Modern Vietnamese – House of Ho

photo (18)House of Ho is a new modern Vietnamese restaurant opened by chef Bobby Chin in the middle of Soho. (he has two other restaurants in Vietnam). The restaurant is relaxed and chic with dim lights, wooden flooring and tables for two. There are two large windows with tables looking out on to the main fare – and that’s where we were sitting!

We were advised that the whole menu is about small sharing plates and divided into Light & Raw, Hot & Grilled, Ho’s Dishes, Sides and Dessert. We were recommended to order 5 dishes between two to get a good selection.

We ordered:

  • Pickled Vegetable Rolls, Herbs and Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce – tasty crunchy fresh summer rolls
  • Stuffed Tofu with a Mushroom Medley, Cellophane Noodles in Tomato Sauce  – a pretty dish. The tofu was shaped into a box, complete with a tiny tofu lid, and noodles and mushrooms were neatly tucked inside sitting on a pool of chilli-tomato sauce.
  • Smokey Aubergine, Warm Scallion Vinaigrette with Scallions & Crispy Shallots – long strips of peeled roasted aubergines garnished with shredded spring onions and crispy shallots, it was similar in taste to baba ganoush. Really tasty – loved the smoky effect.
  • Apple-smoked Pork Belly, Braised Cabbage, Egg – my friend ordered this so not sure about the flavours but she said it did taste good.
  • Wok-Tossed Morning Glory as a side dish – this was lots of green and delicious.

smokey aubergine

For dessert we tried the Lemon-Scented Cème Brûlée. It was a small portion, but just enough after the main food. It was not heavy at all and had the perfect consistency, not too rich or lemony.

lemon-creme-brulee-at-house-of-ho

All the dishes were tasty with lots of flavours and tastes from sweet to smoky. I’d definitely be back here either with Neil or friends – it’s a great dinner place with food full of tasty flavours.

 

Birthday brunch at Balthazar

BalthazarA friend recently celebrated her birthday at Balthazar – great choice for a group of friends to catch up, celebrate and enjoy good food without feeling rushed.

Although Balthazar hails from New York, their style is very much French inspired brasserie food with a focus on fresh produce, home baked cakes and bread. The Boulangerie is just next door, and serves the same home baked goodies for you to take away.

The restaurant itself looks beautiful, the staff were incredibly attentive and friendly and my breakfast was delicious. Several le paniers, a basket of freshly baked breads and pastries from the bakery,.were ordered for the whole table whilst we decided what we wanted.
I was really tempted to go for the hazelnut waffles as they sounded different but wanted something that wasn’t too sweet so opted for the Avocado on Toast with Poached Eggs served on Balthazar sourdough toast with a tomato salsa. Neil went for Eggs Royale toasted homemade muffin with smoked salmon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.
This has to be one of my favourite breakfasts so far in London. Not only was the food great but the setting made it a perfect place to celebrate good times!

Brunch at Bill’s in St Albans

photo 2 (1)

I can’t believe how close we are to St Albans…it’s such a lovely town filled with shops, restaurants and quaint streets. A year older, so my husband decided to take me out for a birthday brunch to celebrate…at Bill’s.

Bill Collison, founder of Bill’s, opened the first Bill’s in Lewes, East Sussex, in 2001. He wanted a place that was colourful and exuberant, with dishes that were really tasty and made you smile, that put every day and unusual seasonal ingredients together. The team at Bill’s baked, cooked and served deliciously different food, hung skeins of raffia from the ceiling, stacked towers of produce for people to buy and hired lively, enthusiastic staff to look after their customers. They wanted Bill’s to be somewhere that really celebrated food and was welcoming to everyone, a place that felt like the next best thing to home. The place definitely had this feel…

Bills serves, breakfast (till noon), lunch and dinner which a great selection to choose from including a English breakfast, burgers, and salads. I opted for something that sounded a little different – Bill`s vegetarian breakfast: poached free range eggs, tomatoes, hummus, mushrooms & guacamole, sweet chilli sauce, basil & toast. It was good – a little too much sauce but had a delicious taste that made it different to a typical English Breakfast. It wasn’t oily or greasy either! Neil went for the cod fish finger sandwich with tartare sauce, rocket and ketchup, on toasted white farmhouse bread served with skinny fries.

photo 1 (2)I liked the vibe at Bills – and the food was good so definitely worth trying for brunch. It was also great to mooch around St Albans.

Pizza East – crusts and all!

Catching up with school friends is always fun, especially when you haven’t seen them in ages as we have a common love for Italian, we decided to go to Pizza East.

“Trendy” is the best word to describe Pizza East. Lots of wooden tables packed fairly close together give it a really buzzing atmosphere in the middle of Kentish Town! Kentish Town really has its share of authentic restaurants!

As the name suggests, it’s all about the pizzas at Pizza East, but there are no flimsy margaritas on offer. Instead its about the gourmet toppings – the pizzas are piled with fresh, seriously tasty ingredients. Despite the menu being pretty meat-heavy the kitchen is flexible and happy to make changes.

photo 1 (1)

We went straight onto ordering pizza – well it would have been rude not to given why we were here! I opted for the vegetarian pizza – portobello mushroom, spinach, egg but without the egg! The pizzas looked and smelt amazing – they were really very good and full of flavour – like somebody had gone to Naples and replicated the simple taste.

The defining feature of the pizzas here are the crusts. These things feel like they’re almost dipped in butter. Gives it a really nice texture and ensures it’s packed with flavour.

To finish up, we found space to fit in desserts – we went for the Tiramisu and the Salted chocolate caramel tart. Both were outstanding. You could only have a few bites of the tart though as it was really heavy! But the tiramisu – it was one of the more best I’ve had.

photo 2

If you want to eat amazing pizza and have a fun evening out, Pizza East will be the perfect place for you.