Kopapa (5 of 7)
A quick brunch at Kopapa on a Sunday
History and Background:

Kopapa was one of those places that kept popping up on my Instagram feed, and having never had food from New Zealand, I took the opportunity to stop by. To keep it short, it’s an innovative, fusion style restaurant located just by Seven Dials, Covent Garden.

Menu changes continuously, but some things will stay and remain as a favourites, notably their Turkish eggs dish! Opened by owners New Zealanders/ people of Maori descent;

Kopapa: a Maori word for ‘a gathering, to be crowded, and a building to store food in’.

Highly recommend place to go for pre-theatre and post-theatre meals.

The meal:

Kopapa (2 of 7)
Soft shell crab burger £12.50
Crab burger is something new for me, but was slightly dry, it could be that it was so early in the morning… But nevertheless, more sauce is needed with this burger!

Kopapa (3 of 7)
– and yes, I have a habit of requesting burgers to be sliced in half… you need to see what’s inside!
Turkish eggs (below) – 2 poached eggs, whipped yoghurt, hot chilli butter and 2 slices of toast. To me this dish doesn’t look too appetizing, since the idea of chilli butter, yoghurt and eggs looked like such a strange combination. This however, was one of the best brunches I’ve had…the combo works really well but unfortunately I can’t put this in words… (I’m not a great food writer) but I highly recommend everyone to have turkish eggs even if its not at Kopapa!

Kopapa (6 of 7)
Turkish eggs £9.50
Service: 12.50% service charge

Bits and bobs:

  • Brunch times are specific, and a different menu to dinner, I would recommend going for brunch first! Check their website for more details.
  • Leicester Square is actually a closer stop than Covent Garden, so if its easier for you, stop off there

Price: £

Kopapa on Urbanspoon

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Sutton and Sons

Sutton and Sons (49 of 59)History and Background:

A food bloggers lunch courtesy of Suttons and Sons with the girls from @londonfoodbabes, and chef Chris, (founder of A taste. and upcoming restaurant in Clerkenwell, Three Little Birds).

Serving the widest choice of fish in North East London, Sutton and Sons is located on the high street that joins Dalston Junction and Stoke Newington stations together. Seafood is sourced daily, fresh from the Sutton and Sons’ Fishmongers, their main seafood supplier. An established and reputable entity in its own right, with its roots stemming back to 1998, serving schools and its local community.

Seafood is bought directly from the day boats of Essex and other UK coastal fishing ports, and from Billingsgate

Sutton and Son’s restaurant itself was set up in 2010, showcasing traditional British food, one of the few good fish and chippies left in town.

The meal:

Sutton and Sons (3 of 59)
There was more than half a dozen here, but on the menu (1/2 a dozen for £8.50)
Sutton and Sons (6 of 59)
Fresh Whitstable oytsers from Kent
Sutton and Sons (9 of 59)
Battered oysters (3 for £5.95)

I have to admit I don’t know much about seafood, so it was great to have Adam and Chris explain how particular foods are sourced and the reason behind particular flavours/ seasonings. These oysters are obtained from Kent, with Danny allowing us to try them raw, and also tempura style. The aioli sauce is a must-try!

Sutton and Sons (18 of 59)
Grilled Scallops £6.95
Sutton and Sons (20 of 59)
Fresh and succulent!
Sutton and Sons (21 of 59)
These scallops were unbelievably good, I could have eaten the whole entire serving!
Sutton and Sons (26 of 59)
Samphire £2.75

This is my first time trying samphire, it is a european plant of the parsley family, grown on rocks and cliffs by the sea, or as Chris explains it – its usually found in swamps or marshland. There is no need to add salt to these as its salty aroma stems naturally from its growth in these areas. I think I may have found vegetables I finally like…

We also had Mrs Sutton’s pickles (pictured below).

