Bordelaise, Tooting: A Plateful of France in the Heart of London

At some point during this meal, I realised I had hit the jackpot. Not only is Bordelaise truly authentic French cuisine, but it’s affordable, and it’s a short Tube journey from my usual London haunts. I challenge you to find me a more decently priced and bona fide steak-frites inside the M25. No, really – if there’s better French food for this price somewhere else in London, please do let me know!

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Soup and bread White Star Tavern Southampton Restaurant Review Food Fash Fit

The White Star Tavern: Modern British Cuisine In Southampton 

White Star Tavern Southampton Restaurant Review Food Fash Fit exterior

Since 2002, The White Star Tavern has been nestled in Southampton’s Oxford Street – a mecca for foodies and home to some of the best restaurants in the city. The White Star Tavern is the jewel in the crown – a gorgeous gastro pub (the first in the city!) complete with dining room, serving fantastic, modern British cuisine. In fact, it was awarded a 2 star rosette by the AA in 2010 (and is the only venue in Southampton to hold this honour). I love the fact that TWST partners with Hampshire Fare to source ingredients from the local area whenever possible. This creates a showcase for some fantastic produce, and means that menu changes with the season, too. Continue reading

Birthday Meal at Clos Maggiore

Dining in the most romantic restaurant in London

For my birthday in October, my husband and I went to Clos Maggiore, just off Covent Garden – supposedly the most romantic restaurant in London, and also a place that the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted having a meal with her family. Because I’m nosy, and a foodie, I had to try the place out to find out what all the fuss was about!

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Rye and Reason: Jackson + Rye Takes on the City!

In a brand new, cavernous space a short walk from Bank station in the heart of the City lies the latest branch of Jackson + Rye, a restaurant chain dedicated to bringing an authentic slice of classic East Coast Americana to London. You wouldn’t know it was brand new except for the slightly lingering smell of paint – the dim lighting, dark leather banquettes, distressed wood and cages of whisky make it look like it’s been here forever. I was invited along to the press night to sample the menu, and never one to turn down an offer of some good grub, I duly arrived on a gloomy rain drizzled night, stepping from the cold air into the dark, cosy warmth of the restaurant.

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General manager Harry and his staff were helpful and extremely proud of their new space – hardly surprising when it’s so striking! The menu is a mix of classic all-American fare – some introduced to the UK long ago by chains such as TGI Fridays (hello buffalo wings), but there were a good number of recently trendy offerings like truffled mac and cheese, or more imaginative and original dishes like beetroot and curd, or crunchy Chorizo prawns.

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It was tough to decide between the Blue swimmer crab cakes, the endive and pear salad or the New England chowder, but I eventually plumped for the latter. Main courses were a mix of burgers, steaks and BBQ and traditional entrees like buttermilk fried chicken, griddled steaks and eggs, some fish dishes and a couple of pasta choices – again, a difficult decision. I decided to give the Short Rib a go – I’m a sucker for a well-cooked beef rib, and always curious to see how well the BBQ sauce goes down.

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Before all that, though, was a dish of spiced caramelised nuts – a mix of cashews, pecans and peanuts – and an Illegal Negroni (Mezcal, Antica Formula and Campari). The drinks here are strong and pack a punch – and the nuts were a perfect complement, although I always hanker after a blend of sweet and salty… these were very slightly spicy but definitely not savoury.

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The starter of New England Chowder is served with scallop, clams, sweetcorn, leeks and potatoes in a smoked haddock cream sauce – a real rib-sticking winter dish. It’s served with a flourish as the rich stock is poured over the potatoes and seafood at the table. There’s the perfect amount of chowder for a starter – the salty rich soup balanced perfectly with the waxy potato and fresh clams – and it’s all topped with a plump, butter seared scallop, and studded with juicy, fresh pieces of corn.

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The short rib is an 18-hour smoked beef short ribs with BBQ sauce and green slaw. The BBQ meats are prepared with spices and left to marinate before being smoked with British oak chips. Neither rib dish comes with fries (you can order them from the extras menu), instead being served with a fresh green slaw. The short rib is a thick, meaty slab with a fantastic aroma of smoke that’s apparent even before you dig in.

