It's August already ... how did that happen. With the summer racing by at speed, and shorter evenings on the horizon we've been out and about making the most of the July days. Take a look at where we've been visiting this past month in our latest tfp loves. In no particular order:
BaBa G's, Pop Brixton
This heat calls for as much outdoor eating as possible, so I recently headed to Pop Brixton for a glass of something cold and a plate of something spicy. BaBa G's Bhangra Burgers is one of my favourite spots at Pop and this time I opted for their "pachos" – nacho-style poppadum's with chutneys, relish and plenty of lime pickle. After declaring I "wasn't that hungry" I promptly devoured the whole thing, and plan to return for their delicious looking paneer burger very soon.
Kojin Momofuku, Toronto, Canada
David Chang's empire is always a safe bet and Kojin in Toronto is no exception. The creative approach to the menu means no one cuisine is held accountable and no one format is set. The sharing plate appetisers came with a stack of, what was described as, a cross between cornbread / fritters / flat English muffins / potato pancakes. Each topping has a different flavour and influence from grass fed butter with spiced honey to cured meats with pickled cherries.
Afternoon tea at Claridge's
Afternoon tea is one of life's little luxuries and Claridge's in Mayfair deliver on just this, but with a slight twist. The precisely cut finger sandwiches delivered on so much flavour, but it was the savoury pea and asparagus tart that was simply delicious!! The unique flavoured jam paired with scones made this different from the classic strawberry, especially with flavours or orange and lemon coming through instead and lastly, a token gift of homemade clotted cream fudge to devour on your way out topped off this wonderful experience
Daylesford Organic Farm Shop & Restaurant, Daylesford, Gloucester
Stone baked new potato & Penyston brie with minted garden vegetables - This dish was just divine, for a cheese and potato lover I was in heaven, with oozy cheese and new potatoes swimming in cheese sauce. The service was fantastic here and with an open kitchen you could see everything happening. They cook in a wood oven, this dish was stone baked and came to the table bubbling!
Don Alfonso 1890, Sant'Agata, Italy
A recent holiday down to Sorrento and The Amalfi Coast saw me visit the Don Alfonso hotel, home to its 2 Michelin Starred restaurant of the same name. Kicking off with a tour of the ancient wine cellar dating back to 6th Century BC, and home to over 25,000 bottles, the evening was an immersive experience in a stunning setting with a homely feel that often only the Italians are able to produce. The menu featured a large selection of fresh fish and seafood as well as an abundance of the fresh tomatoes and lemons that the region is best known for. My main dish of Tuna Carpaccio with a range of accompanying sauces was a stand out, and the complimentary petit fours served over dry ice to finish was a touch. Safe to say the limoncello also hit the spot to round out an evening of indulgence.
Pintxo – Fowey, Cornwall
Hidden away among the bustling narrow streets of coastal Fowey in Cornwall is a traditional Basque gem. Pintxo offers a small food & drinks menu, but it is very much quality over quantity! The Manchego Cheese & Orange Blossom Honey as well as the Wild Mushroom Croquetas were particularly hits, whilst the special (a jumble of heirloom tomatoes, shallots, garlic and herbs) was perfectly refreshing on a hot summer's day. And the Larios gin, served in the traditional way, was the cherry on a superb cake!
Star Inn The Harbour in Whitby
Sarah W says:
Owned and run by Andrew Pern who also owns the Michelin starred restaurant –The Star Inn at Harome. The menu has amazing seafood dishes as well as locally caught meat from the North Yorkshire country side. There was retro feel to my meal as I started with a Posh prawn and oak smoked salmon cocktail. The familiar deliciousness of marie rose sauce was balanced with a refreshing bloody mary sorbet- the homemade bread on the side was delicious and served with seaweed butter. My next course was Surf n snout which featured huge sea scallops and slow cooked belly pork. The views over the harbour and meander around Whitby after dinner made the whole evening even more memorable. This is a must if in Whitby!
On a recent business trip Seattle I had a very memorable Bateau experience a whole-animal steak house, a place where a cut of, say, succulent rib eye would be seared rare in a steel pan and delivered with butter melting into its meat, yes, but also a place where Chef Renne Erickson's team had raised, butchered, and dry-aged the cow it came from. When you walk into Bateau you can spot huge sides of that flesh through the window to the meat fridge. Each night's available cuts (by weight and price) are written on two wall-size blackboards, with the kitchen left to craft trim and offal into everything else, from the $18 Bateau burger to the horseradish steak tartare to a cleverly deconstructed Reuben of braised brisket and smoked beef belly. My poison was the Bateau butter burger, a homage to the animal and an elevation of the humble burger, truly outstanding and worthy of every bit of the title 'best burger in Seattle'
Despite its Michelin star, you'd be forgiven for missing Martin Berastagui's Oria. Inhabiting the same hotel as the much famed three-Michelin-starred Lasarte, Oria tends to sit in its shadow. Like Lasarte, the interior décor is fairly neutral and unprepossessing – what we later learn is that this encourages the diner's attention to focus entirely on the food. This comes artistically and playfully plated with impeccable, understated service. The menu is a la carte, but there is still a welcome surprise when multiple amuse bouches appear. The chef uses classic luxury ingredients - think wagyu, monkfish, foie gras. Some dishes pay homage to Spanish culinary tradition. But the delight springs from the thoughtful execution, the combination of a few well-chosen ingredients in creations that are light yet deeply flavoursome, such as the tomato infusion and sprouts paired with marinated octopus, or the langoustine with artichoke and celeriac.
Lady Libertine, Edinburgh
Hidden in a basement just of Edinburgh's St. Andrew's Squares is Lady Libertine. This subterranean cocktail bar is the newest addition to this trendy part of town. Sitting underneath Hawksmoor and along the road from Dishoom – this former bank vault has been transformed into 1920's style speakeasy bar complete with flying saucer lights and an impenetrable steel roof. The wine list is large and varied, as is the eclectic cocktail list. Food comes mezze style and is served from dawn till dusk. We love to sit in the side vault room, just off the main bar, and settle into one of their comfy wingback chairs to while away a few hours.
Until next month!