Pho House – Highbury and Islington, London

12I love Vietnamese food. It tastes fresh and healthy but really fills a craving that makes it feel like comfort food at the same time.

The fabulous thing about London is that it is such a multicultural city that we get food from all over the globe and we get it made well, by people who are from those countries. So it is no surprise that we have some great Vietnamese restaurants in London.

My friends and I found out about Pho House about 2 years ago as it right by Highbury and Islington Station and near where we all live.

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We all ordered a sharing seafood platter with the famous Vietnamese summer rolls, some deep fried soft shell crab and some calamaris. It was all delicious and we couldn’t wait to get our mains.20160705_212715IMG_20160705_23242420160705_212821

I personally think the best thing to order here is the special beef pho (I prefer this than chicken or seafood pho in general though). I have tried the bun before but I was not as impressed – but the beef pho is excellent!!

If you like it spicy like I do, then definitely ask for some chilli oil on the side.

http://phohouse.uk/

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Delhi Grill – Angel, London, UK

Dehli Grill is cozy, modern restaurant which is hidden away on Chapel Market. It is a lovely little spot which is perfect for a filling, satisfying and inexpensive Indian meal where there is no need for lining up down the road to get a table or reserving a table at least a month prior.

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The salad and sauces that came in the beginning of the meal
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The Pani Poori (one of my favourite Indian dishes)
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The mixed grill
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A paneer curry

The restaurant has a family run vibe where people are upbeat and seem passionate about their food.

We ordered some pani poori and poppadoms to start and for our mains we had a mixed grill, a curry and a rice to share. Between two people this was definitely a good amount.

The food was great, atmosphere was great, service was great and the price was great too. I cannot fault it.

http://www.delhigrill.com/

Sambal Shiok (POP UP) – Green Lanes, Harringay, London

Dear Reader, This blog post is a little late as I came here about 3 weeks ago but don’t worry, Sambal Shiok has a couple more weeks in Harringay! Their last day is on the 29th April so go go go! And try their gorgeously authentic Malaysian food!

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After about a week of finding out about Mandy Yin’s Malaysian Street Food Pop Up Sambal Shiok on Instagram and just staring at their amazing dishes that kept coming up, I just HAD to go and try it. Growing up in South East Asia – I am always looking for a good authentic restaurant that will remind me of “home”.

Emma and I went after work one cold Thursday evening and as soon as we saw the menu we knew we needed to try EVERYTHING. So we decided we definitely two starters and a main each.

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We chose the fried chicken pieces and the dumplings to start.

The fried chicken was well seasoned on it’s own but also came with a peanut sauce, which was a little more watery than I was used to, but still had all the gorgeous flavours of home.

The handmade dumplings came with a fresh gingery sambal (chilli sauce) which gave a nice refreshing taste in contrast to the pan fried dumplings.

We didn’t want any of it to end and couldn’t wait for the main to come.

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It was so hard to choose between the Rendang and the Laksa, but my thought process to make my decision was: 1) I have some Indonesian Rendang in my freezer at home and 2) I never get to have Laksa and 3) it is the signature dish at Sambal Shiok – so, I went for the Laksa.

I got the Prawn Laksa, which came with tofu, vegetables, noodles and the warm, spicy, creamy laksa soup. As soon as that soup hit my mouth, I felt like I was back in Asia. It was absolutely what I needed, especially as it was cold outside and this definitely warmed me right up.

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Definitely go before it closes if you can, but if you have missed out – don’t worry, Mandy has let me know that she is planning on opening a permanent restaurant later on this year, so stay tuned!!

 

https://www.sambalshiok.co.uk/

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/

Atalaya – Alcossebra, Spain

Karen, Jack and I had a very experimental, fusion meal in the little seaside town of Alcossebra. The setting was lovely on a quiet side street with an artsy, oceanic vibe about it with pottery in all different shades of blue for decoration.

For the beginning of the meal they brought us some complimentary bread which was served in a basket still warm with a couple of dips on the side.

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Freshly baked bread with dips

And next came the amuse bouche which had really interesting textures and flavours.

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Amuse bouche

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For the starters we shared three: The Chicken and Foie Gyozas – a Western take on the traditional Japanese gyozas, The Chilled Tomato Salad with Basil Mouse – which was freezing cold and so refreshing, and The Prawns in Thai Sauce – which were giant prawns. It was all delicious.

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Chicken and Foie Gyozas
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Chilled tomato salad with basil mouse
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Prawns in Thai sauce with prawn crackers on top
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One of the prawns

For mains I had the Pork ribs with Hoisin Sauce which just fell apart and was so tender it melted in my mouth. Jack had the fish and Karen had the fillet steak. Everything was cooked perfectly.

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Pork ribs with hoisin sauce
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Corvina with Cauliflower and Hazlenuts

 

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Duck with Pear and Foie

We ordered Irta’s Island for dessert which was an orange mouse, cocoa crumble and vanilla ice cream put together on a dish to look like an island in the middle of an ocean coloured ceramic dish.

I am usually not a fan or orange flavoured sweets – but this was absolutely stunning and crunch of the cocoa crumble was like a triple chocolate cookie crumbled over the top and it really make the dish.

After the dessert we ordered and shared, they brought out complimentary sweets for us the end our meal. There were chocolates, slices of melon and sticks of Marshmallow.

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Irta’s Land
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Complimentary dessert nibbles
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More complimentary dessert nibbles
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The colourful menu
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The menu on the night that we went
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The restaurant

 

I was quite surprised to learn that this little town had a restaurant that was so new age and experimental with their dishes. And you could really tell that a lot of time and passion had gone into all their dishes.

http://restatalaya.wixsite.com/atalaya

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g662644-d6888411-Reviews-Atalaya_Restaurante-Alcossebre_Province_of_Castellon_Valencian_Country.html

 

Restaurant Benimar – Alcossebre, Spain

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Alcossebra, which is a little seaside town in Spain, is a gorgeous place to get away from the hustle and bustle of London. We spent five nights there and we really felt relaxed afterwards. It is more of a slower pace of life and it is great for the soul.

We went for dinner at Restaurant Benimar which is known for their good steaks so we had to try them. Jack and I ordered a Chateaubriand and potato rosti between us.

It arrived on a grand silver plate with roasted vegetables on the side.

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We asked for a it medium rare because Jack likes it this way, but it came rare which I was happy about because I like it this way. It is how good steak should be eaten. It was soft and had a nice natural smokey taste from the grill.

The rosti was lovely as well and came with pieces of ham in it which gave a nice flavour to it.

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We sat outside and it was a chilled out vibe. There was live music playing from the restaurant next door and there was a breeze from the sea as the restaurant is on the seafront.

 

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g662644-d2296544-Reviews-Benimar-Alcossebre_Province_of_Castellon_Valencian_Country.html