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The meat has a beautiful, rich and smooth texture and is easily pulled from the bone. The result of the smoking is a springy, almost teeth squeaking texture and a bold and distinctive flavour. The green slaw is a genius addition and nothing like the herby coleslaw you might be imagining – instead it’s a crisp mix of hearty greens and cabbage and red onions and sliced gherkins in a sauce of yogurt and mayonnaise; a perfect foil for the rich umami ribs.

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I also had to try the triple cooked fries – to be honest, these were overkill (and if you want to ditch the slaw and replace it with the fries you can), but I never like to pass up a triple cooked potato! These did not disappoint – well seasoned throughout with a crispy Shell and fluffy middle. Both my starter and my main course were so delicious I’m still thinking about them both days afterwards!

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For pudding I went with my waitresses’ recommendation of pecan pie with the Ritterhouse Bottled in Bond 100 Rye. Jackson + Rye’s list of whiskies, bourbons and ryes is a sight to behold, intelligently constructed and a great read to boot. The liqueurs are ordered according to flavour profile and the Ritterhouse I had was from the section called Pancake Parlour – promising a rich, viscous drink with notes of maple and banana, a great pairing with the pecan pie.

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The dessert was homemade – a reassuringly familiar jellied like textured base topped with crunchy, caramelised pecans on a crispy pastry base. It came with a rich caramel ice cream and a bourbon and maple syrup sauce. Divine! I have to say, it tasted exactly like it does when I make it at home, which makes me wonder if my love of it is just a massive humblebrag…

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If you fancy a decent helping of Americana, served with sophistication rather than a hefty squirt of cheese from a can, I heartily recommend Jackson + Rye. The broad yet classic menu is full of modern twists, the cocktail list is fantastic, and their liquor can’t be beaten. Every course I had met my expectations, and I don’t think you can beat their chowder or their short ribs! There are multiple locations across London, and you can find them and view the menu here: www.jacksonrye.com.

View images taken during my review by clicking below. My meal was complimentary but my photos, views and opinions are my own.

Jackson + Rye
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Get Your Steak ON! London Steakhouse Co. City

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There’s nothing better than a good steak – but don’t you find that very often, the steak on a menu seems like more of an afterthought that a really well done dish? I rarely bother ordering steak on a menu when I’m out at a restaurant, because it just feels as though the cut will be cheap and the cooking a bit of a lottery.

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That’s why if I want a proper steak at a restaurant, I make sure to visit a speciality place. Cue London Steakhouse Company! I was asked to pop down and review the gorgeous City branch, and I have to say, it was my absolute pleasure. The restaurant has been recently refurbished, and is on two levels – doesn’t it look gorgeous?!

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City has a classic French bistro interior with white tablecloths, red leather chairs and mirrored walls with wooden panelling. The logo of the steer skull seems more in keeping with a Texan steakhouse, but the menu is classically French. The bar is well stocked with premium spirits, although there are only a handful of cocktails on the menu. But, the bar staff are more than happy to accommodate any requests. We had a Four Seasons cocktail and a bespoke raspberry and pineapple mocktail, both of which were fruity and delicious!

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Starters were beef short rib with house BBQ sauce and coleslaw, and chicken liver parfait with toasted brioche. The parfait was whipped and super light, like a dreamy mousse, and accompanied by a basil oil dressing and smears of a spiced fruit chutney. The brioche came in the form of small croutons – it would have been nice to have had a thick wedge to spread the parfait onto, but the croutons provided a delicious contrasting crunch.

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The short rib came stripped from the bone and perched atop a cylindrical mound of coleslaw, pink with the BBQ sauce, which was sweet and smoky.

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The main was a Boston Chop, served carved off the bone to share. It came with a sharp bearnaise with a hint of tarragon, and a creamy, peppery sauce. The steak was divine – a seared outer edge coaxed forth the deep umami flavours of the beef, and the cut was tender and soft with an extra depth of flavour you only get from a really good piece of meat. I think you can always tell the quality of steak by tasting the seared fat along the edge (I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it!) and this was crispy and rich.

