Monday, December 17, 2012

Indian Food at Selfridges: All my favourites! Dosas, Chaat, Pav Bhaji

Pani Puri, Bhel Puri and Pav Bhaji


I couldn't believe that I was going to Selfridges, of all places, to eat a Dosa. Quite popular in south India - but it's almost unheard of to find one on the menu in any Indian restaurant in central London - you'd have to trek all the way to Wembley or Southall for a good masala dosa. Luckily for me, my friend discovered that right on the fourth floor of Selfridges is a food court that serves dosas - so there I was - watching a masala dosa being prepared right in front of my eyes. A savoury crepe that is soft and fluffy yet still a little crisp; filled with gently spiced turmeric yellow potatoes and served with a spicy red chutney and an aromatic sambhar. The first bite brought back memories of home - it's been ages since I've had one. It's funny how growing up I would always make a fuss when my mum cooked dosas for breakfast or lunch but here I am now waxing poetically on about them!

The food court also serves some really nice indian chaats like Pani Puri or Gol Guppas - crisp little spheres stuffed with chickpeas which you quickly dunk into a tangy tamrind and spice water before stuffing them into your mouth and Bhel Dahi Puri - the same stuffed spheres but this time covered in yoghurt, a sweet tamarind sauce and a spicy green sauce. We also had the Pav Bhaji - mashed up tomatoes and potatoes make the flavourful bhaji and the pav is a lightly toasted round bread served with the bhaji.

So if you get a sudden Dosa craving or fancy checking out Indian food that's not the usual curry/kebab offering, now you know where to go!


Selfridges
Food Court 4th Floor
400 Oxford Street London W1A 1AB Tube: Bond Street 




Masala Dosa





Friday, December 14, 2012

Verru: A taste of Baltic cuisine in Marylebone

Duck Lamb Verru Buon Appetito

I had no idea what to expect when I was invited to dinner at Verru. I hadn't heard of it before and wasn't sure what Baltic cuisine would entail. So having no preconceived notions or expectations, I made my way down to Marylebone lane and found my self in a tiny, utterly charming restaurant. It felt like there were no more then 10 tables inside and you could be totally forgiven for walking right past the restaurant like I did initially.

I had my first taste of Estonian food with the a starter of pickled herring and while I found the herring a bit too strong for my taste, I really did like the tuna tartar it came with. What really impressed me were the mains. I had the duck which was lovely and my dinner companion had the lamb which was gorgeous. I'm definitely going to order that the next time I go but then again the menu changes constantly so I look forward to trying something new. Paired with sides of spinach and chips - it was quite a satisfying meal. And to end with we had the apple crumble and creme brulee - both were faultless.




Service was lovely and it's a rather romantic place to have dinner - all the low lighting creates a cozy, inviting atmosphere. Definitely a place to go to for an intimate dinner.

Verru

69 Marylebone Lane London W1H2PU
0207 935 0858

http://www.verru.co.uk/


Verru on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Epicurely Event: Hoxton Nosh - A 6 course Tasting Menu by Josh Posner



 Hoxton Nosh Josh Posner Epicurely Buon Appetito

When Josh told me about his next event, I was quite keen to attend. You might remember a review I did of his previous supper club held through Epicurely.

The setting this time was different from the first event which had about 8 diners. This was held at the Hoxton Apprentice, a beautiful space at Hoxton Square, owned by the charity – Training For Life. Tickets were £25 (+£2 booking fee) for a 6 course dinner and all proceeds from the bar went to the charity. While I do prefer the more intimate atmosphere of the previous dinner (watching Josh cook right in front of us was a nice treat!), I had to admire how the event was now scaled up to cater for 40 people.


The first course was tiny little boiled egg (quail I think) with horseradish and parsley. Unfortunately I have a rather tumultuous relationship with eggs and I’m not too fond of soft boiled eggs. So I can’t really comment on this course.

