With January tending to be a quiet month I decided to stick to my home county of Essex and was delighted to add two new restaurants to the list. We started in Upminster near my hometown of Hornchurch at the Jobbers Rest for Sunday Lunch and the highlight was not a traditional roast but the Coq au Vin which is for Two people or more and I have to say it was amazing a real French treat

The following week took us to a New place The Hoop in Stock in Ingatestone and definitely somewhere I would recommend with great pub food , real ales and a friendly atmosphere it’s just what you want

This led us to our next place and an absolute pleasure it was with a visit to Restaurant Richard Wilkins in Buckhurst Hill. With a young chef producing excellent modern European Cuisine. So if you like Fine Dining with good wine then this place is for you

Then of course with their return from holidays we had to visit Haywards and yes fantastic as always sampling dishes from the New Lunch Menu

So yes it’s certainly been a great first month of the year and look forward to trying more restaurants in Essex

#Upminster #Ingatestone #BuckhurstHill #Epping #Essex

A great addition to the Essex restaurant scene that’s definitely what you’d say about this place. Set a the top of Buckhurst Hill high street and only a five minute walk from the station makes this ideally placed. It’s a small restaurant with just 28 covers and has an open kitchen . Only opened in September but on reading other reviews and looking at the places where Chef Richard Wilkins had worked it was definitely a place I wanted to visit. On entering the restaurant you get the feel of a nice intimate place tables down either side and nicely spaced with plenty of room down the centre and with carpet on the floor it’s never going to get that noisy. For lunch they offer a 3 courses for £45 which consists of 3 starters, 2 mains & 2 desserts . The restaurant was quiet on Saturday which actually turned out great for us as we were treated like private diners and got to sample each of the 7 courses on the menu with an additional cheese course also added. We started with a delightful Scottish Gin Cured Salmon to be followed by a Goats Cheese Agnolotti before finishing a starter section with the most amazing Chalosse Foie Gras these dishes matched nicely with a bottle of white wine from the Cinque Terre.

CHALOSSE FOIE GRAS

Next it was time for the main courses to which were both stunning a Fillet of Halibut with Grapes and celeriac puree and Venison Loin & pumpkin two of the finest dishes you would want to eat with my Venison dish well matched with a glass of Austrian Pinot Noir

HALIBUT

VENISON LOIN

We were then given a nice surprise with a delightful cheese course to share a Blue Cheese an Epoisses and a Gruyere. This led on to the desserts the first being a refreshing Citrus Variations then the main dessert a fabulous Chocolate Moulleuux and Passion Fruit Sorbet

CHEESE COURSE

CHOCOLATE MOULLEUX

We finished with coffee and a nice selection of petit fours . To which brought an end to an absolutely wonderful lunch with the food being of a high quality and cooked to perfection. It was also nice at the end to have a chat with Richard and Manager Matthew. I can’t really judge the restaurant fully on the service as we were the only people in for lunch but definitely for the food and the way we were looked after I would highly recommend a visit . I would like to wish them every success in the future and look forward to returning soon myself

Well it was really good to be back at this fantastic Italian restaurant and surprisingly it had been a year since our last visit and it was good to see that the food and service was equally if not better than before. Set in a great location just a 5 minute stroll from Liverpool Street Station and on the edge of the vibrant Spitalfields Market. The Italian food they serve is very different to your normal Italian chain restaurants producing more Italian style that you would recognise in Italy itself very simple but very delicious which seems to be the Italian way. Our visit this time was once again for a Saturday Brunch where they serve a great variety of dishes from Italian breakfasts , pasta dishes and fantastic desserts and cheeses. With a warm and friendly greeting we were sat at a table next to the open kitchen where the aromas were amazing. While we browsed the menu we started with two delightful Cocktails from there 2 for 1 offer the Royal Geisha & Sinner Slush we then decided to choose the Pizzette Piadina a fantastic flatbread with scamorza , eggs , chilli & garlic as well as the most amazing Lamb Ribs with aubergine , rosemary & sesame

