Sunday, February 28, 2016

Arancina, London

19 Pembridge Road,
Notting Hill,
London W11 3HG
020 72217776

I was surprised to see that Recipease has closed down, so we moved further down the street, avoided a few options and walked into Arancina. I've been wanting to try it out for ages, but I normally try and avoid high carb places like pizzerias. Having my sister with me, allows me to justify, (in my mind) a visit to places like Arancina that I've been longing to try out.

This location has a small space downstairs where the pizzas and arancinis/arancina? are on display in counters. There's just one tiny table for 2 to stand at, but there is seating upstairs.

The pizza (mixed meat) was excellent. I could definitely go back for more. Thin crust, a lovely sauce, not too much cheese and lots of meat. They were very light to eat and the rectangular shape makes them easy to manage without spilling toppings.The coffees were fantastic. (latte & flat white).

I'm not a big fan of arancini and the broccoli and sausage meat one that we tried, didn't inspire me to try any more.

I'll go back for sure, but I'm sticking to pizza and coffee.

Oh, and I also picked up the mini biscotti at the counter, that were amazing!

Rating : 4 / 5

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Caracas, Cairo

Arkan Mall

On this last trip to Cairo, I was amazed at the explosion in the food scene of the city.

Arkan Mall is one such new set up catering to residents of 6th October and Sheikh Zayed areas. It has a multitude of eateries on the ground floor, all of which have a combination of indoor and outdoor seating and most of whom offer Shisha options too.

We chose Caracas, because I loved their purple and teal coloured chairs (it was a tough choice, and I needed a deal maker) and I'm so glad that we did.

Since we arrived just around the time of the Friday prayer, we were informed that food would take some time, but coffees could be served quickly. Since we weren't in a hurry, we were ok with this option and the coffee & sahlab did make their appearance very quickly along with complimentary eish (bread), olives and a sesame + pomegranate mollasses dip.

We ordered a selection of hot & cold mezze and I was quite surprised at the quantity when it arrived. I would recommend one mezze per person - given the size of each dish or order more, but skip the main course. The mahammara (36 EGP) and the fig jam which accompanied the grilled halloumi (40EGP) were outstanding, as was our main course of  daoud basha (70EGP)

My only complaint, is that I wish portion sizes were smaller, so I could try out more of their wonderful food.

Rating : 4.5 / 5

Friday, February 26, 2016

Casper & Gambinis, Cairo

Casper & Gambinis
Mall of Arabia

When I wanted to meet up with my friends in the 6th of October part of town. They unanimously decided to catch up at Casper & Gambinis in Mall of Arabia and after one visit, I could completely understand why.

Its the perfect place for the kind of long mid-morning coffees that we like to catch up over in Egypt. They start serving food quite early in the day and they have proper lunch dishes too, if you choose to stay on for a meal. The service is very good, efficient and attentive, without pressuring you to order more, just because you are lingering to chat.

The coffee was very good, I ordered chicken fingers and lasagna which were average. Good for Cairo, but nowhere in the league of authentic Italian that is available in London. London has indulged and spoiled my taste buds for good, I wonder how I will manage eating out, when it is time for us to relocate again.

I'd give the service here a 4 / 5, but the food would be a 3 / 5.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Laduree, London

1 The Market,
Covent Garden,
London WC2E 8RA

020 72400706

Laduree does have a complete menu and also serves pre/post theatre dinners. But I only head here for their macaroons.

They do the most delicious macaroons I have ever tasted anywhere in the world. Delicately flavoured macaroon shells held together by an equally delicate filling, each bite is like biting into a bit of heaven.

A plate of macaroons, a pot of hot tea (without sugar) and a seat at their outdoor table on a clear day is sheer bliss for me.

However, on this last occasion, my sister & I picked up a box of 8 (14.40 GBP) and shared it between us as we meandered across Covent Garden spacing each one at least 5 minutes apart, so as to enjoy the individual flavours.

Rating : 4.5 / 5

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mandalay - Golden Myanmar Restaurant, London

Mandalay - Golden Myanmar Restaurant,
444 Edgware Road
London W2 1EG
020 7258 3696

I've often eaten Khowsuey and I've cooked it myself, but its never been an authentic Burmese version. So when I heard that there was a Burmese restaurant in London with homestyle food, I was intrigued and put it on my wishlist.

Today I was in the Edgware Road area and so I decided to try them out.

The space is tiny and seems cramped compared to the other sprawling Middle Eastern style restaurants on Edgware road, with just 28 covers in 2 rows, but trust me the food is worth it.

Now don't head here expecting very fancy cuisine, what Mandalay offers is soul food. Pure homestyle cooking. Earthy and finger licking good. Food you could expect your friends mum to cook for you.

 This was my first experience of eating authentic Burmese food and I'm completely hooked. We tried the minced chicken samosa (3.2GBP for 4 pieces) in thin filo style pastry that went well with the accompanying tamarind, chilli and soya sauces. The chicken khowsuey (8.50) was creamy with spring onions and green chillies for fresh garnishing.

We opted for a chilli chicken (7.50) which was a standard stir fry with soya sauce. The very sweet lady recommended that we pair it with lentil rice (3.20) and it was perfect. I love bamboo shoot and was curious to try out their bamboo shoot mushroom stir fry (6.10) which I absolutely loved. Even the husband who detests bamboo shoot acknowledged that this was a version that he could stomach.

The bamboo shoot and mushroom stir fry and the tapioca pudding with Agar Agar (4.50) blew my mind.

The food was very light and easily digestible, so its definitely not your usual takeaway style food.

We will definitely be back to try more of the food on offer. The lamb meatball curry, balchaung and twice cooked fish have been heavily recommended. I'd like to go with maybe 2 more friends, so we can try more of the food on offer all at the same time.

They do have a license and offer some wines, and the service is very friendly and homely.

Monday to Friday
Lunch - 12:30 to 15:30
Dinner - 18:30 to 22:30

Open from 12:30 to 22:30

Rating : 4.5 / 5

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Little Frankies, London

Little Frankie's
7 Whitehall,
020 73893880

I first stopped here for breakfast, the day I went to pick up tickets from Trafalgar studios. I wanted a non-chain restaurant in the are that could serve me hot breakfast.

The interiors reminded me of all those Italian restaurants in Chicago - the seating, the photos on the wall.

I had an Eggs Benedict (5.95) and a coffee (1.95) with an extra side order of mushrooms (1.45). Quite enjoyed the coffee, the eggs weren't bad, but they weren't the best either. However the service was friendly and since I had gone at an off time (around 10:00am), it was very quiet. They had an offer where all breakfasts were 5.95. And they also offer alcoholic bloody marys on the breakfast menu - for those who want to avoid a hangover, I presume.

So today, when I was heading back to the studios to watch a play and wanted a light early supper, I thought this would be the most convenient place to visit.

I ordered the F&B special spaghetti and meatballs (11.45) and we both ordered a coffee for ourselves. The place was completely full at 6:45pm, but I mentioned to the waitress that I needed to get to a show by 7:15 and she got us our order super quick.

Coffees - Latte (3.15) and Cappucino (3.15) were very good, but the spaghetti fell very short on my expectations. I am a person who uses very minimal salt in my food, I found the salt lacking in the dish. The sauce was very sparing, and only the spaghetti at the bottom of the bowl had any sauce on it. The sauce itself was quite good, but just not enough. The meatballs were on the side and too soft - (like KFC nuggets soft), no texture of meat.

The music here is fun and the coffees are good. The staff that I interacted with were also very pleasant & obliging, but the food wasn't worth it. I may just brave Garfunkels the next time.

Rating : 3/5

Trianon, Cairo

Trianon Restaurant,
Mall of Arabia
02 2480 2294

I have a lot of fond memories of Cafe Trianon in Egypt. From the wonderful atmospheric and historic one in Alexandria overlooking the sea to the one in Dandy Mall where I frequently would meet up with my friends for mid-morning coffee before heading into Carre Four to finish our grocery shopping.

So on this 3 day trip to Cairo, I had to stop at a Trianon for old times sake.

This location in the Mall of Arabia is quite fancy with shisha options too. I just wanted a simple coffee latte and a pastry.

The coffee (16.95LE) was as good as I remembered and the service was helpful, especially with my rusty broken Arabic. In the pastry cabinet they had 3 eclairs (12.95LE) and a variety of mille feule (which I particularly dislike) and some richer pastries. The eclair looked the least calorific of the options available, so I opted for the maple/hazel flavoured one. Imagine my shock when I tasted banana with my first bite! The universe was screaming at me not to consume that much sugar and cream.

So I just enjoyed my coffee and the free wifi for a bit, before heading out again.

Rating : 3.5 / 5

Yelp and House of Godo present: Newbie and Pasta Night!

House of Godo
90 Piccadilly Street
Hyde Park Corner
London W1J 7NE

Phone number 07791 125974

I LOVE yelp events!

I get to try new places, meet loads of new yelpers - some newbies and some elite and they are all so much fun in their own way.

The quality of the pastas was outstanding (the one with lamb sauce was my favourite) as were those yummy polpette al Sugo - meatballs.

And the tiramisu was to die for. Not too sweet and not at all heavy. The chef told us he makes it much lighter than normal, so it's more guilt free.

The food was really cute served in little glass jars, so much more convenient to eat from than a plate when it's a cocktail party style event.

Like the champagne glasses at the Lotus event, these jars are another bit of cutlery I'd love to possess. My sister (who was also a guest) is convinced that I will be ordering home delivery from the House of Godo, just to get my hands on the gorgeous glass jars that they pack their food in!

Rating : 4 / 5


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