The second was a familiar one – burnt potato with brown butter and pickled cucumber slices. Earthy rustic flavours highlighted by that delicious brown butter.
Hoxton Nosh Buon Appetito Josh Posner GinFizzGirl Epicurely Boiled egg, salt water, horseradish, parsley
Boiled Egg, Salt water, Horseradish & Parsley

The third course was roasted cauliflowers with a mushroom glaze, toasted almonds and chicken sauce.  I absolutely loved this dish and was glad to see it on the menu again.

Next was the shallots cooked in rice wine with marjoram and pumpkin seeds. I was looking forward to this dish and while I still enjoyed the flavours – I think it fares better when served in a bowl rather than on a plate. With a bowl, you get to appreciate the chicken broth better – which I had waxed lyrically on about in my last post.

The fifth course was smoked ox cheek, Jerusalem artichokes, turnips and beef sauce – an utterly fabulous dish. I've never tried ox cheek before – it’s similar to the texture of beef brisket. It was soft, moist and tender and full of flavour – paired with a comforting mash. This dish went down really well. 


My only critique would be that there wasn't enough of it! I know this was a tasting menu but damn, that was good stuff. The ox cheek and the roasted cauliflowers were my two favourite dishes on the menu.

Then came 2 desserts – a mascarpone cream with a lovely Muscat grape syrup garnished with poppy and fennel – a nice palate cleanser and the other dessert was a milk jelly (like a panna cotta) with brown bread, golden orange raisins and honey.

 Hoxton Nosh Josh Posner Epicurely Buon Appetito Milk Jelly, Brown Bread, Pollen & Honey
Milk Jelly, Brown Bread, Pollen & Honey

There’s always an unexpected, playful element to Josh’s food. You never really know what you're going to get when you’re sitting down for a meal. A part of animal you've never tried before (pig’s neck, anyone?), a combination that doesn't quite make sense in your head but tastes amazing (mushroom-glazed cauliflowers) or a simple little vegetable elevated to centre stage by a few key ingredients (like the shallots in chicken broth).

I’m also starting to realize how these food events listed on the Epicurely website are a great way to meet new people. London is a large city and I remember how lost I felt when I first moved here. And now, just through these two events, I've met quite a few people whom I've enjoyed getting to know while discussing Josh’s food!

Josh is planning to do more pop-up ‘Nosh’ dinners which you can find out about through Epicurely so watch this space: http://www.epicurely.com/

You can read about my review on the first event here which has more pictures.  Unfortunately most of pictures I took this time turned out rather blurry.


You can follow Josh on twitter @rogan_josh or email him at joshposner@live.co.uk




Friday, November 2, 2012

Kati Roll vs. Mooli’s: Battle of the best Indian Wrap



London has two fabulous albeit tiny restaurants that do Indian Wraps a.k.a Kati Rolls – perfect for take-away food or if you want to grab a quick cheap meal.

Kati Roll is just off of Oxford Street, in between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road. Their orange walls are plastered with old Hindi movie posters and classic 70’s Bollywood music plays in the background and you can order old-school mango soft drinks like Maaza. 

Buon Appetito The Kati Roll Company London

The wraps are made with fried flat bread called ‘paratha’ and you can even get a fried egg on top of it. It’s then stuffed with a meat filling like a chicken or lamb kebabs or a vegetable filling like paneer or potatoes, some tangy green chutney and red onions and everything comes together beautifully. I’m craving it just writing about it now.

Kati Roll

Mooli’s is a bit different. The fillings are more varied and seem a bit healthier. Well for one thing, there’s no fried egg in your roll. The wrap is lighter and stuffed not just with meat but other fillings that make it more interesting. For instance, they do a wrap with mutton which is a goat meat and it has pomegranate salsa which adds a crunchy slightly sweet, refreshing taste to it. Their chicken roll with pickled turnips is especially nice too.

If I’m wandering around Soho and want to grab a quick cheap lunch, I always end up in Mooli’s. I like how flexible their menu is – you can choose one gigantic large roll or if you’re like me and can’t decide, you can choose two small rolls with different fillings. And they even do a salad option – it’s an ideal lunch place if you work in Soho.

Mooli's Soho Buon Appetito
Mooli's Menu
Mooli's Soho Buon Appetito
Inside Mooli's





In the end, however my greedy little stomach would choose Kati Roll over Mooli’s – It’s tastier, definitely less healthy and perfectly satisfies any late night cravings you might have!

There’s also a nostalgic element associated with Kati Roll – back when I use to live in NYC, Kati Roll was the go-to place after a night out. In a tiny-hole in the wall shop on the corner of Bleeker St and McDougal St you would find a huge line snaking out of the store even at 4am.  In a city of so many choices – it was still the only place to go to, if you were craving a spicy Indian, meat-filled, egg-fried roll.

I’ve had friends visiting New York only for a weekend, who insisted on taking back a Kati Roll back with them to Boston – a 4 hour drive away. I’ve even had a friend faint in Kati Roll New York – she insisted on queuing for half an hour despite my protests and when we were finally in the shop at around 3:30 in the morning, she turns to me and says “you know what I’m feeling a bit sick, let’s go home”. And I ruthlessly told her no – she made me queue for so long and now we were so close to getting food – there was no way I was quitting this line.

A few seconds later, she dramatically swooned and fainted over a table full of people. It was quite a scene given that in the process of trying to catch her, I knocked a few bottle of orange Maaza over another girl’s lovely white dress.  I have never let my poor friend forget the incident and after that day, I believe Kati Roll put in a bouncer outside the door to deal with the late night crowds!

So you can see why I have a certain fondness for Kati Roll ;)


The Kati Roll Company

24 Poland Street London W1F 8QL
Tel: 0207 287 4787      
Tube: Oxford Circus/Tottenham Court Road    


Kati Roll company on Urbanspoon

Mooli’s

50 Frith Street  London, Soho W1D 4SQ
Tel: 020 7494 9075
Tube: Picadilly Circus


Mooli's on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Donostia: Spanish restaurant in Marylebone focusing on Basque cuisine


Donostia 

When my friend suggested meeting for dinner at Donostia, I instantly agreed based on the name alone. Donostia is the Basque name of San Sebastian - a gorgeous city on the coast of northern Spain where I have some happy memories of days spent on the beautiful beaches and evenings wandering around various tapas bars sampling pintxos. I like to think of Basque cuisine as Spanish food with a twist and I certainly saw that at this little namesake restaurant in Marylebone on Seymour Place


The food is flawless and there is a touch of creativity in every dish. For instance, the croquetas were made of Panko crumbs rendering them light and airy and probably the best that I’ve had in London.





Donostia Jamon Croquetas
Jamon Croquetas

We also tried the pan con tomates – toasted bread covered in luscious juicy tomatoes and a divine spinach and cod tortilla. 

Pan con Tomates Donostia Spanish food
Pan con tomates


The star of the show was the rib-eye steak - succulent rare meat with foie gras -  an utterly decadent combination. And of course I couldn't resist ordering a lemon tart. The bill did add up with the wine but without that, the food portion came up to around £20 which is quite a decent amount. Interestingly, the head chef used to work at Barrafina - one of my favourite restaurants in London. No wonder I liked all the food!

Donostia Rib Eye Steak with foie gras
O'Shea's Rib-Eye Steak with Foie Gras


What I really liked was the service and ambiance of Donostia. For example, when I called to make a reservation, they were full - pretty much a given on a Saturday night in London. But then the front of house, Melody said they keep some bar stools free at the chef's counter for walk-ins. She then gave us a call about 10 minutes before some seats were free – quite a easy and easy painless process compared to waiting for an hour in line at other places. It was refreshing to have someone be so helpful and accommodating. I later learned she was one of the owners of the restaurant. 

