Fucina

This is my long over due review of Fucina which opened its doors during the second half of 2016. The restaurant is founded by Kurt Zdesar who has been behind places like Ping Pong, Chotta Matte and Black Roe.

When I visited Fucina last year, it aim to bring the concept of Italian dishes made with freshly produce. The menu was split over different section and spread over two pages. Since then the menu has changed being condense on to one page. Whether it’s for the better that is a question mark.

During my visit I tried Straciatella with Mazzara prawn and black truffle (£18). If there wasn’t the soft opening offer, then I would have not ordered the dish with that price. But you won’t have that choice since I no longer see it on the updated menu.

Fucina

Linguine al granchio (also known as crab linguine) was freshly made linguine served with Devonshire crab, chilli and garlic (£13.50).

The texture and the taste of the linguine reminded me of e-fu noodle (yi mein) which is used in Chinese cuisine and commonly made as a braised noodle dish.

Fucina

There was a selection of pizza on the menu and I tried one of the vegetarian option, Bufala pizza (£11). The pizza is topped with bufala mozzarella, sicilian pachino tomoto & basil.

Fucina

Fucina offers a range of grills such as steak and chicken. I tried the Maiale nero pork shoulder (£19.60) that they had on the menu at the time of my visit. For a gold price tag we got a few slices of pork that is served pink.

Fucina

The meal was completed with dessert. The Panna cotta with pistachio crumble, blueberry and optional grappa (£7.50) was surprising.

In what sense you might be asking. Well it was not the typical panna cotta I was expected. Neitherless, it was a good contemporary concept. Think of as a messy version of a panna cotta but in an artistic way.

Fucina

Another dessert that I tried was Stefano’s cheese cake served with rhubarb & strawberry preserve (£7.50). Although it looked like an American cheesecake it had a more creamy texture.

Fucina

Fucina is more of an upmarket Italian restaurant. On my visit it did have a bit of an unfriendly atmosphere. Not what you want to find especially when you want people to be returning or be recommending it to others.

I was happy to pay for the price tag after the 50% off during their soft launch period. But not the full price for some of the dishes which was on the small side.

There are many places that serve authentic Italian food in London, especially pizza for a more reasonable price.

(Menu and prices correct at the time of dining)

Fucina
26 Paddington Street
London
W1U 5QY
UK

JinJuu (Soho branch)

Jinjuu is an upmarket Korean restaurant opened by celebrity chef Judy Joo. It has two branches in London and one in Hong Kong. It has a modern atmosphere than your usual Korean restaurant in London but still serve a range of traditional Korean food.

I unexpectedly visited the Soho branch one Sunday afternoon. Just walked pass the restaurant and decided to catch lunch there. I was not dress for the atmosphere of Jinjuu as I was in my jogging top and trouser.

We started with Jinjuu’s Mandoo (£8 for four pieces), which are also known as steamed dumplings. There is choice of meat or vegetable fillings to select. We choice for the meat filling which was a mixture of beef & pork.

They were nicely presented with each dumpling served in an oriental looking spoon. You can pour some of the soy dipping sauce and eat straight from the spoon with no further plates needed!

Jinjuu

We also tried the Sae-woo pops (£8.50). These are crispy fried round prawn cakes served on sticks and served with creamy gochujang mayo. Although I did not find any thing special about the sae-woo pops, each one was nicely fried and went well with the dipping sauce.

Jinjuu

The one dish I had to try was Jinjuu’s signature Korean fried chicken (£9.50) which you can choose to have boneless chicken thighs, wings or a mixtures. I have seen Judy Joo on TV cooking programmes making her version Korean fried chicken, so it was interested to see how it taste.

Compared to other Korean fried chicken I have had so far, Jinjuu’s Korean fried chicken has a thick batter coating. It did reminded me slightly of the batter coating found on a battered fish and chips. The fried chicken comes served with two signature sauces – Red gochujang and Jinjuu black soy.

Jinjuu

Korean food can not be with out Bibimbap (£11.50) and for those who is not familiar with Korean cuisine. Bibimbap is a traditional Korean rice dish that is served in a traditional stone bowl. The bowl is filled with white rice and topped with vegetables and topped with a fried egg, served with gochujan sauce.

At Jinjuu, for extra charge you can add kimchi, beef, chicken, pork belly, prawns and tofu.

Jinjuu

Jinjuu offers a range homemade iced teas (£5 each) – Matcha & Manuka Honey, Korean Red Ginseng & Honey, Chamomile Flowers & Agave.

Jinjuu

Overall it was a nice restaurant but would not be my choice for having a traditional Korean food which could be cheaper. This would be a place I go for a special occasion than my usual Korean fixture.

(Menu and prices correct at the time of dining)

Jinjuu (Soho)
15 Kingly Street,
London,
W1B 5PS

www.jinjuu.com

Ginza Onakada

Ginza Onakada was previously known as Matsuri which is located in London St James. The restaurant has gone through a total transformation with a new name and a full renovation. It has moved away from the concept of teppenyaki to bring back traditional Japanese food.

The whole restaurant has been modernised with a sleek entrance. It is no longer focusing on teppenyaki but they have retained a small section that can seat around 4 people. Also there is a small sushi bar room where you can enjoy a sushi experience up close with the sushi chef.

We were seated in the main dining area where you can order from the a la carte that includes a range of sushi and robata.

Gina Onakada

We started our lunch with the Cornish crab meat chawan mushi (£12). This is a traditional savory custard flavoured with bonito soup. The taste reminded us of dobin mushi. A light clear soup that is served in a clay teapot which was available at previously known Matsuri and still is on the menu at Ginza Onakada.

The chawan sushi was beautifully steamed and arrived pipping hot at our table. 

Ginza Onakada

The sushi assortments comes in a choice of 8 pieces (£32) or 12 peices (£50). The 12 pieces worked out to be more expensive for each piece of nigiri as it came with more premium fishes. Our selection included one price of o-toro as well as one piece of seared Wagyu beef.

Each sushi was beautiful with good quality cuts including a lovely melt in your mouth o-toro. Even the Wagyu beef melt in your mouth which made it a good pairing as nigiri.

Ginza Onakada

This was follow by Inaniwa chilled udon with prawn and vegetable tempura, served with traditional dipping sauce (£28). The udon was a delight to have which was thinner and flatter than regular udon. It was cooked perfectly to a texture that was not too soft and still has that chewy texture. A dish that is refreshing which make it great for the warmer weather. 

Ginza Onakada

Ginza Onakada serves a selection of meat and seafood from the robata including Kobe beef (ranging from £130 – £145 depending on the cuts) and Japanese Wagyu beef (£71-£86 depending on the cuts). We opted for the Wagyu fillet beef (£86) which was expensive but it was really good. Each piece of beef just melt in your mouth and was truely good piece of Wagyu beef.

Ginza Onakada

So far every dish we had was impressive and each one was organised by the restaurant to come at the right time and in the right order.

However, I was slightly disappointed with dessert selection where there was no traditional Japanese dessert. The choices were more French inspired with the use of Japanese most known ingredients – matcha. Back in the days of Matsuri I would always looked forward to their Fireball ice cream. It is a shame that Ginza Onakada no longer on the menu although this is a dessert for teppenyaki.

Although dessert selection was not attractive we did try the chocolate fondue served with matcha ice cream mochi. I was expecting the chocolate fondue to have a melting centre. However, I am not sure if the restaurant had meant for it not to have a melting chocolate centre or it was over-cooked. 

Ginza Onakada

Overall it was a wonderful experience with impressive service. Apart from the dessert it was good food that was well executed. But dining at Ginza Onakada does come at a price which is not affordable to many of us.

I was there during the 50% off soft launch period and spent around £60 per person including service charge and green tea. This meant on full price we would had to pay around £120 per person. Even with the offer this meal I consider a special treat.

(Menu and prices correct at the time of dining)

Ginza Onakada
15 Bury Street,
London,
UK,
SW1Y 6AL

https://onodera-group.com/uk

Casita Andina

Casita Andina is a Purvian picanterias in London Soho that serve dishes inspired by the Peruvian Andes. The place is small and one where the dishes are great for sharing.

We started off nibbling on avocado fritters (£3.50). There was some seasoning but it was slightly on the bland side. The texture reminded me of banana fritters.

Casita Andina

It was then follow by the raw bar with Cobia Titradito (£9) – Farmed black king fish served with pineapple tiger’s milk and nori chilli dust.

Casita Andina

From the hot kitchen we tried a variety of the dishes on the menu.

Tamal (£6.50) – pork in a corn dumpling with coriander, onions and tomatoes.

Casita Andina

Aji de gallina (£9) – free range chicken served with amarillo chilli, botija olive and quail egg.

Casita Andina

Maca Lamb lion (£14) – Annatto marinated lamb sirloin served with garlic uchucuta and spicy cancha powder

Casita Andina

Rocoto Rayado (£12) – Skate wing, seco criollo, rocoto chill, queso fresco. It was not exactly what I expected which was minced fish. If you not in to a fishy dish then not one I would recommend to order.

Casita Andina

We finished the meal with trying the full range of dessert on the menu.

Choco-sauci (£6.50) – Peruvian Alto El Sol chocolate ball, elderberry gel, chocolate crumble. This is a dessert for the chocolate lover. The rice krispy gives it a crunchy texture that worked well with all the other texture on the plate.

Casita Andina

Mango chia & chicha pot (£5) – Mango, chia, purple corn granita. I was not too sure about the flavours which made it my least favourite dessert.

Casita Andina

Strawberry and avocado (£5) – Avocado, strawberry, yacon, basil cress. I thought the combinations of all the different ingredients worked well together.

Casita Andina

There are a range of drinks including Chicha Morada which is a Peruvian drink made from purple maize. There is also smoothies made up with some interesting ingredient. We tried some of these which had unique flavours and not was all to my taste buds.

Overall I thought the presentation of the food was good. Some dishes I thought was better than other dishes we tried. But each one the combinations of the different ingredients worked well together.

(Menu and prices correct at the time of dining)

Casita Andina
31 Great Windmill Street,
London,
W1D 7LP

http://www.andinalondon.com/casita

Eneko at One Aldwych

This is a long over due review of Eneko at One Aldwych, located near Covent Garden. The restaurant is brought to you from Chef Eneko Atxa who is known for his three Michelin restaurant in Spain.

Eneko

We started our meal with bread with herb butter.

Eneko

Starters are categorised from the sea, from the land and from the garden. From the sea we tried Memories of the Bay of Biscay (£15) – Oyster, crab and wild prawn tartare. This was the highlight of the meal. It was not just the taste and the presentation, but the experience of this dish with sight and smell. I could sense a bay with dish, with the smell of the salty sea and the taste of fresh seafood.

Eneko

We also tried the Squid Marmitake (£12) which is made up of squid stew with courgette ribbons. It was on the spicy side and had a distinct flavour that did not favour my tastbuds.

Eneko

From the land: Txerri Boda Pork Festival (£13) – Chorizo on milk bread, glazed sweetbread and suckling pig brioche. The presentation of the dish in a wooden box with a pig face was the winner than the actual food in the box.

Eneko

Mains include a selection of fish, meat and vegetarian. I ordered the seared duck breast served with julienne of king oyster mushrooms and pickled red onion (£25). It was a dish I was disappointed as the duck was over-cooked. Otherwise the presentation of this dish was beautiful and skills in the combination of all the different ingredients.

Eneko

The other mains that was ordered I felt was better executed than the duck.

Slow-cooked oxtail, mushroom emulsion (£20)

Eneko

Roasted iberico presa served with wheat in chickpea sauce and garlic cream (£24).

Eneko

Along with our mains we also ordered a range of sides. The mash potato (£4) was a smooth puree and I could not find a single lumps.

Eneko

Piperrak (green gernika peppers) (£6)

Eneko

The Sauteed garden vegetable (£5/£7) was beautiful with all the colour and truly reminded of a colourful garden.

Eneko

There was a dessert trolley with a selection to choose and each one £9 each which are all served with traditional Basque ice cream.

Dark chocolate with biscuit crumble base.

