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Su La - Korean BBQ - New Malden [London]

I didn't realize there were so many Koreans in the UK. I think in the U.S., L.A. or N.Y.C. is where the majority of them reside, but I could be wrong.

I have been craving BBQ pork belly and beef ribs so I'm looking forward to getting down to New Malden. I will have to remember to dress accordingly or sit outside.

Jan 14, 2015
lecker in U.K./Ireland

2015 Restaurant Week?

Thanks for asking the question and thanks for the answers. I am so excited that it coincides with my next planned trip to NYC. I will have to check the website on 2 Feb. Thanks again!

Jan 13, 2015
lecker in Manhattan

Su La - Korean BBQ - New Malden [London]

Thanks PhilD & Zuriga! Both suggestions sound great. I had to google Hampton Court. Looks interesting and might be a good way to learn more about British history. I assume that New Malden is where the majority of Koreans live? And is it safe to assume that there will be some Korean supermarkets or stores in New Malden?

Jan 13, 2015
lecker in U.K./Ireland

Jin Ramen - 82 and Amsterdam

Thanks for the news. I'm heading back to NYC in February and will be in that area so this is definitely a good spot to remember for dinner.

Jan 12, 2015
lecker in Manhattan

Su La - Korean BBQ - New Malden [London]

I just had to check to see how far New Malden is from our home. It's over an hour with the train. Based on your review, we may have to plan a trip down there. My hubby and I were trying to find a good Korean restaurant to try last week but we couldn't find anything that looked interesting in London. Is there anything else to do or see in New Malden so that we could plan a day of it?

Jan 12, 2015
lecker in U.K./Ireland

Where to Have Good Coffee in Midtown

Thanks. I've added both to my list to try next time. In case anyone missed this Harper's article, it lists Grumpy, Intelligentsia and others...

http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/...

Dec 28, 2014
lecker in Manhattan

Good Post 3pm lunch options near 58 Wall St or between JFK and lower Man?

Momofuku Ko. I didn't expect to see and be served by the founder, David Chang. Is he always there?

Dec 28, 2014
lecker in Manhattan

Good Post 3pm lunch options near 58 Wall St or between JFK and lower Man?

Thank you to all for your wonderful suggestions prior to my NYC visit. Just wanted to report back on where I managed to eat, what I liked most and what I have on my list for my next NYC visit.

Breakfasts:
Financier
Fika
Zaitzeff

Breakfast options were limited in the Financial District but of the three places we tried, we went back to Fika twice because their Oatmeal was better than Financier's and their made to order eggs were better than expected. Zaitzeff was an easy, quick stop for an egg breakfast sandwich or a burger for breakfast. I would go back to Fika for their oatmeal, their quiet atmosphere and type friendly great service.

Lunch:
Hu Kitchen
Caracas Arepa Bar
Hide-Chan Ramen
Tarry Tavern (in Tarrytown)

I chanced upon Hu, as I was walking down from Midtown to Soho. I popped in for lunch, served up with a refreshing smoothie. I liked this place because it was relatively quick, healthy and easy to find a seat for one. I also felt like I got my 'healthy, green' fix before heading off to meat city at Peter Luger's. I would definitely go back to Hu for an easy, healthy lunch option. Hide-Chan was also very good and gave me an opportunity to dust off my fading Japanese skills. I liked being able to choose the firmess and type of noodles for my ramen dish. Their broth was perfectly soothing on a cold, gray winter day.

Caracas was fun and cheap, but I wouldn't go out of my way to return there. Because I was in Tarrytown meeting a friend, we lunched at Tarry Tavern. I liked their bloody Mary's and their poached-egg Polenta. But there are other places in Tarrytown I would like to try next time.

