Tag Archives: spinach

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

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

Kaspar’s Seafood Bar & Grill, The Savoy

Kaspar is not just any cat. He’s is two foot high, shiny black cat that’s been The Savoy’s Fourteenth Guest since 1926.

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He’s reassured superstitious diners at a tables of 13 for almost 100 years. I won’t go into why – a simple ‘Google’ will fill the gaps – but I shall say that his job’s so important, The Savoy named its river restaurant after him following the multi-million pound restoration of 2010.

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The restaurant is Art Deco fabulousness, just like Kaspar. Overlooking the Thames, it’s bustling, vibrant and relaxed – a stark contrast to the prim and proper Thames Foyer next door.

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Covered in mirrors, turquoise chairs, a chequerboard marble floor and brass railings, everything circles the central seafood bar, which has stunning stalagmites of glass hanging precariously above busy waiters serving Champagne, oysters and other oceanic delights.

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I’ve been to Kaspar’s twice – once for breakfast and the other time at lunch. The breakfast menu is enormous, covering off the classics, the continental, Kaspar’s more unusual Breakfast Favourites and a Japanese and Chinese selection if you fancy something exotic.

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I was drawn to Cornish Crab on an English Muffin with a Fried Egg (£17), but settled with a less adventurous, but absolute favourite, Salmon Royal (also £17). Oozing poached eggs fell on thick cut salmon and lightly toasted muffins, covered in a golden, lemony sauce. On the side, an endless supply of orange juice, fresh strawberry & raspberry tea and rye bread smothered in fruity jam filled my stomach. I was in breakfast heaven.

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Lunchtime was all about the fish, starting with a cured platter from the central bar (£22). Beetroot Cured Halibut, Peppered Monkfish and Star Anise Cured Salmon all had enormous flavour, needing nothing more than a vessel of toast and a squeeze of lemon.

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Dover Sole came ‘from the grill’, covered in a brown caper butter sauce (£35). The simple white meat was succulent and rich, accompanied by well executed sides of Sautéed Spinach and Chilli Garlic Fried Sprouting Broccoli (£4 each).

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If I’m as lucky as Kaspar, I’ll get to dine at his restaurant for a third time – perhaps in the evening when the Thames is aglow with our city’s lights. Until then, I’ll give him a pat on the head and a very well deserved LLE Rating of 8/10.

Kaspar’s Seafood Bar & Grill, The Savoy, The Strand, London WC2R 0EU

Kaspar's Seafood Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

CUT at 45 Park Lane, Mayfair

Wolfgang Puck is the celebrity chef. He has 18 restaurant chains across the world, has written seven cook books, sells his own range of cookware, appliances and gourmet food, and caters for weddings of the rich and famous. Oh, and then there’s the app, website and social media channels. What a busy motherpucker.

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CUT at 45 Park Lane is the start of his London empire. The luxurious steak restaurant smells of money, from the mahogany and leather furniture, to the clientele (I’m pretty sure there was a James Bond villain sat next to us). It also serves bloody brilliant food, even though that comes with a hefty price tag.

Wolfgang Puck and David McIntyre, Executive Chef- CUT at 45 Park Lane

A friend told us not to bother with starters. ‘We’d be too full’, she said. So, we moved straight onto mains, enjoying complimentary cheese puffs and beautiful bread along the way.

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So beautiful, I’ve decided to spend a paragraph talking about it. There were four  types, but the pretzel knot stood out. Sprinkled in salt, it pulled apart like mozzarella and had a flavour that would make Paul Hollywood question his career.

Meat Presentation - CUT at 45 Park Lane (7039)

Before choosing our CUT, the waiter talked us through the options, using his handy prop – a giant plate of raw beef. We nearly went for Wagyu, but couldn’t justify the £84 price tag. So, decided on two cuts of USDA Prime Black Angus Beef, aged 35 days.

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Mine was a medium rare 6oz Petit Cut Filet Mignon (£34) and The Boyfriend went for a rare 10oz New York Sirloin (£38). Both steaks lived up to expectation – they were precisely cooked and had the consistency of butter.

