Thursday, 27 October 2016


It didn't seem that long ago since I last visited Cafe Rouge Hays Galleria to try out their Summer Edition menu. This time, The Autumn Edition menu is filled with warmer, heartier dishes as we move on into the cooler months,

You'd think that we would be tucking into some healthy (sad) salad/smoothie after yoga, but we just skipped that and went straight for the good stuff: warmly welcomed with glasses of Rose Champagne before starting off with the Tarte Flambée, a savoury flat bread with cream cheese, sliced onion and bacon.
Comfortingly warm and crisp, it is also available as a sharing board  which can be shared between 3-4 people.

Moving on to the starters, I have always liked their soupe à l'oignon, but decided to go for something different and instead had one of the new additions to the menu - the Salmon Rillettes, served with pickled fennel and chargrilled sourdough bread. Emma had the twice-baked Brie soufflé which was light, airy and delicious, topped with melted butter and toasted hazelnuts, served on a bed of salad with fresh apple slices.

Sticking to my seafood theme that evening, I ordered the salmon fillet as my main, which had a nice, crunchy skin. It's usually served with buttered spinach but they had unfortunately run out of it. The manager was however nice enough to replace it with french beans which I was happy with, drizzled with lemon and beurre noisette. I had this alongside a glass of chilled Muscadet.
The Steak Frites, using premium Charolais breed, British beef, was tender and pink on the inside, served with garlic butter and frites. There was also a a selection of sauces to add on: both the Bordelaise gravy with bone marrow, and the beef dripping Merlot gravy sounded equally tempting.

For those of you who are in the mood for some meatier dishes, another new addition to the menu is the classic Bœuf Bourguignon that would be perfect for chillier autumn/winter days. And I've also been told that the Poulet Breton is pretty good too ... you'll definitely be spoilt for choice.

They have a good selection of sweet desserts, but we narrowed our choices down to the Rum Baba , a light sponge cake soaked in rum sauce, and the Tarte aux Pommes, a scrumptious warm apple tart with tarte tatin ice cream.
Both of them were really tasty, but if I had to choose, then the tart was definitely my favourite.

This was my second visit to the Hays Galleria branch which is a lovely central venue situated on the bank of the River Thames. Service is good and they also have relaxing outdoor seating that would be great on warmer days, or maybe whilst sipping away on a warm glass of mulled wine - it's not too early to get excited about Christmas, right?

Feel free to read my previous posts about Cafe Rouge Hays Galleria and Cafe Rouge Kew Bridge

The Cheekster, signing out x

The meal was complimentary, but views remain my own.

Café Rouge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 17 October 2016


Having weekdays off work has it's perks, and I decided to take the opportunity to pop down to Padella for their much talked about pasta.
We are sat by the window, along the lovely marble counter, with a view of the ever-growing queue outside.

I ordered a glass of Chiaretto Rosé 2015, wishing that it was summer again, whilst WK had the Aperol Spritz, that I ended up helping to finish - because that's what friends are for.

The food menu, listed on a single sheet, is pretty brief and straight-forward: Antipasti, Pasta and Pudding.
We started with the Burrata with Puglian olive oil which was soft and creamy, and the Salame "Lovison" that had a nice balance of lean meat and white fat and a nice peppery taste. I was really tempted to order the Padella sourdough bread as well but I held back to save space for the pasta.

Being slightly over-ambitious, we decided to try four pasta dishes between the two of us - I don't eat pasta that often so I like to go all out and indulge myself every now and again ...
The tagliatelle with smoked eel and Amalfi lemon was my favourite - tasty pieces of eel playing hide and seek in between ribbons of pasta that were cooked al dente, all mixed together in a sauce that was creamy yet not too heavy.
The Pici cacio & pepe was one on my list to order after I had seen it appear numerous times on my Instagram- a thick, hand-rolled pasta that originated from Tuscany made from just flour and water. Kind of like irregular shaped fat spaghetti with a denser texture, simply coated in a cheese and pepper sauce - simple and delicious.
I do love pappardelle and this was stirred together with rich and comforting Dexter beef shin ragu.
The tagliatelle with nduja is definitely one for those who love a spicy kick in their food. As someone who can tolerate a reasonable amount of heat in my food, you can be sure that this is not for the untrained tongue - interesting, but I personally preferred the other pasta dishes. 

You'd think that we would have been too stuffed to have dessert, but a meal just feels incomplete without something sweet to finish off ...
There were three choices from which we selected two: a classic chocolate tart that was seriously indulgent, and an Affogato.

We went for an early lunch, arriving just a few minutes before they opened at 12noon, and there was already a queue forming outside, so I would definitely recommend going early or popping in for a late lunch, or an early dinner whichever suits you best ...

Prompt service, good food and affordable prices - I envy those who live/work close-by ...
I'll definitely be back for more pici, despite their 'squiggly worm' appearance (it's the taste that matters!), and will finally book myself in for a visit to their original Trullo branch.
So much food, so little time. 

Padella is one of many great venues in London that offer counter dining, giving diners a different experience: catch the chefs in action in the kitchen, and if you're lucky, you can avoid the queues of people who prefer table seating. I do enjoy a bit of counter dining, especially if I'm dining out solo, and it's good to see that more places/people are embracing this culture.

You can read more about Bookatable's latest campaign, The Counter Dining Revolution here.

The Cheekster, signing out x

The meal was complimentary, but views remain my own.

Padella Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 12 October 2016


I have to admit that I never been one to frequent pubs that often, despite the many hidden gems that are in abundance in London, and Fuller's Kitchen was the perfect way to get me re-acquainted with what I had been missing out on.
Recognised for the craftsmanship and heritage behind their range of award-winning beers, their kitchens are one of their best kept secrets and are equally deserving of the spotlight. 

Currently being run in 100 of their pubs nationwide, Fuller's Kitchen aim to create bespoke dining experiences in some pretty stunning locations.
 Each day in Fuller’s Kitchen, there are new menus that are individually signed by the Head Chef along with a changing selection of Signature Dishes, created by in house kitchen teams. The menus are always seasonal and almost always local, some even feature their own beers, like London Porter smoked salmon and Frontier-battered cod.

Their Secret Supper, which was my first taste of Fuller's food, was held at the beautiful Sail Loft in Greenwich, the latest pub from brewery experts Fuller's. 
Located just a stone's throw away from Cutty Sark, this riverside pub boasts amazing views across the River Thames through to Canary Wharf, with an outdoor terrace that would be ideal for warmer summer days. 

Having lived in London for over four years, I am embarrassed to say that amongst many places, this was my first time venturing to that part of London. Coincidentally, food appears to be the reason on most occasions that I would be motivated enough to spend an hour trekking across London. So if you ever need to entice me somewhere ...

There was a brief introduction by Head of Food at Fuller’s, Paul Dickinson, and Head Chef Gavin before a selection of starters were brought to the table. My favourites were the West Mersea oysters which were really fresh, served with shallot vinaigrette, and the roasted octopus with chorizo jam, confit fennel and crispy capers - I could definitely do with a whole jar of that chorizo jam ...

For mains, both me and WK decided to go for the fish dishes. I had the roasted whole sea bream, lightly seasoned and topped with a generous portion of wild mushrooms, artichokes, salsify and kale ragout. 
The North Atlantic pan fried hake was just as tasty, served with sweet corn bisque and sauteed baby vegetables.
I was initially tempted by the roasted duck breast which I eyed hungrily from across the table as other diners tucked into it, followed by murmurs of approval.

Unfortunately we were slightly pressed for time and had to rush off just before the desserts were served - *HUGE SIGH*
Although they were kind enough to pack a couple of brownies into my goody bag, which satisfied my sweet-tooth on the journey home.

 I would definitely recommend a visit if you're lucky enough to live locally, if not, there are plenty more Fuller's Kitchen venues that you can search on their website here.
And here's a random tip if you're alighting from Cutty Sark station on the DLR - move towards the middle carriage if you want to avoid missing your stop like I did. Short platforms and all that ... Thankfully missing tube (or DLR) stops aren't quite as bad as missing rail station stops.

The Cheekster, signing out x

The meal was complimentary, but views remain my own.