Dinner:
Ko
Peter Luger (Brookyln)
Celeste (Uptown)

My favorite meal of this trip was Ko. Although it had the steep price to match, I loved everything about our meal-great customized service, unique creations, and surprising wine pairings. My husband did the full wine pairing and I opted for something less which the Sommelier was able to accommodate . I don't remember all the dishes we ate (they gave us a list of what we ate and it is somewhere in my luggage), but what I do remember is the ongoing conversation we had with the sushi chef, the discussions about Japanese knives, the sourcing of the ingredients, the interesting twists to each dish presented to us. Everything about the meal and evening was an experience, an experience that I would be open to doing again in a few months when the ingredients change and the dishes vary.

We were taken to Peter Luger's by friends who frequent it and have a house account there. For meat lovers, it seems to be the place to enjoy all things beef. I was surprised at how packed it was on a Tues evening. There was no menu; our friends just ordered everything and we just ate what was presented to us- steak, tomatoes and onions (surprisingly addictive and delish), spinach, bacon, bread, sauces, potatoes, Apple strudel, pecan pie, etc. I am not a huge steak fan so I wasn't bowled over by it, but my husband and the rest of the table were in ecstasy.

We were unexpectedly in Uptown and a local recommended Celeste for great Italian. We went and tried it, but neither my husband nor I liked it. Although the place was packed, I found the food mediocre at best. I would not go back and I wouldn't recommend it.

Drinks:
Dead Rabbit
Breslin
Le Papillon
My favorite place for cocktails was Dead Rabbit. I love their cocktails, I love their small, intimate space, I love the service. I want to go back now. Breslin was also quite good. I wanted to try their lamb burger but I had just stuffed myself from lunch at Caracas so I had no more room for a burger. I will definitely try to go back to Breslin. We met friends who picked Le Papillon as a meeting place. It was your average, run of the mill bar, nothing special in terms of drinks or atmosphere. However, their pulled pork French fries was perfect for a cold, wet NYC day.

Next trip:
Brushstroke and...

Thanks again to everybody for your tips and suggestions!!! I really appreciate it.

Dec 27, 2014
lecker in Manhattan

Where to Have Good Coffee in Midtown

If you want to try an independent, local roaster, check out Cafe Grumpy. I tried a Flat White at their small cafe on W. 39th St (near 7th Ave) in the Garment District. I was surprised that they knew what a Flat White is and that it was delish. I would definitely go back the next time I am in NYC. I think they have a few other locations in the city and in Brooklyn.

Dec 27, 2014
lecker in Manhattan

Good Post 3pm lunch options near 58 Wall St or between JFK and lower Man?

I love unique cocktails as well. Is Otto Batali's pizzeria? I haven't had his food since Singapore, of all places. I have marked Txikito and Maialino on my map. Would those be good places to just pop by and grab a seat or must I reserve for a seating at the bar? It sounds like you have eaten at every single place in NYC. I am quite envious. Thanks again.

Dec 09, 2014
lecker in Manhattan

Good Post 3pm lunch options near 58 Wall St or between JFK and lower Man?

Kathryn: Yes, you're probably right about the late planning. It was an unexpected trip that just came up, and my hubby wants me to his baggage handler :-).

Given that we'll be jetlagged and tired (we're not the spring chickens we used to be), maybe a more local scene is better suited for us. Something more like this: http://toastdulwich.co.uk/eating/
which is our local dining room: small production artisan wines, local staff who live and breath good food/wine, great food and amazing service. And I'll probably be eating lunch by myself most days so I really like little restaurants that have big barspace where one can eat alone, chat with the bartender/servers about food/wine,etc. Any ideas?

foodwhisperer: Thanks. Your initial posting about Brushstroke is what caught my attention about Ichimura-san's sushi. My hesitation and reserve is that, after having lived and eaten my way through Japan and Korea, I've been fortunate to have had some amazing meals and I don't necessarily need to have that experience in NYC. But I do love Japanese, especially in a small venue where the chef just makes whatever he wants, puts plate after plate in front of me until I am full. I really miss those kinds of places; haven't really found anything like that outside of Japan. Thanks for the tip about Jungsik. Looks like a cool place.

Maybe I should just not plan anything besides Ko and see what I just stumble upon...Isn't that what we did before Chowhound and the internet? Explore and discover?