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The steak doesn’t come with side dishes so you select your choice from the menu (and you will need to order at least one per person). We tried the Pont Neuf and house fries – the former were a bit of a miss for me, the interior was a bit floury and the taste wasn’t as good as the house fries.

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Let’s face it, you can’t go wrong with frites with your steak! You are also offered condiments of your choice including tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, and sharp English mustard. I always go for a mustard with my steak, and I originally thought I’d need some as there didn’t seem to be a lot of sauce. But the sauce we were provided was so rich and creamy, it was just the right amount!

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If you’re going low-carb, there are quite a few food choices on here, and I’d love to try the buttered greens and lardons, panazella salad or the creamed spinach at some point!

Onto the puddings, and the restaurant has a decent selection which should please everyone – classic creme brûlée, sticky toffee pudding, cheesecake, chocolate cake, plus a gorgeous looking cheese selection.

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There are dessert wines suggested for every option which is a lovely touch – and I can rarely resist a glass of Sauternes when it’s offered! The creme brûlée was dense, silky and creamy, studded with vanilla seeds, with a great tasting thin layer of caramel on the top.

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It went really well with the Sauternes, and at this point I was in dire need of a coffee so that I could continue writing my notes…

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You’re treated to a little marshmallow at the end of the meal, served from under a glass cloche, which is a lovely little addition!

All in all, I thought that the ambiance, food and service made this an excellent spot for a special celebration meal out. The food is incredible, the steak was of a really high quality, and the staff were more than happy to go that extra mile to make sure you were happy with every dish, even making some spot-on recommendations for us throughout.

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I have fond memories of the Boston Chop, and if you’re visiting with a loved one or a fellow steak-enthusiast, I’d recommend you go for that option. My only regret is that I couldn’t gnaw the bone at the end!

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Click the image below to be taken to my Flickr set for the restaurant, and make sure your keyboard is wipe clean…

London Steakhouse Co. City

London Steakhouse Co. has branches in Chelsea and City, and you can find their website here. There are some excellent dishes on the affordable set menu, and they have some gorgeous looking Christmas menus as well, for £35 or £55 per person, plus drinks packages of £15 or £25 per person.

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My meal at London Steakhouse Co. was complimentary – my review, opinions and photography are my own.

Halloween ARTea Afternoon Tea at Lancaster London

I’ve said before that Halloween is my favourite holiday after Christmas, and I’ll say it again: Halloween is my favourite holiday after Christmas. Although I love a bit of camp and cheese, my favourite kind of Halloween experience is a bit more sophisticated, so when I was asked to a press preview of Lancaster London’s Halloween afternoon tea, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

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London is full of afternoon tea experiences, so to make yours stand out, you have to go that extra mile. Lancaster London strapped on its trainers and headed out for a marathon when it came to putting together this gorgeous themed tea! First of all, the plush surroundings of the tea lounge, with opulent carpets and rich burgundy sofas, are the perfect setting for an indulgent and exquisitely put together tea…

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The tea is delivered in an artist’s box which is opened to reveal a fiendishly delicious selection of terrifying treats – complete with dry ice smoke. When the mist clears you’re greeted with a lavishly prepared and delicately produced selection of savoury and sweet morsels. I have to say, this is the gold standard in my opinion when it comes to Halloween treats – everything is thoughtfully put together, looks amazing, and tastes even better.

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There are a duo of finger sandwiches – cucumber coffins (brown bread with thinly cut and peeled cucumber, carefully seasoned), and smashed egg and crazy wild cress on blood bread. My mother is somewhat of a cucumber sandwich connoisseur and declared it to be the nicest one she’s ever had.

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There’s also a pinwheel sandwich of salmon which has been smoked in the fires of hell – only the finest salmon for the devil it seems, because we could have eaten five of these without blinking. The quartet of sandwiches is rounded out with an open faced axe carved beef on rye, with horseradish.

