Her Favourite Food | London Food, Restaurant & Travel Blog
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POTUS Bar and Restaurant Review - LondonCuisine: American Style Points: 5/5 Location: Vauxhall Price: £££ Overall: 5/5
FRIED SOFT SHELL CRAB
POTUS’s buffalo sauce, buttermilk blue cheese dressing
On the bone, chimichurri, countryside potatoes
BOURBON & PECAN
Pecan brownie, bourbon gel, praline pecan sponge, coffee ice cream
After my recent foodie adventure in Washington DC, I was craving some classic American dishes again. I decided to try POTUS restaurant and bar on the Albert Embankment, drawing inspiration from America’s vibrant food and drink scene, each dish here reflects different elements of the country’s cultural identity
Drawing inspiration from America’s vibrant food and drink scene, each dish reflects different elements of the country’s cultural identity, whilst the signature cocktail menu has been inspired by past American presidents.
Under the leadership of the Executive Chef, Pablo Peñalosa Nájera, POTUS is known for serving the highest quality interpretations of America’s most-revered and well-loved classics.
The bar and restaurant space is modern and sleek, and makes for an elegant dining space.
We had the menu explained to us by the manager of the restaurant, who made every dish sound exceptionally tempting and as a result we order over half the menu!
For starters we tried an exquisite New England clam chowder with creamy potato and bacon soup, crispy quinoa, as well as the BBQ pork belly served with Bromley apple sauce and bourbon caramelised apples.
We also tried the fried soft shell crab with POTUS’s buffalo sauce and buttermilk blue cheese dressing. Each of the starters were extremely enjoyable and cooked to the highest level.
Moving on to the main courses, I order the roasted free range duck breast with crunchy sweet potatoes, beetroot red fruits purée and pistachios and the truffle mac & cheese to share. Both dishes were served with contemporary twists on the classic versions and we were very impressed.
The most inviting and imposing dish on the menu is the cowboy steak, served on the bone, chimichurri and countryside potatoes. The beef was cooked to perfection and practically fell off the bone - exactly what is expected from a dish which costs nearly £100!
Our desserts didn’t fail to impress either! The bourbon and pecan with bourbon gel, praline pecan sponge and coffee ice cream, and the Down Mexico Way spiced chocolate tart we exquisite desserts and the perfect way to end an indulgent meal.
POTUS bar and restaurant aims to be a fine dining restaurant and the prices are reflective of this. However aside from the £90 cowboy steak there are reasonably priced dishes on the menu, such as the fish and vegetarian dishes, meaning it is possible to eat here on a mid-range budget.
We were very impressed with the quality of the food at POTUS bar and restaurant as it was far superior to other hotel restaurants.
With new takes on firm favourites like the New England Clam Chowder and Truffle Mac & Cheese, the restaurant utilise the finest and freshest ingredients to portray the diverse American character, offering the very best of American cuisine.
Lamb meatballs with couscous and green beans - Recipe
I love spending time in a warm kitchen during the winter months, and as the nights draw in and the hours of sunlight dwindle, I know I’ll be in my cosy kitchen much more!
I enjoy nothing better at this time of year than cooking up a proper hearty meal which is comforting and healthy too. This particular recipe of lamb meatballs with couscous and green beans is one of my favourites. It combines a few more different elements than I usually use in my meals, as I have more time to spend in the kitchen so like to cook up more of a complete meal.
Serving the meatballs with couscous instead of rice or bread means it isn’t a heavy stodgy dish, but still has the substance you need from a meal. The addition of apricots to the lamb meatballs elevates what is a classic dish and gives it an middle-eastern edge. It is this exotic flavour of the meatballs which pairs well with a thirst-quenching glass of Appletiser, as it add a gently sparkling kick to the mix! So, for the perfect pairing enjoy this hearty winter meal with a chilled glass of delicious Appletiser!
You can also add chopped cashew nuts to the meatballs, or to the couscous for added bite!
Preparation Time: 40 mins Serves: 2
2 Garlic cloves
1 Bunch of mint
30 grams of dried apricot
1 pack of green beans
250 grams of lamb mince
150 grams couscous
½ tbsp cumin seeds
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1. Prepare the onion by chopping into small pieces.
2. Peel and grate the garlic for use in the meatballs.
3. Pick and finely chop the mint leaves, discarding the stalks.
4. Chop the dried apricots into small pieces for use in the meatballs.
5. Trim the end of the green beans and set aside for use later.
Prepare the meatballs:
1. Start making the meatballs by adding half the onions, half the mint, 1 clove of garlic and all the dried apricots to the mince.