Dec 08, 2014
lecker in Manhattan

Good Post 3pm lunch options near 58 Wall St or between JFK and lower Man?

Kathryn, thanks so much for the reminder about the reservation. As soon as I got your post, I signed back on and snagged a counter spot for 2 on the 17th. Thanks!! That will be my first DC experience so I am curious to see how I will like it.

I am looking for another dining option that we haven't tried that is only available in NYC. In the past we have enjoyed Le Bernardin, Modern, Boulud, Sakagura, Lincoln and several others. I haven't been back to the States in the past six years so I would like to try something new, different or innovative and great. I was thinking Brushstroke's sushi bar, given the raves that Ichimura-San gets. I love Japanese and French, but I am usually underwhelmed when I try them outside of their respective countries so I hesitate. Any thoughts?

Dec 07, 2014
lecker in Manhattan

Prepped Food /Food Halls in London, Any reccos?

Good call Lizard; I forgot about JC. JC, at Piccadilly Circus, has plenty of packed food options: sushi, sashimi, and other o-bento options, which you can purchase and take away. They also have a few tables where you can eat in. They have udon, ramen, soba, donburi, teriyaki and other daily specials. Of course, you can also get some sashimi or sushi and eat it there. I have only tried their takeaway sashimi and it was fresh and good.

Dec 07, 2014
lecker in U.K./Ireland

Good Post 3pm lunch options near 58 Wall St or between JFK and lower Man?

Hmm, their menu appeals to me better too. Have you done Ko? If so, would you recommend it? Is there any trick to snagging a table for two for dinner?

Dec 07, 2014
lecker in Manhattan

Tracking fresh cayenne peppers in London??

Not sure what options you have in North London so I can't say if it is worth a trip to Brixton. What I can say about Brixton market is that it reminds
me a bit of outdoor markets in Asia, South America, the Carribeans and Africa. I usually wander through the stalls along Electric Ave or through several of the covered markets (Brixton Village) wondering what people cook up with all the uncommon produce and ingredients on display. Most of the shoppers are speaking a language I do not recognize. There is a shop that is in one of the covered markets and it is packed with people, mostly speaking foreign languages, buying ingredients and stuff that I haven't seen in other shops in London. If I knew how to cook and wanted to make ethnic dishes, I would try this shop for large packages of spices, condiments, grains, teas and other interesting produce. I would love to take someone there who could tell me what all the things on sale are used for...They seem to cover ingredients from all over the world. Their prices appear quite inexpensive and competitive. I am not good at remembering prices but a friend who was with me commented on how low the prices were and all the things she could buy here that she couldn't find elsewhere. You won't find the organic, high-end stuff you see often at the other markets in town but if that is what you are looking for, you are better going to the shops near Central London.

From these markets, if you walk a few steps further you enter a gentrified part of the covered market with independent shops (coffee shop, ramen, middle eastern, backery, etc, pop-up stores) that makes you think you just teleported from Kuching to funky Portland, OR. I was told Brixton used to be a very dangerous area but I haven't had any issues going there alone; it is always packed with people and there seems to be safety in numbers. Hope you find your peppers! I reckon if you explore Brixton you will end up buying more than peppers, especially if you are an adventous chef. Check this link for hours and market days.

http://brixtonmarket.net/brixton-vill...

Dec 07, 2014
lecker in U.K./Ireland

Good Post 3pm lunch options near 58 Wall St or between JFK and lower Man?

Thanks! You've given me plenty of options to consider. Which is better Ssam Bar or Noodle Bar?

Dec 06, 2014
lecker in Manhattan

Good Post 3pm lunch options near 58 Wall St or between JFK and lower Man?

Thanks. I do like food trucks so I may check that out.

Dec 05, 2014
lecker in Manhattan

Tracking fresh cayenne peppers in London??

That's a great link. Thanks Foxeyblue for sharing it. Delivery is always convenient and hasslefree.

I have also seen fresh chili peppers at all the Asian markets in Chinatown, the various grocery stands and shops near Brixton Village, and the small Asian markets on Brick Lane and Bethnal Green Rd.

