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My birthday this year was my favourite yet, mostly because of the new restaurants I tried and all the delicious food I got to eat. If you didn’t know already I have an enormous passion for food and I love to visit somewhere new whenever I get the chance, it’s especially exciting when you discover a gem you never knew existed. I’ll definitely be repaying a visit to all of these places. Keep reading for my verdicts and recommendations if you’re keen to try these places out. I’ve hereby decided to make my birthday a food-crawl every year for the rest of my life, nothing beats it.
First stop was a stop of lunch. This restaurant is located on Great Portland Street and it really is beautiful. It’s worth popping in for the minimalist decor, the lush and airy layout with plenty of plants and a subtle colour scheme. But if you do go in just for a coffee, be prepared to be eschewed out to make room for the booked tables. That’s right. This place was booked up, at 1pm, on a weekday.
Service was good and as usual we ordered too much food and had to take some of the pizza home, which made for a tasty after-drink snack, so I’m not complaining.
Stilton and peanut wontons with sweet soy dipping sauce
Jalapeño cornbread, chipotle butter, coriander and lime
Broken lamb meatballs, chermoula, aubergine, tahini labneh, pickled red onion
Spring greens, olive oil, salt, pepper
Anchovy, green chilli, olive, oregano, chopped tomato, mozzarella pizza
Cod dumplings, sambal, soy, crispy shallot, coriander cress
Jamon and smoked san simon croquettes, saffron aioli
Parisian Spritz- Elderflower, aromatised wine, vermouth, rosé cider
I was really, really impressed with the food but strangely enjoyed the starters much more than the mains. I thought the crispy wontons were so well flavoured and such a tasty combination with the light and subtle sweet soy. The jalapeño cornbread was also out of this world delicious with subtle flavour and just the right balance of spice and sweetness, for me anyway. I also really liked the jamon croquettes and my boyfriend adored the broken meatballs. The cocktails were also tasty. I would recommend for trying something new as I think they have specific specialities. I found the pizza extremely average.
All in all, a lovely experience and the place has a great atmosphere and look, super Instagrammable. Unisex toilets with gendered entrances were a bit odd and disorientating but we can forgive that when they have stilton and peanut wontons. I mean, hello! Delicious.
Sushi Samba, Covent Garden
This branch doesn’t quite have the dramatic glamour of the London City restaurant but it’s elegant and intimate. I really liked the ceiling decorations which change across the restaurant as if in a spectrum. It’s also a lovely location in Covent Garden so plenty of other bars and restaurants to visit if you don’t want the night to end. I think it would be particularly good in the summer when you can find somewhere nice to sit outside. At Sushi Samba, portion sizes were very impressive- at an upmarket sushi restaurant I’d expect two or three pieces of sushi in a serving but there were plenty and we struggled to finish although we ordered fewer dishes than the waitress recommended.
Green bean tempura
Crispy tacquitos- Lobster avocado, aji amarillo, jalapeño, lime, maiz morado
Raw Tiradito – Tuna Yellowtail
Golden crispy squid
Tiger Maki Samba Rolls
My extra special gold-flake and chocolate birthday cake
Lychee cooler cocktails
I was really, really impressed with the food at Sushi Samba especially as I’d heard mixed reviews. My only criticism would be that I found the golden crispy squid to be too sweet, but saying that my boyfriend loved it so I think that one’s just a matter of taste. The green bean tempura was magnificent, I loved the truffle dip, absolutely amazing. I also adored the tiger maki rolls. The birthday cake isn’t on the normal menu and needs to be pre-ordered but it was one of the tastiest desserts I’ve ever tried. The cocktails were also delicious, very refreshing and tasted like lychee which isn’t always the case for lychee cocktails, I would know as I’m an avid fan. We had a lovely time at Sushi Samba covent garden and I would highly recommend it.
Maître-Choux, South Kensington
After a full day of eating what could be better for breakfast the next day than a mountain of pastry? This one wasn’t exactly planned but I spied Maître-Choux across the street and decided the time was right to finally give it a try. With all those delicious pastries in the window, who could resist?
The Tahitian vanilla choux
Plain chouquettes with sugar
The Persian pistachio eclair
The tomato and feta eclair
The smoked salmon, Yuzu cream cheese and avocado eclair
The chicken mayo and avocado eclair
Mochas! Because why not?!
I really enjoyed the pastries though I was definitely stuffed beyond belief by the end. Honestly I really liked the chouquettes because they’re light and fluffy, also the savoury eclairs were totally new for me and I found them delicious. The cream/cheese piped inside the pastry with little bits of salmon was such a fun surprise. I would recommend paying Maître-Choux a visit if you haven’t already, so long as you’re a fan of choux pastry because there’s literally nothing else.