Bird of Smithfield – Farringdon EC1A

Classy food in a Georgian townhouse, this restaurant is spread over several interestingly decorated floors

On our visit this evening we chose from this menu here. For starters, I had baked heritage beetroots @ £8.00 – very reasonably priced and outstandingly tasty. Just look at those beautiful big chunks of fresh celeriac with a good dollop of goat’s curd – a great mix of flavours along with the beetroot and balsamic and sorrel leaves:

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Baked heritage beetroots starter with goat’s curd, balsamic, celeriac, radish, sorrel

Another starter that went down very well was this pan fried foie gras @ £12.50:

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Pan fried foie gras with shaved turnip, kibbled onion, roasted duck consommé

 

Service was very slow and we had a long wait (and apologies from the waitresses) for food.

For main course, I had this wild Cornish turbot (so good, it was worth the wait!), served with fresh pasta, clams and butter:

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Wild Cornish turbot with hand-rolled farfelle, clams, celery, Swiss chard, shellfish butter

 

Creatively presented, this caramelised duck breast with a pie top looks almost too good to eat. Almost.

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Caramelised duck breast with crushed pumpkin, pickled red cabbage, spiced honey and a braised leg pie @ £23.00

 

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Bird of Smithfield restaurant – in a Georgian townhouse opposite Smithfield meat market in Clerkenwell, London

 

The verdict: Stunningly presented food that’s outstandingly good. The homeliness of the townhouse was very appealing, and the interior is really tastefully designed and comfortable. Service wasn’t great but I’ll definitely be back to try more of this menu.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
– Type: British, international
– Address: 26 Smithfield St, Clerkenwell, London
– Postcode: EC1A 9L
– Nearest station: Farringdon, Barbican
– Website + menus: Bird of Smithfield website
– Bird of Smithfield photos: Bird of Smithfield photos on flickr
– Location: Bird of Smithfield map

Bird Of Smithfield Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yauatcha City – Broadgate Circle

Casual dining dim sum teahouse by Hakkasan Group at Broadgate Circle

We chose a 9-course tasting menu comprising a variety of dim sum, rolls, macaroons and a cocktail as something a bit different for my parents to try, while they’re in town this weekend. Chopstick challenges aside, it was a  novel experience and good value @ £29.00 a head.

 

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From a 9-course tasting menu

– top left: dim sum – prawn shui mai with chicken and garden dumpling
– top right: prawn and beancurd cheung fun (rice noodle roll)
– bottom left: baked venison puff and mushroom spring roll
– bottom right: macaroons

 

The restaurant space is unusual in that it’s long, narrow and circular. Following the corridor along to the toilets (with lovely Aesop hand wash) has the feel of being at an airport or a mall – and a bit soulless.

 

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In the round – Yauatcha at Broadgate Circle

 

We began with a refreshing cherry chaser cocktail along with the first course of dim sum and rolls, served with soy sauce, and two chilli dipping sauces:

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Dim sum – crystal dumpling wrap with pumpkin and pine nut + har gau (traditional dumpling); baked venison puff and mushroom spring roll

The vension puff and mushroom spring roll were both in light, flaky pastry with strong flavours – perfect for a small portion, absolutely gorgeous.

 

Moving on to the next course, we had prawn shui mai with chicken and a garden dumpling, accompanied by Picpoul de Pinet dry white wine @ £30 a bottle.

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Dim sum – prawn shui mai with chicken and garden dumpling

 

This prawn and beancurd cheung fun (rice noodle roll) was a favourite of mine, as it was similar to kakiage (fried onions and veggies in Japanese dishes).

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Prawn and beancurd cheung fun

 

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Sticky rice in lotus leaf

 

Inside this steamed lotus leaf parcel, was a portion of sticky rice with a gooey chicken and dried shrimp middle.

And finally – eight different flavoured macaroons.

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Macaroon selection

 

I’m no macaroon connoisseur and prefer savoury/salty food over desserts/sweet stuff. But these were pretty good. The coconut one (top right) was the least popular (sweet, dessicated coconut) while I enjoyed the peanut butter macaroon the most (surprise).

 

The verdict: Novel experience – you get to taste a good variety of Asian-inspired food items. Service was very relaxed, informal and attentive (bordering on overly attentive) throughout. Our total bill for four came to £193.67 which seemed very good value.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Chinese, Dim Sum, Asian
– Address: Broadgate Circle, London
– Postcode: EC2M 2QS
– Nearest station: Liverpool Street
– Website + menus: Yauatcha website
– Photos on flickr: Yauatcha City images
– Location: Yauatcha City map

 

Yauatcha Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Honest Burgers – Spitalfields

Our team night out from work this evening ended at Honest Burgers, Spitalfields.

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Honest burger at Honest Burgers Spitalfields

 

Good burgers made from prime beef are all the rage and they’re not hard to find. I do wonder how all the big burger chains manage to differentiate themselves. But somehow they seem to.

My honest burger @ £10.50 made from dry aged beef packed with red onion relish, smoked bacon, mature cheddar, pickled cucumber (gherkin) and lettuce was meaty, juicy, tasty and *amazing*. Pleasingly, the bread bun was smaller than usual so it wasn’t as over-facing.

