QP LDN

Meal courtesy of QP LDN

Written by Vicky Dalton Banks

QP LDN resides on Dover Street in the heart of Mayfair and is under the creative direction of Italian Michelin-starred chef Antonio Mellino and with his two sons Raffaele and Fabrizio, stays true to its roots in authentic Amalfi coast inspired cooking. Antonio is considered to be a master in pasta making, and his freshly made then dried pastas continue to be made on premises by the QP LDN kitchen staff.

qp-ldn-mayfair-2After ordering an Aperol Spritz and once settled I noticed that 7pm on a Tuesday is clearly not the time to dine here – the rather sleek looking restaurant was quite empty. Though with the right level of music playing it didn’t feel it and as it got later into the night the tables did start filling up around us.

January will never be a detox month for me. It’s already bleak enough, so when the aperitivo and bread arrived I dived straight in! I enjoyed the ricotta filled bites and arancini, and the focaccia was especially good.

The Food

The menu at QP LDN is very fish heavy, and after asking the friendly waiter what he would recommend we decided to throw in two meat dishes for balance.

To start we ordered the beef carpaccio with rocket. The beef was beautifully sliced and the rocket nice and peppery but the addition of artichoke did not work for me. It was quite overpowering and some bits tough meaning I ended up just putting the salad to one side so I could enjoy the beef.

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If there is tuna tartare on the menu, pretty much 99.9% of the time I will order it. And after all the heavy food over Christmas we agreed pretty instantly this was going to be ordered! The waiter highly recommended the salmon tartare too, so they very kindly provided us with two half portions so we could try both.

The yellowfin tuna tartare came served on cubed avocado – not groundbreaking but done very well it was delicious nonetheless. But the real star was the salmon – I’m so glad we were told to try this! I think it’s always a great idea to ask for advice on what to order from the menu as a dish you may have discarded may be the best thing you order.

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The smoked marinated salmon tartare was served on a sliced apple and cucumber salad with nuts and yoghurt sauce. This is a dish I will most definitely be trying to recreate at home. The textures worked so well and the fruit and yoghurt created such a refreshing taste. A really lovely dish.

We couldn’t dine in an Italian restaurant and not order at least one pasta dish! We liked the look of the fresh crab and cherry tomato spaghetti but were told we should try their signature dish of linguine with fired zucchini and parmesan. Knowing there was no way we could consume two pasta dishes they offered to do what they did with our starters and brought us two mini portions.

qp-ldn-mayfair-5I enjoyed the light fresh tomato sauce with the crab, it was lovely and sweet and worked well. The linguine was a little too salty for me, I love zucchini in pasta but I couldn’t have eaten a full portion of this.

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It was okay though because the next dish to arrive was the perfectly cooked lamb. The rack of lamb was served with a parsnip puree and braised red cabbage. What could have been a heavy dish felt well portioned and balanced. I was surprised to see red cabbage on an Italian menu but I liked the dish.

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The evening definitely finished on a high. The warm orange tart with bitter chocolate ice cream was a hug on a plate and ever-so-perfect for a cold January evening. The warm orange almost like custard was smooth and rich. It’s not as if the chocolate and caramel mousse wasn’t rich, but it felt light with the different layers, more like a mousse cake. The tart passion fruit sorbet was the ideal partner. We enjoyed our final course with a glass of Leone de Castris Moscato from Puglia which was a lovely way to end the meal

The Verdict

Overall I liked our meal at QP LDN, but for me, it didn’t blow me away. I very much enjoyed the beginning and ending but the middle felt like it was missing its sparkle. I did enjoy the crab pasta dish but the signature dish was a little too salty and although the lamb was cooked to perfection, it just didn’t seem to stand out.

It is not cheap to dine at QP LDN and so I think they need to refine their dishes. I definitely think ordering fish is the way to go as this seems to be their speciality. The staff were super attentive and friendly and there is some beautiful artwork on display around the Italian restaurant so it’s definitely not a bad place to dine in Mayfair.

inamo

Meal courtesy of inamo

Attended by Luxmmi, published by Steph

inamo Camden is the latest opening from the inamo Group, who add another fusion restaurant to their Soho and Covent Garden branches. Situated directly opposite Mornington Crescent station, the restaurant is easy to find. The building itself is imposing with a sleek and dimly lit exterior, reflected by the décor inside.

