The Pig and Butcher – Islington

The first time I ever went to The Pig and Butcher was actually 2 years ago. Jack took me 3 birthdays ago and I loved it. It is good quality, well flavoured, seasonal British food. So, when Anusha was visiting London, I brought her here so she could have a taste of what good British food is.

The menu at The Pig and Butcher changes on a daily basis depending on what is fresh in, which I absolutely love about it.

We walked into the cosy, homely restaurant and were sat at our table. Our server knew the menu very well and was good at giving us advice about the dishes.  She also sounded very passionate about the food, which I love.

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We ordered some homemade sourdough bread with beef dripping and jersey butter.

It absolutely made sense that the beef dripping was literally just beef fat in oil form (why would it not be?) – but we were expecting something with a little more flavour. I think we were expecting something with a little oomph to it – Maybe resembling something a little more like a gravy (like I have tried somewhere else before).

The bread was gorgeous though, as was the butter, and with (a lot of) salt the beef dripping came alive a little more.

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Anusha with our sourdough and wine
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Pan Fried Cod Fillet
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Lamb

We shared two mains because we actually wanted to try everything on the menu but couldn’t physically eat it all! So, we had to settle with two dishes (sigh). We chose the Pan Fried Cornish Cod with Courgette, Watermelon and Watercress and the Lamb on a Bed of Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Garlic.

Luckily I ate it the right way around (which wasn’t even planned) and had the fish first which was incredibly refreshing and worked really well with the young watermelon. I thought it would be a normal, ripe watermelon when I saw it on the menu, but it was young, hard, thinly sliced watermelon, which was similar in texture and taste to a daikon (large white radish) and it added another level to the dish with the fresh crunchiness. The fish fell apart and melted on my tongue and it all married perfectly together.

I had the lamb second which naturally had a stronger flavour. The garlic, which we initially thought was an artichoke, was surprisingly delicious. It gave a smokey flavour to the dish when spread onto the lamb and mashed potato. It was a gorgeous combination.

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Dessert was so hard to choose – we wanted something to share and again we wanted most things on the menu. We ended up choosing a cheese board as we still had some wine left and this would go perfectly to end the meal.

It ended up coming with two chocolate, twisted, biscuit-type pastries so we ended up getting something sweet as well after all. The cheeses were all lovely and we managed to polish it all off.

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http://thepigandbutcher.co.uk/

 

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Aviary – Finsbury Square, London

For my birthday (earlier this year), Jack took me to Aviary in Finsbury Square (right by Moorgate Station. I had never heard about it before and it was a surprise – so I was very intrigued.

My first thoughts were that it was a very lively roof top bar! The music was blaring, everyone had cocktails in hand and there was a massive roof top terrace that overlooked Finbury Square and you could see some of the City of London in the distance.

The hostess took our coats and took us to our table which was a little quieter and left us with the menus.

The waiter then came to take our order and once we had let him know what we were having to eat, he helped us to pick a wine to go with our dinner.

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Gorgeous Oysters – two of each kind

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We started with a platter of half a dozen oysters – which came as two from native, two rock and two prestige. The waiter explained them and pointed them out for us so we knew which ones were which.

They were fresh and sweet and absolutely gorgeous! I am a massive oyster fan and they were the perfect start to the meal.

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With help from the waiter, we had both chosen the Dairy Cow Sirloin on the Bone as our main courses with fries and a salad to share. The steak was nice and tender and had a smokey flavour to it. I was very impressed as I was not expecting it to taste as nice as it did.

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Coconut Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit, Mango and White Chocolate
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We ended the meal with a Coconut and Fruit Panna Cotta which was light and refreshing and the perfect end to the meal.

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Surprising excellent food, fabulous service. It is a little pricey but definitely worth it. I would recommend going out on the roof terrace for a drink before dinner – we didn’t get the chance to do this as we didn’t know that we would not be able to take our drinks outside by the time we had finished dinner.

 

http://www.aviarylondon.com/

Meat People – Islington, London

This is a very overdue post as I went to Meat People about a year ago now. We went after work one Tuesday in Spring last year and had a lovely long dinner.

Meat People is a quaint little restaurant just off Upper Street. There aren’t many tables and it is very simply decorated.

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We started by sharing a crab salad which was a nice fresh and tasty start to the meal.

For our mains we shared a meat platter, some greens, and cauliflower cheese. It was all gorgeously flavoured. Simple food but good quality and cooked well.

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Our grilled meats platter
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The greens
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Cauliflower and cheese

For dessert we shared a gorgeous berry and pistachio posset and a cheese platter.

When they served all the dishes, they were explained to us. They seemed to know exactly where all their produce came from and what went well with what, which made the experience of dinner fabulous.

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Posset
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The cheeseboard

http://meatpeople.co.uk/

The Harwood Arms – Fulham, London, UK

My friend from school, Caroline, (who I have known since I was about 10 years old) came to visit London for work and so we decide to go for brunch. She was recommended The Harwood Arms in Fulham by a friend of hers and so we went.

It is a quiet, bright, airy pub with a friendly vibe. Great for a catch up with friends since you are able to properly hear each other without music blaring in the background.

We wanted everything on the menu, but decided to get three starters to share and then our own main each.

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The mini wood pigeon sausages with prunes which went surprisingly well together.
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The whipped chicken liver with crispy skin which was so smooth and creamy.
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The black pudding scotch egg was lovely and the yolk was still a little runny.
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Monk fish tail with white bean broth
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Roast lamb with broccoli and goat curd
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Roast duck breast with potato galette and wild mushrooms

We then ordered a main each. I went for the monk fish, Caroline the lamb and her friend the duck. It also came with a side of the creamiest, richest mashed potatoes to share.

Everything was cooked to perfection and you could tell the food was properly cared for and looked after while it was being prepared. It was well priced and the service was great. I cannot fault anything. Try it for yourself.

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Creamy mashed potatoes

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http://www.harwoodarms.com/

Madison – St Paul’s, London, UK

Madison is an absolutely awesome roof top bar in the city that has the best view of St Paul’s Cathedral. It is perfect for a post work summer sunset drink outside.

We recently went for dinner there for Kuda’s birthday. It was my first time eating there and I was intrigued to find out what the food would be like.

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Burger and chips
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Lobster roll and chips

The bar is really nice but I think the set up of the restaurant is really oddly placed in the middle of the bar with people standing around waiting to order drinks or just standing and drinking around you. I feel like maybe it should be a little more secluded as a restaurant area.

The food was really nice and it was well priced – it was nothing mind blowing – but still really nice and I could not fault any of it. I think that maybe because it was all served on individual heavy wooden chopping board it gave a bit of a posh pub grub feel to it.

Most of our group ordered the burgers which were all cooked perfectly and the patty big enough for the brioche bun so it looked great too (my pet peeve if a restaurant serves you a shrived up, dried up meat patty hidden somewhere in the massive bread bun). I ordered the lobster roll and the lobster was cooked and sauced wonderfully and then placed in a brioche roll. Their chips are perfectly cooked but I think the obvious highlight of the side dishes was the mac and cheese. It was maybe my highlight of my meal. It was intensely cheesy with a crunchy top from being baked.

Unfortunately the service was pretty awful from seating us to serving us to billing us which was surprising as the restaurant wasn’t full.

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The cutest mayonnaise jar ever.
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Lamb wrap and chips
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The stunning view. This was a Friday night on a sunny day so it was incredibly busy and there was a DJ playing music out on the roof.

The views are so stunning and I think they definitely make up for the over-priced drinks. 100% worth a visit on a sunny day!

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Still a gorgeous view as we were leaving in the lift.

http://www.madisonlondon.net/menus/

Plum and Spilt Milk – Kings Cross, London, UK

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

http://plumandspiltmilk.com/

The Thomas Cubitt – Belgravia, London, UK

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.

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The seabass with parsnip crisps
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The fillet steak with a mini scotch egg and pomegranate jus

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Pigeon

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.

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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.

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We had a really great experience all around – A must try if you are in the area.

http://thethomascubitt.co.uk/