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For sides, we ordered the signature Creamed Spinach with Fried Organic Egg, Rapini (a type of broccoli) with Chilli & ‘Fiore de Sardo’ (an Italian sheep’s milk cheese), and an impressive stack of French Fries (all £7). The creamed spinach was particularly moreish, but a richer accompaniment than we needed.

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Sauce wise, we went for Argentinian Chimichurri, Shallot Red Wine Bordelaise and Béarnaise. At £1 each, they were the most reasonably priced items on the menu, but we were a little annoyed to find béarnaise served with the fries – something they could have pointed out.

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We (I) homed in on the Warm Dark Chocolate Valrhona Soufflé for dessert (£11) – an excellent choice as it turned out. More than enough for two, the waiter poured whipped creme fraiche over the ginormous soufflé, before making a hole in the middle for a neat scoop of Toasted Hazelnut Gianduja Ice Cream and covering the lot in chocolate sauce. It was a beauty to behold.

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As it was The Boyfriend’s birthday, a candlelit Baked Alaska made its way to our table. The white chocolate buttermilk cake with strawberry sauce was a yummy touch by CUT and one that went down very well. Much better than the Petit Four, which we didn’t need, but ate to soften the blow of the bill.

Other than the price, I can’t find fault with CUT, so give it a very respectable and well deserved LLE Rating of 9/10. Time to start saving for my next visit.

CUT at 45 Park Lane, London W1K 1PN

*First exterior shot ‘borrowed’ from the telegraph.co.uk 

CUT at 45 Park Lane on Urbanspoon

Pieminister’s Cattle Market, Camden

Grab a cardboard box and fill it with creamy mash. On top, place one, perfectly formed, homemade pie* and cover it with a scoop of mushy, minty peas, lashings of thick, rich gravy, grated cheese and crispy, golden shallots.

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That, readers, is what they call The Mothership. The tasty, pie medley that you can now get at Pieminister’s Cattle Market – a laid back, spacious pop up right by Camden Market.

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Once you’ve chosen your pie – we went with Heidi (an ingenious combination of goats’ cheese, sweet potato, spinach & red onion that’s even a hit with carnivores) and Matador (Pieminister’s Spanish offering with farm assured, British beef steak, chorizo, olives, sherry & butter bean) – you can decide on your donation.

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Money goes to Pieminister’s Send a Cow Cattle Drive campaign to kick start 30 farms in Africa. A very worthy cause that the founders Jon and Tristan firmly believe in.

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The pop-up’s due to last a month, but with those pies – plus Camden’s need for somewhere decent and cheap to eat – I’m sure we can keep Cattle Market open a bit longer. It certainly gets my vote. Moooooo.

Pieminister’s Cattle Market, 21-22 Chalk Farm Road, Camden, NW1 8AG

*all Pieminister pies are handmade in Bristol, something that will always stay the same (I heard that from Tristan himself)

The Modern Pantry, Farringdon

Perhaps it was the beautiful morning, or seeing my friend’s lovely face, but I honestly couldn’t fault our brunch at The Modern Pantry.

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The building itself deserves a mention. I’d be happy to call it home, with its exposed brickwork, sunlit rooms, wooden floors and gorgeous exterior. Even in the rain, this place would feel special.

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We drank lattes (£2.80), hot chocolate (£3) and Prosecco (£6 a glass). We ate oozing poached eggs, buttery spinach, roasted garlic infused tomatoes, grilled, salty halloumi and granary toast (£8.80). It was a fresh, modern take on a fry up that would have been followed by Raspberry & Ricotta Pancakes, but our stomachs couldn’t cope with that level of greediness.

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I’m looking for an excuse to go back for lunch or dinner – I’m sure it won’t take much. Until then, I’ll give The Modern Pantry top LLE marks for brunch and wish the delightful waiters a very happy weekend.

47-48 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4JJ

Modern Pantry on Urbanspoon

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