Monday, 1 September 2014

ANAKENA, SAINT LlUIS, MENORCA

As I mentioned in my blog last year, we go to Menorca every summer and I have been going since I was born. Being a creature of habit I always want to go to the same restaurants we went to as children but this year we decided to branch out and try a few new places.

Anakena is super cool for Menorca - a white decor, relaxed atmosphere, billowing curtains, great cocktails, several terraces and the food has Eastern, Mediterranean and South American influences. A bit superior to my usual pizza joints!

We went with our bestest friends and had a fantastic time. Obviously starting with a g&t and a mojito while we looked at the menu.




It was tough to decide what to eat! Once we had ordered we nibbled on the homemade bread with tomato salsa and herbed butter and then had a amuse bouche of a potato rosti topped with pesto and vegetables….it was delicious and I always love an extra course!




We also ordered a couple of portions of the prawn and crab croquettes as we all LOVE them. They were absolutely scrumptious - Boris had them again for a starter and I was tempted too!


However I went for the "gyosas traditionales" (as did Pascal and Amanda) which are Japanese dumplings stuffed with pork and vegetables with a sweet spicy sauce.


They were very good - although I would have preferred a soy sauce!

Fran had a timbale of langoustines and quinoa, which was a fresh prawn salad, marinated shrimp tails, quinoa and marinated avocado - it looked and tasted fantastic.


The final starter was the tuna tartar in a soft Asian vinaigrette and flying fish roe - I had serious food envy and apparently it was amazing. 


We were all impressed by our starters.

For mains Boris had the steak tartar with baked country bread. It was phenomenal. I am not normally a huge fan of steak tartar, it makes me feel a bit icky, but this was unbelievable - I would definitely order this next time. It might not look extraordinary but it really was.


Fran, Amanda and I all had the crab cakes baked with rice and prawn crackers. It was very good but very rich and we all enjoyed it however it was lacking a side - it would have been much better if it had a salad with it.


Hard went for the homemade chicken green curry with basmati rice - the curry was great but the rice was full of raisins which did not go down well. A big no no for Hard and certainly a big no no for me!! I hate fruit and food.


Finally Pascal had the veal sirloin with truffled potatoes from Menorca which I was tempted by as I am obsessed with anything with truffles - once again half was good, the other half wasn't. The veal was cooked perfectly pink and was extremely tender however the potatoes weren't cooked properly and you could barely taste the truffle. The asparagus was tasty though and it was well presented.


Boris was the only one who had a pudding as they had no cheese (boo). He went for the chocolate lasagna - even though I am not a pudding fan, this tasted delicious!


We had a fun, fantastic meal and the setting was beautiful - we will definitely be back although some of us will be ordering different things - I will without a doubt be having the steak tartar!! If you are in Menorca, the restaurant is worth a visit. There were children there but I would say it has a more adult vibe. It opens at 8pm and only during July and August.

Anakena
Caserio de S'Uestra, 4
07710
Saint Lluis
Menorca
Tel: +34 971 156 727
Email: reservas@anakenarestoran.com

Sunday, 31 August 2014

BOISDALE, BELGRAVIA

As you can see the blog has been very quiet of late…I have been on holiday in Menorca which was lovely although now it is back to reality. Thankfully I am very happy to be home especially as we were seeing our gorgeous friends last night. As they were coming up from West Sussex we needed a restaurant by Victoria and so we went to Boisdale which is a Scottish restaurant with live music, 2 bars, 3 dining areas (including a conservatory) and a cigar roof terrace (plus a lot of tartan)!

We had a drink at the main bar before supper - there was plenty to choose from but we went for our usual poison of a g&t and a Hendricks on the rocks.



Like always I had checked out the menu before we ate but even so I was undecided as it was full of good things. In the end I went for the dressed crab with spiced avocado and melba toast - my favourite!



It was absolutely delicious - as was everyone else's starters.
Lezah had the lobster cocktail, shaved fennel, harissa mayonnaise and Marie-rose sauce.



Karl had Dunkeld classic old smoked salmon with shallot and caper relish.



But Pascal chose the best the "Menage a trois" (so French) which was three different salmons and was absolutely delicious - a fabulous choice!



For mains Pascal and Lezah both had the ribeye steak burger with gruyere cheese, a roast field mushroom, truffle mayonnaise and thick cut chips. They it was cooked very rare and Pascal claimed it was one of the best burgers he has ever had.



I had serious food envy as I had gone against the grain and ordered the Atlantic cod and smoked haddock fishcake with spinach and anchovy butter sauce. It was absolutely incredible - I had forgotten how much I loved a fishcake!!



Karl went for the 7oz tornado fillet steak which was soft and tender and served with green peppercorn sauce.



The food was fabulous - unfortunately we were all too full for pudding which I was gutted about as the cheese board looked amazing especially as it had a "black bomb" cheese which you rarely see. Definitely next time!! Instead we had coffee and a sambucca (I am regretting it now)!

Pascal and Karl had wanted to have a cigar however the cigar terrace closes early (if only we'd been informed) and then despite good service previously, we were then told the restaurant had closed and it was time to leave - a sour way to end a fantastic (and expensive) night. However the food was so good, we will be back….we will just book an earlier table next time!

Boisdale

15 Eccleston Street,
London
SW1W 9LX
Tel: 020 7730 6922
Email: info@boisdale.co.uk

Boisdale of Belgravia on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

BAR BOULUD, KNIGHTSBRIDGE

My daughter has been with the ex husband for nearly two weeks and I am missing her desperately - this weekend I was pretty moody at times because of this. Thankfully Pascal knows exactly how to cheer me up….through my tummy. We decided to go to Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. We have been a few times before and I absolutely love it although Pascal has always been very negative about the food and the price - but he was willing to give it another go. 

We arrived slightly early so had a drink at the bar - a g&t for me (obviously) and a Ricard for Pascal which was served beautifully (even better than they do in France).




Normally when the sun is out we are desperate to sit outside with some rose but today being inside with air conditioning was a blessing.

We were shown to our table and despite our intentions to only have one starter to share and then a main each, once we opened the menu, we knew we couldn't be "good"! (Good food is better than a good bikini body)!

The menu is my idea of Heaven - french but with burgers. Daniel Boulud is famous for his super expensive burger that he sells in his New York restaurant…something I definitely need to try one day!! I literally wanted everything on the menu - starters range from charcuterie platters, pates, sausages, salads, snails….we went for 3 starters to share. I chose the pate grand-pere which I had had before - coarse pate, foie gras, pork and truffle. Even though it had been two years, it was still as amazing as I remembered. I didn't even eat the toast with it, it was enough on it's own….I actually wished I wasn't sharing!


Pascal chose the boudin blanc sausage with truffled mash potato and apple. I haven't had boudin blanc before and I didn't want to know exactly what was in it - it tasted delicious and the truffle mash was sublime - I could have eaten a mountain of it.


Lyon in France is famous for it's food and restaurants and so Pascal said we also had to have the sausage Lyonnais in brioche with pistachio & truffle. It wouldn't have been my choice but I am pleased with Pascal's decision as it was amazing - it put the humble pork pie to shame!


Wow - a fantastic start to a meal! Choosing a main was difficult as I adore the mussels they do here and their croque monsieur but we decided to share a couple of burgers. We went for a Frenchie which was a beef patty with confit pork belly, rocket, dijon, tomato compote and a morbid cheese peppered bun. Plus a Piggie (it had my name all over it) which was a beef patty with barbecue pulled pork, green chilli mayonnaise, bibb lettuce, red cabbage slaw and a cheddar bun. We ordered some fries and were tempted by more truffle mash but I didn't want to explode.




Both burgers were great - really juicy, soft buns and plenty of filling. The pulled pork was outstanding. The true test of the fact it was a good burger was that I didn't notice the lack of cheese until the very end. Pascal thought the piggie had a bit of a kick to it but I was so obsessed by the red cabbage slaw I didn't notice. The fries were fab but we barely touched them as we were stuffed.

