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Grand Bar and Bistro - 2 Sep 2015

Grand Bar & Bistro - Coffee Mousse

Grand in name and grand in looks, the flashy bar and sleek classy interior downstairs in the bar and upstairs in the restaurant area, does not carry the grand price you might expect. Instead there are a range of dishes that are reasonably priced and each of the dishes we had were quite generous in serving and excellent value for money. Along with a relaxing ambience and excellent friendly service to boot, a visit here for any occasion is recommended. To start I ordered the pork belly which was very tender and tasty with a lovely balsamic vinegar glaze. Plump juicy scallops were also enjoyed and pair effectively with the pork belly. I also had a taste of the Panko crumbed tiger prawns and crab croquettes which were delicious. I also sampledthe mains, first trying some delicious cajun coated swordfish with a delicious salad. I particularly liked the strips of buffalo chorizo but felt the cajun intensity could be ramped up a few notches. The sirloin steak was tender and juicy and enjoyed with a not too peppery, pepper sauce. For my mains, I rather enjoyed the rich melt in your mouth beef cheek surrounded by soft ravioli in a Parmesan sauce that lent it’s flavour but was not too cheesy. For dessert I liked the subtle flavour of the light but dense coffee mousse which was offset by the refreshing strawberry and chocolate cones. I also had a taste of the moist but dense dark chocolate fondant, counteracted with the light creme anglais and tasty mars ice cream. Really full but satisfied. . . . → Read More: Grand Bar and Bistro – 2 Sep 2015

Mix - 28 Aug 2015

Mix - Korean Tacos

Mix presents a fusion of Korean and Mexican cuisine through tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. I had 3 tacos with fillings of beef bulgogi, spicy chicken, and pork. I also had the option of choosing a salsa and got tomato, tropical, and cucumber. Each bite was delicious and full of flavour. There’s a bit of a chilli kick and the salsa’s add additional flavour while the sour cream cools things down. Really tasty, service is quick but the eating is messy! Serviettes provided are much needed. A cheap eat that hits the spot. . . . → Read More: Mix – 28 Aug 2015

De Cribs - 23 Aug 2015

De Cribs - Pork Ribs

I thought De Cribs offers a good range of dishes at excellent prices compared to what one would normally pay. I really enjoyed my pork ribs which were tender and delicious in the original sauce marinade. I also liked the dressing on my garden salad and the chips from the other dishes were really delicious. I also had a taste of the lamb ribs which were even more tender and were covered in a spicy sauce though it is a tad spicy. I think De Cribs strength is in their mains as desserts were above average. I enjoyed my New York cheesecake and I had a taste of the red velvet which is a little heavy, though the key lime tart had a nice tart flavour, it was quite gluggy. A really lovely venue to enjoy some lovely American fare. . . . → Read More: De Cribs – 23 Aug 2015

Ribs & Burgers - 21 Aug 2015

Ribs & Burgers - Old School Cheese Burger and Onion Rings

I visited to try the burgers after prior visits where I enjoyed the ribs. I ordered the Old School Cheese burger. I also got some onion rings which were not rings, looked more like soft shell crab, but were tasty. The American cheese in the burger shines through but is dominated by the sourness of the mustard. The sesame seed bun was tasty though cold, as were the contents of the burger which were luke warm at best. The beef patty was pink and a bit raw in places, lacking seasoning and flavour. I found the burger rather underwhelming and would recommend the gourmet burger joints like Grill’d or Jus Burgers as a better alternative. Come here for the ribs, especially the baby backed pork ribs. . . . → Read More: Ribs & Burgers – 21 Aug 2015

Wild Duck - 19 Aug 2015

Wild Duck - Salmon Trio

I thought the Wild Duck degustation was excellent, starting off strong but falling away towards the end. The Amuse bouche tomato marshmallow and Parmesan custard was an interesting starter. The seafood chowder was exceptional delivering lots of flavour and comfort, not to mention that perfectly cooked melt in your mouth scallop. The salmon trio was the standout dish of the night, the chef’s showcasing their skill in superbly presenting salmon three ways each as delicious as the other. The salmon mousse comfortably shaded the confit salmon and salmon Gravalax. The rich salt and pepper squid was effectively paired with a refreshing Asian salad and a delicious chilli jam with some kick. The slow cooked pork belly just cut like butter and was really enjoyable, as too the crunchy crackling. After the raspberry sorbet which cleansed my palette, the next two dishes fell short of the standard set. The crispy skin duck breast didn’t have too much crispy skin to enjoy and while the duck breast was tender, it lacked flavour and juiciness. Instead, a delicious duck jus and salty speck added much needed punch. Knowing what duck can deliver, I thought the dish restricted the duck from being the hero on the plate. Dessert is what people look forward to and the eggs on toast didn’t deliver the bang or grand finale to the meal. While clever and deceiving, it didn’t really deliver enough flavour to leave me satisfied. A very enjoyable meal in comforting surroundings, excellent service, and quality food. . . . → Read More: Wild Duck – 19 Aug 2015

