Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dinner @ Arirang (Korean)

Location: London, Oxford Street
Website: n/a 

I had a conversation with a friend the other day about Korean cuisines and how unpopular it is nowadays. What amazes me is that not a lot of people know about the Korean culture let alone their culinary traditions. For me, Korean food is on my top 10 and I don't think I can ever get bored of it. Their simple ingredients and flavours with the added heat leaves you wanting more and more. 

Arriang serves simple and well executed Korean dishes in a small intimate environment, hidden away in the narrow busy road just off from busy Oxford Street.  Staff are friendly, efficient and welcoming and food is all you can want for a small Korean establishment. 

To start, I had a very fiery pickled cabbage jelly with thinly sliced cucumber and a generous amount of chillies and spring onions. Fiery is probably an understatement because I was left with a very painful heat in my mouth, which I personally like but it was a bit too overwhelming. The jelly was to perfection, nice and soft with lots of flavour. I also added an extra dish of Kimchi (chilli pickled cabbage), which was dry and packed with far too much chillies. My main was the traditional Korean signiture dish  Bibimbap. Bibimbap is served in a hot stone bowl with white rice toped with sauteed and seasoned vegetables and gocujan (chilli pepper paste). A raw egg or in some cases a fried egg and minced seasoned raw beef lays on top of the rice and is then mixed together. The heat of the stone bowl slowly cooks the raw mince beef. This is my favourite Korean dish as I always order it in any Korean restaurant I go to. I love the warmth it brings, perfect for winter meals. This was a great dish, but had minor faults such as: vegetables was not seasoned enough and the portion of mince beef was a little on the smaller side. 

After a long day of shopping on a cold winters day, I recommend popping in to Arirang for a warm up meal and friendly service. Note: this restaurant is very small, so I don't recommend going with a big group!

Arirang on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Dinner @ Bread Street Kitchen By Gordon Ramsay (British)

Location: London, St Pauls/Bank

This is my third Gordon Ramsay restaurant that I have been to and it has been on my wish list for as long as I can remember. I booked a table as soon as I heard that they were taking reservations and I had to wait a gruelling 3 weeks. This couldn't come at a better time as I recently been promoted at work, so this was a celebratory meal with my boyfriend, who by the way, is also a big foodie. 

Bread Street Kitchen offers a informal and relaxing approach to dinning, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner until late at night. As we walked in for our 7:30pm reservation, we were greeted with a very warm welcome by the maitree'd and was seated straight away. As the menu is split in to serveral sections; the first being the 'Raw Bar', 'The Hot Kitchen' and 'Wood Stone'. For my starter, I opted for the raw bar and choose the best dish of the night - Thinly sliced lancashire beef, barigoule vegetables and quails eggs. The beef was so tender, so flavoursome, and so perfectly season that I was in the state of shock. It was an aphrodisiac, it was orgasmic.. it was just wow. And thats all I have to say.

The suckling pig with spiced apple sauce was a bit of a disappointment as the portions, in my opinion, was far too much. To me, it was way too heavy for my stomach and in the end, I was feeling rather sickly. However, it was cooked to perfection as the meat was just so, so moist.

The crunchiest and probably the most fattening dish of the meal, but it was perfection in every possibly way. The hand-cut chip was crispy with a nice and fluffy centre, just the way I like it.

Shock! horror! I almost opted out from ordering dessert as my stomach was telling me that it couldn't store any more food, but I solider on (as I always do) and ordered the banana cake with vanilla ice-cream.  The banana cake was too dry in texture and if it wasn't for the lovely scope of sweet vanilla ice-cream, then I probably wouldn't have finished it. I was a little dissapointed as banana cake is one of my favourite cakes of all time.

So, was the hype needed? Well, yes and no. Yes, because it is owned by Gordon Ramsay and No, because the food does not match up with the service. The surroundings are beautiful as I was seated next the window over looking St Paul's Cathedral, and the service was everything that I needed on a night out, friendly and efficient. Would I go back? it'll be too soon if I did.

Bread Street Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Dinner @ Maze Grill By Gordon Ramsay (British)

Location: London, Bond Street 

Some call him the monet of the culinary world, some call him an high tempured chef and you may even cast him as a 'celebrity' chef. Whatever it is, Gordon Ramsay will always be a chef that is known for his excellent executions of the most british of all british food and among other cuisines. And we all know he has a bit of a temper (big fan of Hells Kitchen). Maze Grill was my first time visiting a Gordon Ramsay establishment, although a little intermediated at first (as this was my first 'fine dinning' experience) it was a great experience that I will cherish in my culinary journey. 

Jumping straight to the mains, I opted for the fillet steak (rare) as it is always the cut I go for. To say it was orgasmic would be an understatement, wow... just wow! It is the softness and most tender fillet steak that I have ever had. A little strong on the seasoning, which made me opt out from using any sort of sauce or gravy. but the rich natural flavours was all I needed from this piece of meet. Accompanied by a side dish of honey glazed & parsley carrots and creamy mash potatoes, everything married together perfectly. The presentation of the steak was the highlight of the evening. The board that the steak was presented on was so beautiful as well as the placement of the cutleries (especially the knife). They say you eat with your eyes... you certainly do on this occasion. 

A great evening filled with beautifully cooked meat, cute presented side dishes and attentive staff. Would I go back to Gordon Ramsay's Maze Grill? Only if I am allowed to sit at the Chef's Table, then yes! 

Maze Grill on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Lunch @ Sushi Ga Ga (Japanese)

Location: London, China Town

You all probably already gathered that I am forever in love with all things Sushi. Seriously, this addiction is getting pretty serious..I am an addict and I really can't help it. Granted, Sushi Ga Ga isn't on my list of favourite Japanese restaurant, Toku will always remain a favourite of mine. However, I am open to try out variety of Japanese restaurants. Sushi Ga Ga is a great little place for a quick lunch time snack or a evening meal.

Chicken gyoza (Japanese dumplings), although a little soft, it had the flavours to gear up your taste buds for your main. Carried through with a hint of soy sauce makes this dish complete.   The chicken was cooked perfectly and the seasoning had a great balance of flavour. (Below) A selection of sushi is always great to share, especially if you have 2 or more parties with you. So in this case, it was no different. The tapas style of eating has always been a favourite of mine, just like the family style concept that I have lived by.. sharing is caring after all. The platter consist of a mixture of salmon & avocado rolls, grilled teriyaki eel rolls, crispy soft shell crab rolls. tempura prawn roll and spicy tuna roll. This dish was fit for a queen.

A relevantly small restaurant  in bustling China Town, Sushi Ga Ga serves up a good variety of sushi. Whether you are a raw fish enthusiast or prefer the cooked stuff, this restaurant is geared to all audiences whatever your specifications. You certainly won't be short of items to choose from. I highly recommend ordering a variety to share.. its the best way of enjoying the sushi experience. In my opinion, no sushi experience is complete without trying out their raw fish dishes. Would I go back to Sushi Ga Ga? Yes!

Sushi Ga Ga on Urbanspoon
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