Ping Pong

Ping Pong is a delicious London based Dim Sum restaurant. The atmosphere is great, the food is superb and the experience is affordable.

The main problem I have with some Dim Sum restaurants is that I have to remortgage the house to feel full or the variety is too much for me and I want to buy everything! Ping Pong has a fantastic selection of set menus that mean you get to try everything and don’t feel hungry. I actually felt so full that I couldn’t even eat all of my own food (shock horror). We went for the ‘Ping Pong Selection’, for just £11 per person, we got all of this:

In summary, some of the best oriental food we have had in a while, also, some of the best value. The pictures speak for themselves really…

Patty and Bun

As you have probably guessed, we love burgers. We were told by some foodie friends of ours that Patty & Bun, in London (near Bond street) is THE place to go for burgers. So off we went…

There is always a queue outside Patty & Bun, a table for two on a Wednesday evening was a 45 minute wait, were salivating, deciding what to get and eagerly awaiting our burgers.

The inside is very small, the place probably only seats around 35 people, it has a very ‘cool’ vibe. It was extremely busy, we got a little bench table which was fantastic.

20130608-142519.jpg

On the recommendation we went for the ‘Ari Gold’ burger, a delicious looking cheese burger with a brioche bun and Patty & Bun mayo. We also ordered rosemary fries which were fantastic, I love chips and these were no exception – I would happily have eaten buckets of them. The burger was somewhat disappointing. Don’t get us wrong, it was great, a fantastic burger. We were expecting the best burger we had ever had and it wasn’t that. We were lucky enough to have a ‘Street Kitchen’ burger at a food festival last week and that was AMAZING.

20130608-142535.jpg

Friends of ours that have frequented Patty & Bun think that perhaps we just had a bad evening, all restaurants have them. The burger was good and we would probably give it 7/10. Definitely go and try Patty & Bun, if you do, be sure to order the chicken wings, they are sensational.

Bea’s of Bloomsbury

Bea’s of Bloomsbury is a fantastic place to go for Afternoon Tea! A friend and I enjoyed a delicious plate of baguettes, followed by some of the best cakes and scones, I have EVER eaten.

Service was fantastic , we were seen to straight away and given a choice of teas to choose from. The teas are all real leaf teas and more hot water is offered, so there is no need to buy another cup.

A plate of three mini baguettes was then presented to each of, the bread was fantastic quality and each baguette was so tasty, my favourite was the salami and red pepper pesto.

Following this, we were presented with a selection of cakes: blondies, two different types of brownies, scones, a raspberry cupcake, a dark chocolate cupcake and other mini cakes. Everything was delicious, I have no complaints at all, and being a keen baker I usually pick up on a dry cake.

The sponge on the two cupcakes literally fell apart, the raspberry cupcake, actually tasted like raspberry! The dark chocolate frosting was like ganache, it was the kind of thing you eat and then are left speechless for a while….

The brownies were lovely and gooey inside. The scones were not dry but absolutely delicious, by this point we were struggling to finish.

I would definitely recommend Bea’s of Bloomsbury, to anyone wanting a delicious afternoon tea, somewhere that is a little less crowded than the places you might usually think to go. Booking is definitely best!

My one issue was that they did not offer champagne. I am planning to buy the cookbook, so watch this space for the recipes…

Bill’s

Bill’s is a fantastic restaurant café that has expanded from one restaurant in Brighton, to nine restaurants all over the South of England. We visited the restaurant in Soho, and were very impressed with the ambience, quality / value of food and service.

We were drawn to the restaurant because they were giving out free nectarines and I am very conscious of getting my five a day. The restaurant has a fantastic warm feel, almost like walking into someone’s (very rich and expensive) farmhouse.

A bottle of house wine is around £14.50, which we felt was a great price for Central London. The food on the menu was very reasonable, around £4-5 for a starter and £10-12 for a main.

We had enjoyed a big lunch at Pho, so decided to share a starter of hummus, tzatziki, pita and crudities. The hummus was delicious, I loved that they used wholemeal pita (it just makes you feel like you are being healthier) and provided crudities including carrot, cucumber and celery, again adding up to help me to my five a day!

For the main course Toby went for a delicious fish finger sandwich and skinny fries, it was very satisfying! The tartare sauce was delicious and the chips were so salty and moorish!

I went for piri piri chicken on rice and added a green salad. The chicken was well seasoned, not dry but delicious. The rice was basically like paella rice, it was SO good. The portion of chicken was huge, I actually struggled to eat it.

We would definitely recommend Bill’s and look forward to trying more of the menu. The service was fantastic, we even paid the discretionary service charge!

BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend

We were fortunate enough to have received tickets to BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend on the Saturday of this past weekend. The atmosphere was alive and typical of a good British festival. We were also impressed by the general atmosphere in and around Hackney itself, not to mention the huge plethora of different restaurants we saw on the way there sporting everything from Nigerian to Lebanese cuisine.

Not to be too distracted by the likes of Nicki Minaj, Jay Z and the rest of them on show, we could not help but scope out the arena for some tasty foodie goodness!

I opted for some Steak and Halloumi – Greek Style! There was all sorts of nasty burgers and chips about the place, so this place stood out as something alternative to the greasy regulars. I was not jus me that had the idea as this place had the longest queue of any other vendor in the area by far!

For a handsome £5.50, a ciabatta bread was laden with Steak and Halloumi, topped off with some shallots and smothered in a yogurt and mint dressing. The whole thing was deeply refreshing and just what any weary festival goer might need as a pick-me-up.

Nina went for an even more exotic choice of… Ostrich BBQ. Yes, a huge great chunk of BBQ’d Ostrich, slap in the middle of a bun.

What an interesting flavour this was. We have long wanted to try the ones in Borough Market, but have never really got around to it. With a tick in the Ostrich box of weird foods to try, we can safely say that it is both tasty and fulfilling. To compare it to something, think steak and chicken hybrid.

Mexican from Benito’s Hat

We had been traipsing around London all day and that time had come to refuel. It was a fairly bleak and dreary day in London, so spicy food was pegged as something that could give us a bit of a lift.

We came across Benito’s Hat in Covent garden that looked appealing and we just had to give it a try. Being fans of mexican street food from the likes of Wahaca, Chipotle (NYC) and Chilango, we were interested to see how this compared.

 

To start, we had some delicious Tortilla chips with Guacamole and some kind of fiery sauce that was perfect for getting us in the mood for some spicy spicy mexican food. I am a fan / harsh critic of Tortilla chips and I would have to give these a strong thumbs up for the texture, freshness and accompanying dips.

What else could you have on a maiden visit to a Mexican restaurant? We had a Burrito each, I went with Pork and Nina went with the Chicken. Simply delicious.

To wash all this down, there were 2-4-1 cocktails on offer that day, so a Hibiscus and Tequila cocktail complemented the salty and spicy food just right.

To sum it up, Benito’s Hat was a delicious and good value Mexican meal, just right for that little pick me up at the end of a day of shopping in gross weather.

New Forest Cider

Apart from Dirty Martini, one of our favourite places to drink in London is at the New Forest Cider stand in Borough Market.

They serve up a plethora of different ciders to take away or to have in, and what an experience it is. In cups made of vegetable starch, they serve up Dry, Medium and Sweet Cider along with a range of Perry and sparkling ciders and Apple Juice.

Their Dry is the best cider I have ever had.

They sell beautiful bottles of the sweet sweet (and by sweet I mean dry, VERY DRY) nectar that are perfect little presents, or you can simply get 2 pints in a milk bottle to take away.

Any time of day, if you are in Borough Market, grab a pint! In the winter months, they serve up mulled cider that quite simply is life changing. It is also the perfect cure for the onset of any cold and flu symptoms that might come your way. I speak from experience.

10 Courses at Leeds Castle

We were elated to be invited to Leeds Castle (again) to sample their delicious food before finalising our wedding menu. We were not disappointed.

We were met with champagne and canapes before sitting down to start chomping down on 10 courses of delicious grub (we shared the courses!). Also, each course came with its own wine, paired specifically for that dish.

First up, Beetroot and goats cheese mouse on a petit walnut dressed salad and poached quails egg. Although delicious, perhaps a little too small for a starter and also missing that ‘wow’ factor.

Starter 2 – Smoked salmon and Cornish crab pillow. This was DELICIOUS! It was so unbelievably tasty and also paired with the most delicious and fruity Sauvignon blanc we have ever tasted!

Starter 3 – Confit duck and foie gras terrine. Meaty and just scrumptious.

Main 1 – Roasted loin of cod, Parmentier potatoes and puy mustard lentils. The cod was fantastic. Crispy, yet moist inside.

Main 2 – Roasted rump of lamb, fondant potato and market vegetables. This was a generous portion of tender lamb, it was delicious!

Main 3 – Fillet of Beef, fondant potato, celeriac puree and vegetables. Although we would usually always pick lamb over beef, this was an admirable opponent and simply superb.

Main 4 – Stilton and pear tart with wholegrain mustard crushed potatoes and vegetables. If you were a vegetarian, this would not disappoint you.

Desert 1 and 2 came together – Saffron poached pear with caramel creme fraiche. This was refreshing and a lovely light desert to enjoy after our previous courses, along with white chocolate and cardamon tart. Being lovers of cardamon we were really excited to try this desert and it did not disappoint.

Desert 3 – Trio of English deserts. This included a delicious treacle tart, a boozy sherry trifle and a scrumptious strawberry cheesecake.

It was a truly amazing evening with just the best food that can be had. Leeds castle is catered by Leith’s and they again surpassed expectations. All this in some of the most beautiful surroundings we have ever been to on British soil.

Beware the Peacocks that freely wander around the grounds, they want your heels!

Dirty Martini

Dirty Martini is probably one of my favourite cocktail bars in London. It now boasts two locations, one in Covent Garden and one in Hanover Square. Covent Garden has become a regular starting point for us when we go out for a good old fashioned knees up.

The ambience is fantastic, in fact, despite us usually being a little worse for wear, the decor allows me to retain an element of sophistication. If you are going in a large group, it is probably worth booking a booth in advance.

Being frugal foodies, we do like to keep our eye out for a bargain and Dirty Martini’s Happy Hour is real value for money, just £4 for a super delicious and suitably alcoholic cocktail! I would definitely recommend the Mango and Chilli martini (I think it also counts as one of your five a day) or the Cherry Blossom Martini. If you like a Dirty Martini then you will love this place, to me it tastes and smells like a smelly armpit but to lovers of Dirty Martini’s, I am told this is one of the best!  Don’t just stop there, if your up for it I would recommended sampling as many of these bad boys as you can.

The Guildable Manor

Borough Market should be a favourite spot for any foodie, however one of the main problems you may face is what to buy for lunch! With so much on offer ranging from burgers, falafel wraps, Jamacian curries and beyond, one can be spoilt for choice…

Despite usually being put off by the large queue, we decided to queue up and try the grilled delights The Guildable Manor had to offer, and we were not disappointed. The Guildable Manor offer high quality baguettes and promise to use local and seasonal produce. Marinated halloumi, chicken, beef, lamb and game are all on offer and the homemade sauces are a delicious accompaniment, I love the harrisa, salsa verde and aioli.

At just £4.80 for a huge baguette (they are filled SO well), we think this is some of the best value for money food available at Borough Market and it is no wonder the place is so popular. We have tried the halloumi, chicken and lamb baguettes now and have been deeply satisfied afterwards and often end up craving more the next day.

So don’t be put off by the queue, it moves really quickly and just shows how good the food at the end is!