Burgers & Cocktails, Marylebone

Burgers & Cocktails is on the busy, food-filled street of James Street. Great for a hot day, the open plan restaurant has a nice breeze and light and airy feel, something that is often lacking from burger joints around the city. It has a solid selection of burgers to choose from (who would have thought?) that goes beyond (but does include) the common found pulled pork burger.
I decided to go for the Korean Burger – beef patty, sriracha & lime ailoi, pickles, kimchi slaw with cucumber, korean bbq sauce & crispy shallots. image2 2
For me, the burger was heavy on the slaw meaning the sriracha I was looking forward to was rather underwhelming. Whilst it was a tasty burger, it was the sriracha which caught my eye and so I was disappointed that it was lacking in any kind of spice. However, everyone else had 10/10 reviews for their burgers which included The Matador and The Rodeo Chicken Burger. We also had some Sloppy Joe Fries (smothered with chipotle beef chilli & melting cheese)…
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On paper and in the flesh they looked like everything I had hoped for in a chilli-cheese-chip combo. It was Korean Burger take 2 in that the chilli lacked spice – who wants Bolognese with kidney beans on chips? Not me thanks. Also the cheese added little but the stringy consistency you get from melted cheese. Priced at £4.95 I would have hoped for something a little more memorable.
Given the reviews of the other burgers I would like to head back here to try the others on offer before ruling the place out completely. Burgers are everywhere in London and Burger and Cocktails simply can’t compete in an already packed market. Patty & Bun is just across the road, Meat Liqour is a short walk away, both of which I would choose over a further visit here.
Overall, Burgers and Cocktails offers everything I look for in a meal out but unfortunately on this occasion just failed to deliver the goods.

 

Grain Store, King’s Cross

The dream would be to have my own restaurant. Let me be more specific and relevant to the blog post title The dream would be to have my own restaurant exactly like Grain Store. Why? Well let me tell you…
  1. The food is a dream come true – I could have had anything and everything! There’s one thing that makes good food taste even better – knowing you are eating seasonal produce with sustainability at it’s very core. Plus you’ll see a good number of small suppliers on their website.
  2. The drinks are exciting and delicious – you’ll be sure to try something new whether it’s a juice, smoothie or cocktail. And importantly, you know you can trust these lot to throw together a corker, even if you haven’t heard of half of the ingredients.
  3. It’s just a cool kinda place to be – mix matched water jugs, your bill in wooden pear. It’s a pretty big restaurant and it seemed busy yet spacious. Plus you can book – call me Grandma but gotta love a good old fashioned booking at a popular place like Grain Store!
  4. The open kitchen. I found myself watching the chefs as they served up dish after dish – creepy? Sorry about that but can’t promise I won’t do it again on my next visit.
Time to look at pictures! I opted for kimchi & mince pork Chinese pancake, peanut sauce, coriander & spring onion… Yes please and thank you very much, I will have that again.
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Dessert – a rare occurrence for me but the light and fresh options offered up meant I couldn’t resist… Another beautiful dish which made the fruit the star of the show. Fresh strawberries, goats’ milk pannacotta with fennel pollen. Fennel pollen? Yeah, I’m not sure either but I can tell you it tastes good.
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Grain Store is a place where you can expect style and substance. Where you know you can place your trust in the genius creatives behind the menu when they offer up things like kaffir lime green tapioca with sweet potato for dessert. I would go back again and again – I won’t be having the same thing twice but only because, like a true trooper, I must try everything on the menu.

 

Gazette, Battersea

A few weeks back my aunt visited London. This meant one thing, food everywhere. She came armed with curly wurly brownies from Borough Market as well as cheese. Brownies for us lot, cheese for some other lucky buggers – don’t touch the cheese, I didn’t touch the cheese, I knew better than to touch cheese than didn’t belong to me (I really wanted the cheese though OK?!). Anyway, this post isn’t about cheese.

We headed to Gazette which is right by Wandsworth Bridge. Whilst it’s a cosey French restaurant, it actually seats quite a few but the service felt personal and quick. We went on a Wednesday so it was ladies night (a free cocktail or pudding – since we had the brownies at home, we went for the cocktails). I had a mojito…
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It was a super tasty mojito with an added swirl of strawberry puree at the top. It was a pleasant surprise and it went down far too easily. For starter I had Cocotte Meurette – fried eggs and toast with pancetta and mushroom in a red wine sauce. It was absolutely delicious but perhaps a little large. No one needs three fried eggs, especially in a starter. “too big?! Don’t eat it all then”… IMPOSSIBLE. I can’t control myself when it comes to food, especially food that tastes this good.

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The eggs were perfectly cooked and the flavour of the mushroom and pancetta were delicate.  Next up I had Le Burger Gazette – now we don’t need to speak French to work that one out. It came with cheese, a warm tomato relish and salad. Of course there were chips – crispy but chunky (one of the few places you don’t have to buy chips at an additional cost).