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The horseradish on my first offering was a little scant, but the waiter was more than happy to rush off to the kitchen to produce a more fiery version! There’s also a devilled tartlet encased in the richest, crispest pastry – filled with paprika spiced cream and stuffed with chorizo. This was one of the highlights. I’m actually still thinking about it two weeks later… (Here seems like as good a place as any to mention that at Lancaster London, they make their own bread, jam, pastry and honey, amongst other things!)

Finally, the savoury course was finished off with the fried until dead veggie Scotch egg. With a crispy coating, the sausage is replaced with a mixture of red veggies – I suspect red cabbage, beetroot, red onion and potato, with half a quail’s egg in the centre. All of these were prepared so well I would have happily eaten more – and the waiter, Monir (who was an absolute star!) offered to bring us extras from the kitchen, but afternoon tea is a tricky beast and I’ve never walked away from one feeling like I could have eaten a single thing more. This was no different!

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Scones are served in a separate course so they can be delivered fresh from the oven to your plate. There are three varieties of scones – plain, raisin the dead, and pumpkin, which come with tubes of strawberry jam and clotted cream, along with a pot of cremated blood orange marmalade, which was spicy and very sweet, and had a hint of vanilla. The scones were just the right size for a couple of bites, and had a fluffy interior and slightly crunchy exterior. I just loved the tubes of cream and jam, and although they were a clear leftover from the art theme, they still worked well as a kind of laboratory accessory from a mad scientist’s lair…

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The final course is a selection of sweets; chocolate graveyard (creamy chocolate mousse topped with graveyard soil made from chocolate and oats, topped with a shortbread tombstone and dark purple viola), spiderweb lollipop (candy floss draped chocolate truffle coated with white chocolate, stuck in a shot glass of coloured sugar), shattered glass cupcakes (a shard of bloodied sugar glass, a chocolate cake topped with airy light buttercream), Frankenstein macaroons (blackberry flavour) and a bloodied finger eclair (with white chocolate and creme patisserie). It was difficult to say which was the best, but I loved the bloodied glass effect on the cake, and how could you not love the severed finger on the eclair!

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But, what would afternoon tea be without the tea? Lancaster London serves a selection consisting of 14 blends from Novus Tea, from English breakfast to Dragonwell Green and White Pear and Ginger. The tea is served in beautiful clear teapots and comes with an hourglass to time the brew precisely according to the strength of the leaves.

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We were also plied with a glass of Pommery each, which was a thoughtful yet unnecessary bribe (actually, it comes with the champagne afternoon tea – my integrity is intact, promise), which was the perfect accompaniment to the fiendish chicanery that emitted from the kitchen. All of this was served by the wonderful waiter, Monir, who was gamely wearing bloodied chef’s whites and trying his hardest to be devilish.

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The Halloween ARTea Afternoon Tea is served at the Lancaster London from 17 October until 31 October, priced at £35 per person. The hotel also does themed afternoon teas including their beautiful ARTea experience, where you’re served pieces of real, edible art, based on paintings on display in the lounge! Check back at their website for more seasonal afternoon teas, tying in with special dates, movie releases and London events.

Find Lancaster London at  Lancaster Terrace, London W2 2TY. Reservations on 020 7551 6000 or visit www.lancasterlondon.com.

My Halloween tea experience was part of a press preview. All opinions and photography are my own.

Asha’s Manchester: Thoughtful and Innovative Indian Cuisine

Last month, I was lucky enough to be invited to review Asha’s in Manchester – a contemporary Indian restaurant in the centre of the city. Like most good Britons, I love a curry, and I also know pretty much what to expect from an Indian restaurant. I’m happy to report that Asha’s completely exceeded my expectations, and provided some delicious surprises along the way!

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First impressions count, and Asha delivers from the moment you step in through the door. The restaurant features opulent interiors with gold lanterns, beaded wall hangings, plush sofa booths, tarnished mirrored walls and warm wooden floors. Lighting is low and cosy, with pretty ornate shadows thrown by the lampshades.

