London: amazing pasta at Sorella

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Some restaurants just has that little bit extra, that you can’t quite put your finger on, but that makes you like a place straight away. It’s a bit like clicking with someone on a first date; you can’t really pinpoint what you like about the person, but there’s something.

That’s the feeling I (and I think my dinner companion too) got when we walked into Sorella in Clapham. Something about the ambience felt nice, the staff was friendly and the food amazing.

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The menu consists of snacks and sharing plates as well as a few main courses, that are also perfect for sharing. To start off with we ordered some bread (much needed when you’re verging on hangry) and a starter to share.

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The restaurant made ricotta with the softest pea purée and a flavoursome oil was a delicious start. Smooth, soft and subtle but still with lots of flavour.

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Then we moved on to what we came here for; the pastas. The tagliatelle with a slow-cooked ragu was heavenly.

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But it was soon overshadowed by the dreamy linguine with morels cheese and heaps of truffle. IMG_6469.jpg

I still of dream of this dish, that’s how magnificently delicious it was. I hope this stays on the menu forever.

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After the pasta we had a little breather before getting started on the main course.

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We had perfectly cooked cod with Swiss chard and a lovely jus.

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And on the side the crispiest potatoes I’ve ever come across. Wonderful!

But what really stayed me were the pasta dishes. It’s hand to heart some of the best I’ve had.

Race you back?!

Sorella, 148 Clapham Manor St, London SW4 6BX

Kent: Michelin star luncheon at The Sportsman

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This Michelin star restaurant has been on my to-eat-list (yes, I have one of those…) for quite some time and I was thrilled when my Kent-based friends Helen and Pete suggested we go there for lunch together. We booked it several months before and finally went in May this year (sorry it’s taken me forever to do the write up!).

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Quite unlike most other one star places The Sportsman is really relaxed and rustic. You place your order at the bar (while looking at the daily changing menu noted down on the black board next to it) and go sit down.

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The food takes a similar approach and is really well prepared out of the best ingredients but with a rustic no-fuss approach. Which people love! Especially chefs, who vote this as their favourite restaurant year after year.

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I obviously like the approach too, and from the get-go it’s pure perfection. The three different types of bread are all very good, the olives are of the buttery kind and the butter is just heavenly. A good start.

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Pete and Helen are just as excited as I am, although they’ve been here before and Pete and I can’t resist the oysters, which were served two ways and both delicious!

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It was only also Pete and I who ordered starters, but we shared them at the table. The terrine with mustard, pickles, grilled sourdough and crispy scratchings was so nice. Everything was just perfectly executed.

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My tomato, burrata and pesto may look simple, but it was perfectly put together and had the best pesto I’ve ever tasted.

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Helen had the beef and Yorkshire pudding which was pure perfection as well. Just look at that plate.

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My pork was incredibly tender and was served with a deliciously fluffy mash and a mustard jus. Just perfect.

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Pete had cod, again cooked to perfection, with asparagus and a delicious chorizo sauce. It’s classic food, but still with a few twists.

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I was quite full after my pork but would not turn down pudding in a place like this and so ordered the rhubarb soufflé with rhubarb ripple ice cream. It’s was amazingly good. Strong but subtle flavours and the softest soufflé!

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Helen’s warm chocolate mousse with with salted caramel and milk sorbet was equally dreamy and although familiar flavours, the fun texture is a great addition.

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The whole lunch was really relaxed and cosy, with two well-behaved children, and such a treat! Afterwards we went out into the sunshine and down the beach to look for sea shells and fossils. Such a wonderful day – and lunch!

The Sportsman, Faversham Road, Seasalter, Whitstable, Kent CT5 4BP

Copenhagen: dinner at Bæst

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As you know I like to eat, and when I once a year have my day with friends (who luckily also likes their food) in Copenhagen, we make the most of it. Which is why we could fit in tacos for lunch (followed by some smørrebrød because why not?!), fika at our favourite place, wine and cheese pre-dinner at this nice little spot and then still had room for dinner. The August heat and the walking helped though.

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Bæst, our dinner spot for the evening was recommended by Daniel and all three of us loved it. It was laid back and cosy, and obviously a popular spot because it filled up as we sat there.

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The menu reflects the casual atmosphere and has the emphasis is on good local organic produce and sharing plates. Just what we like!

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The grilled courgette and kale salad what we started with was really nice. It had texture, a nice charred flavour on the courgette and acidity and freshness as well. It’s the kind of vegetable dish that makes you feel good.

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Next up we had a huge plate of chicken wings, covered in a herb-y finger-licking sauce. Delicious! And a lot fresher on the palate than regular buffalo wings (which I love, but this version was more interesting).

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After that we were ready for the main event; the pizzas!

Cooked in a 500C (!) oven these blistery, still soft but cooked just enough pizzas are to die for.

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Especially the classic margherita. With a delicious tomato sauce, their own (!) mozzarella and basil.

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I mean, look at this. Pizza perfection.

Bæst, Guldbergsgade 29, 2200 København N

London: New York dumplings at Red Farm

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One Saturday night with no plans, my friend and I after a few texts suddenly had made dinner plans; to meed about 40 minutes later in Covent Garden. Even though I like to plan ahead most of the time, I find it so refreshing to make plans last minute. Especially when I live in a city like London with lots to offer.

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My friend Ro suggested a new place, that still was in it’s soft-launch place, as she’d been to the New York restaurant and loved it. Always keen to try new things I thought that was a great idea and was really happy when we got a table on arrival (although now that they’re properly open I would recommend making a reservation beforehand).

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Located next to another New York satellite, Balthazar, I definitely think Red Farm is here to stay. I really liked their concept of yummy but fun food and wish more restaurants would be creative in that way.

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Like these pork and crab soup dumpling size XXL that comes with a straw! It’s a genius way of eating it, first drinking the soup and then eating the dumpling. So yummy! My only criticism was that the dumpling spoons were a little bit small for that dumpling size.

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Their most iconic dish though, is probably this one; Pac Man shrimp dumplings complete with different coloured ghosts! So fun and very well executed.

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One of the best dishes was this starter though; the marinated and grilled pork belly. It had sweetness, lots of umami and a nice crunch. So moreish!!

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The scallion pancakes with smoked bacon were also really nice, but a little rich.

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Another favourite was the wide rice noodles with roast duck. Again full of umami (seems to be their thing) and lots of earthy flavours. We also had some broccoli on the side, and although nice, it’s not really the vegetables you come here for – it’s the rich satisfying umami dishes, perfect for the autumn ahead!

Red Farm, 9 Russell St, London WC2B 5HZ

Copenhagen: Hija de Sanchez

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When an ex-Noma chef opens a taco restaurant you just know it’s going to be good food. On my day trip to Copenhagen this summer with my usual Copenhagen travellers Maria and Daniel, we didn’t have enough time to go to the restaurant but got to taste Hija de Sanchez’ tacos at our favourite lunch place; the food market called Torvehallerne.

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There are several restaurant stalls here, so you can sample a bit of this and a bit of that. But we went straight to Hija de Sanchez and ordered a plate each of tacos.

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And some cava. Because why not?!

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All three of the tacos were (of course) delicious! The one with cheese and avocado (queso fresco) was nice and fresh but I also really liked the one with fried runny egg and guacemole. And the barbecoa was the best I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve sampled a few…)!

Next time I really need to go the restaurant – can’t wait to sample the whole menu! Which I’m sure my travel companions are up for.

Hija de Sanchez, Taquería and market, Torvehallerne, Frederiksborggade 21, Copenhagen

The daily grind and a barbecue!

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After the bank holiday weekend in Norfolk I tried to take it a bit easier and didn’t do an awful lot during the weekdays that week. It was back to the weekday routine with an Ocado shop and chores, but I needed that.

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On the Friday night I had a quiet night in and made the lovely spinach dip for dinner (we always have a full lunch at the office on Fridays so a snack is the perfect supper for me) and even posted a tutorial on Instagram, so do follow me there if you want more updates!

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On the Saturday it was nice and sunny so I grabbed my book and an ice lolly and spent the afternoon on the roof. I had no plans for the evening but that suddenly changed when texting with a friend who lives nearby and all of a sudden I changed and put makeup on and met her in town for dinner (review to come!) and the cinema. We saw the Mamma Mia! sequel which was actually a little better than I had expected, and a little less cringe.

Unfortunately I woke up sick the next day and had to stay in bed for several days, watching films and series and reading a bit when I wasn’t sleeping. I was so happy when I managed to drag myself to the office on the Thursday and took it easy in the evenings. But on Friday night I found myself with a little extra energy (yay!) and organised my wardrobe by putting away the most summery things and getting out the autumnal clothes. The weather is so unreliable at the moment I want to be prepared!

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Saturday I went to Richmond and my friends’ Great River Race and barbecue party! It was so nice socialising, eating lovely food and just hanging out. I contributed with the Mexican corn salad that went down really well. Then on Sunday I took it easy and I finally feel like I fully recovered from being ill. Yay!

