24 August 2014

Return to Royal China Canary Wharf

Today we enjoyed a dim sum lunch at Royal China Canary Wharf. I've been meaning to take my wife for dim sum for a long time now, and a trip to Greenwich saw an excellent excuse to take a short detour to Royal China.

We chose a range of dim sum dishes, a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian, all were excellent. My wife had steamed vegetarian dumplings and a fabulous vegetable cheung fun, and we shared some vegetable crispy noodles and the best spicy salt crispy tofu I've ever had, each one fried to perfection.  I tried some roast pork puffs, pastry up there with the best I've had in Michelin starred restaurants, some awesome crispy yam and meat paste nest like things, scallop dumplings, lush with scallop and crunchy water chestnuts, and a selection of their superb cheung fun.

The Royal China chain count as some of the best Chinese restaurants in London, queues were evident at 3pm on a Sunday at our one, and I know the rest are incredibly popular. You certainly couldn't go wrong with a visit.

Roast pork puffs, fried yam paste dumplings.

Vegetable cheung fun.

Vegetables and crispy noodles.

Royal China cheung fun.

The last two dumplings.

Royal China

Return to Grain Store

My wife and I had to go to St Pancras, so we had a good excuse to return to Grain Store, where we were lucky enough to get a walk-in.

The food and drink was outstanding, with many new dishes and drinks on the menu. Special mention has to go to the excellent range of soft and alcoholic drinks, with some really unusual cocktails and top quality juices on offer. My wife started with a Fellini, an apple, fennel and prosecco cocktail that was absolutely delicious. I love the style of the food at Grain Store with a focus on vegetables, a menu inspired from cultures around the world. This is one place I would love to live near enough to visit regularly, definitely one of the best of the newer restaurants in London.

Salted watermelon, borage flowers, pink grapefruit, curry oil, crab mayonnaise.

Sweet potato waffle, raw and cooked vegetables.

Grilled Lebanese cucumbers, pickled tomatoes, duck pastilla.

Grilled aubergine, rice, cucumber raitha.

Coconut, kaffir lime, green tapioca, sweet potato, banana leather.

Jurancon Moelleux 2007, Domaine de Souch.

Grain Store

C&R Cafe

C&R Cafe is a Malaysian cafe, located in a small alleyway in Chinatown.  It has a good reputation with the Malay expat community, and a number were present, drinking Milo gives it away.

I had Nasi Lemak, a dish of coconut rice, chicken curry with accompaniments of sambal belacan, cucumber, ikan bilis (dried anchovies), peanuts and acar. Sambal belecan is a kind of paste with chillis and belacan, (pronounced bla-chan) the famous fermented shrimp paste of Malaysia and is a fiery, blow your head off type taste explosion that is best considered an acquired taste. Even though I'm half Malay, I'm not that good with chillis and could only handle this in pinprick amounts mixed with the rest of the food. The acar pickle was lovely, with large chunks of pineapple helping to wash away some of the fiery heat of the meal.

My wife had a beancurd and rice dish, with another chili hot sauce. We both had satay on the side,  chicken satay for me and a fried beancurd satay for my wife. These were pretty good, the chicken crisp and sweet on the outside, but soft and juicy inside. The beancurd satay were excellent, crisp throughout and to quote my wife; "like air", perfect with the robust peanut sauce. We also had some roti canai, the fried bread that is dipped in curry sauce. This was ok, albeit quite greasy compared with others I've had.

Nasi Lemak

Beancurd and rice

Chicken Satay

Beancurd Satay

Roti Canai

C&R Cafe

C & R Cafe on Urbanspoon

Galvin La Chapelle III

We returned to Galvin La Chapelle for Sunday lunch, which rolls in at a rather tasty £29.99 for 3 courses, excellent value considering it has a star, top end service and a gorgeous dining room.

The meal was as good as ever, with a fantastic summer truffle bouillon to go with my guinea fowl and vegetables being the highlight of my meal. Another dish of note was my wifes cucumber soup with horseradish cream, a perfect summer starter.

The bread has really improved too, the crust on my white sourdough kept me returning for more.

Mackerel, pink grapefruit, fennel

Cucumber soup, horseradish cream

Guinea fowl, vegetables, gnocchi, summer truffle bouillon

Risotto, girolles, sage

Tarte tatin