London – Eat Tokyo

20191019_10Eat Tokyo is the name of a fantastic Japanese restaurant. It was recommended to me by a Japanese friend a few years ago so I first tried its food some years ago. I like it a lot but it was always very busy with long queues outside waiting for a table so I gave up on it.  I think since then they have opened a few more branches thus the queue is not so long anymore.  However, I came across it again, at a different branch, totally unexpected after another one of my long walks around Hyde Park and Kensington. This time I was tired, thirsty, and hungry and there it was appearing seemingly in front of me. I was dreading the long wait for a table and when I went in there was already a big crowd of people in the waiting area. Fortunately, we were the only 2 wanting a table for 2. The others were looking for larger tables for 4 so we only had to wait around 10 minutes before we got a table. And here was what we ordered.

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Salmon Bento
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Teriyaki Bento

We both went for the Bento box option as we found this to be the easiest and the best value.  Both of the bento boxes ordered had Salmon but the Salmon bento had a bigger piece of salmon with fish cakes and some lovely raw salmon as well as some pieces of chicken and separate bowl of rice.  The Teriyaki bento had lots more chicken pieces, a smaller piece of salmon, sushi and rice was inside the box.   Service was excellent.  Very quick and efficient and despite it being very busy the atmosphere was somehow quiet and relaxing.  The bento box portions were big and everything was delicious.

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Miso soup and green tea

We feasted ourselves and despite going into it very hungry we almost couldn’t finish it.  But there was no way we could left such good food behind so we sat there until we manged to finish everything.  As a result we came out of the restaurant almost two hours later feeling that we could burst.  Oh, you also get free miso soup and we ordered green tea to wash it all down.  See the receipt below. 20191019_15-2

For a Japanese restaurant in the heart of London the price is very good value and what’s more there’s no service charge.  I’m well pleased with this bargain and highly recommend the place.  They have several branches around London and sometimes you’ll have to wait a while for a table as they are in high demand.

Below are the videos of our walk in Hyde Park and Kensington  (parts 1 & 2).  We found this restaurant at Notting hill gate after our walk in Hyde Park and Kensington Palace.  To see more of my walking videos don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel at: goody2shoos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

London – The Meat Co.

20190921_151244-30This place was recommended by my friend. She had been there before and loved it so for our meetup she wanted to come again so I could try it myself.  After feasting ourselves with these dishes, I had to agree.  It was delicious.

The restaurant is located in the centre of the busy Shepherd’s Bush shopping area practically next to the station.  The first big surprise was how spacious the place was.  It has two floors by the look of it with ample space, the tables were set a good distance apart so it doesn’t feel cramped and stuffy.  Very modern decor with an African theme (I guess it’s an African restaurant).   We arranged to meet for lunch and I went with an empty stomach ready to eat anything.  We got to our table quickly and ordered the below.

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Shepherd’s Pie

This must be one of the best Shepherd’s pie I’ve ever had.  The beef were tender and full of flavour.  The mashed potato creamy, just the right consistently without being watery that are often the case with mashed potato.  Either that, or very usually, nowadays, the mashed potatoes are done in advance and left in the fridge.  then probably get warmed up in the microwave when required so that it loses its creaminess giving it an artificial kind of taste.  This mashed potato was freshly done, very creamy and smooth.  I’m sure the potato must also come from a well grown type that was cultivated especially for mashing as it has a lovely, soft natural creamy flavour (no doubt helped along by a good dollop of cream or butter).  The whole thing sat on an equally wholesome gravy, all topped up with a lovely, flaky, puffy pastry.  The whole dish was simply delicious.

20190922_231322-20 This dish is a salmon fillet on a bed of risotto rice. The rice was tender and again very creamy. I have no doubt lots of cream/butter were used to make it but who cares. It melts in your mouth making you want more. I’d be happy to eat this dish any time, any day.

I think these two dishes would have been enough to satisfy us as the portions were big.  However, we were hungry when we went in and not realizing how big the portions were we ordered a couple of extra side dishes:  Chips and Macaroni Cheese as below.

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The chips were proper big, chunky chips, all hot and fluffy inside but crispy outside.  These chips were definitely double or probably even triple fried to give it that lovely texture.  The Macaroni Cheese was just as well done.  All in all, the whole meal was simply one of the best.   20190921_165832-20Can’t fault it.  The only down side was that it was a bit too much for us.  We were so stuffed we couldn’t finish the lot and had to leave a few chips and some macaroni behind.  I hate wasting food, especially one as good as this but we simply could not finish it.  The upside was that as we went there during lunch time, the waitress charged us lunch menu price for the main courses making the meal cheaper than it would have been.  See receipt for the cost of the meal.

After stuffing our faces out we had to go our for the obligatory walk.  As I’ve never been to the Shepherd’s Bush area before and there is a large shopping centre right there so we went for a walk inside the shopping mall.   Unfortunately, I got stopped and was told we’re not allowed to film there hence the video is just a very short one.  Below is the short video of our walk.  Enjoy.  For more walking videos of London, make sure to look up and subscribe to my YouTube channel at: goody2shoos.

London – My Old Dutch

My Old Dutch is a pancake eatery with branches around London.  We stumbled across it by accident while walking around Kensington.   We had been walking around Portobello market, had our lunch at the market and wanted to try some giant doughnuts at a doughnut stall we saw earlier for dessert.  However, after we have had our lunch we were unable to find the doughnut stall.  We had to give up on it and continued our walk into Kensington.  We spotted this pancake house a couple of hours later in our walk and eagerly went in to try it out.   They do both savoury and sweet pancakes.  We decided to try the sweet pancakes as substitutes for the giant doughnuts we missed earlier.

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Banana, Nuts, Choc pancake
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Fruit Salad pancake

These were the two pancakes we ordered.  They were enormous.  My estimate is that they were a20190511_194931-20bout 30cm in diameter and was literally a meal in itself.   They were delicious and we had no problem gobbling them up and clean the plate.

Here’s the receipt. Not cheap for a pancake but it was good and we were ravenous at the time so this was what we needed to refuel and continue with our walk.

Next time, if I come across it, and need a meal, I shall try the savoury pancakes
Below is the video of our walk in Portobello market and Kensington.  For more walking videos of London, look up my YouTube channel call:  goody2shoos.

Enjoy!

 

London – Din Tai Fung

20181216_124439Din Tai Fung is a famous Taiwanese restaurant.  According to information I gleaned about it, Din Tai Fung has about 250 restaurants around Asia.  However, it only opened its very first restaurant in Europe, in December 2018 in London, Convent Garden.   There was a lot of media fan-fare running up to the opening; that’s how I got to hear about it, and what got my attention was that this restaurant is famous for their dumplings called Xiao Long Bao.  I can’t understand how this could be possible because this was a dish I dislike the most out of all the dishes you can order when you go to have dim sum.   But this dish is apparently what made the restaurant so famous that a queue of up to 4-5 hours occurred when the restaurant opened in some parts of Asia.  A similar wait is expected for the very first opening in London’s Convent Garden and they don’t take bookings.  You just have to turn up and wait for your seat.

A few weeks after its opening I decided to go and see.  When I arrived there was indeed a long queue snaking around with a 2+ hours wait.   This was a cold January, winter day, and I was not prepared to wait in the cold so long for lunch so gave it a miss and went over to China town to have my usual dim sum instead.

A few months later, during the Easter holiday on 21 April 2019 I went again.  Things were much better this time.  I couldn’t see a queue but as it turned out, they have set up a digital queuing system where you give the attendance your name and phone number.  They then text you when your table is ready so you don’t have to wait in line.  And this time our table was ready in around 10 minutes.  We finally made it in to try out the famous Xiao Long Bao.

Ordering was easy.  You fill out your order form as below:

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Below are the four dishes and two drinks we ordered:

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20190506_225803 This is the famous Xiao Long Bao.   This restaurant does many different types of fillings for their bao but we decided to stick to the standard traditional pork bao and I can report it is as good as they made it out to be.  The skin are thin and silky.  The fillings are fresh, wholesome with tasty soups inside each bao.  This was the one dish I usually avoid when I go to dim sum but here I can easily eat a few basket of it even though there are eight of them per basket.  The only thing stopping me was the price.  As you can see it is expensive at £10.50 for eight tiny little baozi.

In fact, all the dishes we tried were delicious.  However,  the portions are tiny in all of them.  See the bill below for our four dishes and two drinks.

20190421_181659I guess the price is to be expected for its prime location in central London.  And it is a big restaurant sitting up to 250 people.

Watch my video of the day below where you will get to see the restaurant and the kitchen staff in their white overall with face masks looking like some clinical researchers and the walk around Convent Garden and central London afterward.

Below are some pictures of random pages from the menu to give you an idea of other dishes and prices.

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London – Cafe Rouge

After the fiasco with the last Groupon voucher (see here) I wasn’t going to go back and use Groupon vouchers again, at least for a very long time.  However, the refund I got from the fiasco was in the form of a Groupon credit so I had to make use of the credit.

It just so happen that I was having another meetup with a friend and whenever we meet we have always went for a meal using Groupon so not wanting to disrupt our plan and I’ve always wanted to go and try a meal at Cafe Rouge.

Cafe Rouge is a chain of restaurants serving French food.  It’s a well established chain of restaurants so I don’t think its Canary Wharf branch would easily disappear causing the hassles we had the last time we wanted to use our Groupon voucher.  And this time, I booked our table and brought the voucher just one day before our meal, instead of doing it more than a month beforehand (as last time) giving time for the restaurant to disappear before we had the chance to use the voucher.

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Boeuf Bourguignon

I think I made the right decision as this restaurant didn’t disappoint. It was a lovely, spacious restaurant. We were there on a Sunday afternoon, it was a quiet time. Service was warm and friendly. We were allowed to sit there and chat for ages. To top it all off, the meal was excellent.  I had the Boeuf Bourguigon.  It is one of the best beef dishes I’ve ever had.  From the creamy, buttery, smash potato down to the rich red wine sauce, everything in that dish was just perfect and worked so well together.  The beef was tender, the bacon crispy, even the slice of onion was tasty and I usually leave the onion bits out.  Here, I could easily eat the whole onion.  The red wine sauce could not be faulted.  It was rich and had a definitive red wine taste and fragrance.   I have had this dish in a different restaurant before and the sauce was always a sort of watery reddish liquid.   This dish here is the real thing.  I shall make a point of coming back here again.

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Bouillabaisse

My friend had the Bouillabaisse.  It is a fish stew and contains mussels, hake, salmon and prawn.  She confirmed it was equally delicious. Needless to say both of us licked the plates clean.

Our Groupon voucher was for a two course meal.  Either a starter and main or main with dessert.  We both opted for main and dessert.

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Apple & blackberry crumble

I went for the apple & blackberry crumble but they probably ran out of blackberry as what I had was apple & rhubard.  But no worries.  It was just as good particularly the creamy vanilla flavoured sauce.  Not a drop of it was left by the time I finished with it.  And you probably can’t tell from the pictures but the dessert was very small portion.  I could easily ate a few of them in one go.

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Creme Brulee

My friend had Creme Brulee.  Delicious!  But again the portion was tiny.

Our voucher said we can have mains up to the value of £15.45 and desserts up to £5.95 from the Taste of Rouge menu.

There was no price on the menu and both our main dishes were ones that we had to pay an extra £3 each.

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Taste of Rouge menu

 

Cost of Groupon voucher for this meal: £19
Extra £3 each for our main: £6
Total cost of meal incl. service charge: £27.50
Price per person: £13.75

Original cost of meal would have been £43.80 ex-service charge so I think we had a very good deal. Finally, another well deserved Groupon voucher.

Below is the video of our walk around Canary Wharf before and after the meal.  It was a nice walk around this new financial centre of London and the shopping malls attached to it.  Enjoy!

 

 

London – Young Cheng – Cantonese restaurant

This Cantonese restaurant in London’s China Town is the place to go to if you want a really typically, home cook Cantonese type of food.   There is nothing fancy about this restaurant, just straight forward, cheap, tasty,  good sized portion food that is fulfilling and at a good price.

We went there after the disappointment of the Groupon voucher fiasco at Mitsuryu, the Japanese restaurant (read all about this failure here) and was very happy with this alternative restaurant that we always go to when nothing else will do.

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This is their lunchtime menu.  Very basic Cantonese food made up of either noodles or rice with a stir fry for main course. And there are lots of options and combinations to choose from. The steamed rice here is my absolute favourite because you always get a big, freshly steamed bowl of fragrance rice. The rice is so fresh and tasty, moist with a lovely natural fragrance that I can easily eat just the rice alone without any condiments.  Anyone who thinks rice is just plain, boring with no taste should try the rice here.   Rice by itself has no taste, that’s true, but this rice is Thai Jasmine fragrance rice and when it is newly harvested and hasn’t lost its natural fragrance, it is soft, moist with a lovely scent.  You literally taste the fragrance in the rice (similar to freshly harvested green tea).  Unfortunately, these rice lost its fragrance and scent very quickly so by the time it is harvested, packed, stored, and shipped over here from Thailand or Asia it has lost much of its natural flavour.  However, that day I must be lucky because the rice I had for the dish below was the best I’ve ever had.  It feels as if the rice had just been picked and steamed as soon as it was harvested from the rice paddy.  Needless to say, not a grain of it was wasted.

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Roast belly pork and beancurd with rice £6.80.

This was the perfect, quick, simple meal yet so tasty and filling.  It was a really big portion too and lunch time price at £6.80 was very good value for money at a restaurant in central London.  I don’t think you’ll get anything as good for the price.

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Noodles with prawn & pork dumplings with soup £7.

The dumplings were really nice but  I’d have preferred the noodles to be dry instead of soaking in the sauce.  You also get a separate bowl of clear soup as well.  Again, really big portion and we were well stuffed when we finished our meal.

small_3 Restaurant also serve dim sum. This is a page from their dim sum menu.

There are two of these restaurants in Chinatown with the same name not far from each other but one is a buffet restaurant (under the same ownership I assume).   If you want to have dim sum or the tradition meal that we had you have to tell staff this and they’ll provide you with the appropriate dim sum or standard meal menu otherwise, you have the buffet meal.  The other restaurant (the one we went to at Lisle street) doesn’t do buffet.  Also, if you go there at lunch time make sure to ask for the lunch menu as it is cheaper but the food is exactly the same.

After this fulfilling meal we went for a long walk across London.  Here’s the link to this walk.  Enjoy!

London -Groupon disappointment

So I came across what looked like a great Groupon meal deal.  A meal at a Japanese restaurant called Mitsuryu in London’s China Town.  It was a newly opened restaurant in a newly refurbished section of China Town.   I duly brought the voucher and went online to book our meal for the weekend only to find the deal was not available at weekends, you can only use the voucher on certain weekdays, and even then only at lunch time.  This is the problem with these deals, sometimes these restrictions are not stated at the beginning.  You get the voucher only to find this out when you want to use it.  Oh well, there was nothing to be done but look into finding a suitable date for it in the near future.  Continue reading “London -Groupon disappointment”

London – a walk @Putney & Fulham

The above is a video of a circular walk in early January 2019 around Putney and Fulham, a well to do area located in the south west of London on zone 2 of the District Line.   The walk started at our meeting point of Putney Bridge tube station.  We then walked along Continue reading “London – a walk @Putney & Fulham”

Argan – 10 course tasting menu

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Argan is a North African, Moroccan-Lebanese restaurant conveniently located a few minutes walk from Clapham common tube station.  I’ve never had this kind of food before and this Groupon meal deal caught my attention as it is a 10 course tasting menu giving me the chance to try out lots of different dishes at a reasonable price. Continue reading “Argan – 10 course tasting menu”

London – The Victoria & Albert museum

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Three of London’t biggest and most popular museums are based in Knightsbridge.  They are the Natural History museum (see here), behind the Natural History museum, no more than 5 minutes walk away, is the Science museum, and across the road, towards the left side of the Natural History museum is the V&A, again, about a 5 minutes walk. Continue reading “London – The Victoria & Albert museum”