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Restaurant Review

    Brookes Counter & Table: Restaurant Review

    This is an old favourite spot from when I used to work locally. I had to return (quality control you know, oh the things we have to do for blogging!) and check that everything was as delicious as before.

    How can you say no!?

    Happily, Brookes seems to be going from strength to strength if the queues are anything to go by – basically the process seems to be bags a free table, line up, order your coffee/munch/brunch/lunch either from the counter selection of delectable items or from their menu.

    The biggest problem I have is deciding what to eat. By the time the queue (which moves fairly quickly) shifts you to the front, I normally have my options whittled down to 3, and hope that 2 of them have been eaten by other people so I don’t have to choose.

    I used to lunch here weekly with a friend, I’ve brought hubby here and my discerning Aunt whilst on a pit-stop from her flight to New Zealand to Edinburgh – this is a mark of how tasty it is. Hubby and today’s brunch date, a connoisseur of all things Sausage Roll and meaty declared their Sausage Roll the best they’ve ever tasted(I must remember to get hubby one from the Ginger Pig as they are immensely delicious too!).

    I enjoy their Berry Shakes and Eggs Benedict (actually, I seems to have a predilection for Eggs Benedict – maybe I should have a sub-blog and call it ‘Adventures eating Eggs Benedict in London’, not much of a catchy jingle though). It’s much lighter that several other places do, but it was utterly perfect for the wee hangover I was nursing whilst my friend and I gabbled away.

    Our favourite lunchtime treat was to wander into Brook’s, get a Sausage roll and a coffe and stroll onto the grass on Brook Green Park in the sunshine. Bliss.

    Located in on Shepherds Bush Road in the heart of ‘Brooks Green’ an affluent (Estate Agent named) area tucked between Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush, Brook’s is a local haunt that you wouldn’t nessecarily know about if you weren’t in the know. It’s stuffed to the gills with foodie stuffs (fresh bread, a dairy fridge, RJ’s red liquorice stuff with white chocolate!?) and their counter meals, a lot of them Vege, are truely scrumptious and change daily. It’s not too expensive either.

    Futher info can be found on their website. I haven’t been comped & they don’t know who I am, I just wanted to share
    the deliciousness.

    Oh, hai.

     

    Did I mention Kiwis (that have made it to the end of this post) that the Tesco’s behind has recently started stocking Kiwi and Aussie fare in their ethnic section? Tomato Sauce, K Bars, Tim Tams, Shapes, L&P…

     

    Ps.

    

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    Ozone Cafe: Restaurant Recommendation

    

    It was that good I kind of don’t want people to know about this place. You see, what I think will happen is that it’ll get hugely busy then I won’t be able to go, or have to queue for hours. Does that make me a bad person?

     




    The service was excellent; funny, helpful, laidback but there when you needed them, the smell as you enter was enticing, the coffee ridiculously good and the food top standard. First in, so I could have a good nose, I was greeted warmly (then they jokingly threatened to throw me down the stairs) and seated in their front window area to wait for the rest of my party. Served a delicious flat white by their quietly-grooving-to-the-background-music barista, it was nice to watch the rhythm that only a busy hospitality spot has. I do miss the friendliness of working in restaurants.

     

     

    Seated downstairs (near the coffee roasting machine!) we all opted for the Eggs Benedict (our favourite) with either Bacon or Salmon (our choices, they have other options), served a-top bubble and squeak cakes and the richest béarnaise I’ve had the pleasure of trying. We were barely a few forkfuls in before we were planning our next visit – that’s how good it was. The bubble & squeak cakes especially – soft fluffy potatoes encased in a golden crumb was a lovely balance to the rich oozy eggs, savoury smoky bacon and béarnaise. 

     

     

    We also decided to spoil ourselves, and have a brunch dessert (bressert?) which was shared – the daily special of brioche French Toast, Strawberries, citrus couli and cream fraiche. Light, decadent with the soft top-notes of strawberry. My mouth is watering all over again.

     

     

    Upstairs there is also a variety of less mischievous brunch items – croissants, kiwi & choc-chip muffins, snow-balls (another kiwi sweet treat) and loads of other items. These came served on enamel plates which we squealed over – childhood memories of camping holiday food served on enamel plates.

     

     

      

    Great atmosphere, quick hot food, relaxed service (they let us sit on our downstairs table until we were ready to leave) funky surrounds and delicious creamy coffee all a stone’s throw from Old Street tube station. Ahhh, heaven. 

