Our only celeb sighting in New York happened when Sinead and I, as usually starving because we missed breakfast at the hotel, arrived to the lovely Italian restaurant Locanda Verde, near our hotel in Tribeca. My friend Lama had recommended the place and as we sat down for lunch at the bar (with mainly business people in the room), we noticed that no other than Matthew McConaughey was sitting at the other end of the bar (!). At first we weren’t sure as he was just sitting there reading his paper, looking down. But when he looked up it was evident it actually was him.
And although I think he’s a great actor and it was fun to see a celebrity (apparently he’s not the only celeb who’s taken a liking to this place), the brilliant food actually overshadowed him being there.
I was ravenous and started with the excellent lamb meatball sliders with caprino cheese and sharp cucumber. Not greasy at all and lovely flavours! Then I looked at my phone and noticed a message from Lama (who recommended the place) urging me to order the sheep’s ricotta. So of course I did.
And it was MIND-BLOWING! Best ricotta I ever had, even better than the lovely one I had in Modena in Italy in the spring. It was thick and creamy, yet light and fluffy and super smooth. It was full of flavour, only further complemented by the herbs and charred bread.
This place is definitely a favourite of mine; I loved the food and can’t wait to eat my way through the entire menu, but I also like the efficient but relaxed vibe in here.
Locanda Verde, 377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013
Before Christmas the girls and I managed to fit in a dinner in Soho and we decided we wanted to try Bo Drake, a Korean restaurant in Soho. When we arrived, thinking we had booked a table but it was for another evening, the staff luckily managed to seat us at the communal table.
After some prosecco we decided to order a few different dishes to share, some from the special’s board and some from the a’la carte menu.
First up were the specials: wagyu beef sliders with truffle mayo (yum!), cheddar and red onion jelly in brioche buns (above) and lobster baos with squid ink. Both were utterly amazing!
We also had some sweet potato fries with kimchi island (a spin on Thousand Island that really worked), and the fries were really good. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Which isn’t that easy to do with sweet potatoes.
We also had aubergine in miso which was soft, sweet and sticky. I just love aubergine in Asian cooking!
We also shared a bo ssäm; pulled pork with a bit of heat served with lettuce leaves, kimchi and dips. It’s messy but fun to make the little parcels and the flavours of the meat were really nice.
The last dish of the evening was the smoked bobo chicken with a sticky glaze, sesame seeds, spring onions and spicy mayo. Also very nice!
The food at Bo Drake was great and I would happily go back. Initially the service was good but as the restaurant got busier it became quite slow, leaving a little room for improvement but I otherwise like this cosy place a lot.
Bo Drake, 6 Greek St, London W1D 4DE
A Saturday a looong time ago now, Caroline and I met up for dinner in Chelsea. We hadn’t booked anywhere but wanted Japanese and when we tried Kurobuta they luckily had space for us at the communal table.
I’d only been to Kurobuta once before this, when it was still a pop-up at a different location on the Kings Road, but the permanent space is so much better. The ambiance feels more restaurant-y and the food is just as good – if not even better!
A group at our communal table were eating the tempura prawns when we arrived, they looked really good so it was the first thing we ordered. They were nice and crispy on the outside but the prawn within was still nice and juicy and the onions and chilli worked well with the prawns and the delicious mayo. The fried white shreds underneath the prawns were not that nice, but at least it looked nice!
Our next dish was these a-ma-zing wagyu beef sliders with steamed buns, crispy onion, pickled cucumber and umami mayo. Sooo good and my favourite dish this evening!
The wellowtail sashimi was nice but a little too wet for my liking as it was resting in a pool of yuzu and soy.
Also the maki roll with spicy tuna was a bit of a let down. It was lacking a bit in flavour and all the spice came from the sauce on top, not from the roll itself..
But we absolutely loved the grilled miso chicken! Nice charred flavour from the grill and it was perfectly cooked.
Despite not finding all the dishes perfect, I do really enjoy coming here. The food is always good and some dishes are excellent. And compared tp many other restaurants offering Japanese small dishes or Asian fusion this is one of the better! Just promise me you try the Wagyu slider, and you’ll see what I mean!
Kurobuta, 312 Kings Road, London SW3 5UH