Whisk Creamery - 15 Aug 2015

Whisk Creamery - Caramel Sandwich

The desserts are a bit pricey but that’s the price you pay for indulgence. The caramel sandwich is delicious, a lovely cronut sandwiching the smooth creamy salted caramel gelato which goes down a treat. The whipped cream with salted caramel sauce is delicious and the dessert, while filling, is not sickening or dominated by too much caramel. I can see this being a hit in summer but any weather is good for gelato, right? . . . → Read More: Whisk Creamery – 15 Aug 2015

Southern Star Modern Vietnamese Cafe and Restaurant - 11 Aug 2015

Southern Star Modern Vietnamese - Roast Duck Lychee Red Curry

I guess the name of the restaurant says it all – “Modern”, not authentic, Westernised Vietnamese cuisine. While disappointed not to be eating the real thing, the fusion or mix of dishes from neighbouring countries, provided several dishes with interesting flavours. None of the dishes were poor, each one flavoursome and characterised by a sweet dressing of sorts which added further flavour. I particularly enjoyed the roast duck and lychee in red curry which was excellent. A close second was the Saigon chicken with crispy skin and tender flesh. The beef salad had a bit of kick and was quite fresh and the entrees of rice paper rolls and fish cakes were a lovely way to kick the night off. My steamed banana and sticky rice dessert in coconut milk was pretty good too. A lovely restaurant with a range of tasty dishes, wide open space, friendly service and takeaway also available. . . . → Read More: Southern Star Modern Vietnamese Cafe and Restaurant – 11 Aug 2015

Poppo Korean and Japanese - 6 Aug 2015

Poppo Korean & Japanese - Beef Bulgogi

It’s a little unusual to have a restaurant serving two completely different cuisines in Korean and Japanese but it gives the diner more choice. I went with the Korean seafood pancake which was light, crispy and delicious with the slightly salty sauce. I really enjoyed it and it was quite a generous serving. I was pleased to see that the seafood, in particularly, the squid, was very tender. For mains I chose the beef bulgogi which was excellent. The steamed rice helps to mop up some of the marinade and meat juices but the soft tender flavoursome beef is an excellent lunchtime meal for the cold of winter. It does become very meaty and rich due to the onions, but the miso soup, spicy kimchi, and refreshing pickled vegetables help to create balance and take the edge off. The crispy and slightly sugar coated seaweed was an interesting element too. . . . → Read More: Poppo Korean and Japanese – 6 Aug 2015

Ribs & Burgers - 31 Jul 2015

Ribs & Burgers - Lamb Ribs with Chicken and Beef Sliders

I chose the lamb ribs with a herb and lemon baste and also got beef and chicken sliders. The squeeze of lemon made all the difference to the ribs, the acidity balancing the meatiness and slight intensity of the marinade on the tasty tender lamb ribs. They were enjoyable, but not as good as the baby backed ribs. The chicken and beef sliders were tasty but lacked seasoning which let them down. I also chose the butcher’s salad which is very generous and contains plenty of dressing. A good choice along with the ribs. I’ll have to visit again to try the burgers. . . . → Read More: Ribs & Burgers – 31 Jul 2015

No 4 Blake Street - 30 Jul 2015

No 4 Blake Street - Pork Costals, Cauliflower Puree & Florets, Lardo

No 4 Blake Street is Tom Randolph’s vehicle to showcase his creativity in the kitchen. This is clearly on display through the 7 course degustation. On Sunday’s, a long table is held instead where new dishes are displayed and tweaked, influenced by feedback, some of which make their way to the main menu. For something less relaxed, a wine bar with tapas is available at Next Door at No 4, which is literally next door to the dining room. For tonight’s 7 course degustation, I particularly enjoyed the potato risotto which substituted rice for small rectangles of under seasoned potato, allowing the salty flavours of the sea and tender crab to shine through. While I normally avoid eggs, the 35° smoked hen’s egg with pearl barley for some meatiness to the dish and tuna Benito for seasoning was a dish that surprised on the upside. The pork costals was another highlight of the night, presenting tender succulent rib meat with a pork intensity off the scale. It needs an acidic element to balance out the meatiness and flavoursome lardo, but I loved it. It’s hard to pick a winner, especially when the night finishes strong with a fantastic dessert! The pistachio ice cream was a standout element amongst the Vahlrona chocolate soil, chocolate mousse, chocolate shards, and pistachio sponge. I also loved the sour dough bread and particularly, the duck fat spread. The creativity did deliver a few misses with some dishes that need a little balancing in my opinion, but I’d rather take creativity over safe and there were enough hits to leave me a thoroughly satisfied diner. Don’t let the rain keep you away when you can enjoy quality, creativity, and deliciousness in a comfortable soft ambient setting. . . . → Read More: No4 Blake Street – 30 Jul 2015