What makes a good dining experience? (Part 1)

London is known for it’s colourful culinary variety. Eateries ranging from Michelin starred restaurants, gastropubs to street food, are competing for foodies’ affection. As our palate becomes more experienced, we become more difficult to impress. It takes more than just good food to win us over. Eateries have to have other factors, be it the blow-your-mind wow factor or the just-like-home authenticity, to get repeat business. Dining out is now, more than ever, about the whole experience.

A while ago, I had the pleasure of chatting to a few familiar names in the London food scene. Foodies around London have been enjoying their food / services for many reasons. I wanted to understand their take on what makes a good dining experience.

There is one key ingredient that Katy (Director of Market Fresh Communications), Gianluca (Pitmaster of Miss P’s Barbecue), Anthony (Owner of The King & Co, Clapham) and Selina (Chef and founder of Taste Mauritius), that is Passion. Passion for food and for putting a smile on their customers’ face.

Gianluca (@MissPsbarbecue) and Selina (@TasteMauritiusserve some of the most authentic and mouthwatering food in and around London. “Family inspiration” is the secret ingredient to their success.

“Authentic flavour and cooking method, no compromise!” Gianluca

Pitmaster Gianluca in action

Pitmaster Gianluca in action

Gianluca is the Pitmaster behind the Atlanta barbecue meat sensation Miss P’s Barbecue. You may not know this, but the name Miss P’s Barbecue came about in honour of his mum and partner in the kitchen, Pauline.

Gianluca is a natural when it comes to smoking meat. He then further honed his trade through learning from family in Georgia, lots of reading and lots of practicing. After winning prize money from a university business competition, G started his barbecue business as a Kerb trader. Miss P’s Barbeque is now amongst the top smoked meat vendors in London, highly rated by street food lovers!

The Miss P’s Barbecue dining experience

Miss P's Barbeque - bold flavours, tender meat

Miss P’s Barbeque – bold flavours, tender meat (By: Angela Sam)

Miss P's Barbeque - authentic bbq beans

Miss P’s Barbeque – authentic bbq beans (By: Angela Sam)

Gianluca knows that authenticity is key.
He said in order to give his diners the ideal dining experience, his goal is to own a sit down venue, in true Southern American bbq joint fashion.  He wants his customers to experience the traditional southern American home style dining, where everything from the main of perfectly smoked meat, the decent portion sides of barbecue beans and slaw, to “mama’s homemade dessert” surprise.

No compromise in ingredients, flavour or cooking technique. That, is his ideal dining experience for his customers! I can already see swarms of hungry, excited meat lovers, like myself, frequenting G’s future bbq joint.

As a diner, Mr Pitmaster himself named The Clove Club (@TheCloveClub) and Bleecker Street Burger (@BleeckerBurger) as memorable dining experiences.

I think the Clove Club is on the verge of getting its first star. They haven’t got it yet but if someone were to go round now, they will get it. says G. He praised the restaurant for its overall package – the well cooked dishes, the setting and the reasonably priced tasting menu. They key differentiator for Gianluca is the portion size. Unlike some other restaurant tasting menus where you walk away feeling not enough, they do good portion sized tasting menu.

Bleecker Street Burger does the best burger in London, in my opinion… I am proud that they’ve done so well for themselves. For G, apart from the cooked-to-perfection burgers, the Bleecker team lead by Zan Kauffman, offers their diners a unique experience through the team’s laid back, passionate and quietly confident persona. So much so that their customers are content to queue for their burgers because they know they are getting the best and they are supporting a great team of people. I couldn’t agree more!

“…good customer service and presentation of food are equally important…” Selina

City worker turned professional baker, turned supperclub host, turned private chef, Selina, is the talent behind private Mauritian catering company and supper club, Taste Mauritius. Selina is a passionate and creative chef who has mastered the art of both sweet and savoury cooking.

Taste Mauritius founder and chef Selina

Taste Mauritius founder and chef Selina (From Taste Mauritius website)

Her Mauritian roots and her family’s love of food were her inspiration to start her own food business. First, there was the blossoming baking business, where she was known as Yummy Choo. Not long after after her sweet success, she spotted a niche in the market – authentic Mauritian cooking in London! That was how Taste Mauritius was borned.

The Taste Mauritius dining experience

Selina feels strongly about good customer service. “…it will be the deciding factor in someone deciding not to come back to your restaurant/pop up again.” It is important for her that her diners feel welcome. Rightly so, her warm greeting is one of the things I remember fondly about dining with Selina.

Rum Infused Pineapple with Lime Cheesecake

Mauritian inspired Rum Infused Pineapple with Lime Cheesecake (By: Angela Sam)

Taste Mauritius + Roti Chai collaboration - Sunday Nashta (Duck Haleem) Taste Mauritius + Roti Chai collaboration - Sunday Nashta (Duck Haleem)

Taste Mauritius + Roti Chai collaboration – Sunday Nashta, Duck Haleem (By: Angela Sam)

Taste Mauritius + Roti Chai collaboration - Sunday Nashta - Sausage Bacon Rougaille

Taste Mauritius + Roti Chai collaboration – Sunday Nashta – Sausage Bacon Rougaille (By: Angela Sam)

“…if it looks good, smells good then you’re already half way there.” Our talented chef sees presentation as equally important. That’s why you can see the effort on the plates, whether it is her supper clubs or a pop-ups or collaboration events.

In my opinion, Selina is an inspiration to new food entrepreneurs. Hard work and a down to earth personality is a winning recipe. Selina’s collaboration with Roti Chai, the well established Indian restaurant, was a sell-out success and one of her proudest moment as a chef. “It’s a great feeling when people believe in what you are doing and willing to give you a chance.” quoted the humble Selina.

When asked about her own dining experience, Selina named Lima (@Lima_London) and The Garrick Brasserie (@le_Garrick) as her memorable dining experiences.

All for the simplest reasons – Lima’s offering is their unique Peruvian cuisine with fresh and interesting flavours. The beautifully constructed plate of food is a big plus too! And for Le Garrick, simple, authentic dishes wins the day. The brasserie’s homely feel complemented its classic french dishes.

Experience it for yourself

  • To find out the whereabouts of Miss P’s Barbeque, follow them on Twitter (@MissPsbarbecue) and their Facebook page. They are also a regular Kerb trader, trading in Kerb food markets around London. Miss P’s Barbeque also offers wholesale bbq and private catering.

Next week…

What makes a good dining experience (part 2) – Hear from Director of Market Fresh Communications, Katy and Owner of The King & Co, Anthony about their views on dining experience.


One thought on “What makes a good dining experience? (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: What makes a good dining experience? (Part 2) | She Lives 2 Eat

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