Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Afternoon Tea at Harrods

Harrods has been arguably the most famous department store in the world since it opened 150 years ago. Whether you go for food and drink, clothes or jewellery, Harrods caters for everyone.

The store delivers high quality branded food from all over the world and has many food stalls and restaurants showcasing multi-cultural cuisines.

A popular haunt for tourists and locals alike is the Georgian restaurant where Afternoon Tea is very highly recommended. It delivers what all traditional afternoon teas has to offer such as classic finger sandwiches with an array of different fillings, cakes and scones. In addition the restaurant offers a collection of fragrant teas from the traditional English breakfast to Russian Caravan. Click on the link below to look at the menu


 People might assume that because of the name, Harrods will be expensive. To some extent it is, depending what you want and where you go to eat but in my opinion the afternoon tea is set at a very reasonable price of £29 (without the champagne).

The restaurant is very relaxed, with a pianist playing classical songs but now and again he'll cheekily plays modern music such as One Direction with a twist. The staff were very hospitable and they are more than happy to replenish your food and drink but in all honesty the richness of it all,  you will only need two rounds in total depending what you want again.

The sandwiches, cakes and scones were all beautifully presented on a stand. More importantly though they all went down a treat.

Harrods offered a brilliant personal touch to the dining experience in which they surprised my nan with a selection of cakes on a plate with happy birthday written in chocolate accompanied with a glass of champagne. It certainly was the icing on the cake (pardon the pun, terrible I know).

I have been a couple of times now and I must say I haven't been let down and the standards has always been high. I would love to try and have afternoon tea at another high end place such as the Ritz e.t.c. just to compare and see what it is like. I would definitely recommend going to afternoon tea at Harrods at least once. It is good value for money for the service and food that you're getting. Besides everyone is allowed to treat themselves now and again.

The Princess of Shoreditch

Since working in the Liverpool Street area I have been lucky enough to have Shoreditch right next door to me. Shoreditch has the modern tag of being "hipster" because its young, vibrant andpossibly the coolest place to go to right now. There is so much life in the area and it boasts some great restaurants and pubs where food and drink is plenty.

There is one particular pub in the back streets called the Princess of Shoreditch. The atmosphere in the lower grounds of the pub is electric. You cant get a word in edgeways and the liquor is always flowing.

Upstairs however is the restaurant and there is a clear notable difference in atmosphere. As soon as you go through a set of doors and take a walk up the spiral staircase you emerge into a quaint and quiet little dining area.

You wouldn't think that the restaurant was part of the pub downstairs. The décor is impressive containing massive late 19th/early 20th century portraits and chandeliers.

There were only two waiters looking after the restaurant. The waiter looking after us was very friendly and patient.

The menu changes seasonally and is priced at a very good rate especially being in the heart of London. For two people having two courses and a bottle of wine, you are looking at around £80-£90.

 The dishes we ordered were:

  • Smoked haddock & salmon fishcake, poached egg, béarnaise sauce
  • Rabbit rillette, cornichons and toast
  • Sirloin Steak with double cooked chips with a side of seasonal green vegetables
  • Belly of pork, braised cheek, black pudding and cider jus


The fishcakes were full of flavour and the potato was light and fluffy. The smokiness of the haddock was immediately lifted with the help of the creamy béarnaise sauce. The poached egg was cooked perfectly with the yolk seeping out onto the cake. I could have easily had two.

We didn't have to wait too long for our mains and they both equally looked amazing and appetising. My steak was cooked the way I wanted (rare) and it had bags of flavour where it had been aged over a period of time.

It was succulent and juicy and where it had been chargrilled, it just took it to another level. It was by far one of the best steaks I had eaten. The chips were rustic, crispy and more importantly golden brown.

The belly of pork and braised cheek was exceptional. The pork was moist and the cheek just fell apart after being cooked for hours, slowly in stock.

We didn't go for dessert as the two courses were more than enough.
The dishes were beautifully presented and moreover exceptionally tasty. I wouldn't hesitate to come here again.  The staff in the kitchen and front of house offered excellent service. 
No wonder the Princess of Shoreditch has been mentioned in the Michelin guide and various publications, it is part of East London royalty.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ramblers Rest

Ramblers Rest is a countryside pub located in Coulsdon, Surrey.
I've heard good things about the place, how the food and drink is good and well worth the money.

I looked into it and was impressed how they approached their food and themselves.


I made a school boy error of not booking beforehand so therefore I couldn't get a table inside the restaurant. But one of the front of house staff politely located a table for me in the other part of the pub.

So after all that commotion, this is what I ordered.
  • The artisan rustic breads with marinated olives and a balsamic olive oil dressing.
  • Seared pigeon breast, sweet potato rosti, buttered British greens & red wine jus.
    Spiced lamb koftas, tzatziki & sweet chilli jam.
  • King prawn, crab & chorizo linguine, tomato, garlic & chilli
  • Lamb rump, asparagus, chorizo, dauphinoise potato, peas, baby onions & jus.
 You're probably now thinking that this place sounds like its worth a visit, but it quickly escalated into what I would say was a very disappointing evening and here's why.
Whilst I was ordering at the bar I was approached by another couple and she explained to me that she and her husband were having dinner together and they wanted my table by the fireplace. However they chose to ignore the fact that I was there in the first place and sat down anyways . I
 was very annoyed, not only by their rudeness, but the fact the staff did not take any action even though a few members noticed as well.
Any other time if I was just having drinks I wouldn't have minded but I was here for both. Luckily about five minutes later there was a spare table.

After waiting for some time my starters finally came. The artisan breads were served at a lovely warm temperature and the olives were juicy and plump.

The pigeon was very disappointing for a number of reasons.
The jus around the plate looked like it dried out due to the fact it was probably under the lights for a while. Not only that It lacked flavour and the breast was very dry. The sweet potato rosti was the best thing about the whole dish.

The koftas were nicely seasoned and the meat was moist with the tzatziki and chilli jam went well with it.


The mains weren't much better.


 The king prawns from the linguine dish lacked flavour and I thought having four on a plate was a bit stingy considering I ordered it as a main. Not only that the chorizo looked pale and lacked any sort of punch. The crab didn't sit too well with me either as it went to mush.


The lamb was just about medium, any longer and it would have been well done. The peas lost that vibrant green colour to them and the dauphinoise contained no seasoning, no flavour and no colour.



The cheese board after the meal really summed up the evening and the food in particular. It wasn't to room temperature. Enough said really.



The whole dining experience was bitterly disappointing especially after hearing rave reviews about the place. 
Maybe the kitchen had a bad night and it could have been a one off but it would have to take some serious convincing for me to go back.