Gyoza Bar

It had been a while since I had been out to dinner in Covent Garden – I find it’s full of chains so tend to go to Soho or towards Fitzrovia. Covent Garden has changed with lots more upcoming restaurants….one of the latest additions is: Gyoza Bar.

This new Covent Garden spot serves gyoza (surprise!) – with plenty of bar seating around the big open kitchen so you can watch the dumpling creation in action.  Gyoza are small dumplings stuffed with your choice of meats, salmon or vegetables and topped off with chilli oil, soy or garlic vinegar before being steamed, pan fried or deep fried.

In addition,  there’s lots of Japanese-inspired tapas style dishes including ramen and bao buns, but obviously gyoza are the stars of the show here.

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Apart from the tasty veg gyoza, we had the Japanese sweet potato and lenkon chips. For mains I had the veg ramen which was served with spring onion, stem broccoli, beansprout, inari sweet tofu. The veg ramen was delicious and definitely worth choosing if you go here.

The restaurant is clean and minimalist, with the focal point being the open kitchen. It’s a good place for a quick meal after work but not one I’d rush back to.

 

 

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cheese, chilli and garlic mushroom omelette

Omelettes are a fantastic brunch, lunch or even dinner option – so simple, easy to make and very filling. Plus you can adapt it to your taste and what’s in season.

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My daughter loves a cheesy omelette as a lunch option so we decided to join her by adapting the recipe to make it more tasty.

  • butter
  • sliced mushrooms – one pack is enough
  • chopped spring onions
  • finely chopped red chilli
  • finely sliced garlic clove
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • handful of rocket

Heat butter in a frying pan and cook the mushrooms until most of their liquid has evaporated. Add spring onion, chilli and garlic to the mixture and cook for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper and put aside.

Wash the pan and add butter before pouring in the beaten eggs. Season and cook gently. When the omelette is almost set, sprinkle over the cheese then spoon over the mushroom mix until the cheese melts. Add the rocket and put onto a plate.

Family celebrations at Dishoom – Brunch

For my dad and my birthday celebrations, we decided to go for brunch to Dishoom. I’ve been to Dishoom several times but mainly for dinner and have had brunch here once.

Based on the Irani cafes in Mumbai run by Iranian immigrants,  Dishoom is Indian as can be seen by the ethnic origin of the dishes listed on the menu, but it’s ‘evolved Indian’, which offers a hint of Bombay’s famous street grills and food stalls including paneer tikka, biryanis, pau bhaji and filled rotis. It’s a popular lunch and dinnertime venue with various Mumbai style dishes and there’s often a really long queue so I was glad to see that you can book for breakfast.

We started with the bottomless chai – hot and beautifully spiced made with ginger and pepper and spices. After lots of chai, we ordered our dishes.

I knew what I was going to order from the beginning – egg naan roll where the naan comes wrapped around two fried eggs with runny yolk, chilli jam, cream cheese and coriander with a side of mushrooms. We ordered: Kejriwal, chilli cheese toast and eggs, Keema per eedu, pau served with chicken kheema, chicken livers, fried egg and sali crisp chips, The big Bombay – Full english with masala beans and a Bombay Omelette which is an omelette of chopped tomato, onion, coriander and green chilli.  Reya had the bun muska and a fried egg.

The food came quickly and was super tasty. Our dishes had the perfect combination to mix traditional Bombay Irani food with the classic British breakfast. In particular my egg naan roll was sweet with a hint of chilli.

I loved the brunch and it was great to try something different. Dishoom has a delightfully vintage ambiance and is really buzzing for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Japanese junk food pop-up Shackfuyu

It’s been almost a year since I last blogged – work has been crazy and I haven’t had any time. But I promised I’ll get back to it starting with this lunch trip to Japanese pop-up!

During Easter, we ventured into town to walk around, mooch and have a late lunch. We headed to Soho for lunch and were torn between Hoppers and Shackfuyu. Unfortunately Hoppers had a one hour wait so we went to: the Japanese junk food pop-up with on-trend fusion food, cocktails and a rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere – Shackfuyu!

The idea behind Shackfuyu is to “playfully highlight foods current in Japan today”, with influences from Korea and China. The lunch food menu was extensive for pop-up with lots of options for vegetarians and of course Neil had lots of meat dishes to choose from.

I opted for the Miso aubergine which was a standout dish – it’s made with four types of miso and bubu arare. One thing missing was a dish with the bao buns for veg. But the chef was really accommodating and he was more than happy to send me the buns to go with my starter.

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Neil ordered the chashu pork and apple sauce which he said was the best bao bun he’s ever had and very tasty. We also ordered the hot stone rice dish – the chef made a veg version so it’s worth asking for this. This is based on Korea’s bibimbap mixed-rice dish. The food was tasty and really filling. We also ordered the sweet potato fries but cancelled these as were too full!

But the highlight of the lunch was the Kinako French Toast with Matcha Soft Serve Ice Cream. This show-stopper dessert is said to be the dish you absolutely need to leave room for. But it’s huge – so easy to share between two. The waiter also gave Reya a cup with ice-cream.