Donostia Lemon tart
Lemon Tart

Donostia is a welcome addition to the burgeoning restaurant population in Marylebone. If you can't be bothered to queue for ages at Jose or Barrafina - I highly recommend Donostia. It’s got a quieter atmosphere than the restaurants in buzzing Soho but sometimes that’s exactly what you want.

Donostia

10 Seymour Place London W1H 7ND
Tel: 0203 6201 845






Donostia on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Manna: Vegetarian/Vegan restaurant on Primrose Hill



Manna is vegetarian/vegan restaurant that’s been around for while. Located on a quiet side street off of Prince Regent Street in Primrose Hill, it’s a great place to go if you’re vegetarian or if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies. Even as some one eats meat, I was quite satisfied and content at the end of my meal.



Since my mum loves walking around Primrose Hill, I thought it would be a nice way to spend the day and have lunch at Manna. She really enjoyed the fact that she could look at the menu and know that she could have any dish she wanted. It’s something I always take for granted – the ability to eat any food option on the menu, without having to consider if it is vegetarian or has nuts etc. But as someone who is allergic to eggs, she’s always restricted in choosing a meal at a restaurant and sometimes can’t eat anything off the menu. Which is why I love the fact that Manna is perfect for her – they pride themselves on being vegan and gluten-free. Even their wine list is vegan! I had no idea the extent to which animal products are in so many things we eat and drink.


 Since it was a cold, windy, very typical London day, we ordered some hot drinks – and oh my god, their spicy hot apple drink is AMAZING. It’s got cinnamon and cloves, oranges and lemon and it is divine. It’s comforting and soothing and I would return just for that drink. I think it should be simple enough to recreate at home so if you have ideas how to, let me know!


To start with, we ordered some basil and cashew cheese croquettes and a butternut squash tart. The tart wasn't really appealing but the croquettes were interesting and a bit addictive with the chilli jam.



For the mains, I had the special pasta of the day which was aubergines, leeks and fennel penne pasta and it was lovely. I had no idea leeks could taste so good. I've usually just used them as a base when making soups. They seemed to be a rather tepid vegetable with no real personality. But the leeks in this pasta were soft, silky and quite tasty.



My mum had the black bean chilli. This came with a polenta cake and sour cream, guacamole, salsa and sweet potato crisps. My mum liked it however, I wasn't such a big fan though; it felt a bit stodgy to me but in any case, it tasted great. As you can see from the pictures, the portion sizes are large. We were quite full at the end of meal and even ended up taking most of the pasta back home. The bill came up to £25 per person – which is rather expensive for a vegetarian meal. But if you factor in the quality of the ingredients (I don’t think cashews are cheap and they certainly use a lot of cashews), the variety of vegan and gluten free options – I think it is well worth it.

Manna

4 Erskine Road Primrose Hill London NW3 3AJ
Tel: 020 7722 8028
Tube: Chalk farm tube


Manna on Urbanspoon

Square Meal


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Four glorious days in Rome, Italy


My Mum and I spent four glorious days in Rome. We walked all over the city and there was so much to see - the Roman ruins, the beautiful churches, and the abundance of art everywhere.

Piazza Navona
 The location of where we stayed was brilliant. I found out about this lovely B&B called Eveylyn4Fountains near the Trevi Fountain run by a French lady. It’s on a small side street just off of Via Natizonale (one of the main roads in Rome) which is such a central location.  If you walk down the road to the left, you hit the Spanish steps; to the right you could walk straight to the Colesseum; and if you walk straight down, in less than minutes you’re at the Trevi Fountain and then further along is the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Also, it feels utterly safe at night to stay there, because it’s right opposite the police station headquarters!

Our lovely room

The rooms at the B&B were just gorgeous. We stayed in the ‘Red Room’ which was incredibly charming and comfortable. Both my Mum and I fell in love with the decor – the rooms are decorated with such care down to the last detail. I highly recommend staying here if you're visiting Rome. At £130 (160 euros) per night, it might not be an option for someone on a tight budget but I think it’s great value for money given the fantastic location and quality of the rooms.