Sutton and Sons (29 of 59)
Balsamic Shallots, Red Onion Rings, and Quail Egg’s (£2.75)
Sutton and Sons (34 of 59)
Chargrilled Tuna Burger served with chips or fries (£11.90)
Sutton and Sons (40 of 59)
Our massive feast! Large portions are Sutton and Sons
Sutton and Sons (41 of 59)
Cod and Chips (£11.50)

Really large portions at Sutton and Sons, so you would really get your money’s worth. I had the tuna burger, you’re given a thick slab of tuna sandwiched by soft buns and a bowl full of fries.

Sutton and Sons (42 of 59)
Tuna done medium rare, tender and meaty
Sutton and Sons (43 of 59)
Lobster sub and fries (12.90)
Sutton and Sons (46 of 59)
Chargrilled fish of the day (£9.50)

Service: Attentive and friendly!

Bits and bobs:

  • Can be a quite a walk if you get off at the wrong stop… so plan your journey!
  • There are mains off the menu written on the chalkboards inside, so have a look for specials

Price: £

Sutton and Sons Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

Smack Lobster

Smack (11 of 22)
Smack Lobster Roll Deli, Binney Street
History and Background:

The 3rd November 2014 opening of Smack Deli was an anticipated one, starting with a 50% soft launch, it had everybody at its feet. The sister of the Burger and Lobster chain opened by the Goodman group sells 4 different types of lobsters rolls, and other lobster related dishes. Their ‘fast food fine diningconcept has been a unique one, with not many (if any) similar to Smack Deli.

The meal:

Smack (3 of 22)
Courgette Fries £3.00 (takeaway) £3.60 (eat-in)

Smack (4 of 22)
Seven Samurai £7.50 (takeaway), £9.00 (eat-in): tempura lobster, Japanese mayo, Japanese cabbage, cucumber, pickled ginger and spring onion

Smack (7 of 22)
Mexican £7.50 (takeaway) £9.00 (eat-in), chipotle, mayo, corn, peppers, jalapenos

Smack (15 of 22)
Happy Ending, and California £7.50 (takeaway) £9.00 (eat-in)
It’s almost empty whenever I do pop in now as the lobster hype as died down, but nevertheless, some highly recommended things from Smack Deli include the Lobster Chowder and the Seven Samurai Roll. Courgette fries can tend to be a bit too oily, and Mexican lobster roll has strong flavours which overwhelm the lobster taste.

Smack (16 of 22)
Lobster Chowder £4.80 (eat-in)

Smack (18 of 22)
Happy Ending: Japanese Mayo, Shredded Napa Cabbage, Coriander, Fish Sauce

Smack (19 of 22)
California: Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado, avocado mayo with lime
Service: Minimal interaction since it is fast food style. Slightly overstaffed considering how empty the store is for most of the day.

Bits and bobs:

  • A large seating area downstairs
  • Really quick service, so ideal for lunch breaks
  • They do whole lobsters too (for £10.00)

Price: £

Smack Lobster on Urbanspoon

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Ametza with Arzak Instruction

Ametsa (4 of 20)
Ametsa with Arzak Instruction
History and Background:

1 Michelin star 

Some of the critics’ anticipated openings of 2013. Opened by Elena Arzak, deemed to be the Best Female Chef in 2012, the restaurant is located on the ground floor of The Halkin Hotel, just off Hyde Park Tube Station specialising in Basque Spanish food.  Arrival was to a rather bland and soulless room lined up with square tables and plain white walls, but upon looking up at the ceiling, you will find 7000 glass test tubes filled with cumin and spices. Rather impressive. Sitting down can be rather daunting as I watched half a dozen pair of eyes seep into me as I take my seat… guess this is what happens when you’re their first customer of the day..

The meal:

We got a set deal for lunch here for just £27, a deal which I believe they still have at the moment. Tasting menus can be up to £145 and if ordering from the A La Carte expect it to be well over £50. So I do recommend the set lunch if you are to visit!

Ametsa (5 of 20)
Amuse bouche to start off with. I want their slanted glass tube!
Ametsa (6 of 20)
Chipirones en su Tinta (Black Ink Squid)
Ametsa (7 of 20)
Jamon Iberico sobre Almohadas de Pan con Tomate
Ametsa (8 of 20)
Iberico Ham over Bread Pillow
Ametsa (9 of 20)
Pimientos de Piquillo Confitados (Confit Piquillo Peppers)
I have been meaning to give this a second visit when I can, some of their other dishes are equally as exquisite. Colours as well as the plating are done really well here, the food of course, is good too.

