Grain Store

A couple of months ago I was invited to an event at Grain Store in Granary Square hosted by the lovely folks at Open Table.

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Grain Store is just a few minutes walk away from King’s Cross station. Not only is it super convenient to get to, but the food is divine – a great place to take your vegetarian friends, as their menu really focuses on the veg, making it the main feature of each dish.

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But, having grown up with a parent who thinks a meal without meat is just a big side dish (I know, I know) – the Grain Store also specialises in delicious, sustainable meat and fish, too. The difference here is that it isn’t the main feature of each course.

I was invited down to the Grain Store for Open Table’s #ConnectedbyOT event, which celebrates the food scene in two cities close to my heart – London and New York. I’m terribly late with this post, but it seems almost fitting, in a way, because I actually moved to New York this week over 15 years ago.

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My first course of the evening was a delicious seaweed salad, presented in the most beautiful way and adorned with delicate blue flowers.

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Every dish was surprising, unusual, and most of all delicious – as was the wine. I hadn’t really had a soup quite like the one above – a tomato broth that was translucent, and not red like any other tomato soup I’d had – but bursting with fresh flavour.

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Vegetables pickled with raspberry vinegar was served with the most mouthwateringly tender venison – complemented perfectly by the delicious red (Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir).

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The final course was the best dessert I’ve had all year – a peach melba with beautiful sugar work. I felt terrible crushing it to get to the cream and juicy peaches underneath, but I felt less terrible once I finished eating it. It was glorious.

I had a wonderful meal at Grain Store, and would wholeheartedly recommend it as a place to go with a large group of friends, or even for a work meal – it’s a lovely venue, with superb food and wine that is conveniently located. What more could you ask for?

The Open Table event really made me appreciate and feel grateful for the fact that I’ve lived in such amazing cities for food – and while New York will always have a place in my heart, London is home.

Grain Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Frescobaldi Winemaker’s Dinner

I absolutely love having my wine paired for me.

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While I absolutely love wine, I admit I’m not very adventurous about straying away from my usual glass of dry white. So I was absolutely thrilled to be invited to Frescobaldi for their winemaker’s dinner – four courses paired with delicious Italian wines.

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Frescobaldi is in the heart of Mayfair, slightly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There’s something quite romantic about the restaurant – it would be a wonderful place to go for a date!

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The team at Frescobaldi went above and beyond with the gluten free substitutions to the menu for me, and I couldn’t have been happier or more grateful.

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Our first course was carpaccio di branzino con ciliege – a delicious sea bass carpaccio dish with cherries. It was paired with an Attems Pinot Grigio Ramato, which was copper-coloured – which I didn’t know Pinot Grigio could be!

The sea bass dish was absolutely divine – the tart cherries went so perfectly with the flavour of the fish.

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While the others tucked into courgette ravioli with veal ragu, I totally lucked out with my gluten free option of lobster pasta.  The pasta had a lovely texture, and the sauce was perfection – I was a very happy camper (and got a few envious glances from the other diners, too!) Served with the Attems Cicinis, a Sauvignon Blanc, it was my favourite course of the evening.

For the next course, we switched over to red – the 2012 Luce, which went beautifully with carre d’agnello con purea di piselli e patate dauphinoise – lamb rack with pea puree and dauphinoise potatoes.

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Every single course was so delicious, and all the wines were, too. While the others tucked into their semifreddo with melon, I had an amazing gluten free chocolate cake – served with the final wine of the evening, the Attems Picolit.

The courses were beautifully presented and delicious – the service was faultless, and the descriptions behind the history of the different wines fascinating. For £80 a head, I think the quality of the food, as well as the wine (I had about seven glasses that night in total!) the Frescobaldi Winemaker’s Dinner is such great value, and a wonderful way to spend an evening. I can’t wait for the next one!

Have you been to Ristorante Frescobaldi? What were your thoughts? Be sure to comment below!

Ristorante Frescobaldi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Raby Hunt

I love a good tasting menu.

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There is something so intensely pleasurable about stunningly plated dishes serving the absolute finest the chef has to offer. I think it’s something about the lack of decision making (and food envy), as well as having a group of people collectively enjoying the same dishes together that I absolutely love.

We were up north for a celebration and had a table at The Raby Hunt booked. I was already pretty excited (the Raby Hunt is the only michelin-starred restaurant in the North East), but was almost giddy with excitement after reading Jay Rayner’s review. This level of giddiness and excitement is, I’m guessing, what football fans must feel like when their team scores. I was ecstatic.

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The Raby Hunt

Every single course was exquisite. We opted for the 11-course menu, starting with the raw scallop and grapefruit, which was served with a little ponzu.  This was followed by dehydrated artichoke skin, topped with some kind of offal – the centre was cold, and it had been slow-cooked – on paper, none of this should have made sense, but the combination of temperatures, flavours and textures was unreal.

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The attention to detail was so great, especially in the 62° Lindisfarne Oyster – not just the temperature it was cooked at, but the garnish of English wasabi, too. I can’t wait to (eventually) bring my Japanese relatives here, to see what they make of traditional ingredients and flavours used in this way.