The meal started on the roof terrace with a sushi platter. Eating on the terrace doesn’t sound like a great idea for a January evening; however, the heating was surprisingly effective so we barely felt the chill! Although all the sushi was tasty, the standout was easily the dragon roll with tempura shrimp, avocado and mayonnaise.

We were then taken inside to try out one of inamo’s main attractions – the interactive tables. These were a lot a fun. We played around with drawing our faces (resulting in some interesting works of art…), the multiplayer games and even watching the chefs in action in the kitchen using the chef cam. Technology is central to the inamo experience, with iPads also provided on each table to order through.

After our table entertainment, more dishes arrived in the form of a huge selection from the inamo menu. This included ebi tempura, Char Sui buns, Korean chicken wings, yuzu miso aubergine, and miso salmon. The standouts here were the Korean chicken wings and miso salmon. Both dishes had a delicate balance of flavours, with the right level of kick to the chicken wings. The other dishes were also delicious, although Chinese classics like the Char Sui buns and duck with pancakes were slightly bland.

Overall, inamo Camden is definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re a fan of Asian food. The food itself doesn’t disappoint, and the technological novelties add an extra, fun dimension.

HKK Chinese New Year Menu (2017)

Meal courtesy of HKK and Hakkasan Group

Written by me!

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Michelin Star*

This blog is no stranger to the Hakkasan Group, when it comes to giving recommendations, these restaurants have always been high on my list! (see posts on HKK, Yauatcha, Yauatcha City, Sake no Hana, Hakkasan).

Chinese New Year is celebrated very well at HKK London  and the menus they create for this occasion often outwits the class and elegance of others.

hkk-2017-4-of-15HKK boasts a compelling dining experience from traditional Chinese dishes to high-end quality courses of fine calibre. Opened in 2012, it was the latest of the Hakkasan Group but was very quick to impress, with its culinary string of tasting courses. Chinese New Year is celebrated over a fortnight of festivities and culinary celebrations. HKK has geared up a tailored set menu for the new year inclusive of its famous Peking duck.

Chinese New Year 2017 Menu (available until 11 February 2017) (£93.88)

*Please note they also have a vegetarian menu.

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Started off with an amuse bouche of Kumquat flavouring (complemented with lime liquor and chinese spirits) the liquor was strong and sweet which offset the subtle flavouring of the amuse bouche. Both very citrusy. (We forgoned the Orchard’s flight soon after as we aren’t very good with alcohol!)

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Emperor’s bite of spring (king crab, white truffle, winter bamboo shoot). This was the first time I’ve ever had a pancake roll encased in gold and it was impressive, the king crab meaty and overall a nice light starter to it all.

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Second course was the Monk jumps over the wall (abalone, sea cucumber, ginseng) and third, Touch of the heart (lobster and pickle Chinese leaves dumpling, king crab with XO sauce dumpling and sea bass and shrimp dumpling). Both these courses come similar to the servings from last year but with a twist. This time with abalone and ginseng bringing a sense of familiarity to my tongue as my family would make this on special occasions. Very aromatic and great for your health too. You can’t leave a Chinese New Year menu without any dumpling fun and one of HKK’s signature courses cannot be excluded! Different dumplings again this time and my favourite out of the three visits here, the King Crab with XO sauce was my favourite. All of these parcels consisted of very meaty fillings with sauces erupting from every bite.

hkk-2017-8-of-15hkk-2017-9-of-15Imperial cherry wood Peking duck.

The peking duck also did a makeover, bringing in black caviar and fried foie gras illustrating class in the highest form. Never have I thought foie gras would go well with the skin of a peking duck and this was an absolute delight.

Followed by scallop noodles (yu fungus, lemon grass, royal stock) and Eight treasure chicken (guinea fowl, ginko nut, mangalica ham). The scallop noodles was the least impressive and this was mainly from the texture of the noodles in which the scallops were sat atop of. Unfortunately thought it was a bit over cooked and too soft. Eight treasure chicken though, was a visual delight with dry ice steaming from the bottom of the box weaving in and around the plastic wrapped the entree.

Our meal comes to a near end with pre dessert kum quat carrot cake, a consistent theme to this years Chinese New Year menu. Served with vanilla cream, orange foam plated around the  poached kumquat sponge cake. 

The real show stopper was the dessert, the century egg, a mousse-y affair with strong essences of coffee and hazelnut in and around the plate, some sesame on the side too.

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