Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spread Eagle Oxford Street London

After a long day of shopping in Debenhams and House of Fraser for my kitchen tools and just about a few hours were leaving London. We decided to go for a typical very British food, and we found a small corner pub called the Spread Eagle is typical British pub plush and comfortable restaurant.
When you enter Spread Eagle you immediately feel quite cozy. They even have a cozy bar area and inside is the dining area with a fireplace to relax. Besides people-watching t.v, there's plenty to keep you entertained, they even have pachinko game machine inside. Here you can find everything about the good food eaten in Britain.
We decide on starter and go for the prawn cocktail was a king prawn on cos lettuce with seafood sauce and slices of malted bloomer bread, scrumptious for appetizer.
For mains, we had a roast of the day, It was basically roasted meat with all the trimmings, served with roast mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and gravy is probably the meal in England is most famous for. The meat it was pork, I prefer beef like the one I have beside the red lion near Parliament. But I wasn't disappointed, as the Yorkshire pudding itself is little different from plain bread, all covered with gravy!  Yummy.
We ordered the cod father 'fish & chips' it came in huge portions. The cod was good, still fresh but somehow was not crispy enough. The homemade tartar sauce was the saving grace.
I craved for meat pie, sometimes you just need a pie, and I couldn't resist not try the Steak & Ale Pie which was a tender of steak with mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and a jug of gravy. The pie was filled with lovely bits of beef and and top crust was flaky-crunchy not greasy. This was yummy and comfort food and best it's a hot piping and rich and flavourful gravy.
We ordered the beef steak for my boy, we request to the staff it had to be cooked in meduim rare. I was anxious that it will be done the same way they cook in Bistro Pierre. The steak it was lovely, tender, juicy and well seasoned.
As for the dessert we had the Brambley Apple Pie and Chocolate Fudge Cake . This is the most wonderful chocolate fudge cake we ever had. It served hot-super moist like a cloud butter cake with a scoop of ice cream, I wouldn’t mind another one of these right now!
The bramley apple pie is like biting into a crunchy layer of light pie crust with warm melted cream sauce and the inside is moist hot bursting apples.
We got some non traditional British beverage to end off the meal.. Overall the food is exceptional was also of a good portion were large, dessert case was tempting. The service it was pretty quick when it came our orders, and nice to chill-out for the pub lover.
Spread Eagle
349 Oxford Street, London United Kingdom

The Terrace Bar Harrod's London

We had the pleasure of visiting Harrods I was just blown away, Harrod's has opened a branch in Taiwan as we have nothing like this in Taipei or in other major cities in Taiwan. We had a lot of computers, ipod, solar cell or advanced hi-technology but we don't have like this (Harrods) here, that you can find-buy anything as in everything or you can get what you want or not want at the time in one place. They also have many laptop computers, mobile phones are made in Taiwan. Quite frankly, the food hall is amazing. But the interior of the department store is,,,,,, for me Taipei 101 is much more elegance and well organized inside. We don't shop that much in Harrod's as we done it already in Paris. Just bought something as a gifts back home and some good stuff for my kids. Then we arranged a special afternoon tea at Georgian Restaurant before watching the night show of Phantom of the Opera.
The ambiance and decor created a really intimate vibe that will definitely leave the guests amazed of how glamour and style, classy sipping on tea can be, is where the aristocracy used to dine.
Upon the time we make reservation, the staff she so kindly to suggest and recommend to us that we were seated at the Terrace Bar. Where most British people spent their tea outside or patio's is the way to enjoy a truly traditional afternoon tea experience.
Of course, being afternoon tea, the first thing that came is this oozing bubbling glass of champagne for me and for my husband and cheers for us, that we made our journey in Paris and London by ourselves without any tour guide. The champagne was great, but were not really a champagne lovers. I prefer sweet ice wine. The taste of champagne described as mingled with refreshing I love the fragrance. However if you let it taste on your tongue for too long it gets a litter bitter.
Shortly after the champagne flute, the platter of sandwiches and assortment of sweets came in 3 tier presentation. Everything looked delicious and pretty, and this is a platter for 4 people.
So how was the food, let's do it layer by layer. First layer, Harrod's freshly made sandwiches which was a food finger sandwiches: Goat's cheese mousse on pumpernickel, ham and pickle sandwich, smoked salmon-spinach and cream cheese wrap, cucumber dill and yogurt shooter, coronation chicken sandwich were good but not spectacular. We found it disappointing relative to the other Afternoon Teas we have experienced in Taiwan. The cucumber dill and yogurt shooter it taste like grass!
Second layer, the home-baked English scones served with clotted cream, Harrod's rose petal jelly and strawberry preserves. I love how the scones were still warm when served. The clotted cream and jam it's was perfect with the scones.
Third or top layer is the selection of tea pastries from the Harrod's Patisserie: We had fresh fruit tart, green apple macaroon, afternoon tea fruit cake, chocolate delice slice, raspberry fragipan etc. The fruit tart shell was very hard, macaroon was delicious, fruit cake was overly sweet but were good too. The chocolate delice slice was absolutely sweet heaven.
Back to the tea, the desserts, scones and sandwiches are missed without steaming tea pots. There were four of us so we got to choose tea flavors. The first thing that came is the tea, I chose blackcurrant and hibiscus tea.
For my husband and kids they chose a kind of tea that can add sugar and milk. A steaming silver pot of afternoon special- a combine medium elevations teas from pristine Dimbula region in Sri Lanka. Georgian blend tea- combine darjeeling, assam and chinese tea for its fragrance. Earl grey tea-lightly scented with oil bergamot. This is the real deal milk tea lovers, we’re not talking about the ordinary tea.
Accompanied by white and brown sugar cubes, a real authentic English style milk tea, not too sweet and not too bland. But probably not of the best milk teas we have had. Overall, I personally loved the experience, sitting there sipping a cup of hot tea and chatting with family for what we have done on this vacation. For the price £26 per person and £33 with champagne flute it was enjoyable tea time with them. The food it wasn't spectacular but delicious nevertheless, surroundings were beautiful, and the staff were so attentive. Highly recommend for Mother's Day or just a romantic tea party for you and your lover. We had a lovely time and plan on returning again in the UK but not very soon. I would definitely do it again, but will try a new restaurant.
Terrace Bar Harrod's London
87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge London,
United Kingdom
Harrod's Restaurant

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jamie Oliver Fifteen Restaurant in London

