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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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A little bit of Morocco in East London

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Many thanks to the guys over @DesignMyNight for sharing this. An amazing Moroccan Medina style bar and restaurant has been opened on a Rooftop in East London. Situated at 1-5 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3JX with Old Street being the nearest Tube Station.

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Enjoy…..

 

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Oklava – ” I definitely can’t wait to return”

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The easiest way to start is review is to say that this is one of the best Turkish meal I’ve ever eaten, the flavours of each course were amazing.

This little restaurant set in the streets of Shoreditch was a real delight with a fantastic menu created by chef Selin Kiazim. When we looked at the menu, believe me, we just wanted to try everything but in the end, we went with the recommendations of our excellent & friendly waitress and so glad we did as they were fantastic choices. They also have a great selection of wine and most also seem to be by the glass

 

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They also have a great selection of wine and most also seem to be by the glass as well plus a great Izmir Beer.

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The restaurant has an opened kitchen so you can smell the amazing flavours before they reach the table. Well, I suppose I better get to the food which started with a delicious Baharat Spiced Bread & Date Butter before the amazing Pastirma Sausage & Grilled Hellim, this was followed by a stunning Flatbread which included Octopus, Ricotta & Caper Leaves then a fantastic Aubergine dish.

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I then came to the mains, Crispy Pomegranate Glazed Lamb & Seftali Kebab just food heaven. Do remember to leave room for dessert as you won’t want to miss out on these. One was a Kinefe a Crispy Kadayif & Cheese Pastry & the other a stunning Chocolate! Prune & Cardamom Delice matched with a delightful Turkish dessert wine. I definitely can’t wait to return and I would highly recommend a visit as the food, service and general friendliness of the place makes it a real pleasure.

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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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The Palomar

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Had been meaning to visit The Palomar restaurant for a while now to try a new type of cuisine from the heart of Jerusalem and I have to say I’m very glad to have done so.

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It’s a small but very friendly place as you walk in they have a walk in service where you can sit at the counter and watch the chefs work but we were lead through to the dining area at the back which was very nice & cozy. Our waitress Olge was excellent asking us if we’d been before then took us through the menu advising us of how many courses from each section we should order.

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We started with the Rip & Dip section where we had the most amazing Bread & dips along with Fish Falafel. We then had the special of the day which was a lovely dish that included White Crab Meat just stunning then onto the larger of the sharing menu dishes to which we had the amazing Octo-Hummus and the fantastic Jerusalem Mix with a side order of Josperised Aubergine plus a Fattoush Salad.

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All the dishes have this delicate charcoal,nutty and slightly creamy texture but taste delicious Now on to my favourite course of any meal Dessert and we weren’t let down in anyway we decided to go for the sharing dessert called a Jerusalem Mess which was fantastic but me being me I couldn’t settle for that and when I saw they had a Chocolate Fondue with Peanut Brittle I couldn’t resist and I’m so glad I didn’t it was gorgeous.

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Definitely looking forward to returning soon and I would highly recommend this restaurant

 

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The 2017 Annual Scotch Egg Challenge

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Now in it’s sixth year, the Scotch Egg Challenge has a serious following not only of Bar Snack enthusiasts, but some of the UK’s top chefs have put reputations on the line in the past. The 2017 event will take place at The Canonbury in Islington on 8 February and Favourite Tables will be popping along with our crack team of reporters and our world famous Scotch Egg sampling equipment, Lady FT….

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Chefs taking part will include defending champion and last years winner, Calum Franklin of the Holborn Dining Rooms as well as Robin Gill from The Dairy and chef’s from the Drapers Arms.

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Neil Rankin from Temper (who is on the judging panel for the Great Sausage Roll #RollOff) and Tom Anglesea from The Laughing Heart have also been confirmed. You can expect entries from a number of other restaurants and pubs across London and the UK.

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Judges for the event will include Fay Maschler from the Evening Standard, Ben Chapman of Smoking Goat and Kiln and Bob Granleese of the Guardian. Master of Ceremonies and compered will be Joe Warwick.

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The closing date for applications had been extended to 7 January 2017 but we understand is now closed. You can get further information about this event by getting in touch with Kerrianne at guinea@youngs.co.uk for more details.

The Scotch Egg Challenge 2017 will take place on 8 February 2016 at The Canonbury, 21 Canonbury Pl, London N1 2NS

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East End “Pie and Mash” comes to Cambridge

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Head Chef at the  Cambridge Chop House Chef Andrew Skipper, known as ‘Skip’ to friends will be opening Skip’s Pop Up Pie Shop in the upper shop part of the Kings’ Parade site whilst the main restaurant (downstairs) is being refurbished.

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Running from the 9th till the 13th of January and serving traditional East London style Pie, Mash and Liquor (or gravy for those who are not aficionados of the parsley and eel stock “liquor” sauce)

Skip who grew up in Ely but lived in East London for three or four years, used to once or twice a month on days off visit pie ‘n’ mash shops, his favourite was Manze’s.

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Established in 1902 Manze’s is now world famous and a favourite with the likes of David Beckham and also boasts some famous visitors/helpers including Chef Heston Blumenthal

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The Cambridge Chop House is part of Cambscuisine, a group of independent restaurants in and around Cambridge, which includes the Smokeworks, the Millworks and the St John’s Chop House.

Executive Head Chef, Sanyi Kiliti, said: “When Andrew spoke to me about his ideas for the pie shop, I immediately thought it was brilliant and perfect for Cambridge during the colder January period”. He added “everyone loves comfort food, and you never know, if it goes well we might even consider opening a permanent pie shop!”

 

The Steak and Ale pies will be made using a local real ale from the Milton brewery at Waterbeach just 6 miles from the restaurant.

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Chicken and Mushroom pie as well as Sausage and Mash will be on offer along with some fine wines by the glass and a selection of local real ales such as Justinian from the Milton Brewery.

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No bookings, just turn up!

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Skip’s Pop Up Pie Shop will be at The Cambridge Chop House, 1 King’s Parade, CB2 1SJ from January 9 to 13, 10 am to 10 pm.