In Hong Kong, food is very much about the experience as well as the flavour. There are hot pot dinners, cartoon character dim sum brunches, the Chinese 12 course banquet -style dinners and even outdoor barbecue spots where you have a buffet of foods available to cook.
The current new craze is the steamed seafood restaurants, which I had never been to before, where they steam an array of different dishes and then underneath there is a congee to finish off the meal which is flavoured by all the seafood, meats and vegetables that have been steaming on top. It is GLORIOUS!
My Mum, her childhood friends and I went to Steamy Seafood Cuisine in Jordan. I had never been to one of these restaurants before but a banquet of dishes came over to our table for steaming in the middle of the table in an in built steamer.
There is a section in the restaurant where you can create your own sauce to go with your food. I made mine with soya sauce, fresh chilies, garlic and coriander.
The meal began with seafood (lobster, scallops, razor clams, clams and fish) and then we moved onto some chicken, steak, vegetables and Chinese turnip cakes.
Then once all the steaming had been done, the steamer came off and in the pot underneath (instead of water boiling like a normal steamer) there was congee cooking away the whole time so it had absorbed all the flavours from the foods that had been steaming above it.
It was a really good experience and the food was really fresh. The food was so fresh in fact that they have all the aquariums with the seafood swimming around at the front of the restaurant. I definitely recommend.
If you like spicy food or if you are just a dare devil and want to try to consume mouth numbing chilies – then Sichuan food is the food for you! The Sichuan peppercorn, which is used in a lot of their dishes, is so spicy that is creates a tingling, numbing sensation on your lips! Their dishes are usually balanced out with cooling dishes as well.
My friends Jean and Chris introduced me to Bistro Manchu, a Sichuan restaurant in Soho, Hong Kong. It was so good that I took my mum there to try it as well!
Two dishes that you would recognise in your local Chinese restaurant that originate from Sichuan are Kung Pao Chicken and Hot and Sour Soup which I had when I was with Jean and Chris.
With my Mum we had dumplings that are filled with soup. You are supposed to bite off the top and then suck out the soup before you continue to eat the rest of the dumpling.
We also had a spicy noodle soup which was filled with the mouth numbing peppercorns. I felt like my lips were swollen after from eating them, but it was so tasty I couldn’t stop!
It is a quiet restaurant, hidden away on a quiet street in the super busy Soho area in Hong Kong, which serves good old traditional Sichuan cuisine.
We went on a day trip to Macau at the end of last year – My aunt, my uncle, my mum, brother and his girlfriend – and we ended up for dinner at A Lorcha, which is a famous Portuguese restaurant. It is a very casual atmosphere. The arch doorways and the dark wooden beams creating the old fashioned, hidden-European-restaurant, cave-like feel to it.
Portuguese food is very much grilled meat or fish with potatoes and rice or stews. It is very home cooking type food. We ordered an array of different dishes to share in the middle of the table (Chinese style) so we would try a bit of everything.
There was some steaks and chips, some vegetables, some seafood dishes and some famous Portuguese salt cod croquettes. There was no “wow” factor but it was a tasty banquette of home-cooking-type flavours and great fuel after a day of walking around the casinos and exploring the old town.
Jack and I recently went to Plum and Spilt Milk just by King Cross Station (before he went gallivanting around France following the Euro Cup). Downstairs there is a cocktail bar with a bar snack menu and upstairs is the dining room, which is where we sat.
We ordered the dressed Portland crab, crushed avocado & sourdough croutons to share between us as a starter. This was such a fresh tasting dish and a perfect, light way to start the meal.
For mains I had a grilled lamb chop and braised lamb shoulder (which fell apart when I put my fork into it – gorgeous!) on a bed of barley and lentils (which was little creamy risotto underneath) and Jack had the sirloin with a peppercorn sauce. We shared some minted jersey royals and some heritage carrots and coriander between us as well.
The food was really good quality and so delicious but we ordered a little too much and it was surprisingly filling.
A quiet, quaint little spot with great quality food and excellent cocktails – In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the busy King Cross area.
Frank’s Canteen in Highbury has such a lovely neighbourhood vibe to it. You walk into a buzzing restaurant with tables filled with young families and groups of friends all chatting away excitedly with one another. It is such a great vibe in there!
Sandra had a kedgeree, which I had never seen or tried before. It was really nice and rich in flavours and I found out that this is a very classic British breakfast dish that comes from the British colonial days.
Jack and I had poached eggs on sourdough – Jack’s with a side of bacon and mine with a side of smoked salmon. The eggs were done properly and were drizzled with a gorgeous basil/pesto-type oil.
The Thomas Cubitt, based in between Sloane Square and Victoria Stations, is named after the famous Belgravia Architect and is one of the four Cubitt House Group’s locally run gastro pubs which are famous of their seasonal dining room menus using and their vibrant pub atmosphere.
We had heard great things and as we were working in the area we decided to try it out!
It was a Thursday evening and the pub downstairs was packed with people chatting away excitedly to friends and colleagues. We walked through and went upstairs into the dining room where we were seated at our table.
The dining room was dimly lit and cozy. The menu had an emphasis on British produce and is it ever changing based on what is in season. Our waiter was fabulous. He talked us through the menu with a sense of passion (which I personally love in a restaurant) and he even recommended a wine for us that would go well with all of our dishes.
I ordered the pan fried seabass, Jack had the steak and Sandra adventurously ordered the pigeon and we shared some vegetables and fries between us.
The meat and fish were perfectly cooked and they each came with their own quirkiness which made the dish exciting and definitely not your usual boring-bog-standard-pub-grub.
We ended the meal with a cheese board to share which we were talked through by our waiter and we nibbled on this as we finished the rest of our wine.
We had a really great experience all around – A must try if you are in the area.
It might look like a take out kebab shop as you pass from the outside, but as you walk in you will see all the fresh meat skewers and the long hot coal grill with its smokey, mouthwatering and incredibly inviting smell drawing you in. At the back there is a large restaurant seating area.
Mangal Ocakbasi is a Turkish grill house based in Dalston that Jack, his mum Sandra and I discovered one evening.
We ordered a plate of mixed dips to share as a starter – which came with a basket full of warm Turkish bread.
For our main we ordered a large mixed grill plate to share which came with a large plate of salad. The spices on the meat enhance the flavour and are not overbearing and there is a barbeque like taste to it. We were actually surprised at how delicious it all tasted.
We ended the meal with some sweet baklava and a Turkish tea – which was nice to have a little bite of sweetness after all the spiced meats.