OXO Tower

Meal courtesy of OXO – Harvey Nichols 

Written by Vicky Dalton-Banks

Afternoon Tea at the OXO Tower, South Bank 7I love an afternoon teas. However, it is a saturated market and it’s hard to stand out; there are numerous different menus on offer all over London and it can be hard to know which are worth your well earned cake hours. I recently tried the afternoon tea at the OXO Tower Restaurant and I think this is definitely one you need to add to your list!

In all my years of living in London, I can’t believe this was my first visit to the OXO Tower. Walking along the South Bank on a sunny day is a delight, and after finding our way to the tower we took the lift up to the restaurant. Offering panoramic views of London’s skyline, the bright and airy restaurant is a great spot to enjoy an afternoon of indulgence!

Sometimes restaurants like the OXO Tower, where there are beautiful views of London or, like at others where the most beautiful of settings lure you in, the food can end up being pretty average. Well that is most certainly not the case here – the menu includes interesting flavours and beautiful, delicious food.

The Food
We started with a glass of champagne and toasted to the beginning of Spring! The views from the restaurant are stunning, and offer a great perspective of The City with St Paul’s being a big feature of the view.

First come the savouries with five different and delicate looking finger sandwiches. At one end is cucumber and anchovy on beetroot bread and at the other is smoked salmon, dill and crème fraîche on rye bread, almost creating a rainbow effect of breads! There is also egg and cress on onion bread; ham, watercress and mustard on English farmhouse and finally a cheese and chutney sandwich on tomato bread.

Afternoon Tea at the OXO Tower, South Bank 2

I thought the range of breads worked really well. They were paired perfectly with their fillings and made each one interesting to taste.

There was also a selection of delightful little savoury bites. My two favourites were the mini Yorkshire puddings filled with beef and horseradish and the Dorset crab choux buns. They were so light! The smoked salmon Scotch quail egg didn’t really work for me, it was just too rich.

After a little break from the food to finish our bubbles, a beautiful assortment of sweet treats arrived with our teas.

Mini Bakewell tarts, dark chocolate mousses and pots of lemon posset came alongside the fluffiest and lightest scones I can ever remember having!

The lemon posset was fresh and very slightly tart but a touch too creamy with all the other treats out in front of me. The Valrhona mousse was rich and decadent whilst being light as a feather.Afternoon Tea at the OXO Tower, South Bank

I have to go back to the scones, after all these are the backbone of any afternoon tea! They really were so light and with just a touch of crumble and sweetness. I would go back for these alone. Pair this with glorious views of London from up high, it really is the perfect spot for Afternoon Tea in London.

Afternoon Tea at the OXO Tower, South Bank 6
Overall
I thoroughly enjoyed the Afternoon Tea at the OXO Tower restaurant. There is not a dry bit of bread in sight and the menu is built up with interesting flavours and the most perfect scones. And of course I can’t forget the views of London! All of this makes it a great option for afternoon tea in London.

The menu is served Monday to Saturday 3pm – 4.30pm and Sunday 3.15pm – 4.30pm. It’s £35 per person or £45 with a glass of Champagne.

 

The Cavendish

35 New Cavendish (8 of 12)
Credit: photos taken by Ed

Meal courtesy of 35 New Cavendish, JPR Media Group

Attended and written by Ed from @onehungryasian and reviewed by Steph

100 layer lasagna? 100 layer lasagna?! 100 layer lasagna! That’s pretty much how my reaction played out when I heard about chef Douglas Santi’s signature dish at 35 New Cavendish, where he’s recently taken over and brought his mix of quality Italian cooking with refined touches to the masses.

We were invited to a bloggers dinner to show off their new menu, featuring not only the 100 layer lasagne, but a whole host of luxurious and comforting food. Think lobster and avocado rolls, beef sliders with jalapeño mayonaise, prawns with quinoa and steak tartare.

35 New Cavendish (9 of 12)

‎Proceedings kicked off with a welcoming negroni and our first dish, mini lobster and avocado brioche buns. Absolutely beautiful to look at right? One thing’s for sure, chef Santi has an eye for beautiful plates! The lobster was fresh and succulent but lacked a little seasoning and the brioche was unfortunately dry. Still, they were a pleasure to eat and they disappeared fast. Hot on their heels were beef sliders with cheese and a jalapeño mayo, and these were perfect. Cooked with a special grill that sears them instantly (I didn’t get the name as I was stuffing my face), these burgers were right on the money! The jalapeño mayo was lost in the flavour of the beef sadly but this is just a minor fault.