And you have the added value of the owner Evelyne who speaks fluent English, Italian and obviously, French. She is very charming and a host of information. Here is the website in case you’re interested: www.evelyne4fountains.com

Octopus Linguini at Berzitello

Another bonus is that there is a fantastic Italian restaurant called Berzitello (Via Delle Quattro Fontane) just down the road run by two friends called Andrea and Alessandro. From the outside, you might miss it and walk past – which is a tragic mistake to make. Once you sit inside its quirky interiors, you can’t get enough of the food and the restaurant has a warm friendly atmosphere. On our first visit, I had the spicy calamari with chilli and peppers and the classic Spaghetti Carbonara. We had to visit again and the second time, I had the Octopus linguini with bacon, tomatoes and Mirto (a dark liqueur from Sardinia with a herbal taste). My mother loved her meal as well – a Caprese salad of fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil and Quattro Formaggio Pizza (with four types of cheese). It was hard for us to find good restaurants where my mother  felt comfortable eating since she has an allergy to eggs but Berzitello has her seal of approval now. Here is the link to the website if you want more details on how to find it: www.ristoranteberzitello.com

Moving on from talking about where we stayed and what we ate which certainly made our four days in Rome very enjoyable, the star of the show was, of course the Eternal City and all its spectacular sights.

Trevi Fountain

On the first day, we arrived in the afternoon and decided to walk around to get our bearings. Our first stop was at Piazza di Spagna. We sat at the Spanish Steps to take in all the sights and sounds. We then walked through Via Condetti which is full of designer stores and turned left onto Via del Corsa, one of the main streets, walking past all the high street shops and then made our way to the Trevi fountain. It's a beautiful sight, the gorgeous Baroque fountain set against a monumental Renaissance building but to be honest, the sea of humanity around it was off putting. It felt like every tourist in Rome is at Fontana di Trevi was there at  that moment. 

Eager to get away from the crowds, I went to search for the famous San Crispino gelato, rumoured to be the best in the city. I found it on a small side street close by called Via della Panetteria. The verdict: my Rum Chocolate Gelato was as good as claimed. Fyi..they have another location behind the Pantheon on Piazza della Maddalena and one in Terminal A of Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.

Vittoria Emmanuele II monument

The second day, we walked down Via Nazionale to the Vittorio Emmanuele II monument. It was built to honour Italy’s first king and is a rather imposing white building that really stands out. Right next to it, is the Piazza del Campidoglio designed by Michelangelo – which I found far more beautiful. The Piazza is right on top of the Capitoline Hill and when you walk up, you get to see an amazing view of the Roman Forum and all the old ruins.

View of the Roman Forum
 We then wandered through the winding streets and small piazzas to Campo dei Fiori – a street market that sadly, seemed a bit touristy to me. From Campo dei Fiori, we walked to Piazza Navona – which is a lovely square with three fountains and is the perfect place to stop, take a break and watch the world go by.

The Pantheon

Next was the Pantheon, an ancient Roman temple and one of my favourite buildings. There was something so captivating about it – it’s aesthetically pleasing and perfectly symmetrical in design. It’s about 2000 years old and very well preserved.

Inside the Pantheon

Entrance of the Vatican - Sculptures of Michelangelo and Raphael

On the third day, I decided to splurge and go for a guided tour of the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. I'm so glad I did - it was well worth it. I pre-booked the tickets with a tour operator called Dark Rome for £45 for a three hour tour (which includes the cost of tickets plus special access – no waiting in queues - yay!).


The  Hall  of Maps

One of my favourites: School of Athens by Raphael. He's painted Michelangelo at the extreme left and himself at the right. Can you spot them?

