The Crystal Palace Market

My Tuesday night did not go quite as I would have liked, this week. I spent hours trying to get to the amazing Paramount Bar for a Jing Tea masterclass (more on that later), but alas London Transport failed me and due to signalling faults or something equally as tedious, I had to turn back and take a long bus ride right back home… Luckily, after an arduous round trip home, Alex offered to pick up his grumpy and frustrated fiancee and take her to dinner at The Crystal Palace Market.

I always thought that this eaterie was quite oddly-named because there is a quite popular food market in the area named The Crystal Palace Food Market. Perhaps an alternative would have been less confusing to web searchers. Anyway, the restaurant opened back in May and their concept is to offer ‘uncomplicated, delicious & locally sourced food’ – Right up my street! Being a Tuesday night, it wasn’t heaving with customers, but we’re told that it often gets pretty booked up over the weekend, so if you intend on heading there I’d give them a call first.

They seem to have put a great deal of love and care into the interior design of the restaurant, with tiled and exposed brick walls and the perfect lighting, style is definitely key here. Unlike a lot of restaurants in London, there is plenty of space around your table so you are not sitting on top of other diners, and the music of choice was perfect for a relaxing meal. Unfortunately, we were a little chilly so I wore my coat on-and-off throughout the meal, but I presume that if the place is busier then this wouldn’t be a problem.

So, down to the nitty gritty. How was the food you ask? Well, we headed straight for the  mains – even though the starters did look pretty tempting, it was quite late into the night and being a weekday we decided not to splurge. Alex opted for the rib-eye steak (£20), which came with a side of the most delicious fries and salad, which was dressed to perfection. He did seem to be a little baffled by the additional £1.50 charge for the chance to splash some sauce over the steak, but ended up ordering a horseradish sauce and was more than content with the delicious flavours.

My choice of main was Whole Plaice (£14), which was cooked in a  charcoal oven and also came with fries and a side salad . Every mouthful was exquisite, as it was cooked to perfection. We both shared a side of grilled mixed vegetables and actually ate aubergine that was included without any problem, even though we usually try very hard to avoid it most other times! We each had a glass of wine from the pretty extensive and not overly-priced drinks menu and were more than happy with our choices, which were glasses of the cheaper red and white. No nasty vinegar tastes here!

We decided to push on through, for dessert… Well, why not!? In the past Alex has said that I make the best carrot cake (ever) and I’m sure he was trying hard to hide the fact that The Crystal Palace Market Carrot & Orange Cake (£3.60) was probably en par with my own. He loved it! Moist and flavoursome as any good carrot cake should be. I wasn’t so bowled over by my Hazelnut and caramel cheesecake (£4.50), but it was pleasant enough and was a massive portion. They offer quite a cake heavy dessert menu and I’d love to see some other types of desserts make it onto the list in future, being someone who is not meant to eat wheat.

So, would we visit again… That’s a big fat yes! The service was good and the food was great value for what you got. We were chatting to Toli – one of the owners – at the end of our meal and he was telling us all about their new Butcher and Fishmonger which is due to open soon. I was really impressed with his passion for the community, the food and his establishment and look forward to seeing things progress.

Excuse these awful pictures. Both Alex and I had zero phone battery left and it’s the best we could get. Bad blogger.
Head on over to their Facebook page for some much more appetizing pics.

CrystalPalaceMarket
Yup, I ate before I snapped. oops.

Whole Plaice

Carrot cake

Cheesecake

 

The Crystal Palace Market offers brunch and burgers during the day and the evening menu consits of Fish and meat.

See the full menu HERE

THE CRYSTAL PALACE MARKET
3-7 CHURCH ROAD
LONDON SE19 2TF
0203 475 7080

Square Meal

Dinner By Heston

Dinner By Heston is without a doubt my absolute favourite place to eat. We’ve been lucky enough to have been there three times now, and last night’s visit did not fail to impress, yet again!

A while ago we decided to cut out our weekly visits to places like Pizza Express and all of our other weekly take away haunts, just so we could invest a bit more money into annual trips to much more pleasant restaurants. I don’t miss the cheap stuff one bit!

We always tend to book a table at Heston’s after 9pm. I know it’s not good for you to eat so late, but we find the restaurant to be a lot less crowded at that time, and there is an extremely pleasant atmosphere when the place is winding down for the evening.

I failed to order anything different from the menu, as I had planned, but I managed to persuade Alex to order a different dessert just so I could have a sneaky taste. It all seemed to taste so much better than the last time we went, and I just couldn’t stop grinning throughout the whole meal. I LOVE good food!

My one gripe with Heston’s is that the cheapest bottle of red wine they serve is £35 and it’s £45 for the cheapest bottle of white. I appreciate this is fine dining, but it would be fantastic for us lower earners if there were at least a few more cheaper options. I chose to have a few drinks before we left home and planned to forgo the booze, but when we were there we both decided to order a gin and tonic. I had Hendricks and Alex had a Sipsmith’s – We thought they would be a better option than the wine, but they ended up costing us £28 for the two anyway. Fail!

Unfortunately, our pictures didn’t turn out as well as I’d have liked because we were trying to be discrete in a room full of suits, but I thought you’d like to see them anyway…

Meat Fruit (c.1500) – Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread – £14.50
I’m sure this was smaller than the last time I had it… I usually donate some to Alex, but he lost out this time!

Spiced Pigeon (c.1780) – Ale & artichokes – £33.00
Alex’s main dish which was divine.

Black Foot Pork Chop (c.1860) – Hispi cabbage, lardo, ham hock & Robert sauce – £30.00. Definitely better than the last time I had it and a much bigger portion. We purchased the sides separately for £4.50 each.

Taffety Tart (c.1660) – Apple, rose, fennel & vanilla ice cream – £9.50

Tipsy Cake (c.1810) – Spit roast pineapple – £10.00
This brioche is absolutely amazing!

Tea for two.

Chocolate and Earl Grey Ganache with a caraway biscuit – The perfect end to a delicious meal.

Book your spot at Heston’s HERE or check out the whole menu.

Read about a previous visit of mine HERE on my very first Seebyzoe blog post.

Jamie’s Italian Stratford

About two and a half years ago we went to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant in Cornwall and came away less than impressed. Service was shoddy, and some of my food was sent back… Needless to say, I lost my faith in Jamie and never returned.

Since then, Jamie has been an exceptionally busy boy and his Italian style restaurants are popping up left right and center. I decided it was time to give him another chance, so on Friday, we popped into Jamie’s Italian Stratford (in Westfield) for the big taste test.

We arrived about 2pm and the place was packed. The host told us that we could be seated within ten minutes, so we just nipped into John Lewis for a quick shop to fill in the time. No Drama. No fuss.

As a big gin drinker, the cocktail menu seemed a bit vodka heavy to me. I asked if they could make me up an elderflower gin cocktail and the waiter suggested we try one of their gin, apple and blackcurrant specialties. So that, we did – It was delicious and the whole experience just got better from there.

There was not a hint of shoddy service in sight. The waiter was lovely (to look at) and as soon as we had finished our water or emptied our plates, we were seen to right away. The food was delicious and superb value. The only small thing that may have let it down a bit was the restaurants choice of music. Now, I’m a fan of drum and bass in the right setting, but it’s not what I wanted to hear during a relaxing lunch out! Luckily, there were only a few banging tracks during our meal and then we had to suffer some dubious pop music. Each to their own.

Gin, apple and blackcurrant cocktails – £6.95 each

CRISPY SQUID  – £5.75
Fried squid with garlicky mayo, lemon & chilli
This was my favourite part of the meal. It was absolutely delicious!

WORLD’S BEST OLIVES ON ICE – £3.75
Large green olives, black

I’m not a fan of Olives, but Alex said these were pretty close to being the world’s best olives.
He loved that they didn’t just come in a bowl alone and that they came with tapenade.

SEASIDE RISOTTO
£8.95/£15.95
Clams, mussels, prawns, cockles, gurnard, chilli & white wine

I opted for the small size, which was more than plenty with my starter.

WILD RABBIT TAGLIOLINI £6.75/£10.95
Slow-cooked ragù with garlic & herbs, mascarpone & Amalfi lemon

Alex had this and the portion was massive. The thing I like about Jamie’s Italian is that you
can order smaller portions and opt to eat a few different things. This is something Alex did not do!

We also had a side salad and a coffee. There was no pressure to order bottle water, which was great, as some places can be rather snotty when you ask for tap water.

I’d certainly return to Jamie’s Italian. The total price of our meal for two was £48. If you forget about the cocktails, then you can make it an even cheaper lunch out… However, I would always suggest a cocktail over lunch darling!

Leon Restaurants

Yesterday I asked Twitter if Leon restaurants were a nice place to eat at. Twitter said yes. So, off I went.

We haven’t eaten out for a while, in fact, we haven’t been doing very much at all. As much as I love freelance work, there are often times when I’m waiting for payments and am practically living off fresh air… This has pretty much been the case over the past few months.

Leon has eight establishments in London, as well as restaurants in Bluewater and Brent Cross shopping centers. I’m a massive fan of Bluewater, so we opted to head there. After some light shopping, we had our first taste of some naturally full flavoured and seasonal fast food. Twitter was right. It was delicious!

The fantastic service, the decor and the music make this place an exceptionally smart choice to eat. We sampled a fair bit of everything from the menu (or least it felt like we did). The meatballs came pretty highly recommended, but it was the sweet potato falafel that seriously got my taste buds going – I’d go back from them alone. YUM!

The only one gripe I had was that the potato waffle (type things) that we ordered seem to lack any bite. It was as if they had been sitting on the site for some time and had gone a bit soggy. It didn’t matter too much, as I’m not actually meant to eat normal potatoes (allergies) and I didn’t need them on top of everything else we had ordered.

We’ll certainly be going back for more. It was made even more special as we managed to save some pennies by registering on their website HERE.

Thanks twitter friends. A great recommendation.

Leon Restaurants

 

Leon Bluewater

 

Leon Brownie

 

 

Have you eaten anywhere fantastic in London lately? Do share.

Hurrah! I made it … Dinner By Heston Review

…Well almost. It’s not the best looking blog (yet), but that is going to take me time and time is one thing I haven’t had for a while. Maybe the upcoming long weekend will give me a few days to work this thing out. Let’s see.

I also don’t have a great camera and all the blogs I seem to be reading at the moment have great pictures. There will be a bit of beg, steal and borrow involved for a while, but I’ll get there in the end and you will just have to put up with me!

DINNER BY HESTON:

So, it’s old news (great start to a fresh blog), but a few weekends ago our long-awaited booking at Dinner By Heston  finally came into play. I booked our table way back sometime at the beginning of this year, and it was more than well worth the wait. Getting dressed for the occasion wasn’t easy. I mean… What does one wear to dinner in Knightsbridge? As usual I settled for one of the three same outfits I always wear. So, yes. Sort of easy then. But also a bit depressing.

Our booking was for 9.45pm and by this time we were obviously starving. I did try to plan not to be too hungry as I’m not rich enough, or silly enough, to allow Alex to walk in to any food place other than somewhere en par with Pizza Express (with a voucher) and order on an empty stomach! Once we found our way into the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, we were taken to a table tucked away by the window with a view, albeit a dark one, of Hyde Park and handed the wine menu. Always a terrific start in my books.

The wine menu was immense and way out of our price range. We had to skim a few pages before we hit a bottle that was around £20. It was pleasant enough but obviously not what everyone else was drinking. Scanning the tables it seemed most people had glasses of champagne, bottles galore and then some. Jealous, me?…never! We were quite obviously the poorest people there that night, but we were extremely lucky to have been there at all. The atmosphere and decor of the restaurant was lovely – High ceilings, Jelly mould shaped lamp shades and just the right level of noise to make it enjoyable and relaxing.

The FOOD:

I already knew I was going to have the meat fruit before we arrived. I’m a sucker for anything  liver that spreads on bread as I’m meant to be on a wheat free diet and I obviously don’t like to follow the rules. It was an amazing choice, the smoothest chicken liver parfait with a coating of Mandarin Jelly and plenty big enough to nearly half it with Alex. Lucky him! Alex opted for the Hay Smoked Mackerel which was served with a Lemon Salad and Gentleman’s Relish. He loved it. He loves expensive food as do I. He loves to be thought of as a gentleman even more so. At some point the waitress asked him if he’d like more bread and this is something he will never again agree to after the bill came in at £9 – I mean who pays £9 for 4 slices of bread! …Us obviously.

The mains all looked fabulous but after MUCH deliberation I opted for the Black Foot Pork Chop  with Pointy Cabbage and Robert Sauce. It was delicious but not as amazing as the starter. Alex went for the Powdered Duck with Smoked Fennel and Potato Puree – Quite a rich dish that had been slow cooked for 9 hours.

I had to order my Tipsy Cake at the start of our meal as we were informed it took a while to cook. THE most amazing pudding I’ve ever eaten which consisted of spit roast pineapple and brioche (soaked in a cognac infused custard) cooked in a tiny cocotte. No wonder this is the restaurants signature dish. I’ve recently read that the giant metal clock gears that turn the pineapple spit were designed by a watchmaker friend of Heston’s. Nice little fact there for you.
Alex had the Brown Bread Ice Cream which also delivered the wow factor.

Just when we thought we could eat no more ever again along came a final treat of a white Chocolate and Earl Grey Ganache with a caraway biscuit.  Pure Heaven!

I for one will most definitely return to eat here again. The service was impeccable and one thing I liked about the place was that the waiters seemed to know we were one of their lower budget visitors and treated us just as well. We were quite careful about what we ordered (apart from the little bread faux pas) and ended up paying around £75 per head (inc service) which I thought was fantastic given that the size of the dishes were pretty hefty and that we had nearly a good 3 hours in a wonderful setting. Without the wine and extras you could do this on a minimum of £42… Which is not bad going for the quality.

Starters were priced from £12.50 – 16.00. Mains at £20.00 – 32.00. Desserts were a pretty reasonable £8.00 – 10.00.
I’d advise you book your spot now – You will have time to save as they are taking bookings a few months in advance.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental
66 Knightsbridge,
London
SW1X 7LA
020 7235 2000