Tag Archives: salad

Raw Press, Mayfair

I never thought I’d say this, but I can now imagine life without meat and fish. Life where fruit and veg rule my diet, along with pretentious pulses and edible seeds.

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I can thank my lovely almost Vegan housemate for this, along with Deliciously Ella‘s recipe app, Yotam Ottolenghi’s incredible salads and cold-pressed juice bars like Raw Press, which just opened in Mayfair.

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Walk into Raw Press and you’ll feel like you’ve entered a hipster cafe in Brooklyn, or how I imagine every LA restaurant to be. It’s shiny, clean and white, with splashes of colour from glass juice bottles and big bowls of salad. It magically makes you feel healthy the moment you arrive.

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I was lucky enough to taste all their cold-pressed juices, which made picking my favourites easy. No. 2 Green is my ultimate thirst quencher, packed with superfood goodness from its combination of apple, cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, Swiss chard and lemon (£5.50/£7.50).

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Then, for something a little naughtier, it has to be No. 7 Coffee & Mylk (£5.50/£7.50). Made with almonds, coconut water, dates, Himalayan salt, vanilla bean and cold brew coffee, it blows any regular flavoured milk out the water.

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Now some of you will be wondering what a cold-pressed juice is. Well, the answer is simple – instead of using a heat inducing centrifugal juicer that lowers the nutritional value of the juice, these bottles of deliciousness are made with a hydraulic pressed juice extraction that’s slow and, best of all, cold.

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But Raw Press isn’t just about the juice. There’s also an amazing range of vegan salads and snacks by the immensely talented Ella Woodward. For less than a tenner, you can order a giant plate of scrumptious Zucchini Noodles with homemade Brazil Nut pesto, Marinated Kale & Sweet Potato Salad, Broccoli & Avocado Salad and Chickpea & Squash Salad. All fantastically tasty and wonderfully good for you.

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And, there’s even a range of sweet treats (I particularly loved Ella’s Energy Bites and Banoffee Pie Pots). But the biggest surprise are her brownies – who knew they could be made with sweet potato and still burst with flavour? Yes the consistency is different, but the feeling of satisfaction when chomping your way through? Exactly the same.

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So there you have it. You can enjoy a varied, delicious diet free from fish and meat, which juice bars like Raw Press inspire. I’m not saying goodbye to sausage & mash, spag bol or fish pie, but vegetables are now playing a larger part in my life – hell, I even threw a vegan dinner party last night.

Raw Press, 32 Dover Street, London W1S 4NE

Brasserie Zedel, Piccadilly

Since it opened last summer, I’ve been to Brasserie Zedel four times – twice with friends, once with a client and once with the lovely co-owner Jeremy King.

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Three simple things keep me coming back – the price, the food and the wonderful building. This is a brasserie where you can enjoy delicious French cuisine in a large, shiny 1930’s dining room at prices usually reserved for Côte or Cafe Rouge. C’est magnifique!

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The dining room seats 220, some bookings, some walk ins. Each time it’s crammed with loud, excitable Londoners trying to be heard above the next table. The menu is equally big, split into two set meals (Prix Fixe and Formule), the Plats du Jour, Entrees, Choucroute, Poissons, Viandes, Legumes, Fromages and Patisseries et Desserts.

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My favourite Entrees are the deliciously simple Oeufs Dur Mayonnaise (£3.75) and Filet de Hareng with Pommes à l’Huile (£4.95) – a yummy herring dish popular in French bistros.

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I’ve watched my friends devour Choucroute Zedel (£14.95) and Bœuf Bourguignon (£9.95) with gusto, whilst I tuck into something from the selection of Poissons – most commonly Carrelet Meunière (whole pan fried plaice at £15.25) and aromatic Filet de Dauradeaux Fenouils  (grilled sea bream with fennel, orange & thyme – £14.75).

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I’m also a big fan of the sides – in particular the fresh Salade Verte (£2.75), the rich Epinards à la Crème (£3.25), and the real, golden Pomme Frites (£2.95) – but have only managed one pudding. On that special occasion I chose well, savouring every mouthful of the Mousse au Chocolat (£6.75) and wondering why on earth I should share my decadent dessert (the menu suggests you enjoy it ‘a partager’ – I disagree).

Brasserie Zedel has become my ‘go-to’ restaurant when I’m after a special meal minus the hefty price tag. It’s perfect for most occasions, except when entertaining someone that dislikes French food (if that happens, ask yourself ‘why am I aquatinted with this person?’). Par conséquent, Brasserie Zedel gets a bien mérité LLE Rating of 8 / 10.

Brasserie Zedel, 20 Sherwood Street, London W1F 7ED

Brasserie Zedel on Urbanspoon

Tramshed, Shoreditch

On Saturday, I had dinner under a formaldehyde cow with a cockerel on its back. Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.

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Some of you will know what I’m talking about. For those that don’t, I was in Mark Hix’s restaurant Tramshed – the one with Damien Hirst’s ‘Cock and Bull’ sculpture suspended from the ceiling.

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The sculpture is the perfect symbol for Tramshed –  the restaurant specialises in chicken and steak. That, and a couple of veggie options, some ‘seasonal sharing starters’ and puddings you’ll be too full for.

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I was with two carnivores and a pescetarian, so it was Swainson House Farm roast chicken for the meat-eaters and fish fingers with mushy peas for the veggie. The chicken was presented with its legs akimbo, sitting in a bowl of fries. Our friendly waitress tore off the legs before giving us the knife to carve the succulent, juicy meat with dangerously tasty skin.

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The best part were the fries that sat beneath the chicken. Each piece of potatoey goodness was drunk with chicken juice, but still managed to stay crispy. God knows how many I ate.

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On the side, we had sweet, lightly battered onion rings, a plate of chunky, sauteed field mushrooms and a salad with Roquefort and hazelnuts. Our waitress insisted on yet more fries. I wasn’t complaining, but appreciated not being charged for extras.

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All sides came in large and small portions. We went for large (naturally), which I’d recommend as they weren’t all that generous…

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Next to me sat N’s fish fingers with mushy peas, which she happily chomped on as we picked at our chicken carcass. The fish was light and moist, with a crunchy, golden crumb. The peas tasted like they were freshly picked from the garden, delicately flavoured with mint.

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We were stuffed, but couldn’t resist salted caramel fondue for dessert. Pieces of fluffy doughnut, creamy marshmallow and, eventually, our spoons were dunked into melted caramel. Pieces of fruit would have been less sickly, but it was a fitting end to our indulgent meal.

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My jaw dropped when I saw the bill. With two bottles of wine, it was only £32 per person with tip. Amazing given the quality of food, buzzing atmosphere and amazing setting. I was also impressed by the speed of service, which wasn’t pushy, but made the two hour sitting manageable.

Next time I’ll try the steak, perhaps on a Monday when you can bring your own booze. Until then, Tramshed gets a very worthy LLE Rating of 8/10.

Tramshed, 32 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3EQ

Tramshed on Urbanspoon

Canteen, Royal Festival Hall

I’ve eaten in two canteens recently – one at Lampton School in Hounslow and the other underneath Royal Festival Hall. Now as much as I’m sure you’d love to hear about my comforting jacket potato with cheese and beans at Lampton, I think I’ll focus on Canteen, the restaurant.

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There are four Canteen branches in London – Spitalfields, Canary Wharf, Baker Street and the subject of this post, Royal Festival Hall. The chain is committed to providing “honest food that’s naturally sourced, skilfully prepared and reasonably priced”. How do I know? I read the Canteen cookbook.

I hadn’t intended to go to Canteen the other week. Instead, it happened out of necessity – necessity to get out of the icy rain, necessity to catch up with my friend and necessity to find somewhere that wouldn’t make me wait over an hour before feeding me (ahem, Wahaca Southbank).

The restaurant has everything you’d want on a truly disgusting day – stews, freshly baked pies, daily roasts and an all day breakfast. The only thing it doesn’t have is a warm, cosy interior, but hey, it is a canteen. The most inciting thing on the menu was the fish finger sandwich, so I ordered one of those as a starter.

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My sandwich was a thing of beauty. Soft, white bread cuddled chunky pieces of golden breadcrumbed fish, coated with the perfect amount of homemade tartare sauce. I personally couldn’t fault it.

I went for a lighter main course – smoked haddock salad with leek, croutons and a poached egg. It felt healthy, yet deliciously filling. A perfect salad, if it wasn’t for one medium sized problem – the egg. I wanted it to explode with yellow gooeyness, but instead, the yolk was hard.

Pudding was skipped for no other reason than being full, so we ordered the bill, which came in at £15 a head for food, a glass of wine and tip. Not too shabby for Little Lady Eats.

I would, and probably will, return to Canteen as I’m keen to try more of their British delights. Apart from the egg, the rest was yummy, so I’ll give it a LLE Rating of 7/10.

