Photobucket New Ladurée branch in Covent Garden

Recently opened on a prime corner of the Covent Garden Market, 
Ladurée is making an important début with a proper sit -in Café.  
Really excited about this new opening, a visit was imminent to happen.

One sunny day was all we needed! 
The little café was already quite busy when my foodie friends and I arrived 
AND we were happy that we did not have to wait too long. 
We were lucky ...  the waiter readily seated us on the first floor on the balcony 
to make the most of the beautiful day!

We like Ladurée. We do. But after the good first impression of the well decorated premises, 
all was let down by the service we received that day.  
Not only did the waiter failed to set the covers again even after we were seated 
but the whole service was a tragedy: our waiter had difficulty taking our orders - drinks and food took ages to come ( which they blamed on the service lift being down) 
with some items we believe were forgotten until we reminded them...

For the prices charged here, I think impeccable service should be a given and not optional ... 
It was very unfortunate that our experience was not as we expected ...  
( and I swear , we are not difficult customers!). 

All we wanted were : two sets of afternoon tea, a Club Sandwich and lovely delicious Ladurée Cakes.

On a positive note though, the food (when it arrived) was lovely and this kept us happy.  ^.^

First to arrive, the Club Sandwich. I couldn't even have a decent picture without a quick bite being taken from the sandwich! Still looked yummy though!! :)

Chicken Club Sandwich served with Chunky Chips

Then the Afternon Tea set for Two arrived ...
On top tier, the selection of sandwiches : we selected the smoked salmon and the ham option.

Afternoon Tea Set for two

On the middle tier, our pastry all soft and golden. We had the pain au chocolat which hardly had any chocolat in it and the walnut croissant which was very nice.

Finally on the bottom tier, deux Ispahan, a Carré Chocolat and a Plaisir Sucré.

The Traditional Tea Set 

Not that the Afternoon Tea Set wasn't enough ... but we also ordered : 

Millefeuilles Pralines

A Close Up picture of a Beauty of a Cake - The Ispahan 

A Favourite of many : The Ispahan with raspberry and lychee

A very disappointing first visit we all concluded {especially after paying the bill}  but the 
Cakes and Patisserie @ Ladurée never lets anyone down, so we all left still content. 

We will not be running back very quickly but for the Love of Cake ... 
we might decide to give it another try.

1 Market Place
Covent Garden 
( Impossible to miss)

Laduree Covent Garden on Urbanspoon


Photobucket ORA - Passion for Thai Cuisine

ORA.  I have not heard of this restaurant until this visit with some friends.
Set off Regent Street on Little Portland Street, away from the constant hustle and bustle of
Oxford Street, ORA says it brings authentic Thai Food to London...

As we entered Ora, it had a very contemporary feel and I was very excited to try their dishes.
Since we had a group booking through Toptable, we had a set menu to choose our courses from.
I was impressed that they offered a good variety of dishes to choose from for each course although
I was pretty surprised that some of the dishes were not really Thai!

Once, we made our choice, while waiting for the food to arrive, I sipped through my cute little
jug of Thai Ice Milk Tea, beautifully presented and enjoyed a good catching up session with
my friends.

ORA Thai Ice Tea 

Soon after, our starters arrived. The popular choices were the crispy king prawn tempura
and the Deep Fried Baby Squid. Quite disappointing I thought as a start to our meal ...

The Prawn Tempura was not a real tempura with the batter being rather thick to my taste.
It was more like a Fried King Prawns in batter! The portion served was big though for a starter
and could not complain about the texture of the prawns which were nice to the taste.

The other starter, the crispy squid was reasonable I guess with an innovative sauce which had chopped herbs.

Not the best crispy squid I've had ...

As the time came for our mains to arrive, it all looked very tasty. 
As I had a closer look at the dishes as they were being served to us individually, 
I will have to admit that my expectations were not met.

The Duck Breast served with tamarind sauce looked nice. As well as the curry.

I had ordered the Sirloin Beef in oyster sauce and mange-tout. 
(Not very Thai I thought ... but still decided to give it a chance.) ... Shouldn't have! 
The dish was served in a square plate trying to make it look stylish and modern 
but as soon as I saw my dish ... it had failed my standards ... 
not boasting but I definitely make better beef in oyster sauce in my own kitchen!

Another chosen Main dish was the Pork in Sweet Pineapple, lychee and vegetable in sauce.

The Lychee ingredient was the interesting one which had to be tried. 
This dish was different but at the same time, it was very close to the regular sweet 
and sour available in Chinese Take away shops ... again not very impressed ...

Last but not least, we had dessert which was just ok. 
The Chocolate Cheesecake proved to be the most popular.

The Pineapple Pie served with custard was not too bad to the taste either.

Overall, the experience was saved by good company ... but on the food side ... 
I won't be running back soon to be honest!!  
It was not an unpleasant food experience but it definitely did not give me any hint of the 
Passion for Thai Cuisine.

I eventually learned that the chef's background was from Busaba Eathai, and 
the manager was the former manager at Mango Tree. I guess the professionalism of the 
waiting staff came from the standards brought from Mango Tree, while for the Chef ... 
what happened?? ...  but I would rather go to Busaba Eathai!!

If you want to try ORA, the best is to book through Toptable for this Restaurant where instead 
of the set menu, I would recommend to go for the 50% off food where you will
 still be able to choose from the a la carte menu where the true Thai Cuisine is.

ORA Restaurant 
6 Little Portland Street 
Fitzgrovia, London W1W 7JE

Ora Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Photobucket Royal China - Queensway

I usually am not too keen on travelling all the way to Queensway for Chinese food but for 
a special visit from abroad, I was glad I did.

Royal China has a great reputation for serving one of the best dim sum in London and
 I must say that even for dinner, the food was pretty good. 
Set in a stylish and contemporary decor, Royal China was as asual, busy that night!

For starters, we had my favourite: the seafood wrap served with lettuce.

This is how it's served:

FIRST : The Seafood Mix 

Wrap it up on a leaf of Lettuce and yummmm !!! 
Our second starter was the salt and chilli baby squid.

Crispy Golden Squid 

For Mains, to ensure everyone would be happy with the choices, we had a great variety coming to us!
Just speaking about it makes me hungry as the dishes were all so delicious!

Beautiful Crispy Roast Duck

Fukien Rice 

Chilli Glazed Prawns 

Sirloin Beef with Bamboo Shoot & Oyster Sauce 

Mapo Tofu with minced beef 

Pork and Preserved Vegetable Hot Pot 

My oh my, that was a beautiful meal! 
The Mapo Tofu was my favourite of all. 

The Tofu was so soft and the sauce with it really tasty. 
The flavour of the fried minced beef, the vegetables and the spicy sauce 
was just perfect with the tofu.

If you're looking for an alternative to the regular Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown, 
definitely think of Royal China. It might be a little dearer on the cost side 
but you will be satisfied with the quality of the food.

ROYAL CHINA - Bayswater 
13 Queensway 
London W2 4QJ

Photobucket Masala Zone - Covent Garden

If you fancy modern Indian Cuisine and want to stay away from the traditional Indian
'take-away' type atmosphere (and menu) ... step into Masala Zone (Covent Garden)
and you will be pleasantly welcomed into a colourful and vibrant restaurant where
you can relax and enjoy a different style of Indian Cuisine.

Their menu is well organised and offers a section of 'Street Food' which 
I would highly recommend as they are very tasty!

Tonight my girlfriend Ms. V and I entered the ' Masala Zone' 
for a catching up session and had a lovely time! 

After the waitress kindly explained how the menu worked to us, we  decided to go for 
their dinner set meal (£9.20) of two courses. 

For starters we selected the vegetarian cold dish - Dahi Puri.

It came as a couple on the dish  ^.^ and the waiter quickly advised: 
'do not break the shell', you have to put it all in your mouth to enjoy it as it should be ...

Dahi Puri - Puffed hollow biscuits filled with chickpeas & splashed with yogurt and chutney 

At first it does come to mind that it may be a bit big to take it as a mouthful, but just obey :)
As the crispy biscuit shell exploded inside my mouth, all the flavours just burst 
and it was deliciously tasty! 

The cold yogurt mixed with the texture of the chickpea and the sweet 
taste of the chutney. A delicious combination!

For mains, we both took the Chicken Thali which offered little bowls of different dishes. 
All you need to choose is the Curry type you wanted with the set.

Regular Chicken Thali 

I chose mine with the Chicken Korma and Ms. V with the Malabar Green Chicken Curry. 
As seen on the pic above, the Thali came accompanied with Rice,
 (you can choose to have it with Chapatti instead of rice), two sides of vegetables, lentils, 
a piece of poppadum and chutneys. Lovely! A simple meal but with great variety!

Masala Zone is a great place for an alternative to the usual Indian Place and 
I will definitely be going back!

Covent Garden
48 Floral Street
London WC2E 9DA
Masala Zone on Urbanspoon


Photobucket Tarte a la banane - Banana Tart from Mauritius

The smell of baking! How I've missed that!

I've had a bunch of bananas staring at me all week and after making smoothies far too
often this week, I started feeling a bit sick of smoothies so decided to do something
else with these (now) super ripe bananas!

A great idea came to mind and I decided to brave it!

I haven't made this for a long time now and even if it took me a while to gather the
equipments and the method to get it altogether ...

Tadaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!! A typical Mauritian pastry which I've not had for too long!!

Not a perfect tart but it will do ... :) 

Tarte a la banane /  Banana Tart ...   Yes!! I made this!

First Mash the ripe bananas and then cook them in a non-stick pan until the moisture evaporates. Then pop into the prepared tin with the pastry and top with some technical lace operation. 
It's ready to cook in the oven! 
Glaze the tart with some milk (didn't want to waste an egg to glaze it up)
... and bake for 20-30 min ...  

Et Voila!!

Enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream ... 

This was indeed a great idea!!!  I'm so proud of myself!! hehe!!!  
I'll share the complete recipe with you soon!! For now ... Let's enjoy this!!!


Photobucket Brunch at The Luxe again ...

Our latest favourite place to have breakfast : The Luxe in Spitalfields

Last time we tried it out, I had the Full English Breakfast which was a bit too much for me
and then made it a must to come back and try their Eggs Royal!

A week later, Mr. A and I were back and brought our visiting Friend K with us 
for a typical English Brunch.

Being such a nice day, we started by ordering our drinks where K and I decided to have
a Virgin Bloody Mary. Not usually my kind of drink but only because it is meant 
to be one of their best cocktails I had to give it a try!

Sipping through the Bloody Mary as we waited for our food to come, 
it is only after I'd gone all red and feeling a bit "hot" that we realised that my drink 
was actually not a Virgin Bloody Mary but one with the alcohol!  

It was a bit early for me to start getting all drunk and although I did enjoy the taste of my drink, 
I had to switch for an Orange juice to make sure I'd make it for the rest of the day!  

It was now time for our food to arrive. Without a second glance at the menu, I knew what I wanted to have this wonderful Sunday and just went for it : Eggs Royal please :)

Needless to say, it was absolutely fabulous! 
Toasted English Muffin topped with smoked salmon, perfect poached eggs and 
finished with a coating of rich and glossy hollandaise sauce on top ... 
Pure Bliss. It was actually better than I expected ...

As for Mr. A, he went for the Full on English Breakfast which he enjoyed very much!

As usual, we had a lovely brunch at The Luxe and it was also a super beautiful day !

Give it a go if you're around Spitalfields market on a Sunday.

The Luxe @ Spitalfields E1 
109 Commercial Street
London E1 6BG


Photobucket Sa-wat-dee Kah : Busaba Eathai

Busaba Eathai, another restaurant chain conceived by Alan Yau, offers modern Thai
cuisine in a very casual atmosphere.

The story of Busaba Eathai : "Busaba is a Thai flower. Eathai is a fusion of the words
eat and thai, it replaces the term restaurant, which is associated with formal/fine dining
establishments. Busaba Eathai is a casual dining venue offering a single course
eating experience devised to feed you with minimum fuss."

I have been to Busaba Eathai several times now and each time did not disappoint.
The diverse but simple menu offers a flavoursome selection of Thai salads, noodles,
curries and stir-fries with an authenticity and freshness that surpasses expectations.

Let me share with you a few of the dishes not to be missed when visiting Busaba Eathai.

Pandan Chicken with garlic and coriander root wrapped in pandan leaf

Delicious Thai Calamari - You won't find better anywhere else!

Cod Fillet with Thai Garlic, Krachai, Kaffir lime and Chillis

A delightful dish filled with flavours and I just love the Tamarind Sauce! Yummm!!

Of course, the Green Curry is a must - we had the veggie option this time but the chicken one is also nice!

Accompanied with a refreshing glass of tamarind juice, Enjoy the delicious Thai Cuisine from Busaba Eathai ! 

There are many branches of Busaba Eathai all over London.
Simply check out their website to find out the nearest one to you!

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