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The next two dishes were among my favourite – the razor clams with almond and celeriac, as well as the raw beef with caviar were unlike any I’d had before. It’s worth noting that if you’re not a fan of raw things, this might not be the place for you (but then again, neither is my blog, so jog on).

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Even the dishes that seemed like they might be placeholders had the ability to surprise, like the sea bream with smoked cod roe and spinach, or the spring salad – it all tasted even better than it looked (and it looked pretty damn good).

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Based on the very brief descriptions of the desserts on the menu, I was both bewildered and apprehensive. Black olive, chocolate and sheep’s yoghurt is not usually what I find in the dessert menu. But of course, nothing about the meal was usual – it was a triumph. Chocolatey, rich, and served with orange oil, it was perfect.

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The licorice and lime, too, was astounding – I hate licorice usually, but the thin wafer of caramelised licorice and fennel with the lime cream completely won me over.

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The Yuzu chocolates were the perfect end to the best meal I have had this year. Seriously. Please go, it’s amazing.

Have you been to the Raby Hunt? Be sure to comment belowor let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!
Raby Hunt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cane & Grain, Manchester

Last weekend I popped up to my university town of Manchester for a rather messy reunion with some friends.

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The weather was absolutely glorious, and in Manchester, you can always be sure of a good night out. A little too good, in my case – I was feeling particularly fragile after dancing the night away, and was in desperate need of a hangover cure.

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We’d heard great things about Cane & Grain, but it was when we took a look at the menu that we knew it was just what the doctor ordered – fries with delicious toppings, wings, burgers, shakes – the works.

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The cocktail list also looked good, although we were in no state to be ordering anything of the kind, and stuck to coffee.

Between the two of us, we had the hot wings, smoked corn on the cob, truffle cheese fries, and jalapeno hush puppies – a fried jalapeno and cheese ball. We decided to be vaguely healthy, too, and ordered the sauteed greens and beans as an afterthought.

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Everything really hit the spot – the truffle cheese fries were a highlight, as were the sauteed greens and beans, which are definitely worth getting!

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It was all absolutely delicious, and a brilliant hangover remedy – between us, the meal cost £12 each, which was a total bargain. I’d definitely recommend you pop in for an American-style meal if you’re ever in the Northern Quarter!

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We also popped into Fig & Sparrow for a coffee, which was lovely – although prepare to be tempted by all the amazing stock in their shop, it’s all very hard to resist.

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Have you been to Manchester? Where are some of your favourite places to eat? Be sure to comment belowor let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Cane & Grain Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Flat Iron, Henrietta Street

Flat Iron is one of those places that practically every meat-eating human in the London area is banging on about.

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The cheap steak offered just seemed a little too good to be true, and I’d heard about long queues to get in, so I’d put it off for a while. We finally decided to take the plunge a couple of weeks ago – and it came abundantly clear what the fuss is all about.

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We went to the Covent Garden location, and sure enough, there was a little bit of a queue outside. Flat Iron doesn’t take any reservations, so you do have to wait – but they have a fantastic system in place. It’s actually quite brilliant – we popped in, gave our name and number, and were told that we would get a text in the next 25 minutes, or whenever the next table became free. It was great, because instead of putting the other diners off their meal by staring at them, we pressed our noses up against the glass at Laduree, messed around with a few Apple Watches, and wandered around the Covent Garden piazza until they were ready for us.

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The decor inside is fairly minimal, but with modern accents, and was perfect for a date – especially combined with the menu, as the sides are definitely worth sharing! You get given a cup of popcorn to tide you through the menu, which is simple, but groan-inducingly good.

The steaks are unbelievably reasonable (a tenner!) and are sourced from the UK (Thirsk). We both like our steaks quite rare, and between us got a dripping cooked chips each, along with Sophie’s Salad (blue cheese, candied pecans, lemon dressing) and roast aubergine with tomato, basil and parmesan. All the sides are £3.50 at most, which is incredibly reasonable for the quality of food you get.

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Sauces come at a quid each, and I had ordered the horseradish sauce while my boyfriend had ordered Fred’s Sauce, which was pretty similar to a bloody mary.  Fred’s Sauce was absolutely delicious, and we got through three pots of it – I definitely recommend it over the horseradish cream any day.

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The steaks were cooked to perfection, and absolutely melted in your mouth – it was divine. The only regret I had was ordering a cocktail with the meal – I’d ordered a sloe & strawberry bellini, which was delicious, but really didn’t go with the food at all! I’ll be sticking with a red wine next time.

There’s no dessert menu, but if you get a main course at Flat Iron you get a free ice cream each with your receipt – you just take it up to the front as you leave. We were given a delicious salted caramel ice cream with chocolate shavings, and it was really tasty.

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All in all, I thought that Flat Iron was definitely worth all the hype – I absolutely loved it!

Have you been to Flat Iron? What did you think of it? Be sure to comment below, or  let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Flat Iron Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato