The Stable Whitehapel (Restaurant Review)

Pizza is one of the Nations favourite dishes.  There are so many variations we are spoilt for choice which makes it all that more exciting.  The only draw back is that some restaurants don’t offer a large variety and instead just stick to the well known options.  I was fortunate enough to visit a fabulous restaurant called The Stable in Whitechapel and it was inspiring to say the least.  I love to make pizzas at home as many of you will have seen from my own recipes that I post and I love to try combinations that you won’t get in your run of the mill Italian restaurant.  The Stable was perfect for that with their wide selection of pizzas to choose from.  Let’s face it it isn’t often you get to chose from a range of pizzas including one with marinated Dorset lamb or even jerk chicken.  For the not so adventurous don’t worry they have some basics on there for you too.  I’m sure I’ve got the attention of all the meat eaters by now but vegetarians and vegans don’t despair, the main menu also includes vegetarian options and there is even a vegan menu.  I should add these pizzas have sour dough bases which are something you really must try.

Having introduced a new menu in March these guys were keen to have me come and try their food and as the food sounded so good I simply couldn’t resist.

Along I went with a friend on a Tuesday evening, wow it was really popular.  There were quite a few people when arrived at 7pm and it was only when we looked at the menu I discovered they do a great offer ever Tuesday called Tuck in Tuesday.  This offer entitles you to a pizza from the menu provided, a side salad and a drink for just £10.

The main menu doesn’t only consist of pizzas, dinners can also select from a range of pies and salads.  Everything sounded so tasty and you can tell that the menu was put together by foodies who like to experiment and try new flavours and have a great understanding of flavours that work well.  This place isn’t just known for their food they also have 80 different types of cider.  For those that want to try a range of these ciders you can get a selection of 5 different ciders to try you just tell them what type you prefer, still, sparkling, dry etc.   The Stable are also child friendly with a children’s menu also available.  Ingredients are sourced as locally as possible and they work closely with suppliers to maintain great quality food and drink.  The venue in Whitechapel is nice and relaxed and appears to be a pretty trendy venue.

We wanted to do the cider tasting but as neither of us are heavy drinkers so we asked if we could try about 5ml of 5 different ciders from the range they had available.  The cider tasting normally includes 5 full little glasses of 5 different ciders and costs around £8 which really is a bargain.

Our tasting consisted of:

Okay so I know they were teeny tiny amounts but the staff humoured us without giggling and we had one of these each which was more than enough for us to get a taste of each of the ciders.  Normally I enjoy the sweet fruity ciders and don’t try any others but this opened my eyes to a whole new world of cider which I must admit I did really enjoy.

Cider 1

This was very easy to drink.  I loved the sparkle to it and that it was light and sweet.  You sure can taste the flavour of the apple and this was lovely and refreshing, a great one to drink with a meal.

Cider 2

The cider was still and had more of a sour apple flavour.  I really enjoyed this one too and could have quite easily filled up the cute little cup and drunk a whole one.

Cider 3

The cider was smooth, sweet and citrusy.  It had a lovely refreshing sparkle to it and again was extremely easy to drink.

Cider 4

This had the most fabulous aroma like an apple and rhubarb pie.  It was as if someone had dissolved some of those rhubarb and custard sweets into the cider.  It really was tasty and nice and sweet which I loved.

Cider 5

This cider had a strong colour.  It was sweet and fruity and very good.  This too was sparkling and had a smooth apple flavour that was not at all tart or very citrusy.

The ciders were all lovey and if I hadn’t felt so tired that day I might had considered having half a pint of a flavour I hadn’t tried yet.  The prices for the ciders were very good with half a pint costing just £2.50/££2.75 and a pint £5.00/£5.50.

The starter didn’t take long to arrive which was good as I had started sampling the ciders on an empty stomach, opsy.  Well I simply couldn’t resist.

Cured Meats and Cheese (shared)

This consisted of air-dried pork loin and coppa from Capreolus of Dorset with a selection of three West Country cheeses: Wookey Hole aged cheddar, Rosary goats’ cheese and Dorset Blue Vinney.  With pickled cucumber, tomato chutney and Peter’s Yard sourdough crackers.

The cheeses all had contrasting flavours and textures and the meats were both mouthwateringly tasty and went well with all the cheeses, the chutney and the crackers.  The chutney really does pack a flavourful punch with a mix of spices and a welcome sweetness.  You can tell from the appearance and taste that these ingredients are all good quality and we found the portion size to be fair.  The items gave a range of delicious flavour combinations.

Main Meal

Side Salad (shared)

Mixed leaf salad, cucumber and tomato, with house Dijon dressing.  This was fresh and the dressing was very light you couldn’t really taste the dijon.  It made a nice refreshing addition to the meal.

The Longhorn Jim

Marinated Longhorn ground beef, Bath Pig chorizo, field mushrooms, roasted red onions, tomato sauce and mozzarella.  Topped with West Country smoked ham.  A great mix of flavours that really work well together.  The texture and flavour of the mushrooms and beef add to the pizza nicely.  The pieces of chorizo are not too thin adding further texture and an additional burst of rich meatiness and you get a lovely creamy texture from the cheese.  The base also gives an additional flavour of its own.  There wasn’t much ham on the pizza but the over all amount of toppings was good.  The ingredients are clearly fresh and the pizza really was yummy.

The Blazing Saddle

Slow-roasted pulled beef, Denhay Farm dry-cured bacon, caramelised onions, roasted red peppers, tomato sauce and mozzarella.  Topped with sour cream and jalapeños (optional).  This Mexican influenced pizza combines ingredients that naturally go well together.  The pulled beef really works beautifully here.  The caramelised onions add a touch of sweetness, the bacon saltiness and the jalapenos a nice kick so the taste sensors are stimulated by various flavours with each mouthful.  This too is a great pizza that all meat lovers must try.

The pizzas were served with pizza cutters which made them so much faster and easier to cut a good thing if you are hungry and you will be once you see these.

We didn’t make it to dessert but might make an attempt to at a later date as we still have many more ciders and pizzas to try.

This is a great place to dine and visit for drinks with family and friends.  These guys clearly do make a great effort in their flavour combinations for their foods and the effort pays off as everything we tried was lovely.  Prices are reasonable and they have 17 locations around the UK so you are bound to be located near to one of them.