Dec 05, 2014
lecker in U.K./Ireland

London's Best

oops, forgot to add one more thought. Not sure where you are coming from, but if coming from outside the UK, your visit to London might offer an opportunity to try some distinctly UK chefs. One chef's creations, which I haven't yet tried but want to is Clare Smyth at Gordon Ramsey. Given that the culinary world is dominated by male chefs, it is quite unique and not often that you find a female chef leading a much-lauded establishment. I have tried GR's restaurants outside the UK and, although it was nice, I wouldn't go back. But given what I have read about Ms. Smyth, I would add her restaurant here to my growing list of places to try. Hope this helps.

Dec 05, 2014
lecker in U.K./Ireland

London's Best

Story is very good but it is difficult to get a table, as zuriga1 mentioned. You might have luck snagging a cancellation if you call the restaurant, get on a list and can be spontaneous. For trendy and fun, you could consider Lima Floral, barrafina, or Ottolenghi. For local out of the way, I can recommend the crooked well in Camberwell Grove, Mission or Brawn in Bethnal Green, or Toast in East Dulwich. Toast is my local destination and has a beautiful selection of artisan wines. Their staff are friendly, very knowledge and efficient. The chef used to work at Ledbury's and he creates simple, surprising dishes with amazing flavors. But bear in mind, these are away from the tourist locales. If heading to these areas, I recommend taking the bus from central London. It costs 1.45 pounds one way and if you sit on the second deck, you get a nice tour of London as the bus goes past Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Sq, Big Ben, London Bridge, the Eye, Tower Bridge, etc, depending on which bus you take.

Dec 05, 2014
lecker in U.K./Ireland

Au gratin potatoes again - what cheese?

When I took a basic cooking class at LCB, my French chef instructor said Gruyere is the only cheese to use for gratin. When another student asked if she could make it without cheese, the teacher replied, "Oui, but then it is no longer gratin."

I repeated the recipe at home once and because I didn't have enough gruyere, I substituted Parmesana reggiano. The taste and texture was completely different. I recommend gruyere; it makes it taste so much better. Good luck!

Dec 05, 2014
lecker in Home Cooking

Good Post 3pm lunch options near 58 Wall St or between JFK and lower Man?

Here's my dilemma: My flight should land around 14:00, my friend will pick me up and then we are planning to drive to the area around my hotel and park. Then, we want to eat and catch up. But by this time, lunch will probably be over at most places, and given that there doesn't seem to be lots of great food options on this board for that area, I am stuck. I thought about walking to Brookyln and eating there but I may not last that long without food. Also, if the weather is wet, I doubt we will want to walk in the rain. The three options I am considering are:

1. Brookfield Place, which I heard or read here has some lunchtime food trucks. My question: Will the food trucks still be there post 15:00 and are they good? Is there some place we can sit and eat even if the weather is crap.
2. Dead Rabbit, which everybody on this board seems to rave about. However, their lunch is only until 15:00. Can we still get food in their taproom or is this place more of a night locale? I fear that if I start with cocktails at 15:00 on an empty stomach I may end up somewhere I don't want to be and it would not be a good start to my week in NYC.
3. Stop somewhere with easy parking between JFK and lower Manhattan and eat? Any ethnic cuisine spots worth a stop? I am not interested in Indian, Chinese, Italian food, nor in eating bagels, hot dogs or sandwiches. I am open to other ethnic cuisines such as Jamaican, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Thai, Puerto Rican, Japanese, Filipino, French, Korean, Laotian, etc. or 'new American', sustainable farm-to-table type of spot.

What would you do if you were in my situation?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions or critiques.

Dec 05, 2014
lecker in Manhattan

Prepped Food /Food Halls in London, Any reccos?

I miss Trader Joe's mini biscottis...