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It was a very tasty burger but I was left feeling a little jealous of my fellow diners steaks. With the competition of burgers in London the Gazette burger could not compete. It lacked the real juiciness packed full of flavour I have tested in rival burgers, this is not to say it was dry!

Overall it was a delightful meal, the starter was outstanding, the main less so. The drinks were quick to arrive and a little different (in a good way).

Fenchurch Seafood Bar & Grill, Sky Garden

A few weeks ago I had an evening of extravagance with some friends at Fenchurch Seafood Bar & Grill at the Sky Garden in 20 Fenchurch Street. This sort of restaurant isn’t my usual eating establishment but it was great to experience the upmarket vibe.  We were greeted by a member of staff at every twist and corner of the building which was great.

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The evening  started with some delicious cocktails. They were a little slow to arrive but were garnished beautifully. After these, I thought it was only right to continue with the extravagance so I ordered the half native lobster which came with a butter sauce and a side salad. It was fresh and flavoursome. I wouldn’t usually spend so much money on a main but I was rolling with it and I’m glad I did.

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Dessert was the star of the show. I had the rhubarb soufflé which was so light it was like eating a rhubarb flavoured cloud. It was the perfect temperature and left me feeling perfectly full.

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Overall, it was a fantastic evening. The waiting staff were extremely attentive and knowledgeable about the menu. We had a lovely, relaxed evening and whilst I probably wouldn’t head back because of my bank balance I would certainly recommend it for a special occasion. The only thing that was a tad disappointing was that we weren’t able to enjoy the view as we were sat the in the middle of the restaurant.

Revolution Birmingham Cocktail Masterclass

A few months ago I was lucky enough to be invited along to experience Revolutions new cocktail masterclass. With it being my first ever one I was excited to get stuck in and try a few new drinks! We were greeted with a flute of prosecco which loosened us up for the shaking and games to come. 

My favourite thing about the masterclass was the fact that after the bartender served each cocktail, a small appetiser flew out of the kitchen to accompany the drink. First up was a Strawberry Woo Woo which came with a delicious deep fried cheese bon bon topped with a strawberry.  

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Secondly, a mojito with a panko breadcrumb and sweet chilli prawn.

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A cosmopolitan and a nacho with guacamole. Despite the fact that this wasn’t my favourite nibble (it was a tad boring), I was obviously enjoying it too much and forgot to take a picture.

Lastly, to finish us off was a Tennessee mud shake with came with a chocolate bon bon topped with a raspberry.

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Pairing the cocktails with a nibble is a fantastic idea and really appealed to the inner foodie in me. It really does give Revs an edge on their masterclasses, offering people the opportunity to learn even more about cocktails and frankly, to have a good old nibble in the process. 

After being shown how to make the above we were given the opportunity to each pick a cocktail to make ourselves. I love a good mojito so I decided to make the Passion Fruit and Strawberry Mojito. A really delicious, fruity cocktail. Michal, our cocktail bartender, was absolutely brilliant and kept the evening fun for everyone even when others were making their own cocktails.

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After we were all armed with our own cocktail, the games began. The first game involved making a Strawberry Woo Woo. Of course, it wasn’t as simple as that… in pairs, one person had to stand behind the other and thread their arms through their partners. The person behind had to use their hands to make the cocktail whilst the other looked on, barking instructions. We also had to rely on memory, back to Michal’s demonstration. The first pair to finish won, however there was also a taste test so both pairs had to take a shot in the end. 

IMG_4102 The next game also required people to pair up. I paired up with my friend Katie, against another pair. This time, it was a race to make a mojito, however, only one person in the pair was allowed to make it at any one time and the other person had to be at the other side of the bar. When Michal shouted swap, Katie and I had to swap places and the other had to continue the cocktail. Again, it was a race but both pairs had to take a shot after the more slowly made cocktail tasted better (hmm, are they trying to get us drunk?!). 

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Finally, two members of the group hadn’t participated in a game at this point and so had to have a ‘shake off’. It was great fun to watch them shaking their cocktails in the strangest ways and it was an overall draw! 

The games were over but we weren’t ready for the fun to stop. Michal constructed cocktail domino train which plunged a different flavour of vodka into a tumbler of lemonade. It looked great and was a brilliant end to the evening (especially as we all got one of the drinks!). 

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We were so pleased with the evening we decided to stay for a few more cocktails. My favourites were: Rum Bongo, Pornstar Martini and Passion Fruit and Strawberry Mojito. However, after the cocktail class, service did seem to deteriorate. The cocktails we ordered were slow to come and arrived at the same time as our food and they seemed to be out of a large number of dishes. Nonetheless, my meal; king prawn & chorizo stone baked flatbread served with chilli mint jam was really tasty and I would not hesitate to eat here again. 

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Overall, Revolution have a brilliant cocktail masterclass packed full of fun, treats and the all important, top quality cocktails. Their cocktails are the real deal with no corners cut and they have some snazzy concoctions to keep you on your toes.