Glouton in Belo Horizonte

One of the restaurants that popped up my research about Belo Horizonte was Glouton – a highly recommended restaurant applying French style cooking techniques to Brazilian ingredients and food. One of the recommendations came from the new discovery trail from the Worlds 50 Best Restaurants website. Since I’ve been lucky enough to experience a few on their lists over the past year, I thought it was a good chance to visit this restaurant when I was in town. Before leaving, I reached out via their contact form, using Google Translate to put in a request for a table on the day that I arrived in Belo Horizonte. I figured I’d be a little bit tried after the 13 hour London-São Paulo + 5-hour layover + another flight but I thought having something to look forward to would help me stay awake. I asked for a table at 19:30 on a Thursday, when the restaurant actually opens.

Restaurant Glouton
Restaurant Glouton

After arriving at the hotel, relaxing and trying to get connected with a Brazilian sim (it’s almost quite impossible if you can’t speak Portuguese!) I left for the restaurant by foot to see the sights. I arrived only about two minutes before the restaurant opened but since the front door was open, I went inside. A waiter greeted me, only to realise I couldn’t speak Portuguese and he wasn’t comfortable in English. He fetched the Head Chef (Leo Paixão) who spoke English very well and greeted me, and communicated how everything would work as I made my way to the table.

An English menu arrived alongside the Portuguese one, although I was able to understand enough of the Portuguese to be able to decide on what I wanted to have. When the waiter saw that I was ready, he signed to say he was going to get the chef, but I pointed, nodding, indicating I could order by pointing. One of the recommended dishes as a crispy pork belly, however I was thrown off whilst ordering when I realised there were two pork dishes and I didn’t know which one was which. I pointed to one, and the pointed at my belly – hoping the waiter would understand what I was trying to say. He did, although he responded by pointing to his neck, which helped me choose the right dish after all. A little bit complicated, but happy I could still accomplish what I needed to do.

Sparkling Wine List
Sparkling Wine List

I ended up ordering a few small bites, a main and a dessert and contemplated the wine menu. They had sections for wines by the glass (mostly from South America – yay!), wines in a carafe (mostly European wines) and then a large selection of bottles. I was fascinated to see a significant section of the sparkling wines came from Brazil and I was almost tempted to order a full bottle, but decided it was a bad idea because I wouldn’t be able to finish it. I ended up ordering a glass of a Chilean red, that still arrived in a small carafe! The restaurant is split into two areas, an indoor, air-conditioned one, and an outdoor space which I didn’t get to have a close look at. Relaxing music, what I imagine fits to the more-relaxed Brazilian culture, piped through the restaurant and the tables all around slowly filled up.

I expected the two bite-sized snacks to actually be a little bit smaller than what they ended up as. First up was the Beef Carpaccio and shortly followed up with the more traditional Cheese dumplings served with honey.

Beef Carpaccio
Beef Carpaccio

The Carpaccio was wonderful, with delicate citrus notes from lemon zest freshening the entire dish, contrasted with the peppery rocket and texture contrast provided by the toast bread.

Cheese Parcels
Cheese Parcels

The cheese parcels are quite a typical dish, and this was very well executed. What could have been a sloppy, oily mess with cheese oozing out of one side and an empty bite of fried pastry on the other showcased a perfect bite. The cheese had slightly melted, but each mouthful had the crisp pastry accompanied by its meaty, salty cheese and then with a touch of honey, providing the ideal sweet, salty contrast like a Canadian stack. Both of these “snacks” would have worked fine as a single appetiser, so it took me a while to get to the next course and was glad for the pause in between.

Pork Belly
Pork Belly

The main event was the Pressed pork belly served with crunchy farofa (tapioca flour), pineapple chutney and kale. I was very impressed by the portion size, and just as impressed by all the flavours. The pork was fall-apart soft topped with a perfectly thin but crisp crackling. The farofa was much better than anything I had experienced in Brazil with a multitude of textures and flavours formed from its golden brown toasting and slivers of flaked almonds generously added. The pineapple chutney brought the much needed acidity to the classic pork dish without being overwhelmingly sweet and I was glad to see greens on the plate to make me not feel too guilty about the meal.

