Yauatcha

http://www.yauatcha.com/soho

Scores: 1 M*/ 3 GFG / Z 27/ H 1

This place should require no introduction and although it is slightly pricy for me it produces some of the best dim sum in London and IMO definitely the best all day dim sum.

King crab dumpling

Venison puff

Scallop shui mai

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Chinese chive and prawn dumpling

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Spinach ball with prawn and cuttlefish in black bean sauce

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Wild mushroom dumpling

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Striploin beef and enoki mushroom cheung fun

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Chicken Shanghai dumpling

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Yauatcha on Urbanspoon

 

Outlaw’s At The Capital

http://www.capitalhotel.co.uk/restaurantbar.html

Scores: 1 M*/ 6 GFG / H 2

This is the first venture from Nathan Outlaw outside of Cornwall. On a Thursday this restaurant offers free BYO, which is an exceptionally good deal. I find it strange that it is offered on a Thursday as most BYO offers seem to be on a Sunday or Monday.  For those who are interested, a very good list of restaurants in London that currently offer BYO can be found here.

Fish balls and pea (AB)

Fish balls and pea (AB)

Unfortunately the restaurant had sold out of the Lobster Risotto, Orange & Basil, Lobster Dressing (£17), although the Red Gurnard, Crab and Fennel (£14) was a great dish, perhaps the best one of the night.  Although the others were of a very high standard as well.

Red Gurnard, Crab and Fennel

Red Gurnard, Crab and Fennel

Cured Mackerel, Horseradish Yoghurt, Apple & Turnip (£12)

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Cod & Cuttlefish, Red Pepper & Ink Sauce (£26)

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Bass, Leeks, Saffron & Mussel Sauce (£32)

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The food here was very good indeed, although perhaps one of the reasons that this may have been the case on this occasion was that Nathan himself was in the kitchen.  I will definitely be returning, probably on a Thursday as if you bring your own fine wine this makes the final bill that bit more pleasing.

Outlaw Seafood & Grill at the Capital on Urbanspoon

Kai Mayfair

http://www.kaimayfair.co.uk/kai/kaihome.html

Scores: 1 M*/ Z 25/ H 4

Kai is the only currently Michelin starred restaurant in London that is not part of the Hakkasan group. It has been around for quite a while and has a bit of an old Mayfair vibe going on. On this occasion, we tried the following dishes.

Smoked Goose (£24)- had a nice smoky but balanced flavour.

Goose

Goose

Wasabi prawns with mango & basil seeds (£17)- a signature dish, nice but not as good as I have had it here in the past.

Lightly seared sirloin with a soy vinaigrette, shallot oil & chopped coriander (£16)- this was a highlight, almost a more Japanese style dish, with a fresh and sour sauce.

Soft-Shelled Crab with garlic, chilli & shallots spiced batter, peppercorns, green mango (£14)- good but unremarkable.

‘A Nest of Imperial Jewels’ (£13)- chopped prawns, mustard greens, butterhead lettuce wraps- this had bags of flavour and the textures worked well.

Roasted Chilean Seabass (£34) with Caramelised Chinkiang black vinegar syrup, mustard, soy. Chickpeas, shallots & ginger- an excellent dish.

Chilean Seabass

Chilean Seabass

Lobster & Lobster (£28)- Kai’s version of the classic dish of lobster and noodles in ginger and spring onion.

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Lobster & Lobster

Soy & Honey Marinated Roast Lamb (£18) lightly spiced with red chillies, shallots, garlic and coriander, root vegetable ‘chip’, Malaysian
cucumber & carrot ‘achar’ pickle.

Roast Lamb

Roast Lamb

Grilled marinated corn-fed chicken (£18)- this is firstly ‘poached in chicken stock to tenderise and then chargrilled to flavour. Served with sliced pork ‘lap cheong’, roasted garlic, bamboo shoots, mustard leaves & shimeji mushrooms’.

Broccolini (£14) Chopped garlic, shallot & lightly salted radish

In my opinion this is one of the consistently best Chinese restaurants in London and is worth the fairly considerable cost.

Bo Lang

http://www.bolangrestaurant.co.uk/

NEW

Bo Lang opened in September 2013 and appears to be an attempt to bring a Yauatcha styled place to the Brompton Cross.  They have gone for sleek décor, with prices to match, but you feel that this is an area where this may work.  The restaurant is fairly small but they have done well with the space.  Like Yauatcha its main speciality is all day dim sum as well as some other Chinese dishes.  We ordered a selection of stuff from the dim sum sections of the menu, including:

Chicken, black truffle shui mai £7.20

Soft shell crab with chili and lime £13.80

Pan fried chicken dumpling £6.50

Sichuan dumplings

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Black sesame prawn toast £8.00

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Fried turnip cake with XO sauce £5.50

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Saffron scallop and cod dumpling £11.90

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Sichuan pepper squid £11.00

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har gau served with blackberry reduction (£6.00)

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The dim sum here is good overall, not as good as Yauatcha or a few of the dim sum at lunch only places but definitely pretty tasty.  The nicest pieces were probably the saffron scallop and cod dumpling, which was very well made and, surprisingly, the black sesame prawn toast which was far from the greasy, tasteless form found in many a takeaway. On the other hand the chicken shui mai really did not need the black truffle, which made it too rich, and although it was not offensive the har gau did not need the fruit sauce.  Bo Lang is also far from cheap but in this area very few places are.

Bō Làng on Urbanspoon

Kurobuta (Kings Road)

http://www.kurobuta-london.com/

NEW

Kurobuta on the Kings Road is a pop-up version of the soon to come full restaurant on Kendal Street in Connaught Village, although it is rumoured to be extending its residency to stay permanently.  Kurobuta is modelled on izakayas (Japanese pubs) so the atmosphere is causal with emphases on the drinks as well as food.  The pace was rammed so we were taken to stand by the bar until our table opened up.  There is a good selection of house cocktails and they served draft beer with the option of an ice smoothie head to keep it cold.

Beer with a frozen top

Beer with a frozen top

The menu is based on plates to share and there is a good selection of food separated in different groups there were also a few specials on the board but all but one of these was sold out by the time we sat down at 9. We had the seven dishes below:

Grains and Greens Salad with Honey-Soy-Ginger Dressing (£6.5)

Salmon Gravadlax and Avocado Tartare with Dill Mayo, Rice Crunchies and Fresh Yuzu Zest (£11)

Yellowtail Sashimi with Kizami Wasabi Salsa and Yuzu-Soy (£13)

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Free Range Chicken Kushi-Yaki with Japanese BBQ Sauce (£8.5)

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Wagyu Beef Sliders; Brioche Bun, Crunchy Onions, Pickled Cucumber and Umami Mayo (£19)

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Squid Kara-Age with Jalapeno Dipping Sauce (£8)

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Kombu Roasted Chilean Seabass with Spicy Shiso Ponzu (£18)

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The yellowtail, sliders and ‘sea bass’ were the highlights here, although everything was at least average. The service was very friendly but also very forgetful thus getting more drinks etc. is difficult.  Also if you are seated in the front, near the window, beware of the chill that will appear when the door openS, which is frequently.

Viajante

CLOSED

RIP Viajante!

The restaurant that, perhaps first, bought fine dining to East London closed its doors on 28th of February.  See here for a statement from the restaurant.  Nuno Mendes has moved on to open the Chiltern Firehouse in a new hotel in Marylebone, meanwhile Jason Atherton is to open, yet another place, in the old Viajante space in Bethnal Green.

We had the 12 course menu, shortly before it closed:

Goral olive soup

Goral olive soup

Cuttlefish with cabbage and lardo

Cuttlefish with cabbage and lardo

Chewy scallops with lactose

Chewy scallops with lactose

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Razor clam with leek and black sesame

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Langoustine with braised chicken skin

Salsify with pine and mushroom

Beets and cheese

Parmesan with potato and truffle

Beef with carrot miso and watercress

Beef with carrot miso and watercress

Iberico presa with turnip tops

Iberico presa with turnip tops

Blueberry and sorbet

Milk

Milk

Pumpkin with rice ice cream and bergamot

Some of the dishes were excellent including, predictably the pork, others were average and one or two were a bit strange. Viajante will surely be missed as it was definitely a different restaurant that pushed a few boundaries in its time.

Loves (Birmingham)

http://www.loves-restaurant.co.uk/

Scores: GFG 4 / H1

Valentine’s Day must be a big event in Birmingham as even on the day after, a lot of restaurants were still serving special menus at both lunch and dinner. This was slightly annoying as I hate to eat out on V day anyway and during this trip to Brum it meant that for the our first choice for a quiet Saturday lunch was booked out and then the second choice required a £10 a head pre-payment, even though it ended up being half empty on the day.

Loves is a canal side place that is slightly hard to find and is a short walk from Broad Street. The special menu offered on the day had two choices for each of the three courses, there was also a punchy tasting menu available.

Loch Duart Salmon, charred cauliflower, apple and lemon

Loch Duart Salmon, charred cauliflower, apple and lemon

Cod, celery porridge, aromatic baby plum tomatoes, kaffir lime and lemongrass                sauce

Cod, celery porridge, aromatic baby plum tomatoes, kaffir lime and lemongrass sauce

Pre-dessert

Pre-dessert

White chocolate ganache, chocolate soil, white chocolate sauce, mango  sorbet

White chocolate ganache, chocolate soil, white chocolate sauce, mango sorbet

The food here was decent, especially the savory courses  and was good value at lunch; however, it was nothing too memorable.