As other have mentioned you can find ready made meals at Selfridges, Harrods, etc. There is a tiny Whole Foods near Piccadilly Circus. You can get soups, ready-made meals or something from their hot buffer bar and eat it upstairs in their cafe. Just know that compared to the US, the prices in London are exorbitantly higher. If you go around lunchtime they usually have sample stations set up like in the States so you could just walk around and sample some of their wares for free and then pick up some bread, cheese, salami and head upstairs. But as another poster mentioned, there is a fabulous cheese shop in Marylebone you should hit. Wonderful cheese selection, wines and other delectables. Most of the groceries like Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsburys, etc. also have ready-made but I haven't tried them. Because you will be here during Xmas, you could also check out the plentiful markets. The one by south bank, close to the Eye has couple nice food stands. I especially recommend the Frenchie for duck confit burger and fries. And you have a choice of mulled wines, Champagne, cider or beer from other stands to wash it all done. The mulled wine with a shot of Bourbon will help you forget the steep prices and the bone-chilling wetness of London this time of year. There are also pop up eateries and food trucks all over the city. If you are near SOHo during lunchtime, there are usually a few good food trucks along Berwick and Broadwick st. There is no sitting but you could grab something to go and if you walk towards Liberty, you could sit on the steps of the Marshall Center or farther down Marshall St, you will find some nice wooden benches where you can sit, eat and watch all the shoppers stroll by.
Here is the cheese shop URL:
http://www.lafromagerie.co.uk

Or you could order in using deliverance or another app.
https://www.deliverance.co.uk

Dec 05, 2014
lecker in U.K./Ireland

One night near Marylebone. Dining suggestions please!

Pachamama is a restaurant that recently opened a few months ago by a former chef from Ottolenghi. We dined there the other night with a four-year old and it was perfect: surprisingly delicious food, great service, colorful cocktails, good wines, lively music, and unexpected decor. We took an early seating at 6:00 because that was the only time they had available, but it worked fine for us because of the child. You may want to call ahead and book a table to be sure you can get in.

The bartenders took special care to create a mocktail for our youngest diner. The staff was wonderful: knew the menu, made great recommendations and were very attentive. I would definitely take my friends with kids there. If you go, try the lamb belly; that was addictive as was the pork belly, which was our youngest diner's favorite. We ordered several dishes of both because we just couldn't stop eating them all. All the dishes we ordered were delicious and disappeared quickly.

It's about a 15-min walk from your hotel or you can jump on the tube to Bond St and walk from there. Before or after your dinner, Marlyebone high street is a civilized shopping street to walk down (Oxford is crazy). If you walk towards Hyde Park, you can stop in at Daunt Books, a beautiful bookshop, and you must stop at La Patisserie de Reves for a chocolate croissant or a Caramel; it'll help wet your appetite for dinner. Enjoy your stay in London!

http://pachamamalondon.com

Dec 04, 2014
lecker in U.K./Ireland

Birthday lunch 2/2: Report of meals at Fera and Barrafina

Of the four noteworthy places we dined during my husband's birthday celebration, my favorite was Fera. Granted we don't indulge in tasting menus on a regular basis (I wish), but I do know that I prefer small bites of many different and unique flavors to an overabundance of one amazing dish. Perhaps that is why I preferred Fera. In this regard Fera may have been my favorite because that's where we experienced their tasting menu and where I felt like I was taken on a culinary journey as opposed to just having a nice meal. What I also liked about Fera is that, although the dining room exudes a typical hotel restaurant architecture (big and industrial), the Art-Deco interior decor keeps it a bit more interesting. I usually have reservations about eating in a hotel restaurant but Fera proved me wrong. Their carpeting also helps to make the space feel more cozy. Combined with their excellent customer service and their staff's knowledge of the menu and wines and their beautiful plating presentations, it was an extremely enjoyable time for us. I would recommend Fera's tasting menu. They also had a three-course lunch menu but the choices didn't really appeal to us.

