Shangri-La at The Shard (TING lounge)

I still remember my first visit to Ting restaurant a few years ago which was not just the beautiful view, the lovely fragrant but their impressive service. With a wonderful previous experience, I decided to book lunch for my brother’s birthday and this time I managed to book the Ting lounge. The menu at the lounge is different to their restaurant where afternoon tea and a dedicated lounge menu with a range of Asian dishes is served.

The seating at the lounge are lower than the restaurant with big sofas. They were still comfortable to dine in but were more suited for afternoon tea then a main meal. There are table seatings in the lounge area and these are the ones which will give you front row view of London.

Shangri-La The Ting Lounge

Although, Ting serves both afternoon tea and a lounge menu, you will have to choose either one of the option. I was hoping that the ladies in the family could have had the afternoon tea and the men in the family who prefer not to have the fancy three tiers to have the Asian dishes from the lounge menu.

As we had to select either one, we opted for the lounge menu as it cater for everyone and we could try Ting’s south-east Asian dishes.

Shangri-La The Ting Lounge

From the south-east Asian dishes, I ordered their Hainanese Chicken Rice (£18). This is poached chicken served with ginger flavoured rice, chicken broth and condiments. It is one of the signature dish in Singapore and I was intrigued to know what Ting’s Hainanese chicken rice would be like.

The presentation was beautiful and came as I expected for a Hainanese chicken rice. Each component of the dish came on one tray. The poached chicken was taken off the bones and beautifully cooked with succulent meat, including the chicken breast that tend to be driest part. The rice had a light ginger which went well with chicken.

Although the Hainanese chicken rice is £18 which is not cheap. But we did get what looked like half a chicken and off the bone. I was pleased with the quality that I was happy to pay for this price and with the bonus of the view.

Shangri-La The Ting Lounge

As well as south-east Asian dishes, the lounge menu also offers a range of middle eastern mezza and British dishes including salads, sandwiches and burgers.

We tried one of the chef special main course, Roasted South Coast Cod (£22) served with crushed Jersey Royals, samphire and cucumber butter sauce. The fish was cooked perfectly to give a silky piece of fish. It was a nice Summer dish to have for lunch or dinner.

Shangri-La The Ting Lounge

Ting lounge has a selection of dessert and the birthday boy ordered the Raspberry and Vanilla Cheesecake (£8) served with Raspberry jelly and Raspberry sorbet.

Shangri-La The Ting Lounge

Ting will also provide the service for you to pre-order a celebration cake directly from them. I pre-ordered a fresh cream strawberry cake for the birthday boy. It was different to the one I ordered in 2014 as this was more like a mousse cake.

Shangri-La The Ting Lounge

Overall the food was good and I would go back for the Hainanese chicken rice again. My only disappointment in my latest visit was the service at the lounge was not as good as the restaurant. Although it was nice to not be rush for the restaurant, we felt there was a lack of attention from our server. Brushing this to one side for a special occasion we still enjoyed a wonderful lunch.

Shangri-La The Ting Lounge

Review of Ting restaurant click here: https://chechemui.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/shangri-la-at-the-shard-ting-restaurant/

(Not Sponsored. Prices and Menu correct at the time of dining)

TING (Lounge)
Level 35, Shangri-La Hotel (At The Shard)
31 St Thomas Street,
London,
SE1 9QU,
United Kingdom

http://www.ting-shangri-la.com

Sambal Shiok (At The Sun & 13 Cantons)

Sambal Shiok is resident at The Sun & 13 Cantons until 1st October 2016. It has been serving Malaysian flavours at the pub, which is located in London.

The menu is simple with the main sections – snacks, laksa noodle soup and rice dishes.

We tried the Hainan Dumplings (£6) which comes in two options, with meat or vegetables. We choice the meat option which was chicken dumplings with ginger chilli sauce.

The pastry of the dumpling was firm and moist. It was not too thick but not as thin as the pastry you will find on a gyoza (Japanese dumplings).

Sambal Shiok

Ayam Goreng is Malaysian fried chicken served with peanut sauce (£6.50). The chicken was crispy with a spicy batter coating and goes well with the peanut sauce.

Sambal Shiok

There are a range of rice dishes on the menu to select. I tried the Nasi Lemak Rendang Daging (£13). This is beef rendang cooked with 11 spices, served with coconut pandan rice, cucumber, sweet pickled red onions, peanuts, deep fried anchovies and egg. It also comes with spicy sambal sauce which I requested to be served separately to make the dish milder.

The dish overall was okay with wonderful flavours from the 11 spices. However, I would had prefer the beef a bit more tender and moist. 

