Tag Archives: cheesecake

Tanya’s Cafe, Kensington

As the rudest, most obnoxious man pushed and shoved his way onto the train last week, I wondered if a world without men would be a better place. Especially those that fall into the angry face, big arm category.

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Perhaps that’s a step too far, but time out from men certainly isn’t. So, I’m pleased to share Tanya’s Cafe in Kensington – the perfect place for man down time as no male would voluntarily visit due to its ultra girly raw menu.

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Set up by holistic coach and editor of Better Raw Tanya Mayer, Tanya’s Cafe was born out of a popular supper club and focusses on all things raw. I went a couple of weeks ago and was pleased to find the place heaving…with women.

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The cafe itself is an oasis of calm. A light conservatory filled with clean, white tables and chairs, wooden panels and flashes of colour from fresh fruit adorning the counter and bright green plants hanging from the walls.

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We ordered two My Alkaliser juices (£6.50 each), Lasagne (£15) and Tacos (£15.30). My Alkaliser combined kale, spinach, apple, lemon and cucumber to create a juice my body thanked me for. As for the Lasagne, well that was a pleasant surprise…

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Pasta and meat was replaced with courgette and mushrooms, creating a light, tasty dish that would have been perfect on a warm, summer day, but didn’t go down quite so well in our current climate.

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The Tacos were along the same lines – walnut oyster mushroom meat sat on soft shell tacos with guacamole, soured cream and salsa. Again, this dish was delightfully presented and made a lovely light lunch.

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We finished off with a slice of blueberry cheesecake. This was by far my favourite dish as I love anything that feels like a treat, yet is actually rather good for me.

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I enjoyed my visit to Tanya’s and felt inspired by her creativity. My only real criticism was the cost. I know we were in Chelsea, but £15 for a raw veg lasagne seemed a little excessive. But, perhaps that’s the price you pay for lunch in a man-free environment.

Tanya’s Cafe, myhotel Chelsea, 35 Ixworth Place, London SW3 3QX

Food 4/5 – Price 2/5 – Staff 4/5 – Atmosphere – 5/5

The Pig, Brockenhurst

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Sometimes – when you’re really lucky – you can get away with excuses like ‘the dog ate my homework’‘my three alarms didn’t go off’, ‘there was a wild pony in the way’

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I used the latter last weekend when driving to The Pig in Brockenhurst. You see, there really was a wild pony in the way. A stubborn, brown wild pony that didn’t want to move, so just stood and stared, enjoying the power. Were we, or The Pig, surprised? Of course not – this is what happens in the New Forest.

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We were there for lunch, which started with a cocktail in the opulent bar of a magnificent country house. Our jaw dropping menus were stuffed with food that either came from The Pig’s walled garden, or anywhere within a 25 mile radius. Garden to plate is The Pig’s delicacy.

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A large, bright, rustic conservatory housed the dining room, which was packed with guests staying in one of The Pig’s 26 rooms and people like us that had battled wild horses to be there for lunch.

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A handful of honey covered, rosemary almonds kept us going at the bar, but didn’t stop us ordering from every section of the menu. ‘Piggy Bits’ were our appetisers (£3.75 each) – dense, crisp Black Pudding Balls were lightened by a side of piccalilli and long strips of crackling looked too scary for my teeth, but were happily munched around the table.

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When I heard they’d been foraged that morning, I immediately ordered the New Forest Mushrooms & Black Garlic Mayo with a crispy Burford Brown egg as my starter (£6). Dripping in parsley butter, the mushrooms had the most beautiful flavour and texture, made all the more special by the runny, golden egg.

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The Pig’s Extraordinary Bath Chap was the only main for me (£15). Our smiley, attentive waitress tested my squeamishness by mentioning that this Bath Chap came with his teeth. But that didn’t bother me, I was going in.

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When I lifted the vast side of crackling off my massive pig’s head, I found the cheek, which couldn’t have been more succulent, and the teeth, which made me feel sick.

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A simple turn of the plate soon sorted that out and I continued my hearty meal, smothering all meat in homemade apple sauce and enjoying the occasional piece Roasted Crown Prince Squash and our side of purple sprouting broccoli (£3.75).

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We shared a Garden Tarragon Cheesecake for dessert (£7). We weren’t hungry, but the sweetcorn sauce sounded interesting and I’m a sucker for anything with popcorn. This was accompanied by Fresh Mint Tea (to aid digestion) and Piggy Fours (£5.50) – bright pink lumps of deliciousness that almost looked too good to eat.

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I’d go back to The Pig in a heartbeat and am now dying to try The Pig on the Beach in Dorset. I hear they may be planning to expand nearer home – a rumour I very much hope turns out to be true.

The Pig, Beaulieu Road, Brockenhurst, Hampshire SO42 7QL

Food 5/5 – Price 5/5 – Staff 5/5 – Atmosphere 5/5

MEWS of Mayfair

Lancashire Court is one of central London’s best-kept secrets. Made up of narrow walkways, bustling restaurants and plenty of outside seating, it feels miles away from nearby Regent Street, New Bond Street and the hell that is Oxford Street.

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One of the courtyard’s restaurants is Mews of Mayfair, founded by London entrepreneur James Robson back in 2006. Split across four floors, the 18th Century building combines a lounge, cocktail bar, brasserie and the chef’s dining room. And it’s in the brasserie, where we lay our scene. Read more…

MEWS of Mayfair, 10 Lancashire Court, New Bond Street, London W1S 1EY

Karpo, King’s Cross

Karpo should be renamed convenient. Leave King’s Cross from exit two and you’ll be standing in front of the entrance. There’s no time wasting; you arrive, you drink, you eat.

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It’s also hard to miss. The exterior depicts London’s largest mural; a 450 square metre piece of street art that’s as gaudy as it is spectacular. The restaurant itself is sandwiched between a hotel and basement bar Megaro. The owners are the same, but a good job has been done to make each feel unique.

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We were sitting at a chunky wooden table towards the back of the restaurant by the open kitchen. Our chairs were white, plastic and fairly low, meaning our coats dragged on the floor. A cloakroom would have avoided this.

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The meal kicked off with a Gogi Berry Kir Royale (£8) and a bowl of my favourite green Sicilian olives (£2).

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The Cumberland Scotch Egg (£5) was the obvious choice of starter and came sitting on a yummy bed of celeriac remoulade and mustard seeds. I was delighted to see a runny yolk inside the thick meat case and, from the first mouthful, could understand why it’s the restaurant’s ‘signature’ dish.

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We had to ask twice, but our bottle of Malbec arrived with the main courses (£39). Unusually for me, I went for the vegetarian option of Wet Polenta with Mushrooms (£12) as the fish dish didn’t appeal and the rest seemed too heavy after my giant egg. I wasn’t blown away by the flavour, but on behalf of all veggies, appreciated Karpo’s inventiveness.

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Across the table, the Pork Belly looked a little anemic and lacked the crisp crackling my friend had looked forward to (£14). It also came with iceberg lettuce – an odd, and equally insipid, accompaniment. Luckily, a side of crisp, roast new potatoes saved the day (£3.50).

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L’s Chargrilled Venison won the main course competition (£17). The meat was tender, juicy and completely in love with its partners – sweet red cabbage, cauliflower and peppercorn sauce.

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Desserts were shared – a beautiful Vacherin Cheesecake (£6) and a Hot Chocolate Pot (also £6). The soufflé gave me the chocolate fix I needed, but all I really wanted was the cheesecake. Rich, creamy and incredibly smooth, it was worth fighting my friends for.

Karpo gets a LLE Rating of 7/10. A few tweaks would push the points up and I’d happily go back if I was in the area. Probably for a scotch egg, slice of cheesecake and a cocktail. Three of my favourite things in life.

Karpo, 23-27 Euston Road, London, NW1 2SD

Karpo on Urbanspoon

Newman Street Tavern, Fitzrovia

A good gastropub is a wonderful thing and the Newman Street Tavern is my new favourite. Found on the corner of Newman Street and Goodge Street, it’s ideal for food with friends or a romantic meal for two (ahhhh).

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Stretched across two floors, it’s smart, lively and cosy, run by a team of friendly waiters you’d like to make friends with. The menu makes life difficult as there are too many tempting starters, mains and desserts, not to mention the sides, Neal’s Yard Dairy cheese and all-day Shellfish Menu.

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We chose what our waiter recommended – deciding for ourselves was too hard. Devon Crab Salad (£11) was a sight for sore eyes. A mountain of white crab meat was surrounded by brown meat, a lemony sauce, crushed hard boiled eggs and golden crisp breads. I was in heaven.

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Across the table sat Cured Sea Trout with Salmon Caviar (£8) – an odd date I know. The ample portion was made up of thick, sumptuous slices of rich, salty trout, bright orange caviar, a small handful of capers, onion and nutty rye bread. Another triumph.

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Main courses of Mackerel atop Scottish Girolles (£15) and Spit Roast Middle White Pork (£18) were just as tasty. The mackerel’s tender white meat fell from the bone and went beautifully with the buttery mushrooms. As for the pork, the large, round slab of juicy meat was covered in rich gravy and surrounded by a crisp ring of crackling.

We didn’t need sides, but couldn’t resist Ceps with Garlic & Parsley Fried Potatoes (£8) and a Rocket & Shallot Salad (£3.50). The potatoes were more than just a side, with each glistening mouthful more delicious than the last.

