Japanese food at Nobu review

Nobu (Berkeley, London) has always been one place that I wanted to visit, the epitome of Japanese food, but the price was always off putting.  So here was my chance as part of our quarterly girls dinner club at fancy restaurants.  Treating ourselves every now and again.

I found the menu overwhelming and thought I’d probably order too much individually so I wanted to opt for some sort of set menu or tasting menu.  Now this was what was time consuming.  With a table of six, asking about the difference between the £85 and £110 omakase multi-course menus, not to mention the vegetarian option and wagyu beef options too.

The waiter then had to explain the differences a few times as nothing was written down as well as checking if we could switch one dessert from one menu to the other.  If the menus had been written down, we would’ve spent less time trying to remember and asking questions.

In the end, three of us opted for the £85, one for the vegetarian and myself and one other opting for the £110 option (lobster and venison swayed me!). It was also hard to try and remember what dishes I had without a menu to refer to, so I am trying my best!

Below you can see images of the courses, including: sashimi with a lobster and ponzu gel, salmon and lobster sashimi salad, sushi with soft shell crab, lobster with pak choi, venison with garlic sauce and a chocolate fondant and green tea ice cream bento box.

Sashimi starter Nobu
Salmon salad Nobu

Sushi at Nobu

Lobster at Nobu

Venison at Nobu

Chocolate fondant and green tea ice cream at Nobu

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience and it was great to have a table that perfectly fit six people without having to shout across to each other.  I did find that there were often far too many waiting staff crowding round and behind our table and it felt claustrophobic at times and sometimes the staff repeated what the dishes were as they didn’t realise someone already explained it.

The decor was nice and there was background music which didn’t drown your conversations.  There were a mixture of clientele including a family with children (lucky them!), girlfriends out together, celebrations and dates.  Overall if I didn’t find the menu too overwhelming, I’d be happy to return!

Truffles & Prosecco at Trufflesecco review

Two words… truffles, prosecco = Trufflesecco, in Camden very near to Morning Crescent tube station.  Again, I managed to get here just before the Time Out rush as a review was published that same day.

There are only two proseccos you can order by the glass, everything else is by the bottle and since I was with a vegan, we opted for Thomson & Scott Skinny Prosecco, which may not have been the cheapest but has far less sugar, organic and vegan.  Some people might feel a bit dubious about how it may taste, but it was honestly delightful!  Sometimes prosecco can be sweet but this was lovely and I’m tempted to order some for myself!

Thomson and Scott Skinny Prosecco
Now onto the truffle aspect. You can smell this once you walk in and you know you’re in the right place.  So, when visiting with a vegan, the options are very limited. There’s truffle popcorn (which was amazing) or the very small mixed antipasto, but nothing on the main menu was suitable, which was a shame.  However, if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan, then there are a some nice choices available.  

I opted for the truffle mac and cheese, which was lovely and homely but if I were to visit again, I’d probably go for the burrata with fresh truffle or the chef’s signature dish of Trufflesecco pasta, pasta with truffle shavings. You can never go wrong with cheese and truffles!

Trufflesecco mac and cheese
My friend managed to book for two on the day, it is a very small venue and it was quiet on a Tuesday evening, but it might be different on other days.

Overall, it was a tasty treat and great for a small catch up and a mini celebration.

Grilled chicken, cavolo nero and persimmon mash

I love a nice clean, healthy meal and tend to eat pretty healthily most of the time but without being too obsessed over it.

There was a really good deal on persimmons in my local shop, so I decided to buy some and see what recipes I could do with them. Persimmon “salsa” was one I can across but I would rather call it mash as it wasn’t really salsa texture.  I’d never had it with a savoury meal before so thought I’d try it out.

Top tip: if your persimmon isn’t ripe and soft, stick it in the freezer over night and then remove and let thaw.  This makes it perfectly ripe to eat!

