Gyoza Bar

Meal courtesy of Gyoza Bar

Written by me!

dsc07479When a restaurant is talking bao, ramen, gyoza and dumplings this obviously calls for a party. JT and P joined me at Gyoza Bar to try a variety of what they had to offer.

Gyoza Bar is a relatively new addition to the West End scene, and with many Japanese restaurants competing in the area, Gyoza Bar sets itself apart by specialising in gyozas, (i.e. Japanese dumplings). The menu is small and simple but it covers everything you need. It is Murakami’s sister branch – of which is conveniently situated next door should you want a second dinner and some sushi!

dsc07474Minimalist. A rectangular room lined up with Japanese sake bottles and a semi open kitchen. The wooden flooring and furniture provides it with more of an izakaya – Japanese feel.

Food:

A decent establishment and one yet to make a dent in London but it has a promising menu which hits all the right spots.

dsc07471Gyozas: we tried the moriwase gyoza which is an assortment of different types of flavours, vegetarian, shrimp and pork. Aligned delicately around an iron pan, the gyoza skins were thin and crispy and made a great starter dish.

Alongside the gyozas we were served with some great red wine, one of the better bottles I’ve drank in restaurants and must say their craft beers are of fine quality too.

As a side dish we opted for Japanese fries (sweet potato fries) though there wasn’t anything particularly Japanese about it, but made great sharing plates also.

Baos: With 3 different types of bao’s on offer we opted for one each, each with a different flavour. The baos itself was fluffy and pillow-like, soft to the touch with great fillings, pork belly, pulled pork and chicken katsu.

dsc07457Ramen: A big bowl with a generous portion of noodles which are made fresh from the chefs (visible from the open kitchen), each ramen bowl consists of the same ingredients broccoli stem, spring onion, beansprout and shoyu tamago. You then have a choice of Chicken, Char Siu and Pork Belly. I opted for the chicken ramen, the chicken was fried in batter and was tender on the inside. Unfortunately I was disappointed with the soup broth as it could have been thicker and more flavourful, nevertheless the bowl was a very hearty affair and my belly was satisfied!

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NOTE: 

I believe they’re available on tastecard with 50% off your bill. Check it out.

No booking system so pop by whenever you have cravings – they’ll be ready for you!

Fetta Di Casa

Meal courtesy of Fetta Di Casa

Written and attended by Ed @onehungryasian

dsc_4307Family style dining, great food and everyone getting to know one another over a small and intimate dinner. This is proper nostalgia, memories of being back at home with the family, and remembering that often, the food comes 2nd to the people you’re sharing it with. Thankfully, Fetta di Casa compromises on neither at their monthly supper club events.

We were invited to their Christmas dinner, taking place at Kastner & Ovens in Covent Garden where they transform the deli by day, into a supper club on Saturdays.

dsc_4311Proceedings kick off with a non-alcholic aperitif, either a negroni like bitter drink or a sweeter fruity version, both excellent and a great way to get started with your meal. Focaccia are brought out next on platters, with 3 versions that all delighted guests before the first course, a selection of starters are brought out to tables.

dsc_4313Pancetta wrapped chestnuts, ham and fruits, blue cheese and walnut pastries, mushroom and smoked salmon all make an appearance that had guests fervently discussing which were their favourites and asking for recipes from the chef.

dsc_4332The menu does change month to month as it stays seasonal, and nothing shouts Winter more than a huge tray of lasagne, with slightly crispy edges and cheese oozing from the sides. Hands down, one of the best lasagne I’ve ever had. Rich, packed with a deep flavour from the beef and a surprisingly light béchamel all combined into 6 layers of lasagne heaven. Seriously good.

And if that wasn’t enough, up next was a hazelnut tiramisu that demanded me to eat it completely despite being stuffed, then followed by panettone with a marsala spiked zabaglione!

dsc_4341And finally, to cap it all off, homemade limoncello and grappa for the table to spread and pass along. Impossible I think, for anyone to say they weren’t properly fed and watered at this event!

There’s still one December supperclub left on the 17th of December, and would be a perfect way for you to spend your evening with friends, or arrive and make new ones!

See their website for tickets: http://www.fettadicasa.co.uk/

Le Garrick

Le Garrick (1 of 22)

Meal courtesy of Le Garrick

Attended by me!