Here's the tasting menu for that day with the wines:

Champagne accompanied the amuse bouche and these three starters-
Stewed rabbit with lovage
Pollock, horseradish and seaweed
Smoked row and red cabbage

Swede dumplings, Isle of Mull cheese and Wiltshire truffle (I could eat this every day!!)
Cotes due Jura Chardonnay 'En Chalasse', Julien Labet 2012

Raw veal, oyster, kohlrabi and apple (surprised at how tender and delicious raw veal can be)
Eden Valley Riesling "Didier', Tom Shobbrook, Australia 2013

Native lobster, kale leaves in lobster cream, crispy pork, sunflower seed (lobster could have been a bit more tender)
Gut Oggau 'Timotheus' Austria 2013

Sea bass, razor clams, salsify and sea beet
Vouette &Sorbee 'Blanc d'Argile', Cote des Bar 2009

Goosnargh duck breast, watercress, celeriac, sprout tops and mead (perfectly cooked breast, went well with the 100% Nebbiolo)
Maremma Ansonica, Santa Maria, Tuscany 2013
Valtellina 'Carteria', Sandro Fay, Lombardy 2010

By this time I was pretty happy from all the food and wine. I can't remember
all the details of the next libations, but the Sommelier brought us three different glasses of dessert wines and set them down in front of us. He asked us to taste and guess and we somehow managed to guess two out of three. I guess he poured us something else afterwards, but I can't remember it all (too much great wine and food).The Sommelier was wonderful and we really enjoyed chatting with him about different artisan wines.

Arbois Savagnin, Jacques Puffeney, Jura 2010
Amontillado '30 years', Bodegas Tradition, Andalusia
Sauternes 'Aletheia', Rousset Peyraguet, Bordeaux 2010
Maury, Clot de l'Origine, Roussillon 2011

British and Irish cheeses
Dorstone, Gorwydd Caerphilly, Lincholnshire Poacher, St. James, Stichelton

Chocolate malt nitro, prune and dandelion
Roasted fig, gingerbread and fig leaf yogurt
Licorice cake
Pumpkin and whiskey
Elderberry marshmallow
Hazelnut jelly

After walking around and shopping for a few hours, we ended up at a Barrafina's in Soho for dinner. Although there was a long queue of diners waiting for a seat at the bar, we were seated within a few minutes because a table freed up outside and none of the diners (about 12 people) before us wanted to sit outside.

By this time, my note taking took a backseat to people watching and just enjoying a lovely evening sitting outside in Soho. We ate the Milk Fed Lamb, Pluma Iberica, Calamares, Sardines and a few other dishes from their daily specials (can't remember now) and then tried a few of their different reds by the glass (Humilitate 2011, Rioja Reserva 2009, Vilosell 2011). We finished with the Conference Pear in Red wine, the last one for the evening. I liked Barrafina for its casual food in an easy open-kitchen environment. It's definitely a good destination for casual dinner after shopping in the Soho/Covent Garden area. It would also be a good place for solo diners. However, there was a line the entire time we sat there and ate, but it seemed to move relatively fast. The service is efficient and quick and the staff very friendly and helpful.

Nov 25, 2014
lecker in U.K./Ireland

Birthday meal 1/2 - Report of lunch at Square, dinner at Terroirs

Hi Zuriga1. Interesting that we had similar experiences; I thought I was just being too critical about their space. I want to be wow-ed whenever I eat out and when I am not, I feel a bit let down and disappointed.

Nov 20, 2014
lecker in U.K./Ireland

Please can you spare 30 seconds to help a student in need?

Done. As I'm new to the UK food scene, all of my street-food cities were outside the UK. Good luck with your project! It would be nice to offer an offline map that travelers can use when they're outside their home country. I've used google maps offline but there must be better technology now to make it more GPS interactive.

Nov 20, 2014
lecker in U.K./Ireland

Birthday meal 1/2 - Report of lunch at Square, dinner at Terroirs

Warning-this is rather long...
Saturday lunch, seating at 12:30.
We started off with glasses of Champagne in lovely thin glasses. As we sipped our drinks, we reviewed the menu and because neither their lunch nor tasting menu appealed to us, we opted for a la carte options.

I started with Cornish Mackerel with Loch Ryan Oysters, Pickled cucumbers, Fennel Pollen and Toasted English Muffin. The vivid green color of the dish reminded me of Spring, and the flavors conjured up memories of ceviche. My husband started with Saute of Sottish Langoustine Tails with Parmesan Gnocchi finished with an emulsion of Potato and Truffle. His starter was the Fall to my Spring, and I preferred his.

Crisp Berkshire Pork Jowl with House Made Sausage, Carrot and Swede, Granny Smith Apple and Vacherin Mont d’Or is what I chose for my main. The pork was served separately from the sausages and mash, which came in a little Staub enamel pot. I wasn’t crazy about the house-made sausage, but the rest of the dish was fine. The mash with Vacherin Mont d’Or was addictive.

I can’t remember too much of my husband’s fillet of cod with chestnut Spaetzle, Cauliflower, sprout tops and grey leg Chanterelles, but he must have enjoyed it; it disappeared quickly from his plate. Or else he was just very hungry.

We washed our meal down with an excellent bottle of 1973 Mersault Rougeots Domaine Potinet Ampeau.

None of their desserts appealed to me so I chose four cheeses, Morbid, Mothais Sur Feuille, Ossau Iraty and Roquefort from their cheese cart for my dessert and my husband dove into the Provence Quince Souffle with Darjeeling Tea and Bergamot Ice Cream. Again, his dessert quickly disappeared and he helped me with the cheeses. My favorite cheese was the Morbier, which I don't eat as often as the Ossau Iraty and the Roquefort. I need to add Morbier to my weekly cheese shopping list.

As we enjoyed the last courses, we chatted with our Sommelier about wines and Calvados and found out that he comes from Normandy. As my husband and I have been contemplating a quick trip over there this winter, the Sommelier gave us his recommendations for places that we should try when we're there. Now we're even more motivated to take a ferry over. By this point, we had moved onto several glasses of Calvados and, unfortunately, my note taking took a backseat to my drinking and I didn’t write down which Calvados we tried. Sorry.

What we liked about Square was the excellent service and presentation of the food. Although the food was delicious, I wasn’t ‘wow-ed’ by it. Would I make an effort to go back? Probably not, especially given that there are so many other restaurants I want to try in London. Comparing it to one-star Story, I prefer Story because I thought the food at Story was ‘wow' worthy. The other reason I did not care for Square is its large, cafeteria-style room and the non-inviting decor; I prefer the smaller, intimate size of Story to Square. Everything from Square's parquet flooring to the unappealing art on the wall made me think of an outdated cafeteria or senior-citizen’s center. Charm was definitely missing, for me. And the food was just okay, nothing special. However, the Square presented us with a bag of truffles as we left. We enjoyed them the next day and they were excellent. I wouldn’t mind going back there just for those truffles.

After our indulgent lunch, we walked around Mayfair and Soho and through the throngs of Leicester Square and Chinatown before we started getting a bit peckish again. Terroirs wine bar was not too far from where we were so we decided to check it out for a glass of wine. When we entered, the place was packed and it wasn't even dinner time yet. We usually prefer to sit at the bar and chat with the servers but there was no bar seat availabe, just a few small tables. The hostess offered us a small table, but said that it was reserved for 8:00. We answered that we would be gone by then. I immediately loved the cozy atmosphere of Terroirs and the hustle/bustle of the servers, diners, drinkers, etc. It definitely has a bistro-style atmosphere: a casual place that has a mix of interesting people. I was intrigued by a well-coiffed lady probably in her late 60's or early 70's sitting alone at the bar sipping a glass of wine, sandwiched in between two couples in their 30's or 40's. She looked like she had just popped in for a fortifying drink in between her appointments. The couples on either side were eating and drinking and in no rush to get back outside. All the food going by looked wonderful.

