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There are many things to love about new Shoreditch eaterie, PizzaBuzz. Firstly, and unsurprisingly, it sells pizza, and who doesn’t love pizza?

Not just any old pizza though. PizzaBuzz carries some spectacularly good ingredients that you just won’t find in other pizza joints – smoked mackerel, pine nuts, beetroot, feta cheese, roasted garlic cloves, fennel seeds, n’duja, merguez…the list goes on. You can pick and mix from all of these ingredients and more, in order to realise the “best pizza ever” vision you’ve always carried around in your head.

The owner, Barnaby, is incredibly well-intentioned and untainted by cynicism. He is an evangelist about many topics dear to the GLC’s collective heart: great ingredients, provenance, culinary innovation, the importance of local etc. Barnaby wants people to come and have a happy, healthy, tasty experience here. He wants PizzaBuzz to be inclusive, in terms of taste, dietary requirements and wallet. Their pizza base is made from an organic flour and spelt blend for easier digestion and the restaurant caters handsomely for customers looking to avoid calories, gluten, dairy or anything animal. Entirely at the other end of the spectrum, PizzaBuzz also offers a “Bottomless Booze” option, where diners can have a pizza and as much tap wine or beer as their liver can process for just under £30.

Pizza Buzz
Alphabeta Building
2 Worship Street
London
EC2A 2AH
020 3815 6696
www.pizzabuzz.co.uk
Nearest tube: Old Street

The post Loving the new PizzaBuzz in Shoreditch appeared first on Gentlemen’s Luncheon Club.

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Sometimes a burger is just a burger. I was thinking this on my way to the Hard Rock Café “World Burger Tour” last week after the GLC was kindly invited to participate. After all let’s think about it – you dare not mess with the beef patty too much or you will end up with a rissole or a meatloaf. And the bun? Buns and sesame seeds are all very well but other than using sourdough you are not going to score too many points with your bun, bud.

The event was held in the Back Room facility of the Park Lane Hard Rock, just around the corner from the busy main entrance. It’s a handy little saloon with a bar, some rock/baroque décor and good views of the street. Once there I learned the premise of the world burger tour is this: Each Hard Rock café around the world caters to local tastes by having a local burger on the menu and every year these local burgers are reviewed and four are selected and sent on tour to all the other Hard Rock venues worldwide. It’s a brilliant marketing idea and a fine example of making something big out of something rather small.

So we had a menu of the most recent four entries as follows (note we had mini-burgers – not full sized): The new English burger which included Egg and Bacon in an attempt to put a full-English between your buns. Then a Colombian burger which sported some carefully inserted Plantain and suitably local sauce. This was followed by the Jambalaya burger from New Orleans – there’s a lot to choose from in Cajun cooking and this burger did a good job representing it. Finally the Korean Kimchi burger which included some of that pickled cabbage in the mix. Delicious.

Now back to the basic question – notwithstanding all these tasty local inserts – what can you do with a beef patty? It has to be said that the Hard Rock have clearly been at this a while and it shows. The beef patty used and presented in every case was of perfectly uniform beef minus those random and mysterious tough bits that show up in the supermarket variety – which I have always assumed included bits of the animal other than the beef. Not only is the patty really pure meat but, and this is the genius of the Hard Rock – they are always cooked perfectly – medium / rare with a pink just cooked interior and a perfectly dark broiled exterior. It is a fact that the caramelizing effect of burning the sugars in meat is what started early man incinerating his meals long ago by the campfire. It’s just too good – and we are still at it today, refined palette be dammed – some pleasures just cannot be denied us.

Highlight of the evening was the competition to see how long a very tiny woman could eat 4 very large full size burgers plus bun and fillings – 12 minutes flat! But I couldn’t watch. Food, even burgers, should be enjoyed, not turned into an exhibition of gluttony – my 10c anyway.

The best burger in my mind was undoubtedly the Jambalaya with the smoky Cajun flavours adding a lot of depth to the presentation. However next up might be the English as I have always been a little partial to some ham in my burger. My guest felt that the English Breakfast burger was just a ketchup squeeze away from perfection!

So for a chance to hear loud music, see famous memorabilia and hang with a Bud with a bud, head on down to the Hard Rock and have a famous burger from a faraway place you may never go to. But then again you just might, if their burger is this good.

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Quick – name the country where Samarkand is located? Yep -it’s a tough one and a trip to an Uzbek restaurant is probably as close as I am ever likely to get to Uzbekistan. So last week our London food blog made the trip to Smarkand – the newly opened Uzbek restaurant – in Fitzrovia – and it was a very fine time. Let me take you there too.

The beautiful Samarkand claims to be the birthplace of Astronomy

Reached through an enchanting foyer of wonderful blue, the restaurant is beautifully appointed with glazed tiles, hand carved wooden columns, twinkly star lights (Samarkand claims to be the birthplace of Astronomy) and a wonderful bar next to an open view and nicely lit kitchen. In the bar the professionals do wonderful things with spirits and fruit juices to make some very exotic mixtures and – if that is not entertainment enough – there is a Vodka showcase which displays some truly extraordinary variations on the basic water/alcohol mixture theme. How about coffee flavoured, herb flavoured, one called Demon Verbena or even Vodka poured over duck fat..? If this is your thing – you will be in heaven here. However – I was there for the food.

Part of the early evening was spent chopping and rolling up a mix of Onions, Lamb and Wagyu beef into a traditional dumpling dish known as a Manti. These were later served as a starter and proved tasty though it must be added that professionals make airtight versions of the Manti – unlike mine – which trap the flavours and so are much improved over mine. If you like dumplings – make them airtight and they will delight. But in case you were wondering it is not the tradition to have the guests do this.

Other appetizers included a delicious pastry dish called a Somsa which was Pumpkin filled and flavoured with Cumin and also a delicious grilled Aubergine dish – Baklajon – reminiscent of Babaganoush but served with a sort of toast Melba and a pomegranate garnish. This was a delightful variant on the versatile Aubergine.

On then to the main of the Uzbek traditional menu – the Plov – a dish consisting of slow cooked beef shank on a bed of deliciously flavoured rice, carrot, onions and chickpeas. This then is a hearty meal for sure and will sit you in good stead for a night of Vodka tasting. Be warned – it is a filling dish you will eat very fast – having that all the elemental essences of food your body craves. Enjoy – I certainly did – the fine flavours mixing delightfully with the beef.

No Uzbek meal is complete without a dessert and this night was no exception. A poached pear garnished with Chilli and Lime followed along with an Uzbek variation of Baklava – the Baklava cake – a fine dish which if I am honest – bears only a similarity in name to Baklava – but is every bit as enjoyable for its own sake being lightly flavoured with Mace. Have some and forget the namesake.

What can I say about Samarkand – the restaurant: Delightful and intriguing décor, first rate service from knowledgeable and conscientious staff who aim to please and impress serving unique and delicious food and drink without getting too precious or too pricy.

In summary – if you are a curious gastronome or just plain hungry for something tasty and different or even looking for something new in Vodka- you will not go wrong in Samarkand.

Samarkand
33 Charlotte Street
London
W1T 1RR
www.smarkand.com

The post Samarkand is London’s Uzbekistan Restaurant appeared first on Gentlemen’s Luncheon Club.

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Opposite Blackfriars tube station stands the Crowne Plaza hotel built upon the spot once occupied by the infamous Bridewell prison. At basement level we find the Voltaire Bar.

In a cunning twist the adjacent vaults under the pavement have been transformed into private snugs where a group can take cocktails plus cigars to share along with a bite from the lively burger menu.

Georgeous Décor

At 7 pm we found the place relaxed despite the downbeat dance-music playing in the background. Décor is Phillipe Starck goes clubbing and the result is oversized furniture, curious lights & fittings that highlight strange-printed fabrics. It is pleasing with something interesting to look at in every direction and big relaxed booths for groups.

The menu – well it is brief – but food is not the main course here. The big attraction is a primary humidor of classic Cuban cigars sat beside another stocked with the tobacco produce of all other nations.

I was surprised that the Monte Christos were marked as a Medium / Full smoke – never my impression. Much stronger smokes can be found here. And of course there are a great many lively Cohibas!

Service was a little slack until Frankie our Maitre’D showed up – then it all came together. Trying out one of their “Sober” cocktails as recommended, we learned that the Afternoon Tea and Cocktails feature on the menu was very popular – and that the kitchen exclusively bakes all the pastries. A good omen I thought.

Gourmet burger with Foie Gras

I had the Gourmet burger which included a little Foie Gras and my companion had the Cheese burger. We waited a little while for these but when they came they were quite delicious and served on a brioche bun that was delightful and delicious.

Frankie’s carefully crafted cocktails were also a big hit and my Lime & Ginger & Fresh Mint concoction was to die for. You could probably go a long way from here to find better.

The hour of 7 is clearly downtime for this retreat and so it was not clear who a typical customer might be but I would guess it was the later than usual city type with an appetite for burgers and a damn fine cigar – best enjoyed in a vault with some good friends.

Voltaire delivers good value

Overall, Voltaire delivers good value for money on the food and drink – especially for a hotel – with an interesting design theme. On the cigars – if you like a Cuban smoke – you will not be disappointed. And do please try one of Frankie’s delicious cocktails!

Voltaire Bar
19 New Bridge Street
City of London
EC4V 6DB
020 7438 8054
www.voltairebar.com

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When it comes to choosing a London restaurant, the City is full of choices. Admittedly they are typically at the higher price point, but the 300,000 people commuting to the square-mile have got to spend their hard-earned cash somewhere.

Our food blog loves the City and we’ve regularly frequented the Hawksmore and Duck and Waffle (which remains one of our all-time favorites). So when we were invited to Marco Pierre White’s London Steakhouse City restaurant, the bar was high.


An award-winning traditional steakhouse

The London Steakhouse City bills itself as, “an award-winning traditional steakhouse in the heart of the Square Mile, serving a mouth-watering choice of steak cuts and a range of timeless English dishes”.

Archetypal steakhouse dining

Located off Bishopsgate, near Liverpool Street station, the subterranean restaurant looks unassuming from the outside. However, inside you’ll find an archetypal steakhouse dining room complete with wooden floors, nicely arranged tables, ambient lighting, a nice hum-drum of conversation and an impressive collection of Jak illustrations on the walls.

Classic British dishes

The menu is a delight of classic British dishes. The starters range from Grilled Scottish Langoustines, Watercress & Garden Pea Soup though to Chicken Liver Parfait. It really is a wonderful selection and a struggle to choose a single dish. So I opted for the special; Beetroot and Goats Cheese which was exceptional. My partner chose the Finest Scottish Smoked Salmon Plate which was simple and tasty.

The trick to the Steakhouse starters is; they’re not too big. Which is ideal when it comes to the main event, steak. Whilst the fish board and Honey Roast Pork Belly Marco Polo were genuinely tempting, tonight was a carne-fest.

Aubrey Allen butcher to the chefs

For the conscientious members of the London food scene, the source of ingredients is a hot-topic. So I was heartened to learn the steaks at the London Steakhouse are supplied by Master Butcher Aubrey Allen, who recently won us a National Meat Buyer of the Year award for ‘Ethical Sourcing and Animal Welfare’.

So with the help of a full bodied Malbec, I tucked into a 14oz Ribeye and my partner chose the 6oz Centre-Cut Fillet. Both steaks we’re fantastic. Perfectly cooked, perfectly sized, perfectly seasoned. So much so, you really get a sense of why Marco Pierre White was awarded three Michelin Stars.

There’s a simplicity to London Steakhouse. It gets everything just right and it does it in an effortless way. It’s a restaurant that makes you feel comfortable, a comfort I can only liken to dining at Corrigans in Mayfair. So much so, I found myself daydreaming about my next visit, even selecting my next menu choices.

Marco Pierre White may still be the “enfant terrible” of the restaurant scene” but what he has delivers here is a mature, enticing and appetizing steak house packed with flavor. Without a doubt this is one of London’s finest steakhouses and I for one am already looking forward to my next visit.

London Steakhouse Co. City
109-117 Middlesex Street
City of London
E1 7JF

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On the corner of Farringdon road and Charterhouse – a corner of London that recently housed the Fabric nightclub – we find the Vivat Bacchus – Farringdon location.

An unassuming sandstone building houses this eatery with an interior décor of warehouse-chic – girders, exposed ducting, dark wood & brick – all make for a nice edgy ambience. While it was a little noisy – it had a good buzz as early as 6pm.

Positioning itself as an unapologetic haven for meat, wine fans, it also boasts a refrigerated cheese room with contents on display. I asked for a quick tour of this before dinner and was delighted to find several long-time favourites from Spain and France plus – bonus – a precious store of Testun Barolo – a rarely found and long-time favourite Italian.


My guide was knowledgeable and friendly so I asked how they get the cold product to the customers table so it is at room temperature – the cheese room itself being chilly. You need to ask – he told me. Good answer.

The menu was clear and well designed – Crocodile, Ostrich, Biltong and Surrey Hills beef all caught my eye but I settled for the Wagyu Sirloin advertised as “Arguably the best beef in the world…” – this preceded by the VB superfood salad.  On the menu it says “If it swims it slims” and my companion opted for the King Prawn / Melon salad with Swordfish to follow and a glass of house Chablis. As a precaution I asked at this point for small portions of two cheeses – the Epoisses and the Testun Barolo – to be cut and set outside the cheese room to warm up. The waitress was a little surprised but took it in stride.


The wine list was impressive and extensive running to almost a dozen pages – most decently priced.

Service was swift and accurate delivered by staff who were friendly and helpful. In a few moments the superfood salad – a decent helping which included wilted Spinach, Quinoa, Goji and Pomegranate arrived – things were looking up. But the dressing was a little insipid – be bold I thought – this deserves a super-dressing too. Across the table the prawn salad was a little light on prawn but tasty enough and a good size.

My sirloin – which I ordered medium rare – also arrived promptly. Timely service is clearly well-practiced here. The steak came with my choice of Béarnaise dressing, grilled plum tomatoes and a small bowl of chips.  Cooked just right – this steak was delicious. It was also “arguably” the best steak – but at 180g before cooking – sadly it did not last long enough for a good argument.

My companion noted that the swordfish mouthed well and was not leathery but a little creamy with real flavour – unusual for a London restaurant. And it went perfectly with the house wine which was good and very reasonably priced. He runs a business in the heart of the City and often dines out nearby so I asked “would you take your colleagues here for a celebration dinner?” After a look around he replied “Yes – it’s exactly where I would take them”. Enough said.

Overall Vivat left a favourable impression and delivered the goods. As an upper-end city eatery with good transport links nearby, a good buzz, good menu, plenty of wine and great cheese it rates high on this London bloggers list.

Food as advertised 4.5 / 5
Ambience 4/5
Service 5/5
Value 4/5
Overall 4/5 pretty close to Excellent.

Vivat Bacchus
47 Farringdon St
London
EC4A 4LL
www.vivatbacchus.co.uk
020 7353 2648

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While GLC’s raison d’etre has been and always will been to be a London food blog, wine does of course play a major supporting role. So, when we were invited to last week’s Blend with Bordeaux workshop run by Vins de Bordeaux at the Good Housekeeping Institute, we were there quicker than you can say “Cabernet Sauvignon”.

The Blend with Bordeaux workshop

As any oenophile will tell you, the Bordeaux region is split into Left and Right Banks, the bit in the middle being the Gironde estuary. The Left Bank is characterised by stony soil, great for abosrbing heat by day and radiating it back up to the grapes at night – a state of affairs that the Cabernet Sauvignon grape particularly enjoys. The Right Bank is largely cool clay soil, in which the Merlot grape happily thrives. Whatever side you’re on, the estuary and the inland rivers play a crucial role in moderating the temperature, producing the ideal micro-climate for a long, slow ripening.

The secret of Bordeaux’s success, however, is the “assemblage” – The blending of these varieties (along with the lesser known Cab Franc and Petit Verdot) to produce some of the worlds most sought-after wines (think Pauillac, Margaux, Pomeral, Saint-Emilion). And that’s why we’re here: for a peek into the process and to have a go at creating our own blend.

Bordeaux’s left and right bank

Firstly, young Right Bank winemaker Laetitia Ouspointour talks us through the area, the apellations, the climate and terroir, as well as the types of wine produced, which includes sweet and dry whites and cremants, as well as the reds which have made Bordeaux famous.

Then the fun really begins. Armed with pipettes, glasses, blending tubes and bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, we are tasked with creating our own Left Bank and Right Bank blends. This being a French process, it is heavily regulated. Left bank blends must contain a 60% minimum Cabernet Sauvignon, while Right Bank must contain at least 70% Merlot (fans of “Sideways” take note). We blend, taste, compare notes, change quantities and blend again until we are happy with our “assemblage”. For us, the magic number for the Left Bank blend was 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, with 10% each of Cabarnet Franc and Petit Verdot. On the Right Bank, Petit Verdot is not permitted so we went with 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. In both cases, the trick is to bring into balance the tannins, structure, and acidity provided by Cabernets (and Petit Verdot) with the supple fruitiness and high alcohol content of the Merlot. Also, the grapes offer different flavour profiles which can support eachother superbly. Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, is all about black fruits, warm spice and leafy herbs, while the early-harvest Merlot brings in red fruits and some vegetal notes, such as green pepper.

Own blend Bordeaux

We leave, armed with a small bottle of our blends, smiles on our faces and an urge to go to Bordeaux to see and taste more of the real thing. Most of all though, I left with a sudden longing for Christmas and the affinity of its foods to the classic Bordeaux wines. Cheers!

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“I really believe food can prevent wars – imagine if people just sat down and ate a meal together – do you think they would end up fighting?” No matter if you agree with these words – spoken to me today at lunch down in the borough market by chef Patrick Williams – they give you a sense of the passion and energy this big man has for the subject of food.

Patrick Williams at his Eat Soul Food stall

Patrick used to present Saturday Kitchen, has trained under Marco Pierre White, worked at the OXO Tower and Ivy and subsequently opened The Terrace restaurant in central London. But I was on a trip to “Eat Soul Food” – his food stall – and was surprised to see the large crowd of people buzzing around the offerings. The reason is simple – Fast Fresh Food – how Patrick describes the fare – is the offering at his newest eatery; and it is delicious.

Fast, Fresh Soul Food

After a career that included Michelin star kitchens, the attraction to this style of cooking and the immediate interaction it brings with customers – some of whom even offer advice on his dishes – remains strong even after three busy years. During this time he has had to negotiate the Borough weather, the vagaries of local council restrictions on Barbequing in the market (he now operates this out of a location in Golders Green) and the daily effort of making everything from scratch – something no other food stall does.

Growing up in Hackney of a Jamaican family – it was as a young boy that he first discerned a notable difference in how his family and those of the other kids in his neighbourhood regarded food. For his family it was always freshly prepared from things his mother bought in the local grocery but for many other families it seems to always be ready prepared or straight out of a tin – something he later came to recognize as part of a viscous cycle where basic food knowledge is lost in a family and so habits of bad eating and poor health are the outcome. Patrick dearly wants to help break this cycle and change how people think about food.

