Sunday, 27 May 2018

Four Seasons Restaurant - One of the 3 must try Roast Ducks in London

Four Seasons Restaurant stands as one of the 3 kings of Roast Duck in London. Standing on the same street in Bayswater as its other two competitors (Goldmine Restaurant & New Fortune Cookie), hordes of Asians flock to these 3 to try out their famous London Duck. As of now, I've tried both Goldmine and Four Seasons.

The roast duck at Four Seasons as of now stands in the lead. Always order boneless so that you can simply bite into the heavenly fat meat. The duck at Four Seasons was extremely tender and flavourful. I liked it better than Goldmine because it was less oily and has less fatty meat. The sweet duck sauce that comes with the dish goes excellently with the duck and whets your appetite even if you aren't too hungry. Makes me wonder why don't we have anything close to these delicious ducks in Singapore. The duck is packed in a box because I ordered takeaways. I must add that Four Seasons pack my takeaway in such a neat and easy to carry manner, I'll probably have a takeaway meal each time I'm in London from now on.

The cai sim was nothing spectacular. In fact, I felt the side dishes lost out to Gold Mine.

Sweet and sour soup wasn't strong in its flavouring either. While it wasn't bad, it was very very ordinary.

Wrapping up this post, I'd say that I rather order a whole duck and have it as my meal than waste calories and money on very average sides. The duck is a true winner and you really can't stop eating it once you put a slice into your mouth. You should really try London duck in London and compare it with the roast ducks back home. It's an eye opener.

Four Seasons Restaurant
84 Queenway, Bayswater, London W2 3RL
(apparently Four Seasons Restaurant have a few branches in Chinatown, don't waste time with those. the Bayswater outlet is the real deal)

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Columbus Coffee Co - Newly opened cafe at Upper Thomson

Columbus Coffee Co is the third establishment opened by the owners of Atlas Coffeehouse and Lunar Brewer Coffee. They are the latest to join the bustling cafe scene at Upper Thomson. The cafe is located opposite Sin Ming Plaza Condo and has a very spacious interior.

Given that the cafe is only a month old, the food blogosphere is buzzing with activity and there's been numerous reviews of the wide selection that Columbus Coffee Co offer. It got me quite excited to try out this place given all the positive hype. My dining companion opted to try their fresh bakes and ordered the almond croissant ($5). She paired her pastry with a piccolo latte ($4.50). As I just got back from London, the benchmark for fresh bakes is still set pretty high. In London, the almond croissant even had almond cream oozing out of the bread but that'll be a story for another day. We both found the croissant to be over toasted and a little on the dry side. According to my dining companion, when a bread is over toasted, moisture collects onto the bread surface quickly thus making the bread less crispy and more towards the soggy side when you take too long to finish the food.

You can't go too wrong with lattes or I'll really judge them. I found the latte to be nicely done. I made a mental note that this is probably an ideal place to read with a cuppa coffee if I'm ever around the Thomson area again. (haven't been to Thomson area in ages because I dread the parking there)

I always have a soft spot for hotcakes and I really like the one at Atlas Coffeehouse. The Butterscotch Banana Pancake ($18.50) looks exactly the same so I simply had to have it. Sad to say, my impression of the dish is totally different this time. To be fair, the pancakes are really soft and fluffy (just like the description on their menu) to the point you feel like you are having an awesome sponge cake. The maple syrup still goes really well with the ice cream, bananas and the honey coated cornflakes. The trouble was my ideal version is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. This one skipped the crispiness. The dish tastes cakey after a while and despite the ice cream, I struggled finishing half.

The sun was scorching outside so I had the Milky Way ($7) which is pretty much white cold brew. Again the coffee passed with flying colours and it's probably the saving grace for my overall experience.

I noted that the food took a while to be served probably due to the high traffic flow. The food on our table, the next table and the next next table were all plated in delicious fashion. It really left my companion and I scratching our heads if we ordered the wrong dishes. We weren't impressed by the food at Columbus Coffee Co and really should I return it'll be for the coffee and no food.

Columbus Coffee Co
220 Upper Thomson Road, S574352

Saturday, 12 May 2018

On the Bab - Korean Casual Dining in London

On the Bab is a popular Korean casual dining restaurant serving Korean street and home-styled food. It is opened by restaurateur Linda Lee who has over 12 years of experience in London running restaurants. On the Bab itself has 4 outlets. Vain Pot recommended the place to me because I told her I wish to try somewhere the locals frequent. There was already a queue when we got there attesting to its popularity. (you got to forgive the shaky images because it's the first time I'm using my new Olympus PEN E PL 8 to take food at night)

We started our meal with the Yangyum Chicken which apparently is the highlight of the restaurant. Fried chicken is a classic Korean dish. I picked the Garlic Mayo which Vain Pot tried before, she said it is the best among the choices. I felt that the chicken was well fried and the sauce was really well concocted. It definitely gave an addictive kicker to the dish. As much as I enjoyed the dish, Korean Chicken in general rarely appeals to me, just feels like junk food. Having said that, I'm pretty certain Korean Chicken fans will be lapping this up just like Vain Pot did!