Eneko

The only dessert that was not found on the dessert trolley is Torrija which is a Basque vanilla sponge.

Eneko

Overall every dish was beautifully presented but the dessert was the one course where I felt was the least exciting.

I was dining there during their soft launch period where the price of the starters and mains were tagged at almost double of the price then on their current menu. Even with 50% off food we felt it was expensive and I would not consider it as an everyday dining.

Eneko

(Price and menu are correct at the time of dining. Not sponsored)

Eneko at One Aldwych
London,
WC2B 4BZ

http://www.eneko.london

Shotgun BBQ (Closed)

The food business is not the easiest industry and nor is every one successful. There has been many examples of restaurant that I have seen closing and the most recent one this year is Shotgun BBQ. Soon after my visit in January of this year Shotgun BBQ closed it doors.

I had their all you can eat lunch offer for £25 excluding drinks and service charge. A great deal if you can eat enough meat to make your money worth.

To start we had Gombo (okra with smoked pork belly) and  boiled peanut dip. Those with nut allergies the restaurant swap the boiled peanut dip for devil egg. I thought the devil egg was a better option than the boiled peanut dip.

Shotgun BBQ

Following by the mains where it started with a trip to the kitchen. We got to visit the chef who then filled our plates with meat. There was choice of Smoked chicken BBQ Rub, USDA brisket, Suckling pig and Pork Belly.

Looking at the suckling pig make you think this is worth it even if I don’t go for a second round.

Shotgun BBQ

I found the beef brisket on the dry side and it was my least favourite meat we tried. The chicken was as I expected to be dry being the chicken breast and I have a preference of the more succulent part of the chicken. My favourite would be the suckling pig that was served like pulled pork mixed in a spicy seasoning. Follow by the belly pork which was still moist.

Shotgun BBQ

The meat came with unlimited helping of pickles, raw onions and bun.

Shotgun BBQ

We also got four sides to go with the meat including cornbread which according to the menu should had come as a starter.

Shotgun BBQ

The meal finished with a banana pudding for dessert which was not exciting. A bit of fresh bananas, cream, cake and banana purée.

Shotgun BBQ

The restaurant did felt a bit on the dull side. The curtain which was there to keep the place warm when the door open but it did not help the place. I still remember reaching the front door thinking they looked closed and they are now truly closed. Here is a video of the memories of my trip to Shotgun BBQ.

Yijo BBQ

Yijo BBQ is a tradition Korean restaurant where you can get charcoal BBQ in North West London. The restaurant is local to North Finchley and right next to the tube station.

Yijo BBQ

Yijo BBQ

There are are a range of Korean starters to select on the menu. We ordered a variety of traditional Korean starters.

Yukhoe (£9.50) is a Korean beef tartare served with pear and topped with egg.

Yijo BBQ

Par Jeon (£7.90) is a Korean seafood pancake and is one of my favourite Korean dish to order.

Yijo BBQ

Yang yeum chicken (£8.50) is fired chicken in sweet chilli sauce.

Yijo BBQ

Yijo has a range of meats to order for BBQ, ranging from beef, chicken, pork, lamb, duck and seafood. There is also platters which are great to get a range of meat. We ordered the modum so gogi set (£30) which includes different selection of meat.

Yijo BBQ

The restaurant is happy to leave you to cook the meat yourself. But if you are not sure how to cook the meat or prefer it to be cooked for you the staff will be happy to help.

Yijo BBQ

Yijo BBQ

The BBQ meats came served with lettuce leaves, side dishes and sauces.

Yijo BBQ

Yijo has a selection of rice and noodles including the famous bibimbap.

Yijo BBQ

There is a range of Korean broths and hotpots on Yijo’s menu. We tried the Sam Gae Tang (£15) which is one of the traditional Korean broth. It is made up of a whole chicken cooked with ginseng.

The portion size was decent for the price. Although the chicken was nicely cooked but I thought there was not enough ginseng.

Yijo BBQ

It is not a fancy place but one where you get decent Korean food at reasonable price. I do recommend you book in advance for a table.

Yijo BBQ
1 Station Road,
Finchley
N3 2SB,
UK

http://www.yijo.co.uk