  If your in the area or have another branch you can get to easily you must try them out!  They also cater for various food intolerances so be sure to let them know if it applies to you as they are more than happy to help.

Have you visited The Stable yet?

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Kimchee Restaurant Kings Cross (London)

Kimchee have recently opened a branch literally a stone’s throw from King’s Cross and St. Pancras Stations, in Pancras Square, one of the city’s most exciting areas of urban re-development.  I’ve not been to King’s Cross often over the years but now I really do have reason to.  The area now looks great and there are some lovely looking bars and restaurants.  On my wonders around the area I even discovered an observation platform where you could see a few of London’s landmarks including The Shard.  If you visit at night be sure to check out the Identified Flying Object (IFO) so named by its artist creator Jacques Rival.  This was firmly on the ground when I visited but it did look pretty in with the colourful neon lights which emitting the energy it has accumulated during the day.  This first appeared in 2011 and on special occasions may be seen floating in the sky when it is hoisted up by crane.  This birdcage like structure not only looks pretty it also contains a swing which the public can use.

Kimchee was just around the corner and this Korean restaurant was holding a press evening where I was invited along to sample their food.  The entrance was lovely boasting a small yet beautiful zen garden and the bar area was pretty with glass boxes containing vases and bottles of various spirits.  Of course when you hear a place has a cocktail menu you simply must try at least one and that we did.  The Passion Fruit Frose came with a pretty garnish consisting of an orange slice and viola flowers (edible flowers).  The Lychee Love was appropriately garnished with a lychee both of these cocktails were pretty strong alcoholwise and deliciously fruity.  I managed my drink but didn’t feel brave enough to get a second and we both drank sparkling water for the rest of the evening.  For the location the pricing for the cocktails was good with them starting from £7.50.  The kitchen was busy, there must have been between 10 and 15 chefs that evening and the kitchen was open plan so we could watch them at work which I quite like as you can see the cleanliness of a kitchen easily that way too.

The starters came out quickly.

Mackerel Jorim

This dish has the most wonderful sauce which infuses with the ingredients and coats them.  The green and red peppers, mooli, rice cakes and mackerel combine well in this dish and we found the rice cakes although unusual in texture quite moreish.  The chilli gave it a great kick and the garlic was not overpowering.  This has a really interesting mix of textures making eating it that much more exciting.

Tuigim – Spicy Calamari

There were a few options for this dish including tiger prawns, tofu, vegetables, shrimp and crab but we opted for the calamari having seen the waiter walk by and serve one to a nearby table.  We were not disappointed the calamari was plump, bite sized and tender and the light batter was crisp and had been cooked in fresh oil.  The spicy sauce was not to the degree that you would burn your tongue and this portion vanished rather fast!  The dish was nicely presented in what appeared to be a giant prawn cracker.



We had the chargrilled pork and the chargrilled chicken.  These were both full of flavour and came in fluffy steamed buns.  Both delicious I’m not sure which was my favourite but I would not think twice about ordering these again.

Our waiter Decy insisted we try a side dish.  He was well trained and knew about all the dishes having tried them all it appeared.  We did take his advise for many of the options we went with and were very pleased that we had.

By the time we had gotten as far as this I was feeling kind of full.  I know crazy right but having already ordered the main I bravely soldiered on.


Udon with Chicken

There was also an option of tofu but the chicken appealed to me more.  This contained breaded chicken on a bed of udon noodles in a flavourful soy sauce with sesame oil.  The udon was very good and the chicken although simple was nice.  I was pleased that the sesame wasn’t excessive in the dish.  The sauce of this was delicious and really went well with the rest of the dish.  Try as I might I had to admit defeat and left some (crys at the thought of wasting good food).

Dolsot Bibimap

There were a mix of options here from beef, eel, tofu chicken and more.  The dish is served in a sizzling hot stone pot which contains rice, a mix of vegetables, sesame oil and on the side red chilli paste.  This is a great looking dish as you can see and you can adjust the spiciness of it by adding more chilli paste to the heat you require.  This enticing dish is a cross between a Chinese fried rice and a biriyani.  There is a fair amount of flavour to it too.  My friend did a fabulous job of finishing her meal although she did say she didn’t think she would be able to walk to the door after and we did sit a while chatting after we finished the meal.

Then it came to dessert.  Decy gave us his suggestions and my friend decided for the Baesuk with Ice Cream.  This consists of a whole pear spiced with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns and honey for sweetness.  This is accompanied by an ice cream of your choice so my friend choose almond.  The pear was literally as it described on the menu and you could taste all the spices.  It  was quite hard so wasn’t very easy to cut with a spoon.  This unfortunately wasn’t anything to write home about but in contrast the ice cream was amazing.  The soft creamy velvety smooth almond ice cream was heavenly and contained pieces of almond.  The pair remained with a little missing and the ice cream vanished.  I’m sure the plate might have been licked clean if that was an option.

I opted for the Sagwa Choux.  This is a cream filled choux bun served with an apple puree and butterscotch sauce and topped with a sprinkling of walnuts.  Highly recommended by Decy I was confident I was onto a winner.  It was very good and I was very pleased with this.  I do love desserts and this one works well with its contrast of flavours.

We had a really lovely evening.  The staff were all very attentive and we didn’t have to wait long for anything.  The atmosphere was lively and it really did seem like a great place for people to visit after work for drinks or nights out for drinks with friends in a nice location.  The portion sizes are generous so wear expandable clothing and the prices are extremely reasonable for the location.  Just to give you an example the udon dish would have been £9.40.  Make sure you check the opening times though as I ventured back there on Sunday only to find it was closed, opsy I didn’t realise they don’t open Sundays.  My first taste of Korean food was an enjoyable one and I hope to try some more interesting and tasty dishes in the future.

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Have you tried Korean food yet?

QP LDN (Mayfair) Restaurant Review

We all love Italian food, hell it’s one of the most popular foods around.  Italian food doesn’t merely consist of pizza and pasta, there is far more of a variety in Italian cooking than some restaurants would have you believe with the limited selections they have on offer.  Don’t get me wrong I love pizza and I love pasta and have written recipes such as my Fig, Mozzarella, Balsamic onion,  Parma ham and Rocket Pizza and my Lobster and King Prawn Pasta and of course enjoyed many meals out consisting of these types of foods but many restaurants seem to offer the same thing.

There are so many gorgeous meals that you can try and where better than at a good quality Italian restaurant located in Mayfair.  The QP LDN restaurant nestled in the heart of London offers patrons a taste of the Amalfi coast without them needing to leave the country.  Perfect for foodies such as myself this restaurant offers diners a choice of menus including their A La Carte, Express Lunch and Early Evening menus.  The lunch and evening menus change regularly making it one of those places you will want to visit often to sample the various delights they have to offer.

On arrival we were greeted warmly and shown to our table.  The seating is very comfy and there is also a bar area with seating where food can also be ordered from the bar menu.  The atmosphere was relaxed and the decor sophisticated.  I loved the addition of the palms and the dimmed lights added to the atmosphere.

The restaurant is far larger than I initially thought when I first arrived.  It was only once I had finished my meal that I decided to have a little nosey around and I discovered a whole second section to the room I was in.

There is even a bar downstairs which is very popular on certain evenings and looks great.  I hope to visit it sometime with friends.

I was booked in for the QP X Early Evening Meal by their lovely PR lady.  At £32 per person this is a bargain for what you get as it won’t leave you hungry.  Just like other Mediterranean’s, Italians are not only very hospitable they also enjoy their food and believe that guests should not leave until they are full.  Anyone who has been to mine for a meal will know this is very true.

Below is the menu we chose from on the evening of our visit which was prepared by Michelin starred chef Antonio Mellino.  He has 2 Michelin stars to be precise and is famed for his freshly made pasta.  He uses finest seasonal ingredients in his meals which are shipped daily from Italy.


Upon arrival, a glass of Champagne will be served along with some Panzerotti and Pizzette



Aubergine Parmigiana Q.P.



Squid Stuffed with Provola Cheese, Broccoli and Cream of Potato



Pumpkin Soup Served with Crispy Rice, Bread and Chilli



Pasta Served with Borlotti Beans and Pecorino Cheese



Ossobuco with Mashed Potatoes, Lemone and Orange Sauce



Seared Salmon Served with Scarola and Anchovy Dressing



Chocolate Profiterol



Millefoglie with Black Cherry and Chantilly Cream



Selection of Italian Cheese



Fruit Selection

GELATO AL PISTACCHIO (supplement di £10.00 per persona)

Pistachio ice cream (supplement of £10.00 per person)

Mark was our server for the evening and I must say he did a fabulous job.  He was able to advise us as to which dishes were popular with others and also which he liked and would strongly recommend.  Of course I observed him to see his interaction with others and he was very good.  There was no favouritism towards anyone (meaning us as we were reviewing), all were spoken to in the same manner with the same professionalism, he did an exceptional job.  I loved that he knew our glasses needed filling before we had even noticed and he would appear all of a sudden to make sure we were topped up.  His level of service was equivalent to that that I had received during my afternoon tea at Harrods from the lovely Loretta.  If I opened a restaurant I’d want both of them in it!

The menu we were booked to enjoy included a glass of champagne on arrival but the staff there kindly let us swap this for a bottle of sparkling water.  With our drink was served a selection of breads including wholemeal bread, foccacia, white bread with quinoa and potato, crisp Italian flat bread, grissini with polenta.  Just to note this was not on the set menu but an extra.

These were delicious and we were given a plate with fabulous quality olive oil and a blob of what must have been a balsamic vinegar reduction as it was nice and thick and packed full of flavour.  Still on the olive oil I must say I have not been served one as good as this in a restaurant before and I know good oil as we have freshly olive oil sent to us from Cyprus.  You can tell the good from the bad by the colour and the richness in flavour and if you do get to try this at QP LDN you will love it I assure you.  The breads were all lovely and we were pleased that there was a selection with a range of flavours and textures making it that quite exciting.  My favourite was the crisp Italian flat bread with it’s moreish saltiness.

Next up we are back to the menu.  We were served a panzerotti (stuffed with ricotta) and pizzette (like a pizza) each.  These were served warm and the moment I bit into each I was in heaven.  The bread was gorgeous.  It was soft and light with plenty of flavour of its own.  Within the panzerotti was a deliciously divine ricotta filling that was mouthwatering.  It was extremely smooth and creamy and fabulous!  The pizzette was also delicious and was topped with tomato, cheese and some fresh basil.  Again perfection.  What can I say these were fabulous examples of Italian cooking at it’s best and we hadn’t even gotten to the starters.

The Starters

These were beautifully presented with a variety of colours making them a feast for the eyes as well as our stomachs.

Stuffed Squid

This sure was a winning dish packed full of flavour with tender squid, perfectly cooked greens and a great contrast in texture from the beetroot crisps.  This was lovely and a dish you won’t want to share.  The potato cream worked well with the dish adding moisture and additional flavour but at the same time but not overpowering the flavour of the other ingredients.
Aubergine Parmigiana

A great interpretation of the dish this was not only rich in flavour but it wasn’t as oily as the dish baked version found in many restaurants.  The light fluffy cheese sauce on the side was lovely and was almost like eating a flavourful cloud.  The portion of this and the other starter was quite substantial and at this stage I was not sure if I would be able to finish the whole meal.

Having enjoyed everything so far we looked forward to tucking into the main dishes.

The Mains

Ossobuco with Mashed Potatoes, Lemone and Orange Sauce

Wow, this was a big portion and I was relieved that it was my friends dish as I knew the second it arrived I would never have managed to eat the whole thing.  The meat was tender, it literally melted in the mouth and was rich in flavour.  The meat fell of the bone instantly and combined with the sauce and mash made for a very tasty and hearty meal.

Pasta Served with Borlotti Beans and Pecorino Cheese

Simple yet tasty I had to try this to see how good the pasta really was and to say I was impressed was an understatement.  The dish combined a mix of perfectly formed pasta shapes which were Al dente (firm to the bite) with cheese and beans and had a fair amount of flavour.  The sauce was nice and creamy as you can see from the photo and this dish was nice and tasty.

With the meal we also had one side dish suggested by Mark – the fried zucchini and what can I say other than I was thankful he was there that day.  These were delicious, crispy and nicely salted giving them that additional favour and making them rather moreish.

By this stage we were pretty full.  But of course we were not going to skip dessert it’s the best part of the meal as my friend and I both have a sweet tooth.  Unable to decide what to have we were rescued by the lovely Mark who helped make the decision for us suggesting the Millefoglie and the pistachio ice cream.

