Ikeda

ikeda (20 of 37)
The lucky diners who witness the chefs first hand at the robata counter
History and Background:

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!

The meal:

ikeda (1 of 37)
Soft-shell crab £12.50
ikeda (2 of 37)
Sashimi A £45.00
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.

ikeda (27 of 37)
酢だこ Sudako Sliced octupus, marinated with rice vinegar served with fresh grated ginger, £13.00
ikeda (21 of 37)
さばの塩焼き Saba Shioyaki – Grilled fillet mackerel £16.00
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.

ikeda (22 of 37)
Tempura Moriawase £18.50
ikeda (11 of 37)
Iberico Tonkatsu served with home made mayonnaise salad £26.00
ikeda (30 of 37)
Dobin-mushi £18.00
ikeda (33 of 37)
Steamed clear soup with mushrooms, prawns, chicken and white fish
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.

ikeda (36 of 37)
Eringi mushrooms grilled in a foil parcel served with Ponzu sauce £15.00
ikeda (14 of 37)
Nigiri Set A £42.00
ikeda (15 of 37)
This was absolute heaven, unagi (eel) completely melts in your mouth. Healthy rice to sashimi ratio too.
ikeda (17 of 37)
Amaebi (sweet prawn), ikura (salmon roe), unagi (BBQ eel), toro (tuna belly), sake (salmon), hotate (scallop), maguro (tuna)…
When pictures speak a thousand words, I’ll let you try sushi set A for yourself!

ikeda (24 of 37)
Abalone £12.00
ikeda (5 of 37)
Kani Zosui £20.00
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
  • Daily specials board you should check out
  • Cover charge of £1 per person added on bill
  • Booking highly recommended

Price: £££

Ikeda on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Monocle Cafe

Monocle Cafe (17 of 28)
A spin-off of the Monocle magazine, a modest cafe shrouded by scaffolding
History and Background:

Monocle Cafe (1 of 28)
An instagram massive with the hot chocolate matcha cream at the Monocle cafe…
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.

The meal:

Monocle Cafe (26 of 28)
Shrimp Katsu Sandwich £6
Monocle Cafe (22 of 28)
Cafe Latte £3
Monocle Cafe (18 of 28)
Hot chocolate £3 (Matcha cream comes extra 50p – £1.50+)
Monocle Cafe (4 of 28)
Lanka cakes – Matcha tart (?) with red bean filling £4.90
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!

Monocle Cafe (5 of 28)
Lanka cakes – Matcha tart £4.90
Monocle Cafe (8 of 28)
Possibly my 4th or 5th cup… (after multiple visits)
Monocle Cafe (27 of 28)
Katsu sandwich that comes with a handful of salt vinegar crisps and a few slices of gherkin
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)

Monocle Cafe (23 of 28)
Cappuccino
Monocle Cafe (13 of 28)
This red bean filling… so unbelievably good
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

Price: £

Monocle Café on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

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

Square Meal

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay ***

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (24 of 30)
Prestige and class at Gordon Ramsay

History and Background:

Three Michelin Star

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

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (16 of 30)
The lighting wasn’t actually that great but here’s my final selection of photos!

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!)

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (8 of 30)
Starting off with amuse-bouches, the delicate quail scotch eggs
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (9 of 30)
Mini Truffle Buns – fragrant and soft
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (6 of 30)
Gourgeres (in the background) were heavenly, ethereal choux filled with cheesey bechamel perfected with precision
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (11 of 30)
Baked Potato Mousseline, smoked egg yolk and topped with a sliver of Perigord truffle served in a delicate egg shell
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (12 of 30)
Really exquisite use of truffle and designed so elegantly, its hard not to take a photo
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (10 of 30)
Salmon Sashimi topped with roe and wrapped with seaweed, an amuse-bouche significantly different from the others
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (23 of 30)
Another truffle dish, a recurring theme in all my posts recently!
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (4 of 30)
Ravioli of Lobster, langoustine and salmon poached in a light bisque, oscietra caviar and sorrel veloute

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).

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (3 of 30)
Scallop tartar with cauliflower, coastal herbs, nage and white truffle
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (5 of 30)
Fruity wine was ordered alongside our tasting menu
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (17 of 30)
Fillets of Dover sole poached with parsley milk, purslane and beurre noisette
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (20 of 30)
Kagoshima Wagyu Beef with English Wasabi, pickled grelots and shiitake
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (19 of 30)
One of the highlights of the evening, wagyu beef cut so finely, and tasted tender, and yet had a crispy coating, complemented with fragrant sauces
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (18 of 30)
DOUBLE FOIE GRAS

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.)

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (26 of 30)
Roasted Roe Deer loin with smoked chestnut, Williams pear and Tasmanian mountain pepper
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (25 of 30)
Green apple and lime sorbet, with shiso, avocado and eucalyptus

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.

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (28 of 30)
Pink Grapefruit Cheesecake with Brillat Savarin sunflower seeds and sorrel sorbet
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (30 of 30)
Lets not forget the petite fours. not so sure on the Turkish delights but the peanut brittle was amazing. Chocolate slabs used to scoop up the peanut brittle finished off the Inspirational course on a high.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (29 of 30)
Clementine ice-cream covered in white chocolate served in bowl overflowing with dry ice

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)
  • Tasting menus available

Price: ££££

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Maze by Gordon Ramsay *

French cuisine with Asian influences at Maze, Gordon Ramsay

History and Background:

One Michelin Star

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.

The meal:

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/

Sea Bream, enoki mushroom, dashi, ginger £13.50
Neatly presented in classic French fashion, the Sea Bream
The meat wasn’t very tender, and actually quite dry.

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.

Probably one of my favourite from this meal, Bok Choi was lacking in quantity. My mum cooks better Bok Choi than Maze… #eatwithmum
Strawberry shortcake
Vanilla ice-icream, honey glazed banana and a whole lot of chocolate elegantly grouped together.

Service: All french waiters with lovely accents to better incorporate the french theme. 12.5% service charge

The bits and bobs:

  • Coat room service
  • Private rooms available
  • Tasting menus available

Maze on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Price: ££

texture *

Rest assure you that I do not dine Michelin restaurants on a frequent basis…

History and background:

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 meal: 

The regular tasting menu is a perfect platform to expose Sverrrison’s creativity.  £79 for 6 courses. More like 8 though.

Appetiser: cod skin

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 poppadom like. Or similar to crispy seaweed. Or to a more British comparison, potato chips.

Sourdough bread with Icelandic Black Lava Salt and Olive Oil

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

The true appetizer: pumpkin soup

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.

DSC07553
Winter Vegetables

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.

Anjou Pigeon. *that claw*

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.

I repeat… THAT CLAW
The fourth course: Cornish Monkfish

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.

The fifth course, the most distinctive out of the mains
Elwy Valley Fallow Venison

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!

The pre-desserts:

Really need to applaud texture with its creativity. Very clever
The pre-dessert, granita with Icelandic skyr

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.

texture restaurant
I liked it so much I’ve included three photos of it. Hehe.
Coconut
Coconut

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.

Chocolate, ice cream and yoghurt
Scandinavian porn. Sorry – Scandinavian FOOD porn

So we thought we were finished, no we were wrong. Petite fours below:

Pretty little island
Capturing everyone’s attention, even Cheukie’s
A picture from every angle… my friends have such patience.

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:

  • Semi-open kitchen
  • 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

Price: ££££

Texture on Urbanspoon

Square Meal