Category Archives: REVIEWS

NOVIKOV

novikov

This opulent restaurant with interiors resembling an Asian food market, is located at the main entrance of Berkeley street and is dressed to impress. From the moment you step in you are pampered; personal helpers taking off your coat, a friendly staff member seating you at your table and showering you with undivided attention. This is just the beginning of the fine dining experience that you ought to have.

The divine menu is a perfect amalgamation between innovation and taste, the consistency and flavour of each dish will leave you raving about the same and justifies the lump sum you will pay for a meal at NOVIKOV.

After a stimulating meal, I could not wait to try their desserts and as I was handed their dessert menu, I had a feeling that I would be impressed. An array of desserts from a traditional Asian plate of mochi to a contemporary vanilla bean panna cotta, to a heart warming chocolate fondant, this restaurant had it all. Being a hopeless addict of chocolate, I was surely going to order the chocolate fondant and to balance the richness of the chocolate, I was certain that the panna cotta would be its perfect accomplice but after a wise suggestion from a friend I decided to order a plate of Mochi with the panna cotta. I was eager yet unsure as I placed my order but on its arrival, my doubts seemed baseless.

On a long and slender plate sat five enticing, well-rounded rice dough balls filled with ice cream, which was packed with flavour resting on a bed of chocolate shavings. For the following five minutes my friend and I could only hear the vague chatter, which was occurring on the tables around us, as we were busy gorging on the saporous and perfectly crafted Mochi.

ASSORTED MOCHI PLATE
ASSORTED MOCHI PLATE

There mochi came in five flavours, the peach mochi came in a light peach colour, the pineapple mochi had a lemon yellow colour, their sesame mochi was a deep mauve colour and was decorated with white and black sesame seeds, the coconut mochi came in a bright white colour covered in thin coconut shavings and finally a green tea mochi, which came in an olive green colour.

On having my first bite of the coconut mochi, I was left dumbstruck, all I could feel was the delicate jelly like rice flour ball containing creamy coconut ice cream melt away in my mouth and giving this sublime experience its perfect ending, were the lean and crisp coconut shavings, which not only gave it another textural element but escalated its taste as well.

The Pineapple and Peach mochi’s were light and a fruitalicious, their colour and flavours hit all the right notes. Both the mochi’s had a fruit flavoured ice cream, but the fruit flavour balances out the slender dough ball and it does not make you feel heavy. It’s the epitome of what a modern and light dessert should be like.

The next mochi I picked up was sesame and though I am not a big fan of it, I was intrigued by its colour. After finishing the whole mochi, I was left with a great after taste of smooth and scrumptious sesame ice cream and the roasted black and white sesame seeds. They were a divine combination and a taste I will never fail to remember.

The mochi I was the least keen on trying was the green tea mochi, I do drink green tea quite often, not because I am fond of it, but because it’s great for my health and eating a dessert with even a remotely healthy ingredient, was an alien concept for me. On my very first bite, I knew why I never liked healthy desserts. They were just not meant for my sweet tooth and were far from satisfying it.

Their mochi plate was thoroughly appetizing and ambrosial barring the green tea mochi, if you are lucky enough instead of their green tea mochi, you will get their salted caramel mochi. Something I cannot wait to try, I would definitely go back to Novikov, just for their plate of Mochi and without a doubt it has become my most favourite Asian dessert.

Coming to the creamy pearl white, perfectly wobbly panna cotta, which was laid on a bed of strawberry compote and freshly cut strawberry chunks. This classic vanilla bean panna cotta creeps up on you and wins you over. Its simple presentation and bold flavours reel you in. The panna cotta is light and airy, it has a great wobble to it and is not stiff, the vanilla flavour is present but not over powering and its strawberry coulis really lifts the whole dish and not to forget the freshly cut chunks of strawberry, which makes the dessert a great bite.

Their desserts are crafted to perfection and are extremely versatile, they go beyond your imagination and really surprise you. I strongly recommend their mochi to anyone who has never had them before and amongst other desserts their chocolate fondant and fruit platter is regarded highly by regular customers.

If I had to describe Novikov, in the best way I could. I would compare it to a larger than life person, who has grandeur and style but at the same time cares for details, has a warm personality and is versatile. This is a restaurant which goes beyond the food and gives you an experience, which you will remember always.

INFORMATION:
Address: 50 Berkeley street,
London W1J 8HA

Telephone: +44 20 7399 4330

Timings: Monday- Sunday : 12:00 pm to 2:00 am

Price Range: £££ – £28-£50

* Reservations for a maximum of seven people can be done through this site.
Novikov reservation

* Reservations for eight people or more can be made by:
Phone- +44 (0) 20 7399 4330
email- Reservations at Novikov

Hope you get a chance to visit it soon.

Thank you 🙂

 

 

 

THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLES

My friends and I have been on the lookout for a place, which could come to be known as our spot. Yes we watched the hit American sitcom Friends too often and that is what lead to this great quest for the one and only spot! And finally after a year of hunting around we found it.

So here is the review of my haven in London the Brew Box, located at the very end of Islington high street tucked away beneath a residential building this café is not the easiest to locate be prepared for a bit of a search. Though once you manage to find your way to it and enter the compact yet endearing space you will wish you never have to leave it.

Other than being renowned to serve up a delectable range of bubble tea they serve desserts made by popular London bakeries such as Necco and Cocomaya. This makes the Brew Box well equipped to help you through a bad day or just put a smile on your face. The café owned by two warm and sociable men, who make sure you are comfortable and allow you to relax and just have a good time. The most exciting feature though is not their fresh and groovy music but the games they have around their tables. Come with a group of friends and you could easily be occupied for hours playing a game of Jenga or connect four.

With a simple yet attractive menu there is no room for disappointment, being a dessert lover I could not resist their raisin and oatmeal cookie served up with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce. Other than falling in love with the dessert at first sight the fact that it was brought to our table was appreciable.

COOKIE WITH ICE CREAM AND CARAMEL SAUCE
COOKIE WITH ICE CREAM AND CARAMEL SAUCE 

Now moving towards the good part, the cookie served warm with an overtly generous portion of vanilla bean ice cream decorated beautifully with a drizzle of caramel sauce. Who would not want a bite of that?

The cookie was warm, crumbly and succulent. The balance between the oatmeal and raisin was just right and not immensely sweet. Paired with a spoonful of the rich ice cream and sweet yet sensational burnt taste of the caramel, you get the most delicious bite. This is a definite must have on my list!

Even though I was full, I got the sudden urge to go back to their counter and just scan through their desserts, just scan!

As you can guess I did more than just scan. Ever heard of the trend of cronuts? Yes I had fallen prey to their delicately shaped croissant doughnuts. I have to be honest, I never imagined enjoying a hybrid dessert but I was glad that I had my first cronut experience at the brew.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CRONUT (PHOTO TAKEN BY BREW BOX)
TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CRONUT
(PHOTO TAKEN BY BREW BOX)

Served warm the round flaky pastry dough was topped with a layer of thick milk chocolate and garnished with white chocolate shavings. Within seconds I was half way threw the dessert, the mini dough ball bursts with flavour. At first you get the slightly salty croissant taste, right after that the rich and creamy chocolate ganache in the centre and the layer of chocolate on top though is not as great as the filling adds a great textural element and makes it look as appealing as it tastes.

If your ever in the neighborhood and have spare time on your hands please do visit the Brew Box, a hip and welcoming café, which helps you forget about the world outside, great music, their authentic and flavoursome bubble tea range and of course their mouth watering desserts an added bonus is that they have free wifi and all this at an affordable price. It is for sure a sweet place to visit.

INFORMATION:
Address: 120 Islington High street
London N1 8EG

Telephone: 020 7359 0222

Timings: Monday- Thursday 11:00 am to 21:00 pm
Friday- Sunday 11:00 am to 22:00 pm

Price Range: £ – £5-£12

* No reservations, first come first serve basis

Hope you get a chance to visit it soon.

Thank you 🙂

SIPPIN’ BUBBLE TEA

Here is a review of one of my favourite spots in London, for those of you who are craving something sweet, but are tired of the mundane dessert served on a plate? It’s time to pay a visit to Bubbleology. Situated on Rupert Street in the lively area of Soho, this joint serves you an outlandish and toothsome beverage. Which ensures that your sweet tooth is satisfied. Its prime location and fresh menu, have people raving about it and always packed with customers, this trendy joint never has a dull moment.

Invented in Taiwan in the 1980’s, it conquered London in 2011. Bubble tea is the new trend, which heralds the next stage of “tea-volution” and figuring out why this has become such a fad, requires one to understand what is bubble tea? A drink made using tea as its base, infused with fruit flavours or milk served ice cold or steaming hot and the added taste of flavoursome tapioca balls, which pop in your mouth. What’s not to love!

At Bubbleology the art of preparing bubble tea is taken very seriously, there is a scientific approach used to create different concoctions and the setting could easily pass off as a laboratory but much more chic and vibrant than the usual ones. The employees emulate the role of a scientist in their laboratory coats, as they have access to a top-secret pantry, in which they create the chewy tapioca pearls (commonly called Boba) made to perfection by a special shaker. The Boba was inspired from the bubbles created, through a vigorous shaking process used in creating bubble tea. These scientists have mastered the delicious art of balancing the right amount of Boba or jelly with the fruit and milk teas. Creating an eccentric and appetizing drink.

TOP SECRET DOOR BEHIND WHICH LIES THE BOBA
TOP SECRET DOOR            BEHIND WHICH LIES THE BOBA (TAPIOCA BALLS)

7 milk teas and 6 fruit teas to be paired with 6 kinds of flavoured jelly and Bobas could be quite confusing to choose from, though their friendly ‘scientists’ help you out and choosing flavours you would like helps in ensuring you enjoy your first bubble tea experience. The first bubble tea I had was an apple green tea paired with strawberry boba, not too sweet the fruit tea tastes refreshing and after a few sips when a boba lands in your mouth, you get a kick as it pops and all its flavour oozes out leaving behind a great taste in your mouth.

BUBBLEOLOGY,BUBBLE TEA,BUBBLEOLOGY LOYALTY CARD AND ASSORTED BUBBLE TEA
BUBBLEOLOGY,BUBBLE TEA,BUBBLEOLOGY LOYALTY CARD AND ASSORTED BUBBLE TEA

Though my favourite tea at present would be the white peach tea with strawberry boba, the tea is sweet yet retains its fruity flavour. The soft and chewy strawberry boba like pearls, not only make the drink visually appealing but also creates a swirl of flavour. In order to get the pairing right both the boba and jelly must go seamlessly well with your choice of tea.

The most celebrated concoctions are the white peach tea with strawberry boba, Passionfruit tea with lychee boba and mango tea with strawberry boba amongst the fruit teas. Amongst the milk teas Taro pearl tea, plain pearl jasmine tea and coconut pearl tea are highly regarded by customers.

Having tried several mixes, personally the milk teas do taste good but tend to become unpleasantly sweet after a while whereas the fruit teas remain light and fresh but equally sweet.

Bubble tea has become one of my favourite spots in London and their quirky snack cum drink is affordable, filling and lip smacking. If you are craving something sweet and new, bubble tea is the fix. Do try it!

INFORMATION:
Address: 49 Rupert Street,
Soho
London,England.
W1D 7PF

Telephone: 0207 494 4231

Timings: Monday – Thursday: 11:00 am to 23:30 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:00 am to 24:00 am
Sunday: 11:00 am to 23:30 pm

Price Range: £ : £3.75 – £5

Prices: regular: £3.45 and large: £3.75

* No reservations

* Other locations: Harvey Nichols, Notting Hill, Stratford, South Kensington, Oxford Circus

Hope you enjoyed reading this post ! Feel free to comment below 🙂

Thank you  🙂

DRESSING UP DESSERT THE YAUATCHA WAY!

Finding a great dessert bar with an impressive assortment of desserts is hard as it is and finding one in a restaurant is almost a rarity. Though this Michelin star restaurant boasts of having one of the finest dessert bars in London. Established in the year 2004, it specializes in all day service of dim sum and other small eatables. Its reinterpretation of a classic dim sum teahouse has enabled Yauatcha to reinvent the fine dining experience.

I happened to visit Yauatcha a few days after the Chinese New Year, which was celebrated on the 31st January, 2014. I was taken aback as soon as I set foot into the restaurant. Having been there before, the stark contrast in their ambience was evident, the contemporary and chic space had transformed into a celebratory setting. They had tied up with Harvey Nichols (Fashion Emporium) who designed their window display. A horse was built out of hundreds of red envelopes. Incorporating the Chinese New Year’s symbol the horse and the traditional practice of giving red envelopes, as red is considered the colour of fire, which wards off any bad luck.

