Squirrel

Meal courtesy of We are Squirrel

Event attended and reviewed by Steph (@cameraeatsvegan) and published by Steph (me!)

Salad Bar

History & Background:

Squirrel assures that it is ‘Nuts about Health’, and champions a provision of healthy and fresh alternatives for the ‘Grab and Go’ market. Its location is a 2 minute walk away from South Kensington Station, and already seemed very popular despite its recent opening – the place was buzzing both from people queuing up for freshly prepared food, as well as from people passing by admiring the unique décor (described to be ‘natural surroundings that even a squirrel would feel at home!).

Interior

The Meal:

The Ginger Spice grain bowl that I tried was a vegan-friendly option – tofu, quinoa, beetroot, sweet potato, avocado, spinach all tossed together with a ginger miso dressing. Despite my initial hesitance at ‘ginger’ (they assured me that there would be no whole pieces of ginger in the food), its addition really made for a refreshing lunch. Enough of the miso dressing was provided to generously coat the greens in the bowl, and a mix of different textures provided a satisfying meal from just one bowl. Also, the sweet potato and tofu really bulked up the ‘fullness’ of the meal – the bowls are generously portioned so I ended up taking away my leftovers!

[The other picture is of Oh My Cobb’, a salad containing chicken, egg, kale, quinoa, avocado, sweetcorn and a spicy cashew dressing. Didn’t try this, but Caroline couldn’t finish it, as they are very generous with the kale!]

Oh My Cobb Salad

Noticing the ingredients of the other grain bowls (every ingredient is displayed clearly on their menu board), the other dressings sound as if they would also provide an interesting mix of flavour.

Perhaps following the journey of the ingredients from the salad bar in front of me to my bowl played a part, but I did notice the freshness of the flavours (Squirrel pride themselves on offering a transparency between their food and their customers).

Nuts yoCarrot JuiceAsides from grain bowls, other food on offer includes House Salads, soups, and also a breakfast menu, to takeaway or eat-in. What is also interesting is their nut/dried fruit bar where you can decanter a selection of healthy snacks into a pot to take-away.

Service:

Although recently opened, the service is fast and true to the ‘grab-and-go’ market that Squirrel is aiming to cater for. You can also customise ingredients according to your taste or dietary preference, and staff are both very friendly and enthusiastic in showing customers what Squirrel has to offer.

Price: £

 

L’Eto Caffe

L'eto Caffe (7 of 42)
The 6th and newest L’eto caffe branch in South Kensington

L'eto Caffe (10 of 42)
Selection of great desserts available like any other branch!
History and Background:

Meal courtesy of L’Eto Caffe, Brompton Road, the newest of the 6 branches and opened late 2014. Midway between South Kensington and Knightsbridge, L’Eto holds an exquisite display of patisserie and desserts at the shop window leaving many Londoners eyeing up for more. A family orientated business with Italian influences.

The first ever L’Eto opened up on Wardour Street, Soho in 2011, and there has been no going back since. The Brompton branch radiates an ambience of tranquility and benevolence, which is a stark contrast to its busy and often-crowded Soho counterpart!

L'eto Caffe (11 of 42)
The lower floor of L’eto caffe, a small but spacious dining room fit for private use

They have a healthy selection of salads and main courses available to takeaway in its various locations.

The meal:

L'eto Caffe (14 of 42)
Butternut Squash Ravioli, Almonds, Rocket, Dry Apricots £10.95

L'eto Caffe (15 of 42)
Sundried Tomato Stuffed Gnocchi, Pesto, Pine Nuts £8.95
The gnocchi was my personal favourite from the starters, with the sundried tomatos and pine nuts in full flavour and gnocchi cooked at the right texture. The ravioli would have been perfect if it was boiled a bit more, the ravioli skin was slightly undercooked. Along with 3 courses, we had an opportunity to try 2 cocktails and 2 smoothies which made such good thirst quenchers!

L'eto Caffe (18 of 42)
Copacabana at Dawn £7.95, Cherry Lime £7.00
Shrenee chose the Copacabana which we thought came out too strong, but we’re both not naturally great drinkers! Consists of cachaca, passion fruit, chocolate and cream. The chocolate and passion fruit are purposeful complements, with the right proportions they develop a sophisticated and exotic aroma. “A must-try brazilian favourite”.

I had Cherry Lime consisting of gin, cherry puree, lime and sugar syrup. “Elegant and tangy” and indeed met my expectations of a light, crispy and fresh drink!