Ingredients 

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 ripe persimmon
  • 3-4 leaves of cavolo Nero
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 red chilli chopped
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper

Recipe

  1. Slice the persimmons in half and place face down on an oiled tray and grill for 10 or so minutes until soft, turning half way. If it’s still hard to the touch, grill for a bit longer but be careful not to burn!
  2. Blend the persimmons with ginger, cinnamon, cumin with salt and pepper until you get a smooth mash-like texture and then set aside to cool
  3. Mix 1 clove of garlic, paprika, smoked paprika and salt and pepper and rub into the chicken breasts
  4. Grill the chicken breasts on a griddle pan if you can without needing to use any or much oil so you can get the griddle marks.  Grill for about 5 minutes each side. Be careful not to turn too often or you won’t get the lovely markings.
  5. Whilst the chicken is grilling, you can prepare the cavolo nero. Remove the thick stalk in the middle and then roughly chop
  6. Quickly fry the cavolo nero in a frying pan or wok with the oil, chilli and lemon juice
  7. Everything should now be ready and I served the mash with some extra coriander (cilantro) I had and a drop of lemon chilli jam which goes really well with this dish!

Grilled chicken, persimmon and cavolo nero

Mum’s minestrone recipe

One of my fond memories of food has always been my Mum’s minestrone soup.  Canned soups always taste too sweet and I know I’ll be disappointed if I order it in a restaurant, so I wanted her recipe to make it myself.  I now have soup in the freezer ready for those days where I feel ill and need some comfort of a homemade soup.

I normally add variations on to a recipe or divert from it. However, I learnt not to mess with a classic this time round as I put far too much Parmesan and far too much pasta (pasta swelling in size and absorbing liquid of course!).

Ingredients

  • 40g of butter
  • 8 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 large onion thinnly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 100g of ham hock
  • 1 can of haricot beans
  • Sprigs of fresh marjoram, thyme and basil
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 100g of French beans, chopped
  • 175g of cabbage, shredded
  • 2 medium courgettes, diced
  • 50g of small pasta shapes
  • 2 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese

Recipe

  1. Heat the oil and butter together in a large pan over a moderate heat
  2. Add onion and garlic until soft and golden
  3. Add the ham hock and cook for a few minutes
  4. Drain the haricot beans and add to pan with herbs, tomatoes and 2 1/4 pints of water
  5. Give a good stir and bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours, adding more water if necessary
  6. Add the carrots and potato and cook for another 5 mins
  7. Add the rest of the vegetables and 50g of pasta.  The pasta may look like nothing in the big pot, but trust me, it’ll be fine! Cook for a further 10 mins.
  8. Season to taste and add in the 2 tbsp of Parmesan. Again, it may not look like much, but it’s just to slightly thicken the soup. Too much will make it more solid.

When you serve this, it’s best with some extra Parmesan grated on top of the bowl with some extra basil.

From my home to yours, enjoy!

 

Laotian cuisine at Lao Cafe review

Over Christmas, I read about a new Lao cafe having just opened in Covent Garden and I was really excited to try it.  Although I’ve never been to Laos, my parents lived there before moving to Burma, so I was eager to try some authentic local dishes.

The food is hotter and tangier than Thai food but equally delicious.  I’m used to Thai food and I’m used to heat and hot food, but if you aren’t, please mention this to them as you want to be able to enjoy your food.

The staff are all really friendly and keen to introduce you to the food and culture, teaching you a few phrases which I have instantly forgotten!

For two people, they recommend two salads and two main dishes and for larger groups, they suggest one salad and one chargrilled dish per person and one curry or hot pot to share.  There were just two of us and my friend had a large lunch so we had two salads a grilled dish (to be shared by two) and some sticky rice.

I love a good papaya salad, but I’m used to the Thai one and they had multiple varieties. I asked what the difference was between the Thai and Lao style and turns out that the Lao one is tangier, salty and hotter.  I was advised to have the Thai one if I hadn’t tried the Lao style before.  Next was a laab dry salad and whilst we weren’t keen on trying the boiler liver version, we did try the pork neck salad which was hot!

Pork neck laab salad
Our little table then had to try and find space for a whole salt grilled fish served with aubergine dip, vermicelli noodles and fresh herbs.  This dish was for two people and the most succulent fish I’ve tried in a long time!  We were taught how to eat it and we were supposed to have a bit of everything in each bite. So tasty!

Salt grilled fish Lao style
All in all, I’d say to try and give this restaurant a visit, try a new cuisine and interact with the staff.  You can’t book so you might have to expect a queue but we were lucky and found a table immediately.  We washed this down with some wine as well but they do have some local beers and other beverages available too.  I also loved the decor and the art on one of the walls, you almost felt you had left London for one night!

Lao cafe Covent Garden