History and Background:

An iconic French restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden

My colleagues and I celebrated Bastille’s Day at Le Garrick, a restaurant that I’ve heard of through word of mouth but never had a chance to visit.

A very easy find, situated close to Covent Garden station and a comfortable 20 minute walk from work (Chancery Lane), we found ourselves greeted by friendly waiters upon our arrival. Coated with thick French accents and donning themselves with stripped t-shirts it was like as if we stepped inside Paris! Dim lit and candle light settings, a small establishment over two floors and they have an extensive menu catering for all types of french tastes.

Renowned for its wine cellar, be sure to taste some of Le Garrick’s french blends too.

We opted for the Bastille Day menu specifically.

The meal:

Le Garrick (5 of 22)
Coq Au Vin

Showcasing authenticity with one of the most classic french dishes for Bastille Day, Coq Au Vin. I’ve not had much French stew in my lifetime and admit that I’m not so much a fan of it, but for the occasion, what better dish to have than have it on Bastille Day!

The dish consists of chicken braised in wine and typically with potatos, garlic, herbs, onions and mushrooms. The fragrance of each ingredient can be felt here and though I thought chicken was slightly dry this is typical in nature, especially from a long brew.

Le Garrick (8 of 22)

Le Garrick (19 of 22)
Tarte Tartin

We ended up a sweet high, the Tarte Tartin demolished by all 3 of us, though maybe too much on the sweet end, the ice cream was a great accompaniment. Don’t let the visuals of this dish fool you, it makes a great end to the evening!

Tarte Tatin is an upside-down pastry in which the fruit are caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked.

Price: ££

(A La Carte for 3 courses would be £££)

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Circus

Meal courtesy of Circus

Event attended by Ed T @onehungryasian and published by Steph

Circus (14 of 14)History and Background:

London has restaurants and theatre acts by the dozen, and venues that combine the two are popping up throughout the city. Circus, hidden away in Covent Garden, is one such place that describes itself as a “cabaret restaurant” offering cocktails, Pan-Asian food, and the all important circus acts to entertain guests throughout their evening.

As a concept, it’s great to combine dinner and the show in one. Every 20 minutes or so, an act gets up on the stage-cum-main dining table (only available for large groups), and performs acrobatic feats to dazzle and wow the guests. There’s a great spark of excitement and theatre as the lights dim, music kicks in and the acrobats act out a small scene to set the story. A bit awkward when it comes to eating as you might not be able to see your plate, but you wouldn’t want to take your eyes off the acts for the 5 minutes or so they perform.
Circus (12 of 14)The venue itself isn’t particularly large, and every table can see the main stage where all the acts perform. But large mirrors, plush decor and careful lighting create the impression of a spacious venue. If you’re one of a large group, you may be lucky enough to be sat at the main table which doubles as the stage. You’ll receive an upfront experience as the acrobats are quite literally within touching distance as they balance on one another, or spin from a hoop attached to the ceiling.
The meal:
Circus (9 of 14)The menu is Pan-Asian themed and split into sharing dishes across starters, mains and desserts – an important thing to take note of as guests are asked to order a minimum of 2 courses (one of which must be a main). Starters of date and water chestnut gyoza and tempura sweet red prawns were perfectly cooked and crispy, and were a great way to kick start the meal. The prawns especially were served with a chilli aioli which we were tempted to just keep to eat with every course we’d ordered that evening!

The rest of the starters includes sushi in various forms, dim sum and other tempura dishes – with plenty of attention paid to fish, meat and vegetable lovers alike.

