London: relaxed dinner at The Ninth

tn22.jpg

You have to search far and wide to find a more relaxed Michelin starred restaurant. In London at least. But that’s also what I love about The Ninth; that it (and its staff) seem so relaxed without losing the professional edge. That just sets a perfect ambience for the guests and you feel like it’s just your table there although there are other guests and staff surrounding you.

tn1.jpg

It probably helps that The Ninth is situated in Charlotte Street; still central and an area for dining out, but without the worst hustle and bustle of Soho (and yet – it’s still within walking distance).

Arriving a little late, and flustered, for our dinner here – due to the sometimes terrible London traffic, it was like stepping into a calm oasis. We were seated at our table, felt like we had all the time in the world to decide on the wine and study the menu and immediately we lowered our shoulders and took the time we needed.

tn3.jpg

Which wasn’t all that much; the only problem was narrowing down what to eat as we’d happily eaten our way through the entire menu had we been able! Instead we started with a light snack of barbajuan, little parcels filled with spinach, pine nuts and cheese (if I remember correctly). They were very good and the perfect start to our dinner.

tn7.jpg

Next we had pasta; orecchiette with an egg yolk and PLENTY of black truffle which I love. This was a lovely dish. So simple but perfectly executed.

tn16.jpg

Our next pasta dish was fried gnocchi with mussels, which was also very nice but slightly overshadowed by the truffle feast. In the background lovely baked root vegetables with Fourme d’Ambert. Delicious!

tn19.jpg

The piece de resistance here was not the pudding (we were too full to even consider it!) but the main course, a beautiful duck breast cooked to perfection, with rhubarb, rainbow chard and granola. The crispy Belle de Fontenay potatoes and the root vegetables were the perfect accompaniments.

It was such a lovely dinner – and evening. Instead of pudding we had champagne at the nearby Charlotte Street Hotel and then ventured into Soho.

The Ninth, 22 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2NB

Advertisements

Wonderful food at Honey & Co, Fitzrovia

IMG_1760.JPG

I’ve wanted to go to Honey & Co, a small all day restaurant on Warren Street, run by a seriously passionate couple, for ages now. It’s difficult to get a table, so book ahead.

IMG_1762.JPG

I went here with my friend Daisy on a Friday night and the small space was filled to the brim with guests and staff. The atmosphere was nice and busy without being too loud.

We started our meal with three different types of mezze as they all sounded so nice! My favourite was the poached quince with curd cheese and hazelnuts (top), the flavour combination was just fantastic. The citrus and tomato salad with za’atar (above) was also nice, but not as amazing.

IMG_1764.JPG

The hummus with fried mushrooms, crispy onions and pitta was one of the best hummuses I’ve ever eaten. The mushrooms worked so well with it, I feel the urge to instantly copy it at home.

IMG_1766.JPG

The mezzes were all really big, so three was too mush for two people but we really wanted to try them all so ate as much as we could.

We decided to share two main courses as well. The barbecued aubergine with tahini crust and jewelled rice salad (above) was just amazing.

IMG_1769.JPG

And the slow-cooked duck with clementines and apricots baked in kadaif pastry was tasted like nothing I’ve ever tried before. It was a little sweet and a little sour and just full of flavour. The meat was very tender and rich and the crispy pastry was a nice contrast.

Apart from the bad lighting (too white for an evening), I thoroughly enjoyed our dinner here. The service could have been a little more switched on, but they did a decent job and besides the amazing food makes up for everything else.

Honey & Co, 25A Warren St, London W1T 5LZ

Dinner at Barrica, Fitzrovia

bar1

Last Saturday I joined Laura and her visiting cousin, Julia, for a tapas dinner at Barrica on Goodge Street, a place neither of us had visited before. We got there for 9pm and the place was positively buzzing. A good sign.

bar8

With bread and olives on the table after only a few minutes we decided on quite a wide spread of tapas. First up was some nice cured ham; Jamon Cebo, which was delicious.

bar7

I can never resist pimientos de padron, either in the supermarket or in restaurants, so we had a plate. I like the bitterness and the salt and to have them in between other plates.

bar6

Patatas bravas with aioli is another classis and these were very nice. Delightfully crisp on the outside, flavourful bravas sauce and strong garlic flavour in the aioli.

bar9

These little bechamel croquettes with lightly smoked cheese and summer truffle were absolutely wonderful and one of my favourites.

bar3

The morcilla was also delicious with plenty of umami flavour and depth. I’m not fond of black pudding and similar but love both the flavour and texture of morcilla.

bar4

This little neat duck breast toast was really scrumptious with a sweet little layer of onions (?) underneath the duck.

bar5

The clams with fennel and artichokes were bursting with flavour and very juice and nice. Also a nice contrast to the meats.
bar2

Laura and Julia also shared this lovely piece of salmon with lettuce and beans which I passed on. I am quite tired of salmon in general (after having grown up in Sweden) and prefer it cured or smoked rather than cooked. And I was also to full. But it still looks great and the girls enjoyed it.

I really liked this place. It feels authentic in proper and the food is great. The atmosphere is lovely too and the only thing I wasn’t fond of was the uncomfortable stools, so book a table with proper chairs if you can.

Other than that I loved it. And you’ll love the prices too. Seriously good value for money.

Barrica Tapas Bar, 62 Goodge Street, London W1T 4NE, 020 7436 9448