35 New Cavendish (10 of 12)

The dishes that followed though were similar stories to the lobster roll. Great ideas, but would be even better with improvement. The croque monsieur was sadly not particularly flavoursome and the steak tartare needed a little more seasoning. The prawns and quinoa‎ didn’t quite seem so fresh and could use some more acidity. The tuna and avocado dish was a nice touch but the avocado overpowered the dish, tasting mostly of avocado. Again, meat took the crown with a ribeye steak as a standout dish with incredible depth of flavour. The triple cooked chips were overcooked and very crunchy.

35 New Cavendish (11 of 12)

And the 100 layer lasagna? Douglas Santi showcases this dish with a bit of a twist, a lasagne – instead of pasta sheets, he uses essentially, crepe, for layers. An innovative idea indeed, though the crepe came off  eggy and instead of making for a lighter lasagna texture, it had the opposite effect and turned it quite dense. Still though, the quality of the meat here shone through and the red Bolognese sauce was fantastic.

The mini desserts that finished off the meal were little parfaits and cheesecakes that catered for those with sweet taste-buds!

35 New Cavendish (12 of 12)

All in all, 35 New Cavendish has a solid menu that reads and looks like a dream. Steak, pasta, burgers and all the comforting foods that make you want to order everything at once. Big shout out for the meat, which was clearly of high quality, and was allowed to speak for itself in its burgers, steak and tartare. With a bit of fine tuning, great potential to what is a brilliant place for relaxation, drinks and catch-ups.

Price: ££

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Roberson Wines

History and Background:

Wine tasted courtesy of Roberson Wine.

Labeling themselves as UK’s finest wine merchant and quite rightly so. Established in 1991, Roberson Wines first entered the wine industry rooted on solid grounds with a store situated Kensington, London. In line with technological advances Roberson Wines transitioned its online platform http://www.robsersonwine.com providing a vast range of fine wines.

From everyday bottles to the highest quality and rarest wines, Roberson Wine’s expertise in this industry excels to no other. It’s customer base revolves around individuals, restaurants and businesses with a consumer retail team catering to your every need.

The wine:

The wine tasted in question:

http://www.robersonwine.com/buy-wines/touraine-sauvignon-blanc-2014-domaine-plouzeau-75-02B14TSB/

Roberson Wine (5 of 8)
Souvignon Blanc
Roberson Wine (6 of 8)
A suitable pairing

Wine tasting is not my forte but provided an interesting challenge and certainly out of my comfort zone – of course I had some from friends and a certified sommelier!

The wine in question is a sauvignon blanc. One of the most distinctive wines in the world and recently conned UK’s favourite type of wine, with best samples exported out of France, New Zealand and South Africa. A rather novel variety of grape, where certain regions only grow this. A waft of my first glass was reminiscent of gooseberry fruits, a smell often associated with sauvignon. A sharp and distinct smell.

My first sip of this was crisp and dry. Probably most suited to pair it with greens. The Sauvignon Blanc is made to be drank as soon as possible, to taste it when its at its prime would most probably be after a year or so. Ours was from 2014 and tasted aromatic and aromatic. Subtly sweet!

As mentioned, Sauvignon Blanc does not benefit from aging, with aging grassy aromas can develop and become noticeably sour and acidic. With smells ranging from peas to asparagus from over-ripeness.

The bottle of Sauvignon Blanc was very quickly consumed alongside our dinner at the Breakfast Club, a notable BYOB restaurant in London.

Roberson Wine (2 of 8)
Souvignon Blanc

 

 

 

Charlotte’s Place

Charlotte's Place (5 of 40)
Situated in an intimate and cosy residential area, Charlotte’s Place

History and Background:

2 AA Rosettes

Meal courtesy of Charlotte’s Place.

