I love weekends where I get to catch up with old friends. Life moves so quickly in London and everyone lives such busy lives, that even though you live down the street from a friend, you could go months without seeing them. I truly cherish the times I do get to spend some quality time with good friends and it was so lovely to see my dear friend and fellow blogger, Lauren, a few weeks ago ahead of our trip to Bali.
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Jay Rayner’s writing masterclass at Brasserie Zedel in Piccadilly. A highly entertaining afternoon, Jay talked us through all of the methods and structural tips he uses to write his notoriously witty restaurant reviews. Amongst the invaluable advice he offered for column writing, the biggest take away from the writing class was the importance of telling a story through the article itself and keeping your reader at the engaged and at the forefront. I walked away inspired and ready to take on the challenge of improving my writing through all the techniques and tricks I had learned in his class.
Duck and Waffle in the Heron Tower is a restaurant that is near and dear to my heart. Ciaran and I went on our first date to Duck and Waffle and go back annually for special occasions, you can read all about my 25th birthday celebration at D&W here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am a sucker for a good view! Well, Dan Doherty and the D&W crew have come back down to earth and have opened Duck and Waffle Local, a fantastic offspring to my favourite 24-hour sky-high eatery.
My love of finding authentic and delicious American food in London is well documented on this blog and I can’t help but rave when I find one that hits so close to home, it practically transports me, for a mere matter of minutes, back to the USA. Liberty Cheesesteak Company is one of those gems in London that only comes across so often, that evokes great memories of going to high school on the East Coast and driving to Philadelphia just to eat a Philly Cheesesteak. These guys are the real deal and it was such a pleasure being able to meet the team behind these awesome cheesesteaks and try them out too.
First off, for those of you who are reading this post and don’t know what a Philly Cheesesteak is, you are in a for a real treat. An authentic cheesesteak is made with well-seasoned rib eye beef, cheese, and more specifically “Wiz,” (no not the spray kind) and sautéed onions, all placed delicately on a fresh, soft Italian sub. It’s basically heaven in the form of a sandwich. The Philly Cheesesteak Company is the very first in London to bring real Philly Cheesesteaks to London, do not be fooled by the many imposters out there.
We visited The Philly Cheesesteak Co. on a chilly Saturday afternoon in Old Spitalfields Market. They’ve got an awesome truck decked out to represent all that is great about the City of Brotherly Love – Phillies baseball memorabilia, the Liberty Bell, stars and stripes – it’s great, you can’t miss it! We were greeted by Philly native, PJ Teti, who left his London corporate job to bring a taste of his hometown to the Big Smoke. One day, PJ was really craving a Philly Cheesesteak and started to question why he couldn’t get a great one in London. It was at that moment, a few years ago, that he started experimenting with different ingredients at home to create his hometown comfort food. After a lot of trial and error, PJ got it right and with that, The Liberty Cheesesteak Company was born! Let freedom ring.
The menu is filled with the classics – traditional Philly Cheesesteaks as well as specials such as Chicken Cheesesteaks. When you go to Liberty Cheesesteak Co, the key is knowing how to order and rehearse it ahead of time. Do you want a whole or a half sandwich? What kind of cheese – Wiz or Provolone (both are awesome but you need to try the Wiz) and Wit or Witout (onions). Put it altogether and you get “Whole + Wiz + Wit” or “Half + Provolone + Witout.” Simple. PJ treated us to two Italian hoagies, and 2 Wholes, one with Wiz, the other with provolone, both Wit, alongside a Soda Folk Cream Soda and Root Beer.
I grew up eating Italian hoagies when I lived in New Jersey and these were out of this world. I know you’re thinking it’s just a sandwich, but honestly, you haven’t tried a real sandwich in London until you’ve tried these. Filled with capicola, prosciutto, genoa salami, soprassata salami, lettuce, red onion, tomatoes, red wine vinegar, olive oil and dried oregano, rolled together on their own freshly made hoagie rolls. It was love at first bite, a real crowd pleaser. We did save room though for the stars of the show and happily took half home to enjoy for dinner later.
