All posts filed under “Modern European

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Leandro @ One Leicester Street

The start of something (utterly) exciting..

Where do I begin? The word “supper club” has been a distant memory, and being subjected to a communal table in the middle of an unpopulated dining room daunted me. The glimmering kitchen was my hope. So was the name Leandro Carreira, a chef who held senior positions at two of the world’s most inspiring kitchens Mugaritz and Viajante.

Leandro or Leo is at One Leicester Street for 3 months (until mid-June, I guess), doing what seems an understatement, a “supper club”. This is an 8-course menu with beverage pairings (by Talented Mr Fox) at £88. Chefs are keen to exchange thoughts and diners are encouraged to nose around in the kitchen. The cuisine is innovative – an epiphany both of taste and of thought process.

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Barnyard

A bit of Dabbous..

It is a truth universally acknowledged by food critics that Dabbous is a restaurant worthy of month-long reservation attempts. For me, I have found tastier solace at its downstairs bar. You’ll find bar nibble quickies (BBQ beef buns, etc.), some Dabbous signature dishes, awesome desserts and funky cocktails. And, in my opinion, Barnyard – a walk-in only restaurant by Ollie Dabbous – is precisely that.

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F.A.T by Freddie Residency @ Sharp’s * DunneFrankowski

A cut above average..

A buzz cut. A neck shave. An espresso. Or, a sandwich!? Sharp’s can fix it for you. This is a relatively hip barber’s formerly located on Charlotte Street. Recently, it was seduced to a new *flagship* site on Windmill Street. The operation is split into two parts, as trend has it in Fitzrovia. The front bit is a premium coffee shop by consultancy coffee brand DunneFrankowski, known to those from the East (of London). The barbers are kept in the vintage grooming ground in the back. According to TOB, who has been a loyal Sharp’s customer since its Charlotte Street site, if you get a cut, you can get a free barista-grade coffee. (I can’t verify this as I have my haircut at an internationally corporate, expensive and soul-less hair salon elsewhere). The sandwich that I speak of is a fabulous two-month addition at Sharp’s * DunneFrankowski.

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Michelin Guide London (2014 Results)

The most controversial yet?

2 stars – Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Greenhouse.

1 star – HKK, Angler (South Place Hotel), Outlaw’s at the Capital, Story, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction (seriously!?), Brasserie Chavot, Bo London, Lima, Social Eating House.

One Leicester Street retains its star after the transition. Yeah!!!!

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41° Experience, Barcelona

41° Experience

There is so much brilliance I can recall about this meal, but I have decided not to put all into writing. Lazy blogger, no. Necessity, yes. The “elements of surprise” are crucial, according to FAQ. When it was first launched, 41° Experience (or 41 Grados) by El Bulli-famed Ferran and Albert Adria was meant to be just a cocktail bar for the annexed Tickets. But it has morphed.. into a 16-seat, tasting-menu-only restaurant, most recently alleged as one of the most difficult to get reservations in the world.

Briefly. There is no reservation line. The booking is made via their website and partially requires payment. There are some drinks included in the €200-per-head tasting menu. You can order a separate alcoholic pairing at €45. Blah. Blah. The venue is a decent-sized bar space, dimmed and dark. There were more FOHs than diners. Above me was a nebula of eclectic images – a kind of modern pop art featuring disparate cultural items around the world – being played in slow motion. And soothing trance-like music..

Not so briefly. The fun at 41° Experience kicked off with a stubbornly square, neatly crafted “41°” ice cube which chilled a smoky liquid substance. Along came a jar containing drops of green olive, preserved in oil. Just your typical jar of olive – but the molecularised EL BULLI style. The liquid olive essence was entrapped in a gelatinous skin. Fragile, it rolled for an escape on the tongue and burst into a taste of what would have been like if I stuffed my mouth with 10 olives in one go. I have never made enough effort to be at El Bulli and I am – or was – never convinced by molecular gastronomy. BUT. That was some alchemy that I highly recommend.

