Food is divine

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Engawa
2 Ham Yard W1D 7DT
London
United Kingdom

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It was my fiancé’s birthday and I wanted to take him somewhere special, so I chose Engawa. I had not been before, but had read about it and seen various pictures of the food, and I thought this could be a great special location for a birthday. Engawa is a Japanese restaurant in Soho, next to the Ham Yard Hotel, and in contrast to other Japanese restaurants specializes in kobe beef (beef from the Tajima strain of wagyu cattle raised in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, the meat is famous for it’s flavor, tenderness and fatty/well-marbled texture), and serves it in a variety of styles and ways. You can find kobe beef on the menus of other Japanese and non-Japanese restaurants in London (for example the restaurant M Grill in city sells a 150g fillet for £150), but Engawa seems to be the only restaurant that focuses exclusively on this and puts kobe beef at the forefront.

Maija rated: 

4.50

Location: 

Quality Chop House, The
88-94 Farringdon Road EC1R 3EA
London
United Kingdom

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My friend Paul suggested we go for lunch to The Quality Chop House, a place I strangely had not heard anything about, especially considering how amazing the restaurant was. The Quality Chop House is a dining room, wine bar, butchers & shop on Farringdon road. It was originally opened in 1869 but obviously the original owners have changed since then and it is a different type of restaurant.

The restaurant apparently is great if you love wine, with a long wine list and a wine shop alongside the bar and dining room. 5 of us came here for lunch and one of us ( South African) ordered a glass of wine (the rest of us did not drink) and surprisingly was recommended a South African wine. The Butchers & Food Shop located next door sells a range of British meats as well as home-made condiments and pies. I did not visit it, but Paul went there after our lunch to stock up for his supper, and Paul only eats the best food, so this must be a great shop.

Maija rated: 

4.00

Location: 

Helene Darroze at the Connaught
Carlos Place W1K 2AL
London
United Kingdom

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Helene Darroze at the Connaught is a 2 Michelin star French restaurant in the Connaught Hotel, one of the most luxurious and beautiful hotels in Mayfair. It is located on one side of the hotel and serves lunch and dinner in a relaxed yet sophisticated French environment. This review however is about their very famous brunch – one of the most luxurious brunches in London.

Maija rated: 

4.00

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Zeffarano
15 Lowndes Street SW1X 9EY
London
United Kingdom

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When people talk about the best Italian restaurants in London, Zafferano almost always comes up. A lot of people rank Zafferano in their top 3/5 Italian restaurants in London, and in 2009 Tatler ranked it the "Most Consistently Excellent Restaurant.”.

Zafferano opened in 1995 in Belgravia/ Knightsbridge and is located on a relatively quiet street. I have been to Zeffarano a few times over the years, but this was my first visit in the last four years.

During this latest visit, I had quite low expectations when I went there, as I thought it would be overpriced and not very good and very stuck up, being in Knightsbridge, but I was wrong, and I really enjoyed this visit.

Zafferano is quite a big restaurant, but because of the way they have divided the interior space into various dining areas, it feels intimate. There is also a bar where you can enjoy a cocktail, like aperol spritz, before your meal.

Maija rated: 

4.50

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MANI
Rua Joaquim Antunes 210 Jd. Paulistano
São Paulo
Brazil

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Latin American food scene is on the rise and at the moment there are already 2 Brazilian restaurants included in the St Pellegrino top 100 restaurants in the world list and there is a rumor that the Michelin guide is finally coming to Latin America next year to award their stars.  My boyfriend and I were visiting Sao Paulo for 2 days and we had to go to the 2 restaurants that were in the St Pellegrino top 100 restaurants in the world list – D.O.M. and MANI.

 

Maija rated: 

5.00

Location: 

Yashin Ocean House
117 - 119 Old Brompton Road SW7 3RN
London
United Kingdom

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Whenever people ask me which are my favourite Japanese restaurants, I always mention Yashin (MMMMM) as one of them. I was therefore very excited when Yashin opened another restaurant called Yashin Ocean House on Old Brompton Road, South Kensington. Just like Yashin, Yashin Ocean House is a modern Japanese restaurant that serves delicious sushi and other Japanese dishes.

One of the problems with Yashin has always been that it is quite a small restaurant, which does make it intimate, but means you are sometimes quite squeezed in there, and they have taken this on board and Yashin Ocean House is much bigger and feels different to Yashin. Whilst at Yashin half the seats are around the bar where you can watch sushi chefs make the most amazing sushi and sashimi, in Yashin Ocean House you do have some seats by the bar, but you mainly sit by tables.

Maija rated: 

4.00

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Location: 

Beast, The
3 Chapel Place W1C 1HF
London
United Kingdom

The beast is a Norwegian red king crab and hand selected Nebraskan beef restaurant in London. It is located just north of Oxford street by Debenhams and is the new restaurant by the people behind Goodmans and Burger and Lobster. I had heard a lot about this restaurant, it has generated a lot of hype due to its unusual menu.

 

Maija rated: 

4.50

Location: 

Barrafina Covent Garden
10 Adelaide Street WC2N 4HZ
London
United Kingdom

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Barrafina Soho (MMMMM) is one of my favourite restaurants in London, which got this year its first Michelin star (which I think is too little too late… they should have got this years ago). One of the problems with Barrafina is that it is such a small restaurant and queues can be super long (they don’t take any bookings) and so you could wait a long time before getting a table. That is why I was quite excited to hear that Barrafina opened another restaurant a few months ago in Covent Garden, about 10 minutes’ walk from the original Soho branch.

Maija rated: 

4.50

Location: 

The Elephant (brasserie)
3-4 Beacon Hill TQ1 2BH
Torquay
United Kingdom

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The Elephant is a two storey restaurant in Torquay, Devon. There is a more informal brasserie on the ground floor and the 1 Michelin star restaurant on the first floor. My boyfriend had booked a table in the informal brasserie, but when we got there we did really want to try their Michelin restaurant but unfortunately as it was a Saturday and as it is one of the most popular restaurants in Torquay we could not get a table there and so had dinner in the brasserie. We did not mind though as the food was amazing.

Maija rated: 

4.50

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Location: 

The Palomar
34 Rupert Street W1D 6DN
London
United Kingdom

I had a very good meal here and if you like casual but good food, you should come here. The Palomar is located in between Soho and Leicester Square, close to Mayfair and serves the food of modern day Jerusalem (which is influenced by Southern Spain, North Africa and the Levant).

I had booked a table for lunch on a Thursday and when I came here the place was busy. It is small, not easy to notice from outside, situated on a small street. When you walk in there is a 16 seat zinc Kitchen Bar that overlooks the chefs, where you can sit, but we sat at the back in a small dining room which had a nice roof light. Tables are located close to each other, so we actually had a small chat with our neighbors when they waiters brought us their dessert.

Maija rated: 

4.50

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