Sambal Shiok

Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng (£12) is Malaysian fried chicken served with coconut peanut sauce, coconut pandan rice, cucumber, sweet picked red onions, peanuts and deep fried anchovies.

For both rice dishes we ordered, the rice itself was slightly on the dry side. It felt like it was in need of some more water.
Sambal Shiok

As well as a selection of rice dishes, the menu also offers a selection of Laksa noodle soup. The Kari Laksa Istimewa (£13) is made up of chicken, prawn, tofu puff served in a rich spicy coconut chicken and prawn broth.

Sambal Shiok

We finished the meal sharing the Cardomon chocolate cakes which comes served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cake was fluffy with a light hint of cardomon.

Sambal Shiok

There is a small selection of Malaysian drinks including Teh Tarok, which is a Malaysian sweetend tea (£3.50)

Sambal Shiok

I tried the Cibcau (£3.50) which is a herbal grass jelly. I was not that keen on this drink as it was like drinking sugar syrup. Instead I prefer the version with coconut milk.

Sambal Shiok

I found the dishes at Sambal Shiok too spicy for me, so unfortunately its not shiok (shee-ock) – “Wow this is delicious!” But if you do enjoy your spicy food than Sambal Shiok might be a place you will want to try before their pop up at The Sun and 13 Canton pubs ends.

Sambal Shiok (at The Sun & 13 Cantons)
21 Great Pulteney Street,
London,
W1F 9NG,
UK

http://www.sambalshiok.co.uk

Pan de Vie

Green tea fans will need to keep reading because a new bakery, Pan de Vie has opened in Covent Garden. You will find matcha (green tea) bread, matcha cakes and matcha cookies.

The bakery is spread over two floors with some bar seats upstairs that looks out to the narrow street of New Row. Downstairs is a small seating area for you to indulge in one of Pan de Vie beautiful cake.

Pan De Vie

It is green tea madness at Pan de Vie. There are a variety of green tea choices that you will be spoilt for choice. I found it difficult to choose one, especially for some one like me who wanted to have a bite of every thing on the counter.

Pan De Vie

The Matcha & Lychee Mousse cake was the one that attracted me the most at my first visit. It brings two popular Asian flavours, green tea and lychee together. The cake has different layers consisting of green tea mousse, green tea sponge and lychee jelly. The layering reminded me of Kueh Lapis (of course it is not exactly the same!) which is a type of layer cake found in Singapore and Indonesia.

Pan De Vie

For those with a sweet tooth, the Matcha tart has a sticky and sweet centre. Out of all the green tea pastry we tried this was the sweetest. I didn’t find it sweet with the first bite but after a few more bites the sweetness become more obvious.

Pan De Vie

I was impress with the Matcha muffin, as you can taste the flavour of green tea and that is what I call a proper green tea muffin! The muffin was soft and the sweetness was just right.

Pan De Vie

Matcha is usually considered with Japanese cuisines but Pan de Vie is opened by Hong Kong entrepreneurs, which bring Asian influenced. As well as matcha being a theme at the bakery, black sesame seem to be another theme flavour at Pan de Vie.

The Black sesame mousse cake was a dessert heaven which was soft, light and fluffy. It was not sweet at all and has a light subtle flavour of black sesame. Don’t let all the green tea take the limelight from this black sesame mousse cake. It has definitely won me over by that first bite.

Pan De Vie

The Matcha & Sesame Mousse Cake has a mixture of texture to it. A soft matcha mousse dome top, with a hard and crispy black sesame cracker base.

Pan De Vie

Although there is various matcha flavour cakes, Pan de Vie has a selection of other flavours if you have not yet warm to the flavour of green tea. I have not yet had the opportunity to try the other cakes, but they all look attractive.

I would not consider the cakes at Pan de Vie to be cheap to eat, as takeaway will cost £4.20 and eat in £5. But then Yauatcha’s cakes are just expensive for takeaway.

Pan De Vie

Pan de Vie also has a small selection flavour of macarons which look nicely baked. But I have not yet had the opportunity to try out the texture and flavour. However, with all the flavour available, I did not see green tea or black sesame.

Pan De Vie

Japanese cheesecake are also available and are served in mini size as well in 5inch. They come in original or green tea flavour.

Pan De Vie

I tried the original flavour Japanese cheesecake and although they were nice, the texture does not compare with many of the popular Japanese brands found in Asia.

In Hong Kong, there is a current high wave with Japanese cheesecake and Japanese cream cheese pie. I wonder if we might be able to see them available in London soon. Although London’s palette has widen, will there be a market for it the UK?