A restaurant that seats 50 spread across two floors. Charlotte’s place emits an aura of calm, situated in a peaceful and residential part of W5. Curiosity beckons upon approach to the restaurant, seemingly mysterious yet, very welcoming. With Ealing Common serving as its cosy backdrop, al fresco dining can be enjoyed with a good view on a day with good weather. Now independently owned by Alex Wrethman who has since refurbrished and rebranded for its reopening in 2005. Charlotte’s place offers a traditional British menu with European influences.

The restaurant door is plastered with accolades and upon entry you will find yourself in an intimate room, welcomed by its friendly staff. We came here to try the eye-catching set tasting menu offer which would soon be available on weekdays for £30 and on the weekend, £35.

The meal:

Charlotte's Place (40 of 40)
Amuse Bouche
Charlotte's Place (2 of 40)
What a delicacy!
Charlotte's Place (8 of 40)
Isle of Wight Tomatoes, Jersey Milk Curd, Black Olive

Before the amuse bouche came, we had a selection of brown and white bread sought from The Flour Station, a local, artisan and award-winning bread supplier. After our fill we tried the delicate amuse abouche – the potato skins with filling. The potato skin crisp, with that oven baked aroma it was finished within 2 bites! Following the amuse bouche we were given our first course, the isle of wight tomatoes, jersey milk curd and black olive.

Charlotte's Place (11 of 40)
Ink Poached Pollock – Chickpea & Harissa
Charlotte's Place (21 of 40)
quail and foie gras
Charlotte's Place (23 of 40)
ginger infused apricot and puy lentils

 The fish was cooked just right, topped with squid ink sauce, which completed well with the slight sweetness of the chickpeas. I’ve got to admit I’m not a big fan of lentils however the puree did it for me alongside foie gras which I absolutely loved. I prefer my foie gras grilled and almost softened to a point where it can become a spread. The quail was also done very well.

Charlotte's Place (34 of 40)
white chocolate parfait

Service:  Anna and James delivered great customer service and were very informative. The chef came out to hear our honest opinions and the staff holds good rapport with their customers.

Bits and bobs:

  • Located at the edge of the Ealing Common, so enjoy a stroll through the green before reaching the restaurant!
  • Al Fresco dining can be enjoyed on a good day

Price: ££

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Cafe Mish

Cafe Mish (4 of 66)
Cafe Mishs’ cute interior situated on a bustling street corner
History and Background:

Sandwiches and drinks courtesy of Cafe Mish. A cafe named after the owners – you’ll find freshly made, gourmet sandwiches in the bustling corner of 1A Shepherd Street, home to several local and friendly Mayfair pubs. Opened in July 2015, they were one of the hottest new openings, delving into new and unique  niche market of high quality sandwiches sourced from H.Forman & Son, Johnson & Swarbrick and The Bread Factory. Using organic produce from these particular companies allows Cafe Mish to create a distinctive taste to sandwiches not known before.

Cafe Mish serves up made to order sandwiches, with the meat carved in front of you as you ponder over a range of sandwiches to your liking.

The food:

Cafe Mish (8 of 66)
Caramel Shortcake £2.00

Cafe Mish (12 of 66)
Belgian Chocolate £2.70
As well as sandwiches they offer enticing patisserie such as Caramel shortcake and Belgian Chocolate cake, although I didn’t try these, you can tell with one look, how finely made they are.

Cafe Mish (35 of 66)
Jujhar enjoys his Roast Chicken sandwich! Camera shy?

Cafe Mish (38 of 66)
Caffe Latte, can be customised to your taste, this with soy milk

Cafe Mish (42 of 66)
Mish Chips £2.75
The Mish chips took me by surprise, even though eating the sandwich alone was very filling, I couldn’t keep my hands away from the mixture of hand cut sweet potato and potato chips!

Cafe Mish (43 of 66)
Roast Chicken Sandwich (R) £6.75

Cafe Mish (50 of 66)
A drink, a side and a Mish sandwich caters to your very needs! A makes a very cute lunch combo
The chicken sandwich consisted of corn-fed chicken with avocado, Romaine lettuce & espelette tarragon mayonnaise. You can taste the difference between the roast chicken here to the likes of its competitors. Free from additives and growth promoters, the chicken meat was succulent, and a natural, healthy texture on the meat can be seen.

