London: fabulous Frenchie

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It was a rainy evening the other side of summer when I met up with my old friend Mattias for dinner. He wanted to go somewhere new and fun and  I’m so glad I managed to grab the last two seats at Frenchie in Covent Garden that evening, because we had such a wonderful meal.

To avoid food envy we decided to share the snacks and starters (it was encouraged by the staff), choose the same main course and then share the puddings as well. I highly recommend this strategy as it’s easier to focus on the food when you get to try everything. And trust me, you want to try everything at Frenchie.

First up was the delicious egg Mimosa. Don’t they look stunning?!

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Then we moved on to maple syrup and bacon scones which were a-ma-zing!

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Then the first proper starter; green asparagus with parmesan crème, smoked egg yolk and puffed barley. A modern take on the classic asparagus with hollandaise and it was just heavenly.

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We then had the most tender squid, served with petit poi, white asparagus and raspberries. A rather unusual combination but it worked; spring freshness on a plate.

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When it was time for the main course we were simply stunned; the hanger steak was truly amazing, full of flavour and cooked to perfection. The artichoke purée and goat’s curd further elevated this star of a dish. I really struggle to describe it but it was one of the best dishes I’d had in a long time.

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The puddings were just as nice; and this dark chocolate crème with crumble and bacon ice cream is a must-order dish. Divine!

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The Brillat Savarin cheesecake with raspberries, pistachio and elderflower was also delicious and provided a nice contrast to the dark chocolate.

I simply adore this place and can’t wait to go back. Frenchie has everything I want when I go out for a meal; food that’s utterly delicious and chef-y enough that I can’t replicate it at home, as well as a relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff. Top marks!

Frenchie Covent Garden, 16 Henrietta St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8QH

Meat feast at Chop Shop

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It was thanks to Taste of London that I heard of Chop Shop in the first place. At the festival in June Caroline and I tried two dishes from Chop Shop and they were both really nice, so when a colleague suggested a meaty lunch (his favourite) it was the first place I suggested.

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I eat plenty of vegetarian meals when I cook for myself, so when I choose meat I want to make sure it’s of good quality. And it certainly was here at Chop Shop. Don’t let the type of food served here fool you; it’s all properly done from scratch.

To start our meal we had two starters to share, both typical fast food dishes but done very well. The sausage roll, with nothing in common with the ones sold in Greggs, was utterly delicious. The meat inside was very nicely seasoned and nice and soft, and the pastry was lovely too.

The chicken wings were some of the best I’ve had. The waitress told us the chilli sauce was very hot, so on her suggestion we had the barbecue sauce on them instead. Although delicious, I missed the heat that I associate with buffalo chicken wings. I guess I just have to come back and have the chilli sauce next time.

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For his main course Max had the burger (which I can’t wait to try next time), and he made purring sounds all the way through it, it was that good. Just look at it, it’s burger perfection.

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I had the hanger steak (so tender!), with rosemary fries and the most wonderful bearnaise sauce. Probably the best one I’ve ever had in a restaurant.

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I was so full after my steak I could barely muster the slow walk back to the office but Max still had room for pudding, and decided on this beast or a butterscotch pudding. It was also really nice, so top marks all round.

Chop Shop, 66 Haymarket, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4RF

Dinner at my local

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After a full on day at the Goodwood Revival we were cold and seriously hungry, and I was really pleased with myself for booking a table at my local pub for dinner. We went there straight from the train and after looking at the menu for two seconds we all settled for steak and ordered three hanger steak, red wine (for mum and me) and cider (for dad).

The hanger steak arrived quickly accompanied by shallot purée, amandine potatoes, girolles, carrots, spinach and jus. It was delicious and just the hearty type of food we craved!

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After the maincourse we could relax a bit (I certainly know where my hunger panic comes from…) and ordered two puddings to share. One pretty-as-a-picture lemon meringue pie with lemon jelly and one cheesecake with plum icecream, ginger bread mousse, plums and blackberries. Both were delicious and perfectly executed.

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I’m so pleased to have this amazing pub just around the corner. The pub bit is cozy and offers nice snacks and the restaurant bit is just as rustic but with really good food!

The Sands End, 135-137 Stephendale Rd, London SW6 2PR

Hix, Soho

My friend Kristin, who I know from Uni back in Sweden, lives in London too, and we try to meet up once a month to catch up, enjoy good food and speak Swedish. The first time we met up we had oysters and pig’s trotters at Terroirs, so it is safe to say we’re both foodies.

My last week in London before going on holiday we had dinner at Hix, where we both enjoyed baked bone marrow.

We met straight after work and had time for a glass at Mark’s Bar in the basement at Hix before dining on the ground floor. The food is prepared in simple ways to enhance the fantastic produce. Seasonal food and local produce are definitely key words here.

I started off with a plate of girolles, just lightly fried in herb butter. The mushrooms were beautiful (and I should now, us Swedes take girolles seriously) and very enjoyable.

Kirstin chose sand eels with caper mayonnaise and received a huge plateful. I got to try them too, and they were definitely the best sand eels I’ve had.

Both Kristin and I chose hanger steak with baked bone marrow for mains. The meat was perfectly cooked (mine rare and Kristin’s medium-rare) and again the portions were huge. The bone marrow was mixed with a mustardy stuffing and baked in the bone and was absolutely wonderful. And a fun way to serve it too.

Although the portions were big we still ordered sides, which was totally unnecessary. I hardly touched my chips or Kristin her salad. We also got three sauces with the steak; a mint sauce, a hot mustardy sauce and both our favourites, the bearnaise sauce.

The food at Hix was delicious, but rather expensive. Absolutely worth it once in a while but when spending money in this price range I usually choose more complicated gourmet restaurants. This was my first time at Hix and although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I prefer St John in this restaurqnt category, but it is definitely a good thing that such a restaurant exists in Soho,

Bonus: Mark Hix’s recipe of the main course we had; hanger steak with baked bone marrow.