Owing to their collaboration with Harvey Nichols, which will end on the 10th Febuary,2014 and their attempt at providing customers with an invigorating start to the New Year. The ever so crowded restaurant was even more packed than usual, we got a table with great difficulty and my advice to any potential diners would definitely be to make a reservation in advance. The limited edition menu will be carried out until the 14th Febuary,2014. If this valentine’s day you are looking for a warm setting, friendly staff, dim sums, which melt in your mouth and ambrosial desserts. Yauatcha is without doubt a great choice to spend your special day with your special someone.

After enjoying an appetizing meal, there is nothing better than to have a spoonful of something sweet. Yauatcha never ceases to impress with their visually appealing and equally scrumptious desserts. Each dessert looks like a work of art, consisting of an array of textures and bursting with flavour.

I was keen on trying their limited edition Petit Gâteaux (small sized dessert) made with mandarins. A traditional Chinese fruit eaten during the New Year as they are believed to bring good luck and fortune. The main dessert was shaped in the form of a lantern, symbolizing the lantern festival, which occurs on the fifteenth day of the celebrations. Topped with a white macaroon dusted with edible glitter. On the dessert a Chinese symbol of the horse was drawn, marking the year of the horse. Accompanying that there was a dollop of caramel ice cream, seated on a bed of finely crushed cookies. The plate was dressed up with an artistically drawn line of chocolate sauce and freely scattered portions of mandarin chutney.

PETIT GâTEAUX WITH MANDARIN
PETIT GâTEAUX WITH MANDARIN

At the very first bite I was in awe of the dessert, the raspberry dusted lantern containing perfectly set decadent chocolate mouse, with pieces of mandarin can put you in a trance. The sweet chocolate is paired exceedingly well with the slightly sour mandarin pieces, at the base of the mousse a mandarin and hazelnut cream, which comes as a surprise but does not stand out in comparison to the cookie and hazelnut tuile right below it. This adds a great crunch and another dimension to the dessert. The caramel ice cream, is tasty but does not create a lasting impression. Rather the base it’s placed upon of finely crushed cookies is delicious.

Proceeding to the chocolate sauce and mandarin chutney, the chocolate sauce is of great consistency but the mandarin chutney steals the show and is something that lasts with you even after you have finished eating the dessert. I hope this gets added to their original menu because this is certainly something I would urge you to try, its fresh, different and outright yummy.

Being a dessert fanatic I could not stop myself from ordering one of my favourite chocolate desserts at Yauatcha, the Mont Blanc. It’s a tart filled with hazelnut crème topped with a disk of tempered chocolate, on it a chocolate dusted mousse, garnished with nougatine and chocolate sticks. Accompanying this is a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, laid on a bed of finely crushed cookies and chocolate sauce.

MONT BLANC
MONT BLANC

If you love chocolate and hazelnuts this is the dessert you cannot miss out on. The tart is perfectly cooked and crumbly, the hazelnut crème is of the right consistency and tastes impeccable with the tart. The chocolate is tempered just right and snaps perfectly on one go, the mousse is rich in flavour but just the right amount.

Though the nougatine and chocolate sticks are delightful they fail to match the rest of the dessert. The crushed cookies and chocolate sauce are flavouful but do not add much value to the dessert. Rather the vanilla bean ice cream tastes flawless, with the tart it’s a match made in heaven.

At the end of our meal a red envelope was given, which is traditionally practiced during the New Year celebrations, The envelope with an even sum of money is given to people for prosperity and good luck. The envelope I got consisted of coupons allowing me to avail of discounts and have a free drink at Harvey Nichols. This surprise element was exciting and a part of the spirit of the Chinese New Year, which involves the art of giving. I would definitely recommend you to go to the restaurant before they end their New Year festivities and It’s absolutely worth it.

If you like to experiment with different flavours, their green tea choux, Apricot Mille-Feuille and Pina colada savarin are highly regarded by their customers. Located in a more sober area of Soho, Yauatcha is without doubt worthy of its Michelin star status. The delectable desserts, crafted to perfection along with their range of hand made chocolates and macaroons make it a sweet place to visit.

INFORMATION:

Address: 15-17 Broadwick Street.

Soho,
W1F 0DL

London, England

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7494 8888

Timings: Monday-Saturday: 12:00 pm to 23:30 pm And Sunday: 12:00 pm to 22:30 pm

Patisserie counter Timings: Monday-saturday: 12:00 pm to 23:00 pm And Sunday: 12:00 pm to 22:30 pm

Price Range: £££ : £26-£75

Reservations: email- reservations@yauatcha.com

* for groups of eight or more email- groups@yauatcha.com

Thank you,

Hope you enjoyed reading it 🙂

SHAKE SHACK

Covent Garden Market today is best described as the converging point of art, culture and economy. It harbors various hotels, restaraunts, shops and is a great platform for artists and craftsmen to showcase their talent. Making it one of the most bustling parts of central London. This was the driving force behind America’s popular food chain Shake Shack to set up shop there on 5th July,2013.

What started out as a hot-dog cart in Madison Square Park, New York grew leaps and bounds and has become a rage all around the world. It has won people over, with its refreshingly delectable food and by delivering classic food but in a grand manner, it has even earned itself the title of the ‘sophisticated Mcdonalds,’ by many.

Apart from their range of mouth-watering classics, their personally churned out ice cream, which is used as the base for Shakes and concretes is inimitable. The shake owes its creamy texture to the ice cream base, which is blended in with milk and additional flavours. The Concrete (Ice cream) is frozen and served in cups and cones and the frozen custard of a more concentrated consistency is served with mix-ins. The menu set has adopted local elements in order to appeal to their target audience here in London. Mix-ins, such as the hazelnut brownie used in the union shack concrete or brown sugar biscuit, used in Drury Lane jam and Big Blend concrete is produced at St. JOHN Bakery.

Their custard calendar does not help easing ones decision; the ample choices available could be overwhelming. Though the wait for placing an order gives you enough time to make a decision. If you like visiting the market on a weekday, you can be rest assured that you would not have to wait for more than ten minutes to place your order. Though trying to eat at the Shack on a weekend would require a lot of time and patience, it could take you twenty to thirty minutes at the very least. To avoid long queues a weekday is preferable but if you enjoy an abuzz and vibrant area or have time to spare to eat while hearing a musician sing an acoustic version of ‘let her go,’ or would get excited hearing a persistent synchronized sound of people clapping to street performers. Then I would definitely recommend standing in the long queue and the shakes as well as the concrete ice cream is worth it.

The most popular shakes sold were the red velvet and the chocolate, somehow the obsession with red velvet still continues and it has successfully managed to creep its way here as well. Though I tried the caramel and the peanut butter shake but my personal favourite was the caramel shake, it oozes of caramel. If you are someone who prefers overtly sweet things this one is a no brainer. The peanut butter shake on the other hand is sweet but the slight salty peanut taste and sweet ice cream blend is balanced to perfection. Making the sweetness level just about right.

Once you have placed your order, a device is given to you, which vibrates and at that point you can go collect your order from another station.

Device for Picking Up Your Order
Device for Picking Up Your Order

The self-service system with the addition, makes the experience quite exciting and is a welcomed change. Both the shakes and the concrete were made from the same base but they were quite different from one another.

Big Blend
Big Blend

I ordered the Big Blend concrete as I was informed its the best, the chocolate and vanilla custard complemented each other and to break the sweetness the brown sugar biscuits worked like a charm. Finishing off with the moist brownies bursting of decadent chocolate. There is nothing better than an appetizing dessert and an appealing environment. Shake Shack offers the same. I would definitely recommend this joint to people who enjoy desserts and are looking to try unconventional forms of it. Even if you are not a dessert person, you would definitely not want to miss this.

INFORMATION:

Address: 24, Market Building,

The Piazza,

London, England.

Telephone: 0203 5981360

Timings: Monday-Saturday: 11:00 am to 23:00 pm And Sunday: 11:00 am to 22:30 pm

Price Range: ££ : £11-£25

*No reservations

*They have two types of red velvet dog biscuits. So feel free to take your dog out for a meal with you.

Thank you,

Hope you enjoyed reading it 🙂