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

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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

Samarkand London

Samarkand London recently opened their doors with Uzbeki style fine dining experience. If you are wondering what is Uzbeki cuisines than keep reading to find out.

Smarkand

The restaurant has taken over what was originally the site of Fino restaurant. The layout has not change much but it has been transformed to give a feeling of luxury.

Smarkand

While we waited for our food to arrive we were served complimentary toasted breads. They were warm with a slight smokey flavour. The bread is best enjoyed when they are warm because once cold they lost their attraction.

Samarkand

Our first round of food started with the small plates. The Somsa (£4 per parcel) are hand-made puff pastry parcels filled with beef & lamb. The parcels were beautifully made which reminded me of the Chinese roast pork puff pastry. But for the price tag they are premium puff pastry.

Samarkand

The Baklajon (£4.50) is Uzbek style smoked aubergine caviar. You could really taste the smokey flavour in the mashed aubergine which came served with tiny slices of rye bread.

Samarkand

Manti are traditional uzbek hand-made dumplings. Each serving comes with three mantis and is offered in two different filling – pumpkin (£6) or beef and lamb (£8).

The manti pastry was not too thick and it was still moist when it arrived on our table. It was served with a tomato base sauce that tasted like a bolognese sauce. It went well with the manti especially the one filled with beef and lamb.

Samarkand

Shashlik is skewered meat which is flamed over the robata grill. The serving is one skewer per 100g. The quality of the meat was good, but it does cost when you look at the price tag. Whether it is worth their price tag it is debatable.

Samarkand

We selected three of the shashlik on the menu. Each one were good but my favourite has to be the Wagyu Beef (£28). As you expected from wagyu the meat was tender. For a more texture than the Bavette (£13) also know as flank steak, would give you that.

The Buttermilk Marinated Lamb (£17) was also very tender and beautifully cooked. It had a nice portion of fat and lean meat.

After trying Samarkand robato grills it was followed by the dishes from the main courses. One of them was the Jiz Biz (£26) which is a pan-fried rack of lamb served with potato cake and salad. The meat is tender but fairly fatty. If you compared it with the buttermilk marinated lamb than I prefered the shashlik as it was leaner meat.

Samarkand

The Chicken Tabaka (£21) was pan-fried baby chicken which had a tangy orange flavour. I felt the orange flavour was too strong and the chicken slightly over cooked.

Samarkand

Fried Lagman (£16) is hand-pulled fried noodles with lamb shoulder in a tomato & chilli sauce. The flavour to me resembled a Chinese stir-fried noodle.

Samarkand

Poached Rainbow Trout (£18) is served in a shellfish broth with vegetables and keta caviar. The presentation of this dish was pretty but the flavour was too fishy.

Samarkand

With the mains we ordered the Samarkand Plov (£28 to serve two people) which is a Uzbekistan’s signature dish, that is usually made on special day. The dish consisted of slowly cooked beef short rib that sat on top of rice mixed with carrots, onions, chickpeas and barberries. It is garnished with pomegranate and spring onions.

The cooked beef short ribs was beautifully soft that it almost fell off its bone. This dish definitely gets my recommendation as the one to order at Samarkand London.

Samarkand

Since we ordered the Samarkand Plov we did not need sides to go with our mains. But on my second visit we did try the Truffle potato (£4). There is nothing special about this dish which was simply sliced cooked potatoes with truffles.

Samarkand London has a small selection of desserts on the menu which meant we got to try all of them.

The Chilli & Thyme Poached Peach with pistachio Crumble and Ice cream (£7.50) was pretty in presentation. The dish had a combination of texture which worked well. The peach was soft and the crumbles gave it a crunch. The ice cream helped stick the crumbles to the peach together and was like a sauce to the dessert. Each item on the plate made great friends.

Samarkand

The Baklava cake (£7.50) was a nice version of baklava. Unlike a tradition baklava it was not too sweet and like its name it had more of a cake texture.

Samarkand

If none of the main desserts take your fancy then for some thing a bit lighter is Samarkand London selection of ice cream and sorbet (£6 for three scoops), which is offered in a selection of flavours.

Samarkand

Samarkand London has an extensive list of drinks to choose, including two pages of tea and at a range of price. The most expensive tea we spotted was the Yellow Tea for £20.

Samarkand

As well as a range of tea, there are a range of wines and Samarkand cocktails.

Samarkand

On my first visit I did not know what to expect for Uzbeki cuisine. But it was not at all that unfamiliar as the food had influence from Mediterranean and Chinese cuisines.

Overall the food at Samarkand was nice especially the meat. But the cost of dining at Smarkand London is similar to fine dining price, although it is not there at the top with the true fine dining restaurants.

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

Samarkand London
33 Charlotte Street,
London,
W1T 3RR,
UK

http://samarkand.london

Lima Floral (Lunch)

Lima Floral is the sister restaurant to Michelin starred Lima in Fitzrovia. This little sister is located in Covent Garden, close to Leicester Square tube station.