Next up were the mind blowingly awesome Philly Cheesesteaks, packed with flavourful chunks of prime rib eye that they butcher themselves, sautéed onions, and the secret ingredient that ties it all together – the Wiz. What is Wiz you may be wondering? Made locally with 99.9% real cheese, PJ has perfected the technique of creating this gooey cheese, which you can see in action if you go visit them in Spitalfields. The combination of the meat, the bread and the Wiz is extraordinary and it brought back such great memories of home. It was definitely the best Philly I’ve had and it was refreshing to have a hearty, comforting sandwich.
Provolone cheese is nearly impossible to find over here and it was a real treat to have it on my Philly Cheesesteak. I love Wiz, but I think you can taste the flavour of the meat more with a lighter, but sharper provolone. The bread also must be talked about. Typically, authentic Philly cheesesteaks come on Amoroso bread, hearth-baked bread rolls. You can’t really find them outside of the East Coast, much less London or the UK in general. PJ pretty much perfected his own version of Amoroso’s famous Italian hoagies, and it’s unlike any bread you’ll have in London. It’s something you need to eat for yourself to understand.
The look of pure joy.
Washed down with Soda Folk pop. How cool are these cans?
It was a fantastic afternoon with some real deal Philly Cheesesteaks. The passion for creating not only authentic food, but an authentic American experience for the people of London was so evident and it was truly inspiring talking to PJ and hearing about the roots of the company. There’s a lot of soul there and if you visit for yourself, you’ll see what I mean, and you’ll walk away very very happy after your Philly Cheesesteak feast.
I can’t wait what to see what they’ve got planned for Soho over the next few months… stay tuned!
The Liberty Cheesesteak Company | Spitalfields Market | Lamb Street | E1 6EA | Daily
- Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday – 11:30 – 16:00
- Thursday/Friday – 11:30 – 19:00
- Saturday/Sunday – 12:00 – 17:00
City Point | 1 Ropemaker Street | London | EC2Y 9JU | Every Wednesday & Friday fro 11am to 2pm.
*A huge thank you to the Liberty Cheesesteak Co for the awesome hospitality.
Have you ever fallen in love with a restaurant? I know this might sound silly, but every so often, I visit a restaurant that has that real wow-factor, ticks all the boxes and makes me want to come back time and time again. Kurobuta in Chelsea was one of those restaurants.
Arguably one of the edgiest restaurants on the King’s Road, Kurobuta takes inspiration from the Izakayas of Japan and serves up outstanding tapas-style dishes that cleverly fuses Japanese and Australian influences. As we walked in, we were greeted by the bubbly hostess who led us through the eclectic restaurant that was filled with rock n’ roll posters, dim-lighting and Japanese anime art. It was definitely funky and we definitely loved its unique nature from the start.
It was one of my last free days before starting a new job and I met up with my fellow Kansas gal, Claire for a lazy Friday lunch to catch up. We kicked off our lunch with a bottle of prosecco and were left to have a look over the phenomenal-sounding menu, which is filled with everything from sushi and snacks to BBQ and kimchee and even a “Junk Food Japan” menu that we were definitely on board with.
The expertly curated menu was devised by ex-Nobu chef, Scott Hallsworth, who has cooked for the likes of Michael Jackson, the Beckhams and even catered for Roman Abramovich’s private box at Chelsea Football Club. Needless to say, we knew we were in for something spectacular.
With so much to choose from, we asked our server what she would suggest and she advised ordering three dishes each to share and told us some of her favourites along with some signature plates. She was the expert – so we ordered all the superb sounding dishes she recommended.
While we clinked glasses and toasted to Friday, our lovely server brought us out Flamed Edamame with sake, lemon butter and maldon salt to munch on before the real feast came out.
Before we knew it, we were presented with a gorgeous plate of Yellowtail Sashimi with Kizami Wasabi Salsa and Yuzu Soy from the ‘Raw Salad’ menu. Expertly cut pieces of delicate sashimi looked almost too pretty to eat, but we dove in fork first. The Yuzu-Soy added a punchy tang whilst the Wasabi Salsa added the perfect amount of heat to the light yellowtail. We both agreed, this was definitely a star dish and one that we would gladly order again.
We also ordered the Beef Fillet Tataki with onion ponzu topped with garlic crisps. Another stunning dish, the beef fillet was incredibly tender and packed with flavour. The garlic crisps added a lovely crunch to the delicate layers of beef, which melted in our mouths bite after bite.
From the Robata Grill, we ordered the BBQ Pork Belly in Steamed Buns with Peanut Soy. This was the most mind-blowing dish of our lunch and we only wished we had ordered two plates of these so we didn’t have to share. The pork belly was cooked to perfection – tender and juicy. We slathered the salty peanut sauce all over and enjoyed every last bite of these heavenly morsels. To say these were incredible would be an understatement.
Another highlight was the Tuna Sashimi Pizza with Truffle Ponzu and Wasabi Tobiko, from the Junk Food Japan Menu. This pizza is truly legendary and one of the most popular dishes on the menu. A twist on traditional pizza, the crust was crunch and buttery whilst the tuna sashimi was packed with flavour from the aromatic truffle ponzu and spice from the Wasabi Tobiko. One thing we must note is that Scott Hallsworth definitely knows how to play on textures. The crunchy base paired with the delicate tuna sashimi was delectable.
We also ordered the Wagyu beef sliders in steamed buns with crunchy onion pickled cucumber and Umami Mayo from the Junk Food Japan menu. The Wagyu was perfectly cooked and tender and I really enjoyed the Umami mayo and crunchy onions with them.
We did fit some greens in with this exceptional lunch and ordered the Kale Salad Oshitashi with Goma Tofu-Lemon dressing and crushed nuts. I loved all of the crunch in this dish. Kale has a tendency to be a bit soggy, but that was certainly not the case here. It was crisp and refreshing and the dressing added a great deal of flavour. We both wished we could eat this for lunch everyday.
We didn’t want our spectacular lunch to end, but alas, all good things must come to an end sooner or later. We gulped up what was left of our prosecco, said our goodbyes and headed off to Peckham to check out an art gallery, but eventually ended up at Frank’s rooftop bar for more tipples and the sunset.
Kurobuta is, without a doubt, one of the best restaurants on the King’s Road and definitely my new favourite in London. We loved the edgy vibe, the phenomenal food and fantastic service. Each dish is made with such care and precision, it is blatantly obvious how talented Scott and his team are. We already can’t wait to come back and try out more dishes from the stellar menu.
Kuruobuta | 312 King’s Rd | London | SW3 5UH | Book Now
Thank you, Kurobuta for the kind hospitality. It was great!
It was a gorgeous Saturday when Ciaran and I ventured over to Chelsea for lunch at the delightful Artisan Bistro. It’s a charming little hang out for brunch, lunch or dinner and is a lovely walk from Earl’s Court Station.
From the moment you walk in to this great little Bistro, you will be whisked away to a lovely window table or even better, the garden tucked away in the back where they grow their own produce that is used in many of their recipes. The interior is bright and features beautiful artwork, a quaint bar area and a private alcove that is ideal for group dinners. There is definitely a West Village, NYC vibe that we absolutely loved.
Seeing as it was a beautiful sunny day, we took a seat outside in the back garden and soaked up the sunshine as much as we could, along with a lovely bottle of crisp Sauvignon Blanc and warm, freshly baked bread and olive oil. We spoke with the owner a bit about the concept of The Artisan Bistro, which features Mediterranean cuisine with an American-inspired twist. The menu is incredible and includes hits such as lobster mac ‘n cheese, sirloin steak, burgers, fresh fish, etc. – there is something delicious that will take everyone’s fancy. As we looked over the menu, we decided it was best to leave it up to the owner to surprise us. Each dish sounded delectable, so we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed.
To start off, we indulged in Padron Peppers and grilled pineapple – the ideal salty and sweet combination.
Absolutely incredible grilled prawns in a squid ink polenta – which we both agreed was outstanding.
And the creme de la creme of aubergine – crisped to perfection with a soy bean caramel glaze. Hands down, this is one of the best dishes I’ve ever had. I normally would have never ordered aubergine as a starter, but I am so glad that we had an the opportunity to try this stunning dish and I can’t recommend it enough.
