Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Eat Tokyo (Old Compton St): where it's not the one and uni

Eat Tokyo restaurants are peppered around the city and they've been around for quite some time now. I've always passed by the ones near Holborn/Trafalgar Square but have never really visited a branch myself, until they opened a branch next to my favourite cocktail bar in Soho (LAB) and queues snaked around the street. I have an abhorrence towards "no reservations" restaurants taking over the city, because this means queuing and sometimes the wait ain't worth the weight.

ET is bookable (hallelujah!) but the queues are still crazy, which should say something non? I booked a table to jump the queue, walked in (ignoring dagger looks from people who've been waiting for yonks), only to be told to wait out (ignoring smug looks from people who've been waiting for yonks). After a few minutes, we were told our table was ready so we walked in once again with smug looks on our faces, ignoring evil eyes from people who've been waiting for yonks.

The gindara marinated in miso paste was quite palatable. There wasn't much of it but the sablefish was melt-in-your mouth good.

I always get excited to see takoyaki on the menu as it's something I crave on a regular basis. Eat Tokyo's version got me all excited when placed on our table. The bonito flakes danced like we were watching, showing off their flexibility and taunting us with how good looking they were. Which is why it was such a disappointment biting into these octopus balls. Dissected a piece and it was all dough and the teeniest piece of tentacle from a baby octopus.

We ordered some salmon skin rolls which frightened the life of me in terms of presentation. I wanted to chop off the extended cucumber and sad lettuce leaves off. The salmon skin itself wasn't as crunchy as I'd hope and the drizzled teriyaki sauce made it too sweet for my liking.

We ordered some seared tuna dish off their "specials" menu. I thought the dish was slightly over than how I'd like it, but the ponzu dressing was decent enough to liven the whole dish.

We had some cuts of sashimi a la carte, which we laughed about as they were literally 'on sale' (30-40% off!) Our boat included three cuts of tuna (normal, chutoro and o-toro), salmon and yellow tail.

I personally enjoyed the chutoro (medium fatty) which tasted fresh. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I dropped the o-toro (fatty) on the table and refused to enforce the 3-second rule but my dates said wasn't too good. The salmon and the yellow tail were just average.

I specifically wanted some uni (it was on sale too, haha!) and this, by far, was the best thing I had on the menu. All things considered, it still tasted fresh and delicious. That umami flavour was very prominent and I had to refrain myself from not sharing.


I get why people visit: it's decent enough Japanese that won't break the bank and the menu is absolutely extensive. Eat Tokyo is cheap (they do make value for money bento boxes and they have sale prices after a certain hour) but not necessarily cheery unless you bring your buddies. Service can be slightly abrupt as the place gets quite hectic but you're there for the food anyway. I thought the food was more on the average side than something I'd queue up for, but I'd go back if I had intense uni cravings for sure.

Eat Tokyo (Soho)
16 Old Compton St, London W1D
Ave spend pp: £25

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Friday, 22 May 2015

Kusmi x Jean Paul Gaultier

If there's one thing I've developed in the UK, it's got to be the tea o'clock habit. Bang on the dot at three, I've got to have my little cuppa with a wee biscuit. 

When I lived in Asia, I used to drink iced tea with every meal (mostly powdered/instant *blames the Americans and runs out the door*) but I'd only ever drink proper tea when my family would visit yum cha houses. My appreciation of the actual thing stems from giving up coffee for lent a few years back and a former flatmate introduced me to a relatively healthier caffeine alternative (delicate loose leaf from her travels). Since then, I've started drinking less coffee and more tea. 

Kusmi Tea is a Parisian-based brand of tea specialising in Russian-style blends and offer a wide variety of traditional favourites and wellness brews (including the infamous BB Detox tea that's meant to help you get the glow and flush toxins away). 

The founder, Pavel Kousmichoff, created some recipes favoured by Russian royals and, to this day, the fashion and beauty crowd. They're very big on Earl Grey tea, blending and creating concoctions with this black tea base to celebrate the brand's Russian roots.

They've recently collaborated with designer Jean Paul Gaultier to re-dress two of their famous blends, Anastasia (black tea, bergamot, lemon and orange blossom) and Prince Wladmir (Earl Grey, citrus, vanilla and spices). The packaging is so JPG and so purrrty, non? You can't go wrong with anything nautical in my book (I've recently done a wardrobe sort and the amount of breton/stripey tops I've accumulated through the years is rather alarming).

You can find Kusmi's London shop along Marylebone High Street. The place is cosy and colourful with their brightly packaged blends on display, as well as an offering of cakes and treats you can munch on while enjoying your tea of choice.

Photo by the lovely Chopstick Panorama

Kusmi Tea London
15 Marylebone High St, London W1U

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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Lipstick Love: Chanel Rouge Coco 406 Antoinette

I'm a huge fan of Chanel's new Rouge Coco range. The colours (named after Coco Chanel's inspirational friends, lovers, and artists) are much more versatile and the formulation is very lip-friendly as each tube is enriched with mimosa, jojoba and sunflower plant butters. There's also a hydraboost complex which gives it a sort of plumping effect. 

I've been wearing Antoinette for quite a few months now and it's become one of my favourite lippies of all time - dare I say it shares the top spot with Stila Beso for its wearability.

Antoinette: A warm, coppery halfway tone between brown and red which I adore. Speckled with teeny bits of shimmery stuff which makes your lips look glossier than usual. Colour starts sheer but it's easily buildable, so you can go darker as you wish.

Finish: Satiny with a bit of gloss

Application: Creamy and very easy to glide.

Retouch: 1-2 times: two strokes in the morning, two extra strokes after afternoon tea. Two extra strokes if you're going out, too. 
Sans flash
With flash

Have you tried Chanel's new Rouge Coco range? Which one's your favourite?

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Friday, 15 May 2015

#RonWithHoney: the wedding Same Day Edit video

I have no words. Thank you so much, Bob Nicolas.

Ron and Honey SDE from H de G on Vimeo.

Infinity times infinity.

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Monday, 11 May 2015

Shackfuyu (Old Compton St): where we found our match(a)

Let me tell you about the time the Foodie Superheroes finally managed to visit Bone Daddies' latest pop-up, Shackfuyu. Conveniently situated next to my favourite cocktail bar in Soho (Lab) this venture aims to highlight trendy Japanese food with a twist.

As mentioned previously, our first attempt failed so we ended up feasting at Morada Brindisa Asador, but all's well that ends well and we managed to grab a table for all of us (plus a new recruit), hassle-free.

Nursed a Ringo Starr (£7.5) to set the night off. It's a pre-bottled hit of gin, sake and apple juice which was quite refreshing - exactly what one needs after a long week at work.

We started with a round of yellowtail sashimi tostado with avocado shiso (£2.5 a piece) which I could absolutely have by the plateful. 

I had mine in one go and it just burst with such freshness and texture, I had to refrain from giggling like a school girl.

The hot stone rice (£7.8) reminded me of many childhood visits in Kimpura, a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant in Manila where my parents would rejoice in my ability to enjoy rice as it was the only way I'd eat it. Shakfuyu's may not compare but it's as close as it can get. A well-balanced bowl of aromatics and texture, this is definitely a winner in my book.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the aubergine marinated in miso (£5.8). A testament to Shackfuyu's smart play on texture, these sweet and smoky melt-in-your-mouth aubergine strips were pleasantly lifted with a sprinkle of crispy bubu arare (puffed rice). Please order this when you visit.

Opinions were divided on the mac and cheese (£5.4). I'm partial to classic mac-n'-cheese recipes but Shackfuyu's twist of mentaiko (fish roe) and cock scratchings was quite interesting. It's not at all unpleasant but it isn't something I'd prefer to order next time around.

I thoroughly enjoyed the beef picanha (£12.5) although the other half of our table had theirs a bit overdone. The kimchee tare butter sauce was pretty tasty, and I don't even like sauce with my beef.

(Pardon the dark photos coming up, with bloggers torching for other 'grammers, it was difficult to find light in such settings.)

One of the popular dishes on the menu is the prawn toast masquerading as okonomiyaki (£5.2) and though I do get the appeal, it's not one of my favourites. Don't take my word for it, though. I'm really not keen on prawn toast. Even if it's topped with bonito flakes and Kewpie.

Fried potatoes (£4.3) are always good, but heaps better with Japanese curry. Nothing like a good bowl of hearty, crispy-outside-fluffy-inside tots to liven up a meal.

Of course, we had to conclude our feast with the ubiquitous Kinako French toast (£6) Search #Shackfuyu on Instagram and without a doubt, varied angles of this dish will highly populate your feed. The French toast is inexplicably dense yet light and full of buttery, syrupy flavour. This is the type of stodge you'd make time and make room in your belly for. 

As a sweet gesture, we were given five extra pots of matcha ice cream (they had some issues with the soft serve machine and some of us had to wait for the ice cream) which was a very sweet (har har) gesture indeed. Brave the queues for this one, folks. Finding your match(a) is definitely worth the weight.

Overall Shackfuyu follows on the success of the other BoneDaddies ventures, but I honestly think they should find a permanent home sooner than later because that French toast alone is worthy of all the investments of an institution.

L-R: Chopstick Panorama, Bloomzy, French Gourmet's bouffant, Alex, E Cooks, A Certain Adventure, Wander to Wonder, Girl Next Shore. Hecticophilia took the photo.

14a Old Compton St, London W1D
Average spend pp: £30
Follow them on Twitter and on Instagram. See other reviews on Zomato.
Click to add a blog post for Bone Daddies Shackfuyu on Zomato

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Thursday, 7 May 2015

Bob Bob Ricard (Soho): where GirlNextShore x FreshandFearless got bubbly

I’ve avoided Bob Bob Ricard for the longest time as the place evoked rather unpleasant memories over the years. My last visit was back in 2009 with a former friend who made the meal uncomfortable and least enjoyable by suggesting inappropriate sexual innuendos. Even the restaurant's name had me conjuring images of a cross-breed of a playboy oligarch and a mafia wannabe... in neon trunks. 

Six years later, Aftab from Fresh and Fearless suggested a rendezvous at BBR. I obliged, ready to make a new friend and form a better opinion of the restaurant.

Fact: no matter how prim and proper you're suited up, your inner rebel will always come out whenever you see the words "Press button".

So we did...

...and got ourselves some nice, refreshing rosé bubbly.

Bread and butter

For starters, Aftab had the potato and mushroom vareniki (£8.5). These traditional Russian dumplings were melt-in-your-mouth bursting with flavour. Speckled with enough truffle to have a sense of indulgence, but restrained and refined to let all ingredients marry well. I had to stop myself from forking out another piece off his plate.

My beetroot and goat cheese salad (£10.5) was a winner, too. This classic combination never fails to rein the sunshine in my books and BBR's offering surprised me with massive rays. The cheese mousse was so delicate against the earthy wafer-thin beetroot slivers.

Aftab opted for a the crispy baby chicken (£24.5) which, I must admit, was presented like a glorified pub dinner. The taste, however, was quite flavoursome as the rosemary and garlic pushed through the moist chicken.

I picked the filet mignon rosini (£29.5) which came with seared foie gras, confit apple, a variety of purée, and truffle gravy. I asked for my 28-day scotch beef to be cooked rare, but the server suggested it's best medium rare. I decided to trust her...

...but I guess I should've trusted my instincts more. My steak had a nice flavour to it but I really should've gone for rare, as always. The foie, however, was seared nicely and I even managed to get Aftab to try it for the first time (!) The truffle was a bit lost in the gravy, but I'm not one for sauce on steak anyway. I didn't care much for the confit apple, but it did cut through the richness of my dish.

After mains, it was my turn to push the button. Finally got to live my "press button to eject teacher" fantasies. Not that I disliked any of my professors...

...but I kinda wish they'd taught us how nice champagne was from the get go.
Brut for me, prosecco for Fresh & Fearless.

We shared the BBR Signature Chocolate Glory (£12.50). Initial thought: "Ooh, the Golden Snitch!" #potterfan. The server asked if we were ready and like kids about to enter a candy shop, we nodded.

Snitchy cracked open...

...and revealed Pandora's Box of chocolate mousse, chocolate brownies, passionfruit and orange jelly, currants and berries. Have one for yourself if you have a massive sweet tooth but you can easily share this with someone else as it's befittingly rich.

Aftab got a little something extra to celebrate his birthday week: a miniature sponge with all the sparkles you can think of. If I'm being honest, I actually prefer the cake over the chocolate glory as it was less sweeter.

That night, I left Bob Bob Ricard with a better memory. Service was particularly great, if not saccharinely sweet, so all rumours of snooty particulars have been flushed away. The price wasn't as extortionate as expected although admittedly, it's not a place I'd go to every day if I had to spare £80 for dinner. The food was nice enough, though I reckon we could've ordered better things on the menu. 

Bob Bob Ricard
1 Upper James St, London, W1F
Ave. spend pp: £80
Follow them on Instagram and on Twitter. View their menu on Zomato.

We ended up rounding off the night at my favourite cocktail bar, Lab, for a couple of pornstar martinis which we chased away with more bubbly. 

Fresh and Fearless x Girl Next Shore (pardon the permazit)

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