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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Giuseppe’s Place – London Bridge, London

Today I am flying to Italy for a long weekend in the Italian Lakes – In fact I have probably just landed in Milan while this post is going live – so I thought it would be appropriate to post an Italian Restaurant that I have been to recently.

Established in 1990, Giuseppe’s Ristorante Italiano (as they like to call themselves) pride themselves in being London South Bank’s oldest family run Italian restaurant (as they state in their website). In an alley way in London Bridge, there is a door way with stairs leading down into a lively, little underground, very authentic Italian restaurant. With live music playing in a corner, the restaurant completely full, the very warm welcome from the Italian waiter – we immediately felt that we had found a gem, even before we had tried the food.

The restaurant was full but they kindly let us know that if we went to the pub next door and had a drink, they would come up and let us know once a table was ready for us. So we did just that and they came and got us in no time.

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The Bruschetta and Anitpasti Platter

We were sat in a booth in the cozy, little restaurant and were served straight away. Between the five of us (Jack, Frank, Sandra, Victoria and I) we decided to share 3 starters and then get a main each.

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The Calamari

For the starters we ordered the Bruschetta, a plate of antipasti and some calamari to share. It all came how I would imagine it to come if I were in a family run restaurant in Italy. Simple, tasty Italian food. No frills and nothing fancy.

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Spaghetti Pescatore

For my main I had the Spaghetti Pescatore, which is my absolute favourite pasta dish of all time – seafood with either with linguine or spaghetti. It was honestly cooked to perfection – with loads of seafood (clams, mussels, calamari, prawns and fish) and a gorgeous tomato based sauce that coated it all.

It was a great atmosphere, great service, great food and overall a great little find!

 

http://www.giuseppesplace.com/

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/

 

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/

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/