The Chocolate Festival

The Chocolate Festival took place this weekend (10-12th December) at the Southbank and at first I thought I couldn't make it as I was working all weekend. But when I told my boss all about it he let me leave work early so that I had time to catch the last 30 minutes before all the cocoa delights were packed away!

I bought a few treats from the following stalls:
Ooh La La Chocolaterie - a box of twelve truffles including lemon curd and elderflower, vanilla and black forest.

Cocoapod - some cute Christmas themed chocolate lollipops with edible transfer patterns.

Jaz and Julz - a pack of chocolate orange flavoured organic drinking chocolate.

There was also a stall for chocolate art. White Fox supplied a fashionable selection of jewellery, shoes, socks and mittens.

There was also an impressive model of a steam engine on a choccy railway track!

The Chocolate Festival takes place in London, Oxford, Brighton and Kingston and the next one is in April, so make sure you check it out when it's back in town. As well as products to buy there are freshly made crepes and baked goods all involving chocolate so it's difficult to walk away empty handed.


My Top Ten

It's nearing the end of the year and the lovely people at Top Table recently asked me to give my Top 10 Restaurants of 2010.
So click on the link and check out which ones made it and why!

There are also lists from other brilliant food bloggers such as Gourmet Chick, Cheese and Biscuits and Hollow Legs. You can see which eateries are their favourites as well! (There seems to be a valid mutual love for Hawksmoor).

Rather Dishy

This may be a bold statement but what the heck, Dishoom is my favourite London restaurant this year. Why? I'm glad you asked...
[Apologies for the lack of photos, my camera was absent :( I shall of course take some on another visit but don't let that stop you from reading and imagining how gorgeous the food is.]

Dishoom is the sound effect in Bollywood films where the hero whacks a good punch to his enemy. Or, as it suggests on their website, can be 'popular slang usage of the expression “Mojo”; e.g. “He’s got that Dishoom” '. So, they've taken both meanings and incorporated them into the style and presentation of the food and restaurant.

The ingredients for the menu are designed to taunt the taste buds, rather than blow your head off with excessive heat. The dishes are designed to have authentic flavours and touch on traditional Bombay dining. The biryanis are cooked and served in a clay pot, and you can expect to see familiar things like bhajis, samosas and classic tandoori grills. The berry chicken biryani may seem like a decent sized portion for one person, but it's far more enjoyable to share and order a few small plates so as not to get too full on rice.

If you're a fan of squid I have it on good authority from calamari connoisseurs that the lime and chilli coated calamari is very tasty and worth ordering. I personally loved the Bombay sausages. Bitesize chunks of chipolata sausage smothered in a masala sauce.

The drinks are a particular highlight as well. Serving your everyday cocktails with a twist such as herb infused Bloody Marys, Mojitos with Chai - Chaijitos, and Bombalada which is, you guessed it, a Pina Colada with herbs and spices that give a little extra to hit the spot! Ooh er.

When it comes to the tandoori grills the dill salmon tikka was cooked with just the right amount of spice and had a crunchy outer shell from being cooked on charcoal but well enough to avoid the fish becoming dry. In fact it was soft and almost juicy on the inside.

There's a sense of pride in the air from the service to the design of Dishoom. It's spacious, luxurious, even the ladies toilets have the extra detail of traditional trinkets in glass cabinets. This paired with friendly and professional service makes the dining experience almost like you are being doted upon.

If you've not yet been, I urge you to pay Dishoom a visit.