Dining at Mamounia

Jun 23, 15 Dining at Mamounia

Posted by in All

The first time I ever had hummus was here in London, of all places, and I have to say I was not overwhelmed. As a matter of fact, it took me a few tries before I came round to the delights of Middle Eastern food. However, I’ve come to love Middle Eastern cuisine and am always looking for good restaurants. There are loads of them in London but it’s often hard to find really good ones. I’ve found a good, reasonably priced one though, in of all places, Knightsbridge.  Mamounia specializes in Lebanese and Morrocan cuisine as well as featuring wines from both countries. They’re also known for their mezze and shisha terrace. Don’t let the shisha terrace in front put you off or the rather exotic Middle Eastern decor. The food is seriously good. The menu is not extensively long but features many of the traditional dishes of the region, including shish kebabs, tagines, couscous and grilled and charcoal cooked meats. I ordered the grilled chicken and it was one of the juiciest and flavourful grilled chickens I’ve had in a long time. My dining companion ordered the lamb shish which was expertly seasoned and so good. It was a bit of a pity that we ordered the mezze beforehand, even though it was delicious, as we barely had room to finish our mains. I also had the kibbeh which is one of my favourite starters and this one was a winner. I almost ordered another plate but luckily decided against it. The wine list is features wines from Lebanon and Morrocco. We had Chateau Ksara with dinner, two of the better red wines from the region. You know what they say, wine is made to go with the food of the region and this wine from Lebanon certainly did the job. I would not normally think that Knightsbridge would have good authentic Middle Eastern cuisine but Mamounia is good and the next time I’m feeling peckish in that part of town, I...

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A New Rooftop Terrace in Piccadilly at Gaucho

May 15, 15 A New Rooftop Terrace in Piccadilly at Gaucho

Posted by in All

The sun is now making regular appearances in the skies over London which means it’s time to take advantage and start dining and drinking al fresco. Gaucho in Piccadilly have recently renovated a section of their second floor and now have a rooftop terrace. The terrace is intimate and cosy with a fireplace at one end and a retractable roof. The evening I visited, it  was a good thing they had that roof as it was a slightly drizzly evening. Luckily, the roof opens and closes at the press of a button so once it stopped raining, they quickly opened it up again. The terrace is open to the public but you can also reserve it for private dining or small parties. They offer their full list of their Argentine inspired cocktails and also have bar snacks available. I quite enjoyed the terrace and it’s a cosy little spot to slip away to in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Busting a gut at Joe’s Southern Kitchen

Apr 30, 15 Busting a gut at Joe’s Southern Kitchen

Posted by in All

If you’re slightly worried about your cholesterol intake or trying to lose a few pounds, don’t even THINK about visiting Joe’s Southern Kitchen. It’s true Southern cooking, tasty and totally unhealthy but with food this good, who cares? Live a little, as long as you don’t make a habit of going every night, you’ll be fine. I used to live in Washington, DC which although it’s the capital of America, is below the Mason-Dixon Line which means it’s technically in the South. And that means there are plenty of chicken joints, corn bread and collard greens within driving distance. Joe’s has to be the closest I’ve come so far to good ol’ Southern cooking – unpretentious, filling and delicious. This is Joe’s second location, the first being in Covent Garden, opened in 2013. They’re inspired by the American South and the fun, laid back atmosphere that you’ll find in any BBQ joint or Chicken & Waffle house. As a matter of fact, they have Chicken and Waffles on the menu which were divine. I especially liked the bourbon infused maple syrup. The new menu at Joe’s Kentish Town will feature many of the favourites from the original venue, but the main focus will be the venue’s signature new recipe, Sweet Tea Brined Fried Chicken with Lemon Salt & Tabasco Honey. Most of the food is designed to be served “family-style” which I have no problem with whatsoever. The menu also features their famous Beef Short Rib and other Southern favourites like Devilled Eggs, Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Gooey Corn Spoon Bread. Downstairs, they have new cocktail bar called the Jailbird where they’ll be serving up Southern cocktails with a twist featuring  innovative concoctions alongside original takes on the Southern classic Julep and Sazerac. I had both of Joe’s versions of those cocktails and they were delicious. They even made me a Mint Julep in a proper silver cup with lots of crushed ice and fresh mint. I really enjoyed eating at Joe’s and if you’re hankering for some good ol’...

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World Malbec Day with Guacho

Apr 08, 15 World Malbec Day with Guacho

Posted by in All, Argentina

World Malbec Day is coming up, it’s April 17th in case you forgot to save the date. To mark the day, Argentine restaurant Gaucho is launching a week of special Malbec tastings at various Gauchos around London. I was invited to a sneak preview of the tastings with Mr Malbec, himself, Gaucho’s Director of Wine, Phil Crozier. The tasting was held at the Gaucho Piccadilly restaurant location, very handy locale, I love going there. Phil explained that our tasting would cover the spectrum of Argentine malbec from north to south and east to west. Phil started by giving us a bit of history about the grape. According to legend, malbec arrived on April 17th with a French missionary in the 1600’s. For many years it was known as the ‘French grape’ by the Italian immigrants who mainly cultivated the vines in Argentina. Malbec has had its ups and downs in Argentina but since the 1980’s 15 billion dollars has been inveseted in the industry and today, there are over 50,000 hectares in production. The tastings over the 7 days starts with The Pioneers, the winemakers who brought malbec to worldwide attention. We tasted the Mandala 2013 from one of the true pioneers of Argentine wine, Susanna Balboa. A beautiful wine, inky purple blue in colour, smooth and round but not too heavy. Lucky us, Phil brought out a board of lomita steak to match. Excellent with the steak, cutting through the fattiness of the melt in your mouth meat…. The New Generation was represented by Sebastian Zuccardi and his Poligonos, an unoaked wine made from old vines. A powerful, concentrated wine but full of fruit and very clean. The vines are in the Uco Valley where some the oldest vines in Argentina can be found. Phil developed this wine with Seb for the Gaucho wine list. As a matter of fact, 5 of the 7 wines we were tasting were developed by Phil with the winemakers. The other themed tastings will feature, ‘Old Vine...

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Good ol’ BBQ in Marylebone

Jan 15, 15 Good ol’ BBQ in Marylebone

Posted by in London

There are some things in  London that are hard to come by. One of those things is good ol’ American BBQ. Now, I’m not from any of the Southern states of the US but I do like a good BBQ so I was interested to see how a new BBQ place in Marylebone, of all places, would play out. Turns out, it’s pretty darn good. The Joint actually started out in much less posher surroundings down in Brixton Village before making the move north of the river. It was one of the first to offer American style BBQ on the pop-up scene. Founders Dan Fiteni and Warren Dean use only quality ingredients that are locally sourced. And they believe in slow cooking everything in their own marinades. You can definitely see the 16 hours of  slow cooking in the meat that falls off the ribs and the chicken wings that are to die for, crispy crunchy on the outside, covered in sticky BBQ sauce but at the same time so moist and tender. They have to be some of the best chicken wings I’ve had in awhile. I wish they did them Buffalo-style. The rest of the menu is pretty simple,sticking to pulled pork on homemade buns or in a wrap. The sides are great, big and crunchy onion rings, corn on the cob ( though I wish they offered butter with the corn) and crunchy slaw that isn’t drowning in mayo – the only thing that’s missing are country baked beans but in this country, you lot have them for breakfast! They also offered french fries as a side but I had another order of wings instead (yes, they are THAT good). The drinks menu is short but sweet and not too expensive. £6.50 for a strong and substantial cocktail in Marylebone – sign me up! I tried the Figgy Ol’Fashioned, it was a bit on the sweet side but still good and the Thyme Collins certainly did wash down the BBQ sauce....

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