A couple of weeks ago, I visited The Magazine restaurant for lunch. I’d heard the buzz about its architecture when it opened at the end of last year but it wasn’t until I was in a taxi driving past Kensington Gardens one night that I decided …

The Magazine

… I wanted to step inside. And I wasn’t disappointed by Zaha Hadid’s design.

The Magazine - Kensington Gardens

Looking around the restaurant, I noted quite a sophisticated clientele who made me feel I was more on mainland Europe than in a London park. But I imagined at night, this crowd would be different when The Magazine becomes an event space and the djs come out to play.

As for the food, the Japanese influence of German chef Oliver Lange’s training added to the sense of another world.

For my starter, I had The Magazine Sushi which included dragon roll and unagi; spicy hamachi and crispy ginger; quail egg and truffle; volcano roll and teriyaki sauce; and smoked trout with oven baked tomato …

The Magazine … whilst the OH chose a duck egg starter, which was really good but it doesn’t seem to be on the menu anymore.

The MagazineFor main, I had the donburi, pork belly and one hour duck egg …

The Magazine… whilst the OH had the black angus fillet, sweet potato and yakiniku sauce.

The MagazineI enjoyed the sense of adventure that came with the food. It matched the futuristic design of the restaurant. And I guess that’s what I loved the most about my experience here: the space.

Since I was a kid, I’ve loved The Serpentine. I even remember the first time I visited the gallery when I was at school. So it only makes sense that The Serpentine’s latest addition to its family would be something more grown up and even more exciting. As for the restaurant, I’m a sucker for interesting spaces.

The Magazine, Kensington Gardens, London W2 3XA

You may have read my lunch review on Sake no Hana earlier this year. The bar and restaurant are part of the Hakkasan group and somewhere you have to visit if you love Japanese food as much as I do.

To add to the delectable experience and if you visit Sake no Hana before 25th January 2014, you will also get to see artwork by Daniele Davitti.

Daniele Davitti at Sake no Hana

Daniele Davitti’s exhibiton at the Sake no Hana bar on St. James Street is the venue’s second art installation as part of A Space For Art, which seeks out remarkable spaces in London and Berlin to place the right art on the right wall.

Inspired by Japan, Davitti’s work has focused on traditional Japanese themes such as the art of ink, kimonos and Japanese style and imagery. Davitti’s portfolio includes global collaborations with Vanity Fair, the Moretti Gallery (London), La Pergola Theatre (Florence) and Arte Fiera International Fair of Contemporary Art (Bologna). And in 2011 Davitti was appointed Professor of Graphic Design and the Aesthetic of Fashion at the Polimoda, becoming one of the youngest professors in Italy.

This is one to check out!

Last week I had a catch up meeting at Sake no Hana, a Japanese restaurant that is part of the Hakkasan Group and located on St. James’s Street.

Sake No HanaAs soon as I laid my eyes on the menu, I knew there was going to be some difficulty ordering. In one respect, I wanted to taste classic Japanese dishes just to see how well Sake no Hana could make them. Then again the specials looked so good, it would be a pity to miss out on them too. Thank goodness my lovely host and I were on the same page as we decided to share platters, so I could taste more of the menu.

Sake No HanaIn the end, we ordered Lobster Tempura. And do I really need to say much about this dish? It was as good as it sounds – actually, probably even better. I could have this everyday.

Sake No HanaFigs with aubergine, which were both light and very tasty; an ideal way of allowing summer to tingle the tastebuds.

Sake No HanaA wonderful sea bass dish …

Sake No HanaDuck with truffles …

Sake No HanaAn asparagus dish …

Sake No HanaAnd soft shell crab sushi, topped with mango slices.

Sake No Hana

Everything lived up to my expectations, which were set high thanks to my first impression when walking through the restaurant’s doors and standing on the escalators as I made my way up to the floor above and was greeted by friendly staff. The restaurant interior’s attention to detail is very much reflected in the dishes’ ingredients and method of cooking. And if you are looking for a Japanese restaurant that oozes both style and taste in Mayfair then I would head down to Sake no Hana if I were you. I’m sure you’ll have a delectable time too.

Sake no Hana, 23 St James’s St, London, Greater London SW1A 1HA

Earlier today, I met up with a fellow blogger for lunch in South Kensington.

Tombo South KensingtonI’d seen her tweet about Tombo and more specifically the chicken katsu they serve and I knew I had to try it out.

Chicken Katsu CurryThe result? I wasn’t disappointed at all. The ingredients were fresh and the chicken was cooked well, quite succulent and not over-cooked (which can be an issue with some Japanese fast-food). The staff were also friendly and the interior was light and felt spacious, even though the dining area isn’t so big. I also spotted quite a few Japanese customers popping in, which for me is always a big plus.

All in all, I am glad I have finally tried this place after passing by so many times. And I am definitely returning.

Tombo, 29 Thurloe Place, South Kensington, London SW7 2HQ

Have you been to Sushinho yet? If not, I wholeheartedly recommend that you give this Brazilian-Japanese restaurant on the King’s Road a try.

Sushinho Chelsea - King's Road

I’ve written about Sushinho in the past and have always been a big fan of their bar. The cocktails are divine and if you can’t find what you want on the menu, you’ll feel confident when you hear the barman say “I can do that” because they generally can.

Sushinho Chelsea - King's RoadLast night however, I popped in to try their new early evening set menu. Available from 5.30pm until 7pm and costing £18 per person, the servings are designed to cater for two people at a time. The deal is that you pick five dishes from the menu and a drink, which could be a Sushinho sakerinha (saki with passion fruit); a glass of red or white wine; or a bottle of Asahi super dry.

Sushinho MenuIn anticipation of the evening, I presumed that the menu offered five small plates to share as a tasting experience for the real thing: Sushinho’s full menu. But I was wrong.

The five dishes which the bf and I chose included:

Rio house roll, which involved prawn, wasabi tobiko and strawberry. The red layer on top is strawberry jam but don’t expect anything overly sweet and do anticipate this roll to melt in your mouth with a myriad of delicate flavours.

At the moment I’m staying away from raw fish so my portion arrived without the wasabi tobiko, which the bf said added another layer of subtle flavouring. We were both bowled over by this dish.

Sushinho Chelsea - King's RoadAlso on the plate was the asparagus tempura house roll, which included red pepper, avacado, shiso, chives and carrot puree. This was another great treat and not anything like I’d tasted before.

Sushinho Chelsea - King's RoadWith three more dishes to go, I was already satisfied with the quality of the meal. But little did I know what else was to follow in terms of a great foodie experience.

Sushinho Chelsea - King's RoadTo be precise, the dishes were confit pork salad with mango, melon and burnt orange dressing;

Sushinho Chelsea - King's RoadThe Sushinho fried chicken with kimchee, pineapple and cashew nut;

Sushinho Chelsea - King's RoadAnd the pork belly with feijoada, kale and crackling. Feijoada is something like a black bean stew, which complimented the tender pork perfectly.

Sushinho Chelsea - King's RoadIn fact, all the meat involved was tender. And whilst my stand out favourite was the chicken, I enjoyed the other dishes thoroughly too.

The fusion of Brazilian and Japanese also felt refreshing. I loved having the fruit in the pork salad and I loved how all the dishes felt guilt-free because there was so much goodness in the dishes, such as the kale.

For drinks the bf enjoyed beer and tried the Sushinho sakerinha for me, which he said he liked. But I get the feeling the next time we come here he’ll try a more masculine cocktail from Sushinho’s cocktail menu which always looks really good.

Sushinho Sakerinha CocktailI, on the other, had to keep my cocktails virgin and I was not disappointed at all. My first was a lychee and lemon grass mocktail whilst the second one was a mixture of all things berries.

Sushinho Chelsea - King's RoadAt the end of the meal, we were persuaded to try Sushinho’s signature dessert dish: the passion fruit crumble. And oh my goodness, I haven’t tasted a dessert so good in ages!

Sushinho Chelsea - King's RoadWe were advised to just dig in. Don’t think about eating the dessert layer by layer. Instead get the full hit in one bite. The various layers of textures and yet more delicate flavours to savour was the perfect end to the evening.

Apparently this dish hasn’t changed in the four years Sushinho has been on the King’s Road and it really isn’t a wonder why it is so popular. The whole dessert is a complete surprise and I don’t think I want to ruin the fun for you, in case you try it.

The final note of the evening arrived on a plate with white chocolate, sorbet and a madeleine. And how the chef managed to produce sorbet encased in white chocolate left me very intrigued.

Sushinho Chelsea - King's RoadAll in all, I can’t recommend Sushinho enough. And if you’d like to give them a try, simply out of curiosity, the early evening set menu is definitely the easiest way to do it. Enjoy!


*The food and drinks were complimentary for the purpose of the review.*

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