Wednesday 30 May 2012

Prague, Czech Republic

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Opps! I just realised that I forgot all about posting photos of my Easter Holiday's Prague Trip!! So here they are!!! Enjoy!
View of Prague Castle and Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge
Prague Castle by night
Status of Jesus on Charles Bridge
Another Statue on Charles Bridge

Astronomical Clock
Old Town Hall

Memorial to the Victims of Communism
John Lennon Wall

Trdelník - A breadlink pastry baked over charcoals and coated with sugar, cinnamon and nuts
Prague Ham

Sunday 27 May 2012

Birthday lunch at Roganic!!

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It was my birthday on Sat and my loving hubby planned a wonderful day out for me! The weather was perfect too as the sun was out with a cool breeze so it wasn't too hot. (Yes, thought I grew up in Singapore, I somehow can't take the heat! haha) First up was lunch at one of the most exciting restaurant in London at the moment, Roganic. This was followed by a musical, Dreamboats and Petticoats then dinner at the always yummy Bincho Yakitori

It was our first time at the 2 year London popup, Roganic and it's always exciting to visit a new restaurant especially after reading rave reviews about it!!! We also recently watched owner and chef Simon Rogan win the North West heat in the Great British Menu and he has been called the most innovative chef in the country at the moment so these all added the level of excitement!! They are still considered a popup at the moment at they are in the midst of looking for new premises so we may get to see an even prettier restaurant in the near future! 
When we first stepped into the restaurant, we were greeted by Richard, the smiliest Maitre D ever!!! I'm not kidding as I've never seen a Maitre D smile that much before and it feels as though he's your good friend. Throughout our meal, Richard and his team provided very friendly, quick yet non obtrusive service. Definitely a job well done! The restaurant, on the whole, has a very relaxed feel about it which makes for a very comfortable dining experience. 

There's a choice of 3 menus, 3 courses(£29), 6 courses(£55) or 10 courses(£55). As we had a musical to catch, we decided that 10 courses would take a little too long and so decided on the 6 courses menu. 

A few minutes after placing our order, we were served 2 amuse bouches. Rosemary crispbread with Goats cheese and Hay smoked Pork belly balls. I could really taste the smokiness infused into the Pork belly and that together with the goats cheese thoroughly excited my palette and prepared it for what was coming up!!
Rosemary Crispbread with Goat's cheese
Hay smoked Pork belly
 A selected of homemade bread rolls and sensational Roganic experience began..

The carrot 'soup' has combination of different textural flavours that simply dances in the mouth.
Carrot with ham fat, tarragon and pickled celery
Next up was a very intense mushroom broth, balanced with a mild tasting buffalo curd.
Mushroom broth with buffalo curds, salsify and water mint

Sea scallops cooked to perfection, combined with some very interesting tasting seaweed
Sea scallop, oyster, seaweed and watercress
One thing that Roganic does very well is to put together texture and flavours that compliments each other. Saltiness of the Lemon sole, creaminess of the bone marrow, tartness of the roasted tomatoes, chewiness of the buckwheat all works very well together in a single mouthful. 
Lemon Sole with smoked marrow, roasted bone sauce, nasturtium and buckwheat
The Herdwick lamb is another case in point. This strong tasting lamb is nicely mellowed out with the creamy sweetbread. I really enjoyed this dish, but my hubby on the hand felt found the lamb a little too intense as he didn't like the texture of sweetbread and rather not eat it. Without it, the dish wasn't as balanced as it should have been. Chefs put a lot of thought into every dish usually every ingredient, no matter how small, plays an important part in pulling a dish together. 
Herdwick lamb flank, sweetbread, hedge garlic and velvet caps
The dessert was superb, and definitely showcases the rhubarb! It was really refreshing and just right as it was hot outside.
Rhubarb with meadowsweet, cream cake and sweet cicely
And then we thought we were done but no.... they still had a little more up their sleeves. 
Along came the Douglas Fir milkshake and lemon curd donuts. I've seen Doughlas fir being used on TV before but have never tasted it so it was a very nice surprise to taste this fragrant pine flavoured milkshake.
Douglas Fir milkshake and Lemon curd donut
There was then the White chocolate coated chocolate bourbon biscuit parfait that brought the meal to a very sweet ending.

Even with the high expectations we brought along to Roganic, we were not disappointed and constantly amazed with beautiful plates of food, burst of flavours that was truly a sight and taste extravaganza! 

We'll definitely go back for the 10 courses when the menu changes and hopefully make it to his other restaurants, L'enclume and Rogan & Co in the Lake District in the very near future!

19 Blandford St

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Pulled Pork Heaven at Pitt Cue

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Queueing... I really seem to like doing that recently. Did just that for 1hr 45mins last week to get my hands on a perfectly cooked lobster at Burger and Lobster last week and this week, am doing just that for some pulled pork!! Ok, I lie, I didn't exactly queue too much this week as we made our way to Pitt Cue 15mins before it's opening so technically, i waited just 15mins. :P There was a menu hanging by the window next to us so it was a good time to decide on our order.
Arriving early was indeed a very good decision as there were at least 30 people in the queue when the doors were opened! Being 2nd in the queue, we were immediately brought down to the tiny basement 18 seater dining area together with some other early birds. As for the rest, they either sat at the 6 seater counter by the windows available on the tiny ground floor or ordered a drink and waited by the bar counter.

