Nirvana Kitchen – A Hidden Marylebone Gem

Nirvana Kitchen is a stylish neighbourhood restaurant tucked away in the beautiful Montcalm Hotel in the heart of Marylebone. The restaurant specialises in simple Pan-Asian dishes that are ideal for sharing. The chef incorporates flavours from the Indian Ocean to the Far East, a menu that clearly goes beyond “simple,” moreover, it’s delicious dining that I was so impressed by.

As we arrived, we were greeted warmly by the lovely hostess. The restaurant features elegant windows, warm woods and leather chairs – it is stylish and has an air of sophistication about it – a restaurant you’d come to to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries or a special event.

All of the dishes on the menu sound fantastic – small dishes for sharing, charcoal dishes, curry pots and desserts – all grabbed my attention and had me wanting to try a little bit everything.

Our server recommended the Duck and Watermelon Salad, served with mandarin, pomegranate, basil, coriander, cashew and hoisin sauce. The duck is slow-cooked for 12 hours, making it mouthwateringly tender. The saltiness of the duck combined with the sweet watermelon and mandarin made this a winning dish that kept us coming back bite after bite. For veggies out there, they do a vegetarian version. The table next to us had to ask the server if their veggie rendition was made with actual duck – that’s how good this dish is.

We also shared the Crispy Salted Squid with cucumber, lemongrass and ginger sauce. The lemongrass and ginger sauce really made the dish – a light and fresh dipping sauce that elevated the salty squid. The squid was perfectly cooked – not rubbery in the slightest and delicately crispy.

For our mains, we tucked into the Chilean Sea Bass, a signature dish on the menu that the team really take pride in – and for good reason – because it was one of the very best seafood dishes I’ve ever had. Tamarind glazed served with pickled cucumber and caramelised cashew ‘Gajak’ made for an absolutely stunning dish. The sea bass was buttery, sweet, incredibly tender and perfectly cooked. My only complaint is that there wasn’t more! Weeks later, and I am still craving that Sea Bass.

Ciaran went for the Nyona Chicken Curry, Nirvana’s own take on the classic Nyona, which fuses Chinese ingredients with Malaysian spices and cooking techniques. The curry is stewed in a coconut curry with spices, potatoes, and a poached duck egg. I love this dish because it wasn’t too spicy and all of the ingredients added such depths of flavours. Every bite tasted a little bit different – sweet, smokey, and incredibly aromatic. It was incredibly filling, just like any good curry should. To mop it all up, we dove into the Roti Canai – a classic Malay Paratha – it was like a cross between a croissant and an Indian paratha bread – flakey and buttery. I loved it, it was absolutely delicious.

To cap off our incredible dinner, we indulged in a chocolate molten cake with pistachio ice cream – a decadent treat to end our fantastic evening.

All of the dishes at Nirvana Kitchen are outstanding. I was so impressed by the phenomenal cooking and also greatly enjoyed how leisurely our dinner was. All of the dishes came out at a perfect pace – one at a time, so you could take your time to enjoy the evening. The servers are all very knowledgable and friendly.

Nirvana Kitchen is an absolute gem in the heart of Marylebone – perfect for date nights, special occasions or a leisurely dinner with friends. Take my word for it and book it for your next evening out!

Nirvana Kitchen, 61 Upper Berkeley St, Marylebone, London W1H

Brunching at The Balcon

Brunching on the weekends is one of my favourite things to do and London is full of fabulous spots to catch up with friends over some bubbly. The Balcon at Sofitel London St. James is ideal for a lazy and luxurious bunch with twists on French classics.

The restaurant is conveniently located just a stone’s throw away from Trafalgar Square. As you walk in to the gorgeous venue, you will be met with a stunning double spiral staircase with an elegant champagne bar below, ideal for a pre-brunch bellini or Bloody Mary, of which the Balcon has a fantastic selection of.

It’s not hard to fall in love with the decadent interior decor of The Balcon – rich golden tones with black and pale wood, striped piquet flooring, unique chandeliers that adorn the ceiling and beautiful bay windows that the sunlight to drips through, creating a bright and airy atmosphere. The Balcon also has its very own Bloody Mary bar, where you can choose your sauce along with your favourite vodka, pickles, lemons, bacon sticks – anything you fancy – perfect for recovering after a fun night out. 

Our lovely server showed us to our table and poured us two glasses of champagne to kick off our Saturday brunch. We had a look over the brunch menu, which is split into sections of Mains, Grill, Fruits, Seeds, Eggs & Co, and sides. The cuisine is primarily French with a British twist that is both contemporary and indulgent.

