As I mentioned in my last post we had a really packed weekend, enough for a couple more posts but you know what? I can’t really be bothered reviewing them, it just isn’t my thing. Maybe its because I don’t eat out that often or maybe its just because I’m not that eloquent. In any case, rather than doing a full post on the restaurants we visited, I thought I would do a roundup post of pictures and quick thoughts. As it was a trip for my brothers graduation we decided to go for a decent meal and ended up choosing the Cinnamon Club in Westminster. We all thoroughly enjoyed the meal, which I would describe as modern Indian with European influences. We were not throwing cash around though; we went for the £22 set menu, which is an absolute bargain. 3 courses with an amuse bouche and petit fours for just £22. The spicing isn’t stupidly hot just nice and fragrant, sometimes with a bit of a kick but you’re not going here for a takeaway vindaloo that will blow your head off. The Amuse was a potato croquette with pineapple and raita and was a nice start and a good sign of things to come. Starters were a chicken dumpling in a ginger and coconut soup. The spicing in this was my favourite of the night and I really hope I can recreate this flavour. The second starter for our group was a venison seekh kebab with smoked paprika raita but I didn’t try this. For our mains two of us went for the fish and the other two chose the lamb, I now wish I had chosen the latter. Not the fish wasn’t good it was perfectly enjoyable it’s just that lamb was wonderful, nice and pink with great tandoori spicing. Unfortunately I seem to have lost my pictures from this meal so until I find them you will just have to imagine.
As a graduation treat I thought it would be nice to spoil my brother a bit and take him for afternoon tea. I gave him some different choices from the Dorchester to Beas of Bloomsbury. He decided he didn’t want anything too formal so chose the much more casual Beas of Bloomsbury. This was another bargain at only £10 per person and that included a cupcake, a scone with jam and clotted cream, mini brownie + blondie, a marshmallow, mini meringues, a piece of shortbread and a pot of tea. That’s quite a deal and that’s per person not all together.
Was everything perfect, no there were some successful things and some disappointments. The cupcakes were great, thankfully using a raspberry meringue buttercream, which was a very welcome change. Unfortunately the brownie and shortbread were not to our tastes. The brownie had an odd taste to me it seemed like there was too much butter and it seemed to overpower the cocoa hit you should get. The shortbread tasted stale and was soft but seriously for just £10 it was still a steal. You could easily pay double this elsewhere for half the amount so we didn’t feel like it was a waste in any way and we would definitely go back but maybe not for the afternoon tea.
For our last meal out we finally went to Franco Manca the critically lauded pizza place in Brixton. I had wanted to go here for years but never made it over to Brixton thankfully a second branch opened recently in Chiswick, perfect for visiting from Hammersmith. A lot of care and thought goes into these pizzas with organic ingredients and a slow rising sourdough and this attention to detail appears to pay off. We both loved the pizza especially the sourdough bases, which had a wonderful flavour.
This will likely not make sense to anyone else but the bases reminded both of us of our mums pancakes, I think its probably down to the slight char and the sourdough tang. I might prefer a slightly crispier base but the flavours were so fresh and strong that I could easily change my preference and at about £10 a pizza this was another bargain.
On our last free day in London we decided to have a wander around Notting Hill visiting Melt Chocolates to buy my Mum a birthday present and grab lunch from Ottolenghi. This was our first visit to Melt and it will probably become a firm favourite, their version of salted caramel is my new top choice. We tried a couple different chocolates whilst in the shop including the wonderful peanut butter and jelly that I really liked in fact I kind of wish the present I bought was for me rather than my mum. For lunch we popped down the road and ducked into Ottolenghi to grab a quick lunch.
We both had the spicy butterbean soup and got dessert to take away. We both really enjoyed the soup and everything on display looks so tasty and enticing especially the sweet things on display at the front of the store, I defy anyone to walk past the window display and not feel a desire to indulge. Simon went for a pretzel brioche, which was just okay, nothing special. Basically a brioche shaped like a pretzel and coated in sugar really nothing to get excited about. My choice was however so much better. I went for the very popular passion fruit tart and boy did I love it, so much so in fact in my next post I will try to recreate it.