2. Season with salt and pepper and mix it all together with your hands to combine.
3. Shape into balls of equal size. Don’t make them too large as these will take longer to cook.
4. Next heat a frying pan and drizzle with oil. Add the meatballs and turn frequently. Cook until browned on the outside and leave aside.
Cook the Couscous:
1. Pour water into a large saucepan and bring to boil. Stir in the couscous and add a lid to the pot, then remove from the heat. Leave for 10 mins or until ready to serve.
Make the Sauce:
1. To make the sauce for the meatballs, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and add the remaining onions. Cook whilst stirring for 5 minutes and add 1 clove of garlic, thyme and cumin seeds.
2. When the onions are soft, add the diced tomatoes as well as salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce for 7-10 mins until it thickens.
1. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
2. Next add the green beans to a frying pan with a drizzle of oil and stir fry until they are soft, for about 6-7 mins.
3. Serve the meatballs, couscous and green beans with a chilled glass of sparkling Appletiser for the #perfectpairing to the ideal winter meal!
Did you give this recipe a try? Let me know how you found it and if you made any personalised additions to it!
Best things to see and do in 24 hours in Washington DC
Washington DC is often overlooked as a travel destination due to its more glamourous neighbours. However the city has a lot of offer visitors, as not only is it rich in political history and houses some awe-inspiring museums, it is also full of hidden foodie gems.
Here is my guide to seeing the best of what Washington DC has to offer in 24 hours!
Even before landing at Dulles International Airport I was excited at the prospect of exploring Washington DC. After a fairly comfortable flight, I checked into my hotel in Rosslyn, Arlington, a few short train stops away from The White House.
I got in late in the evening so I decided to have an early night and start afresh in the morning. After a typically American breakfast of buttermilk pancakes and black coffee, I headed straight to the nearest metro station to purchase a Smartrip card. These work pretty much like an oyster card and can come pre-loaded with credit to make using public transport easy.
There are machines at every metro and they take cash or credit card. I definitely recommend getting one of these cards as you will be traveling around in a similar fashion as you would in Central London.
I must admit, when I saw the metro station I was taken aback at how dated and bare it looked. A seemingly never-ending escalator took me down underground to a dimly-lit platform with only shades of grey and orange around me.
There was no advertising, no modern electronic notification boards and seemingly no people around. It was quite eerie and surprising and the trains themselves were quite the same. Nevertheless, the metro is easy to use and trains run quite regularly. There are colour (or color) coded lines similar to the London underground although I would recommend downloading a metro map as it’s quite hard to pinpoint one once you’re on the train and single is few and far between.
First stop - The National Museum of African American History and Culture
I took the silver line to Federal Triangle station and headed to my first stop - The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), a Smithsonian Institution museum which opened in September 2016. The building itself is beautiful and the location on the National Mall represents the past, present, and future of the African American experience.
Looking north from the building, visitors can see the White House, which made history in 2008 with the election of the country's 44th president, Barack Obama. Rising to the east beyond the National Mall and other Smithsonian museums is the U.S. Capitol, seat of the nation’s legislature. To the south and west are monuments and memorials to Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington, whose contributions to African American history and culture are explained in the museum.
The museum itself opens at 10am but in order to avoid queues I would recommend getting there at least 30 minutes before as the museum is extremely popular with over 4 million visitors already being through the doors within two years. This was a museum I was really excited about visiting and knew I was in for a mix of emotions.
I started 80 feet below ground to where the reality of the beginning of the African American experience sets in- the slavery exhibition. This was such a moving experience and made me realise how slavery not only shaped African Americans but the whole country itself. The way in which the museum covered the history was incredible. From a full scale replica house showing how slaves in the south lived to the actual coffin of Emmitt Till whose untimely and horrific death caused waves throughout America.
As you rise up through the museum you actually rise up through the celebratory history of African Americans. There are exhibitions on music, sport, movies and much more. Everywhere you look there are visual, audio and kinetic experiences covering so many incredible stars - Oprah Winfrey, Muhammed Ali, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin…the list goes on and on.
A taste of the South - Lunch at Sweet Home Café
After spending a good three hours in the museum I was ready to eat! I stopped at the Sweet Home Cafe located inside the museum. Sweet Home Café showcases the rich culture and history of the African American people with traditional, authentic offerings as well as present-day food traditions.
Four distinct stations each tell the story of the regional offerings - The Agricultural South featuring staples such as Lexington Style BBQ Pork Sandwich, with Slaw, Pickled Watermelon Rind, and Potato Salad, The Creole Coast which includes Pan-fried Louisiana Catfish Po’boy with Smoked Red Pepper Rémoulade and Green Bean Pickles, The North States including Smothered Turkey Grillades with Fried Apple, Sage Gravy and Johnny Cakes, and finally The Western Range which includes BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwich with Sweet Potato Bun, Charred Peach and Jalapeno Chutney.
I decided on the fried buttermilk chicken with collard greens, corn bread and washed down with old fashioned root beer. The food was delicious and affordable with friendly staff who assisted me with my choice.
Gazing up at The Washington Monument
After leaving the museum I checked out the Washington Monument which was literally across the road. Built to commemorate George Washington, the first President of the United States the Monument is impressive up close and I was surprised to hear that it is the world's tallest predominately stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk standing at 554 feet 7 inches.
Discovering America’s political history - A tour of The United States Capitol Building
My next stop was the Capitol Hill, which was a short walk away. The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building, is the home of the United States Congress, and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. The tour is free, includes a 13 minute orientation film plus a 45 minute walking tour, and runs throughout the day but you must reserve your spot on the tour online. The tour is very popular and there are limited numbers so if you are with a big group I’d recommend reserving your place as soon as you can.
Brunch at Indian Accent, Mayfair - Restaurant Review
Cuisine: Indian Location: Mayfair Style Points: 5/5 Price: £££ Overall: 5/5
Chicken chilli dabba gosht
with baked egg and parantha & kulchas for the table
Makhan malai dessert
with saffron milk, rose petal jaggery brittle, almonds
Mudra Punch Mocktail
Rose sharbat, almond milk and coconut
Well renowned Indian restaurant, Indian Accent in Mayfair, has introduced an exciting new brunch menu and there isn’t an avocado insight!
Head chef Chef Manish Mehrotra has put his unique spin on the set brunch menu and has created imaginative plates which are inspired by traditional regional dishes.
Following on from the successful brunch menu at Indian Accent’s sister restaurant in NYC, this branch provides a relaxed, sophisticated venue for weekend brunch.
In order to sample a range of dishes, we opted for the shared brunch for the table. This shared feast included several dishes in each course which are served together.
The brunch started with shared portions of fresh green pea bhel with crispy rice, burrata with fenugreek papdi and tomatoes which resembles a dhai wada style dish. We also sampled chilli crab cheese toast with summer cucumber pickle, tamarind ketchup, however the flavor of the crab was masked by the cheese. The dishes were however innovative, exciting and delicious to sample.
The main course saw a host of brunch dishes arrive including parsi 'salli per eedu', which was made of fried egg and crispy potatoes, reminiscent of spiced scrambled eggs and salmon with dill.
We also tried chicken chilli dabba gosht with baked eggs, which was a part-shakshuka, part-curry style dish. This all arrIved with paranthas and many different flavoured kulchas for the table to share.
By this point we were quite stuffed, as we had already had a table full of different dishes. However we couldn’t pass on dessert and we were glad we didn’t!
Dessert consisted of two dishes which was ‘aamras’ consisting of mangoes, cardamom, and summer berries. The second dessert was a giant, almost balloon shaped makhan malai, made of saffron milk, rose petal jaggery brittle and almonds. Although this dessert was brimming full of flavour, it was also very light and almost melted to the touch, meaning it was easy to devour, even on a full stomach!
We paired our meal with cocktails, including innovative inventions such as Sticky Wicket made with delicately spiced pomegranate and the magical Mudra Punch, a beautiful blend of rose sharbat, almond milk and coconut!
The shared set menu we ordered was £40 per guest, which is extremely reasonable for the sumptuous spread of nine dishes we sampled.
Diners are also able to order brunch dishes individually, with any two courses available at £25.
Although Indian Accent is fairly new to the London restaurant scene, it has already won much critical acclaim. This new brunch menu is sure to follow suit and well worth trying before word spread of its brilliance!
Everyone agrees that going out on NYE is a nightmare. Not only does it require a host of pre-planning and preparation, but the overpriced alcohol and struggling to get back home at the end of the night, never quite lives up to expectations.
This year celebrate New Year’s Eve in style at home with a private chef! Gather a bunch of your nearest and dearest and invite them to yours for a slap-up dinner party but without having to lift a finger yourself!
This is exactly what we did with La Belle Assiette, the private chef experts who bring the best elements of the restaurant to your home. They cook up delicious food in your kitchen and then leave it spotless at the end of the evening. But, unlike restaurants, you’re in the comfort of your own home, you choose the music and decor, and can afford to buy some decent wines!