Next up were the dreamy Shetland Mussels – steamed with garlic, shallots and white wine. The owner told us that in all of his travels, he thinks that mussels from England are the best of the best – and I have to agree. These were delicious and even made Ciaran, who never liked mussels before, a big fan.
All of the dishes were absolutely outstanding, but this lobster mac n’cheese hit it it out the park. Served with a shot of prosecco on the side, this dish was perfectly cheesy, creamy and had just the right amount of lobster. Not too much or too little, simply perfect. Mac ‘n Cheese has become a really popular dish in London, which has always been a bit odd to me being from the US. I grew up eating Kraft mac ‘n cheese at home, so I normally avoid ordering it over here as a main dish. I sure am glad though that we got to try this gem. It is comfort food at its finest. Give it a go, indulge – you won’t have any regrets. I promise.
We took a respite for a while and enjoyed a refreshing glass of rosé whilst we raved about each and every dish we just had. It started to sprinkle a bit outside (that’s London for you!) so we moved inside for dessert.
Ciaran and I both have sweet tooths from time to time, so we had to indulge in a couple different desserts to balance out the savoury dishes we had just enjoyed. This mini chocolate souffle with raspberry ice cream hit the spot. Souffle is typically quite difficult to master, but The Artisan Bistro nailed it.
And my summertime favourite – rhubarb crumble with raspberry cream. Admittedly, I stole this one for myself and enjoyed every last bite. The rhubarb was fresh and the crumble was buttery and perfectly balanced out by the refreshing raspberry cream. It was a blissful way to end our stellar lunch.
If you are in the Chelsea neighbourhood, live in London, or are even visiting the city, I can’t recommend this awesome neighbourhood hangout enough. It quickly became one of our favourites and we can’t wait to head back! The service, ambiance and food are impeccable. For a great date or catch up with friends, make the Artisan Bistro your next go-to!
The Artisan Bistro | 14 Hollywood Rd | Chelsea | SW10 9HY | Book Now
We were guests of The Artisan Bistro, but all views and opinions are always my own (and it was great!)
Happy 4th of July to my fellow American expats in London! As some of you may know, I am originally from Kansas City, and BBQ is a HUGE deal out there and to me. So I celebrated 4th of July weekend the best way I know how – with some cowtown comfort food at Red’s True BBQ in Shoreditch. A while back, I decided to start a BBQ series and have made it a mission to find the best Q that London has to offer. After visiting the outstanding Shotgun BBQ, and the less than stellar Red Dog Saloon, it was time to try Red’s, and boy did it deliver.
Earlier in the day, we had planned to go to Spitalfields Market to do some shopping. We walked down Rivington Street and the glorious smell of BBQ hit our noses, leading us to follow the trail to find out where this smokey incense was coming from, until we hit Red’s True BBQ on Great Eastern Street. The delicious smell alone made us both agree in unison that we had to give it a shot and in we went.
From the moment we stepped foot inside, there was no question as to whether Red’s uses smokers to give their prime cuts of meat that intense and authentic flavour. I mean, to be honest, there was really no doubt about it at all as we could smell it from all the way down the street! As you can see below, they put the wood in the smoker, which helps give the meat that awesome flavour.
We took our seats and our server walked us through the menu, which all sounded delectable – brisket, ribs, burnt ends, pulled pork, buttermilk slaw, cornbread- you name it, they had it. We had a look over the menu and I was THRILLED to see that Red’s carries PBR beer! I’ve yet to come across a place in London that carries this beer, so if you have any insight as to who else stocks it, please comment below. The amazing smell coming from the smokers combined with the fact that they carry a beer that I love from the US, made me feel like I was in my hometown again.
Red’s has an array of authentic BBQ sauces to sample – North Carolina, South Carolina, KC, their own ketchup and Triple Hot Sauce. The KC BBQ sauce was true to form with a sweet and tangy flavour that I couldn’t get enough of. Great news is that these are all now stocked in Tesco!
Ciaran and I both decided to order two of Red’s famous Barbecue Trays and share. Ciaran went for the USDA Black Angus Brisket & Burnt Ends, with sliced white onion, pickles, mustard caviar, sliced fresh jalapeños and white bread to soak it all up. The USDA Black Angus Brisket is smoked for 12 hours while the incredible Burnt Ends are smoked for 16! Each of the Barbecue trays include two sides. Ciaran went for a salad and BBQ greens.
Anybody that knows me, knows I am not a huge fan of greens (I know, it’s awful), but these greens were unique in that they had a garlic-buttery flavour that tasted lovely.
The Brisket and Burnt Ends were absolutely delicious. They just melted in your mouth and were so tender they broke apart instantly. The flavour was so intensely smokey, that they almost didn’t need any BBQ sauce at all (which is a sure fire way to know good BBQ from bad). Burnt Ends are a KC delicacy and these were up there, along with Shotgun’s, as some of the best I’ve had across the pond.
I opted for the Red’s Pulled Pork & Slaw, smoked for 14 hours, served with buttermilk slaw, cracklings and a Pickleback crust. Pulled Pork is my absolute favourite BBQ dish aside from burnt ends. Not that it needed it in the slightest, but I slathered mine in the Red’s KC BBQ sauce just because that’s how I like my BBQ. This pulled pork was so tender, juicy, and full of flavour, I managed to finish the majority of it in about 5 minutes. I’m also a huge fan of coleslaw – so much so that Ciaran makes fun of me because I’ll eat it with any meal (alongside corn on the cob). This buttermilk slaw was not too creamy, but just right and accompanied the pulled pork perfectly.
My two sides were the Sweet Potato Corn Bread and the Giant Onion Rings. That Sweet Potato Corn Bread was one of the best things I have ever eaten. I mean, I couldn’t stop eating it and again, it went so well with the pulled pork. I must get the recipe to re-create it at home. The Giant Onion Rings were battered to perfection and deliciously crunchy – they were, no doubt, an Onion Ring Lover’s dream.
After polishing off nearly every last bite, we sat back, relaxed and raved about how fantastic this BBQ is. It’s top notch Q in London and we will no doubt be back to try some other dishes – namely the ribs and chicken.
For those of you who like to take a walk on the wild side, the most outrageous dish on the menu is the Donut Burger – Two patties, melted cheese, smoked peppered bacon, crispy onion and Dirty sauce, all in between two sweet glazed donuts. Think you could handle it?
As we were heading out, the manager asked if we wanted to take a peek inside the kitchen to see where the magic happened, which was very exciting to see!
Red’s uses two huge smokers and even leaves them on through the night to smoke their meats. They opened up the door and smoke flew out – making our eyes water from the intensity. So worth it though to have a look behind the scenes.
Check out all that burnt end goodness. These are thrice smoked and again, top notch.
It was a brilliant Saturday afternoon and great to celebrate 4th of July weekend with some Kansas City-style comfort food. We walked out feeling happy and full, which is how you should feel after a BBQ feast. I also want to note that we were in shock when the bill came and it was only £32! For all the phenomenal food we ordered and the portion sizes of each dish, I think this is fantastic value for money, especially in London.
Know any good BBQ places in London? Comment below and let me know for my next BBQ series destination.
Wishing all of my fellow Americans a very happy 4th of July. GBA!
Red’s True BBQ | Great Eastern St | Shoreditch | EC2A 3QR | Book here
This past Saturday, Ciaran and I were running a few errands and decided to take a stroll over to Clapham Old Town afterwards to check out the area. It’s a really cute and quiet area just a short walk away from Clapham Common tube and is filled with great restaurants, cafés and beer gardens to relax on in the summer. We were both starving and ducked into 22 North Street for a quick bite to eat for lunch before walking back home.
22 North Street is an award-winning seasonal British restaurant with an ever-changing menu of innovative dishes and great selection of wine. The interior is quite rustic with wooden gothic chairs and tables and exposed brick walls. A really cool aspect of this restaurant is that it has a hidden dining room behind a discreet bookcase that can host up to 12 people.
