Farringdon

Eastside Inn – Farringdon (Thanksgiving Dinner)

Eastside Inn Thanksgiving

Last year, on my first Thanksgiving in the UK and away from my family, I worked late and ended up eating buttered noodles over the sink. It sucked, and I vowed that I would never let it happen again.  So when my friend Kate told me that Eastside Inn was doing Thanksgiving Dinner this year, I leaped at the chance to go. I’d been wanting to go to the restaurant for a while anyway, and this was the perfect chance.

The restaurant has been on a lot of ‘Best of’ lists this year, and it’s no surprise why. It was delicious.

I dined with a handful of Americans, one American-born Brit and WillemChef Bjorn‘s brother and the most international guy I know.

We started out with a mini cheese and bacon toastie nibble:

Eastside Inn Nibbles

When eating this, I wondered how something could be both creamy, rich and light as air all at the same time. Yum!

The first course was pumpkin soup with cinnamon and white truffle cream.  We were served the white truffle cream first (also with croutons and pumpkin seeds.

The soup was then poured around the creamy island:

Wow. The white truffle was beautiful and the cinnamon brought out it’s more savoury qualities. The soup itself was spiced perfectly. I could have had another 3 bowls.

And for the main, turkey, of course:

A bit of white meat and dark meat, paired with a lovely salty stuffing, sweet potato puree and a bit of cranberry for tartness. There was a lot going on, but every single element worked harmoniously together. I know it’s a classic combination, but it seemed to have a new spin. I think it was the stuffing. It was superb.  Only thing I didn’t like were the sprouts. But I just don’t like sprouts.

For dessert: Pecan Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream and Golden Syrup

Just like the turkey, there were quite a few different things going on here, and they all worked together perfectly. Fruit, chocolate, honey, nutty…mmm. And on top of the ice cream was a caramel-y rice krispie treat!

In a word, the entire meal was gorgeous.

Eastside Inn on Urbanspoon

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Vinoteca – Clerkenwell

I had been wanting to go to Vinoteca for AGES, and for some reason, it just never worked out. The first time it was a bank holiday, the second time they were just randomly closed and the third time, they were too busy. The fourth time I finally got in – after a 2 hour wait (which was spent at a pub down the street).

If you haven’t gathered, Vinoteca is busy. Always busy. And loud. Too loud. However, I’m willing to ignore these things because A) they have excellent food and B) They have excellent wine.

My friend Dom and I split just a couple small plates.

The cheese plate:

Vintoteca

Brilliant soft, hard and pungent cheese served with a pear chutney, sweet crackers and fresh bread. Yum!

Duck parfait, cornichons and toast:

Vinoteca

Probably a mistake on my part since I hate anything in the cucumber family… the duck was good though and the toast, fresh.

Clams and mussels in a white win and butter sauce:

Vinoteca

Absolutely delicious. Dom and I scarfed these down in minutes, I think. Gold star.

It was actually a while ago that we went here, and silly me didn’t write down what we were drinking, but the wine selection is great. It’s very nice to see different pours on a list that aren’t just Merlot, Cabernet, blah blah blah.

I can’t wait to go back and have a proper meal here.

Vinoteca on Urbanspoon

Tajima-Tei – Chancery Lane

When I lived back in the States, I used to have sushi all the time. I still love it, but I find to get proper sushi in London, you usually end up paying an arm and a leg. If I’m every really craving it, I might have Itsu for lunch, but even then, I end up spending £7 or £8 for something that’s not really high quality.

So, essentially, I’ve been avoiding sushi as much as I can. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to find a place I like because I know it will be expensive, and I know I’ll just want to go all the time. Tajima-Tei is a perfect example.

I went here on a very cold and rainy London evening. My dining partner had said that he heard about it from a friend who said it’s the only place he goes for sushi in London, and that it’s the only place Japanese people in London go for sushi. Walking in, that seemed to be a true statement. I think we were the only native-English speakers in the whole place. Good sign.

The first thing I order at any sushi restaurant is hamachi. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you can judge the quality of a sushi place based on the quality of their hamachi. For example, what did I think of Hakuba‘s hamachi? Not great. Tomoe‘s hamachi? Actually quite nice, and a good price. Japan Centre‘s hamachi? Meh. And that pretty much sums up my feelings of all of those restaurants in general.

And what, you ask, did I think about Tajima-Tei’s? My god, just look at it:

Lovely, rich and buttery. A fantastic fish.

The rest of the evening was filled with things like eel and avocado:

Tuna, prawn, mackerel, salmon, scallop and some sort of weird egg thing on rice:

Veggie tempura:

And the star of the show, a massive ‘Spicy Tuna Tempura‘, which had sweet prawn, tuna, crab stick and salmon mixed with spicy mayonnaise. This picture doesn’t do it justice – each piece was seriously about the size of my palm:

I really liked this place. It’s a bit out of my way, which is probably a good thing as I won’t be tempted to come back too often, and it’s not the cheapest (food and two carafes of sake and service was about £65), but it was definitely tasty.

Tajima-Tei on Urbanspoon