Spanish

Spanish-Restaurants

There’s a new’ish place on the King’s Road for meat lovers. Or more specifically, jamon fans. It’s called Casa Manolo and recently I paid a long overdue visit with Gary from The Foodaholic. With both of us living locally, it was the obvious choice for our first catch-up since our original meeting. Plus it was the latest Chelsea opening, which we both had to check out.

Casa Manola King's Road

Located halfway down the King’s Road, a few doors along from The Ivy Chelsea Garden and almost opposite Sydney street, Casa Manolo is a jamon and … Casa Manola King's Road

… and wine shop where you can also … Casa Manola King's Road

… pick up some cheese and wonderful anchovies as spotted by Gary. I can’t remember where they come from but if love anchovies (which I do), it’s worth stopping by to have a look.
Casa Manola King's Road

As well as the store, there are also stools which you can perch on to order something from the menu. To start with, I ordered a glass of Rioja which was gorgeous. Deep in body and rich in flavour. Casa Manola King's Road

And whilst we waited for our food, we were served a black pudding-esque amuse-bouche which I surprisingly enjoyed. Casa Manola King's Road

For our starters, Gary and I had some bread with tomato sauce. Needless to say with such a description, I was enjoying the conversation too much to scribble down the precise names of each dish. Apologies.Casa Manola King's Road

We also chose some jamon. It’d be very very wrong not to. And along with the wine, this was exactly what I wanted from the evening. Something light but satisfying in every way. Casa Manola King's Road

Gary had ordered the prawns dish for his main. Admittedly these weren’t identical to the Twitter snapshot making its rounds as I learned. But I tasted the sauce which had a lot more depth than your average garlic butter. It had substance and I loved it.Casa Manola King's Road

Me? I ordered the duck leg because as soon as we sat down I saw a man enjoying his dish and I simply asked for ‘whatever he’s having’. Casa Manola King's Road

The menu here is very simple and authentic. For the time you are sitting down you do feel as if you’ve walked in off the streets of Madrid. Casa Manola King's Road

But it’s not just the setting, the food and wine that make this place authentic. Most of the staff are also from Madrid and a lot of their charm is that they are new to London too. This just adds to the feeling that you could easily be wining and dining in Spain.

Casa Manolo, 187 King’s Road, London SW3 5EB. 
Chelsea Girl

Last week I was completely stuck for ideas on where to treat OH for Father’s Day. I’d already booked a fantastic place for his birthday which is next week and I was feeling perhaps I should go for an entirely different mood – something fun but yet still foodie. In the end an inspired moment lead me to book our tickets to Taste of London. After all with so much choice around, surely there’d be plenty for him to enjoy and then some, I thought.

Taste of LondonOf course when you arrive at Regent’s Park you find yourself spoilt for choice. The range of restaurants, retailers and drinks stands is enormous. And you either wing it and try as much as you can or you head straight for the ones you know you want to try.

Taste of LondonAs for me, I knew which stands I wanted to try because I like using Taste of London to test out restaurants I’ve been meaning to visit for a little taster.

One of my favourite dishes was by far José Pizarro’s octopus with creamy potato, pimentón and egg caviar. The octopus was cooked in a way I’d never tried before, melt in your mouth succulent. Just beautiful. So much so, I can’t believe I’ve not yet visited any of José Pizarro’s restaurants. Something I want to fix as soon as possible.

Taste of London

Another big win for both myself and OH were ROKA’s baby chicken with lemon, miso and soy as well as lamb cutlets with Korean spices.

Taste of LondonOur Little Man was along for the ride and even he gnawed away at the lamb as much as he could. ‘Spicy’ he yelled at one point before he kept on gnawing.

Taste of London

Another dish we tried was the award-winning Draper’s Arms pork belly with gooseberry, fennel and crackling. What struck me most was the surprising burst of flavours you don’t expect to go with pork as well as the array of colours when you dig in. I loved the gooseberry touch especially. 
Taste of London-7

Marcus Wareing’s Tredwell’s was also on the menu. The OH had the pulled pork slider which he remarked on its sweetness as a pleasant surprise.

Taste of London

… whilst I had the chicken liver mousse, bacon jam and toast. But I didn’t get to enjoy this as much as I could have because Little Man’s fingers were all over it. He wasn’t too keen on the mousse but of course he loved the toast, which he felt compelled to dip into the chicken liver more than a couple of times. All a bit messy in the end.

Taste of LondonNeither OH or I had anything sweet, which is so weird – for me, anyway. But we did enjoy a few drinks. Amongst them were Kold Cocktails’ mojito.

Taste of London

If you’re a regular at Duke of York’s Saturday Fine Food Market you may know Kold Cocktails very well.

Taste of London

They’ve been away for a couple of weeks because they’ve been at a few foodie events including this one. So I’m looking forward to seeing them back in Chelsea soon.

Another drink I enjoyed was the Chase Rhubarb Gin Fizz. I love Chase vodka and this was another refreshing drink I needed for this warm Sunday.

Taste of LondonAll in all Father’s Day was a success. And if today was anything to go by I think father and son already have a shared passion. They’re both true foodies, that’s for sure.

Chelsea Girl

I popped into Casa Brindisa in South Kensington recently. It had taken me so long to try this place out because in terms of local tapas, I don’t think you can get much better than the trio of Cambio de Tercio restaurants on Old Brompton Road.

