26th October 2020 Dark elixir Jägermeister UK has partnered with Home of Halloween, The London Dungeon, for this coming Halloween weekend, for a chilling cocktail experience.
At the end of visitors’ perilous journey through London’s darkest history, Jägermeister will be gifting a free sample of their new Jägermeister Cold Brew serve with every purchase from The Tavern. The 5cl mini of Jägermeister’s newest arabica coffee liqueur with delicious chocolatey notes, will feature a haunting limited edition label.
A selection of specially curated Jägermeister cocktails will also be on offer for just £5 each. Cocktail concoctions available for order will include the spine-tingling Sunset Murder, made with Jägermeister, Passionfruit, Vanilla, Cranberry and Dark Fruit Cider, and the unnerving Bone Crusher featuring Jägermeister, Amaretto, Passionfruit, Cinnamon and Orange.
Tickets are on-sale now via The London Dungeon for 29th, 30th and 31st October.
Thank you to Talker Tailor for the following content
LEON LAUNCHES BETTER BURGERS CAMPAIGN
Wide industry call to improve sourcing and nutrition of fast food nationwide
Restaurant is also launching a new Burger Meal Deal, a Crispy Chicken Korean Burger and vegan menu innovations
New menu available from 8th October in LEON restaurants across the UK
Naturally Fast Food chain LEON is launching the Better Burgers Campaign, rallying the hospitality industry to improve the nutrition and sourcing of fast food.
The campaign brings to life LEON’s mission to serve naturally fast food that not only tastes good but does good too, with a menu featuring local and responsibly sourced seasonal ingredients. The announcement comes at a time when consumers are challenging restaurants to behave with more transparency and clarity on the nutritional value of their menus.
The Better Burgers Campaign kicks off with the launch of LEON’s new Burger Meal Deal (any burger)1, regular Baked Fries and a no-added-sugar natural fruit juice sparkling can; £8.95) and the new Crispy Chicken Korean Burger. This good-for-your-gut burger is made with raw, fermented kimchi, LEON’s best-selling GFC higher-welfare British chicken nuggets and a zingy Korean mayo.
Each of LEON’s Burgers is truly ‘better’: from the delicious Chargrilled Chicken Burger made with 100% British chicken thigh, which has double the protein of a McDonald’s McChicken Sandwich and more protein than any of KFC’s Chicken Burgers, to the Fish Finger Burger made with MSC fish from sustainable shoals which beats McDonald’s equivalent, Filet-o-Fish.
LEON believes in the power of plants and has increased the number of plant-based dishes on its menu, with a focus always on flavour helping guests to both eat well and look after the planet. In fact, sales of plant-based burgers now equal the number of meat-based burgers2 which couldn’t make the team at LEON happier.
Continuing to innovate in plant-based dishes, LEON is also launching a new Vegan Tagine with Jackfruit & Chickpeas (£4.95) and Sweetcorn Ribs with Parmesan & Truffle (£3.45), welcoming the return of the Brazilian Black Beans (£3.95), and larger Vegan Cheezy Loaded Fries, now topped with hot jalapeños (£3.95).
Continuing its commitment to seasonality, the Grilled Aubergine and Paprika Chicken Plant Boxes have been updated to feature the best of British autumnal roasted veg.
Erica Molyneaux, Head of Food at LEON, said: “It is our mission to continue to give our guests food that tastes good, does good and is kind to the planet. It is time for other restaurant brands to join us in the Better Burgers Campaign and rally for the improvement of food sourcing and nutrition within the fast food industry.
“We’re excited to be launching a new responsibly-sourced burger and a range of vegan sides which continues to show our ongoing commitment to providing innovative, affordable and good-for-your-gut fast food.”
The new menu is available across all LEON restaurants from Thursday 8th October 2020.
Purrrfect timing for cat café after initial plans ‘paws-ed’ by pandemic
CATS will soon be the talk of London’s West End again – but Andrew Lloyd Webber will be playing no part in its success. Java Whiskers cat café is set to make its debut on October 31st, six months after its original launch plans had to be shelved due to the pandemic.
Occupying former offices in Great Portland Street, Fitzrovia Marylebone, the venue will entice cat lovers with its winning formula of food and feline ‘therapy,’ something the owners say is needed more than ever. Behind the concept are three friends from southern Sweden who enjoyed huge success with the launch of their country’s first ever cat café last year. Self-confessed ‘entrepreneurs with big hearts,’ Jon Bäcklund, Tobias Larsson and Joakim Wessman are also the team behind successful Swedish trampoline park chain Yoump. Tobias Larsson said: “We wanted to find a business that is doing something good. We want to create a great environment for both the cats and humans that is calm and comfortable but also very healing. The café has two primary objectives: to improve the mental health and wellbeing of its visitors and to reduce the rate of cat homelessness. It’s been very challenging due to the unpredictability the pandemic has brought upon us and the public. However, these challenges have made us more determined to stick to our original plans and open our café to offer a bit of positivity to London in the midst of the crisis. We do feel our unique concept of service will be of even greater importance now. The holistic mental wellbeing benefits of spending time with cats has been widely documented. So we are delighted we can offer this service to our guests very soon. And we’ve gone above and beyond to make our café COVID-friendly and taken every possible safety measure to give you that peace of mind when you visit us!”
Java Whiskers will foster a maximum of nine kitties at any one time from The Scratching Post Cat Rescue shelter, in Waltham Abbey, until suitable new forever homes can be found among its customers. The purpose-built cattery, in Enfield, has been a labour of love for Susan Delaney for 15 years. Susan said she saw this as a new opportunity to help tackle the growing number of unwanted cats in and around London. She added: “I thought it a fantastic idea and it is definitely the first time we will have worked with a cat café and thought it was such a wonderful opportunity to move the charity forward by rehoming to people who will see the cats’ personalities and fall in love. This will help us, as a charity move forward and rescue more cats. There is an ever- growing population of unwanted cats in and around London, so this will help towards the volume of reports we receive.” The Scratching Post can be contacted at: http://www.scratchingpost.co.uk
Tobias said: “We are very happy and proud of the difference we have made for homeless cats in Sweden and also how much our visitors love our concept so we are super excited to be opening in the UK now.” Customers to Java Whiskers will be asked to book a time slot ahead of their visit. The café design includes elevated shelves and walkways as well as plenty of ‘escape spaces’ for the animals. And the cats’ welfare is paramount with a set of important guest rules, including no running, keeping noise to a low level and no picking up the resident kitties, feeding them or waking them when they’re asleep. Children under 10 will not be permitted and it’s strictly shoes off and hands washed upon entering. The top level of the two-storey 2,000 sq ft unit will be dedicated to providing a premium customer experience, including a menu of hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, pastries and salads, while downstairs the cats are afforded plenty of private space. It’s the first of a series of cat cafés being launched in the UK by the entrepreneurs who are already eyeing up plans for more in the future. More information is available at: https://javawhiskers.co.uk or, for enquiries, contact manager Michelle Nykvist at: firstname.lastname@example.org
London’s Newest Dessert Trend Has Arrived in Shoreditch
● T’s Fried Scoop, fried ice cream desserts, arrived in Brick Lane, East London on 25th July ● The dessert craze is unlike anything tasted before in the UK ● T’s Fried Scoop is fried ice cream, inspired by a blend of Mexican and Japanese desserts
On Saturday 25th July, the UK’s newest dessert craze arrived to the Truman Brewery Upmarket, Shoreditch. (91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL) The dessert trend is fried ice cream but it’s unlike anything England has ever seen before. The ice cream is inspired by a blend of Mexican and Japanese desserts. The ‘fried scoop’ is a combination of hot and cold desserts in one. The deep fried ice cream has an outer cookie-dough shell that is rolled in breadcrumbs that form a crispy layer but can also be covered in either cornflakes or Oreos. The founder describes it as “a hot, fried crust, coated in breadcrumbs, cornflakes or Oreos, wrapped around a decadent ice cream”.
