Our first selection for 2019 of the restaurants and bars that we've been testing out or returning to over the past month - thefoodpeople loves... January. In no particular order:
Breakfast at Medina Café, Vancouver
With a queue out the door every day we knew we were in for a treat! All their breakfasts are served in skillets and the Fricasse Champignon did not disappoint, full to the brim with roasted king oyster mushrooms, roasted potatoes, goats cheese, mushroom demi-glaze, rocket and topped off with two 'sunny eggs' it was the perfect start to our day. Better still, they have 20 waffles a day that are available to eat you're waiting for however these were just as delightful.
The Lookout by Gardeners Cottage, Edinburgh
The food in restaurants with amazing views often is lacking – but thankfully in the latest edition, on top one of Edinburgh's most famous hills, is one to savour. The Lookout sits amongst imposing Victorian monuments on top of Carlton Hill and takes in 360 degree views of the city - on a sunny day one of the finest city views in the world. It is enough to distract you from the the food – almost. Run by the team behind the ground-breaking Gardener's Cottage and Quay Commons the Lookout follows their ultra-local, seasonal and waste free philosophy. The two owners have spent time in the kitchens of Tom Kitchen and Martin Wishart on their so the food is exact and well cooked but served with simplicity and restraint. On the day we had the breakfast which consisted of locally baked pastries, fruit and a selection of Scotland finest cheeses – one to remember.
Ma'am Sir, LA
Loved the Fried Lumpia with shrimp and sea urchin served with spicy vinegar at this Filipino hotspot in Los Angeles.
C:\ Side Quest, Brighton
One of Brighton's best-kept secrets and yet a stone's (and there a plenty of them right outside on the beach!) throw from the Palace Pier. Even aside from their wonderful selection of board games, arcade games and mix of vintage and modern consoles, the food & drink is excellent! Their kitchen offers a oh-so-trendy small menu which celebrates Asian twists on comfort faves or something, whilst other options including Vietnamese loaded fries, sliders and mac'n'cheese bites. From a drinks perspective, there's the wide range of craft beers/ales you might expect, as well as kombuchas and cocktails (for instance, the 'G&T Virus', which comprises a sloe gin & tonic with 'antidote' syringes of gin and midori). A must-visit from brunch until late!
Amelie Flammekeuche, Cambridge
Despite the stark setting of the shopping centre, Amelie provides an absolute treat in the form of flammekeuche which is a very thin dough spread with crème fraiche and choice of topping. I opted for the Authentic with its onions and bacon which was utterly delicious. Definitely recommended. Image
Le Bab, London
One of my favourite spots at the moment. The guys behind this Kingly Court spot and sister restaurant Maison Bab have been inspired by the drunken humble kebab. A mix of Middle Eastern, South Asian and British influences makes for a delightful, moreish and surprising seasonal menu. The paneer kebab is the only thing that has stayed on the menu since their launch in 2016 and you can see why, perfectly charred generous chunks of marinated paneer sit on top of a vibrant beetroot chutney and both are topped with crisp onions.
Sarah W says:
Spark opened last summer in York. Made out of used shipping containers (and wood) it is a hub for independent street food venues. Outdoor heaters and rugs on chairs make it a cosy venue with great views of the city even in bracing January weather. I stopped there with a friend for lunch, we both had shroom noodles and a glass of hot mulled wine. The noodles were cooked from scratch in front of us, contained lots of different types and were very tasty. Highly recommended for a fast bite to eat and a drink on the balcony overlooking the city.
Media Manga, Barcelona
Our visit to Media Manga wasn't planned – we initially tried to get a table at the feted Mont Bar but, on hearing it was closed for January, we took a chance on the sister restaurant next door. A great find, the dishes were often familiar formats but executed with originality and flair – our tuna tartare was adorned with adorable little mushroom toadstools and flowers so that it looked like a mini forest. Dishes, such as artichoke, truffle and egg or mullet and hummus, were relatively simple but just bang on umami deliciousness. Highly recommend the beetroot and raspberry cheesecake for afters (healthy indulgence, I tell myself). Although the dishes are less elaborate than that of Mont Bar, Media Manga makes up for it in atmosphere. Good lighting, with fresh, clean and modern décor, there was a real buzz to the place, with many guests seated at the bar, some just having a G&T.
I had to do it! I made the pilgrimage to a Gregg's for the first time in years to get my hands on the now infamous Gregg's vegan sausage roll. Initially I had very little luck because they keep selling out, but I finally managed to grab one in Brixton and experience the taste that sent the internet into meltdown.
Stem, 5 Princes Street, London
Housed in a beautiful Grade 2 listed town house just off Regents street is Stem, serving modern British food with head chef Sam Ashton-Booth in charge. Stand out dishes were, steamed leek with Jerusalem artichoke, skate wings with Calcot onions and monk's bread, and slow cooked lamb neck with sheep yogurt and aubergine. Their set lunch menu is, unbelievably, half price at the moment.