My friend and I started off with the Lobster Benedict, recommended to us by our server. This dish did not disappoint – huge pieces of succulent poached lobster, dripping in rich hollandaise sauce on a fluffy English muffin was divine. I went for the Soft Shell Crab, celeriac remoulade on a fried egg roll, which was also a lovely dish that hit the spot. The soft shell crab was lightly fried and the celeriac remoulade added a hint of tang to the crunchy sandwich. 

As it was our #cheatday, we ordered a few sides to share between us including the irresistible grilled halloumi and rosemary fries. Both of which were excellent – salty, moreish and addicting – they were the perfect accompaniments to our decadent brunch.

We were just on the verge of skipping out on dessert, but given that the sweet options on the menu all sound glorious, we couldn’t say no. We shared the Pistachio waffle with strawberries, cream and mint. A dish we both agreed we wouldn’t have ordered unless it was recommended to us and so pleased that we did because it was lush.  The pistachio waffle on its own was fantastic, and even better with the strawberries and cream. There was a hint of mint that cut the sweetness ever so slightly, making it a really refreshing way to end our lovely brunch.

The weekend brunch at The Balcon is a fabulous option, whether you are catching up with a friend or getting together with a group of your best girlfriends. The service is impeccable and the food is wonderful. They offer a bottomless brunch option as well, with free flowing champagne, a Bloody Mary, viennoiseries, a savoury dish and a pastries for £49.

The Balcon, 8 Pall Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 5NG, Book Now! 

Curry Night at Pure Indian Putney

Indian food has quickly become one of my favourites since I moved to London 2.5 years ago. It’s savoury, comforting and I always feel happier after eating a wonderful curry. While I am partial to the Indian food at all of Vivek Singh’s restaurants (Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Kitchen, Cinnamon Soho and Cinnamon Bazaar), I do love discovering new and unique Indian restaurants around London and was so pleased to be invited to try out Pure Indian, a brand new restaurant conveniently located right outside Putney Bridge Station.

Pure Indian is owned by husband and wife duo Faheem Vanoo and Shilpa Dandekar, both of whom started their careers at the Taj Group in India and carried on to hone their skills at high end London restaurants such as the Bombay Brasserie and it’s Michelin-starred counterpoint Quilon and Brasserie Blanc. Needless to say, the team have true talent that exceedingly shines through in the food at their latest venture.

When we arrived at Pure, we were instantly put at ease as we were shown to our table. The restaurant itself is unpretentious and makes for a great local family Indian restaurant if you live in the area. The service is fantastic and friendly and it’s one of those restaurants you really feel you can relax and unwind in.

We ordered a couple of beers to start off with because in my mind, there is nothing better paired with curry than a light beer.

Followed by salty poppadoms and an array of chutneys to munch on whilst we looked over the menu…

I loved the unique take on the original poppadoms – fluffy, crispy and salty morsels appeared in front of us with a mango and tomato chutney – no mint yoghurt in sight. The entire menu sounds delicious, so we asked our server to bring out a selection of dishes for us to try and we certainly were not disappointed.

Seared scallops with pickled beetroot, mango and chilli – cooked perfectly and tasted nice and fresh.

Followed by a vibrant plate of Patra Chaat topped with yoghurt, date and tamarind chutney, pomegranates, onions and tomatoes. I absolutely love chaat, and the amalgamation of flavours and textures makes this popular Indian snack quite addicting.

The Kori Kempu – chicken marinated in spices tossed in yoghurt and chilli was fantastic. Small bites of crispy chicken that had just enough kick without being overpowering.

The team brought out a spread of mains for us to try including Kalimich ka murgh – a mild dish of malai chicken tikka cooked in cashew nuts with yohurt, fresh mint and black peppercorns. The chicken was incredibly tender and the sauce was sweet and creamy – very similar to a chicken korma. Hearty and delectable – it will absolutely fill you up.

Slow-cooked lamb so tender it falls right apart. This dish was a bit too spicy for me but Ciaran absolutely loved it.

Freshly baked naan bread to mop it all up!

We sat back and relaxed with one more beer after demolishing all of the dishes. All of the dishes are elevated, sophisticated and served beautifully. I loved the laid back ambiance in the restaurant and the friendly service. My hope is to find a great local Indian similar to Pure where I live in Clapham! If you live in the Fulham, Putney area, I highly recommend this great neighbourhood Indian restaurant – you won’t regret it!

Pure Indian | 67 Fulham High St | Fulham | London | SW6 3JJ

*I was a guest on behalf of Pure Indian restaurant but all opinions are my own. 