We started off with bubbles and duck rillettes. As we tucked into the duck rillettes, we reminisced about Le Bistrot du Sommelier in Singapore, our favorite place to dine when we were craving homemade duck rillettes, terrine and delicious French fare. We commented on how lucky we were to be back living in Europe again. After the duck rillettes, which I could probably eat every day, we moved onto Gilt Head Bream with Fennel and Shrimps, and Bone Marrow with pickled walnuts and parsley salad. I usually love Bone Marrow but, either I was still stuffed from lunch or the Bone Marrow was just missing something. We tried couple of their interesting wines by the glass and finished up with some Calvados. Terroirs is definitely more wine than food bar.

After a Michelin meal for lunch, everything will pale in comparison unless it's another M meal. However, there is just so much food coma I can experience in one day. I like having a luxe meal for lunch and finishing with something more down to earth for dinner. For that, Terroir was perfect for us for that evening. We got to try a new place and it was great value. I would definitely try Terroir again if I were in the area and looking for some wine, small bites of duck rillettes, and other some nibbles. It's also a good place to pop in if you are dining/drinking alone. You can sit at the L-shaped bar and not feel like you're out of place or taking up a large table by yourself. Square, on the other hand, is definitely not a place that I would feel comfortable dining by myself.

http://www.squarerestaurant.com
http://terroirswinebar.com

We also ate at Fera and Barrafina. I will post that in a separate post.

Nov 19, 2014
lecker in U.K./Ireland

Normandy report

Thanks for your trip report. This is quite helpful as I am researching for a possible trip to Normandy for a week in mid Dec, right before Noel. Because this will be my first trip there, I am concerned that many small towns and restaurants will close down for winter. Is this so? Or should we book ahead and go for it?

Nov 14, 2014
lecker in France

Help with the London trip that never happened...

I've only eaten at Dishoom in Shoreditch and can recommend it for a fun, lively place for Indian food and cocktails. Expect a line if you go in the evenings. I have eaten at Koya and I don't really understand what all the fuss is about. Maybe if you are an avid Udon fan, that is the only place to get Udon here. I'm not sure. I have heard that Koya's backbench dinner is worth a trip, but that happens once or twice a month. And I don't think Udon is the focus.

As for hand-pulled noodles, I have tried one place that is a tiny noodle bar called Lanzhou noodle bar near Leicester Square. I think their sign is only in Chinese. It was recommended to be by couple Chinese folks who said their pulled noodles are good. The place is a hole in the wall, kinda dingy, dirty and tiny. It's a eat-quick-and-leave kinda place. When I ate there, I was the only non-Chinese; everybody else ordered in Chinese so I assume they were Chinese or spoke the language fluently. Fortunately the waiter spoke broken English. I tried the hand pulled noodles with beef. It was okay. They also have the noodles that is in a big block that the chef cuts into little strips, flicked into the wok. I did not try those but I usually love those, if the broth that they are served in is good. It was a cold and rainy day when I went to Lanzhou and I was looking for something that would remind me of the amazing hand-pulled dishes I have enjoyed in Asia. This place didn't satisfy my craving at all. But maybe I ordered the wrong dish or I should have tried the knife-cut noodles. However, if you are looking for noodles, convince your wife away from Wagamama and give this place a try (why waste a meal at Wagamama?). You may order better than I did at Lanzhou. There are other hand-pulled restaurants in Chinatown that may have better options but I am concerned that I may be disappointed so I haven't yet tried those.

I have eaten at Yauatcha and thought their downstairs atmosphere, drinks and service trumped their food quality. But I know that others here rave about their food...

If you're looking for ramen noodles near Soho or chinatown, there are quite a few places. Of the ones I have tried, I go back to Bone Daddies more often than the others. Their Soy Ramen and T22 are tasty. Both are in chicken broth. Sometimes the T22 can be a tad too salty for me. But then their selection of sake by the glass helps remedy that. I also love their sticky, sweet pig bones as a starter. What I also like about Bone Daddies, aside from their sake, are the fresh garlic cloves and sesame seeds that you can grind directly into you ramen. They also provide a plastic bib and hair ties for long hairs. All these little details remind me of Japan.

Nov 14, 2014
lecker in U.K./Ireland