Mantovani 1946

Mantovani 1946 is a recently open gelato shop located on Tottenham Court Road. It is a two floors shop with seats available if you want to eat-in.

Mantovani 1946

There is a selection of gelato flavours to choose and the few I sampled were full of flavour. You also have the options in having it served as a cone or cup. In a cup you get to choose the size as well.

I shared a large cup with gelato flavour pistachio and hazelnut. The gelato was creamy and smooth. However, I preferred the flavour of hazelnut over pistachio as in my view other places in London does better flavour pistachio.

Mantovani 1946

However, you probably wouldn’t come here to try the basic flavours. Instead you will want to at least sample Mantovani signature gelato flavour, The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, which was the  winner at the 2015 Gelato Festival in Italy. The flavour is made up of pistachio, orange zest, hazelnut and dark chocolate.

The signature flavour does not only comes in the form of gelato but also as a cake. I tried the Kingdom of two Sicilies cake (“Regno delle due Sicilie” cake) which is a mousse cake with a sponge base.

Mantovani 1946

The surprise about the cake is when we got to the centre we found a flow of dark chocolate sauce. The cake is fairly sweet and goes well with a cup of coffee or tea to blanace the sweetness out.

Mantovani 1946

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

Mantovani 1946
187 Tottenham Court Raod,
London,
W1T 7PQ,
UK

http://www.mantovaniicecreamfranchise.com

Bocca Di Lupo

Bocca Di Lupo is an Italian restaurant located in London Soho. It has been a popular venue since it first opened many years ago. Each time I go pass, it is always buzzing with diners. In the past, I have tried to get a table but never suceed until recently when looking for a place to have dinner with friends. I thought I would give them a call and unexpectecly to be told that there was availiabity.

Bocca di Lupo

The menu has a range of dishes to select that you spoilt for choice. The dishes at Bocca Di Lupo is to cover different regions in Italy.

The first dish we tried on the evening was the Seabream carpaccio with orange & rosemary. To get the full flavour of this dish you will need to sqeeze some orange juice, otherwise I thought it lacked flavour.

Bocca di Lupo

The grilled mussels with chilli oils was simple dish. It was nice but it would not be a stand out dish for me at Bocca Di Lupo.

Bocca di Lupo

It was my first time trying a Bagna fredda (chilled anchovy & garlic cream with fennel, potatoes, bread and mammole artichoke) and thought it was interesting. When it arrived at the table I thought it was a soup but its more of a dipping for the vegetables and bread. The dipping was full of flavour which made it suited to go with the bread and vegetable which was on the bland side.

Bocca di Lupo

We also tried one of the risotto on the menu which has taken my fancy over pasta these days. One reason is because it is wheat free which you will not find from traditional pasta. I am told that a good pasta and risotto is when the texture is al dente. However, not being an Italian and clearly not since I prefer my risotto on the softer side.

Bocca Di Lupo’s risotto al dente was a bit too on the hard side with a more crunchy texture compared to risotto I have had in London.

Bocca di Lupo

Being an Italian restaurant I expect pasta to be good and Bocca Di Lupo did not disappoint with both pasta dishes we ordered. As with many dishes on the menu, the pasta comes in two sizes – small or large.

Tortellini stuffed with pork & prosciutto, with peas, asparagus and cream

Bocca di Lupo

Tagliatelle with ragu bolognese

Bocca di Lupo

We also tried a few of Bocca Di Lupo’s roast/grilled dishes on the menu. My favourite of the evening has to be the whole slow grilled leg of milk fed lamb with garlic, wine and honey. This dish cost £55 which is for two person to share. The meat was tender with a
sweet honey taste.

Bocca di Lupo

The Roast suckling pig with chestnuts, white wine & bay leaves for £26 would be my second favourite dish of the evening. Crispy skin with succelant meat under it.

Bocca di Lupo

We also tried the Agnell cacio e uiva (lamb braised with white wine sauce thickened with egg yolks and pecorino). Looking at the dish you might think it not that pretty but after all it is a stew like dish.

Bocca di Lupo

The Caponata (aubergines, celery and tomato in agrodolce) come in the option to be served cold or warm. I prefer it warm. Love that the vegetable cooked until it is soft and it compliment the meat dishes.

Bocca di Lupo

We managed to finish our meal with dessert, but unfortunately some of the dessert were already sold out although it was not even 9 o’clock.

The Bonet (chocolate, coffee, amaretti, caramel & rum pudding) was very sweet and is for those with a very sweet tooth. For me one or two spoonfuls is enough to satisfy my sweet buds.

Bocca di Lupo

The Baba with baked rhubarb and cream I thought was like bread soaked in water. The portion size of this can be share. Compared to the bonet this was not sweet and more on refresh side. But it was my least favourite dessert of the evening as soggy bread really does not take my fancy.

Bocca di Lupo

I did enjoyed the food at Bocca Di Lupo but I was disappointed by the service. Our waitress obviously was trying to get us to finish so they could turn the table.

Me and few of us arrived 20 minutes early than our booking and we were shown to our table. However, even before our booking time we were already push to order and asked when the rest of our guests were arriving.

I was already aware that we only had the table for 2 hours and 15 minutes. So when we were offered the dessert menu and needed to give the table back on time, we tried many time to politely get attention of a staff to take our order. Finally when our waitress wanted to take our dessert, she comes over and decided to take the menus off us, giving us the impression that we had no time for dessert.

I know they are busy and want to turn as many tables throughout the night. But I think our waitress could had done it in a much more polite way. Other restaurant has been able to do it in a much better way. I wouldn’t recommend this place if you don’t want to feel push with your dining.

Bocca di Lupo

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

Bocca Di Lupo
12 Archer Street,
London,
W1D 7BB,
UK

http://boccadilupo.com

Homeslice Pizza (Neal Yard)

If you want a massive big and tasty pizza then consider Homeslice Pizza. They serves pizza 20 inch (£20) in size, but if that’s too big then they also offer pizza by slices (£4 per slice). 

There is a variety of pre-combined toppings to choose including the basic margherita and if you order the 20 inch pizza you can opt to have 50/50. 

We ordered one 20 inch pizza to share and selected one half with Goat Shoulder, savoy cabbage and summac yoghurt (left of photo). Then the other half with Salami, rocket and parmesan (right of photo).

Homeslice Pizza (Goat Shoulder, Savoy Cabbage & Sumac Yoghurt / Salami, Rocket & Parmesan)

The Goat Shoulder and savoy cabbage was nice in flavour but although it was drizzle with summac yoghurt, I thought it was on the dry side compared to the tomato base pizza. 

Whereas the salami, rocket and parmesan pizza was the complete opposite being tomato base. The tomato sauce was still moist which meant the pizza was less dry to eat. The two toppings made a good combination as 50/50.

The pizza at Homslice are soft in texture which might not take every one fancy, if you are one of those who like their pizza crispy. I am the person who likes their soft base pizza and with lots of toppings. Comparing to other popular pizza restaurants in London, the topping at Homeslice is generous and spread equally around the pizza. 

My favourite way of eating them at Homeslice pizza is roll each slice in to a wrap. How do you like to eat yours?

At the time of writing this, there are three branches in London. I visited the branch in Neal Yard which offers both eat in and takeaway. The place was buzzing with people on a weekday lunch time. Its not a huge place but there are tables that are large enough to come with a few friends to share a whole 20 inch pizza.

Homeslice Pizza (Neal Yard)
13 Neal’s Yard,
Covent Garden,
London,
WC2H 9DP

http://www.homeslicepizza.co.uk

Franco Manca (Tottenham Court Road)

I have always wondered what make Franco Manca popular enough, that people will be willing to queue for a pizza. I finally got that opportunity to find out what it is at their Tottenham Court Road branch.

I have gone pass this branch many time and majority of the time it seem to have a queue. Even the evening I went there was a short queue. For a table of 2 people, we did not have to wait too long, roughly 15 minutes.

Franco Manca

The menu is simple with only six different pizza to choose and they all have the option to add extra toppings for additional cost. The most basic and cheapest pizza on their menu is the tomato, garlic and oregano which cost £4.50. The most expensive pizza would be just under £7.

I ordered pizza number five (£6.70) which was made up of tomato, garlic, oregano, capers, olive, anchovies and mozzarella. I found this really salted as it was like eating a lump of salt and my guess was due to the anchovies.

Franco Manca

The pizza at Franco Manca is a soft base pizza and similar to the size you will find at Pizza Express. I prefer the soft base pizza over the crispy base, but there will be some of you out there who will like your cripsy pizza base.

The texture of the pizza was nice but I found there was not enough topping on the pizza and felt like some time I was just eating a plain pizza bread which is bland to me.

Franco Manca

Although, I did not fall in love with the pizza at Franco Manca, I can see why there is a queue. For the price and the quality for a pizza compare to some of the chains it is good value, especially if you go for the most basic pizza on the menu. So it is no surprise why there is a queue and especially at this branch since it is near to University of London where it would be an attraction to students.

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

Franco Manca (Tottenham Court Road)
98 Tottenham Court Road,
London,
W1T 4TR,
UK

http://www.francomanca.co.uk

Pizza East (Kentish Town)

Pizza East first restaurant was in Shoreditch before opening another two branches in London and has now expanded worldwide. We visited the branch in Kentish town, where you will find Pizza East upstairs and The Chicken Shop downstairs. Both restaurants are founded by the same people.

We started off with some antipasti to share among the table: Baby octopus, tomato, Courgette fritti and the Lamb meatballs in tomato sauce with parmesan. I found the meatball slightly dry and it was not hot enough.

Pizza East

The selection of Pizza is not large and they have other main dishes for those who can’t have or don’t want pizza. But each pizza topping combination looked interesting that I wanted to try them all. Therefore, a group of us on the table ordered different pizza to share.

Portobello mushroom, spinach & egg
Pizza East

Veal meatballs, prosciutto, cream, sage
Pizza East

Speck, asparagus, mozzarella, Parmesan
Pizza East

Salami, tomato, mozzarella
Pizza East

Sharing makes a lovely pizza with different toppings. May be places should start giving that option to satisfy my greedy taste buds!
Pizza East

Pizza East (Kentish Town)
79 Highgate Road
London,
NW5 1TL,
UK

http://www.pizzaeast.com

Pizza Pilgrims

As I have been “trying” to reduce gluten in take, it means I get craving for pizza and sandwiches. There are days when you do give in or decide its a treat day. That is exactly what it was on a Friday evening when I decided to have a pizza at Pizza Pilgrims.

Pizza Pilgrims

We waited about 15-20 minutes before being seated downstairs, where majority of the seatings are located. Upstairs only have the long bar table against the window. But downstairs actually have tables like a restaurant.

Pizza Pilgrims

I ordered the Aubergine Parmagiana (£9) which is suitable for veggi fans. I always seem to have an eye for aubergine.

Pizza Pilgrims

The Guest pizza that evening was The Pepper Pig (£11) which consisted of slow roast ham, sweet and spicy peppers.

Pizza Pilgrims

There is a selection of side dishes that you have to go with the pizza. We choice the marinated artichoke heart, prosciutto and parmesan and the Buffalo mozzarella with roasted peppers.

Pizza Pilgrims

Pizza Pilgrims

If you still have room, Pizza Pilgrim have a selection of dessert including sorbet, ice cream and affogato. We ordered the Nutella and salted ricotta pizza ring (£5.50) which the restaurant kindly added a scoop of vanilla ice cream. That satisfy my food buddy’s taste buds with the pizza ring and my taste buds with the ice cream.

Pizza Pilgrims

The warm pizza ring filled with melted Nutella tasted good with the cold ice cream. An excellent optional combination.

Pizza Pilgrims

The pizza at Pizza Pilgrims serve a soft pizza base. But it is probably not for those that like their pizza base crispy. However, I enjoyed the texture since soft and soggy is how I like my food!

Pizza Pilgrims
11 Dean Street,
Soho, W1D 3RP,
London

http://pizzapilgrims.co.uk

Carluccios – Breakfast

During a business trip I decided to stop by Waterloo station to have breakfast at Carluccios. Although it was early morning, it was already buzzing with people, but it was no surprise since it was a branch located inside one of London busy train station.

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I ordered the scramble egg with portabella mushroom which came served with Italian toasted bread, and asked if they served gluten-free bread. The waiter kindly said they could substitute the bread for oat cakes. This suited me since I know oat cakes are wheat-free.

(My believe is oat cakes are usually wheat-free and not always gluten-free)

Trying to reduce wheat is hard as many food contains wheat. I can spend a while finding food as I would have to read through the ingredients and most time it is back on the shelf. However, the most difficult thing is eating out as you are not always 100% sure if dishes are wheat-free or gluten-free. There are many restaurant in London which do not cater for wheat-free let along gluten-free.

Carluccios is currently one of my favourite restaurant in London for wheat-free or gluten-free dishes. The branches I have visited are always happy to help and advise on what is gluten-free on their menu. The menu itself is also helpful in aiding to select the suitable dishes for different dietary requirements.

Carluccios

http://www.carluccios.com