Mango Cake

Out of the dessert menu, I was very tempted to try the guava pie. It is something that my colleagues later informed me was very typical of the area but as I sat in the restaurant, the recommendations from reviews were to try the mango pie, which I ended up ordering. Out of all the dishes, this one was my least favourite – namely because I though that a pie would have some flaky, or crunchy element. Instead, this was a bit more like a light sponge decked in a sticky sweet mango puree, mounted on some fruit and finished off with a beautiful scoop of raspberry sorbet. The sorbet did provide a good contrast from the mango’s sweetness, but I found it slightly too sharp against all the flavours. A good dessert, but I should have tried the guava pie.

By the time I left, I guess it was a bit more normal entertaining time for the Brazilians as the restaurant was pretty much full – just as my stomach was after the decadent meal. This is a great place for a particularly special occasion as their prices as significantly more than what you’d pay in your average restaurant.

Name: Glouton
Found at: Rue Bárbara Heliodora, 59 – Lourdes, Belo Horizonte – MG, 30180-130, Brazil

Where we ate and drank in Melbourne

In September, we had an amazing time eating and drinking our way around Melbourne. Although I had a huge list, we only had a small amount of time but still managed to get through a good deal of them. Here’s some of the places that we ended up visiting.

Eating Places

  • Fancy Hanks (Level 1, 79 Bourke St) – If you’re craving some good American style BBQ with a wide variety of sauces and craft beer, then Fancy’s Hanks is for you.
  • Dehli Streets (22 Katherine Pl) – A cheap and cheerful restaurant tucked away in an alley but was full even on a Monday evening. A good mix of Indian food served in a Thali which gives you a good option to try several things at once.
  • Sezar (6 Melbourne Pl) – A more upmarket restaurnat serving Armenian food which is an interesting mix of dishes that remind me of a mix between Turkish and middle Eastern dishes. Try the feast, although make sure you leave some room for dessert! Bookings essential.
  • Bibim Fresh (9/108 Bourke St) – A cheap and cheerful Korean restaurant serving focused on serving Korean stone bowls with fresh ingredients and a slightly healthier twist on the dishes such as brown instead of white rice.
  • Maha (21 Bond St) – An underground Turkish restaurant that offers both ala carte and an amazing 4-6 course tasting adventure. This is definitely a bit more fine-dining and we noted a number of people coming here for birthdays because it was nice.
  • +39 Pizza (362 Little Bourke St) – A popular but tiny pizza place that offers huge pizzas. The pizza was good but I was disappointed that the foccacia was basically a pizza dough, not a proper foccacia one. Cheap and cheerful.
  • Frances’ Food and Coffee (1/245 Franklin St) – We stumbled across this place looking for breakfast when we were near the QVM. I’m glad we did with good coffee, great variety of cooked breakfasts, seats in the sun and friendly service – what more does one need?
  • Dex2rose Nitrogen Gelateria & Cafe (377-379 Little Bourke St) – Instagram-friendly creative dessert cafe based on ice cream made with liquid nitrogen.

Drinking Places

  • Fall from Grace (Hidden bar in State of Grace at 477 Collins St) – One of those speakeasy bars that is hidden behind a retracting bookcase that will make you fall in love with the atmosphere. Cocktails take a while to whip up, and ordering them at the counter is worth watching the amount of preparation. Rather darkly lit on the inside but lots of comfy lounge areas if you come early enough.
  • Berlin Bar (Upper floor – 16 Corrs Ln) – I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this place. The reviews made me think it could be really cheesy… but it was really well done! Sit in the East or the West side and enjoy the creative and German-inspired drinks, the fitting atomsphere and some of the great entertainment (black and white film and an in-house magician!) Cocktails weren’t cheap AUD20 but were worth it for something unique. Even better is that everyone must sit at a table, so it’s never too crowded (but there was a line so come early or book)
  • Madame Brussels (59 Bourke St) – Brightly decorated tennis lawns, pink chairs and camp decorations make this jovial bar a delight to drink at. Why order a single cocktail when you can order the cocktails by the pitcher to share! They have a nice terrace that even in winter was used because of the outdoor heating. Light finger food made available (the sausage rolls were amazing!)