Our guide Simone, an Egyptologist by profession, was funny, articulate and knowledgeable. We were in a group of 15 people but I didn’t feel like I was part of a large group being herded along. I really enjoyed the tour but if you’re an art history buff or want to go at your own pace and spend more time, then maybe a guided tour isn’t for you. The museums were so interesting and it was amazing to be in the presence of so much of Michelangelo’s exquisite work. Here is the link to the tour if you’re interested. www.darkrome.com


Statue of Antinous

Our last day in Rome, we went to see the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. We decided against paying to enter since we were running short of time and didn't really feel like spending money on the entry fee! To be fair, you can really see quite a lot just walking around the ruins and it leaves us something to do for our next visit. I’m definitely going to visit Rome again – I did the ultimate touristy thing and threw some coins in the Trevi Fountain just to make sure! 

The Colosseum

Monday, September 24, 2012

MEAT Liquor: Best Burger Joint in London, right next to Oxford Circus


After a night out, we were walking back home, when one of my friends started feeling hungry. There was a debate on whether we should go to McDonalds or not, when I suddenly realized we were right on Oxford Street, a few steps away from the famous Meat Liquor. 

I instantly declared we had to go there and waxed on lyrically how the burgers were supposed to be out of this world. When they asked me if I had been there, a bit deflated, I had to admit – no I hadn’t. But I had heard so much – the reviews promised such greatness and we had to go. I think to humour me, they agreed.  





It’s in the building right behind Debenhams and the interiors are intentionally grungy. It was 1 am and the kitchen had closed but the waitress was nice enough to sneak us in and place our order. I ordered the Dead Hippie – a double cheese burger with pickles, minced onions, ketchup and mustard and some crispy, stringy fries.


And after the first mouthful, I knew it was true – this was certainly the best burger I had ever had in London. The meat was of amazing quality and was so soft and juicy.  My mouth was in utter bliss.

I used to be crazy about the burgers at this place called Burger Joint in New York City (behind the curtain in the lobby of Le Parker Meridien on 56th St. between 6th & 7th Ave. in case you’re interested) – and I’ve finally found a London replacement. I practically inhaled it in one breath – it was that good. 

So good, I actually went back two days later. I told myself it was for research purposes – to find out if the food was actually that good in the light of day. The second time around I sat at the bar and had the Swiss cheese burger with mushrooms. And it was just as amazing as before. I’ve officially fallen for Meat Liquor – hook, line and sinker.


MEATLiquor

74 Welbeck Street London W10 GBA
Tube: Oxford Circus



MEATliquor on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Inside MEAT Liquor

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Epicurely feast with Chef Josh Posner


I met Elco through a friend and soon we were chatting about my favourite topic – food. He’s part of the team that launched Epicurely– a website for people to find out about all food events in London or even host their own event.

There are some great supper clubs in London but it’s hard to find information on them. You usually have to be on a mailing list or hear about it through a recommendation from a friend. Epicurely is perfect if you want to attend a supper club and check out all your options in one place.

When he mentioned the next feast that was being organized, I was quite keen to check it out. I think supper clubs are great way for budding chefs to showcase their talent. Too often you really never get to see or meet the chefs behind the amazing dishes you eat.

So one Friday night after work, my friend O. and I went to the featured Epicurely feast – an 8 course meal by Chef Josh Posner. Josh is a young chef with some serious street cred – he’s worked at Roganic and with James Knappett at Bubbledogs& - 2 of the most talked about restaurants in London

That's the chef - Josh Posner plating away

Initially, I wasn't thrilled with the location of dinner at Acton Town near Ealing since it was quite a trek across London from where I worked. But in the end, it turned out quite well as it was a cooking school that was conveniently right outside the tube stop. And since we sat around the chef’s counter, we could see Josh cook and plate right in front of us which was fun and interactive – something you normally don't get when dining at a restaurant.

