Along with Kikuchi, Ikeda is one of eatwithsteph’s favourite Japanese restaurants – for when payday comes that is.
A small but elegant restaurant with a tranquil backdrop, Ikeda has served fine Japanese food since 1978. Food and setting have often been described as exquisite and exclusive, and being near the Japanese Embassy often results amass of business men and client meetings taking place here.
Prices are high no doubt, but you’ll get your moneys worth, choose carefully as your bill can mount to as high as £100 per person including drinks. (I spent £60.)
Family-run, traditional formalities and waitresses in Kimonos, it’s like being back in Japan again!
There were 5 of us, so I did not try everything in the retrospective sets, but the otoro (fatty tuna) was so good we ordered 3 more so everyone could try one each! The sliced octopus was also a pleasant surprise, with the added lemon it gave a very refreshing feel.
Mackerel was soft and tender, but it wasn’t anything particularly special. I also tend to stay away from food in batter, or fried, but the tempura moriawase, i.e. assortment of tempura (fish, prawns, and vegetables) was surprisingly light, and crispy. The batter was thin, but thick enough to give you that crunch.
My parents at home call me a ‘soup queen’ because I love all kinds of soup, and dobin-mushi was no different! With mushrooms in abundance, the condiments combined together made it a very aromatic dish.
When pictures speak a thousand words, I’ll let you try sushi set A for yourself!
We were too full for dessert but they have a selection of traditional ice-cream (red bean, green tea, tempura and even earl grey.)
Service: 12.5% service charge
Bits and bobs:
For dinner there is a minimum spend of £30 per person
So it’s not a restaurant – but hey, who says I can’t blog it?
The Monocle Cafe actually serves some proper meals, so I’m wary that since I haven’t tried any, I can’t give an overall opinion of what food is like here. They have a great selection of Japanese delights, like udon and salads, but I’ll leave that for your visit.
I came here a few times just for the Matcha hot chocolate, something that became a bit of an Instagram frenzy earlier this year, hot chocolate simply topped up with matcha cream…simple, but so easily satisfying.
Opened 1 April 2013.
These desserts are produced by Lanka, a cafe which I have yet to visit, but the Monocle also does macarons and chocolate tarts, not everything is about green tea!
I believe the shrimp katsu sandwich is made to be more of a snack than a meal. (I did share this with Grace – so another reason for me not to be full)
Service: Since it’s a cafe, minimal interaction
Bits and bobs:
Its quite a walk away from Bond Street, but its right opposite Chiltern Firehouse…maybe do some celeb spotting?
They have a great selection of foods which I’ve yet to try, but do hurry. Certain things run out real quick, particularly the Lanka selection, or the sandwiches
Opening hours aren’t too long, check the website for details
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 dining‘ concept has been a unique one, with not many (if any) similar to Smack Deli.
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.
Service: Minimal interaction since it is fast food style. Slightly overstaffed considering how empty the store is for most of the day.
I think this blog is no stranger to Gordon Ramsay chains, having reviewed Maze, and Savoy Grill (and an upcoming post on Bread Street Kitchen). Gordon Ramsay Restaurant is deemed to be one of the best, if not, the best restaurant to serve quality dishes represented by its 3 Michelin star rating. Expect prices to be as high as Mount Fuji but quality, plating, service to be at the highest standard. Clare Smyth, made Head Chef is the first and only female chef to run a 3* restaurant. (Also made partner of the GR group 2013.)
It first achieved it’s Michelin rating in 2001 having opened as Ramsay’s sole restaurant in 1998. With a seating capacity of 45, it can take up to three months to book your table. Located quietly on Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, there’s even a bodyguard or security guard watching over its front doors.
The meal: Seasonal Inspiration Menu £195 per person
So it’s taken me a while to get this post up on the blog, I think the excuse stems from the fact that overall, between the 3 of us, we took about 400 photos… please see below a mixture of photos from friends Amy, Poyee and I. (One of whom runs an IG blog under thefoodforker, check it out!)
Dishes were on the small side, but when leaving your taste buds so satisfied, it’s hard to give a unbiased judgement to the courses. Poyee opted for the lobster ravioli over the wagyu beef, (below).
We swapped the deer loin for the Roast Pigeon with fennel, sauteed foie gras, lavender, honey and orange dish. When it came, we fell in love with the sauteed foie gras, and subsequently requested an extra main (+£35) but to have an extra foie gras topping instead of the roast pigeon…(I know you don’t need to tell me…we’re gluts.)
This was so intricately designed, truly an art of plating demonstration from the GR kitchen. I think we all know I have a thing with cleansing palettes, I tend to prefer them over the actual dessert, this was done on par with Granita and Icelandic Skyr at Texture, if not, done better.
Service: What you expect from a 3*, 12.5% service charge. Front of House staff show a level of professionalism like no other.