It’s the onion rings that really stand out though – they remind me more of my homemade onion bhajis than regular onion rings, in that the batter contains fennel seeds providing a subtle aniseed flavour.

I had also ordered a portion of apple, beetroot and red cabbage coleslaw @ £3.00. It sounded delicious but it never arrived at the table. Not even when I chased it with the server. Which was probably a good thing, as I was full.

 

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Spitalfields restaurant – wooden interior

 

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Aha, mystery of the missing coleslaw solved…. Found spilt on the stairs on a trip to the loo (definitely don’t want it now…Just being ‘honest’)

 

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Honest menu

 

The verdict: Good honest burger. Just what it says on the tin.

 

Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Burgers
– Address: 12 Widegate St, London
– Postcode: E1 7HP
– Nearest station: Liverpool Street Station
– Website + menus: Honest Burgers website
– Photos on flickr: Honest Burgers images
– Map: Honest Burgers Spitalfields

 

Honest Burgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen – City

Fine dining at One New Change shopping centre by St Paul’s Cathedral

One New Change is worth visiting for its fabulous roof terrace view of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London skyline. It’s free admission to enjoy this viewing platform and there’s a variety of drinking and/or dining experiences to choose from including Madison’s (with outdoor seating on the roof terrace) and – if it’s fine dining you’re after – Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen inside the mall.

 

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View of St. Paul’s Cathedral from One New Change roof terrace

 

Stepping into Bread Street Kitchen on a Monday evening earlier this month, I was immediately greeted and seated by very professional, efficient waiting staff. The restaurant was mostly empty (although it filled out later) as I was led through the vast warehouse-style interior with its tiled walls and long leather cushioned benches and huge mirrors.

We ordered a bottle of dry white wine, a Ribeiro Santo Branco from Portugal’s Dão region @ £25.00 (light floral aromas, and easy to drink) and enjoyed some fresh, slightly salty bread with a cheesy crust (cover charge @ £2.00 per head) while reading the menu.

 

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Spacious warehouse style interior with tiled walls and an industrial feel

 

I ordered a side salad as a starter of marinated beetroot, feta and toasted hazelnuts @ £4.00 while H had potted salt beef brisket with grain mustard, picalilli and buckwheat crackers @ £9.50. We were excited by both, and thoroughly enjoyed our first course.

 

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Marinated beetroot, feta + toasted hazelnut salad – side portion

 

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Potted salt beef brisket with mustard, piccalilli + crackers

For main course I was tempted by the pork belly but I’m not eating meat at the mo, so ordered a fillet of sea bream, broccoli and romesco sauce (a gorgeous nut and pepper sauce although – overall – this plate was slightly dry) @ £18.00 along with a side of macaroni cheese with garlic roasted crumbs @ £5.50 (the cheesy sauce was quite creamy and so good!).

H had slow-roasted Cumbrian saddleback pork belly and spiced apple sauce @ £17.00 with a side of mashed potato @ £4.00. Check out the crispy crackling in the photo below (I *will* go back and try the pork next time).

 

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Fillet of sea bream, brocolli + romesco (nut and red pepper) sauce

 

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Macaroni cheese with garlic roasted crumbs

 

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Slow-roasted pork belly + spiced apple sauce

 

Too full for dessert, we relaxed over a digestif: an amaretto for H @ £7.00 and a Remy Martin coeur de cognac for me @ £15.00.

The verdict: Excellent service; high quality food that excites (and won’t break the bank), in a relaxing, very comfortable, open space. I plan to eat here again. Soon.

 

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: British, international
~ Address: 10 Bread Street at One New Change, London
~ Postcode: EC4M 9AJ
~ Nearest station: St. Paul’s, Mansion House, Bank
~ Website + menus: Bread Street Kitchen website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Bread Street Kitchen
~ Location: Bread Street Kitchen map

 

Bread Street Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taberna do Mercado – Spitalfields

Portuguese tapas in East London

C and I went to Taberna do Mercado for a light lunch during our lunch break (so had limited time). Arriving at the entrance in Old Spitalfields Market, we walked through the inviting covered terrace area and into the main restaurant, which is light and appealingly simple: lots of wood, not a table cloth in sight (I have an irrational dislike of table cloths), low-hanging lights and sturdy shelving displaying Portuguese products like bottles of oil, tinned fish, and wines, etc.

 

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Welcome to Taberna do Mercado – canopy extension

 

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Informal dining space inside Taberna do Mercado
 

We ordered four dishes and although our waitress told us to order more (that four wouldn’t be enough, and suggested another small plate, perhaps some protein) we decided to stick with just four, with the option of ordering another later if needed.

All four dishes were beautifully presented and were more than enough for lunch: a big bowl of green bean fritters @ £5.00, Terrincho Velho mature cheese made from sheep’s milk with toasted sourdough @ £8.00, ‘tinned cod’ in a red pepper paste served in a tin with wafer-thin pickled cauliflower and sourdough @ £8.00 and a spicy chicory salad special with almonds @ £6.00. All really, really tasty and unique.

 

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Green bean fritters @ £5.00

 

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Terrincho velho mature cheese – from sheep’s milk, with toasted sourdough @ £8.00

 

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‘Tinned cod’ – Cod with fermented red pepper paste served in a tin with toasted sourdough and pickled cauliflower @ £6.00

 

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Chicory salad special – spicy, with almonds @ £6.00

 

There’s an excellent selection of Portuguese wines – I had a glass of Quinta do Ameal vinho verde (dry white wine) @ £6.00.

 

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Main restaurant area at Taberna do Mercado

 

The verdict: Excellent and affordable food, in an informal and appealing space. Service was slightly off (in that our waitress told us – rather than suggested – to order more, without checking how much we wanted to eat for lunch). I’ll go back when I’m not restricted on time, as this is the kind of place to eat shared food leisurely and linger.

 

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Portuguese
~ Address: 107b Commercial Street, Old Spitalfields Market, London
~ Postcode: E1 6BG
~ Nearest station: Liverpool Street, Shoreditch High Street, Aldgate East
~ Website + menus: Taberna do Mercado website
~ Photos on flickr: Taberna do Mercado food photos
~ Location: Taberna do Mercado map

 

Taberna do Mercado Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Italian at the Emperor – Aldgate

LardButty’s fave all-weather pub-restaurant in the City 2014

No matter the weather, it’s always the season for fine stone-baked pizza, a glass of cold dry white wine and a friendly face at The Emperor pub, Aldgate.


Come and share in some of LardButty’s visits here throughout 2014:
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Enjoying the sunshine on the Emperor’s terrace in summer


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Stone baked pizzas – four seasons (ham + mushroom) @ £8.95, Corrado (parma ham, rocket, tomato) @ £9.95 with chilled ciders and pinot grigio



Italian produce – inside The Emperor



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Corrado pizza – parma ham, rocket + tomato @ £9.95


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Pepperoni pizza – spicy salami, tomoato + mozzarella @ £8.95


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Penne porcini @ £9.95 – a winter warmer made from handpicked wild mushrooms


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Penne arrabiata – chilli tomato pasta @ £8.95


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Mushroom gnocchi


It’s not just the food that’s great here, the service is genuinely hospitable too. It’s like stepping out of the City and into a little corner of Italy.


Menus – click to enlarge

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Pizza menu


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Sandwiches + sides menu


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Main menu


Here’s to whiling away four seasons at The Emperor in 2015…


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Italian
~ Address: 35 Vine Street, City, London
~ Postcode: EC3N 2PX
~ Nearest station: Aldgate (tube) or Tower Gateway (DLR)
~ Photos on flickr: images of The Emperor
~ Location: The Emperor map



Emperor on Urbanspoon

itsu Aldgate

itsu shops are opening a new branch tomorrow on Aldgate High Street (on the corner of Minories). And today, they’re giving away free lunches!


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Queue for free food at itsu Aldgate shop


This not-to-be-missed offer inevitably sucked me in. And if you’re wondering, there was no catch.


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itsu lunch box – salmon sushi (nigiri style), salmon + avocado maki, ginger drink + a bag of Metcalfe’s skinny corn’ers


itsu’s lunch box comprised three salmon nigiri, four salmon and avocado maki, a bag of Metcalfe’s skinny corn’ers and a bottle of bitter ginger detox (it wasn’t overly enjoyable to the taste buds but it certainly felt like it was good for you, giving you a good clean!). For that reason, I’d drink it again. And for free, I’m not complaining.

Since itsu shops sprang up on what seems like every high street across London, I haven’t been a customer. Although I was a regular of the itsu restaurant on Wardour Street, Soho back in the early 2000s when conveyor belt sushi was still a novelty – my particular favourites were beef carpaccio and seared tuna (both gold plates). See this sample restaurant menu (currently, restaurant locations are only in Chelsea and Notting Hill).

Having been reminded today of itsu’s good, honest lunch food I can see this branch becoming a regular of mine. So, thanks for the freebie (good tactic).

All food is served fresh on the day and starts being discounted in the afternoon: there’s a 15% discount for students from 15:00, and a ‘half price sale’ takes place half an hour before closing (that’s from 19:30 at the Aldgate branch).


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
~ Type: International, Japanese-style, healthy, low-carb
~ Address: 77 Aldgate High Street, London
~ Postcode: EC3N 1BD
~ Nearest station: Aldgate
~ Website: Itsu website
~ Itsu restaurants (menu): sample menu
~ Photos on flickr: images of itsu food
~ facebook page: itsu on fb
~ Location: itsu Aldgate map


RELATED LINKS
City dining:
~ Beigel Bake – bagels on Brick Lane
~ Byron – proper burgers, everywhere
~ Japanese Canteen – around the City
~ Mama Thai – Indian + Thai take-away curries + noodles
~ Pho – Vietnamese
~ Pizza Union – artisan pizza
~ Poppies – fab fish + chips, East End


Itsu on Urbanspoon