But given Casa Brindisa’s close proximity to where we were when we decided to find somewhere to eat – pronto, we decided to give it a go … and we weren’t disappointed. 
Casa Brindisa

For drinks, I stuck to the Valenciso Reserva 2007 Rioja – just a responsible couple of glasses on a Sunday evening.
Casa Brindisa

And for our tapas dishes, we ordered the patatas bravas … Casa Brindisa

Garlic prawns with chilli … (It’s worth holding onto the dish when the prawns are finished to dip your bread into.)
Casa Brindisa

Octopus leg on garlic mash which was SO good. The freshness of the octopus and the flavours of this meaty dish made me very pleased we had decided to try this place.

Casa Brindisa

We also shared the chorizo on toast … Casa Brindisa

And finally, a chicken dish which was a lightly zesty alternative to the other dishes which had deeper flavours.

Casa BrindisaThe restaurant was packed and buzzy and no wonder why. The food is dependable and the wine recommendation hit the spot.

There are a few of these restaurants in London: Soho, Shoreditch and London Bridge, along with the South Kensington one. And if I fancied tapas again and was anywhere near the other locations, I would consider popping in.

Casa Brindisa, 7-9 Exhibition Rd, London SW7 2HE.

I LOVE olives! You probably know that if you’ve read about my favourite martini. So it was a great pleasure to accept an invitation from Olives From Spain and the Friday Food Club to attend their event last night.

Our host was Omar Allibhoy who you may know as the Head Chef at El Pirata de Tapas on Westbourne Grove. Trained at El Bulli under Ferran Adria and later at Gordan Ramsay’s Maze under Jason Atherton, Omar is also the ambassador for Olives From Spain.

Omar kicked off the night with a cooking demo, showing us how to make a couple of marinated olive dishes as well as a Spanish Omelette with chorizo and olives.

Omar showed us how to spice up our olive dishes and how omelettes don’t have to be plain. And I am very much inspired to try these dishes at home, which I will do soon.

The night continued with an olive inspired menu created by Omar. For starters we were served a salad which included sardines and artichokes, as well as olives of course.

To follow, we were served Spanish Omelette along with a chicken stew and sea bass dish.

And finally, we had black olive chocolate truffles for dessert. These truffles were surprisingly gooey but yet slightly textured because of the olives.

Every dish was so different and the variety of flavours proved how versatile olives can be. But whilst I am familiar with having olives in stews and salads, it has never crossed my mind to consider them in desserts or in an omelette.

For the record, the black olive chocolate truffles with a glass of Gran Barquero Pedro Ximénez are a wonderful match.

Thank you Olives From Spain and Omar for such a delightful evening. I am utterly inspired!

Last night I had the great pleasure of meeting Katrina, the founder of Organic Burst, for dinner at Tendido Cero. We didn’t know each other before last night but we had already struck up a mutual appreciation society over Twitter. You may remember my post on Organic Burst’s Wheatgrass?

With Katrina living in Kensington and myself living in Chelsea, we agreed to meet in the middle and pick somewhere in South Kensington to eat – and where better than the best Tapas house in London: in our humble opinions.

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From the menu, we picked three cold tapas dishes and three hot dishes, which included …

The Spanish Charcuterie.

Goat’s Cheese and Asparagus Salad.

Tuna Tartare.

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Patatas Bravas.

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Artichoke Salad.

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Octopus with Potatoes.

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And as we dined, we sipped on Rioja.

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Needless to say, the food was fantastic – as it always is – and the service was both friendly and efficient.

And as Katrina and I chatted, getting to know each other, I couldn’t resist asking a few probing questions about Organic Burst. After all, out of nowhere this Superfood wonder has burst onto the scene whilst miraculously managing to convert me into a Superfood supplement fan.

So if you’re as curious as I was about Organic Burst, here is a summary of our conversation:

 

CG: So how long has Organic Burst be around for?

OB: Since July of last year [2011]. Whole Foods started stocking us in January [2012] and we are now in over 50 stores in the UK and can also be found in Ireland, Slovenia and Spain.

 

CG: Wow, that’s impressive. Are you doing this on your own?

OB: I have my business partner, a naturopath, a nutritionist and a personal trainer working with me. There are many more people involved on the operational side of things.

 

CG: So where do your products come from?

OB: The ingredients are sourced from around the world and the products are made in the UK to strict organic standards. They are also produced on a pharmaceutical facility so we can safely say that there are no nuts or allergens in our products.

 

CG: How did you come about the idea for Organic Burst?

OB: I was working in the City when I was accepted into Cambridge on a Masters programme. And the more I was supposed to be reading about economics, the more I found myself reading about antioxidants.

My lifestyle in the City was about working long hours and drinking lots of coffee to keep my energy levels up. My body was tired and the more research I did on tried superfoods, the more I realised that there wasn’t anything I was looking for available on the market.

 

CG: So what is so special about Superfoods?

OB: Not only do they work to detoxify the body and give it energy but there is a synergy that exists in them. For example. The Baobab has Vitamin C. It is also high in potassium, fibre and prebiotics. And it works to optimise the iron uptake in the body – all from one powder.

 

I also wanted to find out more about who Katrina was …

 

CG: Where do you like to hang out?

OB: Randa on Kensington Church Street, The Elephant & Castle on Holland Street and La Poule au Pot on Pimlico Road. I also like The Orange across the road.

 

CG: What’s your favourite wine or cocktail?

OB: Wine, I like the Alsace Gewürztraminer and cocktails, I like a good Mojito.

 

CG: And what about your favourite artist?

OB: I like Degas, Monet – the Impressionists. I also like Picasso.

 

The chatter was constant and it was a real pleasure to meet Katrina. I especially loved hearing about the ethical sourcing of Organic Burst’s products which you can read about here.

You know how much I love the Wheatgrass? Well now, I’m trying the Baobab and the Açai. I’ll be reporting back in due course!