Tag Archives: restaurants

Dinner and cocktails at Mamounia Lounge Mayfair

A little while ago we headed across London to Mamounia Lounge Mayfair for dinner and cocktails. They’d invited us down to sample the new Chef Specials and who am I, queen of fusion, to turn down the opportunity to try a new take on Lebanese and Morrocan food?

Word of warning – my photos are seriously awful. It’s super dark in Mamounia Lounge which I like but that means my poor phone couldn’t snap a decent shot :(

Thankfully unlike my take on fusion, which is usually accidental and only happens because I’ve run out of ingredients and sure cumin is going to work just fine with leftover Vietnamese basil, the fusion dishes at Mamounia Lounge actually worked.

It was a Saturday evening so naturally we started the night with cocktails. You don’t generally associate Lebanese or Moroccan restaurants with excellent cocktails so I was surprised to see an extensive list of options to choose from. I tried the classic Mamounia which was like a mojito. It was excellent; incredibly sharp with an underlying sweetness to take the edge off the acidity. Similarly Alex’s Charlie Sheen was far more flavoursome than I expected; I’m not one for fruity cocktails but I could have drunk those all night.

After a round of drinks we tucked into a couple of starters. The homous with truffle was presented beautifully and had just the right amount of truffle. When it comes to homous I’m a traditionalist, but as I eat homous all the time it was good to go out and eat something different to what I eat most days of the week.

The second starter we shared were the sardines. I love sardines but they’re often presented in an unappetising manner and that puts some people off. This is definitely a dish even newbie sardine fans can enjoy. Even my nan would have liked them as they weren’t too fishy!

Personally I think starters are the best part of every meal so I easily could have ordered everything on the menu and enjoyed a mezze main. However we were keen to try more of the fusion menu so we ordered the sea bass and the stuffed vegetables to share.

There were two pieces of sea bass on the plate alongside some vegetables. This was plenty for me but those with larger appetites might need a side or two. Alex ate most of the stuffed vegetables but the mouthfuls I had were really good. Each vegetable was stuffed with a different filling, so even vegetarians get a bit of variety for once!

Pretty full we were just going to share a selection of briouat for dessert, but we were tempted into trying the chocolate fondant too. The fondant was cooked perfectly and the briouat went down nicely alongside a welcome glass of mint tea.

This isn’t the usual type of place I’d visit but I had a thoroughly lovely time. The service was excellent and on a Saturday night the live music and belly dancer make it a really fun place to visit. I’m looking forward to going back one summer evening for shisha on the pavement upstairs!

Our meal at Mamounia Lounge Mayfair was complimentary but as usual my views are all my own honest thoughts. A big thank you to Abby for organising and to everyone at Mamounia Lounge Mayfair for a lovely evening.

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After visiting VOC for cocktails (much earlier this year!) we popped across to Camino to tuck into tapas and drink some sherry.

We opted for a small carafe of sherry and it was much nicer than the Bergamot Grog I had next door.

I’d never been to Camino before but it had been on my agenda for a while. I’ve since gone back a number of times; Kings Cross is an ideal halfway meeting point for some of my friends so when we want an easy Saturday night catch-up we’ll often head here.

Tapas tends to be expensive and disappointing in London once you’ve experienced the real deal in Spain, but Camino is a welcome change and a great addition to the Kings Cross restaurant scene. That night we shared six dishes, including my favourite Mahón frito (cow cheese fritters with tomato jam) and left pleasantly full.

Tapas is for sharing and every time I have been I have been in the presence of a vegetarian, so although I can’t comment on the meat they do have a good choice of vegetarian options which is always nice to see. Just like in Barcelona I didn’t miss the meat as the vegetarian options were delicious in their own right. The Crema Catalan is almost as good as Pizarro’s which is as good a sign as any.

Tapas never works out cheap but it was a reasonable price for a lovely meal. Six dishes between two is enough, but you can always add to that throughout the night if there are too many things on the menu that you fancy.

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My Twinterview with London Living

Last week I participated in a ‘Twinterview’ with London Living (not to be confused with London is Living, which is me). It was great fun and I got to talk about my favourite areas, pubs and places in London.

All the questions and answers are published on London Living but here is the bulk of the interview. Let me know if you agree / disagree with my suggestions!

Q1. Hello @londonisliving! First up – you live and work in North London but what do you love most about the area?

@EastVillageLDN good question – I think I have to say the numerous independent shops and restaurants that are a hub for the local community

Q2. We’ve seen you’re the lucky owner of a famous Blue Peter Badge! May we ask just how you acquired such a prized possession, londonisliving?

It’s classified information I’m afraid but sticky back plastic obviously played a part!

Q3. Ha ha! Okay, what’s on your London to-do list over the next few months, londonisliving?

I’m looking forward to the Lowry exhibition at the Tate and Murder in the Library at the British Library

Q4. Sounds good, londonisliving! Leaving London aside for a minute, where’s your favourite foreign city and why do you love it?

Istanbul – it’s hip and happening, has an incredible history and the architecture is beautiful. The food is great too!

Q5. Would love to go, londonisliving! You blog about cooking – which London restaurant is really floating your boat at the moment?

Ciao Bella (Bloomsbury) for Italian,Jose_Pizarro (Bermondsey) for tapas & I really need to try steak at HawksmoorLondon!

Q6. A fantastic range! Looks like you’re big on design too; know any good second hand furniture joints / design exhibitions on, londonisliving?

Local boot sales are great for bargain buys – they get your imagination going too.

Q7. On the subject of secret stuff, where’s your favourite secret London gem,londonisliving? It can be anything!

It’s probably the worst kept ‘secret’ London gem, but the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice in Postman’s Park is lovely.

Q8. We’ve not been yet! The Faltering Fullback in Finsbury Park is a great North London pub, but where’s your favourite boozer, londonisliving?

Heading towards your way I like The Hemingway Pub in Hackney for post Victoria Park picnic drinks in the summer

Q9. Great shout! Where’s your favourite London venue for a live gig / boogie afterwards, londonisliving?

I’m cheating because I’ve never been, but I reckon UnionChapelUK would beat all mainstream venues easily.

Q10. And finally, tell us what your favourite London Is For Living blog post is and why, londonisliving?

My Japanese food feast as it took ages to make http://bit.ly/140CyET & this sign as it makes me giggle! http://bit.ly/Tg6wTn 

Pizarro Bermondsey

Before Christmas I took a day off work to have a wander around London with a good friend.

We started the day with lunch at Pizarro Bermondsey (194 Bermondsey Street). Bermondsey Street is famed for its independent shops and restaurants, and there’s a great buzz on Saturday nights. Turns out you can still have fun on a Monday (who knew?) and after walking up and down Bermondsey Street trying to decide what we fancied to eat, we finally settled down at Pizarro.

José Pizarro was the Chef Partner at Tapas Brindisa in Borough Market, which should give you an idea of his influences. His sherry and tapas bar, José, is also on Bermondsey Street although it offers a very different experience to Pizarro. If you are happy to stand and balance plates on your glass give it a go, but if you want a longer, leisurely meal and a chance to have a good catch-up with a friend head to Pizarro down the road.

Since visiting Barcelona last year I’ve been trying to find a taste of Spain back in London and I finally found it with Pizarro. The menu is short, seasonal and changes regularly. My favourite dishes were the sardines (fresh and simple) and the Crema Catalana (decadent and sweet) although I enjoyed everything we tried.

Pizarro also offer a three course lunch menu which costs £20. It’s excellent value for the food on offer. Wine is also reasonably priced and there’s a good selection that’s available by the glass, because who can face a whole bottle of wine at lunch on a Monday?! A glass of house red (more than sufficient for my unrefined palate) was perfect – it tasted more like Ribena than vinegar, easily passing my litmus test.

After lunch we walked back along the Southbank until will came across the Christmas market, which was rather disappointing. After browsing the stalls we bought some mulled wine before saying our final goodbyes and heading home. If only every Monday could be spent this way!

Pizarro on Urbanspoon

the breakfast club

The Breakfast Club, Spitalfields

Ever eaten in The Breakfast Club? Sure, the queue for breakfast is always out the door – but they do bring you shots of smoothies while you wait. It is a great place to meet friends and I heartily recommend the full vegetarian; it comes with pancakes and maple syrup, and the scrambled eggs are the best I have ever had.

the breakfast club

the breakfast club

We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.
The Breakfast Club

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