The On the Roll (Spicy Pork) appealed a lot better to me. I liked how the rolls were sliced thinly making each mini roll bite size. There's a good mix of vegetables typical in all Korean dishes with the spicy pork giving very good balance to the dish. I like how the crunchy rice rolls felt really light when I ate them and this meant I can consume more without feeling excessively full. I felt a little bit more Korean with every bite.

The Soondubu Jjigae is another very traditional Korean dish. It's a stew made up of tofu, seafood and egg. The weather was around 8 degrees while I was enjoying this meal so you can imagine how comforting a bowl of hot stew feels. Again, I'm typically not a fan of tofu stews in Singapore but this particular one saw me cleaning the bowl. The soup had mild spiciness and it's power packed with flavour. I love how the tofu and egg is cooked till creamy you can just slurp it up. In chilly London, having this stew simply added warm and fuzziness to our dining experience.

Covent Garden's On the Bab is not only known for food but also for its drinks. Vain Pot and I both had Soju Cocktails and it made the meal more satisfying. I'll certainly recommend this place for a good catch up with friends as this place offers not only comfort food but also a decent selection of drinks to chill out.

On the Bab (Covent Garden)
36 Wellington Street London, WC2E7BD

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Food to enjoy while travelling solo in London

London, a city bursting with diversity in terms of culture, people and food. In my case, especially food. Having recently upgraded my iPhone camera to the Olympus Pen E Pl-8, I pretty much structured my itinerary around taking photos this trip. The photo you see here is the classic red telephone booth with the under-construction Big Ben in the background. Aside from scenery which might be reserved for another post in the future, travelling solo while Vain Pot works means that I've to find 1 person meals.

Shake Shack

Shake Shack is a fast-food chain originating from New York. Unlike other fast food chains I see in London like Subway, KFC, Burger King and Mcdonald's, Shake Shack hasn't found its way to Singapore yet. Hence, dining at Shake Shack feels like an affordable novelty for me. A beef free diet means a limited selection of burgers I can try from this fast food joint. Beef lovers will have no problems dining here. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my Chick n Shack burger a lot. It's sufficiently tender, fried till crispy without the excessive sauces found in other fast food burger joints. I'm happy the flavour isn't compromised as well. I liked it that I can customize my meal and I enjoyed the classic vanilla shake that I ordered.

Shake Shack (Covent Garden)
Covent Garden, 24 Market Building, The Piazza, WC2E 8RD

Tea Room at Bun House

Tea Room & Bun House are two concepts housed in the same location. On the top floor is the Bun House where it looks like a traditional Chinese Tea House. The Tea Room located on the basement looks really eerie for my first time visit. The green lighting coupled with the fact the place was empty when I was there made the entire experience unforgettable. I made the eerie trip to the Tea Room specially for the Fried Cheong Fun which is new on the menu. The dish met my expectations though some might find it leaning towards the saltier side. I felt that the dish achieved the wok hei taste and the egg with the runny yolk blended excellently with Fried Cheong Fun. Perhaps the owners of the restaurant can incorporate some XO sauce to complete the dish!

Tea Room at Bun House
23 Greek Street, WID 4DZ

Saint Aymes

Saint Aymes can be distinctively identified through its framed wisteria. One of the most instagrammable cafes in London, it stands out also because visitors prefer sitting outside the cafe rather than inside! Such is the popularity of the external tables, the owners placed a 1 hour dining time on them.

During my visit, I had a unicorn cookie, the cake of the day and the unicorn latte. Half the time, I was busier with my camera than pigging on the food. If you have a sweet tooth, this place is perfect for you. If not, you better love photography. I found sitting outside the cafe with delectable food while enjoying a good book (currently reading How to be a Bawse by Lily Singh) to be a very pleasurable activity. Some of the other patrons chose to people watch and simply enjoy some me-time.

Saint Aymes
59 Connaught Street, Connaught Village Hyde Park London, W2 2BB

Chin Chin Labs

Chin Chin Labs are best known for their nitrogen ice cream and hot chocolate with mashmellows. I actually went to Hawker Feast with Vain Pot. So yeap, dinner isn't solo. Still if you are alone and looking to try some street food, I felt that Chin Chin Lab's Hot Chocolate with Marshmellows to be a perfect treat to end the day. In this cooling London weather, Chin Chin Lab's hot chocolate adds a bitter sweet finale to the day. The chocolate has adequate thickness and has a hint of bitterness from dark chocolate. The thick slab of torched marshmellows offered a melted sweetness that blended perfectly with the bitter chocolate. It's an excellent beverage on a cold day.

Chin Chin Lab (Hawker Feast)
Canada Street, London SE16 7PJ
(do note that the Hawker Feast is only available on Fridays and Saturdays after 5pm)