Malmö: tapas at Escama

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That Friday night in Malmö was lovely and balmy and when we arrived to Escama for dinner the outside area was of course packed. I had booked a table but the outside area was first come first serve. A shame, but I get it. So we put our names on the list and and sat down at the bar.

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And we divided our dinner into two sittings; nibbles inside at the bar and more substantial dishes outside once we got our table.

We started with some excellent jamon iberico (tapa negra) and Monte Enebro cheese. Real classics. Especially the cheese section was a little unimaginative. Nice cheeses but a very standard selection. Luckily the ham made up for it!

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It took a good while until we got seated outside, but we nibbled, drank cold Albarino and talked.

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When we sat down outside we got a different waiter, and it was like somebody had forgotten to “hand us over”. We got no attention and had to flag waiters down several times to order, ask for side plates and so on. Really not fun when we were finally going to order the main part of the meal.

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We had the tuna tartar which I was a little disappointed with. It was literally just chopped tuna with a little seasoning. Some crunch, more flavour and a nice emulsion would have been nice!

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But the entrecôte steak that we’d seen our table neighbours inside enjoy was amazing! I would come back to have one of those to myself. Easy! We both enjoyed that VERY much, so they do know their meat here. The patatas bravas were also nice, although on the spicy side, but I quite like that.

All in all, we had a nice but very long (due to the lack of service at the end) dinner with some varied service. But the jamon iberico and the steak were so good that all is forgiven!

Escama, Fersens väg 4, 211 42 Malmö, Sweden

Best burgers in London – updated!

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It’s National Burger Day today (apparently) and a good opportunity, I thought, to update this old post about the best burgers in London.

I’m sticking to my division of thin and coarse/thick patties. I like both, but at different times.

Reading this post made me realise that Soho Diner still hasn’t opened its doors since the refurbishment (?) and I miss their burgers terribly… Sob.

Thin patties:

  1. Shake Shack – This is burger perfection in my world. Thin crispy but not overdone patties, the best burger sauce and those lovely soft but almost chewy buns.
  2. Bleecker Burgers – A very close second to Shake Shack. The patty is nice and thin and pink in the middle, the buns good and the dressing lovely, only thing I don’t love is the fries.
  3. Sophie’s Steakhouse – Great burger, tired fries.
  4. Meat Liquor and Meat Market – This used to be favourite before I discovered Soho Diner and before both Shake Shack and Bleecker had opened (in London). Oldie but a goodie.

Coarser and thicker patties:

  1. Dirty Bones – Really nice burger, but would have preferred a slice of cheese instead of the cheesy sauce.
  2. Tom’s Kitchen – Close second! Great burger, well seasoned, perfectly nice chunky chips and plus points for making their own ketchup!
  3. Bar Boulud – Also very good, but a bit crumbly.
  4. Opera Tavern – The mini burgers with pork and foie gras are still phenomenal!

Note: I haven’t yet been, but I could bet money on that Dip & Flip would make this list.

Skanör: quick lunch at Linda’s Fingermat

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After a day at the beach in Skanör we packed up our things and headed to the harbour for a late little lunch at Lindas Fingermat.

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I hadn’t been before but my friends go here quite often so I followed their lead and ordered the slightly spicy lamb salsiccia in brioche bread with avocado, salsa and mayonnaise (it also came with sauerkraut but I asked for mine without it).

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It was really yummy and the perfect after beach snack. We had our lunch in the outdoor seating area which is really chilled out, still in our beach clothes, and it’s perfect for children too; my friends’ three kids enjoyed hotdogs, fries and empanadas. The mix of Swedish with Latin American food really works and it’s a nice varied menu with something for everyone, including the little ones.

I like this place for a snack on the run or a chilled out lunch. Next time I want to try one of the burgers because they looked really good too!

Lindas Fingermat,  Hamnvägen 1, 239 30 Skanör, Sweden

Birthday week!

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My last week in London before going on holiday was also my birthday week (and my friend Gaby’s) so it was rather busy as I also needed to pack and finish off work at the same time.

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I started celebrating my birthday already on the Monday with drinks at Bar Americain followed by dinner at an old favourite; Bocca di Lupo. It was really nice and great food as always and so a real treat!

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On Tuesday I mainly packed for holiday but got most of it done which was great!

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Wednesday was my actual birthday and after work a few colleagues took me out for drinks before I had dinner with the girls at another old favourite; Kurobuta Chelsea.

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Thursday I did errands and finished packing and Friday night I celebrated Gaby’s birthday eating tapas and gelato in Soho. The perfect start to my holiday but I wouldn’t stay out late as my flight was at 7am the next morning. My two weeks in Sweden were wonderful and I will tell you all about it soon!