     

    The ladies with whom I brunch (all lovely Kiwi lasses) unanimously declared this our top favourite Kiwi brunch location in London so far. And there are a surprising amount of them dotted throughout the UK capital.

     

    For further information, check out their website. They also wholesale their coffee – sadly I didn’t have enough bag space to get any, but I really need an excuse to go back. The only problem is I want to try everything and would like to go back and maybe people-watch the hipsters from their booth seating.

    I’d get there fairly early though – it’s a popular place already (*sigh*). You don’t even have to have the full menu, there are perch-y seats that you can order a coffee and a muffin and have a gossip on.

    Just to be clear, I was in no way comped for this, they had no idea who we were and we paid for everything ourselves, we just loved it.

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    Manuka Kitchen: Restaurant Review

    If you’ve been reading this humble blog for awhile (and if so, thank you), you’ll have twigged that my friends and I are becoming serial weekend brunchers, and have been tending to check out Kiwi-esque brunch spots in the capital. The Manuka Kitchen is such a place.

    Opened in the last few months at time of writing, Manuka Kitchen in Fulham is a self-start up, run by Tyler Martin (the Chef, originating from New Plymouth, New Zealand) and Joseph Antippa (Tyler’s Lebanese business partner).

    “DELICIOUS FOOD. GREAT WINE. FRIENDS.

    WE THINK THAT JUST ABOUT COVERS IT.”

     

    Such a great ethos for a restaurant!

    Manuka Honey, which the restaurant is named after, is a ‘superfood’ originating from New Zealand from a single source; the bees that pollinate Manuka trees in New
    Zealand’s East Cape region – and is rather expensive. About 4 years ago there were a lot of exciting claims that Manuka could heal wounds, which were never quite realised. It’s still delicious though, and is full of all sorts of vitamins, nutrients and goodness.

    The menu isn’t dominated by the honey, but includes it as an ingredient here and there, and is available additionally as a toast condiment. The menu and the cooking reflects a love of fresh straightforward ingredients combined to great effect.

    Between us we enjoyed a couple of delicous Lattes and Mochas which started us off well. They were followed (with a wee delay) by the French Toast and Sweetcorn Fritters.

    The French Toast was lovely, the thunder stolen by the delicious bacon and honey caramelised banana.

    The Sweetcorn Fritters were fine, always a great brunch item but not quite as we expected – we thought they would be a little more like these or the Black Pudding ones at Caravan. For my palate they needed a little more flavour, body and crispness, to give it that satisfying ‘ka-pow’. The accompanying Chutney was gorgeous though, they should bottle it.

     

    The prices are good, especially for central(ish) London, and lend themselves to extra orders; the couple on the table next to us ordered quite a bit more, including some sexy looking sausages. Be warned though, at time of writing they are cash only as they are in the process of organising card facilities.

    Decor is fairly minimalistic; small wooden tables, terracotta tiles and simple lightshades. This is mostly due to the businessmen being on a tight self-funded budget, but with good tasty food, the decor can be uplifted with time. It’s a small bistro, with around 20 covers so make sure you book ahead.

    I think if I was in the area, based on the quality and evening meal prices I would visit again but I’m not sure we’ll be back for a special return visit for brunch. It’s not far from the Kings Road and Stamford Bridge FC, so I expect I will be in the area again at some point, and will make a point to re-visit in the evening. This could be a local jewel that you don’t really want other people to know about, so shhh…

    Manuka Kitchen can be found about 5 minutes walk from Fulham Broadway tube station. Further details can be found here.

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    The Modern Pantry: Restaurant Review

    I think I’ve said it before, but Brunch is swiftly becoming my favourite meal of the day. A few friends and I have checked out another few of London’s Kiwi brunch spots – Kopapa (which I’ve found out recently means “Meeting Place”), the Providores and Caravan (Kings Cross) all run by Kiwi chefs with a passion for good food and great atmosphere.

    The Modern Pantry was no exception.

    Found in fashionable Clerkenwell, the Modern Pantry is housed in two Georgian buildings, the larger of the two buildings was originally part of an adjacent steel foundry, while the other was a townhouse.

    The interior of the restaurant (we were downstairs in the cafe part) is nicely full of crisp clean furniture with warm highlights. We couldn’t believe how large the place was – our floor, another floor above us and a floor above that with the facilities. It was so quiet it was hard to believe how many people were there being served.

    Service was really nice – friendly, funny, happy to answer any questions and make substitutions and not overbearing in anyway, they wierdly just popped over whenever we started to think about ordering something. Maybe telepathy is a hiring condition there?