Cafe Mish (53 of 66)
Mish Pastrami £9.50

Cafe Mish (59 of 66)
Salt Beef £6.75 – £9.75
We were lucky enough to try a further two sandwiches, its signature salt beef sandwich, seemingly pricey with the L being £12.75. There is actually a reason behind this, as the meat is weighed according to how much you would like. We had a small sized one and realised just how much meat you get in one sandwich! The salt beef consists of slow braised salted beef, sweet pickle gherkins, dijonnaise on a caraway bloomer. Calling these sandwiches divine would be an understatement!

I had the mish pastrami, a personal favourite, which consists of marinated beef brisket, Russian dressing, rose harrisa, sauerkraut and melted emmentaler. One bite of it and you can tell the bread is baked fresh, soft but taut enough to hold the insides.

Cafe Mish (62 of 66)
Soup of the day taster!

Cafe Mish (66 of 66)
Cafe Mish does quirky popcorn too.
We had a taster of the soup of the day, zucchini, basil and parmesan. The soup was thick and held flavour, with strong aroma emanating from the cup. A definite filling and appetizing end to our evening.

Service: We were served by Mish’s son who was here on a summer break! Great hospitality and very welcoming staff.

Bits and bobs:

  • They do deliveries so check their website for more information
  • They also have regular deals on so keep an eye out!

Price: ££

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Aqua Shard [Bookatable]

Aqua Shard (2 of 41)
A great day with a great view

History and Background:

Meal courtesy of bookatable, a website that offers easy and first-rate booking experience for some of the best restaurants in London.

Serving British cuisine half way up The Shard at what is Western Europe’s tallest building, its floor-to-ceiling windows allows it to offer a spectacular 360 degree view of London. The restaurant, very contemporary, with the interior – plain, but somewhat distinguishably British, and the dim-lit lights subtly gives it the finishing touch for a cosmopolitan and modern feel.

I’ve visited Aqua Shard before notably for Christmas and Birthday celebrations which the review can be found here. This however, was the first time going to the Shard in broad daylight and bagged a window seat!

The bookatable deal for Aqua Shard really is a value for money, when you’re sat in what arguably is the best dining view in London paired with contemporary, modern British cuisine. Deal available here: http://www.bookatable.co.uk/aqua-shard-london-bridge-london

Exquisite views and so quintessentially British

The meal:

Aqua Shard (6 of 41)
Warm bread to start off the afternoon
Aqua Shard (7 of 41)
Virgin Cocktail – Strawberry Mocktail, a refreshing drink for the summer £8.00
Aqua Shard (12 of 41)
Cured Rose Bay Shrimps

Cured Rose Bay Shrimps for Daisy’s starter consisted of champagne emulsion, tobiko, and redcurrant and ginger salad. The shrimps were delicately presented in a neat circular palette. It didn’t have a lasting impression but the level of standard was moderate. Deciding to be a bit healthier, I had the Seasonal Vegetable Salad which consisted of celeriac cream, purple carrots, parsnips glazed with honey and spiced pear balsamic vinaigrette. This took me by surprise and I loved the honey addition to the parsnips. Celeriac cream complemented well with the vegetables.

Aqua Shard (14 of 41)
Seasonal Vegetable Salad
Aqua Shard (20 of 41)
Confit Tidenham Duck Leg
Aqua Shard (25 of 41)
Roasted Loch Duart Salmon
Aqua Shard (29 of 41)
Fine crockery with true dainty plating

Our mains were the Roasted Loch Duart Salmon with tangerine gel, caramelised salsify and sea purslane. Salmon can easily be overcooked but the chefs took care in ensuring this didn’t happen, the added condiments and dainty additions gave this main good visual presentation. I had the Confit Tidenham Duck Leg with red cabbage marmalade, parsnip cream and spiced duck jus. The duck leg was slightly overcooked and the skin could have been crispier, but despite this – the spiced duck jus gave it its flavour and the portion was a susceptible size, leaving me pretty full by the end of it!

Aqua Shard (33 of 41)
Wild Basil Custard
Aqua Shard (37 of 41)
Maple Cream Cheese

To finish off the main we chose the Wild Basil Custard with Sweet & Sour wild gariguette strawberries and clotted cream. Having just come off Wimbledon tennis season, I had my fair share of strawberries and cream (single)… but I admit that I wasn’t fed up of strawberries yet! Clotted cream was a different experience for me and I quite liked it too! The basil custard is unique and I’m not sure I can say that I’ve had this before.