Pan De Vie

Being a bakery there has to be breads and Pan de Vie offer a range of different bread. Some green tea and a large variety of non-green tea. The different flavour of bread reminded me of the modern Hong Kong bakery which take influence from Japan.

Pan De Vie

Pan de Vie also serves cold and hot drinks including Matcha latte and my favourite Yuza tea. If you want the full green tea package then you can enjoy a Matcha cake with a Matcha latte. You will be feeling green by the end of it.

Pan De Vie

(This was not sponsored. Menu and prices are correct at the time of dining)

Pan de Vie
5 New Row,
Covent Garden,
London,
WC2N 4LH

http://www.pandevie.com

Shuang Shuang

London first conveyor belt hotpot Shuang Shuang has landed in Soho. The restaurant has been brought by the same group of people behind a range of popular restaurants around the world, including Boon Tong Kee which is one of Singapore famous restaurant for their Hainanese chicken.

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

How does it all work?

  • Step 1, you will pick a broth (£7 each) from one of the three selection (Mala 麻辣, Black Bird 烏雞, Lamb Tonic 小肥羊, Fish Pond 魚泉, Temple Brew 蝦頭海鮮草本)

The selection of broths will cater for a large variety of people. If you want a sense of fiery and numbing then Mala is the spicy broth option. However, if you want a non-spicy option then there should be one of the other options to suit you.

If you are not a big fan with the flavour of lamb, then I do not recommend the Lamb Tonic broth. I tried the broth and found the lamb meat flavour too strong, even for some one who does eat lamb.

My favourite out of the broth I tried would have to be the Temple Brew which is Shaung Shuang’s vegan broth. According to the menu this broth is made with soy milk (豆奶), shitake mushrooms (香菇), White Turnip (白蘿蔔) and Dried Liquorice Root (甘草根). I did not see any shitake mushroom or turnip in the broth. But to my surprise it was a broth full of flavour.

Alternatively the black bird broth we could see some of the ingredients it had used which included Jujubes (黑棗) and Chinese Wolfberries (枸杞).

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

  • Step 2, Mix your dipping sauce ready to use, for your cooked ingredients.

Hotpot is never with out a range of sauces and this is where you can be creative to mix a sauce of your choice. We were automacticlly served three different sauces with our broth. 

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

  • Step 3, Choose your ingredients from the conveyor belt and add them to your broth to cook. 

Each plates are colour coded to reference the different prices which range from £1 to £4.30. You can use the menu booklet to obtain the exact prices of each ingredients that are available.

The ingredients included a selection of beef, chicken, lamb, pork, fish and shellfish, vegetables, tofu and noodles.

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

Each raw ingredients on the conveyor belt are covered with a lid and will have a label to try to tell you if it contains seafood, pork, chicken, beef or a combination. But it was not always easy to know the exact ingredients when providing with just a general category.

The label will specify at least how long you need to cook from boiling the broth. This is a guidance and I always recommend that ingredients such as meat need to be cook throughly before consuming.

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

Two of the ingredients that I found worth picking or ordering (if you can’t see it on the conveyor belt) is Shuang Shuang’s house prawn balls (£2.90) and house prawn & pork balls (£2.30).

They come in a cool looking bamboo looking tube with a matching spatula. You would use the spatula to scrape a ball of paste in to the broth to create your own funny looking prawn ball or prawn & pork ball.

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

You will find a lot of the typical ingredients for hotpot such as sliced meat, sliced fish, fish balls, chopped vegetables and lots more. There were some that I would not commonly would had used for hotpot such as Chinese dough (油條), which surprisingly work with the broth. But you will have to make sure you do not leave it in too long or it will become too soggy. 

The bow beancurd (豆皮結) was the complete opposite where you can leave it in as long you want, as they will take a while to become soften. So you do not worry about over cooking them too long.

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

Although upstairs there are sharing broth, most of the seats you will get your own individual broth. Although traditionally hotpot is one pot shared between the table it can be great to have your own broth. You know what ingredients you have put in the broth and to suit your own dietary requirement.

You can add different ingrediants to your chosen broth and make it to your own, such as using fragance shitake mushroom. Here is how my Temple broth started and then looked like after adding a few raw ingredients.

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

To complete your hotpot meal you can order one of Shuang Shuang’s dessert. We were unable to try the Brandy-infused Persimmon (£4) so instread tried their Soy milk ice cream served with Candied Ginger (£4.50).

The ice cream was creamy in texture and light ion flavour. The candied ginger went well with the soy milk ice cream and gave it another level of flavour to the dessert.

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

Shuang Shuang also offers a range of Chinese tea including the beautiful flower tea. Not all tea you will be able to top with water to and will only be for one round.

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

The cost of having hotpot at Shuang Shuang can add up. Just as you do at a conveyor belt sushi, the plates can get taller which means the cost also goes up. We had 25% off during the soft launch and manage to eat £30 per head.

Dining out for hotpot is generally expensive and there are now fewer places in London offering buffet hotpot. But in the Asian community, hotpot is regarded some thing you would have at home as a family or for hosting a big group because it is easy to do.

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

Shuang Shuang is probably a place to consider if you were dining alone. It is especially great for the colder season as you can warm up with a steaming broth and watch the ingredients go round and round on the conveyor belt, keeping you eyes open for some thing delicious to add to your very own broth. But just beware of your money bank as you could easily find yourself paying for a fine dining bill.

Shuang Shuang Hotpot

(Prices and menu correct at the time of dining)

Shuang Shuang
64 Shaftesbury Avenue,
London,
W1D 6LU

http://www.shuangshuang.co.uk

Little Penang

London Chinatown has changed over the many years since I was a child. I remember those childhood days when we would travel in to London Chinatown once a week to have dim sum for a family lunch. Now a day you have considerately more choices around London that you can easily get a decent Chinese food with out going in to Chinatown.

Chinatown has and still changing due to the trend, rent and the increase in competition around other local areas. It is no longer just an area that offers cantonese cusinese, it has extended to other part of region in Asia.

This year we saw a new addition, Little Penang in London Chinatown. The restaurant aim is to concetrates on serving Malaysian cuisines. 

Satay skewers (£6.80)

Little Penang (London Chinatown)

Asam Seabass (£19.80) felt like the fish did not connect with the rest of the ingredients on the plate. The fish seem to be cooked separately from the sauce with the vegetable, then pour over the the sauce. The fish was missing the infusion of the flavour from the sauce.

Little Penang (London Chinatown)

Kam Heong Crab (£15.80) was better than the fish with stronger flavour.

Little Penang (London Chinatown)

Instead of Hainan chicken rice, Little Penang serves their version of a Malacca Chicken Rice (£9.80). It is smiliar to Hainan chicken rice but the Malacca version is serve with rice ball.

Little Penang (London Chinatown)

If you are looking for freshly made roti than this is not the place for them.

Little Penang (London Chinatown)

The dish was okay but comparing to what I have had at other places in London, than it does not compare. 

Little Penang (London Chinatown)

There are various drinks to stick to the Malaysian theme such as the Soya milk with grass jelly, which was not as nice as the one I had at Bugis street.(https://chechemui.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/bugis-street-brasserie/)

Little Penang (London Chinatown)

If you make comparison with other place in London serving smiliar cusines than Little Penang would not come out on top. Although not all dishes was the best the food is okay, but there are some I wouldn’t order again.

Little Penang 
18 Gerrard Street,
London,
W1D 6JF,
UK

Naamyaa Cafe

Alan Yau recent opening is a Bangkok cafe in London, called Naamyaa Cafe which is located in Islington. It is a restaurant that serve food with Bangkok inspiration, but if you stripe it all down then to me it feel just like Oriental cusine with a slight twist.

When I walked in to Naamyaa Cafe it instantly reminded me of Cha Cha Moon (another restaurant that was bought to us by Alan Yau). But Naamyaa Cafe lightings are brighter which gives us that feel of a cafe. Unlike Cha Cha Moon or Busabi Eathai it has banish the communal tables for individual table. That definitely gets my thumb up.

The menu has a range of starters, rice noodles, salads dishes. There is even suki set which is a Thai styled hotpot. There are even burgers and fries on the menu, which is interested. The name of the burger does not seem to be any thing special, but it does have me wondering would there be a Oriental twist to these burgers.

We started our dinner with the pandan chicken wings. Although maybe be we should have gone with the waitress suggestion for the BBQ wings. But we wanted some thing with more oriental flavour that we choice the pandan chicken wings. They were dry mini chicken wings and we could not taste any pandan.

Satay Gai which is basically a chicken satay. It is not a dish that I found special but I prefer this over the chicken wings.

The interesting dish that evening was the White Bait, which is not a usual dish that you will find in London. It is defintely a good dish for a snack.

After starting our dinner with some dishes from the small plates and snacks, we moved on to our next course. We each ordered a dish for ourself and there was a range of noodle and rice dishes.

I want for Hainanese chicken rice which was served with the expected soya sauce, chilli sauce and a bowl of chicken soup. I felt the  plate of chicken and rice with slices of cucumber was missing something and lacking presentation.

You have the option to add a fried egg to your dishes but I requested for a boiled egg which the restaurant was happy to do. Half of the egg plated with the chicken rice just seem to make this dish look much happier.