Through my first 3-4 courses, I departed from Barcelona – the 41° latitude as the name of the restaurant portends- wandered through Italy, France, Russia, Asia and many more. Ferran and Albert Adria not only know so much about cuisines but also cultures, wherein lies humourous anecdotes and stereotypes. All these are re-interpreted into all the 41 dishes served at 41° Experience. Some were more successful than others. Some got me to physically interact and/or contemplate intellectually; others made me LAUGH OUT LOUD. (Something about France, of course. And Rene Redzepi might be on the menu). That said, as the concept of the menu relies very heavily on the elements of surprise, of not knowing what comes next and which country where you will end up, it is best not to do so much telling (or display any sharp and clear images). The cooking was exquisite but a complement to the concept. SO.. if you are a global character, know a lot about cuisines and cultures, you will be having a very good time at 41° Experience. If you are averse to internationalism, there is a high risk that you might not get the “jokes”, which are the best part of the meal.

Life-changing? No. But this meal reversed my eagerness in life and I felt happy, giggly.. as if I became a child again :-D

 

(Sorry. Can’t help not telling you of my most favourite dish – a re-constructed Peruvian “causa”. A thick slice of super fresh and

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firm yellowtail/hamachi marinated in lime, chilli and garlic was served nigiri-style on a velvety ball of spiced-infused mashed potatoes. The dish paid homage to the Japanese influences in Peruvian culinary tradition and taste-wise it was a bomb of citric umami).

PS Don’t hate me for doing this >_<

 

 

RATING: 5/5

41° EXPERIENCE

Avinguda Paral-lel, 164
08015, Barcelona
Spain

www.41grados.es


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10 Greek Street: My New European Fling in Soho!

Lust at first sight

Rough. The kitchen bar at 10 Greek Street was stunningly rough. I couldn’t take my eyes off it – that high metallic bar, white-tiled walls, wooden floor and a high conservatory-like roof. I could sit facing the busy brigade of young chefs in their rough-and-ready kitchen. No. I opted for one of the little metallic plank “bar table” that protruded from the walls. They each can only accommodate one dish at a time but can seat two diners. Sharing? Taking turns? The design was unconventional and somewhat kinky. Loved it. (But, if you don’t, there was a cozy minimalist dining room at the front). Relocating from Wapping Project, chef Cameron Emirali is, surely, used to characterful venues; and despite the recent surge in the bare design trend, the kitchen bar emerged uniquely hot.

And love at first bite

The menu was modern-British-meet-modern-European, St-John-hook-up-with-River-Cafe, .. my analogy can go on and on. The bar plates were happily priced between £3- £7; the starters between £5- £8; the mains £16- around £20; and the desserts £4- £5. Lamb Sweetbreads (£5) were served on a hill of velvety mash and finished with enticingly rich lamb jus. A simple recipe but superbly executed. The sweetbreads was correctly spongy and boast light crispy skin. The sprinkle of chopped chive provided slight herbal vibrancy to contrast. Also dainty was Potato Gnocchi, Wild Mushrooms and Truffle Oil (£7). The gnocchi – minimally gummy and oh-so-light-am-I-eating-marshmallow? – was sauteed along with an assortment of earthy mushrooms. A note of truffle oil to balance off the rustic-ness of the dish; parmesan grating added delectable nutty-ness and also peppery-ness from rocket leaves. The portion (you can opt for a bigger portion at £14) was generous. The main event of Scallops, Fennel and Cauliflower Puree (£17) was classically delicious. The springy scallops were perfectly seared for a crispy exterior and a melting creamy texture within; the puree was delicate but pronounced in cauliflower taste; the salad of rocket and shaved fennel left an appetisingly refreshing crunch. I finished my lunch off quickly with Pistachio Praline Ice Cream (£4). Milky. The crystalised praline segments oozed toffee sweetness and shattered wonderfully.

Simple food (almost your kinda neighbourhood restaurant) but fresh and so lively! Probably one of the most satisfying meals I’ve had in Soho for such a long time. Yes. I love 10 Greek Street, and it has made it into my top favourite Soho’s casual eateries along with Barrafina and Arbutus.

I’ll pop in again soon!! :-D

GO FOR: Cool kitchen tables. Expertly done food.
RATING: 5/5
INNOVATION/COMFORT: Great comfort!

(read about rating here)

 

10 GREEK STREET

10 Greek Street
London
W1D 4DH

Tel. 020 7734 4677

www.10greekstreet.com