Overall, Shackfuyu is a great place to visit in Soho’s trendy food scene – a perfect for a meal with friends, great for drinks and the best dessert.

Japanese lunch at Roka – vegetarian delight

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As a lover of all Japanese food and the fact that it was next to my clients office, Roka seemed like a perfect spot for a business lunch. I have to admit it’s one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in a long time and I can’t wait to go back

The food was absolutely divine, we had a selection of dishes which were all beyond fantastic. The service to second to none and I liked the design and style of the venue….the layout of the restaurant is one whereby the food is at the centre. The grill is located bang in the middle and it is possible to sit around it and observe the chefs at work. We opted for a table.

My colleague ordered a variety of dishes including several vegetarian options:

  • Prawn and vegetable tempura with dips
  • Broccoli
  • Various maki including mushroom ones
  • Soy glazed tofu – blocks of firm-on-the-inside, but crispy-on-the-outside tofu with crispy garlic crisps on a sea of soy.
  • Asparagus with sweet soy and sesame dressing
  • Rice hotpot made in a casserole pot of glutinous rice and chicken – they did a veg version
  • Softshell crab with roasted chilli dressing
  • Chicken skewers with spring onions

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Food-wise Roka delivered more than I expected. Flavours were pleasant and ingredients fresh. I loved it and can’t wait to back for a special occasion!

Spice Kitchen, W Hotel for veggies

It’s been a while since we’ve been somewhere nice to eat but December has been full of fancy dining;  First up: a recent client team dinner at Spice Kitchen at the W Hotel – it was a great night – from the superb and attentive service to the delicious food with a vegetarian menu.2014-11-27 23.11.13

It’d be perfect for a meal with friends, colleagues or a romantic night for two.
The Spice Kitchen has a ground floor cocktail bar and restaurant upstairs via a winding staircase. It’s quite contemporary yet traditional with dark browns and gold hues amongst mood lighting, lounge music and a wall of spices. We started off with cocktails and wine – the Malbec was to die for before heading to a booth-style table. This was perfect for the eight of us as we could all be near enough to speak and listen to each other!

The food was gorgeous!! South East Asian street food presented beautifully in lots of sharing plates. Each mouthful sublime. At £28 per person we tried the tasting menu – two of us had the vegetarian one and the rest went for the normal one.

  • Avocado Summer Roll, Sriracha Emulsion
  • Fragrant Mushroom Egg Roll and Galangal Emulsion – deliciously tasty
  • Vietnamese Vegetable Soup – not nice at all
  • Charred Pineapple and Lime Market Green Salad with Radish Cherry Tomatoes, Sesame Seed Vinaigrette
  • Wok Charred Carrot Cake Chili Bean Sauce
  • Pineapple Fried Rice
  • Pad Thai – I added this as it wasn’t on the tasting menu and so glad I did….best pad thai I’ve ever had and it had a whole fried egg on top!

Dessert was amazing: Ovaltine Kulfi Banana Brulée Spiced Milk Chocolate Sauce – it was the perfect finish to the meal.

The tasting menu was the best choice for a first visit, slightly smaller portions of a large range of dishes, allowing us to try something from each section of the menu. Great sushi, tapas style starters with a modern twist. The main was Thai inspired with the best pad-thai ever.

At the end of the meal we were stuffed and extremely satisfied. It’s more expensive restaurant than those in China town but worth it!

Chotte Matte – fun times

Chotto Matte was a venue I’d wanted to try for a while so booked it to celebrate our 6th anniversary. The restaurant/bar brings together the best of Japanese and Peruvian cultures serving up Nikkei cuisine, colourful cocktails, and live music. So after a disappointing meal at Coya where I ordered the wrong dishes, I was hoping this one would be much better. And it did surpass expectations.

The location on Frith Street is huge – and as soon as you enter, your eyes are drawn to a vast, UV-illuminated mural created by Tokyo-based graffiti artist Houxo Que – incredible! The kitchen has a number of stations, including a sushi and ceviche bar as well as a Japanese Robata grill area serving barbecued dishes. There is also a bar menu of small eats (tostaditas) with a variety of toppings for those who fancy a few snacks with a drink.

We had:

  • Cone of cassava and sweet potato crisps, with an accompanying yellow tomato salsa and guacamole
  • Tostadito: Heritage tomato huacatay aburi with Kumquat, coriander cress and chive oil.
  • Donburi – an oversized bowl of cooked rice with corn, avocado, spring onion fitters, mushrooms and daikon sauce on top
  • Sautéed chilli and garlic vegetables

The food was tasty with some unique flavours – the dishes were small and tapas style. I’d recommend adding a main dish as the dishes were small and tapas style which was a shame considering the prices. I’m glad I ordered the Donburi as it was a good accompaniment to the other dishes.

Chotto Matte is quite priced but a fun place to discover some interesting cuisine in the heart of London. It’s a cool place to go with the girls – you will definitely have a good night out.