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The next opportunity to be courted comes via the hugely impressive and thoughtful menu. The innovation starts as soon as the poppadoms and chutney is brought out – anyone can rattle off the usual list of much-loved chutneys offered by restaurants up and down the country, but Asha breaks with tradition by offering four fresh flavours, including tomato and chilli, green apple and blueberries, fresh pineapple, and mint and coriander relish. These were all light and zingy, the perfect start to the meal!

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Even my husband (who I’ve mentioned before is notoriously picky) found an unlikely favourite from the selection, plumping for the sweet and delicate apple dip.

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The staff were super attentive, friendly and informative, letting you know how long your meal will take and checking in with you about possible allergies. The waiters take pleasure in knowing the menu inside out, and when serving will tell you how the dish was cooked and how spicy it is (all dishes are available in varying degrees of spiciness if you tell your waiter what you like!). Now, as I’m often invited by the restaurants to do reviews to feature on my blog, you’d think I’d be continually buttered up by wait staff and managers – but in actual fact, it doesn’t usually happen! And, I was pleased to note that we weren’t being given special treatment at all – the tables around us were all given the same treatment, and it’s obviously something the restaurant prides itself on (and rightfully so).

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For our starters, we went with the traditional chicken tikka, plus a slightly more unusual salmon tikka, both of which were served on a fresh garden salad garnished with cherry tomatoes, radish, silverskin onions and dressed with an olive oil and coriander sauce. The salmon was soft, tender and flaky, with a creamy texture, while the chicken was flavoursome and had more of the characteristic smoky tandoori crust.

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I have to take a minute to talk about the drinks, too! The table water was scented with cucumber – although you could also request to have it served plain. From the huge and tempting cocktail menu, I picked Asha’s punch – served in a teapot packed with ice, with Bicardi Fuego, cognac, honey mead, cherry wine, osmanthus flower tea, citrus and house grenadine, finished with champagne, it was utterly delicious, and served in a lowball glass.

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I loved the way you could pour this yourself from the teapot – such a cute idea!

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My husband tried two of their non-alcoholic cocktails, the first one was strawberry passion crush – a sweet long drink over crushed ice, with lemon, lemonade and rose water. This was sooo dangerously drinkable, it’s a good job it didn’t have alcohol in it, or we both would have been smashed! The second drink, pictured above, was vanilla berry: a long drink of crushed raspberries and blackberries lengthened with cranberry and apple juice and dusted with a fairy sprinkle of homemade vanilla sugar. Another imaginative and delicious offering!

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Then, it was time for the main courses! I love aubergines, so I had to try the hare baigan ka bartha: silky smooth aubergine, cooked with ginger, garlic and green chillies, then mashed with satisfyingly crunchy red onion, dried red chillies and fresh chopped coriander.

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Then a potato dish, aloo masala: peeled waxy new potatoes in a rich, oily onion and tomato sauce, studded with spicy cumin, mustard and fennel seeds. I’m a huge fan of waxy solid potatoes that don’t break down in the cooking and muddle the sauce, and this was utterly delicious! When it comes to side dishes, I’d definitely say they’re best shared between one or two people – they’re dainty portions, which is great to allow you to try lots of different things!

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We selected a chicken and a lamb dish for the main curries. Muscat gosht, on the left, was tender lamb in a rich, thick gingery gravy. It was very oily and favourful, and the sauce is super concentrated just the way I like it, spiced with black cardamom, black peppercorn and coriander seed.

Murg makhani, on the left, was slightly tart, sweet and creamy – a classic interpretation of the British favourite, butter chicken. You can’t go wrong with this one here, even if you think it might be a less exciting choice, because it has a vibrant, complex and bright taste. The butter is added three times during the cooking process, with adds a complex depth of flavour without overpowering the dish (I told you the waiters gave you loads of information about the dishes!).

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We also had a selection of naan breads, including truffle, garlic and sundried tomato. They were slightly dense and doughy, cooked competently enough – but didn’t standout as much as I expected them to.