The minimum contribution was £18 and at the end of the meal I was quite happy to put in a little extra with £25.  It was great value for money – good food, fun conversation, new people, and a chef who put in so much thought and effort - made it quite special 

I had met Josh before and had an idea of what the menu would be like - lots of unexpected pairings and each course had a number of components. I did wonder how it would all get executed. And the verdict - he was pretty flawless with his execution. Despite chatting with us through out, he didn't miss a beat. He plated everything so beautifully, seemed totally in control and more importantly, like he was really enjoying himself - which I think definitely set a good vibe around the table.

Cured salmon belly, gin, dill, wild fennel and vanilla

The first course was cured salmon belly with dill, wild fennel and a dressing made of gin, juniper, lemon and vanilla. The salmon belly was gorgeous but I felt the vanilla didn’t really belong and overpowered the rest of the dressing.


Black bread crisp, beef dripping mustard, pickled shallot

Next were tiny little brown bread crisps that had a dab of mustard made using beef dripping and pickled shallots.  Unfortunately, I found the mustard too strong and couldn’t really taste the beef dripping but my friend O. did, so maybe it was the one I had. 

We then had baby potatoes cooked in a terracotta pot – homage to his Grandmother’s cooking. The potatoes had an intense, earthy flavour that I couldn’t quite place but wanted more of and came with a brown butter emulsion that was delicious and pickled cucumber slices.

Terracotta potato, brown butter emulsion, cucumber, yarrow

The fourth course was one my favourites - Braised Shallots in rice wine served in a bowl of chicken broth with blackberries and marjoram leaves. It made quite a pretty picture and the simple shallot was elevated by tasty chicken broth. I couldn’t get enough of the broth and ended up spooning what was left out of the bowl!

Xiao xing braised shallot, pickled unripe blackberries, marjoram, cooking juices
Then came the Roasted Cauliflowers covered in a mushroom glaze served with a chicken and sherry vinaigrette and toasted sliced almonds. I love how with the shallots and this dish, Josh makes the vegetable the main focus on the plate. I didn't even realize we hadn't yet had a meat course. This was one of the top dishes of the night for me. Who knew cauliflowers could taste so good – the mushroom glaze in theory sounded a bit strange but actually added a nice savoury taste.


Mushroom glazed cauliflower, chicken and sherry vinaigrette, toasted almonds, celery seeds, sorrel

I think one of Josh’s strengths as a cook is how he makes his sauces. Whether it was a purée or broth or emulsion, he was pretty much spot on with taste and seasoning.

Pork neck and tenderloin, burnt creme fraiche, baby leek, roasted hazelnuts, turnips, pork sauce

My favourite course of the night was the Pork neck and Tenderloin. Two cuts of meat paired with roasted hazelnuts, burnt crème fraiche, leeks, turnips and a sprinkle of crackling. Full of porky goodness and so utterly satisfying. I really liked the addition of the roasted hazelnuts. I’ve never had Pork neck before and I quite enjoyed eating it.

The pre-dessert was Ricotta and Greengage (a type of plum) seasoned with white pepper and tarragon. 

Ricotta, greengage, tarragon, olive oil

The last course was Baked Figs with blackberries, damsom plum jam, and yoghurt – sprinkled with oats and violet petals. The petals were a nice touch, making the dessert look really eye-catching.

Baked fig, allspice oats, yoghurt, blackberries, violet, damson jam.

Oh yes and if you're curious to check it out: this is the Epicurely website and here is the link to Josh’s profile. I'm pretty sure Josh is going to be hosting a lot more dinners. This meal was the perfect combination of quality food from a professional chef and the easy intimacy of being at a dinner party with friends. I’m looking forward to seeing what feasts are going to be coming up on Epicurely.

What I really wasn't expecting was how much I would enjoy the social element. It was fun meeting a whole new bunch of people, who all have at least one thing in common - the love of eating well! So I think the Epicurely concept is great - bringing people together over food and in this case that's by organising feasts featuring young and upcoming chefs like Josh.


Thanks for the lovely meal, Josh!