Coffee Places

  • Brother Baba Budan (359 Little Bourke St) – This tiny place was just down from hotel we stayed at and was a place I remember from the last trip I had in Melbourne. It’s not really a huge place with lots of tables but works for a couple.
  • Duke’s Coffee (247 Flinders Ln) – Some of the folk from my office showed me this coffee place. Proper hipster style, with a long stream of regulars and often a line out of the door. They also offer some amazing looking cakes and pastries to snack on as well.
  • Manchester Press (8 Rankins Ln) – We actually dropped in here for breakfast. It’s a larger airy place that apparently is really crowded on weekends (we went on a weekday). I wasn’t particularly impressed by the breakfast offerings – various bagels with different toppings but the coffee was good with lots of seating area in a large warehouse-like environment.

Barcelona Summer Trip

After getting back from Barcelona and Stiges for our annual trip, we ate at some pretty great places which I wanted to record for future purposes.

  • Montiel (C/ Flassaders 19, Born, 08003 Barcelona) – A great recommendation from Ajit that is tucked away in a small alley in the Born district of Barcelona. When we ate their, they focused on two different tasting menus, one focused on using traditional Spanish ingredients in a more modern way, and the other using higly seasonal ingredients prepared with traditional Spanish cooking techniques. Simple atmosphere, great service and good value even with the wine pairing.
  • Carpe Diem Lounge Club (CDLC) (Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 32, 08003 Barcelona) – Fancy atmosphere alongside Barcelona beach that attracts bankers, tourists and a number of other locals. Expensive prices, food is okay and ambience is okay depending on the weather. You can book private lounge beds inside, but we ate outside. I’d prefer other places before going back here, but for some that want to be seen, this might be a place to go.
  • Jaime Beriestain Cafe/Restaurant (Carrer de Pau Claris, 167, 08037 Barcelona) – Wonderful atmosphere in a design store with well executed food. Not particularly cheap but the food merges in a good combination of Spanish ingredients and modern cooking techniques. Friendly service and definitely more stylish clientele.
  • Nem (Carrer Illa de Cuba, 9, 08870, Sitges) – A tapas bar with asian-fusion tapas that is both extremely affordable where we ate at the second year in a row. Table booking in advance or go really early (19:00 or 19:30 by Spanish standards) to sit at the bar.
  • Beach House Sitges (Paseo Ribera 33, 08870 Sitges) – A popular esplanade-facing restaurant with a mixed menu of Asian/western creations and you often end up sharing tables with your neighbours. Lively but maybe a bit too popular for the hassle.
  • 33 Sitges (Carrer Major, 33, 08870 Sitges) – An Asian inspired menu in a beautifully decorated restaurant and friendly service.
  • Restaurante El Superpollo (Carrer de Sant Josep, 8, 08870 Sitges) – The Nando’s equivalent in Sitges, this cheap and cheerful take away or sit-down restaurant does spit-roasted chickens and sides efficiently and delivers with flavour.

Where we ate in Washington DC

We ate very well in Washington DC, and wanted to go to more places but we didn’t have the time (or the appetite) to eat at all of the places that we wanted to. Here is a flavour of the some of the places that we managed to get.

Birch and Barley on 14th Street

A popular place with locals known for its huge selection of beers. Like it’s Belgian cousins, they have more than a hundred varieties and they even offer a beer tasting menu to go along with their food tasting if you want. We just ordered a ala carte and everything was amazingly tasty. I highly recommend you book and try a few of the places.


The Oval Room

Modern american cuisine, served in a fairly formal environment. When we went, The Oval Room definitely attracted people who were significantly older than your usual crowd; very well dressed and up for an evening out. It’s not really surprising when it is located almost right next to the white house. Some excellently well prepared food although prices are on the higher side.


Masa 14 for Brunch

Masa 14 is well known for its weekend bottomless brunch. It’s a steal too when all alcoholic drinks are included and you get to order their interesting dishes off the menu a la carte. They fuse latin flavours with asian and American fare turning out interesting and delicious bites that are definitely great sharing.


Dishes that Delight at NoMad

We try to always have a special meal whilst in New York. My sister asked if we wanted to go back to Eleven Madison Park since they have changed their format to an extravagant 18-course meal but I wanted to try something a bit different. Along the same line with the same chef, Daniel Humm is the much talked about NoMad restaurant located in the NoMad hotel.

NoMad Hotel

The restaurant is dark, and even my very fast lens had difficulty without stabilising it on a glass in the dark. Comfy red velour cushions dot the benches, and dark wood panelling finish off the decorations.

After doing some preparatory reading, we knew what to have for our main and desserts, but unsure about the start. We make our choices and then order. Very good bread (i.e. focaccia) arrives soon after.


We start with some roasted cauliflower and mushrooms served with a poached egg. Both at extremely high prices considering the base cost of the ingredients, but I guess it’s consistent with the rest of the other dishes. Next time I would skip it and go straight for the main course as these cold dishes didn’t do anything particularly spectacular.

Cauliflower and Mushrooms

We order the “famous” roast chicken for two that comes with heft price tag. It is rather decadent with a foie-gras, brioche and truffle spread under the skin of a whole chicken for two. Slow cooked and basted with butter, the chicken is then presented at the table-side before being returned to the kitchen to be finished prepared in two ways. If you want to know about how they prepare this, read this article as I cannot do it any more justice.

The Famous Nomad Roast Chicken

The chicken being presented.

Roast Chicken in Tray

The brown meat.

Brown Meat

And the beautiful chicken itself. Although the meat amount looks small compared to the rest of the dish, it is one of the most delicious chicken preparations I have ever had. The skin is crispy and full of flavour. The white meat super juicy and best eaten in combination. The dark meat, rich with full of umami and just so, so delicious.

The meal didn’t stop there as we headed into dessert. Fingers crossed they still offered the dish I had read about before joining. Yes!

Dessert Menu

The lemon tart is so well executed, beautifully presented and unlike and like those you have had before. From this post:

On first glance, the tart appears to be surrounded by a thin, shiny layer of caramel or mousse. In fact, the covering is made of shortbread. Welker explains that they start with a classic French-style tarte citron that’s baked in a half sheet pan before the lemony discs are punched out and frozen. Then a traditional almond flour-based shortbread is pureed in a blender until the heat melts the butter, creating a molten mixture. The discs are then dropped in liquid nitrogen and then dipped into the shortbread batter. The shortbread coating solidifies as soon as it comes into contact with the cold lemon discs.

Lemon Tart


Lemon Tart

Name: NoMad
Found at: 1170 Broadway, New York, USA

The Single Item Restaurant Challenge

When my sister and I travel, I normally sort out places to eat, and she organises the activities. Since we had done all of the activities there are to do in New York, she suggested doing a walking tour of Manhattan but eating our way through the restaurants that focus on a single item. I did the research (there are a lot of them) and we ended up tried spending a whole day eating our way through Manhattan (and definitely adding to our waistline).

Although I suggested we have some guidelines, at the end of the day, we tried the ones that we felt like trying and felt it qualified. We struck places off the list that weren’t particularly unique such as all the cupcake, macaroon or ramen stores. We also tried to strike out those places that served too many other main dishes such as Tommy Lasagne that serves much more than just Lasagne. We struck off food trucks (too many of them) and tried to avoid chains. Here’s where we ended up on a single day.

Treat House (452 Amsterdam Ave –

A place that only sells Rice Crispy treats, we tried a small selection. They aren’t particularly cheap but we figured that we were going to try a small selection and they were beautifully decorated. I think the ones we tried were sugar cookie (blue but nothing particularly special), salted caramel, candy cane (a nice seasonal twist) and gingerbread (which I enjoyed eating the head of the gingerbread man). A sugar rush for the morning that goes well with a black coffee!

Treat House

Baconery (911 Columbus Avenue –

Our next stop wasn’t also technically restaurant but located in the same neighbourhood as the previous. This shop/cafe sold all products that incorporated. They sell everything from chocolate covered bacon, bacon cookies and bacon salt. Basically, you name it they bacon-it. They also had a lot of bacon based merchandise such as this pillow:

Eating Bacon Pillow

We split a bacon “blondie” or basically a white brownie. The sweetness tempered by the salty bacon went quite well.

