Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen

Although I'm a big fan of meat, the meal I had at Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen in Bath was a strong contender to sway me to give it up. The way flavour is held in the dishes is so satisfying it's hard to believe it's healthy. The ingredients are locally sourced, skilfully cooked and presented beautifully. An absolute treat! 

Carrot & Cashew Paté with pickles, salad & spelt crisps

Roast Cauliflower with cauliflower cous cous, 

candied hazelnuts & lemon gel. 

Of the starters we chose the paté stood out by far. Size definitely doesn't matter when it tastes that good. The cauliflower dish tasted as good as it looks. The lemon gel was a nice touch to make it more refreshing and break up the earthy flavour of the cauliflower. 

Smoked Field Mushroom glazed in rich mushroom demi-glace, 

with potato gallette, salt baked celeriac purée & market greens

I samples some of the mushroom dish above. The potato gallette was cooked in such a way it could've passed for a serving of pork belly with a thin layer of crackling. (With a bit of imagination anyway).

Castle Farm Pumpkin with Almonds: pressed organic pumpkin 

with garlic & sage, celeriac and brussel sprouts cooked in 

almond milk, smoked almond butter & pickled mustard

Flippin' heck, this was glorious. So many flavours happening but working well together. The pumpkin was a hearty, creamy centre piece, the sprouts and the pearl barley bringing crunchy earthy tones while the pickled mustard injected sharp bursts of enjoyment for the taste buds.

Poached Rhubarb with thyme meringue, pannacotta, spiced gel & rhubarb sorbet 

Salted chocolate tart with peanut butter sorbet.

The desserts didn't hold back on flavour either. The pannacotta was refreshing and the rhubarb was poached well. In keeping with normal proceedings I ordered a chocolate dish, and it was delicious. The peanut butter sorbet was such an inspired and perfect accompaniment! A big fat YES for this one. 

I would like to apologise for the almost fire that broke out when a serviette had a dispute with the candle on the table. Totally unnecessary behaviour. But thank you to the waiter who expertly put out the flames and diffused the situation. (Sorry). 

The result of the dispute.



I've been saving my pennies and waiting for the right meal to spend them on, and by golly this was the place for spending them. The Gallery at Sketch. The meeting of art and dining dovetails beautifully in the entirely pink interior lined with hundreds of pieces of art created especially for the restaurant by David Shrigley. The framed pictures encapsulate Shrigley's risible style but the highlight had to be the ceramic tablewear making the whole experience quite playful.   

To start, I chose a risotto which could either be ordered as a starter or main. It worked well to kick off the meal as it was, inevitably, quite rich with the creamy Gorgonzola. Although saying that I'm sure I'd polish it off as a main. 

Arborio risotto with gorgonzola, sliced pear in Marsala wine

The parsnip velouté with black truffle, soft egg yolk looked a bit like posh baby food and was a perfect combination of smooth and velvety. The waiter delivered the plate with a detailed explanation that the egg had been cooked at a specific temperature (I want to say 63 degrees?) so that the yolk and white were exactly the same consistency! 

The mains were delightful and rich with flavour. The pork fillet melted in the mouth but had a thin potato disc to provide some crunch. There was also a refreshing chicory salad to balance out the intense black pudding and brandy cream sauce.

Filet mignon of Duroc farmhouse pig with sage, black pudding and brandy cream, pig’s ear

Gratin Dauphinois

Chicory salad

The sirloin was lovely a rare in the centre although cooled down quite quickly. The sprouts were smoky and had some bite to them but the best part of the dish had to be the truffled chestnut cream. There was only a small amount on the plate but it had such depth of flavour there needn't be much of it. Another nice touch was that the accompanying sauce came in a jug which said 'THE TRUTH'. Quite.

Pan-fried ‘Txogitxu’ Galician sirloin, truffled chestnut cream, crunchy white cabbage

Yep, dessert happened. I shied away from the chocolate options, which is a bit uncharacteristic, but I'm pleased I did. Instead I ordered (and devoured) a sweet, fruity, colourful and refreshing dish to end the meal. There was also the option to pair a chosen dish with a dessert wine recommended by the sommelier.

La Rochelle Selection of three seasonal sorbets, meringue Mikado, fresh fruits

A fitting end to a glorious meal

It's worth visiting Sketch, whether it's to eat at The Gallery or one of the other restaurants/bars The Parlour or Lecture Room to be involved in the experience of art and dining. Or just simply to have fun with food. And maybe even the loos...hear me out. You must have heard about the white egg pod cubicles underneath a ceiling of brightly coloured squares, right? No? Well google it an then go visit.

       A sample of the art work plastering the walls.

More table wear displayed with prices in a cabinet 
as you enter the restaurant in case you wanted to own any yourself. 

Brixton Village: A Taster

[Originally written in 2013]

The charm and appeal of Brixton Market with its local shops and eateries in recent years causing a stir in the now named Brixton Village. However, rises in rent costs of the Granville Arcade mean some retailers and restaurants are under threat of closing.