The fried ice cream enthusiast and founder, Natasha, commented, “When I first tried fried ice cream, I was amazed! It was unlike anything I’d had before. I became so obsessed that I began practising and practising, using lots of methods from various cultures. This is why T’s Fried Scoop is so unique, because we’re a blend of so many different methods!” The dessert maker is committed to making sure their desserts are inclusive, which is why T’s Fried Scoop has plenty of options, with their Matcha Ice cream being Vegan, and some toppings being Gluten free, there is something for everyone. The desserts are entirely vegetarian and kosher, and Natasha is busy working on an entirely Vegan and Gluten free menu.
T’s Fried Scoop T’s Fried Scoop are located in the Truman Brewery Upmarket every Saturday from 11am-6pm and every Sunday from 10am-6pm. The fried ice cream is inspired by similar South Indian, Mexican and Japanese desserts but this is a totally unique recipe, and experience.
Thank you to Too Good To Go for the following content
Daylesford teams up with Too Good To Go to fight food waste
9 September 2020 – Award winning organic farm, Daylesford, has teamed up with food app with a conscience, Too Good To Go, to help prevent surplus food from going to waste.
The new partnership means food that hasn’t sold from Dayleford’s four Farmshop & Café sites in London is now available for Too Good To Go’s 3 million UK users to rescue.
Too Good To Go lets people buy surplus food from restaurants, retailers and producers to stop it from going to waste. They simply download the free Too Good To Go app and search for nearby businesses with unsold food. App users then purchase a ‘Magic Bag’ of delicious food, collect it at an allotted time and enjoy it.
Sustainability is at the heart of the Daylesford brand and they strive to operate with zero food waste. The relationship with Too Good To Go is designed to complement Dayleford’s long standing charitable partnership with The Felix Project. Where food is not able to be collected and distributed to charities, it will be available for consumers to buy at a reduced price so that no edible food goes to waste.
Carole Bamford, Founder of Daylesford, said: “Eliminating food waste is one of the most important ways we can each help to tackle the environmental crisis and it’s an issue we’ve always been passionate about highlighting and preventing at Daylesford. Our farmshops and cafés already redistribute unsold food and send their kitchen scraps to be composted and used in anaerobic digestion instead of landfill. This new partnership with Too Good To Go is another significant step towards our goal of zero waste and I’m delighted to be working with an organisation who shares our beliefs and values.”
Jamie Crummie, co-founder of Too Good To Go, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Daylesford to the Too Good To Go community of over 4,000 UK partner stores. With their passion for sustainability and appreciation for good food, our partnership is a natural fit.
“One third of all food produced is wasted and we’re dedicated to ensuring that food is enjoyed instead of thrown away. By having brands like Daylesford join our movement, we can continue to spread the word and move closer to our goal of creating a planet with no food waste.”
Thank you to Posh Cockney for the following content.
This September, Bosporus will open its doors to guests in Leicester Square, serving incredible Turkish cuisine, available for eat in and take away.
The wait is finally over. Your Bridge to Traditional Turkish cuisine is ready. Not booked your table yet? What are you waiting for!?
London’s Leicester Square is the new home for this Dubai born restaurant, transporting you across the globe without leaving the heart of London. Where the Turkish roots and culture of yesterday, meet the highest quality and standards of today.
Bosporus started in Dubai in 2010 by GCS and now has six sites across the country, as well as venues located in Abu Dhabi and Egypt. They are very excited to be sharing their story with London. Expect a cosy, but lively dining experience whilst you make your way through their delicious and eclectic menu. London’s new Bosporus location will reflect Turkish architecture and culture with a contemporary twist. The spacious interiors are ergonomically designed to create a comfortable, cosy and relaxing vibe, perfect for all occasions.
Turkish cuisine is one of the most varied in the world, this is due to its unique location and influences from its surrounding countries. At Bosporus, specialities include the Ali Nazik Kebab which is a delicious smoky aubergine dip mixed with yogurt and topped with minced lamb. If you’re looking for a lighter option, Sehriye is a slow cooked succulent chicken soup with vermicelli rice, tomato and a touch of cumin. If you’re in the mood for some fresh seafood, the Shrimp Saç Kavurma is a popular and authentic Turkish dish made with an appetizing Turkish rice surrounded by sautéed shrimp and vegetables. The part that we have all been waiting for, end your meal on a sweet note and try the iconic Sarma Baklava, an authentic Turkish baklava made with handmade filo pastry, melted sugar and pistachio.
The restaurant gets its name from the Strait, which runs through the centre of Istanbul, separating European Turkey from Asian Turkey. This makes Istanbul the only city in the world to be spread across two continents.
All of Bosporus’ restaurants are managed by passionate culinary professionals with Turkish roots and great knowledge about the foods that they will be serving you.
Bosporus is the perfect destination for families and friends looking to make unforgettable memories over magical Turkish Food.
Thank you to Talker Tailor for the following content.
Mastercard teams up with OpenTable to pick up the bill for diners giving them Priceless Surprises throughout September as part of Dine Local restaurant month
Throughout September OpenTable and Mastercard will be celebrating Dine Local, a month-long homage to dining out, with more than 200 restaurants offering special offers, set menus and added value offerings to diners across the UK and Ireland.
As part of this, Mastercard and OpenTable have also teamed up to surprise and delight lucky diners at 30 restaurants in 30 days across the UK and Ireland with the chance to eat and drink for free* in one of the participating Dine Local restaurants. Every evening during September, Mastercard will treat diners, who are in the right place at the right time, with a Priceless Surprise by paying their bill including food and soft drinks at one of the restaurants taking part in the wider Dine Local campaign.
The UK’s dining industry has experienced a hard few months and whilst diners are showing confidence in eating out again, the Dine Local campaign has been initiated to encourage people to continue to dine out and support their local restaurants and community going forward.