Back in London we were in Fifteen restaurant for lunch, just last July 12 and I booked on the top table before coming in the UK for a family summer vacation. We thought it would be a treat to go to Fifteen. Me and my daughter were a big fan of Jamie and I loved his simplicity and humble cooking style. I have been curious to try about his food and so we arrived in Fifteen and the building it looks rustic gives it slightly more upscale atmosphere.
Upon entering the first floor we wait for a few minutes in a bar lounge. Then a receptionist sends us downstairs we're led to our seats. The restaurant, which was almost empty when we arrived, was just about completely filled up with foodie and well-heeled fashionistas. Our waiter he was wonderful! the interior can best be described as retro/modern and understated. A perfect combination for a place that serves simply prepared clean food. The menu is Italian fare and changes daily.
After placing our order, we're presented with this rosemary foccacia with olive oil to dunk it in.
Our starters arrived was a 'Panzanella" a Tuscan bread salad with isle of wight tomatoes, basil and fontodi estate olive oil. It was tangy-sweet-cidery-citrusy-crunchy, it sound interesting? It was truly a delicious antipasti.
Next we also had a hot smoked sea trout with radicchio, amalfi lemon, florence fennel, gherkin and horseradish aioli.
Just the right before our main course we were served with our selected drinks. My husband ordered the margarita cocktail garnished with thinly sliced of red chili on top gave it an extra spicy kick.
Kids and I went for the non alcoholic with these fresh fruit strawberry vanilla and sweet lemonade, both drinks were great.
As main courses, my son went for the linguine with roast cherry tomatoes, rope-grown mussels, capers amd air-dried mullet roe. I must say thanks Jamie for this dish. I've never seen my boy eating mussels and I thought it was a good start for him. The mussels were very fresh, he do love the flavour of the sauce that was used for this pasta dish, and linguine it cook al dente.
My husband had a roast house-salted pollock with Tuscan chick peas, rainbow chard and herby creme fraiche. Simply it was flaky-zingy-delicious!
I had a braised shoulder of cumbrian rare-breed pork with florence fennel, broad leaf spinach and tarragon sauce. The luscious pork, garnished with veggies. It was melt in your mouth, tender, unctuous and full flavoured meat savoury jus.
My daughter went for the ligthes potato gnocchi with isle of wight tomatoes, green olives, basil and ricotta salata. They were not exaggerating with this description. These creamy texture of gnocchi with sweet tomato, these were outstanding! She let me to try some, apparently it was perfectly cooked. I haven't had gnocchi like this. They were soft and creamy texture, perfect!
To finish with we ordered 4 desserts to share, they were gorgeous stuff and we all cleared our plates! First we had a amedei chocolate tart with guava sorbet and passion fruit sauce. Subtle and sweet and yummy.
Trio of ices with mixed berry coulis and citrus shortbread (presented a deconstructed model of sorbet) The sauce and the gelato are great, but the actual dessert itself is a fruit.
The grilled peaches with candied apple ice cream, raspberry sauce and toasted almonds. It was perfect blowingly simple with this warm peach and toasted bits of almond flakes had the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.
My favourite among this dessert is these basil pannacotta with balsamic strawberries and biscotti. It was perfect complex and the strawberries pairing silky pannacotta. Infused with thick sweet balsamic vinegar sauce, absolutely delicious. Overall, Jamie Oliver ability is up to the standard of his predecessors a combination of talent in the kitchen, an excellent selection. The staff was attentive and very professional. The atmosphere was great though not magical because we were seated in the basement is not a good idea specially on summer. The food is very good, I can say it was solid, and Jamie Oliver's concept is really quite awesome.
Fifteen London
15 Westland Place
City of London N1 7LP, United Kingdom

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chez Janou Paris France

The reason why we know about this place, because I have saw and it was featured on Samantha Brown Paris weekend or passport to Europe episode on her travel channel TLC t.v program.
We were seated beside the large window, which was cool. When we came in the restaurant it was empty. Then suddenly people starts coming in and it was packed instantly. Inside this beautiful and sophisticated restaurant offers a sweet mix of provencal atmosphere and that of a typical Parisian bistro
The warm colorful very unique interior decor, red leather seats, wood tables and chairs, with lots of old movie posters not forgetting the chalk board and the mirrors in which the dining room is endlessly reflected.
We started with this garlic pitted olives on the table to snack on, and the waitress brought us a basket of french bagutte.
We ordered 2 appetizer and it came in good sized portion that 2 people can share. These mixed vegetables with melon and prosciutto mozzarella (salade de mâche, melon, jambon cru et mozzarella.) The salty prosciutto was a great match for the sweet melon and vegetables. The fresh mozzarella balls were great texture. The dish was dressed by a thick and sweet balsamic vinegar. It was simple, fresh, delicious and perfect appetizer in a pleasant summer lunch.
The toasted bread smeared with melted brie cheese with green salad coated in citrus dressing (toastades de St Nectaire) it was good! The fresh bagutte was quite interesting topped with melted cheese and served on a bed of fresh salad mixture with citrus dressing completed the dish. It had a wonderful, salty-with-sweet and sour flavor to it.
Next; Our entrees arrived in due time, beautifully presented in generous portions. We had the seared sea scallops on a bed of risotto (risotto d'epeautre et ses Saint-jacques) for my daughter. The rice was cooked in a well flavoured stock to the correct degree of creamy sloppiness. The grilled scallops in a word, huge, rich med-rare were juicy to the bite and excellent. This was superb and magical french meal!
For my main course was a roasted duck breast seasoned in rosemary (magret de canard au romarin) garnished with mushroom, potato medallions and caramelized sweet sauce. My generous size duck breast, the skin was crispy cooked perfectly, the meat was tender and quite juicy. This is devine and I liked it the way it cook.
And my son selected the grilled fish fillet in pesto (bar grille au pistou) garnished with beautiful sauteed vegetables medley and lemon. The delicate white flesh under a crisply roasted skin allowed the full flavour to shine.
Since my husband wanted to eat beef steak (entrecote bistrot) our waitress highly recommended one of the specials, which was their special bistro steak loaded with baked potato and tartar sauce. The bake potato it was very creamy texture were extremely good, and the steak was unusually tender and juicy. We enjoy when your server is honest and makes good recommendation.
For dessert, is the famous and massive mousse au chocolat or chocolate mousse. It was perfect and this is undoubtedly the best chocolate mousse we have ever eaten.
They bring you this huge bowl or gallon size and you can spoon as much as you want on your plate for just 7euro.
To finished off with a tangy-creamy cafe creme. Overall the food was enormous proportion, but simple very delicious and worth to visit, the service was pretty constant. Ambience was great although it can get pretty noisy due to its popularity. We though it was so hard to find a delicious-satisfying french meal in Paris. In behalf of Samantha Brown we strongly recommended Chez Janou if your are planning to visit Paris.
Chez Janou Restaurant
2 Rue Roger Verlomme 75003 Paris France

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sushi Yaki Paris France

Well, upon first entering this sushi restaurant just beside our hotel. We honestly felt a overwhelmed at last we found a good restaurant has to offer a delicious satisfying meal. Not to minimize anyone's patronized french delicatessen, but sushi kyrptonite. When life gets stressful looking for dinner during our stay in Paris we come and made our way in here. We were served one person at a time and she was very efficient. By the way when we entered the restaurant, we didn't hear the usual irrashaimase instead bonjour!
We were seated and given menu immediately, then she brought us a pitch of water for free. Actually most of the restaurant in Paris you have to pay every single drop of water and much more expensive than wine. She also give us a warm wet towel to keep your hands clean before the meal. The decor of the restaurant quite modernised is very clean and simple, minimalist. Back to the meal, we ordered 3 tea pots of green/jasmine for our tea craving. The tea was not too strong nor not too weak and a bottled of coke for my boy.
Just as the food was set to arrive, we started up with this miso soup and cabbage salad in mild wasabi dressing. We’d be happy with just a soup and salad which were good and my daughter told us. It feels she was being transformed eating a Jap's food somewhere in Taiwan.
I order the sushi rolls and is to die for, a thin layer of salmon and avocado there were served on a wooden board. There was so much sushi but I scarfed it down! It was fresh-bliss as it crunched and exploded in my mouth. It taste like californian rainbow sushi roll.
We also had a assorted nigiri (raw fish on rice) and sushi roll. Well prepared with a good balance of rice and fish.
The prawn, tuna and salmon skewers combo with plain rice, were grilled to smoky perfection, salmon was delish. You can taste every ingredient so bursting with freshness.
We got their Plate combo meat skewers with plain rice, which had thinly sliced beef stuffed with cheese, meat ball, chicken, and pork belly  were all excellent. The beef stuffed with cheese it was melt in your mouth and flavorful. The rest of the meat it had a sweet glaze that wasn’t too sweet or overpowering.
Another fresh sushi roll and I'm struggled to take a picture because of the lightning effect inside the restaurant. However it was very simple deliciously fresh.
Next we had their pork gyoza  was pretty good, and not too oily. Its a shamed to say but we go for 4 rounds. Overall, I can say on our 3 days straight dining here during dinner time. The service was excellent on each of our visit. The dishes are well cooked, fresh in high quality and overall quite impressive. The price are extremely super value for money which mean very affordable, you cannot get a decent meal in Paris for under 10 euros. 
Sushi Yaki Restaurant Japonais
76, Rue De Turbigo 75003 Paris France