Happy Fashion Week (and Weekend)!!
Yes, I am one of those contemplating a crash diet so as to dash out glamourously at the social happenings of 2011, but I do – I DO – have a list of gastronomic exemptions, those o-so-good dishes of 2010 that I wouldn’t, in a million years, refrain from whilst my path to being skinny again. So, if one of your many on-going New Year resolutions is to slim down, you may want to stray away from my Top 2010 list.
And, for those skinny or not-so-bothered enough about getting little too plumb, let’s get the tummy rumble!
No. 10: Le Chateaubriand at Hawksmoor (with Fried Egg and Triple Cooked Chips)
Medium rare, I love my beef like that and the crispy chips and the silky egg yolk. No elaboration needed. Just imagine it …. aaaahhhhh!
No. 9: Saddle of Rabbit, Peas, Girolles and Rabbit Cottage Pie/ Arbutus
While people are talking Les Deux Salons, I feel Arbutus is still at the top of its game and fares better than its sister restaurants, especially in the service. This saddle of rabbit, Demetre’s signature dish, that got me hooked for actually quite a few years and still gets me horned up for more. Bold and meaty, the dish boasts the richness of the jus and the perfectly cooked saddle. And, that modest cottage pie? The best in the world. With all that said, the portion size at Arbutus is the most sacrilegious for those on a diet.
No.8: Chilli Mince Pies/ Dishoom
They were the Christmas specials. Soft and melt-in-your-mouth pastry plus the heavenly and well-balanced mince meat with a bit of chilli, cinnamon and nutmeg made my knees weak and my belly growl (for more). The custard was spot on in term of consistency, too. There is a lot of potential in Dishoom and I feel they keep pushing it. You know, until the next X’mas arrives, I will just indulge myself with Dishoom’s Kulfi on a Stick. Sweet, creamy …. damn it!
No.7: Slow Cooked Octopus, Tomatoes, White Polenta/ Zucca
Never had it so good. No I’m not quoting Harold Macmillan or some Tory brat who recently commented on Cameron’s policies. But this dish was just so damned good and a little more healthy compared to the ones mentioned. Soft octopus that sucked in all the delicious jus and juice while being slow cooked again and again, and it went down well with the naturally sour and sweet tomatoes. You know if I lived in Bermondsey, Zucca will be my most favourite restaurant.
No.6: Caramel and Liquorice in Textures/ North Road
Sugar, sugar, sugar, isn’t this all I ate last year? But, oh, no! This dish brought about the happiness of a child who discovered caramel for the first time in his life, and how on this bloody earth could I resist it? The flavour combination was simple but faultless, whilst the contrast in textures was daring and worked o-so-well. I love desserts at North Road and believe it is as amazing as the ones Redzipi serves at Noma. However, I am not convinced the Danish trend will go down well in any English stomach.
No.5: Seared Wagyu Sushi with Shiso, Ponzu Dressing/ Sushi of Shiori
Sushi, who says it’s healthy? Well, they are healthy as opposed to kebabs and chips but man, that amount – or mountain? – of carb I usually consume in just an hour’s sitting!! But, it’s really, really worth it at Sushi of Shiori as their signature canape sushi got me to dump my long love Sushi Hiro. Personally, I feel the most WOW dish at Shiori is their seared wagyu sushi. Great quality wagyu – unlike the Australian import that was chewy and unappetising at Dinings – rightly vinegared rice, appetising dressing and the perfect execution. Shiori paves ways for the new trend for traditional sushi eateries in London, though too bad the place is like a hole in the wall and makes booking so essential.
No.4: White Truffle Risotto/ Gauthier Soho
I am quite certain that they’ll to get a Michelin star in the next two week, or else my little belly would be so disappointed. Personally I feel the food at Gauthier verges on being a two-starred restaurant and also hope it will materialise some day. At Gauthier Soho, you just cut the crap, the pretense and the price, too! Refined food that is personal enough to be my everyday food – isn’t this self-explanatory why I need to curb my gastro-enthusiasm? – the impeccable service and the so bloody good wine that would get a teetotal drinking. This white truffle risotto was the most orgasmic (and the most reasonably priced) I’ve ever had and Gauthier did have a bit of a twist of extra creaminess and cheese making it so bloody theatrically unforgettable. The sight, the aroma, the taste, it was all there. Equally indulgent was Gauthier’s Louis XV, an intensely dark, ridiculously glossy choco-delight that has the gooey-ness as well as the crunch. You also can’t dismiss the luxury of that pure 100% gold leaf and I’ve heard they’ve got a new gold leaf supplier :-p
No.3: Udon, Any of Them/ Koya
Carb, again? Gosh, why do them chefs have to make carb taste so freaking great? The thick buckwheat noodle made daily by feet – yes that’s how you make udon! – not only marks the revolution of Japanese food in London but becomes my real scale-buster. Yes, the Brits can be a bit dumped down and stereotypes all foreign food. Japanese food, in particular, is strictly defined by a piece of raw fish and a ball of rice, hence many of its soulless replica in many supermarket stalls. Koya gives the Brits something different and, guess what, they love it! Bouncy noodle that slithers down your throat to go with the Dashi based broth in any way you like. That is just sensational, and so the queue in front of Koya at lunch and dinner every day has proved. Again, after raping my body with this heavenly carb, I am back on the treadmill again ….
No.2: Sushi without Soy Sauce/ Yashin Sushi
I am not a Japanese whore, but in 2010 the Jap have definitely upped their game. My reunion with Shinya Ikeda – I in front of the sushi counter and he behind it – after his departure from Sushi Hiro has been the best and most deserving weight-gaining experience of 2010. Their sushi without soy sauce – yes that is the theme and after my fourth trip to the restaurant I can tell it’s not gimmicky – is a revelation, one I’d die to have my friends, boyfriend (without an “s”) and guests experience. The freshness is top notch – a bit better than Shiori but also little more pricey – and the innovation is truly deserving the M star. Guess what, I totally forgot about weight gaining (or losing?) whilst slurping his sushi.
No.1: Almost All the Dishes/ St John Bread and Wine
The Bibs are not fans of St John Restaurant but we would prostitute ourselves for a dozen madeleines at Bread and Wine. Are we that cheaply bought? Well, yes, as my recent trips have proved that Bread and Wine freshly baked madeleines will put any French man to shame. Other dishes – actually ALL other dishes are, likewise, noteworthy, say, the phallic venison pie, the snails and kale on toast, the Middle White faggot, the pickled hare, and the list never ever ends! Just stop reading and go to the place. My words seriously can’t do their food justice. This is the food that makes ones proud to be (a little) fat!!!
And all the info you’ll need
HAWKSMOOR SEVEN DIALS
11 Langley Street
Tel. 020 7856 2154
63-64 Frith Street
Tel. 020 734 4545
12 Upper St Martin’s Lane
Tel. 020 7420 9320
187 Bermondsey Street
Tel. 020 7378 6809
69-71 St John Street
Tel. 020 3217 0033
SUSHI OF SHIORI
144 Drummond Street
Tel. 020 7388 9962
21 Romily Street
Tel. 020 7494 3111
49 Frith Street
1a Argyll Road
High Street Kensington
Tel. 020 7938 1536
ST JOHN BREAD AND WINE
94-96 Commercial Street
Tel. 020 7251 0848