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By the time it came to dessert, we were stuffed, but we HAD to try the blood orange and caramel kulfi – one of the most talked-about dishes on the menu! And it was beautiful – a caramel milk icecream topped with basil seeds, which were soaked beforehand and really had a delicious, basil-scented taste. On the side was a caramel-crusted segment of orange, along with fruit and spears of hard sugar caramel. It was utterly delightful and hugely enjoyable!

I can’t recommend Asha’s highly enough – it wasn’t just a great meal, but a fantastic experience as well. The décor, the staff, the menu, the food, the drinks – it all came together to make a fantastic evening. The chain has restaurants in Manchester, Birmingham, as well as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar. Check it out at the website, here. (Also, they do Christmas party menus as well – book in and you’ll be the office favourite, I guarantee it!)

My only complaint about Asha’s was the fact that they don’t have a branch down south yet. Please, open one in Hampshire as soon as possible!

My meal at Asha’s was complementary – the opinions were my own.

Greater Than The (Dim) Sum Of Its Parts

Rumour has it that the best dim sum in London is to be had at the Royal China Group, so I was only too happy to pop along to the flagship Baker Street branch when they asked me to review their spread.

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Dim sum is one of China’s worst kept culinary secrets – you might think you’re content with sweet and sour pork balls and some egg fried rice, but if that’s the extent of your knowledge when it comes to Chinese cuisine, you’re missing out on an amazing experience! And when you finally get yourself to a dim sum place (especially one as good as this) you’ll realise you’ve been in the dark for far too long…

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The Royal China Group has locations all across London, including the aforementioned Baker Street branch (Baker Street is also home to the Royal China Club, the premium restaurant in the chain), as well as Canary Wharf, Queensway, Fulham and Harrow-on-the-Hill. Each restaurant has its own dedicated dim sum chef, and serves dim sum from noon to 5m – and believe me, the tables fill up fast, so if you want a seat, book ahead, or get there early!

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One of the most popular dishes on the dim sum menu is cha siu bao, or steamed roast pork buns, but don’t miss out on these gorgeous honey roast pork puffs, pictured above. While cha siu bao are traditionally served in a sugary, steamed, marshmallowy bread bun (second image), the pork puffs have the same sweet and savoury roast pork filling encased in flaky, buttery pastry. These didn’t last long!

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If you’re a fan of the Japanese gyoza, you should definitely try the original Chinese version. Thicker dough wrappers and a more amalgamated centre portion gives these a chewier texture – and they’re just as delicious as the Japanese ones!

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At dim sum, the idea is that all the guests select their favourites from a menu of tiny dishes – almost exactly like Spanish tapas or Greek / Turkish mezze. But don’t forget to check out Royal China’s scrumptious noodle dishes too, to bulk out your meal – we ordered the Soy Beef Ho Fun, above, and it was one of the tastiest noodle dishes I’ve had in a Chinese restaurant for a long time. Wide strips of noodles, tossed in soy sauce with generous strips of sliced beef, accompanied by spring onions, beansprouts, and topped with an egg, this was a great way to keep the meal flowing while we waited for various dishes to arrive.

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If you’re ordering dim sum, you need to move away from your comfort zone somewhat – otherwise you’ll miss some of the most delicious and intriguing dishes! These stuffed bean curd rolls were a case in point – earthy, wood-scented mushrooms with prawns, encased in a stiff, chewy casing, they were unlike anything you’ll get from your local takeaway.

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Also, this fried dough cheung fun – a slippery noodle layer encasing a spear of fried dough, served with a sweet soy sauce dip. The texture contrast is what makes this dish so moreish, and again, so very unlike anything you might be used to if you have a western palette!

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We also tried the Chinese rice pot, which was a pottery lidded dish stuffed with delicate rice, topped with corn-fed bone-in chicken, mushrooms and Chinese sausage, again served with a tasty sweet dip.

You also have to give the steamed meatballs a try (succulent beef with preserved orange peel and spring onions) – and make sure to round off the meal with egg custard tarts served with Chinese tea!