Orders were taken and we didn't have to wait too long before the drinks and food arrived. I was very happy that A&W root beer was on the menu as it's not usually served in restaurants. They produced the best tasting root beer ever in my opinion and drinking it sure brought back some childhood memories of having A&W coney dog and root beer float! Ahhh...... so refreshing in hot and humid Singapore!
The stars of the show arrived shortly after and gosh! It was love at first bite for the pulled pork! Unbelievable tender,smokey and tasty shredded pieces of pork immediately put a smile on my face! The shoulder of pork is smoked for 8 to 10 hrs depending on it's size until it just drops off the bone and mixed with BBQ sauce. I ordered homemade baked beans as a side which was made up of a mix of cannellini beans and black beans, both smoked and cooked with bbq sauce too. The pickled cucumber and slaw made for a very nice accompaniment to the pulled pork as it cuts through the salty, smoky and sweet flavour nicely.
My hubby had the equally popular juicy, sticky, finger licking good, humongous piece of beef ribs which was a true winner as well! Best way to eat it was definitely with your hands!
Simple yet well done!

Pitt Cue
1 Newburgh St
London W1F 7RB

Sunday 20 May 2012

Apple Speculoo/Biscoff Muffins

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Firstly, if you haven't ever had speculoo spread, please try to get yourself some as t's really so yummy! Belgian Speculoo is a kind of caramelised, spiced biscuit. The spread has the consistency of peanut butter but instead of using peanuts, these biscuits are used instead! How great does that sound?! Another one of those spread where eating out of the jar is the best way of enjoying it! haha 
There is however one mighty big problem of getting my hands on some. The biscuits are easily available here in the UK but the spread hasn't made their way here yet. I've no idea why but the closest place to get it would be from France, Belgium or Holland. It's also available as Biscoff spread or cookie butter in the US, so I'll definitely buy myself a whole load when I next visit these countries.
Anyway, because I had limited supply of this delicious spread, i only made 6 of these very gorgeous crispy on the top, moist on the insides muffins. The addition of the spread gave the top this almost biscuity and crumbly texture. So this is a muffin, biscuit, crumble all rolled into one and makes for a great breakfast treat in the morning!
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoon light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100g speculoo spread
1 big apple or 2 small ones (diced)

1) Preheat oven to 180deg C/350 deg F. Line a 6 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
2) Sieve flour, baking powder and bicarb of soda into a bowl
3) In another bowl, cream sugar, 1/3 cup of olive oil and egg. Add Speculoo spread and mix until smooth. 
4) Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add this point, add more olive oil if the mixture is too dry. Note: The batter will be pretty thick.
5) Add apples and stir through.
6) Spoon into paper cases and bake for around 20 mins until a skewer comes out clean.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Burger and Lobster

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I should first mention that one must be prepared to wait when visiting Burger and Lobster. No reservations are taken so we were there at 5.45pm on a Sat thinking that it was pretty early but boy were we wrong as we were only seated at 7.30pm!! So a wait of 1hr 45 mins!!!??? Was it all worth it? Yes I gotta say that it was. ;) Of course, it helped that I was meeting friends that I haven't met in ages so we had a great time catching up while waiting. 
The menu is simple. There are no starters, 3 options for mains and usually 2 options for dessert. Mains which costs £20 each consist of a burger, grilled or steamed lobster and for those who don't want to get their hands too dirty tacking lobster in its shell, there's the lobster roll which all the meat has been removed, mixed with a dressing, and placed in a brioche bun.  Simple isn't it? No, not really, even with only 3 choices, I had great difficulty deciding! hahaha The contest was actually between the burger and grilled lobster only. As my friend says, there's no fun eating lobster without the shell! Alright, I'll have to agree with her this time since it was my first time there.
I finally decided on the lobster. We quickly placed our orders after we were seated, put on our all important bibs and lo and behold! The mains came within 10 mins of ordering, quite surprising for such a busy restaurant but I ain't complaining after the initial wait!!!
The cute bib
The lobster, served with an appetising lemon herb sauces, was fresh tasting, succulent and grilled to perfection!
The beef patty in the burger was so soft and juicy, almost melt in the mouth texture. Both dishes were served with fries and salad so it was quite a substantial meal and I left very well fed.
Desserts cost £4 each and on this night, the options were cheesecake and a mousse. We had one of each to share and it made more a nice finish to the excellent meal. I forgot to take photos of the dessert but they were served in takeway like containers and not very pretty anyway. :P

Will i be back? YES!! Will I want to wait that long again? Hopefully not so I'll probably arrive at 5pm the next time round and hope(fingers crossed) to be seated almost immediately. :)

Burger and Lobster
29 Clarges Street
Mayfair, London

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