Circus (2 of 14)Along with the starters, the mains are also meant to be served with dishes served on large plates or portioned up for diners to pick at quickly. An abalone mushroom toban yaki (braised mushroom) was a spectacular hit, with large slices of the abalone mushroom hitting all the right umami spots, and the great balance of herbs to lighten the broth. A large ‎piece of miso cod made for a great main dish, with the grilled miso sauce creating almost a crust on the fish that was seriously addictive. And a nice touch was the sprinkling of seeds on the rice to give it a diferent twist!
Finally, desserts, which unlike the starters and mains, are not for sharing. Partially because they’re not designed to be, and also because you won’t want to. The chocolate fondant was slightly overcooked and didn’t have the gooey middle we all dream of, but it was still a decent chocolate pudding that I’d scoff down any time. But the filled churros with dulche de leche sauce and poached peaches? Wowza. Just get it. Perfectly cooked churros that aren’t heavy, dry or stodgy? Heaven.
Circus (4 of 14)
Service:
Overall we were  impressed with the food here, it’s by no means cheap but it is very good. In the 2.5 hours we were there we saw 5 acts, albeit the last 2 were fresh spins on acts we’d seen earlier in the night. Once you throw in the performances and the fun atmosphere, I’d say Circus is definitely worth visiting on a special occasion, and as many others did, in a larger sized group. The venue turns into a club later on and that party vibe is palpable from the moment you sit down and continues through the night. And while the acts don’t feature nudity or anything explicit, they’re somewhat risque and cheeky, so best to leave the kids at home!

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Flesh & Buns (desserts only)

Flesh and Buns  (1 of 12)
You can come to  Flesh & Buns for desserts only, just let them know before sitting down
See the full meal review on Flesh and Buns here. Once I saw the Kinako doughnuts on the menu I knew I had to return and try, I’m not a fan of doughnuts but anything to do with roasted soybean (kinako)….I’m there.

Below is a breakdown of the desserts you can get at F&B, (less the Yuzu tart, and Black Sesame Creme Brulee)

Desserts:

Flesh and Buns  (2 of 12)
S’MORES – passionfruit marshmallows, biscuits, almond chocolate £8
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2 pieces of marshmallows, 2 slabs of green tea/ or almond chocolate of your choice, and 4 slices of biscuits
Their signature dish, a small bonfire is placed in front of you while you make it a bit of a plaything and make s’mores. It’s overpriced for what it is, but you should try at least once!

Flesh and Buns  (7 of 12)
BONE DADDIES SUNDAE – matcha ice cream, blueberries, honeycomb £6
Nothing can go wrong with a matcha sundae, lthough it can get a bit fiddly with the shape of the glass being so tall.

Flesh and Buns  (8 of 12)
Vanessa and I eating our way into Covent Garden
Flesh and Buns  (11 of 12)
Kinako Doughnuts – (with roasted soybean custard filling) £6
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Warm and oozy
The inside of the kinako doughnuts were warm, and you can smell, and taste, the strong kinako aroma as the custard oozes into your mouth…The doughnuts were coated with too much sugar though I think!

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CHOCOLATE FONDANT and matcha ice cream £6
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A repost from my previous visit with Grace
Service: 12.5% service charge

Bits and bobs:

  • Do visit restrooms – you’re in for a treat
  • £15 corkage fee if you want to bring cake
  • No signal as it’s below ground level, but they have wifi!

Price: ££

Flesh and Buns on Urbanspoon

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Gelatorino

Gelatorino (7 of 13)
Steph is happy after discovering a new favourite crepe place with Gelatorino!
History and Background:

Gelatorino knows how to keep high quality gelato fresh by having them scooped straight from pozzettis (lidded steel tubs).

Centrally located, at the heart of West End, with some of the top theatres within walking distance, Gelatorino pulls people in with their signature gelatos such as the coffee-flavoured ‘Breakfast in Turin‘ and ‘Dark chocolate and Gianduja‘.

It may be another Gelateria who boasts premium, top-quality gelatos, but it’s another one to add to my recommended list!

They use authentic traditional gelato machines and ingredients sourced from different regions of Italy. The way Gelatorino make their gelatos are by the traditional method of ‘mantecazione’, a churning and freezing process absorbing much less air as a result, creating a more velvety texture.

The desserts:

Gelatorino (2 of 13)
One thing to note though. They’re not great ‘scoopers’ look at our gelatos…

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Nutella filled crepe with Hazelnut ice-cream…oh yes

Gelatorino (11 of 13)
Definitely another crepe worth getting, crepe is thicker than its competitor Amorinos, and the nutella is served in abundance

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So Pete was served by the gentleman, who seemed to be much more experienced in scooping out gelato, allowing Pete to get his moneys worth!
Bits and bobs:

  • Prices are similar to all other dessert cafes, flavours differ daily with specials. (Popular ones remain of course)

Price: £

Gelatorino on Urbanspoon

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Kopapa

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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