A sister restaurant to the more refined Mango Indian around the corner, Est India serves more “rustic” Indian dishes but with plenty of flavour attention to detail. It’s a classy restaurant but still with an intimate feel, with booths for small groups and just enough lighting in there to make you feel welcome but not dazzled by bright lights.
I came in with high expectations, with my meal at Mango Indian last month being pretty impressive with its use of fresh ingredients and attention to detail. Est India does not disappoint. The focus here is on street food, with dosas, naan rolls and small plates making up a significant portion of the menu, with other regional specialities in the curry section that deserve as much attention as the street food.
We kicked things off with their mixed grill, with tender lamb chops, punchy flavours and plenty of an addictive mint sauce we joyfully slathered over the meat. Tender cuts of chicken tikka and kebab also accompanied, plus 2 small naans to mop up the juices. Highly recommended! A massive highlight of the entire meal was also the keema pav: minced lamb served with pomegranate seeds along with a buttered pav bun. Probably one of the best keema pav’s I’ve had in London, and while I’m no expert, is a very good dish and the stand out item of the night!
We followed up with a mixture of curries including a classic chicken tikka, a railway lamb, a Bengal prawn curry and a North Indian fish kari. Each curry was unlike the others, and we frequently passed our bowls around to try different flavours. The chicken tikka was sweet but still well balanced, and was a big favourite of the group with it effectively being licked clean by the end. The fish kari had large chunks of fresh fish, delicately cooked but still carrying through some punchy flavours. The railway lamb was a proper hearty dish with bags of meaty flavour and a thick sauce to match, and the Bengal prawn curry was superbly cooked and spiced.
Throw in some cracking paratha and naan bread (of the more crispy variety than doughy), and Est India is a fantastic Indian restaurant that I personally prefer to their sister restaurant Mango Indian. They have the same care over the cooking of food and same fresh ingredients, but don’t pull their punches with the spicing, providing a brilliant meal at more than fair prices. I didn’t get a chance to try their dosas or rolled naans, foods more typical of their street food origins, but I’ll definitely be back again soon to check it out!
Invitational bloggers brunch was a burrata sensation. An event pulled together by Sheepa from foodthatmakesyousmile.com. (Try count the number of times I mention ‘burrata’ in this post)
Before Pulia, I confess that I’ve never had a burrata. I knew it was some sort of cheese but that was it. After Pulia, I think I may have converted into a burrata obsessed cheese lover.
The first outside of its Italian borders, Pulia focuses on regional italian food from Puglia the south of Italy. Situated on Stoney Street just by Borough Market, the area is no stranger to good food.
Burrata apparently, is one of Puglia’s most famous exports, something that Pulia is renowned in London for. We had the chance to see how burrata is made from a cheese specialist, Dominico.
Pulia Barrata with Figs and Figs Marmalade
Watching the Pulia team make burrata was certainly an eye opener, made fresh and ready, we tried burrata both cool and warm. An impressive display had me craving for more and we were so full!
Pulia serves a wide variety of regional specialties and the deli style cafe is perfect for coffee catch ups and small eats. Croissants were delicate and flaky, complemented with capocollo and scamorza and the taralli bowl was particularly addictive.
The spinach and mozarella omelette made a nice snack too, if served as a warm version that would be even better!
Smoked Salmon with Scrambled eggs
This was good. Satisfactory but nothing particularly amazing, I love salmon though so I had more than my fair share of this…
My greed for food continued as I was eyeing up the pasticiotti and lemon custard tart as it was served for desserts. Mandarin olive oil made a nice touch which is available for purchase already bottled up on Pulia’s shelves.
Definitely a place that I recommend for casual weekend or brunch dining. Prices are decent too.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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
History and Background: Aqua Shard, is part of the Hong Kong based company Aqua Group, also owning Hutong, (both Hong Kong and London), Aqua Kyoto, and Aqua Nueva. Serving British cuisine half way up The Shard at what is western Europe’s tallest building, it’s floor-to-ceiling windows allows it to offer a spectacular 360 degree view of London.
The Shard is a relatively new structure, completed in 2012 and opened in February 2013. Aqua Shard opened mid June 2013. 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.
This is my second visit to Aqua Shard, and the first one turned out to be pretty disappointing, I was left very unimpressed. However, the menu has considerably changed since my last visit, and surpassed my low expectations for this place. A meal intended to celebrate Christmas and New Years with my family came out to be a meal well spent!
We had 3 toppings of the free house bread, couldn’t get my hands off of them…
Slow poached veal fillet consisted of tuna mousse, bone marrow, elderflower and caper vinaigrette. Real Cornish crab salad consisted of red pepper, chives, shallot, bull’s blood micro-cress, cucumber & vallee de Baux olive oil emulsion. The appetisers were nothing special, and soon forgotten to be honest. Not to mention the tiny portion sizes. (My photos are usually zoomed in, a lot.)
The very dim-lit restaurant seriously influenced the lighting on my photos… so please excuse me while I head to the washroom to cry.
The mains were much more satisfactory, although the lamb was a bit too rare, it was enjoyable, tender and succulent. The best main would probably be the sirloin steak, so many juices, and so very meaty… I’m dribbling. I always find that it is the desserts that steal the show, so without further ado, please see below for the dazzling display of food porn!
The desserts here are to die for. Melted chocolate just oozes out once you break the outer lining of the souffle. David’s mess has you pining for more with the combination of guava sorbet, chantilly and rasberry. Yule log, and Christmas Pudding, the season specials are strongly recommended too!
Service: Upon arrival, and when you’re taken to your seat – it’s great, but whilst you’re sat down it can be a bit slow to get their attention. 12.5% service charge.
Bits and bobs:
All window seats are two seaters, if you want a window seat then strongly advise you to go with only one other person
Surprisingly loud background music, but this is probably due to the bar area rather than from the restaurant
Bookings strongly recommended, or that you can just turn up to the bar, but expect queues
Take a visit to the washrooms, they have good views there too…
“Our dishes are an edible story, each one inspired by a memory”
Tom Seller’s culinary debut (April 2013) with Restaurant Story, amassed worldwide popularity with chefs, critics, sommeliers alike. With everyone trying to take a sneak peek at what the next best thing in town is all about. It doesn’t come cheap though, only 2 set menus on the book at 6 courses for £65.00, or 10 courses for £85.00. But it’s a bloggers paradise. You would not think that a new opening at what was formerly an old public toilet site, in the middle of Bermondsey, would acclaim instant success, but it did. Tom’s impressive resume and experience made it a much anticipated debut to the food industry.
An understandably long post, I won’t be writing much, lets get cracking…
The meal: [10 course tasting menu, £85 + but we had an extra course for £15 more]
So before our 11 courses, you’re given 7 amuse-bouches. The cod skin, a clear resemblance to a garden patch, the design so delicate, so elegant. The second of the amuse-bouches, storeos, so clever and so witty. If you’re expecting it to taste like those oreo biscuits then think again. The smoked eel mousse melts on your tongue as you gently bite down the crunchy squid ink biscuit…
The prawns were really soft, and had plenty of taste to it. Laid on cling film, very sleek. At Story, it is all about the art of plating. Next up, rabbit sandwich, tarragon cream & carrot. Below we have the chicken, red mustard and soy. The focus was on the sauces here, since chicken on skewers is not something new. A new combination of flavours gave this little amuse-bouche its originality. (Photo taken by phine)
Whip out your phones, your cameras, your SLRs and get ready:
This amuse bouche is such a work of art. (It was served by a good looking chef too…) As the gigantic bowl of what looked like to be dry ice, was SOS, Snacks of the Sea. This consisted of Nasturtium and oyster – of which we did not realise that the flower was edible. None of us ate the flowers! Razor clam, crispy barley and Champagne, raw langoustine, devilled crab, scallop and apple were also present. The last of the amuse-bouches was the ox tail. Such an inventive, chic design. Tastiest out of all amuse-bouches so far.
COURSE 1: This is one of Tom’s original courses that he showcases prior to creating Restaurant Story. Dripping candle is actually beef fat and is edible. Warm sourdough, and rotten apple jelly. COURSE 2: Onions galore. Charred. Soft, caramelised Roscoff onions, a soft baby onion, an onion crisp, and apple consomme dressing, with gin and lemon thyme. Plenty of flavours here. Fresh off the ground.
Scallops were soft and succulent but not as good as Sketch, beautifully created though. The scallops, thinly sliced, marinated in elderflowe vinegar, served with horseradish milk, and dill oil. Accompanied by a small bowl of crunchy cucumber balls. We are given another snack below, brioche bread with black truffle and foie gras butter. Genius.
The camera’s favourite! Astonishingly beautiful. COURSE 4: I know you can get mash anywhere, but mash here was amazing. Creamy, and soft Apache potatoes mashed together with a touch of turnip halves and pitch black coal oil.
So 2.2 hours gone by, and we’re half way through, hurrah! Mel and Daisy above, and Allan below. All enjoying the lovely Heritage Potato course.
THEY BROUGHT OUT TWO REAL DEAD QUAILS AND THEIR EGGS
COURSE 5: Tale of a quail. It is very out there. The display of two seemingly dead quails were very unexpected. A rhetorical question… would you be able to eat after this? Daisy didn’t!
This little canape was really my favourite. There was something about it I loved. Reminiscent of dung, or some sort of excrement but it was surprisingly tasty. Quail tea was unique, though, slightly salty.
(Above photo taken by phine). So, the longest course of the meal gave us a taster to all parts of the quail. Good to know nothing’s going in the bin…
COURSE 6: Surprisingly, I didn’t really like this. I guess I’m not actually a fan of tartar. It’s such an exquisite dish though, beautiful. The bottom of the apple was truffle mayonnaise. Tartar was topped with cubes of apple and bacon, white truffle and a thin layer of jelly.
COURSE 7: Squid and stem tartare. Didn’t make a very lasting impression. Seems like a let down when in comparison to previous dishes. This was about the time when Daisy started running out of battery… remember to charge up before visiting!
COURSE 8: One of my favourites of the night. Succulent, tender, crispy, soft, it was all there. Had an excellent puree along and toppled with nuts. Amazing. The aroma and scent filled your insides, giving you a long lasting impression.
COURSE 9: Now Mel is a massive fan of foie gras, I’m indifferent to it. I’m more into softer creamier foie gras than cubed. This was creamy. Good creamy.
PRE-DESSERT: Now this was good. A restaurant knows how to regain the interest of the diner when it offers a pre-dessert. It’s very hard to top the ‘texture’ pre-dessert, but this was just as brilliant. Refreshing your tastebuds with more neutral, savoury flavours. Meringue, cream and lemon ice shaving and some white chocolate. Very wintery.
COURSE 10: I didn’t like this… because I don’t usually like anything clementine flavoured. Nice try though.
COURSE 11: Almond and dill. Such beauty and creativity in this course. The almond ice cream is supplemented well by the almond crumble. Really clever colours used here. Very almond-y, very milky, and a great combination of dill oil and dill snow makes this dish the one to wait for.
PETITE FOURS: Rosy marshmallow teacakes. A nice end to a very, very, long meal.
Service: Casual settings, young staff, professional but not overly formal. 12.5% service charge. Due to the originality and the constituents of some dishes, it was recommended for them to explain the dish to you. At times, the explanation of the dish wasn’t too clear cut, too wordy. It is easy to lose focus to what they’re saying especially with the distraction of the course in front of you.