Pistachio Ice Cream

This was placed on a serving table next to ours prior to presentation.  Anyone that likes pistachio ice cream will be in their element as this was truly magnificent.  The ice cream is akin to some authentic Italian ice cream I tried in Las Vegas years ago and I can honestly say we hadn’t been as quiet all evening as we were at that moment.  We wanted to fully savour the moment and enjoy the velvety soft and smooth ice cream as it gently melted in our mouths revealing small chunks of pistachio.

Note the colour of the ice cream indicating that this has been made with natural products and that colouring has not been added.  Honestly if I can make pistachio ice cream as good as this I know my friends would be over everyday.  I have yet to experiment with this having barely survived half term with all our tutors and out of school clubs.  The ice cream was so good we were not sure whether the Millefoglie could measure up to this but sure enough it was just as fantastic a dessert.

Millefoglie with Black Cherry and Chantilly Cream

This is the Italian version of the French pastry Mille-feuille meaning 1000 leaves / layers.  The pastry itself has a delicate flavour but is lovely and crispy.  The Chantilly cream and cherry combination works perfectly and this should not be over looked as a dessert nor should it be left in the shadow of the ice cream.  These are both desserts that I would highly recommend for their different textures and flavours which really do excited the taste buds and each is a heavenly dessert in its own right.

This really is a gem of a restaurant that serves gorgeous, great quality meals that are a cut above many others.   I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with your local pizzeria but for those looking for something a bit more authentic in relation to Italian food this is the place to try.  The quality of their dishes surpass most and the service is just as good.  This really has to be one of the best Italian restaurants in London and I am looking forward to visiting and trying more of their delicious meals with friends soon.

If you do go make sure you take a look at this work of art.  It’s a chair consisting of aluminium tubes dipped in gold and worth a staggering half a million pounds!  The chap sitting on the chair was lovely and just like me is a hugger so of course I got a big hug on my way out.

This is a great restaurant and they have got everything spot on.  If I was to make any suggestions then I would maybe add another dish or two to the options available in the main dish selection on the menu we had but other than that these guys have it all covered.

If you do pay them a visit make sure that you bring your appetite!

Have you tried any Italian dishes other than pizza or pasta?

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Spaccanapoli Covent Garden

Those of you that read my Blogging Goals for 2017 post will be aware that one of my goals was to eat my way around more London restaurants.  I have of course be revisiting old favourites but now have a new restaurant under my belt to tell you all about.  My friend and I recently braved the cold weather and ventured out to a restaurant located in Covent Garden called Spaccanapoli.  There seem to be a cluster of restaurants in the area where this particular restaurant was which all had large floor to ceiling glass windows making them look very inviting.


The restaurant we visited had two tables occupied on our arrival and during the time we spent there only one other group of guests come along to dine.  The seating was comfortable, roomy yet the restaurant was small and there was a nice relaxed atmosphere.

This particular meal was prepaid by us online, it was a deal found on the groupon site.  The offer was for the following:

Choice of starters includes: platter of Napoli prosciutto and salami | Toasted bread with tomatoes, garlic and basil | mixed grilled vegetables.

Choice of mains includes: gnocchi | lasagna | penne Siciliana | pizza margherita with tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovies and oregano | pizza Americana with salami, tomatoes, mozzarella, parmesan and basil | pizza vegetariana with tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, courgettes & mozzarella).

Apolina, a white or dark chocolate Italian treat will be served as a dessert.

Deal also includes a glass of house red or white wine each.

The waiter seemed friendly enough and flitted from table to table assisting the customers before vanishing off into the kitchen.

The menu was varied enough for the price and should you prefer you can swap your wine for a soft drink.

The House White


This wine was palatable and went well with my meal although it did look more like a half glass than a full one.

The Starter

Platter of Napoli Prosciutto and Salami


The cut was very thin and the Prosciutto was pretty fatty as you can see from the picture.  The bread was warm on arrival which was nice.  I would have preferred if the salami used looked a bit more appealing and less anaemic the picture gives the salami a redder colour then it actually had.  You can get such a lovely range of salamis that are not expensive from the supermarkets that look more appealing than those we were served.  The portion size for a starter was more than adequate.

The Main



The lasagna came out sizzling and looked very nice.  The portion size was good and there was plenty of mince inside but the lasagna itself needed more flavour.


This was extremely disappointing.  We would have liked something a little more substantial and we were not given the option of white or dark chocolate.  Instead we were given a glass that had something that we were told was caramel dessert which tasted a big like angel delight but with a thinner runnier consistency.  It was edible but I would have preferred a glass with tiramisu.

Spaccanapoli4For £19.95 for two people this wasn’t bad but I wouldn’t venture there again for this particular meal but the pizza did look good so maybe I just chose the wrong thing.  The price is reasonable and I think that if I was to venture there again I would probably go for the Bruschetta and a pizza.

Have you tried Spaccanapoli yet?

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Did you Cut your Spending this Christmas?

I have been reading all sorts of articles over the Christmas period from those about gift ideas for various members of the family, great party food ideas and more.  Some of these were found online and some I found in my inbox.  One that caught my interest covered spending over the Christmas season.


An online voucher company recently did a survey and discovered that 42% of those asked have tried to save money this Christmas.  It’s not surprising Christmas is an expensive time of year and it’s hard especially when you have little ones not to feel that you should get them the latest toy that they really want and have been on about for the last month and a half.  With our desire to make Christmas as special and magical a time as possible for children and loved ones some really do get a little spend happy it’s easy to get swept up in the Christmas buying frenzy that seems to happen and sometimes we might swipe the plastic a little too much it’s easily done as by not physically handling cash it can make you a little less aware of what you are spending resulting in quite a few cases in accounts being overdrawn as we venture into the cold January months.  I wrote a post in November titled ‘Save this Christmas and Enjoy a Happy New Year’ which I hope some of you managed to read and this gave some great tips on how you could save money for this Christmas as well as begin working on saving money for the next.

The company that carried out the survey that caught my attention was none other than My Voucher Codes which I frequently use and you can see the full survey ‘here‘.  The great thing about this particular company is that savings are not merely restricted to Christmas time although saving money at this expensive time of year is of course great.  These guys like many other voucher services allow you to save money on a whole array of products /  services from holidays, dining out, shopping for clothes, jewellery, beauty products, the list goes on.  I will be using vouchers to help save me money over the year and might even buy a few Christmas gifts on the way to reduce the load for next Christmas.  I’m quite excited to see they link to the offers on the buyagift page where I plan on making the most of discounts and go on a few of the experiences yet again.  The gift and occasion page is one to keep an eye on for those needing gifts over the year or want to get their Christmas shopping for the coming year finished early.  At the moment many of the stores they list are offering up to 50% off so if you want to grab some bargains why not go take a look.


Have fun shopping x

Do you use money saving voucher sites like these and which do you use?

Tootoomoo Whetstone

I love Pan Asian food it’s got to be one of my favourites.  The mix of flavours, textures and colours is so enticing and the types of dishes that can be made are endless.  It’s also pretty healthy too which is an added bonus.  Not all restaurants are able to pull off Pan Asian cuisine to a reasonable quality but for those that would love to try a good one and live in London it I would strongly suggest going for a meal at Tootoomoo in Whetstone.  I went years ago with some other mums but as there was a large group of use we had to have the set menu which I don’t normally do and the restaurant wasn’t very big so it was a little tight but since then they have recently refurbished and the restaurant looks far nicer and was a bit more spacious.  It’s not an enormous restaurant but it is nice and cosy and has a and relaxed atmosphere.  This is a great place to go on a date or with friends and even for parties.  Staff are exceptionally welcoming and available when needed and extremely willing to help with explaining items off the menu as well as advising about popular dishes.


I popped along to review this site and was extremely pleased that I had revisited, you will see why very soon.  First of all let it be said that their Lychee Martini is gorgeous it’s a fabulous drink for lovers of sweet fruity cocktails and one fans of sweet drinks must all try it!

We ordered a selection of starters which arrived at our table quickly.

The Starters


Edamame (soya beans)

Packed with natural phytooestrogens and fibre these tasty beans are a lovely healthy way to start a meal.

Yuzo Salmon Maki (cold dish)

The flavours and textures were indicative of fresh food and were made well with the maki being firm and not falling apart when we picked them up with our chopsticks.  These were a good size too as some restaurants serve ones that are too big and not so easy to cram into one mouthful.  Food needs to look good, taste good and it helps if it’s easy to eat too.

Salmon Sashimi (cold dish)

This came accompanied by a small bowl of soy and kizami wasabi (fresh wasabi) and some salad leaves.  The fish was clearly fresh and cut to order.  The pieces were a touch thinner than the ones I have been served at other restaurants, yes I noticed but this was something I quite liked as it as that bit easier to eat all in one go.  The salad garnish and wasabi had been freshly prepared and the mix of fresh flavours was lovely.

Duck & Watermelon Salad (cold dish)

This is a well balanced dish with a mix of flavours and textures that work well together.  It’s delicious and super healthy too, simply take a look at the photo and you can see red lettuce, watermelon, nuts, nice fat free chunks of duck, cucumber, radish, carrot and lettuce.  This is a firm favourite of mine and I could eat a large plate of it all to myself as a meal.

The Mains

Black Cod Miso

This was delicious and for those that haven’t tried it it is a must.  Everyone I know (and I know a fair few people) that has been introduced to this dish loves the succulent, soft, moist, flaky fish and gorgeous flavour.  In many cases this will become one of you favourite dishes if it isn’t already.


Singapore Noodles

These Singapore noodles must be one of the best I have ever had.  There was plenty of flavour, a good kick of heat and they had king prawns rather than the teeny shrimp that some others use.  In addition take a look at the size of those squid pieces!!!!!  Seriously, the quality of the dishes that came out was very good and the photos really help me give you an insight into this.

Thai Green Prawn Curry

This gorgeous coconut based soup with just the right amount of heat is full of flavour and nice sized pieces of seasonal vegetables and again those nice big prawns.  This was well made and I really couldn’t fault it.  I really do love this dish and there is also a chicken and a vegetarian version too if you prefer.

Egg Fried Rice

This was not overly greasy and had some nice bright coloured pieces of vegetable in it too which I quite liked.  This was great for soaking up all the yummy juices from the green curry and beef rendang.

Beef Rendang

Again rich in flavour this dish was fantastic.  You can taste the lemon grass coming through as well as coconut.  This is one of those warming comfort dishes that really make you feel great on eating them.  There were nice big chunks of beef that was tender without a trace of fat. The beef literally melts in the mouth.  There were also nice big chunks of sweet potato which really did work well in this dish.  This is also available in a chicken version and I think a vegetarian version with sweet potato and some other vegetables would be a lovely addition to the menu.


Aromatic Duck

The piece of duck presented was lovely and tender and moist with perfectly crisped skin on top allowing for a nice mix of textures when this was added into the pancake with the pieces of vegetables and the hoisin sauce.  I’ve never had this with pieces of carrot and beetroot which was a lovely idea and adds colour and more nutrients to the dish.  This is a great dish for sharing and also keeping all for yourself.



Pistachio Creme Brulee

This was heavenly.

If I was to sum this up in two words they would be “Loved it!”  The creme was lovely a velvety smooth and simply amazing.  There as a lovely pistachio and vanilla flavour to the custard and although I had felt pretty full at the end of the meal I was so glad that I had attempted to squeeze this in too.  I wouldn’t hesitate to order this again and again it was the first time I had tried a pistachio creme brulee but I really don’t want it to be the last.


I thoroughly enjoyed the meal at Tootoomoo and am hoping to take my husband and friends who have yet to go along to enjoy the food too.  What impressed me the most was the thought and care that went into the presentation of each dish.  Each dish looked great and this made them exceptionally appealing.  The ingredients were also of a good quality and these guys didn’t seem to take any short cuts to create their fabulously delicious food.

Have you visited one of the various Tootoomoo branches yet?

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I was invited to this restaurant to sample the lovely food and provide and honest review, all thoughts and opinions are mine own.

Cafe Rouge Christmas 2016

Many restaurants have been introducing their Christmas and New Year menus recently and just like them Cafe Rouge has some tasty offerings appearing on theirs.   I popped along one day when Cafe Rouge Southgate were inviting people to try their tasty festive food and drink that will be available over the Christmas period.


Drinks included; Winter Berry Lemonade (lemon, blackberry, elderberry and raspberry), French Garden Fizz (elderflower petal, fresh mint, lemon and lime juice) both of which are non alcoholic and plenty of other mocktails, soft drinks, cocktails and wines to choose from to go with your meal.  Mr Squishy loved trying these and made good use of his draw (straw).

We sampled the Salmon Rillette starter: A rustic pâté of smoked and cured salmon, lightly flavoured with shallot and chives, served with caper berries.  It was delicious and full of flavour and one we would highly recommend.  It’s a great size for a starter dish too and the caper berries complimented it nicely.

The pigs in blankets (found on the turkey on the Christmas Party and Christmas Day menus) were delicious and had a mustard seed dressing which added a nice and different addition to the flavour.  This was very easy to finish and although the portion we had was a reasonable size they were that good that we wanted more!!!!

Mushrooms au Gratin: Chestnut mushrooms in garlic and cèpe Mornay sauce with a chive and Gruyère crust (starter) were lovely and creamy and pretty tasty too. It’s also suitable for vegetarians and can be made gluten free to according to the menu (although I’m guessing it is).

The Tomato and Harissa (starter) Lightly spiced smooth tomato and harissa soup with chives is perfect for vegetarians and has a fair amount of flavour to it.

We didn’t get to try any main meal items apart from the sausages which were part of a meal but we did get to try some of the desserts.

The Creme Brulee: Caramelised vanilla crème was lovely and the Tarte au Citron: Lemon tart and crème fraîche was also nice.  I’ve often been to Cafe Rouge for tea and cake with friends as the atmosphere is normally quite lively yet relaxed and it’s a great place for meeting friends.

All in all the food that we sampled and the drinks were good and we would visit again, hopefully over the Christmas period time permitting.

You can find the Christmas and New Year menus on the Cafe Rouge website.

Are you planning on visiting Cafe Rouge over the festive period?

All Bar One Leicester Square

All Bar One in Leicester Square has a relaunch night recently but unfortunately I was unable to make it that evening, lucky for me though they kindly invited me along to do a review of their new menu.  I went along, friend and camera in tow to take a look around and enjoy a meal.  For anyone that doesn’t get out much All Bar One for anyone is a lively fun place to meet with friends for food and drinks and they also have wifi which is handy too.  There are branches located all over the country and I got to visit their site in London’s West End, handy for me as I do get invited to a few events in the area so now I know where I can pop in for lunch and get some great food.


All the staff were very friendly and the gentleman serving us on our visit was an extremely animated and friendly chap called Mo.  Now naturally not knowing whether he was like this with all diners I must admit I was a bit suspicious as to whether we were getting special treatment as we were there to review so unbeknown to him I watched him like a hawk and was pleased to see he was just as good with all of the other customers he was serving.

The drinks menu is varied and there are some great cold pressed juices,  cocktails and a large selection of wines available.  We let Mo choose what we had to drink and it was a good job we did.


The cocktails were delicious, Mo did a great  job on these.  The alcohol wasn’t too overpowering and the flavour combinations worked well.  The prices are reasonable for the West End at £7.50.

The menu is varied with a mix of Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican and American foods that all sounded delicious.  After studying the menu we finally decided on our starters.  It wasn’t long until they arrived which was good as we had walked around Leicester Square beforehand and had built up an appetite.


The ginger and teriyaki chicken skewers were served on a tasty bed of picked vegetables that gave the dish a good contrast of flavours.  The chicken was nice and tender and moist and with the sauce and vegetables you have a fair amount of flavour in this dish.

The calamari had a nice crispy coating that was lightly seasoned and the squid itself was tender.  There was chilli in the batter but it wasn’t excessively hot.  This was well paired with the sweet chilli sauce.

The duck dumplings were packed full of nice thick pieces of duck and vegetables and plenty of flavour.  The sweet chilli sauce served with the dumplings complemented them well.

The dishes were nicely presented and the garnishes used were all fresh.

I noticed there was an offer for the starters, you can get 3 for £17 or 5 for £25 which is great if you just want a few things to nibble on with a meal.

The Main Dish

It had been a while since we had last had burgers so when we saw the Wagu burgers on the menu the decision was immediately made.


The burgers were nice and thick and the meat was slightly pink in the centre.  We were not asked as to our preference in relation to how well we wanted our burgers cooked, I’d have gone for a little pinker myself but it was still nice enough.  Again the presentation was good and the burgers were big, juicy and tasty.  The chips had a good crunchy outer and were soft and fluffy on the inside.  I quite liked the chilli and tomato jam although it didn’t seem at all spicy just sweet.

I’ve been on a role recently and have noticed I have been continuously defeated by meals on my trips out in this instance I might have managed it all if I had skipped dessert but I couldn’t bare to do that as I had already decided what I had wanted to try – or at least narrowed it down a bit.  In the above picture you can see how much I I had to leave of the meal although it was a good attempt on my behalf and I was a good girl and ate all the meat (yum!).  I must bring my husband here sometime as I know he will enjoy the burgers too.

The good thing about going with others to enjoy a meal like this is that you get to shared desserts or not if you so prefer.  I love to try different desserts as it help give me inspiration for my own recipes.


The cheese cake was lovely and thick and creamy with a nice crunchy biscuit base.  There was a fair amount of flavour to this so we felt the compote that came with it wasn’t really needed.  The flavour of the lemon comes through nicely and this was a really good choice.

The churros were warm when they arrived and were accompanied by a warm Dulce de Leche sauce.  The cinnamon sugar was gorgeous just as expected (I’ve had this elsewhere a few time and love it) and again was a fabulously good choice.  The great thing is that this dish is big enough to share.  Again another good choice.

There are some other great sounding desserts on the menu that I hope to go back and enjoy soon especially the salted caramel torte which I am sure is divine.

By this stage we were stuffed silly but extremely satisfied with out meal.  Our experience at All Bar One was a very good one and we would not hesitate to return, we still have more items on the menu that we want to try!!!!

Have you guys tried the latest All Bar One Menu yet?

All Bar One

48 Leicester Square



020 3846 1451

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I was invited to enjoy a meal at the restaurant, all opinions expressed are my own.

Thali Indian Restaurant

I was invited to review an Indian restaurant recently called Thali.  Naturally I looked online to do a little research and saw that they had some great reviews over on the Tripadvisor and Opentable sites so being a no brainer I of course gladly agreed to a visit.  It’s nice to discover a new restaurant (new to me) as it’s a great way to discover new foods.  This is especially true with Indian food as dishes which will vary from place to place depending on where the chef has trained and if the chef is Indian recipes can vary from village to village so their influences from their parents cooking for example will dictate the herbs and spices used in the dishes.

The restaurant was easy to get to as it was just a short walk from the station and when we arrived we were greeted warmly and shown to our table.  The lights were dimmed and there were quite a few tables taken when we arrived.  The restaurant which serves North Indian cuisine has simple and comfortable surroundings.  On one wall there are Bollywood movie posters and on another this brightly coloured rickshaw bicycle.


The menu is varied with a good selection of foods and I noted that they had a selection of vegetarian dishes so anyone vegetarian is good to go.  The staff there were eager to please and I am sure that vegetarian versions of dishes can be made if requested.  I did watch the staff to measure their level of interaction and quality of service with other diners and they treated all very well.  The staff there are genuinely very nice and happy to help which was really good.

The table space was limited but clearly they are aware of this as any bottles are safely kept aside and the second drink levels started to go down these guys were on top of it filling the glass normally before you even noticed it need it.

For our starters we selected:


This is a vegetarian dish made with spinach, coriander, tamarind, sweetened yoghurt and chutneys.  Although fried this isn’t exceptionally greasy.  The spinach was crispy and the mix of flavours really was was quite something and you could taste all the different flavours non of them were paricularly overpowering.  This was delicious and we had ordered it on recommendation from one of the waiters as it was a very popular dish and he also liked it very much.


Another popular dish on the menu this is a type of chicken tikka dish.  It’s marinated over night in a range of spices.  I was unsure about ordering this initially being used to my chicken tikka but I am glad I did as it was lovely.  The chicken was succulent and tender and there was a lot of flavour.  It went exceptionally well with the coriander and chilli sauce served with it that was freshly made and packed full of flavour.


These were shallow fried to give them a lovely crispy filo like exterior with a good crunch.  Inside they were packed full of vegetables and chicken as you can see and had a nice mix of spices for extra flavour.  We ate these with a chilli sauce for a lovely kick of heat.  It wasn’t to spicy though if anyone was curious.

All the starters were good and we waited in anticipation, mouths watering for the main course.

thali6The pieces of prawn were nice and chunky and juicy and there were plenty there, you don’t need to dig around and  be disappointed at just one or two pieces being there.  The dish is spicy and full of flavour and the rice is cooked to perfection.  The garnish was fresh – you can see it looked moist and glossy meaning it was all freshly prepared.  This went well with the raita which was lovely and fresh.thali7This is a selection of dishes in steel plates allowing dinners a great insight into the flavours of North Indian food.  This is a nice way to sample a range of dishes from the menu rather than just one as a main meal.  This seemed to be popular as a number of other tables had also ordered one of the Thali options.  The Thali we had opted for was the seafood one although you could also choose from a vegetarian and a non vegetarian.

There were 5 items plus rice, these included:

Raita (yoghurt with mint and cucumber) which could be combined with the various dishes and very refreshing.

Prawn Masala which was amazing, there was a good depth of flavour and it was nicely spiced and not too hot.

Amritshari fish which comprises of loving seeds, lemon, tumeric and Kashmiri chilli.  The pieces of fish were a good size, it was cooked perfectly and full of flavour.  It was quite a mild dish and very tasty.

Prawn Balchao was nice and spicy with big juicy prawns and bursting with flavour.

The Madras Fish Curry had nice big flaky pieces of fish with gorgeous flavours from the coconut and tamarind and added heat from the chillis.  A lovely dish that went exceptionally well with the raita.

The rice which was nice and fluffy and soaked up flavours from the various sauces.

The final dish in the Thali was a dessert called Gulab jamun this was a milk dough dumpling that was served hot with syrup.  This was very sweet as you would expect and you could taste the gorgeous flavour of the cardamon.

Between courses the table was cleared of any stray food that may have escaped as it was being spooned into plates.

By this stage we were pretty full but we decided to try one of the desserts off the menu as it had to be done.  Let’s face it going without dessert is a sin in the foodie world.

We opted for the Gajor Ka Halwa to share.

This consisted of carrot, almonds, milk and sugar and sounded great.  Did I forget to mention it was topped with vanilla ice cream.  This was heaven and just the mere thought of it excites my taste buds and gets my mouth watering.  I was so pleased we got this even though it was to share.  Next time i’m getting my own!


I really did enjoy my meal at Thali and was not only impressed at the care taken in presentation and the portion sizes, but also at the level of service given to myself and the other diners that evening (I have eyes like a hawk and watch everything happening around me unless distracted by food).  I can’t fault the staff there were all fabulous and the food was all delicious.  I would thoroughly recommend a visit if you are in the area as I know you will love it too.

The staff are very attentive and nothing is too much and if you want to order a classic Indian meal not on the menu don’t fret they will accommodate your needs without a fuss.

There are numerous items on the lunch menu such as chicken tikka wraps with salad and chutney which sound great and I hope to return sometime to try these too.


166 Old Brompton Rd,
London, SW5 0BA
Tel: 020 7373 2626

Royal China Restaurant (Bayswater)

I love reviewing restaurants especially as I am located in London and there are so many hidden treasures waiting to be discovered.  The next restaurant that I wanted to tell you all about is a Chinese restaurant in Bayswater.  The streets of Bayswater are aligned with beautiful large houses which are nicely furnished too if you manage to get a peek inside.  My friend and I decided that for this this little adventure we would drive.  Be aware they have residents parking but the times are different depending on what side of the road you are parking on so we were lucky enough to find a great space nearby and walk to the restaurant.

From the outside the restaurant doesn’t appear to be very large – appearances can be deceiving.  You walk in through the smallish shop front area up past the bar and voila a lovely large room with mirrored pillars and plenty of seating space.  The clientele are mixed with a fair amount of Chinese people there as well as a mixture of other people who all seemed to be tucking into their meals happily and it sounded as if some of these were regulars as well, a great indicator of a good restaurant especially in such an affluent area.  The Royal China group of restaurants are well known for their dim sum which are served daily from noon to 5pm.royal1We took a while to look through the menu (I can be pretty indecisive at time) and during this time we were asked a few times if we we ready to order which was good as we knew we had not been forgotten.  The menus were well presented with a good range of dishes and pictures which really do help you decided what you want the only problem is you might over order as so many of the dishes look delicious.  The tables were clutter free just the essentials adorned, the environment was nice and relaxed.  Over the course of the evening more people arrived for dinner and for a Monday night the restaurant was doing well.  We were pleased that there was wifi available onsite and we made full use of this.


The pictures of the various foods in the menu really do get you salivating before you order and there is a good range of vegetarian, seafood, meat and poultry dishes to choose from.  There were numerous members of staff and some seemed friendly enough where as some were preoccupied with getting all the work done quickly and efficiently.  After studying the menu we finally decided on the Seafood Gourmet which was one of their set menus.  This way we would get a nice selection of dishes and they all sounded yummy.  This particular set menu costs £39.80 per person and includes some great dishes as you will see shortly.

The Starters

We were pretty hungry when the food arrived and so at first we didn’t realise that we had been brought out the wrong starter selection, it was only once we had eaten a little that we realised we had been served the starters from the House Dinner set menu £33.80.  This consisted of:

Sesame Prawn Toast

We have all tried these at some stage or at least those amongst us that have dined or ordered from a Chinese restaurant.  These had a nice generous topping of prawn on the toast which you can identify as prawn.  This is lovely and moist and the bread beneath is golden and crunchy not a burnt part in sight.

Smoked Shredded Chicken

This had a smokey taste to it and was seasoned nicely with salt and the chicken pieces were not too thin.  You could see this was actual shredded chicken not an item from a questionable origin.  The chicken had been fried with chilli and spring onion to add extra flavour to the dish which is different to what I am used to as it normally comes without these so it was a welcome surprise and added an extra kick to the dish.  This was served with a sweet chilli dip which I do like and have my own bottle from my local Chinese cash and carry – I doubt any of you are surprised to hear that lol.

Vietnamese Pancake Rolls

These were served with fish sauce and were packed with vegetables as you can see in the picture and I also discovered some chunks of prawn in there too.  The coating was nice and crunchy although a touch greasy on the outside but then you expect some grease from a dish that is deep fried.

Mandarin Pork Chops

I will admit I had specifically not ordered the The House Dinner set menu as I wasn’t sure about this particular dish and we did prefer the seafood options but this dish was actually really good, in fact I will hasten to add that this was the best of all the starters that we got to try apart from one which I will tell you about later.  The meat had been removed from the bone and the actual pieces of meat had been cleared of any fat.  This dish was full of flavour so it was actually good thing in a way that the wrong starters had been brought to us.


This is another starter that features on many Chinese restaurant menus.  The seaweed was nice and crispy as expected and lightly seasoned with salt.  I do like this although you need to be careful not to get it caught in your teeth.  Not something I would advise to eat on a first date.

Spicy Baby Squid

We asked for a portion of this as it would have come with the original set menu that we ordered and we really wanted to try it.  We did not regret the decision, the squid was nice and tender and the batter was crunchy and full of flavour.   This also had spring onion and chilli and had a good kick to it which you can avoid if you don’t eat the chillies although they are very good for you and work fabulously in the dish.

All the dishes were fresh and there was no indication of stale oil for the fried foods or that various different items had been cooked in the same oil.


Next up was the lobster.

We had a choice of sauce as you can see in the picture above with the menu, we opted for ginger and spring onion.  There were lovely large pieces of ginger found amongst the chunks of lobster which had been broken apart to make sure the flavours dispersed well when cooking in the sauce and also to make it easier for us to handle.  You are provided with the necessary tools to prise the lobster pieces apart in order to get to the soft perfectly cooked and beautifully flavoured meat.  I would highly recommend this, it’s delicious!

royal4Between each course the staff were extremely fast in clearing the table and bringing out fresh plates for us to eat from.  By this stage we were feeling pretty full as the food we had already feasted on was quite filling but there was still more to come!

Next arrived the following:

Mixed Seafood in Bird’s Nest

Not an actual birds nest thankfully having seen how these are made in various nature programmes, this dish was well presented as were all the others in this course.  The colours of the vegetables were all vibrant and the texture crisp indicating a flash fry which was good as it kept them looking great and retaining their nutrients and flavour.  The sauce was very tasty and did not take from the flavour of the vegetables or the seafood which was more than adequate in it’s quantity in the dish.  The prawns and squid were plump and tender, the scallops perfectly cooked and lovely and soft.


Deep-Fried Fillet of Dove Sole with Spicy Salt

This was amazing!!!  We both loved this dish although we struggled to eat it all as we were almost bursting by this stage.  The thought of wasting such delicious food spurred us on as it wouldn’t be right and we would have felt awful doing so.  The pieces of fish were large but not too big to fit in to your mouth with a couple of bites.  The fish itself was tender and flaky, the coating was perfectly seasoned with salt and not too much spice for my taste or to prevent you enjoying the overall flavour.

Stir Fried Mixed Vegetables

Lovely fresh crunchy vegetables with a delicious light sauce, again the flavours of the vegetables could be enjoyed as the sauce was not overpowering.  The dish looks simple yet pretty and was very good.

‘Royal China’ Lotus Leaf Rice

This specially prepared rice dish consists of prawns and duck wrapped in a lotus leaf and steamed allowing the flavour from the duck, prawn and lotus leaf (a light tea like flavour) to gently infuse with the rice.  This is a lovely dish and as you dig through the rice you will find generous pieces of prawn and duck hidden within.


As luck would have it one of the other tables asked if they couple pack up what they couldn’t eat and take it home.  Not having occurred to us to do this previously we decided it was a great idea and did the same.  The food would have ended up being thrown away which we simply could not allow.  Below you can see how much was packed away which demonstrates how good the portions are here and I would say that this set menu allows enough food for three people rather than two or alternatively a doggy bag for the next day.


But it’s not over yet!

The final course – dessert!

Mixed Fruit Platter

A selection of fruit including strawberries, melon, dragon fruit and grapes.  This was more than welcome as it was nicely chilled by the ice and very refreshing and cleansing to the palate. royal7

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at The Royal China Bayswater  These guys have a few more sites to look out for too.  The food from the set menu as demonstrated is plentiful and we both agreed this is excellent value for money when you look at the quantity, quality and types to food included in the set meal.  Apparently seven course tasting menus are also available for those with a very large appetite.

A must try if you are a fan of Chinese food and are in London.

Royal China Bayswater

13 Queensway
W2 4QJ

020 7221 2535

I was invited to the restaurant for an honest review.  As always all views are my own.