Popular Jamaican dishes with a twist

One part of the answer is “Eat Soul Food” which offers a variety of popular Jamaican dishes with adjustments to ensure that everyone goes away truly satisfied. While his spicy dishes are still spicy – he has quietly retired several of the more heated Jamaican favourites – including the authentic Jerk Chicken – as it proved simply too hot for the average fast lunch diner.

However dishes like Chicken Pelau, Jamaican seasoned Fish along with a choice of BBQ Chicken, Lamb and even a curried mutton have proved a popular core menu. I enjoyed the BBQ chicken wrap as he and I chatted and it was of absolutely delicious light smoky flavour seasoned with Pimento and Coriander.

The Jamaican family always have food ready he told me – even the very poor because you never know who will drop by. This basic philosophy of the communal dish binding us all appears in many cultures across the world. “Now you may find this hard to believe” Patrick confided – “but since I started this stall I have become more passionate about food and service than I ever could be in a restaurant – it’s a bit of a surprise but I like it”.

Supporting the Trussell Trust

As a side interest Patrick is also involved in the Trussell Trust, a charitable group that travels the country showing people on marginal sustenance how easy it is to prepare great food from a range of the simplest ingredients off the shelves – even from basic canned foods.

It’s rare that a London foodie like me gets to actually meet the person behind the portions – but meeting Patrick in this case turned out to be as tasty a treat as the food itself.

We wish Patrick the very best of luck and expect to catch up with him again down the road.                     

If you are interested in more about Patrick and his stall:

Here’s a link to the stall website – http://eatsoulfood.co.uk/

Here’s a link to his BBC profile – http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/chefs/patrick_williams

A video of him in action – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzeOKOtql7I

East Soul Food
Borough Market
Green Market
8 Southwark Street
London
SE1 1TL

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So I’ll let you into a secret; I’m not usually the biggest fan of hotel restaurants. I’m never quite able to make the separation between somewhere you sleep and somewhere you eat.

Even with separate entrances, I can’t get over the fact that unless you have the lure of a celebrity-chef like Heston Blumental’s Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental, why would you choose a hotel-restaurant? Especially when London’s foodie scene has virtually every whim catered for?

What makes a great dining experience?

For me, the key ingredients of a great dining experience are: the location, the ambiance, the food, service and of course, the company. And in all fairness, Hunter 486 (named after the 1950s dialing code for Marylebone) delivers on all of the above.

Let’s get comfy

Located at The Arch, a boutique luxury hotel near Marble Arch (famed for its 19th century London landmark designed to be the entrance to Buckingham Palace), it’s right at the heart of central London.

As for ambiance, the dining room is lovely and compact, with lots of different areas packed with design-detail. The tables are well laid out with a selection of booths to choose from – and as regular readers of our little food blog will know, the GLC loves a booth – somehow they always add a little extra to the experience.

Booths!

Another focus to the room is the open kitchen with a visible fire from the stone baked pizza oven on show, that combined with a clever use of sheer curtain particians, allows you to genuinely forget the hotel-restaurant thing.

As for the food, Head Chef, Gary Durrant has created a “Best of British” inspired selection with everything from Dorset crab starters, stone baked racks of lamb mains, though to classics like beer battered haddock. It’s a concise and tasty choice – a menu I could happily revisit as the options were superb.

Googling goat’s cheese

I eventually chose the ‘quinoa, rocket, grilled vegetables Rosary goat’s cheese with basil dressing’ to start, followed by the ‘flat iron steak’ and I’m glad I did. Let’s put it this way I’ve subsequently Googled ‘Rosary goat’s cheese’ and will be buying very soon. It was unbelievably tasty! This left the bar rather high for the steak, but again the flavours were there in abundance. So much so, my only criticism is I wasn’t offered the opportunity to supersize my dishes as I would have added more goat’s cheese and another few grams to the steak.

The lovely Rosary goat’s cheese

Classic Dorset crab

My wife had a starter of ‘dressed dorset crab, avocado and pink grapefruit’, which went down very well with a glass of crisp ‘Tattinger Rose’. This was followed by the ‘fillet of cod, braised peas, spring onions, air dried ham and mint’ from the stone oven, which was a fantastic mix of light, yet deliciously rich and beautifully complementary tastes.

Flat iron steak – before

Flat iron steak – after

Stone baked cod

Hunter’s secret weapon

Not to be undone, the desserts were above par too, ridiculously rich chocolate and a lovely Eton mess.

Eton mess and desert wine chaser

All simple, classic dishes perfectly executed with one secret weapon yet to be revealed. The library. Where better to round off an evening with an expresso than in the hotel’s quiet, elegant reading room? Now there’s something a normal restaurant doesn’t have.

Time to retire

Hunter 486 at The Arch Hotel London
50 Great Cumberland Place
London
W1H 7FD
020 7724 0486
www.thearchlondon.com
Nearest tube: Marble Arch

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In the Lobby of the Crown Plaza hotel – The City and opposite Diciannove restaurant – the explorer will find two golden lions guarding the entrance to The Chinese Cricket Club London.

We appeared before them at 6:15 and were politely ushered in to a corner table overlooking the Blackfriars bridge. A mix of colonial club style leather backed dining chairs, burgundy upholstered sofas and splashes of lime green in the cushions and paint make for a soothing and cool interior.  Well I liked it anyway.

Our host was a font of knowledge about the menu and on being asked about a recommended specialty he pointed to the Chefs Signature Dim Sum platter for two as a starter and several of the mains including the Emperors Crispy Duck and – if we liked spicy food –  Northern-style Sautéed beef. We went for the whole lot with a side of noodles and one of egg fried rice and – no regrets.

Cunning and delicious Chinese

The first basket appeared in minutes. Nestling within were eight exquisite jewels of brightly colored Dim Sum, two of each kind. Served with Scallop or sweet chili dipping sauce – they didn’t stand a chance – and soon the nest was empty. All four types were delicious but of special interest was the Mooli Pumpkin offering  encased in puff pastry rather than the more traditional enclosure. Looking ever so slightly like baklava – it was crisp, cunning, crunchy and delicious.

The mains arrived right after. First a beautifully presented platter with two rows of neat morsels which contained both duck and prawn topped with a light batter and sprinkle of nuts. Served with the usual side of cucumbers and pancake rolls -the duck looked dry but was surprisingly moist. Clearly there is a technique for getting this balance just right as it was here. The plum sauce was not needed to speed the rapid consumption of this delicacy – apparently an Emperors favorite.

Served with the duck came our other main of Northern-style  beef. This was slices of tenderloin sauteed lightly and served in a black bean sauce of Sichuan peppers, coriander and chilies. The Sichuan peppers were a novelty for me and on biting one open I was surprised at the flavor and kick these little grenades can produce. I have long been a fan of Coriander and marvel at how it is used across so many cuisines. This dish – where it added a keen lift to the beef – was no exception.

As my guest commented on surveying the empty bowls – “It’s not often you find a hotel restaurant where you would choose to eat on a night out- but this one fits the bill”.

There were many other things on the menu we would have liked to try but that will have to wait to next time.

In summary, The Chinese Cricket Club London is a nicely appointed Chinese restaurant in a very handy location serving excellent food. The service is top notch and efficient and the signature dishes are delicious.

Overall

Decor/ambience 7/10
Service 9/10
Food 8/10
Price 8/10

The Chinese Cricket Club London
Crowne Plaza London
19 New Bridge Street
London
EC4V 6DB
020 7438 8051

The post The Chinese Cricket Club London appeared first on Gentlemen’s Luncheon Club.

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