The restaurant serves Peruvian cuisine in a bright and vibrant setting. The lunch menu is tapas style split in to Ceviche, Saltadito (Peruvian-style stir fry), Tiradito (sashimi-style fish), Snacks, Anticucho (marinated grilled skewers), Potato Causa (dressed potato puree) and Jalea (in a light, tempura-style batter).

While waiting for our food we nibbled on complimentary yellow and purple corn breads served with a tangy dip.

Lima Floral (Lunch menu)

We ordered the Yunza selection box (£48) which is a chef selection of nine dishes to be shared between two persons. We did not know what nine dishes until the box is brought out. But the chef made a good selection which were made up of dishes from each section of the menu.

Lima Floral

Top of the box

Octopus tiradito – this consisted of octopus, green vegetables, onions, herbs and yellow chilli sauce. The octopus was tender and a dish with Italian flavours.

Prawn ceviche – the dish was made up of fat and juicy prawns, crunchy yuca root, creamy rocoto tiger’s milk, baby gem, mango. It was one of my favourite dish on the table which was a better version of prawn cocktail.

Lima Floral (Lunch menu)

Top shelve

Chicken anticucho – this was chicken skewer with sundried chillies served with a potatoes salsa.

Lima Floral (Lunch menu)

Sea bream ceviche – the chunky sliced sea bream was served with a tangy refreshing sauce.

Lima Floral (Lunch menu)

Middle shelve

Corn fed chicken potato causa – this dish was a combination of chicken, spring onions, yellow chillies , lime and olive oil. It was another favourite dish that we had on the table, which was creative. The combination of all the flavours on this dish reminded me of mayo chicken sandwich filling.

Lima Floral (Lunch menu)

On this shelves we also tried two of the snack dishes that are on the menu including crisps and their Mussels a la chalaca.

Bottom shelve

Salmon tiradito – this is like a sashimi dish made of sliced salmon marinated with sundries chilli and soya sauce.

Lima Floral (Lunch menu)

Mixed Jalea – we got a combination of squids and king prawns. It was served with cusco corn which went well with the seafood. I really enjoyed this dish although I am not a big fan with deep fried food. The squids was really tender in a softly crispy batter coating.

Lima Floral (Lunch menu)

As we were sharing between three people, we also ordered additional dishes alongside the Yunza box .

Beef saltadito (£10) is one of the Peruvian-style stir fry on the menu. It consisted of beef strips marinated with soya sauce, cumin, red onions, tomatoes. This dish tasted very oriental and my least favourite dish. I found the beef fairly tough and it was more beef cube than beef strips.

Lima Floral (Lunch menu)

Beef Loin anticucho (£8) is grilled beef skewers with anticucho sauce, new potatoes and red onion salsa. The beef were tender but I thought the chicken anticucho had more flavour. The best part of this dish for me was the new potatoes and red onion salsa.

Trio Tiradito (£15) is sashimi-style fish dish with the combination of tuna, salmon and cobia. The tuna is served with Amazonian cashew pesto and seaweed caviar. The salmon is marinated with sundries chilli, soya sauce. Whereas, the cobia is a cob fish with red kiwicha and blacksquid ink.

Lima Floral (Lunch menu)

We completed it with three of Lima floral’s desserts which were nice, but I felt the other dishes we had on the menu were more of the highlight at Lima Floral.

For dessert we tried their Guava Mousse (£6) which was a light dessert. You can taste the guava in the mousse.

Andean quinoa, almond milk and chocolate (£6) felt more like a breakfast dish then a dessert. It was smiliar to rice pudding but lighter. The dessert was not sweet as dark chocolate was used to accompany the quinoa. It was an intresting dessert and the combination of all the ingrediants worked well.

Alfajores, strawberries, purple corn sorbet (£6) was the sweetest dessert on the table. The Alfajores are soft cookies which tasted like shortbread biscuits.

Lima Floral (Lunch menu)

Overall I felt the food at Lima Floral is colourful and creative. The service was helpful and friendly.

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

Lima Floral
14 Garrick Street,
London,
WC2E 9BJ

http://www.limalondongroup.com/floral

Little Bay Kilburn

Little Bay is a restaurant that offers modern European style cuisines. The Kilburn branch was not as theatrical looking as other branches. But it could be the dark romantic setting that meant there was not much I could clearly see. However, I did notice there was some theatrical balcony table upstairs.

The restaurant offers a three course menu at very attractive prices. If you order before 7pm starter is £2.75, main is £6.20 and dessert is £2.75. After 7pm starter is £3.85, main is £6.20 and dessert is £3.85. However, it does mean you are restricted to only a selection of dishes.

We were provided with complimentary bread to nibble while we waited for our food to arrive. The bread was nothing special but felt it was a nice to get complimentary nibbles.

Little Bay Kilburn

Starter I had the profiteroles with crab meat and citrus hollandaise, which was recommended by a friend as a dish you must order at Little Bay. I thought it was a nicely created dish and it did have similar resemble to profiteroles. But do not expect crab meat freshly extracted from a crab.

Little Bay Kilburn

Another starter I tried was the Slow Cooked Duck Legs in Filo Pastry with buttered Leek and Grand Marnier sauce. I thought this was a nice alternative to the crab.

Little Bay Kilburn

Main I had the Duck Two Ways which is made up of duck breast, savoy cabbage, pak choi and duck en croute in a honey ginger jus.

Little Bay Kilburn

We got complimentary sides of warm vegetables and potatoes, which went well with many of the mains. So we did not need to order additional sides. Even with out the complimentary sides I felt most of the mains was good enough to have with out sides.

I did not go with any of the dessert that was part of the offer, although there was a good selection. Instead I opted for the Homemade tiramisu (£4.25) to satisfy my craving.

Little Bay Kilburn

You can see the effort in the presentation of the dishes. However, it’s not fine dining level but then you are not paying crazy expensive prices.

Little Bay is a nice casual place to dine and with their menu offer it is affordable. The Kilburn branch is walking distance to Kilburn High Road overground. It is advisable to book, especially if you want to dine at one of the balcony table.

(Not Sponsored. Menu and prices correct at the time of visit)

Little Bay Kilburn
228 Belsize Road
London,
NW6 4BT

http://www.littlebaykilburn.co.uk

Mahdi Restaurant

Mahdi restaurant serve Persian cuisines. This place was busy and we were glad that we booked, since we did have a large party. The food was good and the staff were really friendly. My highlight of my evening has to be the Naan which was freshly baked and was nice on its own or with homous made of mashed chickpeas, garlic, sesame and olive oil

Mahdi Restaurant

We ordered the mixed grills which comes in the choice of being served for 2 people (£25.90) or 3 people (£34.90). We ordered the portion for 3 people and felt it could be shared between 4 people.

The mixed grills consisted of grilled lamb fillet, grilled chick fillet, grilled minced meat and grilled chick on the bone. This was all served with saffron rice with barberries and grilled tomatoes.

I felt the minced meat was the best grills on the plate, followed by the grilled lamb fillet. The chicken was my least favourite as it was on the dry side.

Mahdi Restaurant

Mahdi Restaurant

The meal went well with Iranian aromatic tea and to warm up in the cold winter weather.

Mahdi Restaurant

You won’t walk out the restaurant feeling hungry as the food is not just good but a decent size.

(Not Sponsored. Menu and prices correct at the time of visit)

Mahdi Restaurant
215-217 King Street,
London,
W6 9JT

Le Bab

Gourmet kebab has arrived in London and is living on the first floor of Kingly Court in Carnaby street.

Le Bab

The menu is small and simple, which is split in to five section – To begin, Sides,  The Babs, Large Bab and Dessert.

Maftoul Risotto (£4.50) is made up of maftoul with roast carrot, chipotle beurre noisette, barrel aged feta. Do not let the word risotto mislead you to think it is the Italian rice dish. As the photo shows it looks like couscous and that is exactly what it is since Maftoul is a type of couscous or also known as giant couscous.

I suspect it has the name as risotto because it uses the technique to produce a texture just like the Italian rice dish but with maftoul instead. Although, those who are gluten intolerance would not choose to dine at Le Bab due to the dishes contained flat bread, but beware gluten intolerance readers.

Le Bab

Meatlafel served on a bed of Tzatziki (£5.50)

Le Bab

Lokma (£5) has to be the highlight of Le Bab’s menu. The Lokma doughnut with spiced chicken liver parfait has a wonderful creamy texture when you bite in to. But of course you have to like the bitter flavour of liver. Otherwise this dish is not heaven to every one but would be hell.

Le Bab

There are variety of fillings to select where each is served on a flat bread.

Corn Fed Chicken Shish (£12) – Squash hummus, season’s pickles, chicken crackling, Le ‘Bab toum, biber, heritage carrot tops.

Le Bab

Roe Deer Adana (£13) – Cavolo nero kimchi, Jerusalem artichoke crisps, damson & chilli jam, game mayo, fried cavolo nero stem pickle.

Le Bab

Pig’s Head (£36) – Pig’s head & crackling served with black turnip, heritage carrot, onion, molasses sauce, carrot & turnip greens.

This is their large bab which is made to share and comes with flat breads and vegetable to wrap up your own bab. But one word of warning is that this it is “fatty”. You get a mixture of the meat and the fat that you will find in the pig heads.

Le Bab

Le Bab’s menu has a selection of sides that you can order along with the bab. We sampled two out of the three option on the menu, but I personally felt we could had skipped both of them.

Fondue Fries (£4.50) – cheesy chips.

Le Bab

Endive & Pomegranate (£.50) – Lincolnshire endive, Iranian pomegranate, shallot dressing

Le Bab

(Not sponsored. Menu and prices correct at the time of dining)

Le Bab
Top Floor, Kingly Court,
Carnaby Street,
London
W1B 5PW
UK

http://www.eatlebab.com