In terms of taste it would not be the best Hainanese chicken that I have had in London. But at least it was a corn-fed chicken and not just a normal boiled chicken. I found the chicken soup that come served with the dish was too oily.

Apart from the white baits, the stir-fried soft shell crab rice was another interetsing dish. Although I personally think there was too many large quatity of sliced cucumber in the dish.

For this dish we added a fried egg which I think is a good combination with the dish.

We finished our meal by sharing a slice of pandan cake sereved with ice cream. It was a beautifully baked soft pandan cake, but I personally preferred it if it was not as sweet.

Overall the food was okay but I felt that some of the Chinese dishes are better left to have in London Chinatown. However, there are some dishes which are more unique and would be a reason for me to return.

It is a nice casual restaurant with rice and noodle dish around about £10 per dish. However,

The service that evening does need improving as it was very slow and took us a while before we could get attention of staff. However, with a few disappoint points it is a nice casual restaurant which is opened  in the morning for  brunch to evening for dinner.

Naamyaa Cafe
407 St John Street,
Islington,
EC1V 4AB,
London

http://www.naamyaa.com

Cocoon (CLOSED)

It was a friend leaving do on Thursday and it was decided that she wanted to celebrate it at Cocoon, which is on one of the side road off Regent Street called Air Street. It is both a restaurant and a late lounge, which has been on my list to go for ages. Finally I have the chance to try it!

When you enter the doors of the restaurant you need to walk up the stairs to go to the reception which is where the restaurant is actual located. It was buzzing with people at around 8:30pm and many of the men and women there were very nicely dressed. But with the atmosphere and setting of the restaurant how could you not.

Throughout the restaurant it was dim lighted and it got darker around 10-ish which made it a great late lounge setting. I love the tables, because they were embedded with red and pink rose petals and set well with the whole atmosphere. I would say it was kinda romantic but not if you include the music which was very more on the club dance side.  The music playing throughout the restaurant was quite loud which conversations with others across the table difficult. But I think if you out there to chill then it is great.

It categorise its cuisines as Pan-Asian and from the menu you will find a mix of Japanese and Chinese food. There is a variety of choice of sushi, which also includes sashimi.
Tuna tataki with aji ponzu & jalapeño-infused oil

They also did some selection of tempura which was a mix between Japanese and Chinese cuisines. We ordered the Salt & seven pepper squid with Thai sweet chilli and the Soft shell crab with jalapeño mayonnaise. They were nice and is recommended.
Salt & seven pepper squid with Thai sweet chilliSoft shell crab with jalapeño mayonnaise

They also had a section of dim sum, which is a fusion combination as well. We choice Beef fillet & foie gras gyoza with honey infused teriyaki. This was different to the normal gyoza you would ususally have due to the filling with these.
Beef fillet & foie gras gyoza with honey infused teriyaki

Then for main (well there are no distinction between starters and main, because the waiter said everything we ordered were to come together or any time they was ready I suppose she meant) we went for the fish choice on that was on the menu – the Seabass with Chinese veg and shitakes and also the Baked black cod fillet with kinome miso & mirin glaze. I prefer the Seabass over the baked cod fillet as I felt the sauce spotted on the plate tasted a bit too weird for me.
Seabass with chinese veg and shitakeBaked black cod fillet with kinome miso & mirin glaze

After it was on to my favourite part of the course because it was dessert time! Instead of choosing individual desserts we decided to go for the Chef’s dessert selection which cost us £23.00. But this dessert was enough to share and offers a great taster of the dessert on offer. The selection included a bowl of variety of chopped fruits on ice, pistachio crème brulee, chocolate fondant, yogurt cake, coffee ice cream, mango sorbet and two unidentified desserts. One I think is pineapple that had some alcoholic mix to it and then a lychee kind of dessert.
Coccon Chef's dessert selection

All the food was nicely presented and the food was OK. Although only disappointing thing was we ordered Jasmine rice to go with our main and it was on the dry side. The service was not the best but maybe it could be the waiter who was serving us was not that friendly.

It did not come cheap eating at Cocoon, for two people we spent around £50 per a head which include drinks. But this really depend what you ordered as others in our group spent much less then that. However,  I have seen offers they do at lunchtime and they were suppose to have a 3 course set menu for £25. But it was not on any of the menus we were given. The only set menu that we saw was the £50 but the waiter said everyone on the table had to get it for us to get it.

I did not get the chance to try the cocktails but they have list of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails which are beautifully presented. So maybe another time.

Cocoon
65 Regent Street,
London,
W1B 4EA,
UK

http://www.cocoon-restaurants.com/