Thursday, 16 May 2013

“8 HOURS” baked tomatoes in sweet Oloroso - what a dish!! @ Cambio de Tercio-Tendido Cero-Tendido Cuatro-Capote & Toros.

I went to Cambio de Tercio the other night after work with Andy and experienced some really unique and exciting dishes!! 

Since the opening in 1995, Cambio De Tercio has concentrated on Modern Spanish cuisine.
The restaurant is located on Old Brompton Road, the nearest tube is South Kensington.

The interior of the restaurant is bursting with personality. 
Filled with bright colours and huge Spanish paintings which look really effective and bold on the vibrant walls.

Andy had been here before and hadn't shut up about it. He knew exactly what to order but we also went for a few wild cards too. He had not stopped going on about the '8 hour Tomatoes' so these were definitely on our list!

We sat down to eat at 7pm and by 7.30 the restaurant was totally full! I really loved the buzzing atmosphere, it seemed like this was the place to be......and it was :)

We started off with two glasses of house Cava which was refreshing and exactly what you need after a long day at work. 

And then we were on to the wine :)

Andy chose this and assured me I would love it.

It was really beautiful, we have similar tastes in wine.

Happy times, bring on the food :)

We started with this -

The famous deconstructed Spanish Omelette from EL BULLI (El Bulli was a Michelin 3-star restaurant in Catalonia, Spain. It was voted one of the best restaurants in the world but is now closed)

Think warm gooey cheese omelette .....but that doesn't do it justice. It was soooooo delicious and different and YUMMY. 

Next we had .....

Sardines marinated in sherry vinegar, Arbequina olives, baby gems and Martini Rosso jelly.

This was a wild card. It didn't amaze me. 
It was too strong in flavour but it gave the wine a real kick! 

And now the dish I had been waiting for..........

8 hour Tomatoes!!! 

Baked tomatoes in sweet Oloroso - Oloroso ("scented" in Spanish) is a variety of fortified wine.



I was in a good place :)

It tasted like a kind of sweet tomato jam, each mouthful just melted in your mouth!

What a great idea and such a unique 'signature dish' to promote the restaurant.

I will be going back for more very soon!!!! 

Next up, one of my favourites! 

I was really looking forward to this and it did not disappoint.

The octopus was juicy and just perfect :) but ooohhhhh the sauce!!! The cheesy, potato sauce was amaaaaaaaaazing, similar flavours to the El Bulli dish.

Time for some MEAT........

Grilled lamb cutlets!

They were tender, pink and bursting with flavour.

And to finish our Spanish journey......

Crispy Serrano ham Croquettes, thyme and tomato sauce.

Andy was full up so I ate them ALL!!!!! Soooooo goooooooooooood, really appealing to the child within :)

What a FANTASTIC meal!!!! 

I couldn't manage dessert but we were given complimentary chocolates which were HEAVENLY.
I also ate all of these so as you can imagine it finished the meal off well!

You can really take your time in a restaurant like this, each course is exciting and full of different and exciting flavours. That's what is so lovely about the Spanish style of eating.

If you like Spanish food you MUST check this place out!!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Sunday goooooooodtimes at 'The Crown Tavern' on Clerkenwell Green

It was my friends birthday on Sunday and we arranged a big get-together with friends and family to celebrate!
As the weather was going to be nice and warm we wanted to find a place where we could all eat outside.
My friend Laura was also bringing her tiny two month old baby so the venue had to be baby friendly and not too busy.......hmmmm this is hard to find in London on a warm day!

I remembered a pub me and Andy had been to in the winter that did AMAZING roasts and they had an outside seating area too, it's located on Clerkenwell Green and is a bit of a hidden gem.

It's a really gorgeous, old gastro pub in a lovely part of London, right by an old church and surrounded by trees and traditional London phone boxes.....the perfect place to unwind, relax and enjoy the sun.

We managed to put a few tables together outside which was perfect!

We started off with a couple of meat boards:
Meat board - Trealy Farm meats, cured beef, scotched quails eggs, olives, bread & oil

And a few plates of squid:
Salt & pepper squid with lime mayonnaise

The squid was sooooo delicious, most of it vanished within minuets! The meat board was very generous and really tasty, we all just shared the plates around and snacked for a while.
We ordered several bottles of Prosecco too.......of course ;)

For main courses most of us ordered beef roasts, yummmmmm.
21 day aged, West Country beef all served with homemade Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables & red wine gravy

Other main courses:

Chicken Caesar salad with croutons, anchovies & house Caesar dressing £9.75
Cider & tarragon battered cod & skin-on chips with crushed peas & tartare £11.00
Handmade British cheese burger & fries add bacon £1.25 / BBQ pulled pork £2.50 £10.25
Wild salmon fish cakes, lemon creme fraiche, potato wedges, celeriac & apple slaw £10.50
Gnocchi with wild mushrooms, roasted squash, spinach & cannellini beans £11.00
Southern fried chicken with fries, apple slaw & a house pickle dip £14.00
8oz 21 day aged rib-eye steak with fries, baked tomato & watercress £17.50
~ add peppercorn / Bearnaise sauce £2

A great selection.

