All posts tagged: food

The Ultimate Happy Meal at Verden

Eating until you’re full to bursting – that’s what Christmas meals are all about. But forego the tough prep work and round up your troops at Verden where an indulgent feast will be whipped up for your pleasure. Dishes are designed to be shared, with mains such as beef forerib, whole sea bass and honey-glazed ham being the crowning glory. If you can’t stop at just the one banquet, there’s a game feasting menu (sourced from the founder’s Lincolnshire farm) that runs until late January. £35 per person (groups of at least four or 12 required depending on menu). Verden, 181 Clarence Road, Hackney, London E5 8EE.

Take Note: The Tastemaker – Kurt Zdesar

Being a restaurateur is tough work. A seasoned one knows that our appetites can’t be satiated for very long, so carving out a concept and identity that cuts through all the noise is crucial to survival. Someone who has managed this feat is Kurt Zdesar, a former director at Nobu and founder of dim sum chain Ping Pong and Nikkei restaurant Chotto Matte. His latest venture Bouillabaisse aims to highlight the best in sustainable seafood. Here, Zdesar shares more about what makes him tick. Memorable restaurants Central in Lima, Peru. “Chef Virgilio created a menu that took me on a culinary journey through Peru’s rich bio-diversity, a meal that genuinely inspired me and was unforgettable.” Gjelina in Santa Monica, California. “This place really struck a chord for me. It has a low-key yet electric, fun environment and has ethics about the food it serves. One of my favourite farm-to-table restaurants.” Chez Robert et Louise in Paris, France. “An institution that everyone must visit. This discreet little restaurant serves amazing steak which the butcher carves up …

Fab babs: Le Bab

Forget all the associations you may have had for the high street kebab as come New Year, they’ll be going gourmet. And you won’t be able to resist. With a starry team of former Le Gavroche chefs in the kitchen, expect wild and eclectic kebabs from roe deer shish with damson and isot pepper jam to sharing size pig’s head with crackling and turnip and carrot slaw. You can even pair them with Sipsmith cocktails, fine French wines or craft beers. Better still, they’re open late into the night, so perfect for midnight jaunts. Le Bab, 2nd Floor, Kingly Court, Soho, London W1B 5PW.

New kid on the block: Urban Coterie

Taking dining to new heights in Shoreditch is Searcys restaurant Urban Coterie, which opens on the 17th floor of the angular M by Montcalm hotel building. At the helm of the kitchen is chef Martin Zahumensky (formerly of Texture and Hibiscus) who will oversee a monthly changing menu of seasonal British dishes such as Brixham crab, apple and celeriac, and grilled monkfish with cockles, kale, rosemary and anchovy vinaigrette. Urban Coterie, M by Montcalm, 151-157 City Road, London EC1V 1JH.

Have a pizza this: Pizza Pilgrims

This street food favourite has added a new base to their shop offering. Now, ravenous locals in Clerkenwell can pick up one of their seriously moreish Neapolitan pizzas, or even slurp it, as ‘pizza soup’ is also available. Think tomato soup blended with all your favourite pizza ingredients alongside a dunking pizza dough roll. Delicious. And if you’re not in a rush, marvel at the pizza box artwork on the wall as you head for warmth downstairs. Pizza Pilgrims, 15 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4QD.

Pho & Bun

Whilst the name isn’t representative of the whole offering here, it certainly is an accurate portrayal of the restaurant’s tastiest dishes. They do more than hold their own to compete with the long-established joints around the corner in Chinatown. The rare beef pho noodle soup is chin-drippingly delicious and packs a fragrant punch, whilst fluffy steamed buns housing beef patties and pork belly make for a truly indulgent alternative to the traditional burger. You can even team them with wine and if you fancy experimenting, Vietnamese beer for a more authentic experience. Pho & Bun, 76 Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho, London W1D 6ND.

Steak out at Manhattan Grill

If you’re ravenous and don’t care who knows it, you’ll do well here. This is not the place to be exercising calorie-control. Expect American-sized portions with meals you can never grow old of, however much you persist. The steaks top everything else on the menu, and they themselves can be topped with molten cheese and mushrooms if you can handle the extra flavour (yes, you can). Start as you mean to go on with extra-sweet desserts like the whippy chocolate sundae or zingy key lime pie. Manhattan Grill, 22 Hertsmere Road, Canary Wharf, London E14 4ED.

Bottomless Brunch at Asia de Cuba

All hail the bottomless brunch, for there isn’t much we’d rather do than indulge in a two-hour feast with a plentiful supply of cocktails or champagne. And there aren’t many places where you can gorge out and still feel completely civilised. It certainly has more style than your average and loaded with feel-good flavours of the Orient via Cuba to match. When your cigar box of treats arrive, nab the slow-roasted pork and cheese roll, a sandwich to rule all sandwiches, then continue the pulled pork pleasure with Cuban eggs Benedict. Finally, load up with unlimited Mexican doughnuts before concluding that no sugar-free resolutions will be made come New Year. From £48 per person. Asia de Cuba, 45 St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HX.

Drake & Morgan at King’s Cross

You know you’re onto a good one when you start thinking about how the restaurant’s colour scheme and furniture might look in your own home. Aside from the sleek interiors, the menu is a good draw, consisting of familiar, home-cooked favourites like lamb chops with mint sauce and duck breast with chilli glaze that lure you further into ‘this feels like home’ territory. You’re onto a winner with any of the steaks, which come out nicely charcoaled whilst desserts like hot fudge sundae with liquor-laced cherries make you squeal with glee. Drake & Morgan, 6 Pancras Square, King’s Cross, London N1C 4AG.

The Fir Room at Piquet

It’s unusual to journey to a bar for the food. Drinks always take priority so accompanying food menus are often severely limited. However, with the Fir Room – the bar at Piquet – you get standout drinks (seriously fine wine and small-batch champagne) with equally formidable food fare. There’s a casserole of tender cod cheeks with fried squid and chorizo that is joyful to launch into after braving the outdoors, the type of meal you want to hunker down with all night long. Duck rillettes on crunchy sourdough toast offers smooth but meaty bites that feel endlessly addictive, whilst the piggy burger with a large smoked patty, pulled pork and bacon (with chips on the side) is pure gluttony, and completely irresistible. Piquet, 92-94 Newman Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3EZ.