Que Me – Stroud Green, Finsbury Park, London

One of my current favourite cuisines is Vietnamese. It is fresh, healthy, full of goodness, but also it is so full and rich in flavour. I will finally let you in on my current favourite Vietnamese restaurant – it is called Que Me on Stroud Green Road in Finsbury Park.

It is really well priced, always busy so the food is always fresh, it is absolutely delicious and it is so authentic. The owners are Vietnamese who have been eating pho since they were 3 years old and who use a family recipe – and you know I love a family run, independent restaurant where people are really passionate about their food.

I would recommend: The “Mama” Rolls, the Prawn Summer Rolls, the Vietnamese Pancake, the Lemongrass Prawn Bun, and the Special Beef Pho. I have tried all of these here and they are all amazing!

Definitely one to try!

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Summer Rolls and Mama Rolls
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Fresh Prawn Summer Rolls
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Lemongrass Prawn Bun
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Prawn Bun once I mixed in all the sauce and the salad
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Prawn Mama rolls – reminds me of Chinese Dim Sum
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Vietnamese Pancake
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Vietnamese Pancake
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Special Beef Pho
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The side dish with all the bits to add to the pho soup
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All mixed into the soup

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http://queme.co.uk/

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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/

 

Sen Nin – Upper Street, Islington, London

We decided to treat ourselves to a teppanyaki dinner, which neither of us had tried properly before. Sen Nin were doing a weekday special feast menu which consisted of 4 courses for £30 per person. There was a Miso or Tom Yum soup to start, Japanese tapas next, then the Teppanyaki course and a finished off with a dessert.

We weren’t really sure what to expect – all I knew is that we booked the chef’s table so that we could watch him to the cooking in front of us.

It was a quiet Wednesday evening in the restaurant, which I guess was why they had a deal on during the week. There were a few tables of people in the restaurant, but we had the chef’s table to ourselves.

I ordered the Tom Yum soup and Jack ordered the Miso soup. They were served in little Japanese soup bowls and were nice but nothing to shout about.

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For our Japanese tapas dishes we chose the seafood option. There was a seabass ceviche, a tuna tartare and calamari. These were presented gorgeously on a long dish so I was very impressed when it came out. Taste-wise, again, they were all nice enough. The tuna was a little stringy and didn’t really melt in my mouth the way I thought it should, the ceviche and calamari were nice though.

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Next was the Teppanyaki and out came our Chef who explained it all to us! We had ordered the scallops and the fillet steak to share with some rice and vegetables.

He was great! This is what we had been waiting for! He chatted and joked with us the whole time that he was cooking. And he wasn’t JUST cooking, he was doing tricks with all the food! At one point he let Jack get up and try out a trick as well.

It was great entertainment for the evening. He didn’t go wild and make a massive flame on the stove but he was fun nevertheless.

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The scallops and steak with the fried rice and the vegetable stir fry on the side were the best part of the meal by far. Nice flavours but I think the entertainment of it being cooked in front of us definitely made us enjoy it more.

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For dessert we got a mixture of 3 mini dessert pots and a duo of red bean and matcha ice cream and shared them all. I love matcha ice cream so that was the best bit for me (matcha is a glorious time always!) – the rest was okay but I don’t think I would have missed out if I didn’t have them.

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I wouldn’t necessarily be running back for a weekday set menu – but perhaps would come again to see what the weekend is like for the chef’s table teppanyaki as that was definitely good fun.

 

http://www.sen-nin.com/

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 Drunken Duck Inn – The Lake District – Ambleside, Cumbria, UK

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Towards the end of last summer 2015 (yep a tad bit late I know) – Jack, Flex and I went up to the Lake District to visit the South Lakes for a day to explore as I had never been before.

Our first stop was Lake Winderemere where we sat by the lake and went for a walk. Next was Ambleside where we went to The Drunken Duck in for lunch (recommended by Jack’s mum).

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It is an inn that dates back to (apparently) the Victorian era and now also has a bar and restaurant with a lush yet cozy interior and an outdoor seating area that looks over the Lake District Fells.

As you walk into the bar there is a fire place that is burning away wood to keep the place warm and as you turn into the restaurant you pass a buffet of all the freshly made quiches, stews and salads that the chefs are making in front of you.

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We sat outside as it was a lovely sunny day.

I had the Lancashire cheese, red pepper and leek quiche with a mixture of all the salads and Jack went for the pork, chili and chickpea stew with a side of polenta. The food was delicious and full of flavour.

They have their own brewery to brew their own beers which have won awards!

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We then finished off the trip at Lake Coniston where we went for a long walk and finished off with a coffee by the lake.

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It was such a gorgeous day out!

Flex thoroughly enjoyed himself too – playing fetch on the large fields, swimming in the lakes and finding lots of choice of stones to put at our feet for us to throw for him. What a lad!

I definitely recommend The South Lakes and The Drunken Duck in. Perfect for a day out or to stay for a weekend.

http://drunkenduckinn.co.uk/

When the Sun Shines in London Town

It is absolutely amazing the noticeable change of mood and vibe that London has when the sun is shining down upon it:

  1. People start smiling and stop looking solemn and depressed.
  2. People start wearing colours other than black.
  3. You hear more laughter in the air.
  4. People let each other on the tube!! Yes!! Can you believe it? No one pushed and shoved. In fact, people ushered each other on like “no you go first” and “haha no no you go first” and there was “thank you”s and “you’re welcome”s being delivered.
  5. Are they skipping? Singing? Whistling? High-fiving one another? I feel like I am in a Walt Disney cartoon scene!

Thank you sunshine (except for today’s rain- we are in London after-all)! Welcome to Summer 2016! Hello park days, hello festivals, hello picnics, hello barbeques, and goodbye winter coats and thick tights!

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S&K Salt Beef Bar – Edgware, London

For a good old traditional Jewish deli meal, I would definitely recommend S&K Salt Beef Bar in Edgware, London. Pop in a take away some succulent, moist salt beef, a few crisp latkas, a tub of fresh coleslaw,serve with English mustard and boom there you go for the perfectly traditional Jewish deli lunch. Add some pickled gerkins for an extra touch.

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http://www.bksaltbeefbar.com/