Canteen, Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

Fez Mangal, Ladbroke Grove

For me, a kebab shop falls into the same category as McDonald’s – I will only ever go into one if I’ve been out drinking, dancing and not eating. Just so you know, Chicken Cottage, its other clucky cousins and random late night takeaways are completely avoided.

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Well, that was until recently, when L took me on a trip to Fez Mangal. Before you think our ‘trip’ took us all the way to Turkey, we actually wound up very near her house in Ladbroke Grove (alright for some).

As we walked in, there was a hot and fiery kitchen on our left, photos of celebs that had recently visited on our right (Orlando Bloom’s been there don’t you know) and tables seating a relaxed crowd in front of us.

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L had booked, so we made our way to our table and promptly ordered some slightly greasy, yet utterly edible, stuffed vine leaves and a few portions of sweet, spongy pitta and smooth, oiled hummus.

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I looked at the extensive kebab menu over a glass of shop bought wine (yes, there really are B.Y.Os in Notting Hill) and went for a simple Lamb Shish, which came with its own portion of rice and salad.

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I have to say I was impressed by the lamb. It wasn’t as tender as I’d have liked, but it had a lovely smoked BBQ flavour and was in no way over cooked or lavished in grease. The rice and salad was nothing special, but did feel a lot healthier than a bowl of chips would have done.

What’s more, all our food – plus shelter from the cold – came to less than £15 each with tip. I can certainly see why Orlando likes it, but would he agree with my LLE Rating of 6 / 10? I guess that’s something I’ll never know.

Fez Mangal, 104 Ladbroke Grove, London W11 1PY

Baltic, Southwark

My geography has never been strong. I know the places I’ve lived and visited, but other than that, my knowledge of the world is embarrassingly limited. One thing that has helped is food. Because I’m interested in what I eat, I’m interested in where it comes from. My recent trip to Baltic is a case in point.

The Baltic states are in North-Central Europe, east of the Baltic Sea. Typically, this includes Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, who all re-established themselves as states after The Iron Curtain fell. See, I’m learning every day.

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Southwark restaurant Baltic covers broader ground, serving food from other countries, such as Poland, Russia, Hungary and Georgia. With my new, extensive knowledge, I’m tempted to say it should have been called ‘Eastern Europe’. But I guess that wouldn’t be as catchy.

The restaurant itself is really quite beautiful, with plain white walls, simple gold decorations and wooden beams that cradle the large skylight. The menus are split between A la Carte, Set Lunch and Theatre. All food is traditional, ranging from  unusual dishes, such as Paprykarz, to the more recognisable, like Chicken a la Kiev.

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As we were only there for a quick bite, we sat in the bar that’s known for its extensive range of vodkas. From the separate menu, we shared colourful meat and seafood mixed platters, along with some traditional dumplings and fishcakes.

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The dumplings were my favourite – light, fluffy and utterly moreish, some were filled with cheese and others just plain. The Shashlik and Koftas were also well cooked, and the salads combined interesting flavours and spices that made you realise why lettuce, cucumber and tomato is so damn boring.

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If this review was a menu, it would be a starter, not a main course – it’s hard to judge a restaurant when you’ve tried so little of the food. What I will say is I liked what I saw and tasted, am intrigued by the main menu and hope to go back very soon.

Baltic, 74 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8AH

Le Relais de Venise, Marylebone

How do you like your steak? For me, somewhere between Medium Rare and Rare. Perhaps you could call that Medium Rare Rare. Or, perhaps you could call me too picky.

The waitress at Le Relais de Venise was having none of my steak fussiness when I went last Friday. This had nothing to do with the fact we arrived at 10.30pm. Instead, it had everything to do with the fact that this steak joint – also known as L’Entrecote – only serves steak Well Done, Medium, Rare or Blue. No arguments.

They also only serve steak. Juicy, sliced steak, which comes with a deliciously peppery cream sauce and a mountain of frites. Oh, and before that, you get a simple salad, dressed with a mustard vinaigrette and the odd walnut.

The best bit? Once you’ve devoured everything on your plate, the waitress promptly pops over to give you another portion. Now that’s my kind of restaurant.

Without wine, or pudding, your bill will come to a very reasonable £21 per person. I haven’t been to the other branches, but there is always a long queue outside the one in Marylebone. Don’t let this put you off – it moves quickly and what’s inside, is worth the wait.

Le Relais de Venise gets a LLE Rating 8 / 10. Its no frills attitude and speedy service makes it the ideal spot for any hungry meat eater looking for nothing but…steak.

Le Relais de Venise,  120 Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2QG