Franco Manca – Broadgate Circle, Liverpool Street, London

I am back from Italy and all carb-ed out. I will be writing about my adventures and food finds for sure though – don’t you worry!

Another Italian restaurant post to stick to the current Italian theme – Franco Manco’s – one of my favourite pizza places in the world. Number one pizza I have had would have to be Gusta Pizza in Florence, Italy and Franco Manco rates second on my list.

They have six pizzas on their menu and they do them very very very well!!! I love a simple menu where everything on there is done perfectly!

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Their chewy sourdough bases are absolutely what makes this pizza a hit! I find the base of a pizza just as important as the fresh toppings that are added to it.

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They started off as a small little pizza bar in Brixton Market and now have a few spots around London. Definitely worth a try if you like a good pizza.

http://www.francomanca.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/

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/

Wright Brothers – Borough Market, London Bridge

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I have written about Wright Brothers in Borough Market before, but that was about 3 years ago, so it is time for a refresher.

After a scrumptious Monmouth coffee and a stroll around Borough Market, we got ourselves a table at Wright Brothers for some fresh seafood lunch. We got the fruit de mer petit platter to share between us and a bottle of white wine.

There were whelks, winkles, prawns, shrimps, oysters, clams and mussels presented on a bed of ice. It was all so fresh and reminded me so much of the seafront restaurants in Cannes in the South of France.

We chatted away and nibbled on fresh seafood for ages – it was a really relaxing vibe and the waitresses and waiters were really friendly and helpful.

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A must try if you haven’t been yet!

http://www.thewrightbrothers.co.uk/borough-market.html

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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/

Tonkotsu – Southwark, London

Keeping to the ramen theme (and the recent wintery, cold and rainy weather in London) – Another great ramen place to go is Tonkotsu. They have a couple of restaurants in London now, including one in Hackney which has over 60 different brands of whiskeys to offer and one inside Selfridges in case you are hungry during a shopping spree.

We went to the one in Southwark. We went there late on the Thursday night and it had a really calm, chilled out vibe.

They make their own noodles from scratch and they make their own broths etc, but what they are famous for making are their own brand “Eat The Bits” Chilli Oil that they serve in their restaurants.

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We started the meal with pork gyozas and fried squid which were both delicious. The gyoza had a tasty and juicy middle and I loved that the squid was not thickly battered and was instead lightly coated.20160413_211442

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For main we shared a chilli chicken ramen which was absolutely perfect to warm our bellies for the cold evening. The chili oil was delicious to pour over it as well.20160413_212524

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Lovely meal and well priced.

http://www.tonkotsu.co.uk/

Bone Daddies – Soho, London

The last time I did a blog post about Bone Daddies was a while ago. So it is time to give an updated one (with much better photos compared to the ones taken on my old phone – thank you technology evolution).

Come rain, snow, icy wind and cold English weather – this is the place I crave.

Jack and I went recently. Hidden away in a small side street in Soho, it’s got a cool, casual, light rock-type vibe, but not too in your face and I think their food, their service and their atmosphere is fantastic for a modern, big city, ramen bar.

We got a starter of wild soft shell crab tempura £9.40. If you haven’t tried this and you are a fan of seafood – well then you are most definitely missing out. I wasn’t a massive fan of the ginger sauce on the side but I dipped them into soya sauce instead and they tasted absolutely stunning. The crunch of the tempura coating on the outside and the softness of the crab on the inside is a gorgeous contrast.

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Then I got my Bone Daddies bib on ready for my ramen!IMG-20160525-WA0009

We got the Tonkotsu Ramen £11. Tonkotsu is a pork bone broth which is usually cooked for about 20 hours until the soup goes a milky white. Absolutely beautiful and it must have so much goodness in there.

Ramen is a particular type of Japanese wheat noodle that usually comes in a pork broth that has cooked for so long that it has become creamy and it is absolutely gorgeous. What makes a ramen dish exciting are all the little colourful parts of it – The spring onions, the meat that falls apart, the bamboo shoots that give a sweet crunch, the fresh beansprouts, the nori (seaweed) and those melt in your mouth, soya dipped, runny yolked eggs! ARGH GET IN MY MOUTH NOW! (Sorry I got a little carried away there).20150920_134959

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If you haven’t been to Bone Daddies yet – try and make it there for some gorgeous, feel-good, Japanese comfort food.

http://www.bonedaddies.com/peter-st-soho/