The bits and bobs:
Coat room service
It’s a bit of a far walk from the nearest station (15 minutes)
Gordon Ramsay restaurants are no strangers to the restaurant scene. Thirteen restaurants in London under is belt, but are all of them worthy of praise? Having been to a few, York and Albany, and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, ( and see Savoy Grill, Gordon Ramsay review here), I find that each restaurant is as different as it can be, to the next. I came to Maze with thefoodforker almost 2 years ago and have not been impressed enough by it to return. Bluntly sounding, Maze by Gordon Ramsay isn’t one that I would recommend if you’re looking for top notch good food. Nevertheless, it is under the reputable Ramsay name, and their mains are cheaper in comparison to its brothers.
There is a sushi bar incorporated into the restaurant since Autumn 2012, and along with every dish served, there is an Asian twist to it. This restaurant combines the french with the far east.
Prices are not included in some pictures, since this was a set meal. Previously at what was a steal for £25 for 4 courses, it now has a similar deal – £33 for 4 courses. Please see website for details: http://www.gordonramsay.com/maze/menus/
Portions were small and very average and It’s fair to say that Maze lived up to what you would call the Michelin stereotype, typically small portions for a hefty price. Thankfully this was a set meal for £25.00, totaling £30.00 for service charge, but I would have rather spent that £30 elsewhere in a more casual setting.
Service: All french waiters with lovely accents to better incorporate the french theme. 12.5% service charge
Set up in 2007 in an exquisite Georgian building a few blocks away the bustling streets of Mayfair lay texture. One that offers European food with Scandinavian and Nordic influences, it’s fair to say that it’s a cuisine rarely seen in London. Simplicity does the trick for its interior décor, neutral and pastel colours that flourish the walls, accompanied by eye-catching modern art. The dining room brims with elegance. Not the biggest of restaurants, but size doesn’t mean everything; this place was proved popular by the abundant amount of corporate professionals with large disposable incomes.
The regular tasting menu is a perfect platform to expose Sverrrison’s creativity. £79 for 6 courses. More like 8 though.
This dish really took me by surprise. It’s such a curious looking dish and a very clever way to capture the diner’s attention. Served with two dips, the flaky cod skins were flavourful and crispy. Very poppadomlike. Or similar to crispy seaweed. Or to a more British comparison, potato chips.
Another appetizer…or is it? warm and freshly baked sourdough bread supplemented with black salt, and olive oil. Yummy. I always tell myself not to eat too much bread otherwise I would be too full to eat the actual meal… but my stomach doesn’t listen…
Iron bark pumpkin, soup, hazelnuts. It was lukewarm, but was a great starter to the meal, cleverly warming up our taste buds before the next course. There was a hint of sweetness yet a subtle mild taste of hazelnuts that were infused into the soup.
A fitting theme given the weather right now, winter vegetables! Consisted of chervil root, celeriac, pickled trompette, vegetable nage. You can taste so many different things here. Soupy – given the complementing sauce that emanated from the root vegetables, sweet but also savoury, I devoured it.
Chargrilled Anjou quail with shallot, sweetcorn puree, red wine essence and bacon popcorn. Yes, bacon popcorn!!! Tender, succulent, but the size of the portion leaves you wanting more.
Another rather soupy dish, but cleverly fitted in between two meat dishes. Consisted of shellfish, fregola, pickled vegetables and herbs. The flavours are very clean-cut, lots of different aftertastes and essences, many of which I just couldn’t figure out.
This is what I call precision cooking. Consists of red cabbage, brussel sprouts, bacon, chocolate sauce. Yeah, you heard right, it was exactly that combination. Venison loin, soft juicy and tender. Red cabbage and brussel sprouts made it bitter and sour. Bacon, slightly salty but subtle. Chocolate sauce, a sweet tangy flavour. There were parts that I liked and parts I didn’t. I credit the originality so far in this tasting menu, being able to cover a breadth of flavours, but at times, too many constituents, too many flavours!
Sometimes simplicity is key, all you need here after 5 courses is something refreshing. Flavoured, sugary ice with Icelandic skyr (type of soft cheese that tastes like yoghurt). This cleverly refreshes your taste buds and rinses out all that you’ve eaten before. Getting you prepped and ready for the finale.
Grace, Cheukie and I collectively adored this dish. The champion of all courses tonight. Nutty, warm sponge cake with a crispy clean topping. Rich, melty-ish chocolate stabbed with a cute breaded flake and coconut bits sprinkled all over… heaven. Different textures, different flavours, it was warm, it was cold, it was everything.
So we thought we were finished, no we were wrong. Petite fours below:
Macaroons. Dark chocolate truffles. Meringues. Warm madeleines, crispy on the outside and sweet on the inside…
Service: Not intrusive. Friendly. Attentive. They did discover that I was a blogger though, and made me feel very welcome, giving me a signed Tasting Menu too… Nevertheless, top notch service is what you expect at a Mayfair, Michelin starred restaurant.
Bits and bobs:
Prestigious “New Restaurant of the Year” from the Independent in 2010
Xavier Rousset was the youngest Master Sommelier in the world at 23
Has award winning wine credentials, extensive variety offering 110 different champagnes
The restaurants 28°-50° are subsequently owned the owners of texture