Ametsa (10 of 20)
Bacalao Empedrado
Ametsa (11 of 20)
Rocky Cod
Ametsa (12 of 20)
Jarrete de Ternera con Cerveza, Cebolla y su Hueso
Ametsa (13 of 20)
Beef Shin with the Bone, Onion and Beer
Ametsa (14 of 20)
This was my main, and boy was it good! Meat soft to the bone, with the sauce making it really succulent
Ametsa (16 of 20)
Torrija de Mango y Coco
Ametsa (17 of 20)
French Toast with Mango and Coconut
Ametsa (18 of 20)
Clove Custard, Toasted Milk and Pineapple Ice Cream
Ametsa (19 of 20)
Petite Fours
Service: 12.5% service charge

Bits and bobs:

  • Their dishes are known for the visual appeal and exquisitivity, they have desserts that change colour amongst other things, so maybe check your Instagram feed before going!
  • Cloakroom service available

Price: ££ (only because I got the set deal for £27)

Ametsa with Arzak Instruction on Urbanspoon

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Criterion Breakfast (2 of 14)
Criterion’s interior gives a very West End feel, with the Criterion Theatre just next door
Criterion Breakfast (4 of 14)
Quiet and tranquil, a rare occasion being first customer of the day at 7.30am
History and background:

Prestige and reputation sure does get repeatedly mentioned in my posts, but this one is a little different. It’s very hard to find a restaurant like the Criterion, a restaurant so quintessentially English and enriched with so much history there’s even a Wikipedia page for it.

Breath-taking interior design by architect Thomas Verity in a Grade II* listed building at the heart of Central London makes the Criterion certainly one to visit. I held my mother’s birthday here last year and most recently re-visited the Criterion for Louise’s 21st, and also, for the new breakfast menu.

You almost feel as if you’re part of history as you walk in, when you know the Criterion has been mentioned in Sherlock Holmes’ book on Dr. Watson’s meeting with a friend, to being in the same place where Winston Churchill once visited. Events often take place here, weddings and celebrations alike, but also regularly featured in TV, such as Downtown Abbey, Batman: The Dark Knight and Gambit.

The meal:

Ongoing deals at the Criterion

  • 50% off breakfast menu until 30th June 2015
  • Afternoon Tea and Cocktail £19.95
  • 2 courses and a Pimm’s cocktail £20.00/ 3 courses for £25.00

(Full prices are listed below)

Criterion Breakfast (10 of 14)
Poached Eggs on toast with smoked salmon £10.50
Criterion Breakfast (5 of 14)
Confit Duck Leg, fried egg with Belgian Waffle £13.50
My first instinct was, “It’s Duck and Waffle!”, being a frequent diner of Duck and Waffle, I’m not sure I’ve tried a different take on this particular combination until at the Criterion. They do not use a duck egg, more mustard is used than wholly maple syrup, but mustard is subtle and so does not overpower the sweetness of the sauce. Duck confit was tender and soft, a very very good alternative if you can’t book the 40th floor establishment.

Criterion Breakfast (13 of 14)
Added Avocado (from sides) £4.00
Criterion Breakfast (14 of 14)
Played around with this dish to get it presented the way I wanted. Hehe.
Below was Amy’s choice of breakfast was the Berries and Walnuts Criterion Pancakes, really fruity and fresh, pancakes really fluffy!

Criterion Breakfast (12 of 14)
Berries and Walnuts Criterion Pancake £6.50
Criterion Breakfast (8 of 14)
The obligatory bird eye shot… not that I’m particularly great at it (We ordered two pots of teas £4.00 per pot)

Dinner in the semi-private terrace area, tables arranged in a long vertical line for a group of 20.