Bacon Blondie

OatMeals (20 W 3rd St-

You can find most of the other single item restaurants located in the east and west village – I guess it’s a testament to the tastes and the area’s reception to new things. OatMeals focus on being an oatmeal bar. You can go simple with oatmeals and construct one of your choice, or one of the “approved combinations”. I went for the Canadian “cheese, bacon and maple syrup” whilst my sister went for the “Gorgonzola and fig”. I tasted both but preferred the Canadian but even that was a bit hard to stomach. Next time, I’ll just stick to simple berries or honey on mine, I’m not sure I’m ready for oatmeal to have savoury flavours.

Meals at Oatmeals

Peanut Butter and Co NYC Sandwich Shop (240 Sullivan Street –

Another stop in the village was a quick peanut butter sandwich. This place basically does a whole heap of dishes with peanut butter and lots of variations of peanut butter sandwiches.

Peanut Butter and Co

I continued on the bacon theme with the “Mighty Maple” (maple, crispy bacon and peanut butter) which I have to say was definitely a winning combination but I can see why that might have put Elvis in the grave. My sister opted for a daring “The Heat is On” or chilli peanut butter served with chicken and pineapple jam. This ended up being a bit like a chicken satay in a sandwich combo and actually worked pretty well.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Finished

S’Mac (345 east 12th Street –

Our last visit on our day (many of the others were closed for the period and we were just a bit full from eating) was Sarita’s Mac and Cheese (or S’Mac) for short.

Mac and Cheese Pan

Wanting something with a bit more spice, I opted for the CajunParisienne (Creamy Brie, roasted figs, roasted shiitake mushrooms & fresh rosemary) was a bit too much on the sweet side for me but she managed to finish as well.

Easy to do, too much to eat

We didn’t get around to some of the other places we wanted to (mind belly much bigger than actual belly) but out of interest, here are some of the other places we would have liked to have tried:

  • Melt Shop – A place that just does melted cheese sandwiches. Another one called “Little Muenster” is an alternative
  • The Meatball Shop – ‘Nuff said
  • The Nugget Spot – Nuggets made of different meats
  • Pommes Frites – Belgian Fries with a hundred or so different toppings
  • Porchetta – Italian pork! Yummo
  • Empire Biscuit – A 24 hour new place that sells different types of biscuits + gravy
  • The Protein Bakery – A bakery selling baked goods with high levels of protein

Two Completely Different Restaurants in Brooklyn

Brooklyn is the Dalston of New York, an area having developed after costs in Manhattan push younger people out to more affordable areas. Although they still have some dodgy neighbourhoods, a lot of areas have redeveloped, new, cool bars and restaurants have flourished.

Do or Dine is one such place. Popular on the weekends for its alternative breakfast, the whole place is designed to give you a different experience. Despite being on a relatively main street, it is disguised from view with its restaurant banner actually displaying an alternative name (see pictures below)

Do or Dine Canopy

Do or Dine Door

A small bar sits in the back, alongside a bathroom-tiled small kitchen where they mix up the most interesting drinks and foods. A disco ball spins, sending light to other distracting corners of the room.

Disco ball

They decorate the walls with some strange elements, and find the most unusual things such as a can of “Unicorn meat” (not for consumption).

Unicorn meat

All of this, naturally points to interesting combinations and new designs of some classic dishes. We start our brunch by sharing some appetisers including a foie gras doughnut (good but not really my favourite as the foie gras is too overpowering), some “fawntons” (or wontons filled with venison) and some “e666s” (or some battered devilled eggs)

All of the food was beautifully presented, and pretty good although I think I liked the fawntons the best – the wontons filled with a meat that reminded me of tender pulled pork and matched with a mustard sauce that held some punch. For our mains, we tried “A chicken and woffals” and “Fish and some chips”. The chicken arrived as a “jerk chicken” that was super tender, moist although the coating reminded me more of a sweet thai chilli sauce than any strong jerk coating.

Chick and waffles

The fish dish was probably one of the most impressive, an upright, wholly fried fish “mohawked” my some caviar that had been brightly marinated in fresh yuzu sauce. The chips were crunchy, and it was all accompanied with a vinegar-enriched sauce providing freshness to this fried dish. Super yum.

Fish and some chips

At the other end of the Brooklyn spectrum, we met some of my sister’s friends for a brunch at “Egg“, a stronghold place known as a good place to have brunch. I think it may have hit the Lonely Planet book as we saw this no-reservations place filled with people carrying a “New York” or “Brooklyn” edition. Naturally like most “no reservation” places, you have to queue. Here, at least, they get you to sign up on a board and they have a pretty quick turn around. Best suited for tables of two or four, we had a bit of an awkward seating for six.


Paper tops off the table and crayons in a container provide entertainment as you peruse the menu. Not that you have much time as our waitress checks back (a bit too frequently) about whether or not we were ready to oder. Despite being very nice, we definitely felt the pressure to order, pay the bill, and were “encouraged” to leave. Fair enough, but not really the dining experience I want.

Pancakes with bacon

This restaurant offers much more classical American fare such as oatmeal and pancakes. I opt for the pancakes with bacon which turns out to be a pretty good choice – three fluffy huge pancakes and a side of salty bacon. Yummo.


Others decide to get the “most ordered dish” on the menu, the “Eggs Rothko” which is basically a brioche French Toast topped off with cheese and slight deviation of a slightly undercooked egg that seeps from the middle of the toast. Others still order the hash, which whilst presented very plainly apparently was pretty tasty as well.


They are very straight up about what they do. And do not. They do not have espresso based coffees. They do not do eggs Benedict. Although a pretty decent place, I’d only line up for this if I was in the area rather than make a special trip out for it.

Dinner at The Mall Tavern

I’m a bit late with this post as I ate dinner here for Halloween with my sister. We had walked past this place a million times when I used to live in the area, but had never really sat down to see what it was all about. I believe The Mall Tavern has been there for a while, but had changed owners.

The Mall Tavern Menu

One consistent comment about the gastropub was how good the food was. We were a bit hungry, and ordered a couple of appetisers including popcorn chicken and mini sausage rolls.

Popcorn Chicken and Sausage rolls

I don’t normally write this, but OMFG they were great. The chicken was reasonably sized, not just all batter. Well seasoned, full of flavour and you could actually taste the chicken as well. The sausage rolls were perfect replicas of the bigger items, and had the perfect balance between pastry and the meat.

My sister ordered the meat pie, a delicious and beautifully presented dish. It came accompanied unnecessarily with bone marrow as the pie was already pretty rich and meaty.

Meat Pie

I wanted something a little bit less rich, so I opted for the roast chicken. It arrived, glowing in its own juices and with a perfectly crisp skin that went well with the juicy meat. So tasty I probably could have eaten more but then we had dessert to go.

Roast Chicken

The Mall Tavern is known for its interesting combinations, and although I really wanted to try this artic roll, it was an apparently summer-only dish. Instead my sister tried the Carrot cake to decorate which came as a deconstructed plate with almost too many ingredients to know what to do with it.

Carrot Cake to Decorate

I wanted the figgy cheesecake, another deconstructed beauty but a lighter and more interesting dessert than normal.

Figgy Cheesecake

I’d recommend this place, perhaps not for dinner but for a quieter lunch. It was pretty dark and you can tell that the pictures didn’t turn out as great as they normally do and we were lucky enough to be sitting next to the window which had more light. Tables are a bit close together and we found it was one of those places were noise seemed to amplify, and you almost needed to shout across the table to have a conversation. Still, the food is interesting and generally worth it.

Name: : The Mall Tavern
Found at: : 71-73 Palace Gardens Terrace, Notting Hill, London, W8 4RU
Website: :

The Family Christmas “Dinner” by Heston

Each year I get invited to join “The Family” christmas dinner. Technically not being Italian, or being part of a founding group makes it difficult to be a member of the “The Family” but I get invited to the “extended Family” events and Christmas is such a time to celebrate. I suggested a number of places, but I really wanted to try Dinner by Heston as I had heard many good things about it. In 2013 it was announced number seven on the World’s Top 50 Restaurant list and was awarded two Michelin stars for 2014.

The restaurant is located in the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge, so I expected the restaurant to be reasonably pricy and a bit dressy. Fortunately the restaurant isn’t one that requires a jacket, and although some people dressed up for the occasion, it also seemed like quite a casual affair for a number of people.

We had a bit of a later booking for half past eight or eight, so we met a bit earlier to have a drink at the bar. The Mandarin bar certainly know how to mix cocktails, but you should expect to pay the higher end of London prices for these. Expect £16+ for each drink. We opted to try the fig martini, a well balanced, slightly sweet and relatively strong cocktail to start the tastebuds going.

Before we knew it, our table was ready and we sat down to peruse the menu. The bread wasn’t anything particularly fancy but was just a very well done sourdough served with some simple butter.

Having done the research about what to order, the most well popular and interesting dish served on the menu was the “Meatfruit“. In typical Heston style (although unusual for the rest of the dishes), the meat fruit was made to look like a clementine, but deceived the onlooker containing very savoury flavours instead of the sweet, juicy insides one would expect from a fruit. Accompanied by a well toasted piece of bread, you cut into the meatfruit to discover a soft meat spread composed of a liver parfait and foie gras. I’m not really one to order foie gras, but I have to say I was very impressed by the dish. The richness cut through with a slightly tart jelly that provided the outerskin to the fruit.

Meat fruit

Other’s ordered the marrow (reported as very good but rather rich)

And the snail porridge.

The main dishes at Dinner didn’t particularly scream as being particularly different, nor unique. Of course, the steak is an obvious choice but when we are spoilt with places like Hawksmoor, it felt a bit wrong to order one in a restaurant such as this. I opted for the pork belly, that came accompanied with some white truffles, beans.

Pork Belly

Naturally it was very well done – the meat, soft tender and falling apart but remaining totally moist. I was worried the truffles would be overpowered by the the other flavours in the dish, but the generous fresh shavings declared themselves present amongst the other salty flavours.

Pork Belly

Other people ordered the pigeon, beautifully presented but reported back as “just okay”.

After the mains came the desserts, and an optional course on offer was the freshly made ice cream. Made on demand tableside, is a spectacular show involving liquid nitrogen and your choice of ice cream toppings. It’s a lavish addition for £8 per scoop but is quite the show to have whilst having dinner. We enjoyed watching other people’s as we had already pre-ordered our desserts.

Ice Cream

And definitely a dessert to preorder was the tipsy cake. Demanding 25 minutes preparation, it is a fresh brioche made in its own cast iron skillet, soaked in a beautiful sauce (slightly alcoholic) and served alongside a roasted pineapple. It’s a beautiful presentation, matches pretty much what others have written about it and I would definitely order it again.

Tipsy Cake

A round of coffees and a whisky finished off the evening.

I would definitely return to Dinner by Heston, but next time I would avoid ordering alcohol. Although I didn’t do the wine order, I was told there was a great selection of wine. The only problem was that the price jumped very quickly into a “significantly higher” bracket very quickly. A common theme with the cheapest whisky being £20 per dram and the next one being £40.

I think we agreed that the food was very good, the ambiance reasonable, but we had a better experience with last year’s dinner at Galvin.

Name: Dinner by Heston
Found at: Located in the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA

Medcalf, Exmouth Market

I had read a lot of good things about Medcalf, a restaurant serving British foods on Exmouth Market, so when I was going to catch up with a couple of friends, I suggested we book a table there for dinner.

We met for a reasonably early dinner at 19:00 and the restaurant seemed reasonably busy for the rest of the night as people were shown to the bar whilst waiting for a table to come free. Service seemed pretty prompt all night without feeling rushed. Questions were answered, and our waiters the the point but still polite.

I felt like indulging in bit of Welsh rarebit or fancy cheese on toast. A generous portion accompanied by a bit of lambs lettuce, a nice touch to add a bit of green to an otherwise very brown dish.

One of my friends went for the steak and frites, apparently very nicely cooked and arriving presliced demonstrating their still-pink interior.

I opted for the artichoke and bean stew. I wasn’t quite sure what was going to arrive, but was pleasantly surprised by a filled, warming stew where the beans still held their shape and was full of flavour right the end.

Marc went for the classic fish and chips that looked pretty decent too.

I couldn’t resist the lure of an apple crumble with ice cream and although very good, would have preferred the apple to have a bit more texture in the dish – the apple seemingly overcooked where it was a bit too mushy for my taste, and the crumble a little bit too fine. The addition of some oats, or larger chunks would be better recommended. Still, it’s hard to beat a nice hot-cold combo.

Name: Medcalf Bar & Restaurant
Location: 40 Exmouth Market, London, Greater London EC1R 4QE