Jo Jo’s Peri Peri. Richmond

Has been a cheeky go to during the odd, random day that I have been having meat. There’s just something about Jo Jo’s that is just so delicious that when I think of a take away my thoughts go straight to this tasty joint.

On numerous occasions when I have ventured through Richmond I have passed Jo Jo’s Peri Peri and there have been countless times when I have seen a queue of people outside waiting for food. This to me screams, ‘it’s got to be good’, and ‘I need to try this’. On the whole, I generally lean towards a good ol’ trusty Nandos when I’m in the mood for peri peri flavours but after having a cheeky scroll on Deliveroo and seeing its high ratings I thought… lets give this a cheeky go.

Since my first experience of Jo Jo’s, which has happened during lockdown round 3 I have placed a fair few orders with them and every time has been a real joy to indulge. So far, (I say so far because I’ll probably be ordering it again at some point soon) I have tried the hot, medium and lemon and herb sauces which are used when cooking the chicken. Out of these 3 my favourite is the medium, which I found tasted hotter than the hot and brought the most flavour to the ol’ palate. The lemon and herb was nice but didn’t quite hit those ‘tasty buds’ that I was looking for.

One thing I really liked with Jo Jo’s is that they package the chicken in these foil-lined food greaseproof paper bags which keeps in the heat of the chicken allowing it to stay moist and delicious. Additionally, they are generous with the peri peri sauce. I am here for the saucey sauciness, please don’t be handing out dry chicken, it’s just not the way forward.

Gosh… all this chicken talk, I think I know what I’m having for dinner. If you’re local, definitely try this place out!

Le Val. Kingston.

I can’t even put into words the sheer excitement I had to dine at Le Val. I flipping love the food there and recommend it every time. I have been going to this restaurant for many years now and has always been at the top of my list of restaurants to go to when I venture to Kingston.

As the lockdown rules have eased I had the chance to meet up with a friend of mine who recently moved to London. I have ranted and raved about this restaurant since they moved and when we decided to meet we thought it would be about time to dine there; wahoo!!!

Le Val has quite an extensive menu offering a selection of Lebanese dishes from cold and hot mezze to main courses, to express lunch options. I have tried a fair few things on their menu, just to put it out there, their houmous is the one!!! SO damn good. Anyways, my go to meal is the chicken shawarma wrap, which consists of chicken, salad, pickle and a garlicky dressing all wrapped up in a flat bread. This normally comes with a portion of chips and a soft drink of your choice at an incredibly affordable price. They also bring you a whipped garlic mayo and a chilli sauce, which when added to the wrap just makes a whole other party in your mouth come to life; it’s also so good to dip your chips into. I’ve only just had this meal and I am already ready for another round of this quality yumminess!!

I was one happy lady at the end of my meal and was so glad to go there after all the things that have been going on.

Fantastic meal, fantastic company, a fantastic day!

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Castle Terrace Restaurant. Edinburgh

I was having a cheeky scroll through my @isaporidelmondo Instagram yesterday when I came across a message on the Castle Terrace Restaurant page. Unfortunately, they have had to make the decision to shut the restaurant due to the coronavirus.

I am not going to lie… I am gutted. Gutted.

The first time I visited Edinburgh was actually in 2017, that was when I dined at the Castle Terrace restaurant. Even though it was a while ago I still remember my experience there as if it were only a few days ago. I loved every single thing about it: the staff, the service and the food; just ticked all the right boxes. I remember having a Bloody Mary which, to this day, I can still taste- it was that good! Even the canapés just blew me away, there were three lined up in a row all with completely different flavours that just burst into life in your mouth; especially the green one which, if I remember correctly, has the flavour of a caesar salad. My favourite course was actually the first, Mackerel tartare, it just brings a massive smile to my face just thinking about it. Whenever I have spoken about Castle Terrace to friends, loved ones and colleagues I have never failed to mention that particular starter- a culinary memory that I will treasure forever. I managed to find some of my pictures from when I dined there and have fitted them at the end of this post; excuse the quality though, they are a bit old.

I am so sad as there are so many restaurants and outlets within the hospitality industry that have been massively impacted by this pandemic; it’s so awful and such a shame to see the collapse of some truly amazing establishments.

I am grateful to have had the pleasure to dine at Castle Terrace, a truly wonderful dining experience that I will never, ever forget. To the Chef and all the staff there, thank you and I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Carla x

 

Le Relais De Venise – L’Entrecote. London

I originally found out about this restaurant from a food blogger that I follow on Instagram. It was actually the picture of the steak that had me thinking about this restaurant and I knew from that moment that I had to find out more.

So, as you do, I went straight into Google and typed in the restaurant. Turns out there are 3 restaurants, one in Soho, one in the City and one in Marylebone; I went to the Soho branch.

Upon arrival the waitress escorted us to our seats and said that there was no menu. They serve an entrecôte steak cooked at your choice of either: rare, medium or well done. Before the main dish you are served with a green salad with walnuts which is intended to be the starter part of the meal, however this was a bit vinegary to have on its own in my opinion, and so I kept hold of it to enjoy alongside the main meal. This steak is served with french fries and Le Relais sauce. The meat was cooked wonderfully and was very tender. Around half way through devouring the dish the waitress returned with a second serving of more meat and chips! I know, I couldn’t believe it either! (Good thing I was hungry).

Having the salad and steak-frites together is £24 (including the second serving), any drinks or desserts are extra. I think that for the price, the quantity and most importantly the taste was an absolute winner for me. I will definitely be recommending and returning to Le Relais de Venise in the future.

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Wonderful Evening! Annexe, Birmingham City Centre.

An incredible evening at Annexe! There are no words to fault this restaurant. A fusion restaurant of both French and Italian cuisine; it was sheer food heaven! You know those occasions where you try something and it tastes so good that you smile like an idiot and you do a little dance in your chair (don’t act like you don’t do it!), it was one of those evenings!!!

Annexe is a small and intimate restaurant rustically decorated as one would imagine for a French/ Italian dining experience. The tables were very well decorated with a small candle which even though each table had one made the diner felt like it was a personal gesture. The lighting was dim which also complimented the candle setting which made the restaurant even more intimate and romantic. Entering the restaurant alone made you feel calm, relaxed and welcomed. The lady that served us for the evening was very polite, accommodating and gentle in her manner of speaking.

For starters we ordered leak and asparagus soup and a salmon soufflé. Soup is a common starter dish in restaurants in the UK but I am yet to fault it as a choice on a menu; it is very simple to make but sometimes simple is the best dish that one can order. The soup was very flavoursome, exactly what I needed to keep warm at this time of year.

The soufflé was divine! I am a massive salmon lover and I was in for a real treat! A warm and hearty dish that was rather ‘salmony’ but gorgeous. The sauce that completed this dish was not heavy, thick or dense but classically aromatic and creamy.

For main we had the Côte de Boeuf with garlic portabella mushrooms, confit tomatoes, winter greens and hand cut chips. The meat also came with 3 types of sauce these were: peppercorn, bordelaise and Bleu D’Auvergne. Just writing about it is making my mouth water. The meat was cooked to medium rare as requested, the tenderness of the meat was beyond believe which to my knowledge and understanding suggested that the beef had been hung and tenderised for an extended period of time. Also, the piece was well carved as there were no nerves or unwanted chewiness whilst indulging in this delightful meal. The sides that accompanied the beef were very complimentary; the hand cut chips were hot in temperature and very light and airy suggesting its freshness in preparation prior to concocting this fabulous dish.

Our second main was Slow Roast Pork Belly with pancetta, honey & sesame roast roots, tarragon & course grain mustard jus. It does indeed sound very wordy but just like the Côte de Boeuf this was also a fantastic dish. Pork indeed is a rather fatty meat but was cooked so that most of the fat had burnt off in the cooking process. The pork was also very tender and full of flavour, almost quite rich to say the least but in a way that didn’t put you off the meal- in fact I was disappointed when there was none left.

Annexe was possibly one of the best dining experiences I have encountered and would highly recommend this restaurant to any consumer. I would more than happily return to this wonderful restaurant and bask in the utter wonderfulness of the cuisine delivered. Absolutely fantastic!

Pizzeria Rustica, Richmond – What happened to hospitality?

An Italian restaurant located at the Quadrant in Richmond; was an interesting evening to say the least. Having booked a table a couple of weeks before going to this restaurant we were prepared for a night of excellent service- especially as it has received the certificate of excellence for 2014. Upon arrival there were only two other couples present and indulging in their meals. The waitress situated us at a table which was disgustingly close to the entrance door; as a result of this we requested another table (seeing as the restaurant was not particularly busy and it is winter – warm would be great!). Anyway, she went on to ask her manager who offered us another table; we kindly accepted. I was taken aback however when the manager said that we had the table until 8:30. Our reservation was made for 7, we arrived a bit earlier than 7. Correct me if I’m wrong but surely if you have a customer in your restaurant you would take the liberty of making them feel welcome you wouldn’t be telling them what time they need to be out of the door? Would you?

As the manager made himself scarce we were then approached by a waitress even though she wore blue jeans and a black t-shirt (yes, I thought it was a customer) who asked what we would like to drink. By this point I had not sat down in my seat and was still removing my coat and scarf- What on earth? We said we would need some time and she then disappeared. Just as we sat another waitress approached the table and asked what we would like to drink –  again, we had only just sat down and did not have the chance to look at the menu just yet so the waitress was sent away once again…

Yes, in the restaurant sector the industry is becoming more and more customer friendly. Organisations seek to find the needs of the consumers and are meant or seek to find ways to satisfy their demands. However, there are some places which perhaps have values in place but do not know how to put these values into action.

In terms of cuisine we ordered the pollo (chicken) which was accompanied by mash potato, olives, capers and a chilli and tomato sauce. We also ordered a dish off the specials menu scialatielli (type of long spaghetti) with mussels and prawns.The pollo was rather bland considering the ingredients that were used for the dish and needed further seasoning of salt and pepper. The chicken itself was very tender and quite juicy. The scialatielli was ‘nice’ but did not have the wow factor that I’ve had from other seafood dishes. If I were to return I would order something different. In the future I would like to give this restaurant another try; considering my visit was during the Christmas/ New Year period restaurants are always a lot busier.