Additionally, as part of the campaign restaurants across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin will offer limited-time, great-value specials to showcase their menus and attract diners. Restaurants get the chance to reconnect with their loyal clientele while attracting new diners to take part in an uplifting local initiative, and diners have a unique opportunity to try out neighbourhood gems while supporting local restaurants. Visit www.opentable.co.uk/restaurantweek to discover the Dine Local restaurants taking part and the special menus available.
The first Priceless Surprise will take place in Hertfordshire on 1st September, before moving to London then across the country to bring truly Priceless moments to diners. OpenTable asks diners to book and support the Dine Local restaurants during the month of September to enjoy great special offers and menus, and be in with a chance to have their bill picked up by MasterCard and OpenTable.
Angela Altvater, Marketing Director, OpenTable EMEA commented “We are pleased to see that the restaurant sector in the UK is slowly recovering. It is clear that many people really missed the experience of dining out at a restaurant over the past few months. As a partner to the industry, it is particularly important for us to help the restaurant community get back on their feet and to get diners excited about dining out again and rediscover old and new favourites in their local area.”
Janne Karppinen, Head of Retail at Mastercard commented on the campaign.“It is great to see people back in restaurants and eating out safely with friends and families. 2020 has been a hard year so we’re pleased to work with OpenTable to bring moments of joy and excitement to customers. We have extended the offer not only to Mastercard customers, but to everyone who is in the restaurant at the right place on the right night – a truly Priceless Surprise.”
All the signs show that people in the UK are eager to get out to dine again. In a recent survey1 conducted by OpenTable, 65% of Brits answered that the thing they were most excited about restaurants reopening was eating delicious food. 94% of those surveyed stated that the support of local restaurants is important to them and 62% said they planned to eat out more or at least as often as before the lockdown.
*Alcoholic drinks are not included
1Source: OpenTable Survey on Dining out after lockdown. 32,000 people in the United Kingdom of different age, sex and geographical origin in the UK participated in the survey. The survey was sent out through the OpenTable email newsletter. Data collection took place between June 24th and July 2nd 2020 through an e-survey on Survey Monkey.
About Mastercard: Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.
About OpenTable: OpenTable, part of Booking Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), powers reservations for the hospitality industry. OpenTable’s software seats more than 1 billion people per year and helps more than 60,000 restaurants, bars, wineries and other venues attract guests, manage capacity, improve operations and maximize revenue.
Thank you to SHC Digital for the following content.
The first bespoke cocktail van is bringing a new and unique ‘cocktails on tap’ socially-distant party service to Essex’s doorsteps.
A brand new and bespoke ‘cocktail in a van’ is bringing its service to Essex after a successful launch throughout London during Lockdown. Offering a range of refreshing cocktail on tap to groups of friends enjoying socially distant gatherings during the COVID-19 restrictions. The Liberation ‘Cocktail Cruiser’ van is the first of its kind in the UK. The VW vehicle is stocked with the brand’s unique range of five cocktails on-tap – a summer-favourite Aperol Spritz, Mojito, Espresso Martini, Strawberry Daiquiri and Pornstar Martini– meaning that within seconds of arriving, customers can be poured the perfect cocktail.
The service is open to groups of six people and comes complete with a socially distanced bartender wearing a mask and gloves. It costs £120 per half hour, which includes 16 cocktails. The Cocktail Cruiser van can be booked via https://liberationcocktails.com/pages/cocktail-cruiser.
Liberation Cocktails Co-Founder George Workman says: “Our Cocktail Cruiser is a completely new concept that has taken years to perfect. It’s designed to bring some cheer to people as restrictions begins to ease and socially-distant gatherings of friends are allowed. And regardless of the circumstances, we expect it to be a year-round party pleaser to get friends and family together for a round of great cocktails.”
The Liberation Cocktails brand is a new concept which first launched in London in June and has already been a huge success in the Capital. As well as the cocktail van, it also features a range of premium quality, batched ‘cocktails on-tap’, in cans and in bottles. The concept has taken 3 years to develop to ensure that it achieves mixologist-grade cocktails to enjoy at home or on the go. A full range of cans, bottles and on-tap options are now available to buy direct at http://www.liberationcocktails.com and delivered direct to your door in cases of 6, 12 and 24.
JÄGERMEISTER FLOATING BAR “THE DARK SPIRIT” – SETTING SAIL THIS HALLOWEEN
A cursed canal cruise with cocktails
Jägermeister UK in partnership with Ladies & Gents bars, are summoning up an unearthly phantom boat, named “The Dark Spirit”, to sail the canals of London this Halloween.
Setting sail twice daily from Camden, the macabre barge will wind its way along London’s ancient canals and through the mysterious 1km long Victorian-designed Islington Tunnel.
Onboard, the talented team from Ladies & Gents will reward brave souls with an assortment of ice cold shots and delectable cocktails showcasing the intricate flavours of the dark spirits’ 56 different herbs and spices.
The boat can hold up to twelve people per sailing and is fully enclosed to protect the precious cargo from elemental forces. There’s a wood burning fire aboard to keep guests (both alive and undead) from the chills.
Tickets cost £20 and include two hours on “The Dark Spirit” floating bar plus two cocktails. Additional cocktails will be available for £5 each.
Tickets are on-sale now via Design My Night for 23rd October – 3rd November.
About Jägermeister Mast-Jägermeister SE is firmly rooted in Wolfenbüttel, Lower Saxony. Here, and only here, the company produces Jägermeister, the herbal liqueur with the stag – and the biggest German spirit brand. First invented over 80 years ago, Jägermeister is based on a secret recipe of 56 different herbs, flowers and roots. In 2018, Mast-Jägermeister SE sold more than 7.5 million 9-litre cases of Jägermeister in over 140 countries. What means Jägermeister reached ninth place in the definitive Impact International rankings of the top 100 premium spirits, underpinning its position as the world’s most successful herbal liqueur.
About Ladies & Gentlemen bars Ladies & Gentlemen Londons favourite five star dive bar is well known for its epic parties, micro distillery, experimental kitchen and of course a lock in or two. Over the last 6 years L&G bars at their Kentish town, Camden Road and floating bar based in Kings X have focused on the forgotten art of hospitality and above all fun. Owner William Borrell has been included in the Evening standard top 100 influential people shaping the UKs hospitality scene with his unique approach to bars, pops up and special projects.
A couple of weeks back we were lucky enough to be treated to a lovely brunch at Kula Cafe – a cute little cafe located right in the heart of London’s bustling shopping district, Bond Street. The cafe itself is situated on James Street, along with many other cafes, bars & restaurants, the perfect spot if you’re looking for lunch whilst shopping.
We were given menus on arrival, & as the day was beautiful we decided to take a seat outside. Seats outside are quite limited, so you’ve got to be ready to pounce as soon as one becomes free. At first, the cafe didn’t appear to be too busy (I think we’d probably missed the breakfast-time rush) but soon began to fill up both outdoors and in – although we were advised that the cafe does get so much busier – I can only imagine how hectic this must be!
Shortly after arriving we placed our order – and on our menus were; Drinks – salted caramel & toffee frappe – Hollywood diet juice Brunch – egg florentine halloumi – halloumi omelette (we love halloumi here at Essex Foodies!)
Both drinks were delicious! The frappe was creamy & sweet, whilst the juice was fruity & refreshing. Both drinks were of a medium size which was perfect, too much frappe can be too sickly & too much fruit juice can be acidic, but the sizes here were fine & lasted us throughout our visit.
Both of our brunches were also delicious, we were blown away by the sizes of the portions & their generosity on ‘extras’ on the plate. The omelette was served with with a salad garnish as well as a slice of toast, definitely more than enough to set you up for a day of shopping! The omelette itself was completely full to the brim with cheese (no complaints here whatsoever!), & layered with perfectly cooked halloumi – my friend enjoyed this dish & she completely rated it. I went for the eggs florentine halloumi, which was a dish made up of poached eggs, hash brown, Hollandaise sauce, avocado, sauteed mushrooms, halloumi & salad all served on a bed of toast. I was honestly not expecting the dish to be as huge as it was, but I soon managed to work my way through it! Everything about the food was perfect, it looked lovely, was full of flavour & was very filling & kept us going throughout the day without the need to snack on anything – ideal if you are up in London for the day really. I would also say that this give you great value for money, some places would charge extra for the sides of toast & salad but Kula include these, certainly worth noting.
Once we’d finished our ‘mains’ if you like, we were then surprised with a massive Eton Mess waffle! This dessert was humungous but again, we soon found our way through this between the pair of us – my advice here would be that if you do visit, be aware that these desserts are really, really big & would easily be enough for 2 people. The waffle itself was fluffy & fresh, & all the toppings were again fresh & worked beautifully alongside the waffle. The waffle was stacked with whipped cream, ice cream, meringue & fruits including strawberries, raspberries & blueberries as well as a fruity sauce. It was nice to have refreshing toppings to it rather than it be overloaded with rich chocolate for example (especially with the weather).
The pair of us were astounded by the quality of the food at Kula, everything that we had was superb. Not only was the food very photogenic, but it was tasty – there are no other words for it in all honesty! We would most definitely visit here again, & would recommend trying out Kula if you are ever close by!
A massive thank you to all at Kula for welcoming & looking after us!
The marketing/Instagram team at Banana Tree recently reached out to us to inform us of their new menu & invited us down to get our opinion on it – an offer we could not refuse!
We visited a few weeks ago now, & were very impressed with what was presented to us. Banana Tree is somewhere that I have visited previously so I knew what to expect, & had an idea of what sort of thing would be on the menu. I visited with my Mum who had not previously been. So first up, we had the prawn cracker basket which is served with a sweet chilli dip. The crackers were undoubtedly a hit with us, we didn’t leave a single one, & the sweet chilli sauce was the perfect condiment to pair with them, it gave a subtle kick to the crackers but didn’t overpower them. For our starters, we had the vegetable spring rolls & Mekong prawns. Both starters were served up very efficiently & were piping hot when they reached our table – perfect. The spring rolls were fresh & crunchy, served with lettuce wraps that completely complimented the dish. The prawns were perfectly cooked – the prawns themselves melted in the mouth, & again the chilli salsa really worked well with & complimented the seafood. As a whole we thoroughly enjoyed our starters & would certainly go for these again, I would also suggest getting them as sides maybe if you like picky bits along with the main course. Looking at the menu, the starter dishes are varied & I think there is definitely something for everyone on the menu, you’ve got the bulk standard dishes such as chicken satay which you can’t go wrong with, as well as the more adventurous dishes that not everyone would probably go for. All in all, we were more than happy with our starter choices.
For mains, we each had a main dish along with a side. Between us, we had; – Blackened chilli beef with chilli salsa – Classic sweet & sour stir fry with crispy chicken – Soya noodles with beansprouts – Egg fried rice
I have to say, I was very impressed with the beef, as I’ve said before in previous posts, beef can be a tough one to crack but this was perfect, the meat was soft & not chewy in the slightest, a win all round! The noodle dish paired perfectly with the beef also. I was also a little cautious with the beef dish as it was notably a spicy dish on the menu however the beef itself was fine & wasn’t spicy at all – it was only the salsa that had a kick, so nothing to worry about if you ever order this!
The sweet & sour chicken was exceptional! It was full of flavour, loaded with lovely vegetables that gave a crunch to your bite & the chicken was tender, just as it should be. We both loved this dish & would order again & again – it’s a classic that you can’t go wrong with.
Each of the side dishes were also perfect, the noodles were tasty & filling, but also not overpowering in flavour & neither were they too salty or heavily doused in soy sauce – definitely the best thing to pair with a meat dish to bulk it up a little. The rice was also lovely, this was very, very filling but tasty & fluffy, just as rice should be!
What we liked the most about our main choices was that they could be shared, you’re not just limited to what you ordered. This also fits in with what I said about the starter dishes – you could definitely order these & enjoy them alongside your mains.
The main courses were a solid 10/10!
Last but not least were desserts. The dessert menu offers some traditional Indo-Chinese delicacies, so not necessarily things you’d always go for or even heard of, but we came across the warm chocolate Indo-fondant and each enjoyed one of these. The dessert was delicious! It was lovely & warm, rich & sticky, & was very well complimented by the coconut ice-cream served with it. This dessert was simply one of the best we’ve had in our time of reviewing. In particular, we really enjoyed the ice cream. This was creamy & full of exotic coconut flavour.
We really enjoyed our time at Banana Tree & loved the food! We would certainly recommend checking them out. Banana Tree also offer a vegan menu so there really is something for everybody to enjoy. Thank you to all of the team that looked after us on our visit, & for the marketing team for inviting us, we look forward to returning!
Congratulations to Dusk on winning this fantastic award. We had the privilege of visiting this exceptional restaurant when it first launched & can totally see why it has come this far so soon. Thank you to Avocado Media for supplying the following press release.
PRESS RELEASE DUSK Restaurant scoops Global Hospitality Award
DUSK Restaurant in Brentwood, Essex, has scooped a prestigious LUXlife Magazine Global Hospitality Award for fine dining, within months of opening.
Following a soft opening in June ahead of a glittering official launch at the beginning of July, the restaurant and shisha lounge as quickly established itself as one of Essex’s top destination venues, and is busy throughout the week and fully booked every weekend. Having already generated thousands of social media followers, it is apparent from customer comments that DUSK has become the place in Essex to go and be seen.
A unique venue, DUSK provides a multi -purpose hospitality destination, offering dinners a selection of world cuisines, with a choice of fine, casual and private dining experiences with live music and entertainment in the popular alfresco shisha lounge.
The award for Best Fine Dining Shisha Experience, came as a complete surprise for venue co-owner Sharif Uddin, who had not known the venue had even been nominated.
“I knew we were doing something right, because of the overwhelming positive customer feedback, the packed tables and the fact that we already have a top four restaurant of over 3,000 listings on TripAdvisor – for any cuisine – in the whole of Essex. But to win such an accolade, so quickly. came as a complete shock,” he said.
DUSK’s executive head chef Steve Gomes is no stranger to winning top awards. He received two AA Rosettes for his former restaurant, Moksh – the first Indian restaurant in Wales to achieve this. He was named ‘Ethnic Chef of the Year’ at the Craft Guild of Chef’s Awards and represented Wales on BBC2’s Great British Menu. He won ‘Curry Chef of the Year’ at both the Welsh Curry Awards and the English Curry Awards. He has held the title of ‘Best UK Indian Chef’ with the Cobra Good Curry Guide for a large part of a decade; and was crowned the ‘Outstanding Asian and Oriental Chef of the Year’ at the House of Lords.
“This latest award is a great achievement for the entire team in delivering a unique fusion of Mediterranean and Asian cuisines, using the finest produce sourced locally,” said Gomes, adding, “It’s also a great testament to the adventurous nature of the people of Essex, who have taken to our cooking style with such enthusiasm.”
LUXLife awards coordinator Edward Faulkner commented: “DUSK has demonstrated excellence and commitment to the hospital industry. We showcase the individuals and enterprises who offer outstanding gastronomic delicacies. The awards acknowledge the best establishments offering sumptuous cuisine from across the globe.”
Published quarterly, LUXlife covers all aspects of highend lifestyle, including the finest, food and drink, hotels and resorts, health and beauty, automotive, jewellery, art and technology from around the world. It is distributed globally to an affluent readership of 280,000, attracting over 1.8 million views in the past year. www.lux-review.com
With three discrete dining areas each with its own menu, the restaurant, which caters for up to 400 customers, has been transformed with an investment of almost £1million by restauranteurs Sharif Uddin and Shakil Islam.
Sourcing the finest produce from local farmers, butchers and fish mongers, Gomes has designed a menu which requires a second reading to appreciate fully. The ‘Fish and Chips’ is in fact John Dory in a premium batter, with rose infused ketchup, grape tartar sauce chips and a peas mouse. Another signature fish dish is Black Cod, pan-fried and served on a bed of cherry tomatoes and garlic, topped with rhubarb aioli, infused with CO2 essence, served with steamed rice. A unique Turf and Surf, pairs lamb shank with lobster.
There is also a DUSK Till Dawn dish, featuring a prime marble 3-5 wagyu ribeye steak, with a stilton cheese sauce, quail’s egg, roasted potatoes, sautéed pakchoi and C02 tomato gazpacho.
For vegans, there is a Tofu Shashlik with almond milk roux, served with rice and chips – and special versions of the Momo, Ratatouille, Hakka Noodles, American Chop Suey, and on Sundays, a Toad in the Hole.
No alcohol is sold on the premises, but customers may bring their own. There is no corkage charged – representing a considerable saving for connoisseurs of fine wines and premium spirits. The bar stocks the largest range of alcohol-free drinks in the UK and serves a vast array of mocktails, still and sparkling wines, and beers.
The extensive shisha menu features Savacco, Sarbuzz and Al Fakher flavours, priced from £25. The premium Shapes Shisha costs £130, with a £15 premium for the ice upgrade.
Inside DUSK there is space for around 130 diners to sit in the main restaurant, with an occasional pianist and an open kitchen barbeque area. Outside, there is another 150 seats in the alfresco dining area in pergola with detachable roof where people can smoke flavoured shisha and eat from the street food menu.
For weddings and private functions, there is a separate banqueting room overlooking the golf course, which can cater for parties of more than hundred dinners.
Business partners Sharif Uddin and Shakil Islam, own five other Essex venues. The portfolio comprises Aladdin’s shisha lounge in Ilford, Empire shisha lounge in Romford plus and three Kushi Indian restaurants in Lakeside, Canvey Island and Gidea Park.
With parking for over 500 cars, a short distance from junction on the M25 (J28) and served by a fast train service from London’s Liverpool Street Station.
Stephen Gomes is a Welsh executive chef and TV television personality, originally from Mumbai, he is renowned for his molecular gastronomic take on Indian recipes. He is a fourth-generation chef, His father, James Gomes, worked at India’s first five-star beach hotel there, before working in, USA and UK, as an executive chef in hotels and restaurants. Stephen’s grandfather served as a chef on board a battleship during World War II. His great grandfather was Head Chef at the Eastern Shipping Company during the Raj.
In 2015, he was awarded two AA Rosettes for Moksh; the first Indian restaurant in Wales to do so. He was named Ethnic Chef of the Year at the Craft Guild of Chef’s Awards 2015. In August 2015, Stephen was chosen to represent Wales on BBC2’s Great British Menu. Other accolades including the Ethnic Chef of the Year Award at the UK Craft Guild of Chef’s award 2015; Goldstar Welsh Curry Chef of the Year at the Welsh Curry Awards 2014; and Goldstar English Curry Chef of the Year at the English Curry Awards 2013. He has held the title of ‘Best UK Indian Chef’ with the Cobra Good Curry Guide for a large part of a decade. At a ceremony at the House of Commons, Stephen Gomes was crowned the Outstanding Asian and Oriental Chef of the Year 2017.
A la carte Restaurant CLOSED MONDAYS (excludes Bank Holidays) 18:00 – 22:30 Sunday – Wednesday 18:00 – 23.00 Thursday – Saturday 13.00 – 22.00 Sunday
Restaurant: Over 12s Dining Only Shisha Lounge: Strictly Over 18s Bring Your Own Alcohol Venue no Corkage Vegan/Gluten Free options Smart/Casual Dress Code Restaurant No hats, No tracksuits, No sportswear No alcohol sold on premises
Intu Lakeside have recently undergone a bit of a renovation & are bringing lots more than just shopping to the centre, including this fantastic new food hall. We were lucky enough to be invited down to the launch day & be among the first to try it out.
The event was invite only, & on arrival our names were ticked off on the guestlist before being shown inside. We were then given a voucher (to the value of £10) which could be spent in any of the 6 eateries in The Hall, & presented with a much appreciated glass of fizz.
The 6 street food inspired eateries at The Hall include: – Baoziinn Chinese – Fanny’s Kebabs – Burger & Beyond – Fundi Pizza – Mother Clucker – Curry On Naan Stop
My friend whom I visited with chose to eat from Curry On Naan Stop, & I opted for Mother Clucker.
Each of our meals were great – there was a bit of a wait for both however this was to be expected with the venue being new, & how busy it was, however staff did everything they could to cater for all & made sure everything was perfect. I even managed to blag some extra chicken in my burger for waiting, & my friend managed to get her hands on some free fries – win win all round! We will be back for sure to try out the other stalls!
A while back, we were approached by a marketing agency who offered us the chance to dine at Grand Trunk Road, a restaurant located in the heart of South Woodford. Naturally, we were delighted with the request & soon found ourselves booked in. A couple of weeks passed & soon enough, the arranged date came round.
At first glance, the road where the restaurant is located seemed quiet & as if there wasn’t a lot going on, neither (from the outside) did the restaurant look very busy which put a little doubt in our minds, however this was all about to change. The door opened to reveal what is definitely a hidden gem.
The restaurant was at full capacity with not an empty table in sight, proving that it really is what’s on the inside that counts. The restaurant was dimly lit, giving the place a real chilled out feel and a really pleasant tone – perfect for an evening of cocktails & gorgeous modern Indian cuisine.
Upon arrival, we were kindly greeted & shown to our table, then presented with the drinks menu. I had already decided that I wanted to go for a cocktail – it was just a case of making the difficult decision of which one. I chose to go for Calcutta Night Rider, a vodka based cocktail, & lethal if I may say so! As with all cocktails, this was so easy to drink & I could’ve definitely drunk them all night long! My Dad played it a little safer than myself & went for a Cobra beer.
Once our drinks had arrived, we made our food order, & then indulged on a Poppadom Basket complete with chutneys. The poppadoms were light & crispy, just as they should be & the different chutneys were full of flavour & left a sweet taste in our mouths. We chose to share a starter from the Grill & Tandoor section of the menu & our starter of choice was the Bangali Basket – a medley of different fish dishes, comprising of a grilled King Prawn, salmon, seafood cake & seared scallop. Each sample of fish was fantastic, not a single bit went untouched. The component that stood out for both my Dad & I was the salmon, it was genuinely the nicest & probably best cooked salmon the pair of us have both ever tried. The fish itself was of good quality, very thick & meaty-almost, & the flavour was just spot-on. If I’d had known how good the salmon was going to be, I would’ve chosen this for main course. All of the other components making up the fish starter again were of very good quality & more than satisfied the tastebuds. This leads me onto the mains, where we each picked a separate main but shared rice & bread. For mains, I opted for Amritsari Butter Chicken & Dad the Kabul Ka Hiran Tikka (Venison), & we shared Zaffrani Pulao Rice & Missi Roti. One thing that we liked about the menu & the dishes was that it wasn’t your typical Indian with the usual suspects, but a much more modern & with a twist Indian cuisine.
My main of butter chicken was thick, rich, creamy & pleasantly mild. It didn’t look a lot size-wise but once I started to get through it, I quickly started to feel myself feeling full. I did however manage to finish the bowl! In hindsight, I think we would’ve been better off having a rice each as I found I had a lot of sauce left with nothing to accompany it. Overall for me, this is without fail something I would have again. To say that Dad enjoyed the venison would be the understatement of the century – I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone as thrilled as he was to see a venison dish at an Indian restaurant! To be fair, this is not something I’ve ever seen before, so I loved that Grand Trunk Road’s menu was slightly unusual. Dad described the dish as cooked to perfection & highly recommends it to anyone that visits the restaurant.
Following from our mains, we indulged in some delicious desserts. I went all out & even went for a dessert cocktail too, so I took pleasure in devouring a slice of almond & orange cake which was perfectly light & fluffy, & offered subtle citrus-y hints with a sweet crunch, washed down with a full-bodied & very potent espresso martini. Dad went for a classic slice of chocolate cake, which was luxuriously rich & fit for a king! As with the rest of the meal, not a single mouthful of either desserts were left. They were each very different from each other but both heavenly.
We both rated this restaurant very highly, & Dad went as far as to say that this was by far the best Indian restaurant he has had the pleasure of dining at, which is very bold statement. I certainly loved it here too, & would definitely recommend giving this place a visit – I think if you were to visit you would be captivated by what the restaurant has to offer.
Thank you very much to each & every member of the team at Grand Trunk Road who made our evening what it was, & a special thank you to Chef Sharma who took time out of his working day to come & speak with us, & give us an in-depth insight into his career of which he is so passionate about, & last but certainly not least, thank you to Plus 1 Communications for setting this opportunity up for us.
Street Eats’n’Beats takes place in Chelmsford on 24th August & promises fun for the whole family. With a variety of delicious street foods on offer along with cocktails, & live entertainment, what better way to spend your bank holiday weekend?
A couple of weeks ago, Essex Foodies very politely received a message on Instagram inviting us to come along & visit this brand new restaurant in Canvey. With the restaurant being so new, there was very little to go by (no website, nothing on Tripadvisor), so we were pretty much going in blind, other than what we had seen on Petty 4s Instagram page (all of which looked incredible). Our visit did not disappoint, & our review will show you exactly why.
We visited Petty 4s on Friday evening, so a nice little treat at the beginning of the bank holiday weekend. Upon arrival, manager Leah showed us to our table & advised that we would not be choosing from the menu, but rather sampling a few dishes from the menu so that we could get a feel for it all.
To begin, we enjoyed some homemade sourdough bread with butter. The bread was exceptionally good, & extremely more-ish, we tried to resist asking for more as we didn’t want to get too full before we had even started but we soon gave in!
For our starter(s), we enjoyed crab ravioli followed by garlic chicken. In all honesty, I was a bit nervous with the crab as when I have tried it before, I’ve not liked it. I’ve found it to be, as silly as it sounds, too fishy. I still gave it a go, & was very pleasantly surprised! Everything at Petty 4s is made from scratch, so the pasta had been freshly made & the crab had been brought it fresh from Billingsate Market (alive!) & prepared by Chef Alfie in the kitchen. The ravioli was absolutely lovely & would definitely be something I’d order in future.
Next up was the garlic chicken. A simple dish very well presented, as you can see.
The chicken was nice, & I did enjoy it, however it wouldn’t be something I would necessarily order (just personal preference). I did really enjoy the bed of spinach & sweetcorn which it came on – an unusual combination of flavours that worked.
Next up on the menu was steak… (woohoo!) I absolutely love steak & will quite often order one if I go out for dinner, so I was very excited to try it Petty 4s-style.
The steak was cooked medium-rare & was served with fondant potatoes, caramelised onion & parsnip puree, all of which were fantastic. The steak itself was melt-in-the-mouth & left nothing to be desired. I would certainly order this for myself, & would definitely recommend it.
Following on from our steak main, we enjoyed two different desserts – lemon posset & chocolate cake.
The lemon posset was lovely, light & refreshing, almost a palette cleanser after our main meal. The portion size was just right, & I especially loved the modern/trendy bowls that the dessert was served in. If you ever happen to be in Canvey along the seafront, I would definitely recommend popping in & getting yourself this over an ice cream!
And finally.. The chocolate cake!
The chocolate cake was delightful! It was rich, sticky & the right taste to finish off our meal. I generally find chocolate cakes a bit too rich, however this was just right, thanks to its small portion size & serving of ice cream.
My Mum & I were delighted with everything that we tried, & both agree that we would definitely visit again (especially after their Sunday roast was mentioned). The service was fantastic, & the staff couldn’t do enough for us.
Thank you to all at Petty 4s, especially Leah & Alfie, for inviting us & looking after us, we had a fantastic evening, & left with very content tummies!
Last week, Essex Foodies attended their first ever blog event! So this itself was a milestone for us, to be recognised & invited along. We attended this Indian restaurant located in Basildon alongside various other bloggers, & enjoyed an array of delightful Indian dishes.
The first dishes on offer were a small tray of poppadoms per pair which were accompanied by a variety of dips, also on offer was a small dish consisting of chickpeas & lentils, however I did not try this as I’m not a fan of chickpeas.
Next up we had a variety of starters. The food was served family-style (so picky bits), & was shared between 8 people per table, meaning everyone got to sample everything. There were onion bhajis, chicken tikka (herb), as well as a couple of other bits which I didn’t catch the name of but were a chicken-styel kebab & a deep fried dish. I tried each starter & I really liked them all, in particular I liked the fish. What stood out to me the most with the starters was infact the presentation, & how beautifully bright all of the dips were. There really was something for everyone!
Next up were mains, & again these were served family-style. Honestly, I didn’t find this ideal because it was a bit of a scramble having to share the dishes out around the table, I think it would’ve made more sense to have maybe done a few more dishes but smaller portions, this would’ve meant everyone could’ve sorted their dinner sorted a bit more efficiently & also a bit less awkwardly! Nonetheless, it was still very pleasant, & I enjoyed all of the dishes I tried.
Unfortunately I didn’t catch the names of each of the curries, but they were very nice! I only braved three of them, as the dry dish we were advised was a hot one. On offer was also a potato curry dish, which I was actually really surprised at – I didn’t think I would like it, but it was really nice! I was expecting it to be very heavy, & it was the complete opposite. There was also a good selection of rices, I went for the mushroom & pilau rices to accompany my meal.
Apologies for how unphotogenic this picture is, but it’s curry, once it’s on your plate, it never looks appetising! As you can see, I also had a bit of naan bread, I wouldn’t normally go for this as I find it way too filling & it ends up ruining the meal for me as I will be too stuffed but, this particular naan was pink peppercorn! A must try!
The food at Jodhpur Indian Kitchen was all lovely, & I couldn’t say a bad word about any of it. Each dish was extremely tasty, & very filling.
One thing that we did also notice on the menu, was that the curries do actually come with sides, meaning you don’t have to buy each dish separately (unless of course you do want additional bits), which essentially is fantastic value.
Thank you to Jodhpur Indian Kitchen for hosting a wonderful evening, & for their outstanding service – each member of staff we spoke to were very passionate, which was really lovely to see, & thank you to Verri Berri for inviting us along.
Last Friday evening, I visited Yaya Shakes in Brentwood, after being invited down on Instagram. Anyone who knows me will know how much I love a waffle, so this was a treat! I visited Yaya along with my Mum, we both enjoyed a waffle & a milkshake each (& yes, it was definitely too much!)
Our waffles of choice were Cream Indulgence for myself & Choccy Woccy for Mum. Waffles are freshly made while you wait, so when they’re served, they are lovely, warm & fresh. To say we enjoyed our waffles is an understatement – they were literally inhaled by us both! What I liked most is that the toppings are not limited, in the sense that you haven’t only got, say the choice of only one type/brand of chocolate on your waffle, & I also like that not all of the waffles are heavily doused in chocolate/sauces, but there are alternatives that include fruit (f you’re slightly healthier than I am!)
Both waffles were incredibly full of flavour & chocolatey-ness, albeit a bit too heavy for my liking (this is nothing to do with Yaya however, just eyes bigger than my belly).
Milkshakes! With the milkshakes, we did not choose but were given a couple of different flavours – & there certainly weren’t any complaints! We were presented with an Oreo milkshake & a Lotus Biscoff & Twix milkshake. Mum really fancied Biscoff anyway so she had that, & I had the Oreo. Both milkshakes were thick & rich, & absolutely jam-packed full of sweet flavour. Neither of us ended up finishing our milkshakes, purely because waffles & milkshakes together is just far too sickly – although, we did give it our best shot.
Both of us absolutely loved our sweet treats here & would definitely visit again. Thank you to Yaya Shakes for the invite & for allowing us to sample their delights, we look forward to popping by in the near future (& making our way through the menu!)
Another old one! (Apologies that these are all so old). Back Inn Time is probably one of Chelmsford’s most loved restaurants – it has been around for YEARS. The restaurant is very reasonable, & probably 10 out of 12 months, you’ll find vouchers offering 50% off your food bill – what more could you want?! Below is a write up from when we visited back in June 2018.
Located conveniently in Chelmsford City Centre is this hidden treasure! The first thing on arrival we noticed was how friendly & happy the staff were, all were extremely accommodating & more than happy to help. We felt more than welcome! The food was sublime, and we thoroughly enjoyed each & every mouthful! Our choices included nachos & chicken quesadillas (specials board) to start, followed by burgers 🍔 & desserts both from the specials board, Oreo cheesecake & cookies n cream sundae. We highly recommend the burgers as there is such a variety & we would also recommend that you check out the specials board if you’re looking for something a little different! Overall this is a personal favourite of ours and we recommend paying them a visit! Thank you so much@backinntimechelmsford for your hospitality!
Earlier on in the year (January), I had the privilege of trying out this tiny restaurant nestled in Clapham Old Town. What a delight! The food here is made without using any cream or butter, which have to say, makes such a difference to how you feel after the meal. For the first time ever after a curry, I wasn’t bloated or uncomfortable – this is definitely the way forward!
There was a lovely menu to choose from, some things recognisable but made with a twist. The various dishes my Dad & I enjoyed included the cod fillet & calamari to start, lamb chops, lamb curry & tiger prawn curry for mains with sides of paneer masala & khatte bhaigan (baby aubergines). All of the food was superb, and thanks to it being so nice & light, you could fully enjoy it! Following from our food, we were brought a selection of ice creams – all of these were so lovely! In particular I really enjoyed the berry flavour. I would highly recommend giving this restaurant a visit, especially if you are a fan of more natural, healthier meals. Definitely a hidden gem! Thank you to Raju, @binodbaral_ & the team @zumburaclapham for the invite & for their hospitality.
Back in February I was lucky enough to be invited along to this lovely restaurant in Maldon, which has recently been taken under new management. On arrival, the building looks like a pub & is very large, however inside is a cosy little restaurant with an extra seating area to the rear – so definitely not what I was expecting (not a bad thing! I was pleasantly surprised).
