Wednesday, 27 July 2016

FRENCH BURGERS AT THE BIG FERNAND

It was my birthday last weekend (incase I hadn't mentioned it enough) so naturally I spent Saturday & Sunday doing my very favourite thing: eating. 

Over the course of the two days we managed to make our way around four restaurants and one of my favourites was this beautiful creation:
The Big Fernand is apparently THE place for burgers over in Paris and it's now made its way across the channel to challenge our perceptions of what a good burger should be.

The chips are called French chips (notably not French fries) and are double-cooked and sprinkled lovingly with a good coating of what I imagine to be paprika salt seasoning...
Salty and soft with just a little crunch...exactly how I like them.
The burgers though. Wow.

There's several choices on the menu including lamb, beef and veal and a whole host of different cheeses (a essential for any true French foodie).

My burger came filled with caramelised onions, raclette cheese, streaky bacon and home-made BBQ and cocktail sauces, providing just the right amount of salt and chin-dribbling goodness. 
Another favourite was the L'Alphonse burger, filled with lamb, aubergine, Tomme de Savoie and mayo...

which if you're feeling hungry, you can double up for a more meaty bite...
We ate outside but if you head indoors, the whole place is decked out like your great aunt's house.

Think floral, shabby chic with mish-matched furniture. 


And do your self a favourite and order one of the 'Sassy' ciders....
In my humble opinion these are bloody good burgers.
Not quite on par with my favourite burger in London (looking at you Bleeker Black) but it's certainly got our seal of approval....
Big Fernand
19 Percy Street
London, W1T 1DY


Big Fernand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
SHARE:

Monday, 25 July 2016

#CONNECTEDBYOT: GRAIN STORE

I have to start this blog-post with a confession. 

I'm ashamed to admit that I've sort of been avoiding this restaurant for a while now....
Let me explain. 

I always assumed (wrongly) that Grain Store was a vegetarian restaurant. Not that there is anything wrong with that - it's just always been lower on my priorities list because I am one hell of a carnivore. 

Well it turns out that the head chef Bruno Loubet is on a mission to celebrate vegetables, making them the star of the plate, without completely banishing meat from his menu. Which means everyone is happy, right?
I was invited down as part of OpenTable's 'Transatlantic Tables' project. In an effort to celebrate dining experiences on both sides of the pond, OpenTable (the restaurant bookings site) were putting on two different meals, in London and New York, at the same time. 

We were dining at Bruno's Grain Store while our buddies in New York were played host to by Ayesha Nurdjaja at Hundred Acres - a clever concept right? 
There were around 30 or so of us eager foodies packed into the gorgeous Kings Cross restaurant, eager for food, conversation and Campari cocktails. 
And what a restaurant it is. Everything in the Grain Store is gorgeous. It's a bright, airy dining room, filled with wild flowers, rustic brushed metals and long wooden tables. 
Even the wine at Grain Store is designed to be beneficial to the environment. They operate a 'Smart Tap' facility in which the wines are stored in bags inside wooden kegs to mimic winery conditions - once the keg is finished, it goes out with recycling! 

They believe wines from a keg taste brighter and fresher than those from a bottle and they represent extraordinary value for money.  
Food-wise, we started the evening with Atlantic Kitchen seaside toast with seaweed butter, oyster and borage leaves, flower, pickled samphire and cucumber served on potato bread.

One of those dishes which had it been on an a-la-carte menu, I would never have ordered - but was so delicate, pretty and surprisingly tasty that I really enjoyed. Just the right amount of salt to cut through the rich, creamy flavours of the butter - a really good start to the menu ahead!
The surprises didn't stop there. The pasta course, a seemingly simple dish of vegetable Ravioli ended up being one of the most interactive of the evening. 

Each delicate parcel was created using a different vegetable, including beet, butternut squash, spinach and herb, tomato carrots and peppers, drawing mixed opinion from the table on their favourites (mine was the beetroot!).

