It’s time to introduce a new feature for 2019 – Krak’en Bites (the Welsh accent is non-mandatory). Much like the legendary cephalopod, the backend of my blog is starting to take on a mythical quality, in that some posts are never going to become a reality. Hence the introduction of a round-up post, allowing me to give a shout out to all the ‘cracking’ dishes I’ve eaten, and the restaurants I have dined in during the month.
To say that January has been a long month would be an understatement, but the last 31 days have delivered some true culinary delights. Although before you scroll further, I feel it is necessary to clarify I rarely eat out this much, and I have been particularly lucky to have dined at two Michelin starred restaurants in such a short period of time. Normal service will resume in February, before my credit card has an early hissy fit in 2019!
Grilled diver scallops, roasted tomatoes, parsley & basil pesto | £19
Situated on the 32nd floor of The Shard in London, Oblix is a contemporary restaurant, with as you would expect from its sky high location, stunning views across West London. With sharing starters averaging out at £19, steaks at £36 and more eye-wateringly a wagyu beef tomahawk for two170 – it’s certainly not a cheap ‘dine out’. However, for that special occasion, it’s one to consider. On this visit, service was a little hit and miss, but overall it was a pleasant dining experience.
Severn and Wye smoked salmon with celeriac remoulade
If you’re looking for a different dining experience, Bateaux London is the capital’s leading restaurant cruise provider. Combining unrivalled views of London from the River Thames with tasty food, this is well worth checking out if you want to combine lunch, afternoon tea or dinner with a spot of sightseeing. With prices starting from £39 per person, our set three course lunch cruise included Severn and Wye smoked salmon, chicken with butternut mousse and a Seville orange cheesecake. And while we got off to a slightly shaky start; wobbly chairs are apparently not conducive to a comfortable trip on a boat that also rocks, and inside temperatures were on the chilly side (it did warm up) – overall The Glass Room was a fun and unique way to discover London’s famous landmarks.
Gamberetti Piccanti | £6
Situated in the heart of Old Compton Street, RustiKo is an independent boutique restaurant and bar situated in the heart of Soho. As we found out earlier this month, it’s the perfect post-theatre eatery, serving a contemporary Italian menu of freshly cooked pasta, pizza, fish and meat dishes. Badged as Italian ‘Tapas’ style – although I am unsure why it’s not called cicchetti or similar…(possibly to make it relatable to more customers); there is also a good choice of tasty small plates including Italian arancini, gamberetti and parmigiana. Accompanied with a glass of Valpolicella, and a playlist that included Gloria Estafan – make of that what you will – and RustiKo offers a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. A quick tip though – if you have ‘issues’ with your knees, or are planning on having a few ‘bicchieri di vino’, probably best to give the small metal, spiral staircase at the entrance a wide berth!
Brined Aylesbury duck leg in sugar salt and fire spice
There is always a degree of anticipation when you book a table in advance; and with a four month wait, to say there was a countdown to this trip would be an understatement. Led by Chef and Owner Gareth Ward, Ynyshir is a Michelin star destination restaurant located on the coast of mid-Wales. At this point my single recommendation would be, if you haven’t been…go. Yes, it is one for a special occasion. Yes, it does lead with the statement – “Ingredient led. Flavour driven. Fat fuelled. Meat obsessed.” Yes, you can expect the likes of Cypress Hill, ACDC and the Wu Tang Clan playing in the background. And yes, it won’t be to everyone’s taste. But if you relish a dining experience that will leave you speechless…go. Read the full blog post here.
Braised Pork, Apple and Peanut Powder Bao | £4.95
Housed in a converted shipping container in Wapping Wharf, Bristol, Woky Ko: Cargo is a casual diner serving Asian street food. Entering through sliding patio doors, it’s a cosy, minimalist space with a wonderfully welcoming front of house. Plates arrive swiftly, which is perfect if you’re looking for a quick, delicious and affordable lunch. From pillows of soft steamed filled baos, spring rolls, noodles and rice, there are a good choice of dishes. However if I have one suggestion, order the salted caramel and coconut ice cream bao. If you’re a pud-lover, you won’t be disappointed..
Casamia has been at the top of my ‘to do’ list for many years now, however after experiencing Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’ dishes at the recent collaboration with Tommy Heaney in Cardiff, it quickly became apparent that a trip to Bristol was not to be put off any longer. Established in 1999, Casamia is a Michelin star restaurant serving a multi-course, seasonal tasting menu. Officially named as the ‘best UK restaurant outside of London’ by SquareMeal last year – I am going to struggle to find the words to explain how ‘special’ this dining experience is. Watch this space. Read the full blog post here – COMING SOON
Edessa – Chargrilled lamb shish and Adana with sun-dried tomato sauce | £12
If you’re looking for good, old comfort food in these winter months, then a trip to Oz Urfa should be on the cards. A popular Turkish restaurant for many years in Cardiff, it’s now re-located from its previous home on City Road to North Road. A cosy and welcoming atmosphere awaits, and the dishes are excellent value for money. Tuck into freshly-made authentic mezze, lahmacun, chicken shish and köfte (to name a few) – the lamb shish above was more than substantial in my eyes, and delicious to match.