Lastly, we had the Maple cream cheese with oatmeal crumb, roasted carrot purée, iced lemon thyme. I was full by this point but I loved the oatmeal crumb topping and the purée was surprisingly lighter than I expected!

Aqua Shard (40 of 41)
Daisy makes another appearance!

Service: 12.5% service charge but you can’t fault the service, they know what they’re doing. Friendly but not intrusive. Particular waiters for wine, ordering food and serving good.

Bits and bobs:

  • Bookatable deal is only available for lunch
  • Window seats are 2 person seats
  • They have an extensive drinks list, and a bar area
  • Security screening before you enter the Shard

Price: ££

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Percy and Founders

Percy & Founders (1 of 43)
Full house on what was a Friday night!

History and Background:

I came here for the 50% off soft opening week along with three others. Opened in April of 2015 at what was formerly the Middlesex hospital, the restaurant houses 200, though, for such a large restaurant, it can look very sparse and desolate when even half empty. Nevertheless, ideal for relaxed drinking and group bookings.

Diego Cardosa, is the new executive chef at P&F, known for working under Gordon Ramsay, and also running Murano. The founders introduced a new concept of pub dining as their main marketing strategy;

Experience the evolution of public houses

Upscale dining? Gastropub? Not sure here… but you can do the googling.

It might be worth to note though, the food is more worth the price I paid at its soft opening that at its full price, it is seemingly overpriced for what you get.

The meal: (Full prices are shown below)

Percy & Founders (5 of 43)
Starters: Crispy Short Rib – Radish and Mustard Creme Fraiche £8.50
Percy & Founders (10 of 43)
Ordered a feast between 4…something that happens when you eat with PYC

The crispy short rib, slightly eccentric design to start off with, and gave a good first impression too, crispy and crunchy. Potato skins below was one of my favourite nibbles, made as a bar snack to complement with cocktails if you’re at P&F for drinks!

Percy & Founders (12 of 43)
Snacks: Potato skins £3.00
Percy & Founders (14 of 43)
Snacks: Courgette Wafers with Cream Cheese & Iberico Ham £4.50
Percy & Founders (15 of 43)
Bar snack: Scratchings £4

Some more bar snacks ordered, the iberico ham somewhat forgetful, but reminiscent of the bread pillows and iberico ham that I had at Ametza.

Percy & Founders (16 of 43)
Bar snack: Burrata £4
Percy & Founders (20 of 43)
Sea Bass – charred broccoli, lemon and samphire £18.50

I ordered the sea bass since the others all ordered the lamb breast, samphire gave additional flavouring alongside this particular white fish, but for a main worth a near £20, I’m not sure it gave it its worth. Truffle fries are a must order here, so aromatic – if you are a regular reader, then you know that a meal consisting of truffle is a regular occurrence..

Percy & Founders (24 of 43)
Sides: Truffle fries £4
Percy & Founders (26 of 43)
Main: Crispy lamb breast, champ and gravy £17.50
Percy & Founders (32 of 43)
Chicken Wellington (£19 per person) – this is 2x (£38)

I don’t know why we ordered this, don’t ask me why, bar snacks, sides, main and desserts were more than enough, yet we ordered chicken wellington. Not a great fan of wellington and I may have been too full to like it.

Percy & Founders (36 of 43)
Desserts: Percy’s mistress’ and maple syrup butter £7.50
Percy & Founders (39 of 43)
Lemon and Yoghurt £7.50 (almond crumble and prosecco sorbet)

My photos don’t really do these desserts justice, but lets call it a bad photography day. Magdeleines were warm and served hot, alongside something called maple syrup butter…heavenly. Crepe Souffle, which I thought would be too creamy for my liking, but warm, sweet crepe cooked in its iron pan with meringue couldn’t have been made any better.

Percy & Founders (40 of 43)
Desserts: Crepe Souffle, and orange caramel £7.50
Percy & Founders (43 of 43)
The front interior of Percy & Founders, inside Fitzoy Place, a recently developed £750 million pound investment…

Service: Friendly staff all with probable previous restaurant experience. 12.5% service charge

Price: £££

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