Best Restaurants of the Year

My Top 5 meals of 2011

A slight cold and travelling over Christmas has delayed the drafting of this post. However, that means I’ve had time to think about. My Top 5 meals of 2011 are a completely mixed bag, from the super cheap to the super expensive. I think only one is a ‘gimmie’, but you can’t fault the flawless execution of an internationally-famous chef. The rest I hope will be a bit of a surprise and inspire you to try some fantastic, not so well known, restaurants in London and abroad.

In no particular order, here are my most memorable, most delicious and most unique meals of 2011…

Kateh – Maida Vale
Although I’m no longer in Maida Vale, Kateh would be a reason to return. One of London’s only Persian restaurants, I still dream about the Koofteh Berenji starter of Persian meatballs I had. As an added bonus, it’s next door to the Windsor Castle pub – hands down the most delightful in a neighbourhood of over-priced drinking holes

The famous Meat Fruit from Dinner

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – Knightsbridge
Heston’s first London outpost made many-a-list this year, and it’s no surprise why. Our entire meal from beginning to end was expertly crafted and executed. I can say with certainty that the ‘Meatfruit’ deserves the amount of praise it received, as did the rest of the menu.

Heron – Paddington
Heron has made a little bit of noise over the past couple months. Rarely am I the early adopter of food bloggers, but finding Heron almost by accident in October was a real treat. It is hands down the most authentic Thai experience you can have in London. The menu is all in Thai, the food will make your eyes water and the random karaoke will have you in a fit of giggles.

900g of lobster at Fjöruborðið

Fjöruborðið – Iceland
Lobster is the name of the game at this tiny seaside restaurant. About 40 minutes drive from Reykjavik, it’s worth the trip. You will leave stuffed and happy.

Arianna II – Kilburn
It’s a bit of a cheat, because I haven’t written this up yet, but Kilburn’s only Afghani restaurant is (so far) my favourite restaurant in my new neighbourhood . With cuisine somewhere between Moroccan and Middle Eastern, it was a cheap, cheerful and delicious.

I know that I’ve slowed on the blogging in general, but I fully intend to pick it back up in full force in 2012. I may not be the best food blogger or the most influential or even with the ‘in’ crowd, but that’s not what this is about for me. It’s a love of food and dining out that keeps me going – and I hope that I will continue with it for many years to come.

Thanks for reading :)

My Favourite Restaurants of 2010

Ah – end of the year! Time to reflect, yes?

I’m so very lucky to have had some amazing meals this year, both in London and abroad, and I think it’s about time they get the credit they deserve.  So as I sit here cuddling with my cat, back home in Michigan, I’ve looked through all my restaurant review posts this year (somewhere in the region of 70, if you can believe it) and collected a Top 10 of the most memorable dining experiences of 2010. In order:

  1. Launceston Place, Gloucester Road – Flawless from beginning to end. I didn’t want it to be over. The beetroot risotto starter with marrow is something I still dream about today.
  2. Aamanns, Copenhagen – When you can’t get into Noma, try Aamanns. Service and food were wonderful, especially the clever little hallowed out fried potato skins that came with my braised pork. Also top points to the fantastic Pear dessert with salted caramel. Amazing!
  3. Viet Grill, Shoreditch – My favourite of the Vietnamese Restaurant Mile in Shoreditch. I still can’t figure out how they keep the spring rolls in the Bún Nem so crispy.
  4. Viajante, Bethnal Green – Nuno Mendes’ newest restaurant opened this year to critical acclaim, and I can see why. Their three-course £25 lunch tasting menu is an excellent deal, and the food is absolutely delicious.
  5. Tagine, Balham – The only restaurant I’ll travel to Zone 3 South of the River for.
  6. Bejoy Tandoori, Bounds Green – The gem of Norf London – an unassuming mostly take-away curry place that takes my breath away every time, if not just because you can eat like a king for a tenner.
  7. l’Anima, Shoreditch – Pork belly, pork belly pork belly. That is all.
  8. Mosob, Maida Vale – The most genial proprietor I’ve ever met, Ben runs ones of the most welcoming and wonderful places in London. The Eritrean (NOT Ethiopian) cuisine is excellent and you feel all happy and warm after leaving.
  9. India Roundup, Bangalore and Mumbai – More for the experience of proper street food, I loved my time in India. As crazy and loud and overwhelming as it was, it’s something I’ll never ever forget.
  10. Fino, Fitzrovia – Still the best tapas in London. Pork belly, squid and the fluffy cheesy croquetas will always be favourites.

2011 will be sure to impress as well. January brings at least one birthday meal for me (haven’t decided where I want to go yet) and in February, I’m looking forward to my reservation at Heston’s new restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, Dinner. But to wrap up 2010 once and for all, I leave you with my favourite foodie picture I’ve taken this year: the pork belly at l’Anima: