So 2015 has now ended. How has it been for you?
Personally, I found that my passion for food and the industry as a whole has grown even deeper, if that’s possible. Although the more I try new things, the more difficult it is to be impressed by a dish or a meal. Having said that, the London food scene continues to deliver. I’ve met some amazing people who shares my passion and took that passion forward to achieve great things. I’ve also got a more in depth understanding of what flavours, texture and ingredients make my taste buds sing with excitement!
Thinking back, I have not written about my experience as often as I would have liked in 2015. One to aim for this year 😊 Here is to a great start, in no particular order, this is a list of my top 15 most memorable dishes for 2015.
It has become one of my favourite restaurants in 2015 because of its consistently good food and ever so friendly service. If you do visit, DO NOT skip the Croquettes. Tom Oldroyd seems to be able to turn any ingredient (peas, pork, crab, mushroom) into addictive yummy little fried things.
But if I have to pick the one dish, it will have to be this tender Pork Belly, crispy crackling with sweet apple and sage. Simple combo with incredible depth of flavour and spot on texture! I couldn’t stop smiling while I was eating the dish. Also kicking myself for leaving my proper camera at home.
New comer Piquet impressed with their two starters:
Suckling pig with black pudding and prunes – similar to Oldroyd’s pork belly dish, the sweet-savoury combo with perfectly cooked meaty goodness won me over.
Follow very closely behind was the Crab ravioli with samphire in a consume. The delicate and sweet crab worked so well with the saltiness of the samphire and consume.
From the good folks behind meat masters Goodman Steakhouse , came Zelman Meats. Their melt in the mouth, rich in flavour beef short rib now has a very special place in my heart.
More meat glorious meat. Smokehouse’s creative use of fusion flavours and know-how in meat preparation make it one of my favourite gastropubs.
This deep fried, sweet apple pie with rich foie gras topped with a perfectly cooked runny egg yolk made it to my list. Just look at it, need I say more?
Another one of my all time favourites. Barrafina’s small plates of deliciousness never fail to delight. This delicately fried lamb brain served on a base of sweet tomato and salty olive tapenade was particularly memorable.
From the talented team behind The Dairy and The Manor came Paradise Garage. Relaxed environment, the use of fresh ingredients and simple yet creative cooking style made Paradise Garage another success.
This dish of fresh mackerel, seared and drizzled with lime juice, served with pickled vegetables was so light and so refreshing. It woke up the palate and stood out from the entire tasting menu.
I was lucky enough to get a seat in the Palomar after quite a few attempts. It was worth the wait. I recommend going for the tasting menu. The dish that stood out for me was this tangy beef tataki and rice noodle salad served with fennel, ginger vinaigrette and a bit of sriracha and pepper sauce for that extra kick.
Guan Chua’s Nyonya Supper Club
Guan, fellow Malaysian and one of the most authentic and talented individuals I’ve met in the London food scene. The mackerel and pineapple curry from his Nyonya Supper Club was sensational! From the vibrant colour, the freshness of the fish to the depth of tantalising flavours – makes the mouth water just thinking about. Read more about Guan’s Supper Club.
Jin Go Gae
This famous Korean restaurant in a not so convenient location is no hype and worth the travel. They do serve the best Korean dishes I’ve had (I’ve tried a fair few in London). My favourite dish was this beef sashimi with sweet pear, egg yolk and pine nuts, called Yuk Whe in Korean. This is the Korean take on steak tartare I suppose.
John Li is one of those talented people that have deeply impressed me with his determination to follow his passion. I’ve not tasted all of John’s dumpling selection but so far, so good. I can declare that his is the best Chinese dumplings in town. And this “Shen Jian Bao” (steamed dumpling with gentle fried base, filled with soup and pork base filling) is stuff of skills, patience and passion. Read more about Dumpling Shack.
And let’s not forget the sweet stuff…
This little French bistro produces some of the best French classic dishes around. This dessert of feather light Choux pastry with vanilla creme patissiere and a mini choux filled with raspberry compote hidden within is one that I will remember for a long while.
This little Japanese bakery in West London made waves in the London food scene with it’s delicate, precise and perfect baking of both sweet and savoury good. Their version on the Mont Blanc is irresistible! Unlike other patisseries, its subtle sweetness from the chestnut cream and the different texture made it pleasing to both the eyes and the taste buds.
Another winner from the Paradise Garage is this Dark chocolate brulee, stem ginger ice cream, rum and little pear chunks. The rum and pear breaks up the richness of the dessert, giving it a refreshing twist.
Last but not least, this buttery, flaky, sweet and perfectly baked Hazelnut Kouign Amann from Yeast Bakery. It embodies, in perfect balance, the holy trinity of yumminess – sugar, salt and fat. Now, just bring me a cup of tea…
There you have it, my top 15, for 2015. I am looking forward to exploring more in 2016. Hopefully enjoying the experience with more like minded friends.