Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Ninth, Fitzrovia.

Hey y'all. This is a hella lazy post because it's 10pm and I'm drunk on three cocktails and I don't *really* have time to blog at the moment because life is pretty crazy and all. But anyway, this restaurant is too good not to tell you about, and looking at the photos made me all hungry and shit again, so I sorta feel like I need to write about it RIGHT NOW.

The Ninth is awesome. Claire and I went last Friday before our trip to Poland, and we absolutely loved it! It's located right on Charlotte Street (aka, foodie heaven in London), and is the very first restaurant from Jun Tanaka, who's worked for the likes of Le Gavroche, Marco Pierre White, and The Square. After a long career in television, Jun has finally launched his own restaurant after years of hard work. The Ninth got it's name because it's the ninth restaurant Jun has worked at. *all text from hear onwards was written totally sober and at 8am in the morning*

The restaurant itself is very trendy and had quite a New York warehouse vibe about it, with exposed brickwork and copper everywhere, and marble tables (yes, they clearly know what we bloggers like ;)). It was beautiful.

Even though everything is meant for sharing, we chose a coupla dishes each that we really wanted, then just tried a little bit of each others (I'm not very good at sharing food...). So we started with Oxtail Croquettes and Duck Scotch Egg from the 'snacks' menu. Both of these were divine and I'd recommend you order both - you won't regret it.

We then moved on to the Sea bass carpaccio, salsa verde and pickled kohlrabi, and the Ossobuco tortellini and bone marrow. The sea bass was fantastic, but I would have preferred slightly less salsa on it.

After this we opted for spiced cod, mouclade of mussels and roast cauliflower and the succulent smoked duck breast with caramelized chicory and walnuts. On the side we chose some very autumnal thyme and honey roast winter vegetables.

And then we finished with the absolutely incredible Tarte Tatin and rosemary ice cream for two people. The rosemary ice-cream was a bit of a shock at first, but it really grows on you and complements the tarte tatin well. The photo below is of just my half of it - it was huge!

Honestly, the food here is incredible. I'd never eaten Jun's food before, but the food exceeded all expectations and some. We left exclaiming how delicious everything was and how not one course was a disappointment (very rare when you have so many dishes). The only downside for me was that the staff were a little tooooo friendly, I'm one of these people who just likes to be left to eat in peace, but I'm guessing it's just because the place is new and they're interested in hearing feedback from customers, which is fair enough.

If you fancy trying a new restaurant in London, put this one on your list right now!

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The Ninth Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Ping Pong at BOUNCE Shoreditch.

I effing love ping pong, we even have a table tennis table at home. As kids the highlight of any holiday was my brother and I playing table tennis together - we play it like normal tennis, so it's super fun (for us, not for anyone around us). I first went to BOUNCE in Holborn last year with work, and had the best time, so I was pretty excited to go check out the new BOUNCE ping pong in Shoreditch.

As many of you know I only go to Shoreditch for one reason; food. So it was kind of a big thing for me to go, and my boss was super impressed with me, especially as this was the very first time I've ever been to Shoreditch and not cried/burst into tears spontaneously on the street (I always get lost then panic and freak out, okay). I proudly went into work the next day and announced it, and they all humored me because they're nice like that.

Shev (who you may remember from Slovakia) was running late as usual (seriously, every.single.time), so for the 40 minutes it took for her to arrive one of the lovely staff members at BOUNCE played ping pong with me and got me cocktails. When Shev arrived she was quick to take over the bat, and after a few rounds of ping pong we were ready for dinner!

We sat down at one of the booth tables right in the heart of the venue, it's such a fun place to be, there's such an awesome atmosphere! Everyone's laughing and joking around and having fun. 

We both chose pizzas, with light desserts of sorbet.

Everything was delicious! We had such a fun evening at BOUNCE, it's such a great place to go with both friends and work colleagues. I will definitely be back soon!

Have you ever been to BOUNCE?

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*We were invited to BOUNCE as guests, and therefore our ping pong and food/drinks were complimentary. As always my opinions are my own, and we genuinely had a really fun evening!

Monday, 23 November 2015

ATP Tennis World Tour with Emirates.

I have been a frequent flyer with Emirates for nearly eight years. For three years after I moved back to England from Australia, I would fly back to Perth twice a year with Emirates. As a seventeen year old girl travelling over 8000 miles across the world all alone, they made me feel safe. Their planes were a welcome comfort and the lounge in Dubai a little haven for me to shower and eat cakes before the connecting flight to Perth. Not to mention their business class is out of this world amazing. These days I only fly with them once a year, but I still love them just as much.

So when Emirates invited me to the ATP Tennis World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena as their guest, there was only one answer I could respond with. A big fat yes. I adore tennis, it's one of the few sports I enjoy watching. This event was pretty special, Emirates were sponsors of the ATP World Tour, so not only would I be in the Emirates suite with full hospitality perks, we'd also have prime seats in the sponsor section of the arena. So I knew I had to take someone who would really fully appreciate the evening. 

Cue Dan. He appeared briefly in this post, and he also came to the London Restaurant Festival with me a coupla years back. I also owe my ability to use chopsticks and love of Japanese food to him! He's a pretty huge tennis fan (understatement), and had never seen Djokovic play live, so we met after work on Thursday outside the O2, and queued up to get through security. We got through fairly quickly and walked round to the sponsor area, collected our passes, dropped off our coats, then headed up to the Emirates Suite.

