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Posts Tagged ‘Covent Garden’

  1. Someone order an Iberico Pork Foie Gras Burger?

    December 19, 2011 by Dini

    Iberico Pork Foie Gras Burger

    Covent Garden’s Love-in…Opera Tavern

    Numerous visits in 2011

     As one of my stand out dishes of 2011, Opera Tavern’s Mini Foie Gras & Iberico Pork burger furiously holds it weight against it’s beefy couterparts. Served with a spicy-sweet Guindilla pepper garnish, this balances the rich, silkiness of the foie gras and Manchego cheese strewn on the Iberico pork. It is utter deliciousness and always executed to perfection, on my numerous visits there (some especially for it – heaven knows what it does to my cholestorel level!)

    A Tapas restaurant, specialising and showcasing the best of Italian and Spanish regional dishes and produce, Opera Tavern has thrown the gauntlet down in London and fitted in nicely with it’s sister outlets’ (Dehesa & Salt Yard) ethos of great food.

    One of my favourite tipples there, that I whole-heartedly recommend is the Vina Gravonia, Crianza 2001 (a White Rioja) at £10 a glass is an indulgence, but when you’re dining out on silky foie gras and burgeoning stuffed courgette flowers, why not? Also take time to peruse their spirits list, Simon Mullins (Owner) has a penchant for Whisky (not in line with the concept- but who cares) and you’ll find some great Blends and Distillers Editions c/o Millroys of Soho.

    Other notable dishes include their Italian Scotch eggs, with a dreamy runny yolk. I also enjoyed the steak with marrow, which added a moist sumptuous to the tender meat. If I had one criticism, it would be to query why so many of the dishes come with aioli, a little overkill for me (but delicious even so).

    Their admiration of ‘pork’  follows through to the fixtures and fittings in the restaurant…the bronzed trotters for door handles and the jamon beer taps. I find sitting downstairs on the bar stools is the best spot ‘in the house’. Here you can easily while away hours, waitching them carve jamon and offer you cheeky tipples, to wet the appetite.

    As you can see, I’m a massive fan. The execution is perfect, attentive, knowledgeable service with a smile and the dishes are simply delicious.

    Opera Tavern, 23 Catherine St,  WC2B 5JS

    Opera Tavern on Urbanspoon

  2. Dishoom – Indian Street Food – Covent Garden

    July 26, 2011 by Dini

    Dishoom Wallah in the eating…


    I discovered Dishoom back in Dec 2010 and since it’s been a regular comfort eating pit-stop. Whether it was their restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden or their Summer (2011) pop-up ‘Chowpatty Beach’ on the Southbank, their street food offering ticks a lot of boxes.

    On every visit I always order their soothing Chai and on special occassions with a dash of Hennessey or their latest version is with Baileys. On the food front, my aversion to coriander doesn’t get me very far, pretty much every dish is laced or garnished with it. I’ve learnt to grin and bear it (at least my Mother will be pleased I’m eating my greens!). The signature dishes entitled with ‘Dishoom’ as shown in my pictures are good bets, especially the calamari, tossed in spices and delicious pink peppercorns for extra zinginess. Their Anglo-Indian dishes such as their ‘bacon nan’ served with a smudge of cream cheese and a chilli jam is an example of a good fusion combo.

    I like the branding and ethos of this family run buisness, one of the owners is always to be found on-site, they’re digitally savvy with a refreshing website and social media interaction. By joining their facebook page or twitter stream @dishoomlondon, you can become one of the ‘Dishoom Wallahs’ – ardent fans, that gives you cheeky discounts, freebies and invites to events. What I most look forward to are the amusing ‘home-made’ mini productions they post up to advertise different events.  I’ve posted an example below…


    Address: 12 Upper St. Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9FB
    Tel: 020 7420 9320

    Dishoom on Urbanspoon

  3. Spuntino vs da Polpo

    June 11, 2011 by Dini

    Oozing Truffled Egg Toast

    Comfort eating or destination eating?


    Apparently, there’s a Russell Norman/Richard Beatty restaurant out there for you… whether it be Polpo/Chichetti, Polpetti, Spuntino newly opened Da Polpo. Each offer a slightly different proposition and my flavour of the moment is Spuntino. Nestling in Rupert Street, the halo effect of becoming a twitter food haven in Soho, has brought two new openings of Bubbleology (Taiwanese flavoured tapioca Tea) and Madd (mango dessert/drinks).

    Both have a distressed finish to them, aged with love and beautiful details such as: bag hooks under the bar tables, the old fashioned gum machine and most of all the menus printed on brown paper. Spuntino, for me has an intimate feel to it a cross between a Italian-New York Diner, even having NY style black filter coffee for the offing, but I wish they’d get a machine in! Ink (in the tattoo form) are part of the staff attire, one could liken the staff to the Gogol Bordello punk-rock group. In fact a few months ago, there was some friendly rivalry between them and Hawksmoor, asking twitter followers to vote for their favourite ‘ink’ work… go figure!

    Spuntino back-bar

    Food wise it’s comfort eating at its best, wholesome, heart-warming food, with service with or without a smile depending on who is serving.  I can’t really complain on the 6 occasions I’ve been to Spuntino I’ve not had to wait longer than 10 minutes for a seat (no reservations, walk-in only) and the service at both has been knowledgeable and on the whole courteous.  Da Polpo is a livelier and larger venue (with booking available in the day only) specialising it seems in meatballs galore.

    At Spuntino, my favs include: Truffled egg toast (decadent with oozing truffle infused Fontina cheese), Sliders – Ground beef & marrow Slider (moist and juicy), Spiced mackerel (with piquancy of horseradish), Eggplant chips with fennel yoghurt (fresh tanginess that cuts through the batter) and finally dessert of Brown sugar cheesecake with grappa prunes (a boozily sumptuous treat).

    Da Polpo favs include: spicy pork & fennel meatballs (the tastiest that I had) and the Tiramisu pot (like diving into cup of heaven).The Bellini Sgroppino also caught my eye, but alas it awaits it’s turn for another visit…

    Be aware of: There are only 26 seats at Spuntino so go there early for lunch/dinner or off peak

    Take time to: Have an aperitif, the Clover Clubs & Negroni’s are much recommended or for Da Polpo pop over the road to Rules, for a cocktail

    da Polpo
    6 Maiden Lane
    London, WC2E 7NA 
    020 7836 8448
    61 Rupert Street
    London, W1D 7PW
    No telephone

    da Polpo on Urbanspoon

    Spuntino on Urbanspoon


  4. Ice Creamists ‘Taste’ Session

    April 16, 2011 by Dini

    Thankfully, ‘Baby Gaga’ wasn’t in stock!

     14th April 2011

    In 2010, The Ice-Creamists hit London, first in a much lauded upon pop-up in Selfridges in Oxford Street… here their Absinthe over ice cream stole the show. Then, in the summer of 2011, worldwide ripples unfortunately not of the raspberry kind surged across the world. The cause?:  ‘Baby Gaga’ a breast-milk ice-cream, which caused outrage and intrigue selling out and consequently being banned by the council.

    A few weeks later I noticed a tasting of their new summer flavours… so yes this is a ‘complimentary’ in payment  post. Curiosity drove me into the S&M uniformed lair, where Matt O’Connor (Owner), ruled the roost. As this was a tasting, we were given samples to share of the complete Summer range, thankfully ‘Baby Gaga’ (now deemed ‘safe’ by the Council) was not on the menu!

    The alcoholic recipe twists to the ice-creams had been overseen by Alex Kammerling, a mixologist extraordinaire and all made fresh daily. I have to confess on occasions, whilst tasting there seemed to be more ‘theatre’ over taste, with the atomiser spritzing, blow-torch finishes and of course Absinthe via IV tubes. For me, the simplicity of a good, fresh ice-cream/gelato, served with love, is sufficient.

    Pre-Royal wedding, there were ‘cheeky’ takes on Will & Kate, I’m not sure if they’re holding out for a royal warrant, it might be some time coming… but perhaps it might be to Prince Harry’s taste.

    In the heart of tourist land, they are creating a brand for themselves with all sorts of merchandise… to top up the average spend per head and why not? I recently noticed these cheeky badges on their facebook page: –


    It is destination ice-cream bar to venture to, if you’d like to entertain with theatrical flourishes or treat your palate to flavours that push boundaries. It’s not for me, but glad to have had the experience.

    The Ice Creamists (Scream)
    23-47 The Market Building, South Piazza Covent Garden, W2CE 8RF
    Opening hours 12pm – 10.30pm, daily