Saturday, September 15, 2018

Fine dining in Reigate, Surrey . La Barbe

La barbe
 
Whilst looking for a fine dining restaurant to dine at for dinner in Reigate, Surrey, I nearly read some Yelp reviews for inspiration. As quickly as I put my search into Google, I remembered a comment the former 'Parts Unknown' host, the great Anthony Bourdain made about Yelpers during a Business Insider inteview with Danny Bowien. He said " There's really no worse or lower human being than an elite Yelper,". " You know, you open a restaurant, you struggle for a year to put together the money, you work your heart out and then 10 minutes after opening, some miserable lady ( he used a worse term )  is tweeting or yelping, 'Worst. Dinner. Ever'. With those comments engraved in my foodie soul I snobbishly typed in Michelin guide ...Reigate restaurants into google. A classic french restaurant that was established over 35 years ago called La Barbe caught my eye. The review was quite succint..." Fresh ingredients , capably prepared: simply a good meal". The menu was also eye catching with everything (almost ) you would expect in a classic french restaurant...escargots...foie gras..goats cheese souffle ...you get the picture. 

The restaurant on 71 Bell street was quite easy to find. Its just opposite Priory park , a few seconds walk away from a massive  Morrisons supermarket. On entering the restaurant, the staff were quite friendly and welcoming. We spent the first minute or so talking to the waitress about my love of wine apps when we given the drinks menu. Her dad apparently loves the app as well...I feel soo old. The food menu came out quickly and we werent rushed at any point during the evening. This was an extremely professional and unintrusive evening. Scroll below for a few foodie pictures.


La barbe restaurant
La barbe restaurant




Duck breast and foie gras terrine, fig and chutney
Duck breast and foie gras terrine, fig and chutney



Twice baked goats cheese soufflé , beetroot coulis
Twice baked goats cheese soufflé , beetroot coulis



Rump of lamb with rosemary jus, ratatouille basket
Rump of lamb with rosemary jus, ratatouille basket



Flavorful Rump of lamb
Flavorful Rump of lamb



Delicious Gratin Dauphinois
Delicious Gratin Dauphinois



Herb crusted cod , kaffir lime sauce , vegetable julienne
Herb crusted cod , kaffir lime sauce , vegetable julienne
 
The Michelin guide's inspectors view of this restaurant was spot on. All the freshly prepared dishes tasted sublime. This was good cooking at its finest and we couldnt find any fault with the experience. I would have liked to attempt dessert, however we were slightly full and there was a small problem of travelling back to London. The menus was well priced, with 2 starters and 2 mains, 2 glasses of champagne and a bottle of water coming up to just around £101.   I give this restaurant, a Makele 5 out of 5 stars. 
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Saturday, September 01, 2018

A First class dining experience at Chino Latino





Hello readers, just a quick catch up about my second visit to Chino Latino, a pan asian restaurant based on the first floor of the Park Plaza Riverside Southbank London Hotel. My previous visit to Chino Latino did not end well, the staff ignored us and when we complained they were nonchalant even when it turned out they overcharged us. I wrote a balanced review about my experience on Tripadvisor and my comments caught the eye of Ewelina, one of the Chino Latino managers. She got in touch with me and I was invited to come back for a meal and bottle of wine. 

Not soo Secret Diner

I had slight doubts about going back because of my previous experience at first , however the concern shown by Ewelina about our treatment made me feel like this was a restaurant that cares about it's customers. I knew I was going to get treated well on this visit, so I hatched a plan with my partner in crime. I entered the restaurant first and was shown to a table with a view in the main area. My partner in crime had booked another table and was placed on the other side of the restaurant, the same table as our previous visit. So was there a difference in service ? , yes and it was huge. On my partners side, instead of only one member of staff, there were two waitresses and another member of staff helping to serve.

Secret Diner Experience

As soon as I was seated, the meus were brought to my table and the staff asked if I wanted a drink straight away. I went for the house rose which was lovely and refreshing. Tap water was placed on my table and the staff was constantly checking on me, asking if I needed anything. Every dish I needed was delivered to my table in a timely manner and the food was delicious. When the tables started filling up around me , the service was just as attentive. The staff were friendly, visible and could have easily made me tipsy with every glass being filled immediately. I stopped at two glasses so that I could enjoy my  dessert. I was full but couldnt resist it. 

As a meal out, the cost is pricey, but the food is excellent , with a first class customer service.

Makelesmouthful Experience 

I met Ewelina at the door and she showed me to a my table in the main area of the restaurant. We spoke briefly about my previous experience and she once again stressed how important every diner was to Chino Latino. She gave me the menu and went away for a little bit while I mused over which dishes to try out. A few seconds later and my phone rang. It was my partner in crime calling to scream about how the customer service in her corner of the restaurant was amazing. She had to cut the line and resort to text messages because she nearly got caught. Me thinks someone wasnt paying attention at Spy academy.

Whilst the dishes were coming out , Ewelina came back to my table and chatted about what life was like working at Chino Latino. She spoke about how she progressed up the ranks at the restaurant and the various opportunities the restaurant offers it's workers. She also spoke about riding her motorbike from Timbuktu everytime she comes into work. It was really obvious that she cared a lot about this restaurant and that can only be a good thing for diners.


Chino Latino  
 So let's talk about the food.


I had two small dishes for starters, crispy duck with cucumber , chilli , spring onions and hoisin sauce.
Crispy Duck pancakes The duck was just perfect..crispy on the outside and not too fatty or oily. Having this with pancakes was heavenly      
Pancakes  
   

Crispy duck pancakes  






Taquitos

The second small dish was a caterbridge beef taquitos with aji panca , red onion , jalapeno and avocado. Once again this was a very moreish dish. The beef was very flavorful and the cones were pretty crispy.


These beef taquitos was soo full of flavour
These beef taquitos was soo full of flavour
 I had the meal with a lush bottle of red
Small dishes and a bottle of wine

Lamb cutlets For mains I had lamb cutlets marinated in korean hot pepper paste and on top of that , some sesame cucumber. The succulent cutlets accompanied by a bowl of warm rice that was soo tasty I nearly bit my fingers off.  
Moreish Korean lamb cutlets
     

Juicy lamb chops
      

Lamb chops and rice

Chocolate brownie and peanut butter parfait with blackberry sponge 
This dessert really hit the mark as well.Have always loved peanut butter so this dish was a nice way to end the evenings course


Chocolate brownie's


Food over , I spent a while listening to that evenings live band. The band was soo impressive , the diner to my left looked at me and grinned in satisfaction. We both had a moment as they say. There's a performance 6 out of 7 nights a week , with the calibre of music , food and wine making this restaurant a very suitable venue for romantic dates or evenings out with a group of friends and family.


So, there goes my second visit to Chino Latino , more enjoyable than the first. The customer service was exemplary and the food delicious. Compliments to the team, they definitely exceeded our expectations.

Thanks Ewelina, the evening convinced me that this restaurant was definitely a place to check out if you're looking to dine out in central london. You've definitely won over this pessimistic diner. 


     
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Monday, August 27, 2018

Friday night Senegalese supper club

Jollof

I spent last friday evening at little Baobab, a Senegalese pop up Supperclub with live music at London's lower Clapton. This was one of the finest evening have had in London for a while. For 30 pounds you get 3 courses, cocktails and 2 live performances. The venue was very intimate and the atmosphere was very chilled. There were lots of people with friends and dates. It was also nice meeting the blogging couple Hey ! Dip Your Toes in . Thanks for recommending the pop up on twitter guys.
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Sunday, August 05, 2018

A foodie guide to eating out in Torvehallerne food market, Copenhagen


Tapas del toro chefs
I attended a friends lovely wedding in Denmark, Copenhagen last week and thought why not write a series of blog posts about the things I got up to in Copenhagen. Now by things I got up to, I actually meant stuffing my face to my hearts content. No soul searching posts here or quotes about finding one's self whilst walking around this beautiful city ( blogger cliches). It's just going to be plain gluttony really, starting with a foodie guide to eating out in Torvehallerne super market. I ate way more in Sweden, Malmo to be exact, so look out for that post soon as well.

I spent 2 out of my 4 days in Torvehallerne food market and these are the reasons


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Sunday, July 08, 2018

Chino Latino , I want my service charge back

Finished work on a Saturday evening and we decided to have a quick meal at a fusion restaurant called Chino Latino based within Park Plaza Riverbank hotel. The restaurant was at a perfect location, just a few minutes from work at St Thomas hospital and not too far from Waterloo station which makes going home that much easier. The reviews on TripAdvisor  were positive and the foodie pictures looked good. As we travelled up the escalators, walked into restaurant and clocked the views of the Thames, we started to get excited. Instead of a quick bite, I started to think this was probably going  to turn into a crazy Saturday night story, with too many cocktails, a bottle of red and a few dances around the piano. Well, forty minutes later I began to worry our table was invisible to the restaurant staff, another twenty minutes and I was sure of it. Very poor customer service.  So what happened ?

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Monday, July 02, 2018

An exciting Portuguese World Cup BBQ in London

Go Portugal     
I spent last monday evening at an exciting Portuguese World Cup BBQ starring Portugal vs Iran. The venue was Marina's lovely garden in South London and the guests were an army of Portugese friends all hoping this would be their year seeing as they have Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the best player on the planet ( I can't name the other player for fear of this being my last ever Portuguese BBQ invite).. Iran arent really known for their footballing skills so the plan was to eat tons of barbecued meat washed down with Portugese beer..sorry I meant Budweiser, whilst trying to guess If Portugal would score less than 4 goals. Well that's what we hoped would happen. So here's how the evening played out.

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