Inside was a beautiful lounge with comfortable chairs, a large TV showing the tennis, and a balcony over-looking the practice courts. There was a bar which offered an excellent selection of wines - I particularly liked the Marlborough Sauvignon-Blanc, while Dan opted for a glass of red and later a dessert wine, and a fabulous sushi bar with a very friendly sushi chef who kindly told us what each sushi was.

We each chose a selection of sushi - I absolutely loved the soft shell crab sushi and seabass nigiri!

After finishing our sushi and having a good catch up and natter, a waiter came round and offered us a selection of hot dishes. I had the duck, which was absolutely perfect! It was incredibly tasty. We watched a bit of the doubles on the TV (we could have gone to the arena to see it, but we chose to stay for food instead - standard), and next up was dessert. I may have had three of the chocolate, salted caramel, and banana brownies and two pots of the passion-fruit and pomegranate mouse...woops. 

Soon it was time to head to the arena for the Djokovic vs Berdych game. An Emirates representative led us in through a secret back entrance, and we were soon in the main strip behind the entrance to the arena seating. We went through a door and were shown down to our seats. The seats were ah-mazing. We were so close!

The match started and the atmosphere was electric! It really reminded me of an American sporting event, with the big screens and arena. Everyone was up and down in every break getting snacks and drinks, and it felt far more social and exciting than the likes of Wimbledon. 

We watched Djokovic absolutely smash Berdych. It was all over within an hour and a half. Two sets in and Djokovic was one step closer to the final (which he won on Sunday). It was quite tense at times and I got really stressed about it (much to Dan's amusement), but really Djokovic played quite lazily - he's just on a whole other level to Berdych! My biggest regret from the evening? Not taking my 300mm lens because I couldn't be bothered to carry it around all day. Doh. 

We had a brilliant and very fun evening, a huge thank you to Emirates for such a treat!

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Friday, 20 November 2015

Chotto Matte, Soho.

September marked twenty years since I met my best friend. Twenty years of memories, twenty years of sharing life's moments; both happy and heartbreaking. Naturally it seemed only right to celebrate like you would any other anniversary or birthday, so we decided to go to Nikkei cuisine restaurant, Chotto Matte, in Soho. I'd previously been for the launch of their tostaditas menu, but had never eaten an actual meal there, so was super excited to try it!

Emma works just round the corner from me, and we often have lunch together, so we met after work and walked down to Soho from Oxford Circus. We sat down at our table and after perusing the menu decided to go all out. If you can't do it on your 20-year-friendversary when can you!? 

So we started with a cocktail each. I chose the Flor de Manza, which was really sweet and very tasty! I do love passionfruit cocktails - the mask the taste of the alcohol ;)

I can't for the life of me remember what cocktail Emma had, but it looked fabulous and she really enjoyed it!

Finally our food arrived - we were absolutely starving and so excited for everything we'd chosen! We decided to go with a big mix of dishes and share them all.

We started with an 8 piece sashimi of tuna, sea bass, salmon, yellowtail. The sashimi was really fresh and I could have easily eaten all of it (bar the salmon - Emma had my salmon) all by myself.

Maki Rolls with seabass was up next. I actually really enjoyed having Maki rolls with seabass instead of the usual crab, it made a nice change and I think I may have even preferred it!

One of my favourite dishes of the night was the sea bass ceviche (sea bass sashimi, sweet potato, Peruvian corn, coriander, chive oil, citrus sauce), if you hadn't guessed by now I really bloody love sea bass. Especially when it's raw. I find it really refreshing and I loved how the dish was so zesty and there was so much flavour!

Ughh this dish. It was incredible. Tentáculos de pulpo (Octopus, yuzu, purple potato), Emma and I both agreed it was exceptionally good.

I found the Cangrejos de concha blanda (soft shell crab, yellow chili, yuzu) a bit too spicy, I'm not great with spicy foods and this was just a little bit too intense for me. However, it still disappeared into my belly as it really did taste delicious.

The Bacalao negro aji miso (black cod, yellow chili miso) melted in my mouth. I really adore black cod, and so far my favourites have been at Roka and Salmontini, and now the Chotto Matte black cod is definitely up there with those two! 

For dessert we went all out. And I mean all out. We couldn't decide which desserts to have, so we decided to have them all and shared the Dessert Platter, aka, the Dessert Platter of Dreams, as we now fondly call it. Oh my days. For anyone with a sweet tooth it is literally the perfect dish. Just look at it!!

The dessert platter was supposed to be shared between 3-4 people, but we happily polished off everything, despite all of the food we'd just eaten. And at just £14.50 we think it was an absolute bargain considering the desserts you got on it! You essentially get the three main desserts (including that salted chocolate fondant), as well as ice-cream, fruit, little madeline cakes, and a selection of mochi.

Every single dish we had was incredible. I didn't have a single complaint or a single one that I didn't like. Even the soft shell crab which was a bit too spicy, I still ate it because it was too tasty to not eat! Chotto Matte really exceeded my expectations, and it was the perfect place for our celebratory dinner. It's such a fun place and the atmosphere is always electric! It feels very cool and fun, and we absolutely loved it.

Also, the toilets there are pretty epic.

Have you been to Chotto Matte? 
What's your favourite Japenese/Peruvian/Nikkei cuisine restaurant in London?

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Chotto Matte Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato