Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lantana, Fitzrovia, London

Lantana, a laneway full of Jubilee bunting, and some random men...

Flat white

Double espresso

Crispy pork belly ciabatta roll w/ cress and chilli mayo

Thai fish cakes w/ lime chilli dipping sauce and asian noodle salad

It was Mr Alphie's birthday while we were in London, so to celebrate I directed us to Lantana, an Aussie-run cafe in Fitzrovia. We had been craving decent coffee, and who better to make coffee than an Aussie? At least they know what a flat white is! Lantana was recommended by MIL & Ms Aqua, neither of whom had been, but both had heard/read great things.

The food was amazing; light, fresh flavours, a nice change from some of the heavier food we had been eating while in Scotland! And the service was lovely, our waiter recognised our Aussie accents and we had a great chat, about Australia, London, food & coffee! But most importantly, the coffee was fab! Easily the best coffee we had anywhere in London. I even had a cheeky second cup...

A fantastic cafe, in a gorgeous setting, well worth hunting down for lunch (or brekky, I hear they do a great brekky) if you're going to be in the area - weather you're an Aussie or not!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Wahaca, Soho, London

Ceviche tostada - MSC certified shrimp and scallops tossed with a
refreshing mix of habanero chilli, lime, cucumber and mint

Pork pibil taco - slow cooked pork in Wahaca's special
Yucatean marinade

Grilled corn - slathered in sour cream mayo, chilli-sugar-salt,
Lancashire cheese and a squeeze of lime

Cactus taco - grilled cactus taco with zucchini, grilled cheese
and guajillo oil

Chorizo & potato quesadilla - Mexican chorizo, made to
a Wahaca recipe,  fresh thyme and potato

Our order, marked out on the placemat menu
Wahaca was suggested to us by our Scotland travelling partners - Ms Aqua and her bf. They have made a point of hunting out good Mexican in the UK, but I'd like to think I started something here...

The menu is split into four main sections - drinks & nibbles, street food, sides and platos fuertes (bigger plates). We stuck to the street food and sides sections, and ordered too much, as we often do at both Mexican and tapas-style places, so we hod no hope here, but the food was so delicious that we both kept eating and almost had to be rolled out the door.

The pork pibil and cactus tacos were the real stand outs for me, although the ceviche tostada was fantastic too. I personally preferred the grilled corn at Mamasita in Melbourne, but I guess if you're in London, it's not really a dinner option, is it now? The quesadilla was also quite good, but we were both so full by the time it came out, I don't think we really appreciated it. All topped off with a few Coronas, it was a great meal, and I'd definitely go back if we're ever in London again.

It wasn't until we made it back to Perth that I realised the head chef of Wahaca is Thomasina Miers, often mentioned by Nigella Lawson, and, it turns out, a previous MasterChef UK winner! I have since seen her show Mexican Food Made Simple on Lifestyle Food, and it makes me so happy to have made it to Wahaca.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bills Providore & Cafe, Brighton

Bill's raspberry, peach & mango juice, French pink soda

Daily bruschetta special
Haloumi and hummus - grilled haloumi cheese in a sesame seed
bun with hummus, rocket, roasted peppers’ sweet chilli and
yoghurt served with skinny fries
As we were nearing the end of our UK adventure the weather started to warm up, bringing with it a feeling that summer was just around the corner. And where to Londoners go when the weather heats up? To Brighton of course! So off we went.

Arriving by train, we wandered down towards the beach through a series of lanes, filled with cafes, gorgeous boutiques and cute & quirky homewares shops. I think we bought more stuff in Brighton than anywhere else on the whole trip!

We passed a lot of cafes but none of them really drew us in, until we spied Bills Providore & Cafe tucked inside an old garage (or 'Depot') on a nondescript semi-commercial street. It was exactly what we had been looking for. Light & fresh food, with friendly service, amazing 'rustic' decor and a buzzing atmosphere.

Unfortunately (for you, not me - it was delish) I ordered off the specials board, and didn't write it down, so I have no idea what I ordered, but it was a 'bruschetta' with broad bean puree, grilled capsicum, local asparagus & balsamic. 

- Alphie

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Real Greek, Covent Garden, London

It was the beginning of our last week in the UK. Mr Alphie and I had just returned from 10 days touring around Scotland, freezing our butts off, to a somewhat less cold London. Being May, the days were long, and having become accustomed to the cold in Scotland, we opted not to plan dinner, but to just wander aimlessly from our hotel, take in the sights and stop for dinner when we found somewhere we liked the look of. We stumbled across that place much sooner than I expected. On the northern edge of Covent Garden, in a old pub, The Real Greek lept out at us. Cheap, delish Greek food in a cosy setting, with great people watching - what more could you want!

Cold meze: Greek flatbread, melitzanosalata, htipiti & crudites

Grilled haloumi

Tiger prawns with garlic & chilli

Lamb kefte

Raspberry & Honey Yoghurt Sundae

Caramel & Pecan Cheesecake

Greek coffee
We later discovered that The Real Greek was a chain, but surprisingly, a lot of the great meals we had in London came from restaurants we later realised were chains!