Favourite Tables

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Haywards Restaurant

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There are many reasons why I’m a frequent diner at Haywards but the main ones are:

1) the food is always amazing created by Chef Jahdre Hayward and his wonderful team

2) the wine which we often asked to be matched with each course is chosen superbly by Restaurant Manager Amanda Hayward

3) the service is very professional from the excellent young and friendly waiters/waitresses and it was a pleasure to have witnessed all three once again on Saturday of last week as we took friends to experience a Tasting Menu & Matched Wines evening.

On arrival, we were greeted so warmly before being shown to our table where we enjoyed a lovely cocktail while perusing the menu. It didn’t take us long to decide that we were all going to have the Tasting Menu. After enjoying some delightful snacks it was time for the first course a fabulous Chicken Leg & Sweetbread Ravioli with a Roast Chicken Consommé.

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Our second course was the Optional Extra Course of Scallop, Octopus, Red Pepper Purée & Chorizo Foam serves in the Scallop Shell. This led us onto the fantastic Mushroom Risotto topped with Black Truffle We then moved on to a beautiful fish course of a Fillet of Cod and a Brussels Sprout Purée before going on to the main course a Braised Short Rib of Beef with miso & aubergine purée which was equally as fantastic.

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Before moving onto to the desserts we all decided to have the additional cheese course as the restaurant has a wonderful selection of British & Irish Cheeses.

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Now it was time for dessert and another memorable dish a nice a light Chocolate & Hazelnut Mousse with an Orange Sorbet & Yoghurt Foam we then received a lovely surprise as the Chef sent us out an extra dessert a stunning Apple Crumble Soufflé & Cinnamon Ice Cream which brought us to an end of a very memorable evening.

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I would really like to Thank all of the team at Haywards for such a fantastic evening. To Jahdre for the amazing food, to Amanda & assistant Anne for the wine selection which included a delightful wine from a local supplier Parvills Farm in Epping and to the waitresses for exceptional service. This restaurant to me is the Best in Essex and the county really should be so proud of it and one that should definitely be placed on anyone’s places to dine lists

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A very Dog Friendly Brunch at Bellanger

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Set on the quiet pedestrian-only section of Islington Green, Bellanger a French style brasserie was a ideal location for our catch-up brunch with family and of course office dog Alfie.

It was Alfie who was first to receive a very warm welcome from General Manager, Scott Laurie and the front of house team. A simply beautiful restaurant with a warm atmosphere as soon as you walk in. Once we were shown to our table a bowl of water and a bone shaped hand-made biscuit appeared, for Alfie that is…

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Some warm bread, water and the Brunch menus followed. We were given a good amount of time to read the menus and make our selections.Very welcoming but discreet staff and a great menu

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Steak Tartare, Escargots à la Persillade and Salmon Rillettes with Toasted Sourdough were the Hors D’oeuvres chosen.( The pretty woman quote “slippery little suckers” was uttered)

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Mains of T-Bone Pork Chop with Sour Cherry Sauce, Confit Duck with Wild Mushrooms & Red Wine Jus, Grilled Plaice with Capers and Brown Butter Sauce and Choucroute à L’alsacienne (salted & smoked pork belly, ham hock, frankfurter, ham & garlic sausage and montbélier sausage, served on pickled cabbage)

 

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Four adults and a Cockapoo had a very pleasant afternoon brunch with a few glasses of Pommery Brut Royal NV and Fitou ‘Origines’ 2015, Bertrand-Bergé.

We would be delighted to recommend Bellanger and our only fault…they don’t have a Cambridge restaurant

 

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The Ritz Restaurant

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An absolutely stunning meal in what is a fantastic hotel is the only way to describe our recent dining experience. From the moment we arrived, we were amazed by the exquisite decor and the friendly and professional staff who looked after us and made us feel so welcome.

As you make your way down the beautiful corridor, passing where they serve afternoon tea, to the end where you are presented with a gorgeous view of the amazing dining room to where the fantastic experience begins as the waiters & sommelier take over and I have to say the service was of the highest order.

While we looked at the menu we enjoyed a lovely glass of Charles Heidsieck Champagne. Our decision was to go for the Menu Surprise which was to be a Six Course Tasting Menu. Choosing not to have the Matched Wines we decided to select our own wines with the help and excellent advice from the sommelier.