I remembered the roasts being really good and as I had recommended the pub I was hoping they wouldn't let me down!!

The roasts arrived.......

Everyone was was really pleased!! My beef was succulent and tender and the red wine gravy was rich and full of flavour. The carrots were sweet, juicy and perfectly cooked.....I did miss my favourite creamed leeks but you can't have it all! There was a side order available of this but after all that squid I don't think I
could have managed much more!

It was such a lovely day!! The surrounds are so peaceful you forget you're in hectic London!

My friend Laura and her baby Jude, awwww so cute.

The inside of the pub is absolutely beautiful and full of charm.

It's hard to find a place like this where you can spend the whole day in such a quiet and pretty environment. Usually most beer gardens or al fresco dining areas are packed on a hot day, with different groups of friends all boozing and being loud. Jeez I sound like an old lady but sometimes you just want to chill out somewhere calm and spacious.

On the next hot day we have here in London you will find me back at 'The Crown Tavern' drinking Prosecco and taking advantage of the fantastic menu....I will definitely be ordering more of that squid!!

Friends, family, booze and good food. Fab day :)

Friday, 3 May 2013

Transport yourself to Barcelona @ Pix Pintxos Soho

I went to watch a show last night (Thursday) at the Soho Theatre with my friend Katherine. The show finished at 9pm and as we had been drinking a fair amount of booze all evening, and were a feeling little tipsy, we decided to grab a bite to eat.
It was a lovely warm night and Katherine had been telling me all about her adventures in San Sebastian Basque Country Spain, as she had recently come back from travelling around Europe with her boyfriend. This got us both craving Tapas and Red wine!

We decided to go to a place called Pix which is inspired by the pintxo bars of Barcelona and San Sebastian and it was only around the corner........perfect!

There a few Tapas bars to choose from in Soho, it seems this is becoming the new, trendy way of eating.

Pintxos (pronounced peen-chos, meaning ‘thorn’ or ‘spike’) are a kind of Basque-country bar snack, held together by a skewer and served in a shot glass, ramekin dish, or on crusty bread.
The concept.....

As we walked in we could see the Tapas selection, it looked delicious and we couldn't wait to try these little, Spanish creations.
It was packed with a great buzz to the atmosphere. We were greeted by a friendly waiter who, luckily, had 2 spaces left at the back of the restaurant!

He explained how it all worked and gave us 2 plates.
The drinks list is designed to showcase some of the best wines and Cava that Spain has to offer – or you can try their traditional pintxo cider for the authentic experience.

We ordered 2 glasses of the house Rioja and then went to get our Pintxo treats! :)

Hmmmm what to choose..........


 As you can see there was a great choice!!!

We only wanted a few dishes (sticks) to share.
We went for ......
1 brie, pancetta and foire gras mousse
1 chili chicken kebabs with mint and coriander sauce
1 spinach and sweet potato tortilla
1 Iberico ham (on crusted bread) which I had never tried before but Katherine had it in Spain and said I MUST try it.

The house wine we were given was really nice, very fruity which I love and it went perfectly with our little dishes.

The Tapas was delicious, my personal favourite was the brie, pancetta and foire gras mousse yummmmmm. They were all really tasty!!
We shared each 'stick' which was fun and took our time between chatting and sipping our wine.
I could have stayed in there for hours, drinking more wine and going up for more food. I noticed they kept bringing more plates of Tapas out so there were new things to try! Dangerous, I wanted to try it all!

The ambiance of Pix was fantastic. It's a such a fun place to catch up and relax with friends and a great concept of casual dining - just how it's done in Spain!

The bill was £22 which I thought was pretty reasonable! As we only had a light bite I would suggest getting 4/5 sticks per person, so you're looking at roughly 12 - £15 on food, depending on what you choose.

There were desserts too, different types of cakes on sticks and lots of interesting mouses, espresso chocolate cups and summer fruits with chantilly cream in shot glasses plus a few other interesting ones that I want to go back and try ;)
I'm sure the hotter the days get in London the busier Soho will get so be prepared to wait for a seat but once you're in it's totally worth it!

There is also a PIX in Covent Garden.

I will be going back for sure!