My 10 Favourite restaurants of 2016

In 2016 I sure loved eating out…a lot! To choose ten favourites has been incredibly tough but after much contemplation here they are with a little bit of categorisation and reasoning why. Hopefully it will inspire you to try some of them out 🙂

  1. Best newcomer – Jamavar London

It has only been open since the beginning of December and I have already dined there twice which is very unusual for me! With a fantastic menu, ambience and service, this is a restaurant at the tip of my tongue for recommendations at the moment. Bravo to Chef Rohit Ghai for such a fantastic and authentic dining experience.

Jamavar London

2. Best Tasting menu – Vineet Bhatia London

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When I heard that Vineet Bhatia had reopened in London with a new name and concept it was promptly booked for my birthday dinner and it was simply marvellous! A must do for a special occasion and definitely the best sensory experience I have ever had.

Vineet Bhatia London

3. Best Michelin Star experience – The Waterside Inn

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Dining at the Waterside Inn had been top of my list and I treated the other half to it on his birthday. Fair to say it was spectacular and I still dream about the Lobster Medallions. The added bonus was meeting Chef Alain Roux and getting a kitchen tour.

The Waterside Inn

4. Best creative menu – Foleys

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This restaurant was chosen on a spontaneous evening and the menu beat our expectations. Not surprising with an ex Palomar chef at the helm!

Foleys

5. Best counter seating  – The Barbary

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2016 has seen the rise of counter dining and that naan at the Barbary is every bit worth it! The food is heavenly.

The Barbary

6. Best Comfort food – Padella Pasta

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Also a counter dining experience, I loved this more for the homely, comfort food factor. Truly incredible pasta. Get there early to beat the queues!

Padella Pasta

7. Favourite Italian – Margot London

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Everyone loves a good Italian restaurant. Margot is special! The restaurant is beautifully decorated and the food is epic! Save space for dessert.

Margot London

8. Consistent Favourite dining experience – Roux at the Landau

Got to love Michel Roux and the Roux at the Landau, located in the Langham is just fabulous! I have eaten there for both Sunday brunch and dinner and each time it has been exceptional service, scrumptious food and a memorable time.

Roux at the Landau

9. Favourite “no reservation” restaurant – Bao & Hoppers 

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Also popular this year was the rise of “no reservation” restaurants with queues that never seemed to quieten down. This was a tough choice and both are cuisines I had never tried before. It is a draw between Bao and Hoppers!

Bao was every bit worth it though especially the Horlicks Bao. The good news is that they now have a second site open!

Bao

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The most fun dining experience I have had this year is Hoppers! I had never tried a Sri Lankan Hopper before and it was one of those which hit the spot. If you haven’t been yet it is a must try and the good news is that they have a better waiting system so you can spend time wisely whilst waiting for a table.

Hoppers

10. Best Small Plates and cocktails – Talli Joe

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Restaurants are known for their food and rarely do the cocktails match up but in the case of Talli Joe I loved both so much – they definitely excel at both! The black gajar halwa for dessert was gorgeous too. Highly recommend!

Talli Joe

There we have it! I would love to know your favourites of the year. Let me know in the comments section below.

 

Impress your guests this Christmas with a Martell Cognac 4th Course Food Pairing

Christmas time is my favourite part of the year where you get to spend time with friends and family over good food and drinks and I am always looking for different ways to raise the bar and impress them with new dishes and fusions.

Sometimes after a great meal you still want to feast on delicious but light food while you may be drinking, and this year Martell, one of the oldest Cognac houses, has collaborated with Cordon Bleu trained chef Luiz Hara for a different take on Petits fours known as the 4th course.

I wanted to try out one of the recipes created by Luiz Hara pre-Christmas so I could recreate it on the day and had a go at making the Pears, Roquefort and Almonds with Martell Soaked Raisins, which sounded like a dreamy combination.

It was so simple to prepare and there was no cooking involved – all I had to do in advance was soak the raisins in the Cognac. It was a great excuse to crack open the bottle and have a few sips too!

This 4th course food pairing was so easy to assemble, and a dish you can definitely prepare in advance and impress your guests with and relax at the same time.


It was absolutely delicious and the Martell Cognac soaked raisins were a huge hit with my other half.

If you would like to have a go making this pairing, the recipe, courtesy of Martell and Luiz Hara is as follows:

Pears, Roquefort and Almonds with Martell Soaked Raisins

Serves 3-4 people

Ingredients:

  • 4 pears
  • 200 grams Roquefort cheese, crumbled
  • 50 grams whole or flaked almonds, lightly toasted and crumbled
  • 100 grams dark raisins soaked in 75ml Martell Cognac

Method:

  1. Soak the dried raisins in the Martell Cognac for a few hours (preferably overnight) until they are plump and juicy.
  2. Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler and cut them into quarters, making sure you remove the core.
  3. Top each slice of pear with the crumbled Roquefort cheese, toasted almonds and a few Martell soaked raisins on top.

The other pairings include Iberico Charcuterie and Cognac soaked prunes, as well as Christmas Pudding Ice cream.  Keep an eye out on my Instagram over the festive period for sneak peeks of more 4th course pairings with the hashtag #Martell4thCourse.

If you have a go recreating this dish over the festive period would love to know in the comments section below!

Martell VS is available from all major retailers in 35cl, 70cl and 100cl bottles.

For more information on Martell and The 4th course head over to http://www.martell.com/en-uk/ or search for #Martell4thCourse.

Disclaimer: I was sent a complimentary bottle of Martell VS. I am a Cognac lover and all views are my own. Recipe is courtesy of Martell and Luiz Hara.