PIZZETTE PIADINA

LAMB RIBS

We then went for a pasta course each and both dishes were absolutely stunning the first was a Linguine Truffle Carbonara , Guanciale & Pecorino Cheese a dish you’ll find hard to beat anywhere the other was also a truly amazing Pheasant Tagliatelle Guanciale & Red Wine definitely two of the best pasta dishes we’ve eaten which you can pair with one of the great selection of Italian wines to which they offer a large selection by the glass

LINGUINE TRUFFLE CARBONARA

PHEASANT TAGLIATELLE

After enjoying our pasta courses a little rest before desserts was required to which we decided to go for a very delightful Amalfi Lemon Posset with a White Chocolate Crumble and blueberries a real pleasurable way to finish along with some delightful Petit Fours to go along with our Expresso’s

AMALFI LEMON POSSET

PETIT FOURS

This ended a really great brunch with the excellent food and very friendly staff made our experience another memorable occasion. My next visit will definitely not be that far away and will probably go in the evening to try the Al a Carte because if the brunch is anything to go by then that should be even more amazing. So yes I would highly recommend this restaurant especially if you like authentic Italian food

A great way to start the New Year was to visit one of my favourite local places from last year and as is turned out the food & service was equally as good as our previous visits . This place really is a credit to the county with a great local feel and a Restaurant that serves everything from amazing French Cuisine to a Classic English Roast Dinner. We started our lunch this time with a drink at the bar where there is a good selection ales some being local brews . We were then escorted to our table which was not in the restaurant itself but in the bar food area. We didn’t say anything as the bar area was quiet and we thought it might be a nice change although we did feel we could have been told about this prior to being seated plus it wasn’t as if I booked last minute but this turned out to be the only slight downfall to our lunch as the bar are became popular and quite noisy although not for our entire time that we were there something you wouldn’t notice if seated in the restaurant itself. Anyway the food & service more than made up for it as we tried dishes that we had not tasted before . We started with French Onion Soup & Crispy Beef with a Soy & Citrus Glaze both courses delicious

CRISPY BEEF with SOY & CITRUS GLAZE

FRENCH ONION SOUP

We then decided to have Coq Au Vin which is for Two or more people and I have to say it was amazing with Guinea Fowl ,Root Vegetables,Pasta in Red Wine it would quite easily serve four people with a couple of sides as it is a very hearty dish but so tasty and perfectly cooked it’s a dish you should try at least once and I would also pair this with one of the fabulous Red Wines from a excellent quality wine list

COQ AU VIN

PENNE PASTA with ROOT VEGETABLES

We did have a bit of a rest after our main because although amazing as I said very hearty but anyway you can’t leave without having dessert so we had a selection of Sorbets and a delightful Chocolate Torte with vanilla ice cream

CHOCOLATE TORTE with VANILLA ICE CREAM

A SELECTION OF SORBETS

This rounded of another great and well worth visit to the Jobbers Rest and even despite the very slight disappointment of not being in the restaurant it ruin our experience and was still a pleasure to enjoy this fantastic food . The people of Essex should definitely put this place on there list as it’s one of the best places to dine in the county

#Upminster #Essex #Foodie

A quiet sort of start to the year decided to try some local pub restaurants The Rabbits & The Orange Tree and have benn pretty pleased then to finish the month back my favourite Place Haywards in Epping. So now on to February and bang what a great start by going to The Artichoke in Amersham for the first time an evening visit with an overnight stay at the Crown Hotel this will be followed by a trip to The Palomar in Soho for some Israeli Cuisine and at the end of the month a Tasting Menu evening at Haywards before beginning March with a visit to the amazing Midsummer House in Cambridge continuing with our first visit to Cafe Spice Namaste an Indian delight then back to Haywards to sample the New Lunch Menu a great month ended with a return to the fantastic Typing Room in Bethnal Green. Now onto April and something I really enjoy sandwiches & cakes at the amazing Claridges Hotel for an outstanding Afternoon Tea a great start to the month which continued with a return visit to the fantastic restaurant The Artichoke and sampled the stunning New Lunch Tasting Menu . Then on the Sunday a delightful Roast at Marygreen Manor Hotel in Brentwood. On Easter Saturday it was back to Haywards for another fantastic lunch the following weekend we had a fabulous overnight stay at Taplow House and enjoyed a fine evening meal in Berry’s Restaurant serving very good English food while overlooking the grounds of the hotel gardens. That brings April to a close onto May when I’ll enjoy a fantastic week away in Lake Garda update soon. So after a fantastic week away tasting some excellent Italian food it was back to my favourite restaurant Haywards for a delightful lunch with the Restaurant Manager Amanda. The month of June is definitely going to be a highlight of the year and it started at Shackfuyu with some fantastic Japanese Cuisine the following week was an Essex treat dining at Rubino Kitchen in Maldon & Haywards in Epping my county should be very proud next on the list was Chotto Matte in the heart of Soho trying the New Weekend Brunch Menu of great Nikkei food before on the Sunday another great Essex pub the Two Brewers in Chigwell for a great roast dinner. The following Saturday was the start of my Anniversary celebrations with lunch at Haywards with excellent food once again our anniversary eve meal was at The Astor Grill at Clivenden House great food in a stunning location before the highlight of the month our stunning Anniversary dinner at The Artichoke in Amersham the quality of the food & service just keeps getting better & better. I think you’ll agree this was a magical month. So into July we go and a new restaurant to try and without doubt the best Turkish meal I’ve ever had at Oklava in Shoreditch the flavours were absolutely stunning this was followed by another new restaurant for me this time on the Kings Road, Chelsea for a really delightful lunch at Medlar great modern French cuisine with a lovely friendly local vibe. Now the following week was a bit different as we dined at Crockers Chefs Table an intimate private dining setting where the chef prepares the food in front of you. The following Saturday it was of to Haywards to sample the New Dishes on the menu and yes they were amazing then on the Sunday another new place for me was Smokestak a fantastic Smokehouse BBQ restaurant which you should definitely put on your list as the food was mouth-wateringly good we ended the month with a trip to Stevenage to stay at the Cromwell Hotel and enjoyed a fine meal in there newly refurbished restaurant the Rump & Wade. Well now we’re in August and we started with a new place for me at Ceviche in Soho and some glorious Peruvian food  and then on the Sunday we tried a local pub The Jobbers Rest that’s been turned into a lovely restaurant and still keeping a nice area just for having a drink. The food is a mixture of French & English dishes. The following Saturday it was back to Haywards for some more stunning food. I will now be taking a break and jetting of to California for a well deserved holiday looking forward to the food which I know will be fantastic so see you soon . Well I’m back after my trip to California and yes I did enjoy some amazing food firstly in Santa Monica at the Water Grill we enjoyed a fantastic seafood platter . Then on to San Diego where it was good to visit a couple of old favourites like Phils BBQ , Bubs at the Ballpark the best sports bar in San Diego , Broken Yolk Cafe and Red Lobster also great to try a couple of new places the Blind Burro and a fantastic place Dukes in La Jolla a really friendly restaurant with amazing views of the coast line plus a great Mexican called Barra Barra Saloon in the Old Town . So back home and in to September and yesterday headed back to the Jobbers Rest in Upminster where I tried a fantastic Cheese Soufflé to start & a memorable Bouillabaisse for my main Full of amazing flavours then finished with a delightful Chocolate Delice. The next two Saturdays were spent at Haywards firstly to sample the new dishes and then to enjoy a fantastic Tasting Menu full of amazing New Dishes . Stay tuned as there’s a big highlight at the end of the month and yes that highlight was a visit to Core by Clare Smyth and it was totally amazing the food & service was excellent just waiting now for the awards to start rolling in definetly a must visit. So into October we went and started with a fantastic return to Oklava in Shoreditch for some more amazing Turkish food then a delightful Sunday Lunch at Jobbers Rest in Upminster where the food and service was once again excellent. Onwards to the following weekend where we visited a lovely little Italian Vini Italiani in the heart of Covent Garden absolutely fantastic place for wine and the food they serve is also a delight then on the Sunday we just fancied a burger and lucky for us our local place the Smokin Griddle serves the best burgers you’ll find anywhere in the Uk. Then the next weekend it was another amazing visit to The Artichoke in Amersham this time for the New Lunch Tasting Menu where the food and service was again excellent and on the Sunday we’ll it had to a fantastic Sunday roast at Haywards. So into the last Sunday of the month where we enjoyed a nice family lunch at The Thatched House in Upminster part of the Vintage Inns chain with nice food and friendly service c u in November So here in November we are and a real treat with a great Cooking Demo at Haywards because although we’ve dined there many times it was good to see chef Jahdre & Rebecca demonstrate how to make a glorious dessert you just don’t realise how much preparation goes into it . On the Sunday it was of to the Jobbers Rest for a delightful lunch with family. The following Saturday took us back to one of my favourites the Typing Room in Bethnal Green where the food , wine & service was one again excellent then it was a midweek outing to support a great book for Essex Chefs & Restaurants with a collaboration dinner at Haywards joined by Rubino Kitchen to produce a fantastic Tasting Menu full of excellent local produce. So now now it’s to the final weekend of the month with a magical stay at Claridges where we enjoyed there amazing Breakfast Menu also on this weekend we enjoyed a fantastic return visit to Jinjuu Mayfair with more amazing Korean food then the following evening we had a fantastic experience by dining at Marcus at the Berkeley with food of the highest quality. We started December with a visit back to Haywards to try the Christmas Menu and of course there legendary Xmas Puddings the following week was another amazing highlight of the the with a fantastic visit to the Ritz for the amazing Menu Surprise where the main course of Beef Wellington was stunning. Well it’s onto the weekend and wow with an amazing return to Core by Clare Smyth and once again it was truly stunning as the food and service was outstanding then to the Sunday for an excellent festive Sunday lunch at the Artichoke in Amersham . Well I suppose there was only one place where we could possibly end our dining year and that was back at my favourite place Haywards for a another glorious festive lunch . This ends my amazing year which certainly has been a great one

That’s all for now Happy Dining

Well it’s the last month of the year and for me personally it certainly was one of the best with the food and service being of the highest order . Our first delightful experience was to visit The Ritz Restaurant situated in a glorious hotel where the dining room really does take your breath away. The food was stunning the wines were amazing and the engagement between the staff and ourselves made this an occasion not to forget

THE RITZ RESTAURANT

Our second delight of the month was to return to the amazing restaurant Core by Clare Smyth where our experience was once again excellent and I can honestly say this amazing chef and her very professional team are simply destined for the top

CORE BY CLARE SMYTH

Now to our third amazing treat of the month and this was visit one of my favourites The Artichoke Restaurant in Amersham for a festive Sunday Lunch. They really do look after you and it’s certainly worth a trip because not only is it a great restaurant but also a lovely little town

THE ARTICHOKE RESTAURANT

Now onto our final treat of the month and I suppose it had to be at my favourite place with my great friends at Haywards Restaurant for a fabulous Christmas Menu Lunch and despite our many visits the standard in food and service has never dropped so I’ll look forward to many more visits in the future

HAYWARDS RESTAURANT

Well that’s the last month of what’s been a fantastic dining year so it’s just left for me to wish you all a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year see you in 2018 Happy Dining

It was the end of September when we first payed our first visit to Core and the experience was so good we couldn’t wait to return. So please bear with me that I’m writing another review so soon but believe me if and when you finally dine hear you’ll understand why On our first visit we was thrilled to have been sat at the chefs table which amazing as you could see the chefs in action but on this occasion we had a delightful table by the window with a great view of the restaurant. Due to the fact it had only been a couple of months since our last visit a few of the courses on the Tasting Menu were the same but this turned out not to be a problem as dishes from the Al a Carte & Lunch Menu were transferred over to create a new menu and also to our delight we had a couple of dishes that were not going to be on the menu until the new year. We started out with a couple fabulous cocktails in the bar which is a lovely setting away from the restaurant itself and is a great way to relax before being escorted to the dining room to start our amazing dining experience Our newly designed menu started with a delightful selection of snacks before our first course an amazing Crab & Truffle this was followed by the Charlotte Potato then a brand new dish of Turbot , cockles , clams & a Parsley sauce we then had Chicken , clams & caviars day also the Oxtail stuffed Roscoff Onion with Beef Short Rib then a fantastic Scottish Venison. This led us to the Cheese course which was a Colton Bassett Stilton together with crackers and the most amazing Fig Rolls. Now it was time for dessert and both were stunning a Chocolate & Hazelnut Cremeaux and a Lemonade Parfait then we had some beautiful Petit Fours to finish . A word now for the sommelier who matched each course with a fabulous selection of wines and was himself excellent as in fact was every member of staff so polite,friendly & professional This really is a restaurant that is going to go all the way to the top especially with Clare Smyth who is such a lovely person and found time to chat to us at the end at the helm and a fantastic experienced team behind her and I’m looking forward to our next visit already

VERMOUTH & FIG LEAF

CHICKEN , CLAMS & CAVIAR

SCOTTISH VENISON

COLTON BASSETT STILTON

FIG ROLLS

LEMONADE PARFAIT

#NottingHill #London

A stunning meal in a fantastic hotel is the best way to describe our dining experience. The moment you arrive you are amazed by the exquisite decor and the absolutely friendly & professional staff who look after you and make you feel so welcome. As you make your way down the beautiful corridor passing where they have afternoon tea to the end where you presented with a gorgeous view of the amazing dining room to where the fantastic experience begins as the waiters & sommelier take over and I have to say the service was of the highest order. While we looked at the menu we enjoyed a lovely glass of Charles Heidsieck Champagne. Our decision was to go for the Menu Surprise which was to be a Six Course Tasting Menu but instead of having the Matched Wines we decided to choose our own with the help and excellent advice from the sommelier . So now we move onto the food to which under the inspiration of Chef John Williams was as amazing as the dining room itself. We started with some delightful snacks before moving onto our first course a fantastic Foie Gras dish with a slice of toasted brioche this was followed by a heavenly Langoustine course then it was a Celeriac dish which was prepared at the table as was the sauce for the following Turbot course before the main dish a truly outstanding Beef Wellington which was absolutely stunning & matched with a superb Barbera D’Alba red wine. Our next course was cheese but with a difference a delightful Goats Cheese twill with pear before the main dessert a Chocolate mousse with a chestnut purée and topped with meringue and with coffee plus delicious petit fours to finish our amazing lunch came to its conclusion but will never be forgotten because its was definitely a experience to remember for a long time. This is certainly a restaurant that I would highly recommend and when it’s situated in this magnificent hotel where the attention you get even before you enter the dining room is hospitality at its finest it wouldn’t be a hard decision to return

An excellent way to start the month was to visit my second home Haywards but this time for a great Cooking Demo with Chef Jahdre & pastry chef Rebecca who demonstrated the making of a delightful Salted Caramel Tart this was followed on the Sunday with another visit to the Jobbers Rest for a lovely family Sunday Roast . We continued the month with a fantastic lunch at the Typing Room where the food , wine & service was once again 1st class. Our next trip was back to Haywards but on this occasion they were joined by the head chef from Rubino Kitchen and created a amazing Tasting Menu to promote a great book for Essex Restaurants & Chefs and now to the end of the month and what a finale it was while staying at Claridges and enjoying there stunning food at breakfast the evenings were spent at two fantastic restaurants firstly at Jinjuu Mayfair for some amazing Korean food so glad we returned as the food is absolutely delicious then on the following evening it was one of the highlights of the year with a visit to Marcus at the Berkeley and with Marcus Wareing at the helm we new it would be excellent and indeed it was the food amazing along with the wine which perfectly matched each course and with top quality service the evening was a real treat and rounded of a fantastic month

See you in the festive month of December