Three or four dishes will be more than enough to fill you up at a dim sum lunch, so pace yourself! The Royal China menu has most of its items priced at £3-4, although some items are more expensive (and the large noodle dishes, which are big portions, are around £8-9).

Also, whatever you do, don’t forget to check out the cocktail menu! I can highly recommend the Royal China Martini!


Head to the website at www.theroyalchina.co.uk to find out more about the restaurant group, find a branch near you, and to look at the menus. Royal China also do a more traditional ala carte menu, as well as tasting experiences as well! Check out the dim sum menu here, and try not to drool on your screen!

The meal I enjoyed at Royal China was complimentary – the views in this review are my own.

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The Fat Fig: An Epic Greek Feast!

On Saturday, some of my friends and I went to The Fat Fig, a Greek restaurant in Southampton. I’d noticed it during a walk to check out a new ice cream parlour called Tooti’s and after researching it online, I found mostly glowing reviews. They offer an option on their menu called the ‘Fat Fig Meze Banquet’, which is decribed as ‘a feast, comprising of all dips, starters, a seafood course, finished with a meat platter’, priced at £18.95 per person. That seemed pretty good to me, so I booked the table and along we went! Inside, the restaurant’s decor is minimal, and the chairs and tables are canteen style – but the food, I assure you, is fantastic. Here’s what we had!

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We started with some amazing houmous, tzatziki with fat chunks of cucumber and laced with mint, taramasalata, skorthalia – cold mashed potato with garlic, olive oil and lemon juice, olives, and tabouleh – a zesty, juicy salad made of bulgar wheat, tomatoes and parsley, all accompanied by fluffy hot pitta bread.

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Following that was haloumi and lounza, a grilled, supersalty cheese with a rubbery texture (actually, incredibly delicious despite it sounding like polystyrene) and griddled pork loin that tasted like smoked ham.

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Then we had falafels – these, as I assume, most of the dishes, were homemade – piping hot and crispy with a spicy parsley and onion studded chickpea mash inside, accompanied by what I think was a tahini dip.

Following that came dolmathes and melinzanes together:

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The dolmathes were vine leaves stuffed with rice, pork, herbs and spices, and topped with a fresh tomato sauce.

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The melinzanes were possibly my favourite part of the meal, fried, smokey aubergine medallions topped with tomatoes, with a soft, rich interior surrounded by a crispy outer skin. I have a weakness for aubergine dishes!

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Then came the chicken liver – cooked in onions with lemon and parsley. I did try this, and it was tasty, but unfortunately the smell reminded me too much of the food we gave our dogs when I was a kid, so I squeamishly skipped this one!

That was the starters dealt with, so then we moved onto the fish course. First up was a plate of hot calamari:

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Then some fat king prawns covered with garlic butter, olive oil and parsley:

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And finally maritha, breaded, deep fried white bait:

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I’d never had white bait before, so I tried it out – it was incredibly delicious, although I do admit I removed the heads and scraped out the insides, which is not really proper white bait etiquette!

The second to last course was called Greek Village Salad – a classic Greek salad with the inclusion of iceberg lettuce. I’d never had it with lettuce before, and it had been wilted in the dressing which actually gave it an amazing texture and bags of flavour:

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The chunks of Feta were generous, flaky and delicious, as was the dressing and the oregano sprinkled on the top.

The final course was souvlakia, meat skewers:

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We had pork, chicken and sheftalies, homemade pork sausage. Honestly, the pork was slightly overcooked, but by this point we were pretty full and past caring!

The entire meal took around an hour and a half to eat, and we enjoyed everything with the exception of the chicken liver. Considering the price of most main courses at the restaurant is £10, our feast was very reasonably priced and I would love to go again some day! I highly recommend this for a special occasion if you’re on a budget and don’t want to go to a super fancy place – it has a sense of celebration and will certainly get you talking over the table!

Visit the Fat Fig’s website here, or call them on 02380 21 21 11. They are located at 5 Bedford Place, Southampton, SO15 2DB.