Criterion (41 of 63)
Obligatory snaps for Daisy, and Dan multitasking his way through dinner
Criterion (24 of 63)
Louise (birthday girl) on the left, Paul, Parisha, Fia, Arya and Minh chatting away
Criterion (15 of 63)
Soup of the Day (3 courses for £25) – Tomato Soup
Criterion (13 of 63)
Ham Hock and Black Pudding Terrine, Celeriac Remoulade, Watercress, croutons
Criterion (40 of 63)
Pan fried ‘Loch Duart’ Salmon, beetroot and horseradish puree, sauteed vegetables, beurre blanc
Criterion (33 of 63)
Homemade Pappardelle Pasta, courgette, peas, mint, black olives, chili, rocket salad (v)
I had the pasta, the vegetarian option, since the other two mains were wildly popular on the table.

Criterion (36 of 63)
Roast corn fed chicken supreme, celeriac puree, chorizo, white cabbage
Criterion (32 of 63)
Another take on the salmon
Criterion (46 of 63)
Always room for dessert! Dark chocolate and blood orange cake, vanilla creme fraiche, caramel, blood orange sorbet
Criterion (54 of 63)
Passion fruit and mango Eton mess, blackberries, basil cress
Criterion (60 of 63)
A paparazzi shot for the birthday girl
Criterion (62 of 63)
This cake, is ginormous. Patisserie Valerie.
Service: Very accommodating, friendly, knowledgable and not intrusive. 12.5% service charge.

Criterion Breakfast (1 of 1)
(Photo courtesy of Paul Choong) Criterion staff hard at work
Bits and bobs:

  • Make this your pre-theatre meal with Criterion Theatre just next door! (39 steps is one of my favourite plays)
  • Can easily accommodate birthday meals, or large parties, as far as I remember, no cake fee
  • Tube station at your doorstep
  • Afternoon tea also recommended
  • Live music during the evening on Fridays and Saturdays from 7.30pm

Price: ££

Criterion Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Strand Dining Rooms

Strand Dining Rooms (1 of 14)
Excuse the photography in this post. Oops
History and Background:

Ex-Gordon Ramsay chef will be taking over Strand Dining Room’s kitchen from April 3, so expect some new dishes!

Serving all day British food, as well as afternoon tea, Strand Dining offers classic and traditional English food at an affordable price. With currently a deal on at bookatable 3 courses with a cocktail at £25.00

The restaurant is furnished with sophistication, spacious and ideal for large bookings, or party bookings.

The meal:

Strand Dining Rooms (2 of 14)
Early Grey Smoked Duck Breast

Strand Dining Rooms (3 of 14)
Slow cooked Pork Belly with Oak Smoked Mussels and Apple Cider Sauce £9.00

Strand Dining Rooms (4 of 14)
8oz Sirloin of Dedham Vale Beef with Chips, Roasted Vine Cherry Tomatoes and Bearnaise Sauce £25.00

Strand Dining Rooms (5 of 14)
Both Matt and Athena ordered this so it must be good!

Strand Dining Rooms (11 of 14)
Poached Corn Fed Chicken Breast with Carrot Puree, Watercress and Potato Dumpling and Poached Egg £15.00
I know my main looked slightly plain and the chicken dry, but it really wasn’t, a main thoroughly enjoyed and cooked well, the poached egg made a nice addition. Maybe Strand Dinings should work on its presentation. Speaking of presentation though, check out the dessert below. Good plating.

Strand Dining Rooms (6 of 14)
Baked Vanilla Cheesecake with Raspberry Sorbet and Red Berry Coulis £6.00

Strand Dining Rooms (9 of 14)
Cocktails came with the offer, and they were so good!

Strand Dining Rooms (10 of 14)
Noone can resist cocktails…

Strand Dining Rooms (14 of 14)
Second visit was a birthday dinner. Green Tea Cheesecake from L’eto
Service: 12.5% service charge.

Bits and bobs:

  • Pretty big restaurant, so you can always walk in, but they do get busy
  • A selection of good cocktails, do try some

Price: ££

Strand Dining Rooms on Urbanspoon

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