London: Modern Greek Food at OPSO

As London restaurants are preparing to open next week, I thought it appropriate to post a restaurant review from a visit pre-coronavirus. I’m so looking forward to eating out again, but sadly some restaurants have had to close their doors for good following the pandemic. So don’t take your favourite restaurants for granted, support them. Now more than ever, as I’m sure we’re all roaring to get back to normal.

Back in regular life pre-lockdown Gaby and Ro and I had a lovely girlie night out one Friday. I walked through the city doing errands and taking photos of new to me places before meeting up with Gaby for a drink while we waited for Ro to finish work.

So when Gaby and I arrived at OPSO we took our time and studied the menu properly. And the wine list, which had the funniest wine descriptions in it, and checked out the whole space. The airy interior and mix of high and low tables felt more New York than London, but in the best possible way, and I really liked the modern Greek food idea. I adore Greek food (despite never having been to Greece, which I need to remedy as soon as we can all travel again) but there aren’t many high-end or modern places around where you can sample it.

Enter OPSO. Where you can have the chicest (and most garlicky!) tzatziki you’ve ever come across and enjoying the most delightful small plates while sipping Greek delicious wine. It felt like we were transported to Athens for the evening, and the wine descriptions came in especially handy since neither of us had any knowledge of Greek wines. But I liked the authenticity. And I like trying new things!

All the small plates and starters that we had (we shared everything!) were absolutely delicious, but of course some stood out more than others.

We saw our table neighbours enjoying these little bagel inspired breads and they looked so good we had to order them too! They’re called koulouri and are much fluffier than bagels in texture, but really nice, especially with the fresh goat’s curd it comes with.

Next we had the famous tzatziki and it was amazing! So lovely with to scoop up with the flat bread. Yum!

We also had the dakos salad which was fresh and plump with olive oil. The pitta bread and olives in the background were delicious too. So fluffy!

There were two delicious sounding feta dishes on the menu, but we felt like we could only really have one and decided on the one with honey and kataifi. It was warm and crispy and salty and sweet all at ones and so gooey and lovely, but it almost felt more like a pudding than a starter because of the sweetness.

We made the error of ordering another dish of melted cheese, which was also delicious, but it was too much with two! This one was smokey and melty, but also paired with something sweet so it felt a little bit similar to the feta.

Next we had two main courses to share, which was the perfect amount after all the smaller dishes we’d had. We couldn’t actually finish them but we enjoyed them both!

The lemon and oregano chicken with mash, feta and charred baby gem was really nice, but didn’t feel as interesting as the starters and small plates we had.

The moussaka looked more impressive and was really nice! But my absolute favourite dishes were the tzatziki, the salad (surprisingly as I didn’t even think to order it) and the milk buns with goat’s curd.

Really want to go back and try the other feta dish, the saganaki. And sample the rest of the menu of course!

Can’t recommend enough if you want to try something different! Opa!

OPSO, 10 Paddington St, Marylebone, London W1U 5QL

London: Lorne – a neighbourhood restaurant at its best!

I love discovering new restaurants, especially in my own neighbourhood. One evening earlier this year I was meeting up with my friend Daisy for dinner. We had planned to meet around South Ken but as things got moved around we ended up meeting near Victoria instead. We hadn’t booked anywhere to eat but wanted to eat somewhere nice, so popped into A Wong to see if they had had any cancellations. Sadly they hadn’t. But closed to it was Lorne looking all cosy and full of happy people. So we went insid and tried our luck. Lo and behold, they had a table for us in about 20 minutes time. So we popped across the road for a quick drink and as we came back to the restaurant we were seated by bar stools by the door looking out onto the street.

Quite a cosy spot as it was a bit tucked away from the rest of the restaurant, and we could chat undisturbed!

We ordered a few dishes to share straight away, because by this stage we were both quite hungry! The deep fried mac ‘n cheese bites were really delicious and paired well with our cold bottle of white.

Next we shared two starters; crispy egg with haddock and curry sauce (above) and roast quail with butternut squash, pear and hazelnuts (below).

They were both really delicious! Quite delicate in flavour, but lovely combinations and really well prepared. Our waitress was lovely too recommending the quail to us and going through the whole menu and describe the dishes so I could figure out which ones I could have. So helpful!

Our last dish was a main course that we also decided to share, and knowing that the kitchen prepared a smaller plate each for us! So lovely and nice! And the dish; seabass with confit chicken wings, Jerusalem artichoke and pancetta was also utterly delicious!

We had such a lovely evening and felt like we literally stumbled upon a gem! In my own neighbourhood nonetheless. I will definitely go back as soon as I am allowed as this is the type of restaurant everyone should have in their neighbourhood and they so deserve the support.

Lorne, 76 Wilton Rd, Pimlico, London SW1V 1DE

London: Meat Feast at Temper Covent Garden

Late last year, my former colleague Ria (a fellow meat lover!) and I met up for dinner. It was my suggestion that we go to Temper Covent Garden since it’s close to the office where Ria still works and I used to work, and of course because they have nice meat!

The first time I visited Temper, I went to the original Soho branch with my friend Daisy and we both loved it. It was a little too loud but a fun atmosphere and the food was great! Then the Covent Garden location opened and I went there one night with another friend but it was almost empty. So I was afraid it lacked the popularity and atmosphere of the Soho restaurant. But everyone deserves a second chance and this time around it had a nice atmosphere, more people, and the menu was almost identical to the Soho one with all those great dishes that made me love Temper to begin with.

So we sampled a bit of everything. Some tacos – including the famous one, the lovely nachos. Steak, of course! And the most amazing cheesy beef fat potatoes and burrata with jalapeño and lime.

It was a real feast and we loved every bite!

We started with the beef fat nachos which I’ve had every single time I’ve been to Temper and they’re just lovely. It’s a small (but rich) little sharer, perfect for snacking on when you’re contemplating the rest of the menu. Because it is not easy to choose between all the lovely dishes. Still, we managed to make a selection. We had the cheese burger tacos (yes, you read that correctly) and the pork and pineapple tacos and they were both delicious. But the bonkers cheese burger tacos probably won the contest, if I was forced to pick a winner. Tacos as a starter though – what a brilliant idea!

Next we had the piece de resistance, also known as the most amazing sirloin I have ever had. Ever! It was so full of flavour, perfectly cooked and just melt in your mouth fantastic. Especially paired with the beef fat and Ogleshield potatoes and the beef fat béarnaise sauce. We also shared the burrata with jalapeño and lime which was delicious too and, despite its creaminess, added some freshness to it all.

We ate and we drank and we were certainly merry! And I am so glad I went back once more because this time Temper Covent Garden had it all. The food was on par with the Soho branch, but the atmosphere was more relaxed and quieter, perfect for a girl’s night out.

Temper Covent Garden, Yard, 5 Mercer Walk Mercers, London WC2H 9FA

Malmö, Sweden: Seafood Brunch at Johan P

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The Sunday before Christmas my best friend and I have each other the greatest gift; time. Almost a whole day together to just talk, laugh and hang out together. And eat of course. Because without food neither of us are particularly nice to be around.

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Too busy in the lead up to Christmas we hadn’t made a firm plan for where to eat, so when we walked past Johan P and saw that they a) were open on a Sunday (insert dance emoji) and b) were serving brunch, we thought it was meant to be.

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We settled in at our table and ordered some champagne to celebrate being together. Cheers, bestie!

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And then we started on the seafood. It was a lovely spread of fresh prawns, langoustines, king crab legs, prawns and crayfish in mayonnaise, sauces, herring, seafood paté, boiled eggs, hot and cold smoked salmon, cheese and bread.

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We sat there eating, chatting and drinking for hours and were so full of the cold stuff we didn’t have room for the warm fish and chips that was also included in the brunch.

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Everything was really nice and we loved to sample a bit of this and a bit of that as chatting away. We ordered more wine and the staff let us take our time.

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We took a little break to enjoy the wine and digest all the seafood and so enjoyed having a whole day together!

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It soon got dark and we were still there, having a jolly good time. And after our little breather we thoroughly enjoyed the pudding: a light as air deconstructed cheesecake.

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It was the perfect ending to our perfect day. Thanks, bestie!

Johan P, Hjulhamnsgatan 5, 211 34 Malmö, Sweden

London: The Best Croque Monsieur!

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I have been to The Wolseley numerous times. It’s my favourite place for breakfast, but I have also enjoyed many lunches, dinner and even afternoon tea here. But it took me the better part of eleven years to discover their amazing Croque Monsieur!

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One early Saturday evening in December, tired from Christmas shopping and in need of a bite to eat since I had skipped lunch, I passed The Wolseley and thought that would be an excellent place for an early solo supper. They are always fully booked but keep several tables available for walk-ins and I was lucky enough to nap one in the café area. It was actually the first time I’d been in that part of the restaurant and it was cosy and cute and had plenty of people eating by themselves, just like I did.

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Eyeing up the menu the Croque Monsieur caught my eye (always in the mood for melted cheese!) and it was just as perfect as I had hoped. The bread was crusty and thick, filled with melted cheese and a nice slice of ham and topped with béchamel and some more cheese. It was very cheesy but in the best possible way and different textured made it such a treat to eat.

