everything on our table was colourful and tasty. Although it didn’t amaze me, I will very likely return to Andina.

Andina on Urbanspoon

17 Jan 2014


London, UK

Rochelle Canteen is a small and elusive restaurant by Melanie Arnold and Margot Henderson (the wife of Fergus Henderson of St John Restaurant). Located on Arnold Circus in East London, it is only open on weekdays during daytime. As a result, this restaurant is reserved for the unemployed, the self-employed, students or people working near Shoreditch. I finally had a morning off, so I took the opportunity to have breakfast at Rochelle Canteen. It is within the old Rochelle School, and you enter by ringing the doorbell of the ‘Boys’ entrance. You then walk across the lawned courtyard and into the converted bike shed. This is a light and airy space, with an open kitchen and simple, school-like furniture.  The menu is very short, with only three items to choose from. I had a flower tea to start with, then scrambled eggs on toast. This very simple dish was executed to perfection. The bread was grilled and full of oil. The eggs were cooked to the perfect stage where they are runny, but not undercooked, which can be gross. The portion size was ideal for me; filling without being too much, whereas my sister couldn’t finish her plate. We were the only people eating at 10 in the morning, but there was still a lively buzz from people working in the building coming in and out. Based on the quality of the breakfast, I am now considering taking time off work to be able to try their  lunch menu.

Rochelle Canteen on Urbanspoon

10 Jan 2014


Food Grid's Top 10

One month from now the Food Grid will mark its first year being online, a year that we continually celebrated by doing what we do best: eat. Suffice to say, 2013 was a good year for us at the Food Grid as we witnessed the inception of our site, which was once nothing more than an idea casually shared between two friends. It was a year we witnessed the fruition of our idea into a steadily expanding reader base, and most importantly a year where we managed to eat and review restaurants, cafes, food trucks and markets from our base in London to destinations all over the world such as Paris, New York, Los Angeles, and Seoul.

Amongst the many reviews, some stand out as being highlights of our 2013-year at the Food Grid, starting with the legendary Granger and Co located on Westbourne Grove in London. When it comes to brunch, few places manage to rival this haven, which continues to attract lines and lines of people every weekend. Ffiona’s on the other hand is much smaller and is ever more charismatic, where no restaurant can match the warm and personal welcome you receive from Ffiona herself when walking through her door, and her pancakes are the best to be had in London. Great service is also not lost on the friendliest New York staff found in the incredible Ed’s Lobster Bar. Aside from the greeting smiles, Ed’s is a treasure that has forever spoiled any other lobster roll for me and as such is a must whenever in New York. Not far from Ed’s to the lower east side of Manhattan lies Veselka, undoubtedly the most unique, serving up one of the best burgers we’ve tried, in the kitchen of a Ukranian restaurant (that meat!). Good meat however is also the specialty of Two Plus in Seoul, a Mecca for meat lovers for its high quality beef rivalling the quality of wagyu beef and being more affordable. Meat lovers should also not forget the charming Spanish countryside restaurant Bedua, which serves large ounces of steak deliciousness served from the restaurants local cattle; fresh food at its finest. Another Spanish gem is Taberna Gran Sol. Although places like this are commonly found in Spain, this one is nevertheless rare, especially with food to such an exceptionally high quality. The endless tapas enjoyed on the street side of this bar are not only delicious but are truly unique and one of a kind. Distinctive tastes are somewhat of a specialty at the Shoreditch hotspot, the Clove Club, where the food not only tastes amazing but also looks brilliant. Beautiful presentation is also credited to the kitchen staff at the Michelin starred Peruvian institution Lima. Never a dull moment at Lima, where the great food is matched with a lively crowd and energetic ambience. Towards the end of year the energy of Londoners has been focusing on trying to get a table at the highly popular Berners Tavern. The much-anticipated arrival of the restaurant was served with a lot of hype, which it certainly lived up to with an impressive cocktail list, a delicious roast and one of London’s most beautiful and majestic dining rooms.

At this point allows us to officially introduce ourselves, we are Nora Nilsen and Hussam Dakkak and we wish you a yummy 2014.

6 Jan 2014


Los Angeles, USA

Church & State is a French bistro in the hip arts district of downtown Los Angeles. It is on the ground floor of the huge, converted National Biscuit Company building. I made reservations for two on the day, after a recommendation from a friend. I was a little sceptical towards eating French in the States, but I had over dosed on tacos and burgers for a few days and wanted a change. We entered the exposed brick and column restaurant and were immediately put off by the poor acoustics of the room. The crowd was a mixture of hipsters and business men with girls to impress. Luckily, they had tables outside, so we sat in a peaceful area with perfect temperature. As a starter, we shared the Roasted Bone Marrow, one of their specialties. It is served with bread and chimichurri, but I quickly realised that the sauce just hid all the flavour of the marrow, and that it is best enjoyed just with a spoon on its own. And it was really good! We scraped the bone clean and I wish we had ordered more. My next dish was also wonderful though. I had the Bouillabaisse, a fish stew with shellfish. The bread that came with it was smothered in bright yellow aioli, which was amazing. My friend had the Steak Frites, which he said was ok, but nothing special. There was no point ordering the Salade d’Endives we had on the side, as it was quite flavourless. As none of the dishes were bad, and some of them very good, I’d say Church & State was worth the trip, and if I lived in LA I would definitely go back for the Roasted Bone Marrow.

1850 Industrial Street, LA, 90021

Church and State Bistro on Urbanspoon