As well as the market combining a wonderful hodgepodge of vintage shops, grocers, cash and carry, streetfood vans, fish market stalls (and a guy selling crammed stacks of reggae CDs from a tiny whole in a brick wall), Brixton Village is home to some wonderful cafes and restaurants of various cuisines, from American to Spanish to Chinese, such as Mama Lan's corner cafe selling Beijing inspired dumplings. (The pork ones are particularly worth ordering. They quite literally burst with juicy flavour when you bite into them).

You probably already know that Brixton is an exciting place to eat some incredible food at reasonable prices. If you don't, then this is simply a taster to whet your appetite. It' mostly photos to be honest...and speaking of honesty, let's start with burgers.

One place which proves to be a favourite among visitors is Honest Burgers. This restaurant (both in Brixton and Soho) has had much acclaim and rightly so. The simple menu offering a few topping options is all that is needed for the soft meaty goodness in the toasted glazed soft bun.

And the coleslaw, (my God, the coleslaw!) is a creamy, crunchy delight with sprinklings of dill.

Bukowski charcoal grill. 

 Steak sandwich

Chicano pulled pork burger. Yep, part of the 2013 pulled pork bandwagon, but doing it oh so well.

Triple cooked chips and Waldorf coleslaw.


Cardiff Arcades

A couple of highlights from Cardiff's Arcades.

How the heck I've not been in here before is beyond me. A brilliant deli in The Royal Arcade that stocks floor to ceiling treats from an excellent cheese counter featuring Red Devil Snowdonia cheese, to classic pick n mix sweets, to intriguing preserves and chutneys, to colourful pasta to, an array of spices, to Italian, Spanish, German and Polish Charcuterie...I could go on. It's hard not to get carried away and buy most of the shop but I would recommend this tasty wild boar pâté with red wine and cranberries. 

 Wally's has various Christmas related products in at the moment, with assorted mustards, wines, chutneys (including goosebery & mint!) so it's a great place to buy some Christmas presents. 

2) The Plan

This café, tucked away within the Morgan Arcade, has been tipped as an excellent barista by newspapers and bloggers alike. However, I didn't go for coffee this time. Instead I went for lunch. The Welsh burger has recently been added to their menu and I hope it stays there. Accompanied by sautéed potatoes, salad, homemade coleslaw and salsa; this rustic beef patty housed in a cibatta roll was delicious! 


Bargain Bite: Kama Lounge

Bargain Bite!

So after being back home in London over the summer I've ventured back to Cardiff for my second year of University. After packing the car, travelling and unpacking everything again, food - and lots of it - was very much in order.

Just down the road from my new house is the Kama Lounge, Noodle Bar. I've been here a few times now and think it deserves a little accolade for being a damn good place to get hefty but extremely tasty portions of rice or noddle dishes for a fiver.

The food isn't stodgy like your average take-away joint which is handy because these guys also do home deliveries/take away.

You can pick and choose the ingredients, sauces, type of rice or noodles or get set boxes.

In particular the Schezeun noodles, Singapore noodles and Thai green curry rice dishes are worth ordering.

Schezeun noodles

Singapore noodles

Thai green curry with jasmine rice

The side dishes are also quite large so it's best to share one portion.  The tempura vegetables were well cooked and accompanied by a thin sweet chili sauce.

The decor inside the bar-come-restaurant is a bit hodge-podge-charm and the staff are laid back but very helpful. I would say that it is more often than not visited by students who would rather avoid the fast food outlets littering the streets of Cathays but it's perfectly suitable for non students who like a good meal too.


Gaucho Grandeur

I finally got around to dining at Gaucho. More specifically, the Richmond branch. 
Three words I can think of to sum up the experience are: indulgence, accomplished and cordial. 

A thoroughly enjoyable meal which is a must if you enjoy a well prepared steak. It is on the dear side and a slight niggle is that you have to buy the accompanying sauce for your steak. However, once you taste the food any concern about value is forgotten. 

Complimentary breads. Soda bread and parmesan rolls with salt, pepper and vinaigrette 

Beef, chicken and cheese & onion Empanadas with a sweet chilli sauce

Chorizo sausage. Argentine chorizo: a combination of pork and beef and grilled Romero pepper

What about The Steak then?

The waitress presenting the steak options before placing the order

Medallions of Lomo Fillet steak, 225g

Bife De Lomo Fillet steak, 300g

With the trimmings.

Churrasco De Lomo Fillet steak, 400g
A spiral cut, marinated for 48 hours in garlic, parsley and olive oil

Pan-fried monkfish with Mayan gold potatoes, white crab meat, 
spring onion and saffron aioli

Crushed Mayan gold potatoes 

And for dessert....

Apple pancake, vanilla ice cream, cinnamon and popcorn

Argentine Baked Alaska. Sabayon ice cream and rhubarb compote

White chocolate and yoghurt mousse with mango coulis and coconut tapioca

Cheese board selection including: Kirkham's Lancashire, St James, Cashel Blue and Innes Brick 
with Malbec and Torrontés paste and oat cakes