    Our biggest problem was deciding what to eat from the extensive menu in the sunshine away from the bitter North wind. Every plate that came out of the kitchen – usually a good indication of what’s good – looked delicious. As with most of the restaurants we’ve tried with Kiwi links, the menus are modern, focus on the ingredients, but don’t have a particular food style – they do have a few Kiwi twists though – Marmite soldiers for instance.

    We settled in the end for a variety of dishes:

    Turkish Menemen Baked Eggs with Nigella Yoghurt and Sourdough Bread – a in essence a Turkish ratatouille of onions, tomato, peppers and lovely spice topped with two perfectly baked eggs, a spiced flavoured yoghurt and sourdough bread perfect for dipping.

    Eggs Benedict withYuzu Hollandaise (Yuzu is a small oriental citrus fruit) and Bacon or Salmon; The Yuzu Hollandaise was met with mixed reviews, but the perfectly poached eggs looked delicous atop their salmon or bacon and Muffin brunch-fellows.

    A delicious looking Grilled Breakfast (Bacon, Scrambled Eggs etc.) Everything seemed to cooked really nicely as you’d expect, this certainly isn’t a greasy spoon.

    And the Pièce de résistance: Ricotta filled pancakes with berry compote and Cream Fraiche. As per our very freindly waiters advice, we kinda had them as Breakfast Dessert, sharing between the table. Oh Boy were these delicious.

    Crisp batter filled with soft creamy Ricotta cut with the sweetly sharp berries. This was… well it’s making my mouth water. You load your fork with a bit of everything and just enjoy.

     

    We tried several coffees (Kiwi’s definately know how to make a mean flat white – full bodied without being burned, full fat milk (gasp) at just the right temperature) and whilst we didn’t order any of the delectable smoothies or delicious sounding ‘reviving cocktails’, we were tempted into ordering some of the hard to pronounce Teas made locally. We were also advised (laughingly) by our waiter that the Tea company recommends their Teas are served in stemmed wine glasses. Ever the adventurers we had a try, and thankfully had no incidents of smashing (though it steam a few specs).

     

    Overall we really enjoyed ourselves. Unobstrusive friendly service, good food and a nice atmosphere it is a place that is very easy to linger in on a Saturday morning.

     

     

    I definately recommend going to The Modern Pantry for a nice brunch near to Farringdon Tube Station (watch out at the station for marauding Kiwis but only near the 6th of Feb though). Be warned the menus are extensive, they have daily changing menus (including separate Saturday and Sunday Brunch menus) and I understand that you’re advised to book as it can get very busy.

    Eggs Benedict: Bacon or Salmon? Discuss. 

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    The Forties Tea Room

    Nestled in the some what unusual location of an Uxbridge mall in Zone 6, The Forties Tea Room/Farm Shop is lovely. I’m starting to tire of bland samey chain coffee houses, and when meeting a friend on maternity leave, I secretly hoped that the chain coffee house we had arranged to go to, would be full.

    My stars must have aligned (or the cold wintery weather pushed everyone inside) and with the chain full to bursting, I managed to sneak in the suggestion of The Forties Tea Room.

    It had everything my little vintage enjoying heart loves – pretty mismatched teacups and saucers, teapots and wood furniture, big fluffy scones and a good sized light-bites menu.

    The double front cafe and shop has been set up to raise money for the RAF Bomber Command Memorial and Maintenance Appeal, which only makes future excuses to pop in easier to wrangle.

    

    

    
    

    (Excuse the poor photo – too busy scoffing. I’m glad we went hungry)

    

    It’s really hard to pin down a favourite aspect; the cake platters loaded with slabs of cake, the wooden dresser housing the china, the great service, the bunting, the ‘war’ themed menus, the tea made with traditional tea leaves. No wait, it’s the enormous scones (plain, sultana or cherry) served with clotted cream and Jam which stole my heart, followed by my take home slice of Bread Pudding.

    To my surprise, even the tube Station has quite a cool character.

    Now, the only temptation I need to resist is going back to clear out the Farm Shop & adjoining gift store. With no website for directions, you just need to head out of the Tube Station (the entrance straight ahead exiting the train), and head towards the Pavilion Shopping Mall.

    It’s nicely busy; a good level hubbub giving it a nice atmosphere, but service was fast even when it picked up. Did I mention it was also really well priced? Go.

    What is your preferred style – Modern or Mismatch?

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