L'eto Caffe (19 of 42)
Watermelon, honey and mint smoothie £5.95

L'eto Caffe (20 of 42)
Blueberry and jasmine smoothie £5.95
I’m an absolute sucker for smoothies, absolutely loved these and very fitting for the summer. If you’re coming by for the patisserie, have a smoothie too.

L'eto Caffe (26 of 42)
Wild seabass fillet, quinoa, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes £21.95

L'eto Caffe (31 of 42)
Porcini mushroom risotto £15.95

L'eto Caffe (33 of 42)
Filling mains, and of course it would not be a meal without my favourite mushrooms!
The wild sea bass was soft and the juices were well preserved within the fish. The quinoa a clever and light accompaniment and gears you up well for the rich desserts to come.

L'eto Caffe (34 of 42)
Some of the meals available for takeaway or eat in, that are ready made at the counter

L'eto Caffe (36 of 42)
This Roasted Turkey with Rosemary looks like it will be good with gravy!

L'eto Caffe (37 of 42)
Our next temptations…

L'eto Caffe (38 of 42)
Honey Cake

L'eto Caffe (40 of 42)
Chocolate Caramel Slice
I am such a big fan of their desserts, notably the green tea cheesecake I received on my birthday. Trying something new, we opted for the chocolate caramel slice and honey cake which were heavenly. Honey cake was remniscent of the same spongy cakes I had in Amsterdam, creamy, light, and sweet.  The chocolate caramel slice was biscuit-like, and teasingly crumby. It wasn’t too sweet even with the caramel which was great for me! It was a shame we didn’t finish, but 3 courses is more than enough and the portions are very moderate.

Service: Young staff, friendly but not intrusive.

Price: £

Click to add a blog post for L'Eto Caffe on Zomato

Square Meal

Cremerie Creperie (Kensington Crepes)

Kensington Creperies
Apologies for the yellow tinge – I blame the crepe colouring!

History and Background:

Specialising in French crepes, Kensington Creperie has the widest range of crepes I know in London. From savoury to sweet to alcoholic ones, it has everything you will ever need. I envy Imperial College students… South Ken has its own little foodie town!

Serving crepes since 2001, made fresh daily and open everyday between 10.30am – 11.00pm, Kengsington Creperie pride themselves in having one of the most comprehensive menus out there so look no further…

Desserts:

Kensington Creperie
Superbe Coffee Crepe £6.50

Err… biscuits, white Belgium chocolate, coffee, coffee sauce, concentrate milk. (Only for the coffee lovers)

Crepe
La Belle – Helene Crepe £6.75

So we were actually a group of 3, but we ordered 4 crepes. Don’t do that, you’ll get sick – we did! (Too much food after a meal!) The coffee crepe looked heavy but Daisy had pretty much finished it (a coffee freak).

Crepe
A special – vanilla ice-cream, apple and maple syrup
Crepe
La Crepe Quebec £5.95
DSC01415
Banana, walnuts, butter and cream with real maple Canadian syrup

Pretty good crepes, but they’re rather filling, save some space in your stomachs otherwise its a meal not worthy of being spent.

Bits and bobs:

  • Didn’t seem to packed, the restaurant is partitioned by a wall so it’s bigger than you think
  • They do good savoury crepes, do try if you’re not too full

Price: £

Cafe Creperie on Urbanspoon

Cambio De Tercio

Cambio De Tercio
South Ken is where it’s at!

History and Background:

Classic Spanish tapas on 163 Old Brompton Road. Cambio De Tercio is the “signature Restaurant of the Cambio De Tercio Restaurant Group”. Located in South Ken, it has been open since June 1995. They also hold the largest Spanish wine collection in the whole of London.

Having achieved a number of prestigious accolades since 1996, you can say that this one of the most authentic Spanish places in town, that even tennis star, Rafael Nadal visits whenever he’s in town. (You know where I will be dining come Wimbledon…hehe.)

The meal:

Bread and olives with Wendy
Cambio De Tercio
Nuestras Famosas Croquetas De Jamon Iberico, Salsa De Tomate-Tomillo £7.50

You may have to get used to the long dish names… Above we have the famous ham croquettes, thyme-tomato sauce. Crispy and succulent with the sauce giving it its full flavour. Below we have a famous, signature dish el Bulli tortilla. It was something different, and omelette was very fluid like, definitely something you should order. Served in a cocktail glass, layered by caramelised onion and egg yolk added with potato crisps.

Cambio De Tercio
El Bulli £4.50
Cambio De Tercio
Mini wagyu beef burger 100% W agyu, Finca Santa Rosalia, Burgos, Spain £3.75
Cambio De Tercio
Girolle mushrooms casserole with soft poached egg, veal stock and foie gras £14.50

Yes I ordered a mushroom dish yet again! I really really loved this one, mushrooms full of flavour and juice but foie gras made how I like it, very soft. Wendy ordered the patatas bravas. This was really good, a traditional favourite. Crispy, but not too fried and not dry – since it was filled with spicy tomato sauced with aioli and chives.

DSC01611
The “NEW” patatas bravas £8.50
DSC01616
Grilled lamb cutlets, thyme, Spinach mashed potatoes £12.50

Wendy couldn’t even finish since we were stuffed…

Cambio de Tercio
King Prawns “a la plancha” garlic, parsley oil £12.25

Service: Friendly staff, not too intrusive but also very knowledgeable

The bits and bobs:

  • Recommended 1-2 tapas and a main, or 3-4 tapas and no main
  • Relatively quiet when we came, maybe you can go without a booking

Price: ££ – £££ (It’s tapas, you can control your spending)

Cambio de Tercio on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Tombo とんぼ

Authentic Japanese Food
Authentic Japanese cafe at the heart of South Ken, Thurloe Place

Green Tea, Matcha Mania!

Tombo has introduced itself as London’s first authentic Japanese café and delicatessen. Situated near South Ken station, its become a hub for sushi lovers who live in the local area and Imperial College students.

The cafe has a clean, fresh and friendly look about it, reminiscent of the Muji brand I would say. Grace and I however, came here for one purpose, not for the food, but for the desserts. Matcha #foodporn begins now.

For those not Asian enough, the definition of Matcha is finely ground green tea and is famous for its use in the tea ceremony. Matcha is grown under cover for a period of time so that the leaves are protected from the sun bringing out lots of amino acid and rich flavours.  For Matcha, only the tips of the plant are used. [Tombo’s definition]

The desserts:

Matcha Latte £3.60 (S), £4.20 (M)

First off, started with Matcha Latte. Nothing special, better ones in Hong Kong, but hey I’m not in Hong Kong.I thought it was too bland, could have added an extra spoon of matcha powder. This is apparently Tombo’s speciality.

Zen tea
Sen cha, is a type of deep green tea with the full Umami taste. Tombo: “the leaves of this classic green tea are steamed twice as long as regular Sencha which makes the tea sweeter, richer and energizing. Full of antioxidant agents.”
Matcha soft serve ice cream £2.70

Again, I’ve definitely had better. The matcha flavour not strong enough, but a soft serve is a soft serve! 7 out of 10. (Yes Louise, I know you’re dribbling.)

Below is one of my absolute favourites, matcha tiramisu! I absolutely loved this one, I’m screaming for more right this second. Aroma is there, the flavour is there, strong matcha smell is there, a very roasty scent, I present to you the matcha tiramisu!

Matcha Tiramisu £3.20
Visual appeal only, our least liked dessert!

Yeah I’m not sure what this was and I can’t find it, I think it’s panacotta something. That’s red bean you can see there. The texture was like rubber, too much gelatine. We didn’t even finish it!

Matcha tart £4.10

My number one dish. The strong matcha flavour comes out in full force, you can really taste the roasted green tea leaves in here,  this is definitely the best matcha dish at Tombo. The tiramisu was sweet, but this one was not, it had just the right sort of bitterness to it.

Matcha Sundae £5.70

Those are matcha brownie cubes, too dry. If you see the fuller picture below, we have some cornflakes at the bottom, adding a bit more character to the sundae.

Tombo original matcha brownie £2.80

Probably the best matcha brownie I’ve ever had! (Well, I think this may have been my first matcha brownie…) I’m running out of adjectives here, but it’s just so, bloody, damn good. Bitter, but again, the right sort of bitter, strong and not sweet, and not dry at all.

We’ve only gone and ordered 8 different types of desserts, don’t be shy.
Oh don’t worry, we finished all of it.

Service: It’s a cafe, so you’re not expecting too much service, but the waiters are friendly. Japanese. 10% service charge

Bits and bobs:

  • 10% off for IC and vet students nearby, website sets 10% off for all university students though.
  • No booking
  • Don’t over order…
  • Their sushi afternoon tea looks unique, you may want to give that a try.

Price: £

Tombo on Urbanspoon