So now we move onto the food to which under the inspiration of Chef John Williams was as amazing as the dining room itself. We started with some delightful snacks before moving onto our first course a fantastic Foie Gras dish with a slice of toasted brioche this was followed by a heavenly Langoustine course then it was a Celeriac dish which was prepared at the table.

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The sauce for the following Turbot fish course was also prepared in front of us at the table. Then the main dish, a truly outstanding Beef Wellington which was absolutely stunning & matched with a superb Barbera D’Alba red wine.

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Our next course was cheese but with a difference, a delightful Goats Cheese twill with pear before the main dessert a Chocolate mousse with a chestnut purée and topped with Meringue Straws. With our coffee, we were served delicious petit fours to finish our amazing lunch.

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Definitely, an experience not to be forgotten and one we will remember for a long time. This is certainly a restaurant I would highly recommend as I would this magnificent hotel, where the attention you get even before you enter the dining room is hospitality at its finest. It wouldn’t be a hard decision to return again soon.

 

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Core by Clare Smyth

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When I heard the news that Clare Smyth was going to open her own restaurant my excitement on waiting for this to happen was very high having tasted her food at Restaurant Gordon Ramsey and also that she had Rob Rose as her Restaurant Director you just knew this was going to be a fantastic dining experience. So when the day came that you could book I couldn’t wait and yesterday we went and believe me it was just the amazing experience that I thought it would be.


Set in a lovely location on Kensington Park Road a short walk from Notting Hill Station. As you enter the warm and friendly greeting that you receive is delightful and makes you feel very relaxed straight away. We decided to enjoy two excellent cocktails before lunch in the bar where the staff were very engaging. We had the Milk Punch and a specially made cocktail consisting of White & Dark Rum and Mandarin. Then came a wonderful surprise as we were being shown to a table, that we thought would be in the restaurant itself instead we were seated at the Chefs Table from where you see into the open kitchen and see everything happening before your very eyes and yes it was amazing to see.

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So now we are greeted by Restaurant Manager Davide and the friendliness & professionalism continued as we were given a nice complimentary glass of Sparkling Wine while we looked at the menu. We decided to have the Tasting Menu this which started with a fantastic selection of snacks that included Gougeres, Duck Wings and Jellied Eel. This led to our first course and what a way to start with a stunning Isle of Mull Scallop full of amazing flavours of the sea this was followed by the Charlotte Potato with herring & trout roe to be followed by a delightful Skate with shrimps & brown butter. With the experience already living up to the expectations, we then moved on to the fantastic Lamb Braised Carrot with sheep’s milk yoghurt plus delightful dumplings before the highlight of the menu a stunning Roast Grouse with red cabbage & bell heather just heavenly.

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All of the courses were matched superbly by a fantastic selection of wines chosen by the excellent Sommelier.

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Now onto the desserts with a nice & light Cherry Bakewell dish before a sublime Pear and Verbena with Poire Williams sorbet then while enjoying ”this dessert out came an extra and it was amazing, a glorious Pain Perdu with figs, honey & verjus matched again with a superb Sweet Wine this rounded off a truly outstanding dining experience.

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I have to say that every expectation was met with the food & service being 1st class. I really can’t see it being long before the awards start rolling in with Clare at the helm and her excellent Head Chef Jonny Bone who it was a delight to have met and a great team behind her you can only see this restaurant rise to the top. So yes I would highly recommend a visit, I for one will definitely be returning soon.

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I have to say visiting this restaurant was a truly delightful experience with great food good wine and a very friendly atmosphere. Had heard about this place a couple of years ago decided to keep my eye on it and liked everything I was hearing so yesterday to the Kings Road Chelsea we went . The restaurant is situated about half way between Fulham Broadway & Sloane Square and has a real local feel. A nice friendly greeting on arrival then shown to our table to enjoy a lovely G&T to which they have a good selection while we looked at the menu.. A very appetising Lunch menu with a good choice of starters , mains and desserts . We decided to have the Mackerel Tartare & the Wood Pigeon Boudin & both were very delicious indeed then on to the mains which were the Suckling Pig Loinwith Glazed Cheek which was amazing & the Boudin of Corn Fed Chicken and also fantastic these courses were superbly matched with great wine chosen by the sommelier. So next we’re the desserts a Strawberry & Prosecco Jelly a delightful light dessert & the Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel which was heaven as was the Sweet Wine to match . To finish was some delightful Petit Fours to go with our nice selection of teas. So glad to have finally visited and will definitely return and would also highly recommend that if your in the area to pop you will not be disappointed

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Randall and Aubin – Soho

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Randall and Aubin – Soho: This is by far my favourite restaurant. I first stumbled upon R&A in 2001 after leaving a disappointing West End show. I try and go back every time we visit London. The restaurant is a relaxed informal place with an energetic vibe. The staff are amazing; very attentive without being intrusive. Great menu. Lots of fish but also lots of other choices.