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Finding room in our bellies for dessert, we shared a Plum Cheesecake (£6.50) that was delightfully creamy and intensely flavoured by the poached fruit.

I don’t have a bad word to say about the Newman Street Tavern, so give it a very worthy LLE Rating of 9 / 10. We’re already planning our next visit, perhaps on a cold Sunday when we can enjoy hours of great food, warming glasses of red and an atmosphere that’s hard to leave.

Newman Street Tavern, 48 Newman St, London W1T 1QQ

Newman Street Tavern on Urbanspoon

Roseval, 1 Rue d’Eupatoria, Paris

In Paris for a romantic weekend with The Boyfriend…and six others. Not wanting to succumb to an expensive, touristy brasserie, The Boyfriend pulled in a last minute favour with Michael Greenwold – c0-owner of Roseval, Paris’ hottest new restaurant.

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Inside Roseval we found bare, white washed walls, exposed beams, wooden tables and lots of Parisians enjoying food from an ever changing menu created by Michael and his co-chef/owner, Simone Tondo.

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The menu is set, but the price depends on how much you have. E.g.we were facing an astonishingly reasonable 40€ for four courses, 47€ with cheese and 77€ with matching wines picked by Columbian sommelier Erika Biswell.

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We went for everything but the wine, starting with Couteau Poireau Citron – an ingenious dish of razor clam, Scottish leek and an egg yolk puree.

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Each element demanded attention. The razor clam tasted of the ocean, the leek was sweet and buttery, and the creamy egg yolk puree was one of the most interesting things I’ve tried in a long time.

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Moving on, Cabillaud Aubergine Fleur de Courgette (cod with courgette flowers on an aubergine puree) melted in the mouth. The cod was like butter, contrasting brilliantly with the crispy courgettes.

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Agneau de Lait Asperges Boutargue (milk fed lamb with asparagus) was just as delightful. The crispy fat surrounding the meat gave it a wonderful tenderness, which the asparagus brought freshness to. The accompanying sauces were expertly made, but the darker of the two was a little bitter for my palate.

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We couldn’t resist the creamy French cheese, but with dessert still to come, shared a plate between two. Lemon Pannacotta followed – a sublime surprise that got us in the mood for pudding.

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Dessert was Cheesecake Peche Sauge – twice baked cheesecake with peach and sage. Diverse until the end, the cheesecake was a delicious mixture of sweet and savoury. Fantastique!

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Roseval should be booked well before you board the Eurostar. It’s the perfect combination of laid back French sophistication and food that aims (and manages) to excite. All hail Roseval.

Roseval, Rue d’Eupatoria, Paris

The Bull & Last, Highgate

Dinner at The Bull & Last was the first meal I’d had in five days. So, you can imagine the pressure I put on it to not only taste amazing, but also refrain from giving me food poisoning – unlike one pesky oyster fed to me the previous Saturday (you know who you are).

The Bull & Last is a gastropub with an interesting seasonal menu, cosy, yet spacious interior and friendly staff. That, and a lovely, yet slightly inconvenient location, right by Hampstead Heath.

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I was part of a group of 13, so ordering was done in advance from the set menu. For me, that meant Squid Ink Risotto to start (something I might not have chosen after that oyster debacle), hearty Slow Cooked Ox Cheek for main and indulgent Blueberry Cheesecake Ice-Cream Sundae for dessert.

My risotto had a lovely flavour and the rice was perfectly al dente. On top sat small pieces of crispy squid and what looked like ricotta, but turned out to be thick soured cream. I could have done with more deep fried cephalopods, but that’s probably down to greed.

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Across the table sat The Boyfriend’s Chicken Liver Pappardelle with Sage & Madeira. I had a bite and instantly wished it was mine – a feeling that lasted until a giant pig’s cheek appeared in front of me.

Covered in a rich, dark sauce, the large piece of meat fell apart with the greatest of ease, pairing excellently with the sweet parsnips, prunes and salty bacon. Delicious.

My annual ‘giving chocolate up for lent habit’ dug its heals in again at pudding. There was silence round the table as everyone tucked into mouth watering Chocolate Mousse with Hazelnut Brownie and Prune Ice Cream…except me. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my sundae, but it a. wasn’t chocolate and b. could have done with a little more creamy cheesecake and a little less ice-cream.

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The Bull & Last isn’t cheap (£35 a head just for food), but you are paying for quality food with more imagination than your average pub grub. That, and the fact it’s dog-friendly,  gives The bull & Last a gastro-tastic LLE Rating of 8/10.

The Bull & Last, 168 Highgate Rd,  London NW5 1QS

*Thank you to The Bull & Last for letting me use their lovely photos…far better than mine turned out…