Summer is finally here! But we don't need sunshine to motivate us to get out testing new venues. As usual, we've recapped 10 our favourite places we visited in June. In no particular order...
Lucky Khao, Brighton
Whilst I was sorry to see Matt Gillan's Pike & Pine depart Brighton earlier this year, the good news is the new kid on the block – Lucky Khao – are more than up to the task of replacing them! Having run a few collaboration nights with Pike & Pine, Lucky Khao are all about Northern Thai BBQ – and they are BIG on flavours! Most of the menu can be found in the 'BBQ' and 'Beer Food' sections (which very much speaks to the 'vibe'!), and highlights include the 'White Turmeric & Bamboo Larb w/ hand minced salad w daikon, lime, vegan soy, keffir, spring onion, sawtooth leaves and the 'White Corn Ribs' (bbq sweetcorn ribs, roasted nam jim pepper sauce, coconut cream). It was great to see a BBQ outlet have so much on offer for vegans!
We went for the Sunday lunch menu and bottomless bubbles! Beautiful classic food, top notch service and a buzzy sophisticated atmosphere - the live music was so good that all the dinners got up dancing!
La Barantine, Edinburgh
In 2010, two bakers decided to leave their boulangerie-patisserie in the North of France with a dream to move to Scotland. A few years later Céline and Vincent have established one of the best bakeries north of the border, La Barantine in Edinburgh. At La Barantine, the aim is quite simple, to offer a typical French experience to their customers. Crusty bread, colourful macrons and glistening tarte aux pommes tempt you through their bakery come café window. But, the icing on the cake is not the the delicious pastries - it is the location just off the Bruntsfield links. A baguette jambon au beurre and a vanilla flan coupled with a view of the Castle and Arthur's Seat is a boost to the soul. Oui, oui, oui!
Salon, Brixton, London
Salon in Brixton has been on the list for a while and I was not disappointed. They offer a set menu which includes meat and fish but were very accommodating once they knew I was a vegetarian. The food was delicious, packed full of flavour and the highlight for me were the
Datterini tomatoes pickled in elderflower vinegar, sea purslane and brown butter.
The Little Duck Picklery, London
This small stop in East London was a real find, from Tom Hill, the man behind Duck Soup and Raw Duck. In an open plan kitchen with most covers sat around the chef's table, including ours, the setting was chilled and intimate. The food, a weekly changing menu served as small plates with a focus on fermented food, was fresh and every dish hit the spot, with the braised duck and spring lamb cutlets our favourites.
It's been open for a few years and Oklava has been going from strength to strength, its little sister Kyseri in Fitzrovia has just passed its 1 year anniversary and doing an equally good job. The menu is a selection of big and small plates inspired by Turkish and Cypriot dining. The flavours are unusual and a delightful surprise while the atmosphere and people make you feel at home. The lahmucan flatbread is served with a punchy pickle salad which you wrap up to create the best kebab you've ever had.
La Trinacria, York
Sarah W says:
La Trinacria is our favourite café on Bishopthorpe road in York. Bishopthorpe road itself is popular with locals (off the tourist trail) and is a hive of activity including local green grocers and foody cafes. La Trinacria is run by a Sicilian family and the home made gelato is amazing and always a winner with both our 4 year old daughter and us. Flavours include simple lemon through to black forest and bubblegum. Great for families, we have enjoyed many lunches here post a visit to Rowntree's Park. The Cozze Inpanate (stuffed baked mussels with breadcrumbs and garlic) ordered with frites is delicious. The food is amazing value considering the freshness of ingredients and traditional Sicilian recipes on offer. Whether going in for a coffee, ice cream or lunch this café is highly recommended.
Jordan Pond House, Canada
We climbed Cadillac mountain in Arcadia National Park (OK, the car did the climbing!). On the way up there is a restaurant called Jordan Pond House and we stopped for afternoon tea. They serve Popovers with jam and butter, these are served warm, the serving is 2 per person and they bring them one at a time fresh out of the oven. What is a popover? We would call them a Yorkshire Pudding, they are delicious served sweet! (photo attached)
Katz's Deli, New York
When an eatery has as much hype as Katz's Deli, and you're shelling out in the region of $20 for a sandwich with no table service, there's the inevitable fear that it won't live up to the fame (or indeed Meg Ryan's orgasmic reaction there in When Harry Met Sally). Knowing it's on the foodie traveller hit list, we went at what would likely be the quietest time – 4.30pm on a Tuesday. The place was still packed but queues manageable. The Reuben sandwich was bigger than my head and contained the most delicious, smoky, melt-in-the-mouth pastrami I have ever tasted. I also got the matzo ball soup – a very tasty, but entirely unnecessary, accompaniment. Katz's is definitely worth the visit, but plan for it to be your only meal of the day because you won't need another!
It was a real treat to have lunch at Simon Rogan's Roganic in London. Some of the dishes included a wonderful amuse buche of preserved blackberry, apple and anise tart with fermented apple juice infused with anise hyssop, and to finish rhubarb, buttermilk and earl grey. Delicious meal with great knowledgeable service.