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There is a great Fruits de Mer showpiece dish to share. The wine is excellent and well chosen. My favourite thing about this restaurant is being seated at bench tables with other diners who you inevitably end up talking with and having a great time. I always leave R&A really happy (and probably a little drunk) after having a great dining experience. I’ve eaten here about a dozen times now over 16 years and every time the service, food and atmosphere are outstanding.

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Kricket

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Had the most amazing mind blowing meal last night.

 

Indian tapas…… every single dish was full of taste and flavour… a taste sensation.  Beautifully presented and served.

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Staff were very friendly and informative about the dishes.  Understood what we liked and advised accordingly.  I could not pick out a favourite dish, but “must try” are the Fried Chicken, the Bhel puri, raw mango, tamarind, sev, yogurt, Butter garlic crab, seaweed papad and the samphire pakoras, date & tamarind chutney, chilli garlic mayonnaise.

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Very reasonable prices and a lovely vibrant restaurant. Felt very at home and comfortable, could have stayed all evening.

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Typing Room

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A great Menu inspired by Lee Westcott with perfectly matched wines from sommelier Fred Marti together with excellent service this was indeed a fantastic dining experience.

 

A lovely friendly welcome and a nice glass of champagne while we looked at the menu and as in previous visits we chose the Tasting Menu but this time we also chose to have matching drinks I say drinks because it was a mixture of wine & saki .

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After having some delightful snacks came the first highlight the fantastic IPA Sourdough bread with Marmite butter I’ll just say it’s amazing. Then came the first course of Dorset Char an absolute delight this was followed by the signature Cauliflower dish it’s just unbelievable what you can do with this vegetable.

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This was followed by the highlight of th e Menu of Cod , calpots , chicken & black garlic such a fantastic dish next was the main course of Pork Collar , hospital cabbage & baked apple simply delicious. We then went for the cheese course it was a lovely selection of cheese which was matched with a Plum Saki .

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Finally dessert of Sheeps yoghurt, apple & dill which finished a truly great meal. All the staff were very friendly & professional making our lunch very memorable & already thinking of returning very soon.

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I do like the open kitchen and it’s amazing that despite so much going on to produce amazing food the kitchen was so quiet. I would definitely recommend a visit if you like modern food cooked to perfection & some great wine & service

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A Chefs Table feature on the family run Haywards

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Jahdre Hayward was born in Bermuda, at 15 he moved to the United States to live with his aunt and uncle while he studied culinary arts in Tampa Florida. When his studies were complete he moved to the UK and gained a commis job at The Savoy Hotel, London under Anton Edelmann, where he progressed quickly up the rankings to Chef de Partie. Jahdre`s employment in London and the Home Counties also includes Hanbury Manor, Rules Restaurant, the Oxo Tower, Novelli in the City and The Ritz.

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Amanda Hayward was born and brought up in Essex and lived in the family owned traditional 17th century free house the Forest Gate Inn which is situated on the outskirts of Epping Forest and the charming market town of Epping.  Amanda knew from an early age she was interested in cooking and after leaving school she took a place at Westminster College and trained to be a chef. She has gained experience in many fine restaurants in London and abroad including Simpsons on the Strand, London Capital Club, and then started her own catering company.

Jahdre met Amanda when they both worked at The London Capital Club. They travelled to Australia in 2003 and Jahdre worked briefly at Guillaume at Bennelong, Sydney Opera House whilst experiencing life in Australia. They returned to London for 3 years before migrating to Australia and settling in Melbourne. Jahdre worked as a sous chef at The National Gallery then moved on to become head chef at the Melbourne Wine Room followed by The Millswyn Restaurant. Amanda whilst in Melbourne went from being a chef to a waiter and after working at Grossi Florentino`s and Maze by Gordon Ramsey went on to work at Circa, The Prince and became assistant restaurant manager of the two hat restaurant.

After five and a half years in Melbourne and gaining Australian citizenship, Jahdre and Amanda decided to return to the UK to oversee the development of Haywards in the grounds of the family owned pub the Forest Gate Inn.

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The restaurant was converted from an old coach house, stable and skittle alley. Amanda and Jahdre oversaw the whole process to create their dream restaurant, sympathetically restoring the buildings and retaining many original features. Haywards opened in May 2013 and has gone from strength to strength and both Amanda and Jahdre are passionate about continuous development and progression for the business. The Haywards kitchen garden is thriving and the restaurant has been working with a local bee keeper to keep some bee colonies and produce their own honey.

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With Jadhre’s global background, our questions were many.  Here are some of them:

Influences – now and then?

“My grandmother, with her love of food and family, was really inspiring and I used to love to watch her in the kitchen.  The chef who has really influenced me is Brett Graham at The Ledbury.  His passion for the industry and for sourcing quality local produce is something that we have adopted at Haywards.  He is also passionate about his customers and our many conversations have influenced decisions we have made”

What are your views on the difference between Australian and British restaurant industries? 

“There are quite a lot of differences between restaurants and food styles.  All are positive differences, and in terms of gaining experience and developing my career, I feel very privileged to have worked in many great restaurants in both locations.   Australian restaurants are often slightly Asian inflenced and there are many different products available and not so much emphasis on the seasons. Due to the warmer climates across the country there is more produce available year round.  There is also access to beautiful and more unusual fresh fish such as snapper, barramundi (similar to sea bass and delicious!) and yabbies, which I love.  However, here in the UK I really enjoy the fact that our native produce is seasonal and we can change our menus accordingly.  We also have fantastic, quality British produce and our scallops are amazing!”

If you were not a chef – where would you be now? 

“My career path was destined to been an aircraft mechanic but whilst studying, I took a part time job in a kitchen and my fate was sealed!”

Are there restaurants you would like to go to? 

“If I am lucky enough to travel to the Far East again, I would love to dine at Sukiabashi Jiro, a three Michelin starred sushi restaurant in Japan.  Another three Michelin starred restaurant is Michel Bras in France which is also high on my list.

Haywards Honey – what is your favourite honey dish? 

“We have a beautiful dish on our menu described as Honey, Dill, Almond.  It is a honey parfait garnished with honeycomb, bee pollen and dill ice cream”

A chef to work with – past or present? 

“I would love to work alongside Michael Caines.  I have dined at Gidleigh Park twice and really admire him for his determination, drive and skill” I saw that his latest venue Lympstone Manor is featured on favourite tables so I will be booking dinner there soon.

Finally – where are your favourite tables? 

One of my favourite tables has to be The Ledbury in Notting Hill.  Always an amazing experience and I love everything about this restaurant.

I also think The Artichoke in Amersham is a fantastic restaurant.   They are gaining a lot of recognition but deserve more!

Finally, I celebrated my birthday just before Christmas at the Bildeston Crown in Suffolk.  We had a wonderful stay and a really great meal in their restaurant so I am sure that they will go on to achieve great things.

 

 


 

 

 

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Cafe Spice Namaste

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We had a fantastic Indian meal at Cafe Spice Namaste in east London and its so different to your local restaurant. We experienced such an amazing array of stunning Indian flavours and spices that enhanced each dish. On arrival you get a nice friendly greeting then you get to see the menu and believe me you want to order everything as it all sounds fantastic. We in the end decided to go for the Tasting Menu which includes 3 glasses of wine and we were also told that it is actually unlimited food, so when you say stop they will then serve you Dessert to finish.

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The exciting thing is that you don’t know what dishes you will be getting until it arrives, which to us was a great idea. We managed to survive 10 courses before surrendering and having Dessert .

So it all started with popadoms & dips followed by Samosa , potato cake , fish fingers , a sweet and crunchy rice , duck , chicken , prawns with spinach , salmon and cheese then to curry dishes of chicken and finally lamb that forced us into submission so we’re then served dessert to finish. This was a delightful spicy creme brûlée.

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Most of the dishes were brought to us by our very friendly waitress Martina . I have to say I will definitely recommend a visit and I will be returning soon to sample more of Cyrus Todiwala’s dishes and those amazing flavours