The chairs themselves were quite unique and I really love all of the wine decor, especially these gorgeous wine glass chandeliers…
We took our seats and had a look over the menu. They have a great lunch menu featuring everything from simple burgers to crab ravioli and everything in between. There’s something for everybody. It was astonishing that there were fabulous options on the menu for only £6.99!
Ciaran and I ordered a garlic flat bread between us to share, which was delicious and inhaled within a matter of seconds.
Ciaran opted for the Pan-fried Hallomi and tomato burger. I had a small bite and thought it was great. Simple dishes are sometimes the best. No frills, just great food. Halloumi is quickly becoming one of my favourite cheeses to incorporate into salads when we have dinner at home. It’s not huge in the US and something I had never tried until I moved over here. If you are in the US and get a chance to try it, I highly recommend!
I chose the Roast duck salad with watermelon, cashews, mint and soy-sesame oil. I loved this dish. The sweetness of the watermelon was balanced with the saltiness of the duck and sesame oil and the mint was refreshing. It’s definitely a dish I’d love to recreate at home. The duck was perfectly cooked and it was just the right amount for lunchtime.
All three dishes made the ideal lunch and for just £17, you can’t beat it! Wonderful atmosphere, service and food right here in our neighbourhood. If you are in the Clapham area, I suggest coming to 22 North Street for a wine tasting and dinner. We will definitely be back soon!
22 North Street | Clapham Old Town | SW4 0HB
A new healthy food concept called S.H.O.T. – Simple, Healthy, Organic Tasty – has just opened up in St. Paul’s and it’s pretty incredible. SHOT specialises in a range of cold press juices, super food smoothies, a delicious food menu and best of all, a delectable selection of homemade chocolate bars that to me, are even better than actual candy bars. The menu at SHOT is absolutely free of chemicals and refined sugars, and is 100% organic and unprocessed. As someone who admittedly isn’t the best eater on the planet (hello PB&J’s for lunch), I was blown away at how great the food tasted for being so nourishing and clean. If only all healthful food tasted this good…
SHOT is bright and airy, with white tiled tables and counters, colourful neon signs and thriving chilli plants decorating the table. It’s the ideal lunch spot to grab and go or enjoy a quick bite to eat inside.
Their special homemade chocolate bars were lining the table when I first walked in on the night of the launch, so naturally a made a B-line to try them all. Inspired by Mars Bars, Snickers and Bounty Bars, SHOT’s versions are filled with more beneficial ingredients, including dates, cashews, raw chocolate and cacao to name a few.
These ganache oat bars were absolutely dreamy, and the Ma’s Bars were out of this world. Gooey, melt in your mouth, delicious. Everybody at the launch wanted to take a few of them home to enjoy later (myself included).
I’ll take the whole platter of these Lime & Ginger Cake slices, please.
SHOT makes a selection of cold press juices that fill you up and give you an energy boost. Options include: Apple, Cucumber and Cayenne, Beetroot Apple and Carrot, Carrot, Apple and Ginger and Pear, Kale and Cucumber. The Apple, Cucumber and Cayenne is my personal favourite and has a real kick.
Beauty smoothie, anyone? SHOT has a range of low-cal super food smoothies packed with fruit and nourishing ingredients.
Let’s talk about the food – All of the dishes are incredibly flavoursome. I have found that a lot of healthier dishes elsewhere lack in flavour and can be disappointing. SHOTs dishes are happily the opposite. Highlights include Spicy Chicken Pho with homemade bone broth and sous vide chicken, Baked Fish Cake, and a Thai Fish Curry. Other menu items include a selection of salads, sandwiches and wraps and hot dishes. It’s really hard for me to pin point a favourite, as I thought all of them were stunning both in presentation and in taste.
If you’re on the quest to be healthier or if you’re already a self proclaimed health nut, SHOT is an awesome-go-to lunch spot for clean, chemical free, organic and unprocessed food that is astonishingly delicious. If you’re like me and love colourful and flavourful dishes that are balanced, nourishing and substantial, then pop SHOT on your bucket list and check it out soon.
23/23A Bride Lane
St. Paul’s, EC4Y 8DT
Thanks for reading! x