Food reviews and recipes

Sake No Hana, Mayfair

I feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop with this one.

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Yeah, it’s really pretty, and yes, maybe I’m biased because as a Japanese person, I think any attempt at fusion should be done incredibly well or not at all – but I just don’t get it.

I was so prepared to fall in love with Sake no Hana. It’s constantly on my Instagram feed, and everyone is always talking about it, but I found my experience really didn’t live up to the hype.

The last time I felt this way was when Avatar came out – for weeks, all you could hear about was how great it was – and when I finally went to go see it, I felt totally duped. Wasn’t that just blue Pocahontas? In 3D?

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While the service was impeccable, I found the rice on the sushi to be hard and somewhat stale, despite being beautifully presented.

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I went for the vegetarian main, which is an old favourite of mine – agedashi tofu, or deep-fried tofu, which was nice, but nothing to write home about. My dinner date opted for a chicken dish which was rather fatty, and somewhat clumsily put together.

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While I’m not a big fan of dessert at the best of times, I was really disappointed in this one – a coconut ice-cream and pineapple cheesecake. I really wished they had used some more traditional ingredients and flavours, but that’s just my personal preference.

All in all, I was slightly let down by my experience – but what are your thoughts? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram

Sake No Hana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

In Rude Health

Before my little trip to Italy, I’d spent most of my time snacking on my haul I’d been given as part of In Rude Health week.

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The folks behind Rude Health had put on an entire week of fun and healthy activities, like paddleboarding and brunch, a gong bath, and a naked bike ride.

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I was lucky enough to go along to the make your own cosmetics masterclass, which was hosted in partnership with Made in Hackney at the Rude Health Cafe.

Using their products, we made a few face and body scrubs, which tasted as good as they felt afterwards – almond face scrub was a particular favourite of mine.

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Since the event I’ve become addicted to their almond milk, which is seriously delicious – and all the food was great, so I’ll definitely be heading back to the cafe soon!

I also dragged a friend with me to their neon boxing event – the class, which was run by The Boxx Method, featured neon paint, great music, and an amazing way to spend a Friday night (sans the hangover the next day).

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I had a fantastic Rude Health week, and can’t wait for the next one!

Have you tried any of the Rude Health products? Comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

The Director’s Cut at GŌNG Bar, Shangri-La Hotel

It seems as though I’ve spent most of April and May up the Shard, but I popped in again recently to try out the new cocktail menu up at the GŌNG Bar in the Shangri-La Hotel.

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The Director’s Cut is inspired by some of the most iconic film directors, and features 16 cocktails across different genres.

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‘Fear The Jungle’, inspired by Steven Spielberg, combines BarSol Quebranta Pisco, banana, pineapple skin sherbet, lime and chocolate in an ivy-covered highball. It’s not one for you if you’re squeamish – it comes topped with a scorpion (which the bartenders will make you eat).

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‘Dirty Business’ combines Woodford Reserve bourbon, Mr Black cold-pressed coffee liqueur, Fernet Amaro and a douse of stout.

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Perhaps my favourite of the evening, the Fleming Sweep – Tanqueray, Cocchi Americano, elderflower, champagne and sour hop sourced from local micro- brewery Anspach & Hobday in Bermondsey.

The cocktails aren’t cheap, but you get what you pay for – they are some of the nicest I’ve had in a long time, and you really can’t beat that view.

Have you tried the Director’s Cut menu? Comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Pan Chai at Harrod’s

Back when I lived in New York, I would go out to eat sushi around once a week. It would be a ritual I had with my mom – the one thing we would schedule in consistently, when I would be swamped with school and extracurriculars and she was busy with work. We would catch up and chew the fat(ty tuna) – and even though we did it every week, it always felt special, and like a treat.

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Nowadays, my weekly sushi routine usually involves grabbing a couple of salmon avocado handrolls, hunched over my laptop at the office. So when I was invited to pop down to Harrod’s and check out Pan Chai, I was pretty excited.

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It’s located in the food hall of Harrod’s – 22 leather and marble clad seats where shoppers can sample fresh, pan-Asian fare without interrupting their shopping trip. As a result, it is fantastic for people-watching – if you’re looking for an intimate, romantic meal then this might not be one for you, but it’s definitely one to bring your best friend to.

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We started with the seaweed salad, which was topped with sesame seeds. It was slightly pickled, and had bite, and by far the simplest dish we had during our visit.

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If you go to Harrod’s, then you probably love the dramatic – and the rest of our meal at Pan Chai was like a trip to the theatre in the best way possible. The first signature sushi roll we ordered was the Harrod’s Special – fresh snow crab with avocado and spicy mayonnaise, topped with seared scallops, black caviar and spring onions.

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In my opinion, you can’t really go wrong with the crab and avocado combination, but it paled in comparison to the negitoro maki, which is one of my favourites. Negitoro is spicy tuna with spring onions, and this was made with chopped tuna belly – it was mouthwateringly good.

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I’m definitely quite conservative when it comes to my sushi choices, though, and I absolutely loved the simple flavours from the nigiri kiku platter. With sushi, as long as the quality of the ingredients is there, you don’t need to combine too many flavours or textures – it just works.

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The nigiri kiku platter included a foie gras roll that I still dream about one month after my visit – it was like butter. You also got tuna belly, salmon, sea bass, yellow tail, shrimp, wagyu tartar, scallop and grilled eel, along with the usual fillers (in my opinion!) of cooked prawn, tamago and tuna.

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It was all absolutely delicious, the tuna belly and the wagyu tartar really standing out as well.

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I had a really enjoyable experience at Pan Chai, but the only drawback I had with the menu was the total lack of dessert options. We settled for a kir royale and a bellini, but given how much I enjoyed the nigiri in particular, I would’ve loved to have finished the meal with something sweet. If you’re ever in need of a bite to eat during a shopping spree, I’d definitely recommend the nigiri platter.

Pan Chai - Harrods Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Have you eaten at Pan Chai? Comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Town, Kaimuki

One of my favourite meals I had when I was last in Hawaii was at Town, in Kaimuki.

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“Local first, organic where possible, and with aloha always” – their menu focuses on local ingredients and flavours with Italian influences.

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Six of us split everything family-style, and I’d definitely recommend going that route, cause you’ll want to try a bit of everything.

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The pate was one of my favourites, and like everything I tried at Town was simple, but crafted perfectly. You really can’t go wrong with fresh ingredients, and there is clearly a lot of thought behind each ingredient and dish.

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The chicken leg with aioli, freekeh, fennel and tatsoi was another favourite – I loved the combination of flavours and cuisines, which is quite Hawaiian in itself.

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I don’t usually have a sweet tooth, but I couldn’t resist the apple banana cream pie. I absolutely love apple bananas, and this was so creamy, but not too overpowering as I can find banoffee pie to be sometimes – it had a cleaner flavour, and was seriously incredible.

The neighbourhood is also further out from the bustling tourist area of Waikiki, so there weren’t as many tourists there which made for a really nice meal out.

Have you been to Town? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Town, Kaimuki, 3435 Waialae Ave # 104, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA.

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