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Sitting there full and happy, resting my tired legs and watching the world in the restaurant go by, I was so content. A perfect London moment. And a perfect meal.

The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9EB

London: Burgers at the Theatre

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Before I met my boyfriend I didn’t go to the theatre a lot. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I thought it a bit weird to go by myself and none of my friends seemed that keen to go. I had no problem going to the cinema alone, dining solo, or even travelling and I went to lots of exhibitions on my own. But the theatre, for some reason it was harder to face this alone.

So I’m so grateful I now have somebody to go with. Someone who likes the theatre even more than I do myself. But because we go quite often, it’s become less of an event and often we meet up straight from work without much time to eat before the play starts. So quite often we tend to skip the pre-theatre set meal (because we simply cannot fit it in; dining at 5pm for a play that starts at 7pm) in favour of some good old fashioned fast food.

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And that’s why we were so happy to discover that they now have a burger restaurant actually IN the National Theatre. Amazing!

We had our first burgers there with a mere 20 minutes to spare before the play was about to start but it was no problem getting served and eat in that time; they were so speedy! But of course it would have been lovely with a bit more time to spare next time.

The pop-up burger restaurant is called Burgerworks and can be found on the ground floor in the café area (walk through the main entrance, head straight in and then left). It’s set up like most burger places: you order by the till and wait for your food until it’s ready.

They have a variety of burgers (beef, chicken, vegan…) to choose from but also salads and a halloumi sandwich,  but we settled on a classic beef burger. A the beef one for him and a little beef one for me. And of course fries and cokes too. The holy trinity.

The burgers were really nice, and felt more pub-y or restaurant-y than fast food chain-y, which was nice. The patty was juicy, the bun nice and chewy (in a good way) and the fries nice and crispy!

I really hope this pop-up becomes a permanent fixture so that we can now grab a burger and a play all in the same place!

Burgerworks at National Theatre, Upper Ground, Lambeth, London SE1 9PX

Copenhagen: Bæst Revisited!

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Since we only go to Copenhagen once a year it’s tricky to balance the urge to go back to old favourites with the excitement of trying new ones. So we do a bit of both, resulting in a day of feasting our way around the beautiful city. But as we get around mostly by walking it works!

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So after trying a new bar, a new restaurant for lunch and another new bar, we went back to Bæst for their amazing pizzas! We loved it so much last year and it was just as good this time around.

But since we had had something yummy to eat at Rudo too, we didn’t go crazy ordering all the menu, which we did last year. We had just one starter; the garlic bread with lardo which was just lovely!

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And then we moved on to what we were here for: the pizzas! Or more specifically, that Margherita I’ve dreamt about for a whole year! And yep, it was just as amazing as I remembered it!

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But we did broaden our horizons a little trying two new pizzas too. This one with stracciatella, garlic, mushrooms and herbs was really nice (but almost a little too herby for my liking).

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And lastly we had this one with mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, prosciutto and rocket. Also really really good, but the margherita is the best ever! So when you go (because it’s just a matter of time really, you totally should go!), make sure you ordered it!

Bæst, Guldbergsgade 29, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen: Vermouth and Heavenly Nibbles at Rudo

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Sometimes this whole “taking the day as it comes” approach doesn’t work out so well. Like when you arrive at Baest on a Saturday evening hoping for a table when the restaurant is clearly full. Of course we had to wait. And we happily did so, knowing what was in store at this wonderful pizza restaurant!

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We were told it would take an hour until our table was ready and the maitre ‘d suggested we check out their bar Rudo in the meantime.

Always happy to check out a good bar we walked upstairs to this cosy bar we completely failed to notice on our first visit.

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A vermouth bar! So we got persuaded to try something new, and both Maria and I (Daniel was driving and had to stick to soft drinks) were pleasantly surprised. I chose a white vermouth with citrus notes that I really liked while Maria settled on a red one. Both on the rocks and very refreshing on a balmy summer’s eve.

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Obviously hungry we also checked out the bar snacks menu and spotted something that made us jump for joy: burrata toast with truffle. I mean, sounds like heaven on a plate, right?!

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And, oh, it was too! Absolutely delicious and just as we were about to order our second one we were told our table downstairs was ready – only 40 minutes into our hour.

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So down the stairs we went and took up seats at a communal table outside, simultaneously checking out the menu and the food around us. And then we settled in for a real pizza feast!

Moral of the story: sometimes “taking the day as it comes” works out better than if you had planned it! (If we had booked Baest like last time we would have missed out on this lovely bar experience. And that burrata and truffle toast!)

Rudo, Guldbergsgade 29, 1st floor, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen: A Second Lunch at the Food Market

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I never miss a food market when I’m travelling! Apart from in Barcelona when it was closed when we were nearby.

But when I find them open I always seek them out and make sure to pop in. It’s fun mingling with the locals, checking out the local produce and buy some culinary mementos to enjoy at home.

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Copenhagen’s food market Torvehallerne, is a very sleek version of the food markets you find in other cities. The two buildings are all glass and modern, and although you can buy fresh produce it’s also interspersed with restaurants.

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I think I’ve sampled them all, and one favourite we always come back to is Tapa del Toro with its many pinxtos to choose from.

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Although we had just enjoyed a lovely gourmet lunch we wanted a little taste of both the food market atmosphere and the lovely pinxtos. Because sitting here sipping cava and biting into baguette with Jamon Iberico while people watching and chatting to your friends is just such a big part of what we love about Copenhagen.

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When we finished we walked next door to a new interior shop Maria had discovered and had a look around enjoying the colour scheme and pretty things for sale.

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Only to return to Torvehallerne and The Coffee Collective for a coffee before our next shop. Maria and Daniel had espressos but I decided to try their iced latte, which turned out to be the best one I’ve ever had! I don’t usually have milk in my coffee but it works really well if it’s a strong iced latte like this one. I was always skipping with joy drinking this!

Frederiksborggade 21, 1362 Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen: Gourmet Lunch at Restaurant 108!

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If booking a table at Noma seems too daunting or requires too much advanced planning, then Restaurant 108 is the next best thing. It’s a spin-off from Noma, and much more accessible. So accessible in fact that we rocked up for lunch one Saturday in August and they could fit us in without a reservation!

You see when I come home to Sweden I have hardly any time to myself to plan things like this, so this annual trip to Copenhagen with Maria and Daniel (aka the best tradition ever!) is all about spontaneity. We get in the car shortly before lunch time and decide there and then where we are going to go. Sometimes we call ahead but most of the time we just rock up and hope for the best. Luckily this works well in Copenhagen, where I feel people live more in the moment, than say London or Stockholm where you really have to book restaurants far in advance to not miss out.

And for us it just means the day is a very free-spirited one, with no time constraints or musts. We just go with the flow and we all love it!

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But back to our lovely lunch. We got seated straight away, at a wooden table by the windows where there was a nice breeze from the open windows and doors letting some air circulate on this warm summer’s day.

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We preferred to sit inside as this was fine dining and the sunshine would too quickly spoil the food, but there was a cute little terrace just outside over looking the cutest house boats on the canal, which we made sure to check out later.

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The interior here is just as airy and clean as one would expect from a Danish restaurant offering new Nordic cuisine, and it feels like an almost tranquil space. The tables are fairly far apart and there is space for the waiters to do their dance in between table with such finesse it’s a treat to see.

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Happy with our choice of restaurant (and that they had room for us!) we toasted with wine and beer and patted ourselves on the back.

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Then the bread and butter arrived and we congratulated ourselves once again but it was out of this world good. The bread was still warm from the oven with a nice crunchy crust but the inside was all pillowy and soft and airy. And the butter (or was it really soured cream? It was so light it was hard to tell!) with its lovely tanginess was the perfect pairing.

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Give me good bread and butter and I need nothing else to be happy!

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But we had ordered a few other things and it would be a shame not to taste them!

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My first plate of thinly sliced radish on top of smoked sturgeon looked very austere, but as you lifted up the radish slices you glimpsed the richness of what was inside. The smoked sturgeon yes, but also pumpkin seeds for texture and a rich but light sauce to bring it all together. Oh, such joy it was to eat this! Tender subtle flavours that just lingered in your mouth afterwards extending the experience.

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But the next course was even better! It was the most perfect lamb tartare I’ve tasted in my life (and I have eaten a few tartares to know what I’m talking about!) and it was just pure heaven. The meat was soft and light and full of flavour and the herbs and seasoning just added layers and layers of flavour and texture I tried to savour it for as long as possible.

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Meanwhile Maria ate this wonderful monk fish with herbs and flowers from the garden -probably the prettiest main course I’ve ever seen!

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But I was happy enjoying my tartare in slow motion, savouring every moment and every bite!

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As much as I loved the airy dining room, I also loved the rust coloured cosy loos, and just had to snap a selfie to remember this lunch by, because I think my face says it all; pure happiness and contentment!

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Then I stepped out in the sun on the terrace where my friends were waiting and we got back in the car searching for more food related adventures. Yes, much more to come, so stay tuned!

Restaurant 108, Strandgade 108, 1401 Copenhagen, Denmark