The light tomato consume was also one of the most beautiful things I've tasted. You'd never imagine the amount of flavour they managed to pack into that light, translucent broth. 
Now I told you there was meat! Not just any meat though - perfectly cooked slices of seared Venison. Served with vegetables pickle in a raspberry vinegar and grilled Squash and a gorgeous glass of Au Bon Climat Pinor Noir. 
Oh and fermented corn brioche which is my new favourite thing. 
Finally, the Peach Melba dessert was ridiculously good. Huge juicy peaches, with raspberries and vanilla ice cream and the daintiest sugar work! A perfect way to conclude a brilliant meal

Overall a really fab restaurant and such an eye-opener to have vegetables presented as the star of the show and meat treated as a bonus option. I'm so pleased I finally got the chance to dine here, a real opinion changer!

I had to dash off before the end of the meal so missed out on the competition briefing but there were some really fab entries - particularly from the lovely Stacey and Connie, make sure you take a read!

Grain Store
Granary Square, 1-3 Stable St, London N1C 4AB

* I was a guest of OpenTable.
All food/drink was complimentary
Grain Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
SHARE:

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

CELEBRATING 1 MILLION SALES WITH ROBERT WELCH

You really don’t know how blunt your knives are until you use sharp ones, do you?

Honestly. I spend most of my time in the kitchen hacking away at things and it's not until you use a decent set that you realise just how bad yours are. 

Why am I telling you about knives you wonder? 

Well to celebrate the one millionth sale of their iconic signature knife range, Robert Welch invited a group of us food bloggers down for a masterclass with private chef Georgina Davies and to try out the range. 
You’ll probably know a Robert Welch knife if you see one.

They’ve got an iconic black handle (ergonomically designed don't you know) with stainless steel blades and you often find themselves amongst the Crystal and KitchenAids on every couple's wedding present list.
Each knife is designed and crafted for a certain purpose and this year Robert Welch has partnered with private chef Georgina Davies to showcase the different skills for each.

Rupert Welch, the company's MD, gave us an introduction to the brand's history and we were taken on a whistle-stop tour of the knife making process - from its inception as a piece of stainless steel, through to the final product which we would be testing out on the day.
Next Georgina talked us through one of the recipes which she'd created for Robert Welch and we were tasked with recreating it.

Now on paper, I should hate this dish. Raw Fennel, Radish and Fig Noodle Salad.

I don’t like fennel. I don’t radishes and the term 'raw' often makes me run a mile - or at least I thought it did…because this was actually really rather lovely.

Fresh, crunchy and light but also incredibly satisfying - and any dish which can change my mind on an ingredient is a winner in my book.

First we had to prepare our noodles, mixing with a little sesame oil to keep them fresh and workable....

Then came the chopping using our Robert Welch knives. Thinly slicing fennel, courgette and some radishes for a pop of pink... 
and then mixing it all through with some fresh mixed leaves to build up the salad.

For the dressing, we created a salsa verde with garlic, mint, coriander, djon mustard, pepper, salt and a good plug of olive oil and finished the whole dish with ripe and juicy figs, sliced into quarters.
We were then sent back to our work stations in pairs (I was with one my favourite blogging friends Binny) to create the dish for ourselves, under MasterChef style conditions...
This was the perfect opportunity for us to test out the knives in a practical setting.

I am not kidding you when I say these are sharp. 

Have you ever tried cutting through a lemon? Of course you have - well in my house-hold I have to hack if I want to get through a lemon but these literally slice through the skin like butter. 
So after frantically chopping, arranging and saucing my way though the dish (being careful not to lob off my fingers) we lined up our dishes for judging and *drumroll*......

I didn't win but I think I get a A for effort right?Each of us walked away with a lovely goody bag containing a set of Robert Welch knives so I can’t wait to tell you more about them on here soon!

For more information about the range, visit the Robert Welch website

 *This post was written in collaboration with Robert Welch.
SHARE:
© Elle Bloggs - A London Foodie Lifestyle blog | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig