The Waterside Inn

I still haven’t realised it fully, but yes, I got taken to The Waterside Inn for my birthday by my amazing husband!! And it was everything you’d expect it to be.

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Caxton grill

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Adam Handling

Whoever watched Professional Masterchef have noticed how talented the young Adam Handling was. His classic style with beautifully presented dishes definitely made him a top chef to watch and for all to be inspired by. We went to check him out at the Caxton Grill and it was a great experience! Continue reading

The Three Chimneys

People say you must have the full tasting menu, especially if you have planned a whole trip around this restaurant, and so we did!

Their menu is available on their website so I am adding a copy here, and if you don’t want to read all my spoilers, I can tell you that there was something incredible in each course. If you are unsure, I will allow myself to make some comments here to help you decide between the full and the “wee” tasting menu.
2014-04-27 20.42.16The crab was a favourite of mine in part because the presentation looked SO beautiful and it’s so rare that I hesitate before breaking this kind of chef d’oeuvre with my hungry fork, and also because of this incredible shellfish jelly that topped the crab parfait. It was sweet and intense and so different, a dish that must have taken some serious work to uplift to such perfection.
The smoked fish was one of my least favourite. A theatrical entrance for a not so refine dish I found. A delicious combination of flavour but maybe a little too “comfy” cooking to what I was expecting and quite a big portion too.
The lobster and prawn dish was delicious and probably the least surprising with old time favourite flavour combination of fennel with shellfish. The various textures of the fennel were incredible and the whole dish felt very comforting.
2014-04-27 21.32.07Now the scallops….this was my favourite dish of the whole meal. I described it to the waiter when he picked my perfectly licked plate and he laughed when I said that Michael Smith had some nerves to serve this. In a good way of course. I have never been keen on scallops with very salty combinations such as chorizo, black pudding and other Chinese soy sauce version, but I never had scallops served with such bitter friends such as practically raw asparagus and blood orange. It was as if the scallops have been cooked in sugar, the bitterness brought their sweetness under the spotlight of your taste buds. I am so glad they were King scallops and that we had 2 of them, I lingered on that dish and really hope that I made the most of it by mixing every single ingredient on the plate together for each mouthful. I wish I could hear about what real food critics have to say about this dish.

I then went for the Oysters and 3 of them were served: 2 natural, and one with cucumber jelly. I love oysters just the way they are but I found that the cucumber jelly added something sweet to the salty oyster taste and it really worked for me. It is quite risky to serve oysters that way as the jelly really doesn’t help for people who are a bit unsure about the oyster texture.

My husband tells me the lamb was delicious and perfectly cooked. And that brought us to more meat with the hare. This dish was too salty for me, and hid the taste of rhubarb and ginger completely.

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Seafood trail on the West Coast of Scotland

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Turning 30 was harder than I thought and I was glad to escape busy London for a few days. We always celebrate birthdays and anniversaries at a nice restaurant and this year we’ve upgraded to a full 4 day trip following the seafood theme!
The restaurant I am talking about is of course the Three Chimneys on Skye. Michael Smith, head-chef and director, uses only locally sourced produces and makes the most of the Scottish West Coast amazing seafood. Before this Finale we had to feed ourselves and I never thought we would find such amazing places on our way. Find more about our meal at the Three Chimneys here, and continue reading for infos on nice seafood restaurants and accommodations. Continue reading

Musselmen

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We went to this fantastic take on the Sunday roast at the Musselmen: Sea food Sunday roast! Incredibly fresh shell fish served with chips and vegetables, yorkshire pudding and different sauces. This platter was for two and it was more than enough. I had a glass of their white wine and my husband got a bottle of Brew Dog and we had a lovely time with our friends Mariam and Eoghan.

2014-03-09 14.13.14My favourite bit on the platter was definitely the battered soft shell crab, the batter was amazingly light and crispy and not greasy at all. The gratinated oyster was also good, I usually prefer them raw with lemon but I guess cooking and hiding them in a nice sauce might push people to try them more easily. The mussels, the langoustines, the prawns and the razors were all served boiled, which makes a pretty healthy lunch! It was the first time I had razors, I found the texture and taste quite similar to sea snails.

The whole deal is £20, which might be more than you spend on an usual Sunday Roast, but if you like sea food, this is a bargain! Don’t forget to book a table early on the Sunday as they WILL run out! If they do run out though, you can still get their £45 deal for 2 with: mussels, fries, a bottle of Prosecco and 2 waffles! Also tested and loved!

The young scottish lady who’s part of the original Musselmen gang from Edinburgh is in charge of the service and she is always friendly and full of energy. She is very attentive and really made us feel welcome, whether you have the East London trendy looks or not! We are local to the area and would love to see more places like this!

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Introduction to the Waterhouse Restaurant

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It seems that my life keeps having restaurants as main landmarks. The Waterhouse Restaurant became one of my homes when we chose it for our wedding dinner party. I know I am going on and on about doing everything yourself for your wedding, but after making lunch, cakes, flower arrangements and all the rest I thought I did deserve to relax and enjoy a good meal.

Since we got engaged and married within 3 months, there was no time to waste to find a restaurant for our dinner party. We wanted a place we could rent for the whole night, with a friendly relaxed atmosphere and an amazing menu. The Waterhouse ticked all the boxes and the cherry on the cake was the location: across the road from our flat! We first went there on a sunny summer evening for dinner and had a lovely meal on their balcony overlooking the canal. Their menu offered enough to please everybody and each course was beautifully presented and executed. It really sounds like the perfect place, I know…but there is more!

The Waterhouse restaurant is owned by the Shoreditch Trust, a Hackney based charity which supports and gives opportunities to young people with difficulties to find employment. The restaurant offers kitchen and service training to a large group of talented young chefs and waitresses (and waiters) who just need a little push on their CV to gain access to a big London restaurant. Their head chef, Amrit, is full of energy and love for his job and  has a real passion to transmit to all these people everything he knows about cooking. He told us what an amazing challenge and opportunity it would be for his team to cook and look after us for the most important day of our life. Some people might see this as a drawback, since nothing is ever perfect when you deal with a team in training, but we saw it as our chance to do something good and not waste our money in a restaurant that would consider our big day as a way to make money.

Our wedding dinner was perfect, they spoiled us with a 5 course meal that was carefully designed in advance and each of our guest could pick their own dishes. The quantity and quality was more than I could ever expect from any restaurant catering for 20 people. From the original and freshly-made canapés, delicious savoury dishes with a palate cleanser in between to incredible desserts, everyone was impressed and I will never repeat it enough, the scallops were the best I’ve ever had! Their wine list was perfect as it was and we picked what we wanted to match our food.

We went back a few times during the past 6 months and I kept thinking how much I would love to be involved in such a fantastic organisation. After our latest meal there for Valentine’s night, I finally got the courage to ask Amit if I could be of any help in his kitchen. He was delighted to see that I would be interested to learn and share tips with him and his team and I was on their kitchen rota 10 days later!

I want to write everything I learn in this kitchen and share it all with you! Having a full time job means I can only do one night a week but I am sure I will still be learning plenty of tricks and hopefully some of my recipes might end up on their menu one day. Check out here for posts covering my kitchen adventure!

Kaiseki by Kitchen Theory

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We are renovating the bathroom at the moment so our little flat is covered with dust and no way I am baking or cooking in this mess. Luckily, our foodie friend Wenying invited me to the House of Wolf on Wednesday for the first night of Kaiseki by Kitchen Theory. It was so incredible that I had to share it with you.

To put it straight: 9 courses of japanese classic dishes cooked by 2 chefs who worked in Michelin-starred restaurants (Fat DuckHelene DarrozzeSketchInicio and more….) lasting more than 3h in a beautiful room with an amazing service showing incredible attention to detail. All of this for £55! (Drinks not included)

Be aware the pictures and descriptions might be a bit of a spoiler… but if you want to try it and not sure what this is all about, scroll down and have a look at these wonderful plates of food. Yes yes, you have to go!

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We started by watching a 15 minute film with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a bowl of salty popcorn. For me that was something between me and my dinner and therefore unnecessary, as I am not an arty person in the slightness. But then came the first course and what a sight! Each table got served at the same time, each dish was explained in detail and at no point did I feel rushed or intruded upon, the service was simply perfect.

The first course called Hassun- ‘Night garden’ selection of appetizers was one of my favourites. It shows the different phases of the moon formed by cauliflower panacotta topped with roasted quinoa. The confit garlic dust was incredible and I will never forget the earthiness of the 2 mochi stones filled with Jerusalem artichoke purée. This dish was accompanied by a tapioca and aloe vera cocktail topped with smoke from wheatgrass dry ice. Very molecular and very theatrical!

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The second dish called Mukozuke-Sashimi with smoked dashi pearls is also at the top of my favourite list. The sashimis were blow-torched in front of us while the dish was described to us. It was very fresh and colourful and we loved the salty smoky dashi pearls as a replacement for boring old soy sauce.

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The third dish was Owanomono- Mushroom consomme with an ‘eternal life’ Tofu noodle, a good way to wish happiness and a long life to us all. Again, very theatrical with someone pipping the tofu noodle into a delicious mushroom soup. I loved our little spoonful of extras to add to the soup ourselves.

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The 4th course was Yakimono- Selection of Yakitori grills. Very simple and very delicious. We thought the emphasis was a bit too much on the nori than the beef, and I would have preferred a bigger piece of beef and a smaller one of tofu. I am not a fan of tofu at all but I really enjoyed this dish and the previous one. The honey/plum infused tofu had such a creamy texture like I’ve never had before, it reminded me of a creme brulée. The mackerel was the hit of the plate for both of us, perfectly cooked with a glaze of soy and mirin.

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The next dish was Sunimono- Seaweed salad. It was refreshing and we welcomed back some colours after our brown plate of yakitoris, but it was more of a bean salad for me topped with a few seaweed leaves than an actual seaweed salad. The pink fish-stock coral didn’t really work for us as it didn’t bring much to the dish.

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The 6th and 7th courses were served together. I will forever remember that pickled rhubarb, what a kick! I must admit I am not a big fan of tempura vegetables, but the batter was light and crispy, and I loved the lotus root tempura. Wenying promised she would take me to a chinese place where they do lotus root soup, apparently the best way to cook these crunchy roots.

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Another star for me, the last savoury dish Gohan- uruchimai (Japanese rice) squid ink risotto. Superb flavours, shocking black colour in the only white plate of the night. The scallop biscuit floating like a boat on the black sea of rice rescuing the prawn. A Life of Pi food scene! A surprising dish yet comforting, I could eat this everyday!

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Mizumonno- ‘Land of the rising sun’ dessert or Glory to Rhubarb. Do not make the same mistake as me by watching this beautiful plate too long or the rhubarb granita will melt away and you’ll have to ask for a spoon to finish it off! (which is what I did). Rhubarb tapioca pearls, rhubarb granita, rhubarb jelly, almond crumble, yoghurt meringue and vanilla cream, simply yummy!!

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