Archive | October, 2009

Vapiano

30 Oct

I was walking home from the tube last night and looked at my watch thinking it must have been close to 11pm. I was so wrong, it was 9.25pm.

I left work near 6pm and managed to pack three activities in that didn’t even feel rushed. Firstly I went to leaving drinks at Bedford and Strand then hopped on a tube to Oxford Street and met up with Jack, his sister, mum, dad and little brother in Topshop. A few purchases later and we were off to Dream Vault on Great Titchfield Street for the Drakers magazine 75th birthday bash.

We stayed at the party for a few canapés and a glass of champagne and were straight out the door with goody bag in arm, which contained some rather strange items including cycling shorts that promise to take 3,5 cms off your thighs and 5,5 cms off your hips if you wear them for 21 days straight. Naturally, I’m wearing them today and have to say they’re really rather comfortable. Only problem is that you can see them poking out from the bottom of my dress. If anyone is wondering what that is, now you know!

Jacks parents decided that Strada was a good option for dinner as it was nice and close – we arrived to a 45 (!!) minute queue so went on the search for a better option. We started walking toward Cavendish Square where the car was parked and stumbled across an Italian pasta and pizza establishment called Vapiano. The neon lights outside weren’t enough to put anyone off, impatience was running high so in we went and I recognised it instantly. My friend and I had come across a branch in Berlin when traveling Europe three years ago.

They had various different home made pasta varieties including spelt varieties, good for the wheat free people out there. I opted for a simple yet satisfying Caprese pizza.

The rest of the party went for pasta. Carbonara, Chicken Alfredo and Arrabbiata with a fantastic amount of chili.

How it works:

Each person gets a card upon entry
Order at relevant spot and swipe card
Either watch it made in front of you or take a tag away to your table that vibrates when your food is ready
Take your card to the till when finished to pay

The whole meal for 4 main courses (Jacks dad shared with his mum and jack – the portions were nice and large) with 2 soft drinks and one
glass of wine came to £39. We left fully satisfied an hopped back on the tube back home.

All of that in 3 1/2 hours and I was back in time to watch the 10 o’clock news, brilliant.

Vapiano on Urbanspoon

The Ivy on a Wednesday evening

18 Oct

Due to the fact that you aren’t allowed to take photos inside The Ivy, unfortunately there are no photos of the food, sorry!

The Ivy

I am lucky enough to have been to The Ivy a few times before and was excited to hear that my boyfriend’s grandma was coming down from Blackburn this week for her birthday treat – The Ivy.
It’s not a restaurant, however that I want to shout about visiting. There are foodies that will tell you your money is better off spent elsewhere, after all I do live in London, a city rich with impressive restaurants. There are also the people who haven’t been who may feel you’re in for the best meal of your life.

I like The Ivy and I have to say I never thought I would get to go (I had wanted to for years). The food is simple and delicious, although I have had the same dish my last couple of visits. The first time I went was my 21st birthday – my boyfriend had booked in and surprised me. It was my first taste of fine dining since I arrived in London (2 years at the time). We were a relatively new couple and he wanted to really treat me – he did but I wouldn’t get anything like that now! (joke) I took him to Scotts for his birthday this year, which was truly disappointing. One of the reasons might have been that I could only get a table at 10pm and the other was probably the ounce of butter on my fish making me feel queasy. The Ivy, for me, is twice as good.

I’ll give you a run down of what everyone had. There were 6 of us but some of us had the same dishes.

Starters:

Yellow fin tuna sashimi with ginger and fragrant shoots
Hot smoked duck and provence fig salad

I am not a fan of wasabi and I have to say I was a little tipsy as a result work drinks at Bedford and Strand before hand. I picked up one of the last pieces of tuna with my chopsticks and shoved it in my mouth. Big mistake – all of the wasabi resided here. I had to hide my wasabi face and luckily only one person seemed to notice.

Mains:

Thai baked sea bass with fragrant rice and black bean dressing
Spaghetti ‘a la genovese’
Shalgam gosht with cumin rice, mint yoghurt and paratha
Griddles scallops

One of the party hardly ate the main for it being too salty, it was over seasoned but the mutton was tender. My fish was faultless and it was gone within minutes. The spaghetti looked simple and apparently tasted fantastic.

Dessert:

Honeycomb ice cream with hot chocolate sauce
Scandinavian iced berries with hot White chocolate sauce
Vanilla cheesecake with ruby plum compote
Creme brûlée

I had the cheesecake with ruby plum compote and I’m not entirely sure why. I bang on and on about how the iced berries are my favourite and then go for something completely different at the last minute. I was, unfortunately slightly disappointed as it wasn’t bursting with flavour and it wasn’t light and velvety in texture, which is what I expect from a good cheesecake. The ruby plum compote neither made my taste buds rejoice. I of course sampled some of the ice cream and chocolate sauce, delightful. Well, you can’t go wrong there though can you?

As much as I enjoy the atmosphere, food and experience at dining at one of the worlds most famous restaurants I’m not sure I want to go again for a while. I’m scared of becoming over familiar, making the experience feel less special. I now want to sample the delights of other restaurants that London has to offer like The Wolseley (been for amazing breakfast but want to try dinner), Hakkasan, L’Autre Pied, Wild Honey and Bumpkin (bank balance permitting).

The Ivy on Urbanspoon

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