A great lunch and thankfully Pascal agreed….yes it is expensive (especially the wine) but the food is great and the service impeccable. In fact I have already organised my birthday lunch there for 2015!!


Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
66 Knightsbridge
London
SW1X 7LA
Tel: 020 72013899

Square Meal

Bar Boulud on Urbanspoon

Monday, 11 August 2014

BLISTERED PEPPERS WITH TOMATOES, MOZZARELLA & PESTO

Yesterday we cooked Pot Roast Chicken with Leeks & Winter Salsa Verde and like always I wanted to do a veg with it not carbs….I need to get into a bikini in a few days and the thought is terrifying….although not scary enough to actually diet! 

I decided to do these peppers as I love a stuffed pepper and I thought my Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers might be too much. These peppers can also be cooked on a barbecue which is perfect for summer but as it was pouring with rain, we did them in the oven.

Ingredients for 2 people:

2 large red or orange peppers
Olive oil
8 baby plum or pomodorini tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
A ball of buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks
4 tbsp fresh pesto


Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas mark 6.

Cut the peppers in half length ways and remove the seeds. It is much better to keep the stalks in the peppers but Pascal cut ours out - doh. 


Add the peppers to a dish and rub them all over with olive oil, garlic and seasoning.


If you are cooking inside put your extractor fan on as it will get smokey! Heat a frying pan until very hot. Put the halved peppers, cut edges side down, in the pan and sear them until they are blackened along the edges.


Then whip them out and put them back in the dish with the tomatoes and cook in the oven for 10 minutes. Alternatively you can grill them on a barbecue.


After 10 minutes arrange the tomatoes in the peppers, along with some ripped chunks of mozzarella. Season and then put back in the oven (or on the barbecue) until the mozzarella has started to melt (around 5 minutes).



Put a dollop of pesto in each pepper and serve.


These were absolutely delicious, so fresh and tasty. They make a great side but also would be delectable on their own with some good bread to mop everything up. 

POT ROAST CHICKEN WITH LEEKS & WINTER SALSA VERDE

Even though we are in the middle of August, yesterday morning I thought it was deep dark winter…..how bad was all that rain! So Pascal and I decided to have a pyjama day and cook a roast and not leave the house. I have never cooked roast chicken before, to be honest I much prefer lamb or pork, but thought I should try something different. 

Ingredients for 4 people:

2 tbsp olive oil
100g smoked streaky bacon, chopped
1 whole chicken, approx 1.6kg (ours was 1.7kg)
3 sprigs of thyme (I added some dried thyme as well)
2 large leeks, trimmed and very thickly sliced
2 celery sticks, trimmed and very thickly sliced
200ml white wine
200ml chicken stock (I used vegetable as I didn't have chicken)

Winter Salsa Verde:

3 anchovy fillets in oil, drained
A garlic clove, chopped
A handful of celery leaves
A large handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
2.5 tbsp red wine vinegar (we used sherry vinegar as I didn't have red wine vinegar)
2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp sage, finely chopped (I used dry)
120ml extra virgin olive oil


Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas mark 6.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large casserole dish with a lid - you need to be able to fit the chicken in this dish. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until it starts to brown. (Don't over cook as they will continue browning when you add the chicken).


Push the bacon to the edges of the pan and then add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown all over. Turn it breast side up to finish. 



Then add the thyme, leeks and celery to the pan along with the wine and chicken stock.


Pop the lid on and roast in the oven for 1.5 hours.

To make the salsa verde, prepare all the ingredients and then blitz together in a food processor. Season to taste.





When the chicken is ready, do check it is cooked through - no one wants food poisoning. We thought ours wasn't but actually it was perfect. I just think we could have browned it a little more.


Finally serve the chicken vegetables and pan juices with spoonfuls of salsa verde.




We served the chicken with stuffed peppers (recipe to follow) which were delicious, although it would also go perfectly with some mash. As I mentioned before roast chicken is not my top choice but this was incredible and I adored the salsa verde….we have so much parsley left over I will be making the sauce again this week with some white fish or even chicken again! A perfect very easy lunch.