Monday, 30 March 2015

Cahoots

CahootsThere is nothing more exciting than going somewhere new and better still to a secret location.   
 
A new secret has sprung up in Soho, hidden beneath the streets is "Kingley Court", deep underground is "Cahoots" a new late night bar. Greeted by the station master we are warmly welcomed inside.
Cahoots
Walking down the old fashioned wooden escalators I begin to feel like I am stepping back in time.
Cahoots
"Cahoots" is a new bar hidden in a disused tube station that has lovingly been restored back to life. They have recreated the best of the 1940's. But first things first lets grab our train tickets to start our journey into Cahoots.
Cahoots
CahootsCahoots

Once we arrive the Blitz spirit is in full swing, its thirsty work watching these guys dance.
Cahoots
Cahoots

So we find ourselves a quiet booth, grab a cocktail and catch up on the daily news whilst eating popcorn.
Cahoots
Cahoots
Cahoots
The drinks menu offers some wonderful black market cocktails. 
Cahoots
The choice is easy a 'Vera Lynn', Tanqueray London dry gin, Stone's Ginger wine, apple juice and elderflower cordial.
Cahoots
Next up 'Apples and Pears', Russian standard original vodka, blackberries, lime juice, cloudy apple juice and ginger ale.
Cahoots
If you fancy taking a trip back in time, put your hair up in Victory rolls, don your back seam stockings and take yourself underground for a great evening of cocktails and dancing.
 
 
Cahoots
13 Kingly Court
London
W1B 5PW

 photo foodieforce_32.jpg

Friday, 27 March 2015

Carom Soho

Carom Soho
Finding an authentic Indian restaurant in London is like being faced by a mirage. From the outside they can look like the real deal, well appointed, authentic looking furnishings, traditional cooking smells wafting from the kitchen, and then the food arrives and you are totally underwhelmed. The food has little taste and someone has gone to town with the food colouring.

As a South London girl I have been spoilt with wonderful Indian restaurants and I now thankfully know the difference between authentic cooking and tasteless food made for a western palate.

When I was invited to visit Carom restaurant in Soho, I was a little apprehensive, as it presents itself as a pan Indian restaurant serving modern authentic Indian cooking but I was interested to find out whether it would live up to it.


Coming off a busy Soho street we entered the restaurant to find a cool and relaxed industrial space that has lofty ceilings and a bar that takes centre stage. 
Carom Restaurant
The cocktail list is extensive, so picking was quite the challenge, but the helpful bar staff were on hand to guide us through the menu. 

We opt for a Brazilian Swizzle (£9.50) - Abelha Cachaca with passion fruit, lime, honey, Falernum liqueur and ginger syrup, which arrives at the table theatrically. 
Carom Soho
I am in need of something refreshing having been on a hot and packed tube, I opt for a Carom Mango Lassi (£5), served with yoghurt and fresh mango. 

An authentic Indian restaurant should be able to make a wonderful Lassi and Carom doesn't disappoint.   
carom restaurant
What a stunning looking drink, it tasted as beautiful as it looked. 

We had plans with friends so we knew we only had time to have a few cocktails and snacks from the bar menu. 

The menu has eleven options for food which are all served as small platters. We start with poppadom crackers with a trio of three chutneys (£2.75).
Carom restaurant
We then move onto Chilli Squid, with spice mix and chilli coriander dip (£5.95). Now I should be honest that I am not a huge fan of Squid mainly because I often find it chewy and not very well cooked. 
Carom Restaurant
The Squid was perfectly cooked, it melted in your mouth on eating. I personally would have ramped up the Chilli and added some lime, buts that's my personal taste.  

Next up was chicken Lollipop winglets, yoghurt and Goan dip (£6). The chicken had a wonderful smoky taste and the Goan dip was a good accompaniment. 
Carom restaurant
Last but not least was Potli's vegetable parcels, served with Tamarind chutney (£3.90). The vegetable filling was delicious and the addition of the Tamarind chutney worked well.  But for me there was too much pastry which dominated the plate. They would have been better half the size or served as circular parcels. 
Carom Restaurant
Carom restaurant and bar had a really nice and relaxing atmosphere with lots of work colleagues sharing cocktails after work. Now that we have had a taster for their bar food, it has peaked our interest for their main restaurant and I will definitely be popping back to try out some of their main restaurant dishes. 

100 Wardour Street, 
London, 
W1F 0TN


www.caromsoho.com

Thank you very much to Carom for the wonderful cocktails and bar snacks. Our cocktails and food was complimentary for the purposes of a review, but this is is a true and fair reflection of our experience.  


 photo foodieforce_32.jpg

Monday, 23 March 2015

National Butcher's Week

National Butcher's Week
A slightly different post this week, for the vegetarians amongst you, you might want to look away now. 

Over the last fifteen years the way we buy our food shopping in the UK has massively changed. As a foodie I like to see my food, pick it up, check it and know where it comes from. Sadly over time with the increased popularity and convenience of supermarket shopping this has become much more difficult. You see I love buying local and seasonal produce but in a large supermarket this can be a minefield.

I can still remember going along the high street with my mum into little independent retailers to get our shopping: butchers, fish mongers, bakery, fruit and vegetables. 

Fresh produce
Our local butcher was an expert in his craft, offered a vast array of meats, could prepare it how you liked, but best of all knew his animals heritage and footprint. Sadly the number of butchers on the high street in London has substantially diminished.  

So given that this week is National Butcher's Week (23rd-29th March) I thought I would share some love for our high street butchers.

Given that our local butchers is in Forest Hill, I like to combine breakfast with picking up our meat. 
I love nothing more than starting my Saturday with a late breakfast. We start at St.David coffee house, a cosy, coffee lovers paradise. 
St.David Coffee House
They also serve a mean bacon sandwich too.
Bacon Sandwiches
After breakfast we wander along the high street, popping in and out of the shops until we reach The Butchery. Established in 2011 by Nathan and Ruth, the shop has everything that you could possibly want, pork, beef, chicken, Hogget, pigeon, Quail, sausages, bacon, Scotch eggs, pork pie, sauces and condiments. 
The Butchery
The couple also have their own blog, which shares meat recipes, they make a wonderful pork belly adobo.

Ever the foodie, I am already considering my next meal. My favourite treat has to be Ribeye steak, Nathan and Ruth certainly don't disappoint, served medium/rare with sweet potato wedges and a green salad yummy.  
Ribeye Steak

The Butchery, 
49 London Rd, 
SE23 3TY
www.thebutcheryltd.com

 photo foodieforce_32.jpg

Friday, 20 March 2015

Mamounia Lounge Mayfair

Mamounia Lounge
One of the challenges of eating in London is that with so many restaurants sometimes finding an authentic one that serves traditional food can be difficult.

Mamounia Lounge in Mayfair offers guests an Arabic experience featuring the very best of Lebanese and Moroccan cuisines. But what I was more interested to find out was how authentic the experience would be, you see I have had some wonderful holidays in Arabia and Morocco. I hoped that Mamounia would be able to transport me back there to an electric vibe and superb food. 

Well first impressions are favourable with authentic interior and traditional Middle Eastern music playing. The year long refurbishment has been well worth the wait. 
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
We start our meal with two cocktails. 

I opt for the Mamounia Special, fresh basil, Stoli vanilla vodka, lime juice, sugar syrup, served over crushed ice (£8). 
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
My companion loves rum so opts for the Prince of Sahara, fresh pineapple and banana shaken with Flor de Cana, Amaretto and served over crushed ice (£8.50).
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
The serving of the food in the restaurant is banquet style with guest being able to pick Mezze dishes to share. 

I have some firm Mezze favourites and a cursory glance of the menu I am pleased to spot some of these on the menu. 

Moutabel, smoked Aubergine puree with tahini, garlic and lemon juice. Topped with pomegranate seeds (£6.50).
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
Halloumi Cheese, Lebanese cheese grilled sprinkle with sesame seeds (£7.00).
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
Although very naughty I really love halloumi, I especially enjoyed the thickness and the addition of sesame seeds. 

Truffle Hommus, creamy pureed chickpeas whipped with tahini, truffle oil and lemon juice. Served with fresh truffles, wild mushrooms, crispy chickpeas and warm homemade Pita Bread (£11.00).
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
I seriously will be dreaming about this dish for a while both the presentation and taste of the truffle oil was amazing. The dish was beautiful and a true feast for the eyes. 

Now our waiter suggested a dish that I wouldn't have picked myself but was superb. 

Lentil salad, lentils du puy cooked with chicken stock, deep fried halloumi cheese and toasted anis bread (£9.00). 
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
This was an excellent choice the flavours in the lentils was delicious and the addition of the bread with an aniseed taste was a great combination. 

Mains are consistent with the Middle Eastern fare, tagines, clay pots, grilled and charcoaled meats, fish and couscous.

My dining companion chooses the langoustine and crab, a selection of three types of marinated langoustines (Basil, Chermoula, and Chilli) served with crab meat, rocket pesto and tapenade (£21.00). 
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
Now whilst this was delicious the batter contained on the fish in my companions eyes was not needed. It detracted from the wonderful beauty of the dish and the full flavour of the fish. That said it was devoured in no time. 

I found picking a main a challenge, the restaurant had lots of food that I would have loved to try. 

After deliberating the waiter suggests the Meshoui, traditional shoulder of lamb, slowly roasted for eight hours, marinated in Moroccan spices and served with fresh Dates, Orange and apricots Bouillon (£15.00). 
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
Now the picture above cannot do this dish justice. The lamb melted in the mouth and the spices that it had been marinated in a perfect accompaniment. I liked that you had the traditional Bouillon to pour over or the addition of orange for a more citrus zing. 

To accompany my dish I decided on couscous which is a great pairing, the addition of almonds and spicy nutmeg is delicious. 
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
Now at this point my expanding waistline is seriously beginning to grumble. But Mamounia really is my perfect home they have consider everything. On the menu they have two desserts that take over fifteen minutes to cook from scratch, leaving the perfect resting time. 

Crispy chocolate served with a carpaccio of mango and pineapple (£8.00).
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
It is not possible to do this dessert justice so I will leave you with the picture below so you get the idea. 
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
If I thought the meals were delicious Mamounia can seriously do desserts too. Continuing with the chocolate theme. 

Homemade chocolate fondant served with vanilla ice cream (£9.50).
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
The exterior firmness of the dessert gave way to perfectly runny molten chocolate. A wonderful way to finish off a brilliant meal. 

Mamounia Lounge is a wonderful authentic Middle Eastern find. The food cooked with flare and service throughout the meal was impeccable. With restaurants in Mayfair and Knightsbridge I am already looking forward to going back and being transported to my Moroccan hideaway. 
Mamounia Lounge Mayfair
Thank you very much to Mamounia Lounge for a wonderful meal. Our meal was complimentary for the purposes of a review, but this is is a truly wonderful restaurant and a fair reflection of our meal. 

Which restaurants take you back to a previous holiday?

37 Curzon Street, 
London
W1J 7TX


Square Meal Mamounia Lounge on Urbanspoon

 photo foodieforce_32.jpg