Onto the absolutely gorgeous food! Personally I thought the menu was quite limited, however sometimes I do prefer this as you can be a bit spoilt for choice. Regardless, there were plenty of dishes on the menu that I would pick. For our starters, my mum & I enjoyed the beef carpaccio (one of my absolute favourite dishes – so glad to see this on the menu as not a lot of places offer this) & the anti-pasti board which included your typical bread, balsamic vinegar, olives, sundried tomatoes, meats & cheese. Both starters were very tasty & generous in size. As mentioned before, I love beef carpaccio so this was a roaring success! I wish that more places offered this dish, actually. For our mains we enjoyed a dish from the specials board which was a chicken & bacon linguine – this was lovely, albeit a little bit rich. Again, this was plentiful & generous in size. For my main, I enjoyed the cod which was served with spring onion mash & spinach in a tomato sauce – beautiful! The dish was nice & light & didn’t leave me feeling stuffed. Both mains were more than enough so you could probably get away with not having a starter)… Which leads me on to dessert (of course we had 3 courses!!) We indulged in the lemon tart & eton mess – both desserts were lovely & light, & very fresh in flavour thanks to the fresh fruit. Everything we ate here was lovely, & was really well presented as you can see from the photos.
This is not somewhere I would’ve visited as I’d never heard it of until recently – however I am glad to have found this restaurant! I’ve also heard they do a fantastic Sunday roast – watch this space! Thank you to the team New Pavilion for having us & for looking after us, we look forward to seeing you again soon!
Back in January, I was given the opportunity to dine at & review one of the newer restaurants in Chelmsford, Middletons Steakhouse & Grill. As a keen foodie, I had of course already eaten here a couple of times, this was when the restaurant launched their soft opening (offering 50% off the food bill for the first two weeks of trade). If there’s one thing I love, it’s steak, and if there’s one thing I love even more, it’s discounted steak! Both times I had visited previously were fab & food was superb, however on this particular visit, there was something missing, the food didn’t appear to be as up to scratch as it had been. Review will reveal all –
Onto the food – to start, my Mum & I chose the prawn cocktail & the creamy garlic mushrooms. We both liked our starters, they were good in size & both came with bread, however I found my prawn cocktail be quite bland in taste, in particular I thought the sauce lacked in flavour. The mushrooms were nice enough, however nothing stood out. For our mains we opted for the classic mixed grill with a side of onion rings, & the beef wellington with a side of dauphinoise potatoes. I did really enjoy my main, the potatoes were lovely & creamy, really tasty, & the mixed grill was also nice & very generous in size, however we found the meat to be quite chewy which was disappointing, & the onion rings were heavily burnt, leaving the majority of them inedible. In all honesty, I was quite surprised by the quality of the food on this visit as my previous visits had been outstanding – maybe this was down to different chefs working, or maybe it was just down to preference, I’m not too sure. I personally think Middletons is one of the more expensive restaurants in Chelmsford, so with this, I expect quality, unfortunately on this visit, I didn’t think this met expectations.
Desserts! Desserts were absolutely fab – I’m not a Bailey’s fan however I had the Bailey’s white chocolate cheesecake & was converted! The cheesecake was really tasty, & was served with ice cream, so was not over-indulgent. My mum had the Middleton’s Sundae (which I also ate a bit of!) – this was again really lovely, the ice cream genuinely tasted so nice & fresh, & again, as it was ice cream, wasn’t too heavy or over-indulgent. All in all, we weren’t particularly satisfied with this meal, which I did make Middletons aware of before posting this review, however, saying this, my visit hasn’t put me off at all, as my experiences here before haven’t been bad. I look forward to visiting again to see if there has been any improvement.
So a little while back, EF were fortunate enough to have been approached & invited to visit this authentic Lebanese restaurant & shisha lounge in Ilford.
The first thing I noticed when approaching the restaurant, was the sheer size of it – huge! The restaurant is spread over 2 floors, with a shisha lounge to the front. Upon arrival, restaurant manager Ahmed kindly greeted us & showed us to our table – we chose to sit upstairs which has more of an authentic feel & ambience to it (including decorative camel!) The tables here are not your usual restaurant tables, but desert style bedouin – lovely & traditional to say the least! The seating upstairs gently reminded me what it was like when I visited Dubai & had an evening in the desert. Due to the seating arrangements, the restaurant (upstairs) isn’t brightly lit, which i thought was quite nice, & especially relaxing. It was also nice in the sense that it wasn’t too formal – it gave the impression that you could sit, enjoy your time & your food, without staff wanting a quick turnover of customers. I personally felt this made a huge difference to the experience, there’s nothing worse than a restaurant wanting to get you in & out as soon as possible, so top marks here for Al Khayma.
Now, on to the food – for our starters, we ordered up 3 plates between us to share, which was more than enough, you’ve got to remember that you will be served bread/dips/olives anyway, so you definitely don’t want to go too mad with starters. We enjoyed a selection which included the halloumi (you can never go wrong with a bit of halloumi!) this was definitely cooked to perfection, it wasn’t rubbery or squeaky, which sometimes it can be if it’s left to go cold, & the halloumi also had a glaze to it, I’m not too sure what it was but it was very yummy! Kibbeh (which are deep fried lamb meatballs), these were lovely & very filling, as well as the Sojuk, which are home made Lebanese sausages – I especially enjoyed these, the meat was lovely & soft, & they had a nice kick to them. All of the starters were served on a bed of salad which was a lovely touch & refreshing if the starters were too hot/spicy. The salad also just gave the food that little bit extra on presentation.
On to the mains – we opted for our own dishes here rather than a platter, as we thought it would be nice to try more traditional food, so we enjoyed the Farnouj mousakhab, which is a whole baby chicken served with a side salad & chips, although I swapped chips for rice. This was absolutely delicious, the chicken is coated in a garlic sauce which was so, so nice! I have to say, the portion here was huge as well, I was defeated, I don’t think I even managed half – I tried! The other main we ordered up was the Tajine which is lamb cubes & vegetables in a smoked sauce – again, this was very tasty, & plentiful. In particular, I liked how this was served up – very traditional. We decided against desserts, as the food was more than enough. We did however enjoy the tea that was served – this was very nice & refreshing after the large meal.
All in all, we really loved our experience here, the restaurant is really lovely & authentic, & gives you a real Middle Eastern feel. I think the biggest selling point has got to be the shisha lounge – this was busy throughout our time visiting, so Al Khayma are definitely doing something right. I would definitely suggest giving this place a visit, even if it does mean going out of your way – the restaurant is alcohol free, so there is no excuse to not drive!
We would like to thank Al Khayma for inviting us along, & in particular a big thank you to Ahmed for going out of his way to make sure everything was perfect for us. We look forward to visiting again!