Our chef Petros Mais arrived on time with all the ingredients required to cook up a three course meal we had chosen.
We sampled a gorgeous menu consisting of a starter of goat’s cheese with chorizo and English muffin, followed by a main course of chicken fillet with burnt mushroom puree, caramelised shallots and red wine jus. Both courses were cooked to perfection and presented beautifully too.
Our dessert was a delectable lemon curd crumble with raspberry coulis and meringues. This was then followed by a special surprise from our Chef PeTros, who presented us with Grappa from he’s home in Greece, alongside chocolates and strawberries! This was a great end to our meal.
Each course was served as expected and on time, with a description from the chef himself. What’s more they even clear up before they leave, meaning we can enjoy the rest of the night and the celebrations!
How to book?
Go to labelleassiette.co.uk, enter the date, time you’d like to eat and then choose a menu that tickles your tastebuds. Book and pay securely online.
Alternatively for this special celebration you can get in touch with the team at La Belle Assiette and they’ll put something special together for you.
Menus for New Year’s Eve generally start at £89 per person.
Christmas is the perfect excuse to over-indulge on the best foodie treats this season has to offer! I’ve explored a host of food-related gifts and come up with the ultimate list of favourite foodie gifts.
Whether it’s luxury drinks, gourmet food, or something a little different, these gifts are ideal for the foodies in your life!
This new blended spirit is an artisanal, independent Calvados bottler from Normandy. 30&40’s is new to the UK and is created with all-natural ingredients, bearing the qualities of a premium tasting spirit. I enjoy 30&40’s as although it has a luxury feel to it, the drink is very drinkable and accessible, making it perfect for every drinking occasion, especially Christmas!
A true artisan sake, Akashi-Tai Sake is handmade in small batches by the master brewer and his close team of trusted craftsmen - meaning every bottle is expertly made to perfection.
Akashi-Tai Sake is also brewed using traditional methods, with only the highest quality, locally produced ingredients. This luxury sake from Hyogo – the birthplace of sake itself, is the perfect gift for anyone who appreciates the subtleties of a drink.
There’s nothing like a good cup of tea, and The East India Company ensures that all their tea is of the best quality.
They offer over 140 unique flavours including Oolongs, Orange Pekoes, and Darjeelings, all of which are beautifully presented. The East India Company also sell gift sets with not just a selection of tea, but also premium chocolates, delicious biscuits and more!
Celebrate the festive season in style with a bottle of beautiful Moet! This Champagne is distinguished by its floral notes of honeysuckle with a lingering note of citrus fruit. Order champagne in a gift box, delivered to you next day with 31 Dover.
Having recently won Food Drink Devon’s ‘Best Brand’ award, Otter Vale Chutney is the brand behind the celebrated Devon Chutney (onion and pineapple) and Devon Fire chutney. They produce a whole range of delicious hand-made, gluten-free chutneys and preserves, savoury jellies, piccalilli, salsa and other delicious traditional food accompaniments.
Only using the finest ingredients, with no artificial colours or flavouring, Otter Vale has flavours to suit all tastes! My favourites from the gourmet range include Date and Fig and Cranberry and Red Onion - a must try for the festive season!
Although you can’t beat the Christmas classic such as turkey and pigs in blankets, this is also the time to year to indulge in something new.
Clonakilty Blackpudding is Ireland's favourite black pudding and can be used as a premium ingredient in festive canapes. It makes the perfect accompaniment to avocado and can be quickly made into a canapes for any festive gathering.
Clonakilty also now offer Whitepudding, sausages, rashers and premium bacon too!
At this festive time of year, cake can sometimes be overlooked for more traditional desserts. However, a hand crafted, personalied cake from Konditor and Cook, London’s most renowned cake shop, is always on trend.
Every product from Konditor and Cook is baked with the same amount of care and attention and can be delivered to you or picked up in one of their stores.
The Christmas flavours include Christmas Whiskey Bomb, Sticky Toffee Cake and a divine Bailey’s Chocolate cake too.
One thing there shouldn’t be a shortage of at Christmas is snacks. Everyone’s favourite snack is popcorn and Joe and Seph offer the best gourmet popcorn. My favourites include Double Caramel, Toffee Cinnamon and Apple and there’s also a new selection on offer for Christmas which includes Mince Pie, Brandy Butter and Prosecco!
Pong Cheese gathers the very best cheeses by independent and artisan producers in the UK, as well as including some classics from Europe. The Pong cheese Christmas Extravaganza Box includes a delicious cheese box with family Christmas dining in mind, including a range for all to enjoy, such as Edel de Cleron and Harrogate Blue.
Something different...Bangkok Thai: The Busaba Cookbook
This is the cookery bible from one of the UK's favourite Thai restaurant chain. Bangkok Thai: The Busaba Cookbook takes Thai cookery and makes it available to the amateur chef.
The book offers 100 recipes ranging from salads and soups to stir-fries, wok noodles, curries and chargrills. Most importantly the book offers shortcuts and hacks to help recreate the tastes of South-East Asia with as little fuss and as much enjoyment as possible!
Some of the best restaurants in the UK are located in charming towns dotted around the country. I went on one such foodie adventure around the beautiful city of St Albans and discovered some amazing place to dine!
St Albans is a place close to my heart, as it’s where I got married earlier this year. Only 20 minutes away from London by train, this is a great place for visit for a day, or a relaxed weekend break.
Here’s my top tips on where to eat, stay and explore in this lovely city!
Stay at the beautiful St Michael’s Manor
This is one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve stayed in and one of my favourites. Located in a country-style manor, the hotel has an intimate, boutique feel to it, even through it offer 30 elegant rooms, a restaurant, bar and 5 acres of gorgeous private English country garden.
We stayed in their suite, which has a lovely balcony with views looking out onto the garden and lake. Each of the rooms are individually styled with a classic touch including contemporary decor too. We absolutely loved our four-poster bed and balcony!
As well as a lounge and well-stocked bar, St Michael’s Manor also has the highly-acclaimed orangery Lake Restaurant. We had dinner here on the night we checked-in and were really impressed with the food. The menu focuses on classic English dishes including game, fish and meat, offering a wide variety. I particularly enjoyed our desserts including poached pear and apple crumble!
Tabure is a modern Turkish kitchen with a classy, welcoming atmosphere. Hulya and Mark are the husband and wife team behind Tabure, whose ethos is to offer genuine Turkish cuisine and culture, using authentic Turkish ingredients.
The menu is immensely tempting and we tried a variety of dishes including delicious stuffed courgette flower and lor tempura, keskek with organic pulled lamb and chargilled organic chicken wings and Misir. Our favourite was the Sac Tava, a dish of stir fried marinated organic chicken with sivri peppers, fresh tomatoes and house bread.
The Turkish wine is a must try, choose from either the Turkish Karmen or Turkish Buzbag for the perfect accompaniment to the meal!
Sunday Roast at the oldest pub in England - Ye Olde Fighting Cocks
After admiring the beautiful St Albans Cathedral, head to Ye Olde Fighting Cocks located a few minutes walk away. Dating back to the 8th Century, the pub as it is today was built in the 11th Century. The name derives from the fact that Cock fighting took place in the main bar in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, hence the name of the pub.
This is a popular place for a Sunday roast, due to the freshly prepared dishes using ingredients which are locally sourced, as well as the wide variety of beers and drinks on offer.
We started with hot buffalo chicken wings, which arrived as a mouth-watering plate of enormous wings, served with divine blue cheese dressing on the side. For my Sunday roast I tried the slow roasted duck served with cranberry sauce and all the trimmings.
This was a delectable plate of food where the freshness of the ingredients was really evident. We finished off with a beautiful sticky toffee pudding served with clotted ice cream. After this amazing meal take a stroll around the nearby lake to walk it off!
Hatch is an all-day dining venue with a brunch that is extraordinary! Not only is the coffee exemplary, but the dirty chai was one of my favourites, as well as the hot chocolate made with real Belgian chocolate, marshmallows and of course an added shot of Baileys.
In terms of food the waffles are worth a try - we ordered the berry waffle which was served with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and maple syrup. The sweetcorn fritters, which come with avocado, chilli jam, poached egg and rocket is also a delicious, healthier treat!
For those that don’t have time to sit and enjoy a leisurely brunch, there is also a Hatch To Go, in the centre of town, serving the highlights of the menu for those in a rush.
End your foodie weekend with a touch a luxury and enjoy the Afternoon Tea at St Michael’s Manor. This is the perfect, cosy treat on a winter’s day and a great way to wind down after a busy weekend in St Albans.
The Afternoon tea comes with tea or coffee and warm scones, clotted cream and jam and a selection of miniature homemade cakes, a selection of sandwiches, and even Champagne those who want to indulge!
The setting for Afternoon Tea at St Michael’s Manor is beautifully classic and makes for a enjoyable, relaxing afternoon.