 

Pizza Night at Firebrand Marylebone

There’s something comforting in having a good local pizza place that you go to time and time again, where you know the pizza is always going to be moreishly good, the staff friendly and the prices right. Firebrand Pizza in Marylebone is one of those hidden gems in the heart of Marylebone, just a hop, skip and a jump from where I work – ideal for those nights where we just want dinner to be easy.

The chef and owner of Firebrand Pizza has been making delicious sourdough pizzas since he was 7 years old in his native Italy and the experience shows as the pizzas are genuinely delicious. The proof is in the massive wood-fired oven that takes centre stage as soon as you walk into the quaint pizza joint.

The restaurant has a rustic feel, with local art adorning exposed brick walls and light wood tables and barstools throughout the restaurant, perfect for regulars and drop-ins.

The menu features an array of Antipasti dishes of delicious bechamel stuff champigon mushrooms, Mortadella, Spicy Salami, Parma Ham, Salami Milano and Bresola and mouth-watering prawns doused in butter and drizzled with lemon, herbs and chilli.

If the pizzas were any bit as good as our starter, we knew we’d be in for a real treat. The hardest part is choosing which one to have though – as they all sound absolutely incredible. Ndjuja, Salami, Mushroom, Tomato and Mozzarella, Goats Cheese, Caramelised Onion, Black Olives, Mozzarella and Aubergine, Courgette, Spinach, Parmesan, Mozzarella to name a few. We decided to go a bit off the beaten path and go with the server’s recommendations to share…

Taleggio, Caciotta, Parmesan and Gorgonzola for me – which was quite the guilty pleasure. Four decadent cheeses melted over a cripsy and thin sourdough base with white sauce. Each bite was different with notes of smokey, salty and indulgently cheesy.

Ciaran opted for the his go to of Spicy Salami, Roasted Peppers, Rocket, Mozzarella, Tomato – spicy, saucy and moreishly good. The pizzas are huge – I suggest if you go, bring a group of friends and share a couple pizzas between you.

To top off our indulgent, carb-laden dinner, we went for Ice Cream Union gelato – truly some of the best gelato I’ve ever tried in London. Dulce De Leche and Pistachio – both of which I was so happy we ordered. Be sure to order a bowl all to yourself because you will not want to share.

Firebrand Pizza is an awesome Marylebone locale, perfect for an easy date night and great for catching up with friends. The pizzas are delicious and the ambiance and service is wonderful. I’m looking forward to Firebrand’s roll out later this year! Hopefully they’ll open their next location in Clapham!

Firebrand Pizza | 41-43 Lisson Grove | Marylebone | London | NW1 6U

*I was a guest of Firebrand Pizza, but all opinions and views are my own. 

The Best Pho & Buns in London

If you’re a fan of the Bao craze that has swept over London, then keep reading for a hidden gem I’ve recently discovered in Central London…

Pho & Bun is a quirky little Vietnamese restaurant located on Shaftesbury Avenue right next to Soho and China Town. It’s an off-shoot of the wildly successful Viet Eat in Holborn and as it’s name suggests, serves up incredible Pho and mouthwatering buns.

The interior of Pho & Bun is cosy, with tables primarily for two and a bar area towards the back. There is colourful artwork adorning the exposed brick wall, which really transports you to the heart of a Vietnamese marketplace. There is a fantastic downstairs dining area with private grottos ideal for intimate gatherings with friends or family. 

The menu is filled with Wraps & Rolls, Rice & Vermicelli, Small Bites and of course, the legendary Pho & Bun. 

Order a few small plates to share between two, like the crispy Chilli Salt & Pepper Squid or the Prawn & Veggie Spring Rolls with Mango Salad. Two delicious dishes that will set the stage for even more goodness about to come…

The buns at Pho & Bun are truly something special. They are bigger than the average bao you’ll find elsewhere and absolutely delicious. the BBQ Honey Pork Belly with fried shallot, apple and chilli mayo is the bao of dreams. Filled to the brim with delicious tender pork belly and slathered in a delectably sweet sauce, it’s pure bliss in the form of a pillowy, decadent bun.

Lizz ordered the Crispy Tiger Prawn with pineapple, house pickle and wasabi mayo. She said it was one of the best things she’s ever eaten, and at the bargain price of £2.95, you really can’t beat it.

If something warm and hearty is more your speed, try out the legendary Pho. The traditional Vietnamese dish is healthy and flavoursome and is a great winter warmer on a chilly London night. Try out the Tender Beef Pho, packed with flavour and herbs. If you’re a vegetarian, Pho & Bun have a Crispy Tofu noodle option too.

For London’s best buns and warming Pho, head to Pho & Bun on Shaftesbury Avenue!

Pho & Bun | 76 Shaftesbury Avenue | London | W1D 6ND

Bottomless Brunch at Villandry St. James’s

Birthdays call for brunches of the bottomless variety and for my best friend’s special day we decided to try the lovely Villandry St. James’s. the-villandry-3Ciaran and I have been long-time fans of the Great Portland Street location and every time I walk past the St. James’s location, I can’t get over how stunning it looks. Plus, they have a fabulous bottomless champagne brunch every Saturday and Sunday for a steal at £40 per person.

the-villandry-2Villandry St. Jame’s is really just the perfect location as well – super close to both Piccadilly and Charing Cross – its the ideal meeting spot. Plus, Central London during the festive season is just dreamy. Villandry was decked out with beautiful Christmas wreaths and trees decorated with baubles and lights galore.

the-villandry-6As I mentioned previously, the bottomless brunch for two hours of endless champs is quite the deal. You also get your choice of pastries and an array of brunch and lunch options – Eggs Benedict, the classic Avocado Toast, Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich and the signature Villandry burger, to name a few. There’s something that will take everyone’s fancy. the-villandry-4The service was impeccable and our lovely server saw to it that we stayed topped up at all times. I don’t think my glass ever dipped below the halfway mark at any point, which is exactly what you want to happen during a bottomless brunch.

the-villandry-5“Pan au chocolat, sweet almond croissants or flaky, buttery rolls?” Our server politely asked. “We’ll take one of each!” We all said and with that our server brought us out a sumptuous array of warm pastries right out of the oven. We toasted to Lizz’s birthday and promptly tucked in. the-villandry-7We chit chatted all about Lizz’s upcoming trip back home to Australia and Amy’s plans for Christmas as the bubbles quickly made their way to our heads and we needed a bit more sustenance. We all agreed it was time to eat a little something more and our server was right by our side taking our orders. (He really was phenomenal).

the-villandry-9Poached Eggs, Avocado and Spinach on top of sourdough toast for Lizz and I, which truth be told was quite basic, but hit the spot. the-villandry-8And scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and avocado for Amy. We aren’t the most original of brunchers, but in my opinion, when you go to a bottomless brunch, the champagne or prosecco usually ends up taking centre stage. This is a great option to celebrate a birthday with girlfriends – there was actually three other groups of gals in there celebrating their friends’ birthdays too! the-villandry-1A special surprise made its way over to my dear friend Lizz as the servers, Amy and I all sang Happy Birthday in unison and smiled and cheered. I still find it very special when the servers bring out a little treat and sing for birthdays and I don’t think that will ever change no matter how old I get. I find it really thoughtful and kind when a restaurant arranges a special surprise.

the-villandry-10We all got little treats too – raspberry macarons, shortbread with raspberry, meringue and a delicious salted caramel brownie, delicately placed on the plates.

We finished our desserts, topped off our champagne and headed to the bar after our two hours was up and carried on before heading to Somerset House for ice skating (lucky for us it was sold out, because by the time we got there we were just a tinyyyyy bit too tipsy to safely do any type of skating!)

Villandry St. James’s is a beautiful restaurant with a fantastic bottomless champagne brunch on the weekends. It is the perfect spot for a leisurely outing with girlfriends and the service was impeccable.

Villandry St. James’s | 12 Waterloo Pl | St. James’s | London | SW1Y 4AU

The Newly Launched Farmer, Butcher, Chef – Sussex

The Goodwood Hotel is a fantastic countryside escape for so many reasons, which you can read about here, but one of the best aspects of the hotel is the newly launched Farmer, Butcher, Chef restaurant…

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goodwoodhotel-017959The restaurant itself is stepped in history, dating back to 1780 and was once a coaching in used to accommodate the many guests of Goodwood House.

goodwoodhotel-017961Farmer, Butcher, Chef is located just a few yards away from Home Farm and was inspired by the relationship between farmer Tim Hassell, butcher John Hearn and chef Darron Bunn. The trio work together to create an incredibly diverse menu that showcases the best meat in terms of flavour and quality. Goodwood has been farmed by the family for more than three hundred years and is one of the only self-sustaining organic farms in Europe, which enables the farmer to produce the best tasting beef, pork and lamb.

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goodwoodhotel-017945We got a chance to sit down with Chef Darron and Farmer Tim to learn more about the concept behind Farmer, Butcher, Chef. They told us that every single part of the animals are used and the availability of the produce truly does dictate the menu. They also take great care in the well-being of the animals. They also supply many cuts of meat to the Ritz in London and are very selective about who they supply to as it’s important to them to only work with companies that share their same values. With all of this in mind, it’s not surprising that Farmer, Butcher, Chef has already been one of the first to receive the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts ‘Sustainable Philosophy Seal.’

They also said that Farmer, Butcher, Chef is all about simplicity and going back to traditional techniques of cooking meat, which in my opinion, was quite refreshing. You won’t see the food come out in a dramatic fashion with a layer of dry ice drifting over it, but what you will get is simple, fresh, out-of-this-world delicious dishes that will leave a lasting impression. We asked them what the most underrated cut of meat was, and surprisingly they mentioned the Pork Collar.

goodwoodhotel-017926From the moment we stepped into Farmer, Butcher, Chef I was enamoured with it. I have always been a huge fan of farmhouse interior decor and the restaurant’s interior design was stunning, cosy and embodied what Farmer, Butcher, Chef is all about. From the dark wood floors and tables, to the mismatched plaid chairs, and all of the knick knacks on the walls, this was by far one of the most charming restaurants I’ve been too. Can I move in, please?

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goodwoodhotel-017911Isn’t it beautiful? The food though – equally as stunning. goodwoodhotel-017801We started off our spectacular dinner with a bottle of Bolney Pinot Noir, a local vineyard in West Sussex. A delicious, medium-bodied wine with notes of cherry and and hint of oak – it’s an ideal wine to drink with dark meats. goodwoodhotel-017815We enjoyed fresh, out-of-the-oven bread with salted butter to whet our appetites whilst we looked over the menu. Farmer, Butcher, Chef is able to control every aspect of the produce and the butcher designs the dishes depending on what cuts of meat are available that day. All of the ingredients used are also from local suppliers, so every thing you eat on the menu is local to West Sussex.

goodwoodhotel-017830All of the starters sounded incredible, think Venison Tartar, Crispy Oysters, Beer braised lamb belly, etc. We went with our server’s recommendations, which didn’t disappoint, including this Crusted Beef Shin with British crayfish, tarragon and chanterelles. The beef itself was incredibly tender and just broke apart as soon as you dove in with your fork. It was a stunning dish packed with natural flavours that we couldn’t get enough of.

goodwoodhotel-017840We also shared the Oregano Rubbed Pig Jowl with fennel, walnut and raisin slaw, which I loved The fresh, fruity flavours of the slaw, cut the saltiness of the tender and juicy pig jowl. I had never had Pig Jowl before and really enjoyed this cut of meat – the fat was rendered down and the meat itself was packed with flavour.

goodwoodhotel-017846All of the menu is phenomenal, you would really have to go back about 5 times to try everything you’d want to. In a bid to try as much as we could in one sitting, we went for one of their legendary Butcher’s Boards, which is a great try some of those unique cuts of meats Chef Darron told us about. You can choose from Lamb, Beef or Pork and we went for the Beef. goodwoodhotel-017849You know that saying “your eyes are bigger than your stomach,” well such is the case here, but it’s inevitable – it all just looks so good – and it is. In all honesty, three people could have shared the Butcher’s board, there was so much meat to choose from.

The butcher’s board comes with charcoal skirt steak, sticky Jacob’s ladder, oxtail faggot, crispy tongue, marrow crusted ox cheek, truffle celeriac gratin and dripping confit potatoes.

goodwoodhotel-017867We also got a side of Winter Greens and Hazelnut butter, which I’ve got to say, is the best dressing to drizzle on any salad.

goodwoodhotel-017876I really cannot say enough positive things about ALL of the meat. The skirt steak was cooked to perfection, more on the rare side but I always have it cooked the way the chef recommends. The sticky Jacob’s ladder (beef short rib) was a magnificent cut of meat that seemed to be slow cooked and fell right off the bone. t was my favourite of all the meat we tried.

goodwoodhotel-017862The braised oxtail faggot was another highlight. The rich, demi-glaze sauce that it was marinated in was excellent. Let’s just say, I wasn’t sharing this little morsel of goodness with Ciaran.

goodwoodhotel-017881The Crispy Tongue was unusual, but don’t knock it ’til you try it! It was a quite unusual texture, but I still rather enjoyed it – go for it. The dripping confit potatoes were the best I’ve ever had. We did almost order another portion, but I’m glad we didn’t because I nearly went into a meat coma after our meal.

We sat for a while and recuperated after what was a meal for the books, before tucking into our desserts (yes, there is always room for pudding).

goodwoodhotel-017887Our server suggested this heavenly Milk & Praline Bar with salted almonds and dark chocolate. It was the perfect balance of sweet and salty and a welcoming treat after our meat-laden meal.

goodwoodhotel-017890Ciaran went for this gorgeous Bramley Apple Crumble Soufflé that was absolutely delightful. The soufflé itself was light and creamy and the apple crumble was divine. I loved it. When we go back, we are going to get the cheeseboard because all of the cheese is made right there at Goodwood, which would be really interesting to try.

The entire meal was exceptional, but what resonates with me even more is Farmer, Butcher, Chef’s commitment to sustainability. I personally like knowing where the meat and produce I eat comes from and how they are being raised and treated. I really like their environmental approach of using local and seasonal produce, not letting any go to waste, and having a very strong ethical approach to handling the animals, butchery and cooking. I think more restaurants need to adopt these philosophies and stick by them.

I am so happy that I had the opportunity to dine at this very special restaurant and learn more about sustainability. The food is phenomenal, the interior is gorgeous and the values are all ones that I am personally on board with. It was an incredibly memorable and special dinner.

Thank you Farmer, Butcher, Chef for the warm hospitality. We will be back!

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Luxurious Christmas at Pan Chai Harrods

I can’t believe that Christmas is now less than a month away. 2016 has well and truly flown by. It feels like just yesterday Ciaran and I were doing our last minute Christmas shopping the day before in a manic rush to get it all done. I am sure that this year will be very much the same, except this time, I have discovered a little haven in the Food Hall of Harrods to take a much-needed shopping break/celebrate with a glass of bubbles when it’s all said and done – I’d like to introduce you to Pan Chai. 

panchaiharrodscm-017553Pan Chai is a Pan-Asian restaurant that serves up a delicious range of sushi, sashimi, ramen, nigri and more,  ideal for refuelling in between walking around London’s luxurious and beloved Harrods. As we made our way through the decadent Food Halls on the ground floor (which are definitely worth exploring), we finally found Pan Chai. The restaurant boasts 22 leather barstools situated around a curved marble topped bar. There is an open plan kitchen, where you can check out the chefs in action – freshly preparing sushi and sashmi. You are fully embracing the concept of counter culture when you come to Pan Chai, which is one of the reasons I really enjoyed it here.

panchaiharrodscm-017522On this occasion in particular, we had done a bit of shopping ourselves and were ready to tuck into one of the delectable Christmas platters available for the holidays. We started off with a glass of wine for me and a beer for Ciaran – you can’t really get through the holidays (or the shopping) without a few libations.

panchaiharrodscm-1We ordered some edamame to curb our appetites whilst the expert chefs prepared the stunning platter. Pan Chai features a few different platters on their menu that are ideal for 2 people to share depending on how hungry you are.

panchaiharrodscm_We watched the team at work, slicing delicate pieces of sashimi, carefully creating the Nigri and putting the final gold leaf touches on top of a stunning platter that was dramatically presented to us with a layer of smoky dry ice over the top. We ooo’d and aahhhed over the gorgeous plate and I took photos to my heart’s content until finally we dove in.

panchaiharrodscm-017528On the Christmas platter, you will enjoy an entire lobster with succulently sweet pieces of meat marinated in teriyaki sauce. It was absolutely delicious. Juicy pieces of lobster melted in our mouths as we sat silent and satiated.  A firm favourite and highlight of the evening. In a bid to make the lobster last a bit longer, I moved on to sampling the plump grilled scallops, also marinated in a teriyaki sauce, served in a scallop shell that were also delicious and perfectly cooked.

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panchaiharrodscm-017543The Gold Leaf Sashimi was cut to precision, featuring an array of colourful yellowtail, tuna and salmon pieces.

panchaiharrodscm-017546I loved the Nigri, which also consisted of yellowtail, tuna and salmon topped with Russian Caviar. To top off our luxurious and decadent platter, we enjoyed the waygu beef also topped with Russian Caviar. 

panchaiharrodscm-017532The Christmas Platter at Pan Chai is truly luxurious and something special to treat yourself to after a day of shopping. While it may not be the traditional Christmas platter (think turkey and cranberry sauce), it is a unique way to wind down in between the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I highly recommend stopping by for a glass of wine and relaxing with a swoon-worthy meal. Happy Holidays, everyone!

panchaiharrodscm-017564Pan Chai | Harrods | Knightsbridge | London | SW1X 7XL

I was a guest of Pan Chai Harrods but all views are my own. 

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American Gal’s Guide to Thanksgiving in London

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday – even more so than Christmas. For the most part, it is one of those holidays that brings back a lot of great memories growing up. Every family has their own traditions, but the universal commonality is that friends and family come together over the dinner table and bond over an incredible feast. We give thanks for the people in our lives and things we are fortunate for.

Thanksgiving has made its way over to the UK and there are more and more restaurants celebrating it each year with special menus and fun events. For those of you who are American expats living in London and want to celebrate with an evening out or if you’re a Londoner and simply want to jump on the Turkey-Day bandwagon before Christmas hits, I’ve rounded up London’s top places to celebrate.

BBQ Thanksgiving at Bodean’s

Make the pilgrimage over to your local Bodean’s BBQ this Thanksgiving, London’s premiere KC BBQ joint, to try out The Pilgrim Burger. Grab the family and give thanks while chowing down on a chargrilled turkey patty with cornbread stuffing, home-cured BBQ turkey ham, fresh cranberry and orange sauce, watercress and a drizzle of turkey gravy.

OR, eat your heart out with a three course feast – featuring BBQ pulled pork, chicken or veggies, followed by turkey with all the trimmings.

A Very Texan Thanksgiving at TX Joe’s

Garrison Brothers bourbon has partnered with Texas Joe’s in Bermondsey to showcase  ‘the Texan way’ of slow-smoking turkey, chipotle glazing vegetables, adding jalapeños to cornbread and Texan-measures of bourbon. Celebrate the Lone Star way with a feast the size of Texas, including smoked turkey, bone marrow mash, smoked creamed corn, chipotle-glazed sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, poblano chorizo cornbread and good old fashioned Pumpkin Pie. Wash it all down with two Texas-sized shots of Garrison Brothers Single Barrel Bourbon.

True to the tradition of celebrating ‘fall bounty’ the single priced menu of £40 per person is ‘all-you-can-eat’ including two Texas-sized shots of Garrison Brothers.

TX Joe’s | 8-9 Snowsfields | London | SE1 3SU

Thanksgiving the Absurd Bird Way

The folks at Absurd Bird are embracing the American way of life with a Thanksgiving feast inspired by the Deep South. Give thanks this year with family-style sharing dishes of spicy chilli and butternut squash soup or Mississippi Sin Di served with whole grain tortillas. Tuck into a twisted take on the classic bird with stuffed turkey crown rubbed in Southern spices, or go for something a bit more absurd with Mama’s favourite Southern style smoked whole chicken. Top it all off with Pumpkin Pie and Peanut Butter & Crack Brownies. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the libations – wash all the Southern goodness down with Hill Billy Iced Teas, laced with Absurd Bird’s home-brewed Moonshine, sweet peach tea and lemon juice.

The menu is £18.95 for two courses or £22.95 for three courses. The menu is available from 21st November – 27th November.

Absurd Bird | Delish Cafe | 25 Peter St, Soho | London | W1F 0AH

Bea’s of Bloomsbury

Bea’s of Bloomsbury, the masters of scrumptious cakes, are putting on a Thanksgiving dinner with lots of delicious pies (we know where we are getting ours from this year!) Kick off your dinner with Glorious Pumpkin Soup or Spinach, Avocado Pomegranate Walnut Salad, followed by Roasted Turkey with all the trimmings – gravy, onion stuffing, cranberry sauce. Sides include buttery mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and oven roasted sweet potatoes with rosemary (yum). Top it all off with Classic American pie, pumpkin spiced macaroons and berry passion fruit cheesecake.

The special menu is available on 24th November and is £35.50 per person.

Bea’s of Bloomsbury | 44 Theobalds Roa | London | WC1X 8NW

Thanksgiving at Home with Rhug Estate

There is nothing better than enjoying a family Thanksgiving in the comfort of your own home. Impress your guests this Thanksgiving with a luxury plump turkey from Rhug Estates. The free-range, Great Taste Award-winning Dee Valley bronze turkeys are available to order online to be delivered direct to your door. These famed feathered fowl are supplied to some of the UK’s best restaurants, so you can take solace in knowing you’ve got the most incredible turkey as your Thanksgiving centre piece! Order here: https://www.rhug.co.uk/

Eat Pumpkin Pie at Dominique Ansel Bakery

 Following the highly anticipated launch of the famed Dominique Ansel Bakery London last month,  Chef Dominique is bringing Thanksgiving tradition across the pond with an assortment of sweet signature pies. Fan-favourites served at Dominique’s famed Pie Nights in New York will be making their British debut, as the London bakery gears up to celebrate the holiday. From Wednesday 16th until Sunday 27th November, individual slices of Extra-Silky Pumpkin, Salted Caramel Apple and Bourbon Pecan Pies will be available in-store (£6 per slice). To accompany the pies, Blossoming Hot Chocolate – Chef’s homemade hot chocolate, served with a marshmallow flower bud that blooms to reveal a chocolate Bon Bon inside (£5.50) – will also be available to order. Guests can now also pre-order whole pies online (£35) for pick up in store between the same time period.

Dominique Ansel | 17-21 Elizabeth Street | London SW1W 9RP

Thanksgiving The Cure + Cut Way

You don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving leftovers to get your Turkey sandwich fix this year. Head to Cure + Cut during the week of Thanksgiving for hickory and honey smoked turkey sandwiched together with smoked bacon, celeriac slaw, cranberry sauce between slices of crusty ciabatta. I love a good sandwich.

Available from Monday 21st – Friday 27th November.

Cure + Cut | 36 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials | London WC2H 9HB

Dance Off Your Thanksgiving at Blue’s Kitchen

 The Blues Kitchen’s legendary Thanksgiving feasts are taking place on Thursday 24 November at ShoreditchCamden and Brixton. An epic menu includes a New Orleans Gumbo: Smoked sausage, chicken, okra, peppers & long grain rice, served with corn bread. Followed by Slow-Roast Turkey & Ham served with all the USA trimmings: chestnut stuffing; candied yams; cornbread; carrots; greens; red onion gravy; cranberry sauce. And a Sweet Potato Pie with bourbon and orange cream for dessert.

Priced at £29.95 per person and including a welcome Brooklyn Pumpkin Ale. After the feast, it’ll turn wild as it does every year as people give thanks on the dance floor with live New Orleans brass & piano, rhythm & blues and soul. 

 The Blues Kitchen | Shoreditch | 134-146 Curtain Rd | London EC2A 3AR

Brixton | 40 Acre Ln, Brixton | London | SW2 5SP

Camden | 111-113 Camden High St | London |  NW1 7JN 

Thanksgiving at The Riding House Café

Celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday 24th November, Fitzrovia-based modern brasserie The Riding House Café is serving up a special feast perfect for sharing. Kicking off with a warming welcome cocktail made with Applejack brandy, Scrumpy reduction, roasted pumpkin and autumn spice puree and candied waffle, followed by the main event with Roasted Norfolk Bronze Turkey with all the trimmings. Sides are always a focal point at any Thanksgiving dinner and you can look forward to cornbread and sausage stuffing, maple-butter sweet poatoes, truffled mac & cheese, creamed corn casserole, sprouts and bacon, green beans, and of course, cranberry sauce. 

Dessert will comprise of a choice of two classic American pies – Pumpkin Brûlée Pie and Chocolate Pecan Pie, each served with whipped vanilla cream.

 The Riding House Café | 43-51 Great Titchfield St | London W1W 7PQ

Christopher’s Covent Garden

Come Thursday 24th November, the capital’s original American restaurant, Christopher’s Covent Garden, has more than one reason to raise a toast, as it celebrates its landmark 25th Anniversary year too. A one-off menu of innovative twists on US classics by Head Chef Francis Agyepong, who has been at the helm twenty-three years. It be served all day from 12pm to 11.30pm, in Christopher’s glamorous dining room, within the Grade II-listed building which was once London’s first casino.

 Priced at £58 per person for a choice of three courses, highlights include Maryland Crab Cake with Red Pepper Mayo & Rocket Salad; Caramelised Orkney Scallops with Celeriac & Truffle Cream, Apple Crisps, Cobnut Praline; Slow-cooked Ballotine of Organic Turkey with Corn bread, Hazelnut & Michigan Cherry Stuffing, Cranberry Relish, Buttered Beans & Creamed Potatoes; and Pear & Almond Cobbler, Blackberry Compote & Salted Caramel Ice Cream.

 To accompany the menu, Christopher’s Covent Garden has introduced a series of three dedicated Thanksgiving cocktails – Pumpkin Pie Martini, Providence and Orange Blossom (non-alcoholic) – available throughout the day both in the restaurant and in the Martini Bar. Expect a Christopher’s Thanksgiving feast even greater than the many gone before at this special venue. The Martini Bar will be in full swing too. So, make sure to book a table and join the festivities with one of London dining’s iconic institutions.

 Christopher’s | 18 Wellington Street | London WC2E7DD  

Thanksgiving Cupcakes at Hummingbird Bakery

Hummingbird Bakery has my all-time favourite cupcakes in London and this year, they have created a selection of very special Thanksgiving-themed delights that are perfect desserts to bring along to your Thanksgiving feast. Available from Monday 21st – Sunday 27th November, the adorable cupcakes are Chocolate and Pumpkin flavoured as well as Candied Yam flavoured (which I am really excited to try)! They are decorated with turkeys and pumpkins, making them the perfect festive treat!

Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll!

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