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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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.

EARLY EVENING MENU

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

STARTER WITH A CHOICE OF

PARMIGIANA DI MELANZANE Q.P.

Aubergine Parmigiana Q.P.

OR

CALAMARO RIPIENO DI PROVOLA E FRIARIELLI CON CREMA DI PATATE

Squid Stuffed with Provola Cheese, Broccoli and Cream of Potato

OR

ZUPPA DI ZUCCA, RISO CROCCANTE, PANE AL PEPERONCINO

Pumpkin Soup Served with Crispy Rice, Bread and Chilli

MAIN COURSE WITH A CHOICE OF

PASTA MISTA CON FAGIOLI BORLOTTI E PECORINO

Pasta Served with Borlotti Beans and Pecorino Cheese

OR

OSSOBUCO, PUREA DI PATATE, ARANCIA E LIMONE

Ossobuco with Mashed Potatoes, Lemone and Orange Sauce

OR

SALMONE SCOTTATO CON SCRAROLA E ACCIUGHE

Seared Salmon Served with Scarola and Anchovy Dressing

DESSERT WITH A CHOICE OF

PROFITEROL AL CIOCOLATO

Chocolate Profiterol

OR

MILLEFOGLIE DI AMARENE E CREMA CHANTILLY

Millefoglie with Black Cherry and Chantilly Cream

OR

SELEZIONE DI FORMAGGI ITALIANI

Selection of Italian Cheese

OR

TAGLIATA DI FRUTTA

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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Busaba Eathai Leicester Square, London

Busaba Eathai has been enticing people to try their fabulous Thai food at one of the most well known Foodie Festivals The Taste of London for years and I have been meaning to try it for longer than I remember but for some reason I have never managed to.  Finally this weekend I made it and boy did I wish I had gone along sooner!!!

From the exterior you could be fooled into thinking that it was just another London restaurant.

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But as you step between the large wooden doors you are greeted by a golden Buddha, the scent of burning incense wafting through the air and Gerbera floating gently on a shallow bed of water.

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The relaxing and calm atmosphere entice you in.  The appearance of the restaurant represents a Thai casual dining venue with its large wooden benches and tables with ample room to give dinners a fuss free relaxed and comfortable eating experience.

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As we entered we were greeted warmly and shown to our table.  There are also seating areas facing windows to allow for a more private meal should you prefer.  There you can gaze out at the passersby and maybe even spot a passing celeb, very possible as it is literally just a stone’s throw from Leicester Square gardens and the Odeon Cinema.  They also have some other sites dotted around London as well as Manchester and Liverpool.

The menu is clearly set out with explanations of each dish and special menus for certain times of the day clearly marked.

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They have a good selection of dishes to choose from and icon / signature dishes are clearly displayed.  Dish types include soups, noodle dishes; stir frys, curries and rice dishes.  A range of snacks and side dishes are also available.

I was please to see that they had a children’s menu.  The children’s menu also has some fun activities to keep them entertained whilst waiting for their food.

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There were numerous dishes for the vegetarians among us and I was also informed that any dish that included meat could be made vegetarian should the diner desire.

 Gluten free, nut free and vegetarian options can also be found on the menu.

Just a quick note, all small and large dishes will come out when ready so what one might perceive as a starter may come with the larger dishes.  If you want to have them separated all you need to do is ask, nothing was too much for the fabulous guys that were on site when we visited which added to the overall experience.

Whilst we waited for our food to come we enjoyed some prawn crackers served with sweet chilli sauce and some wok tossed cashews with chilli and salt.

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Starters / small dishes

Thai Calamari with Ginger and Peppercorns

This is the most popular dish on the menu and it is obvious why when you bite into the firm, thick yet tender pieces of squid with a thin batter coat that adds to the flavour but doesn’t feel at all greasy.  The gorgeous flavour of the fresh ginger with the delicious secret sauce and peppercorn (the peppercorn was not overwhelming) had chopsticks diving back in for second and third pieces.  This moreish dish is a must try for any newbie, you can thank me later.

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Soft Shell Crab

A perfect example of how the dish should be made as the crab was not greasy and it was perfectly crisp and tasted lovely.  The accompanying sauce with garlic pepper, chilli, spring onion and oyster sauce added extra flavour and heat to the dish.  I do love soft shell crab and this was a great version.

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Main Dishes

 Children’s

Chicken Fried Rice

This is the perfect dish for children that are not very adventurous.  The portion is enormous, both my girls could have shared it as a main meal.  My little one loved it but only managed to eat about half of the portion which was good going for her.

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Pad Thai (Children’s)

A great dish for little ones this was not spicy like the adult version and again was a very generous size.  There are plenty of prawns to keep little ones happy and these were a nice and plump as you can see from the picture.

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Adults

 Tom Yam Goong

Full of flavour this delicious soup combines coconut, lemongrass, galangal, king prawns and glass noodles topped with fresh, fragrant Thai basil.  This soups is not only filling it also tastes amazing and is one of the most popular dishes featured on the menu.  Fresh ingredients are used to make this and all the other meals available.

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Sen Chan Pad Thai

 This is similar to the classic but with additional extras of crab meat and green mango.  The combination of sweet, salty and spicy flavours work well together.  Make full use of the lime as this adds a burst of flavour from the fresh lime.  Having tried this version I would say the mango is a necessity which should be an ingredient added to all versions of Pad Thai it really tastes great.

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All meal portions were generous and each of us felt comfortably full at the end of the meal. As part of the children’s meal there was an option of vanilla or coconut ice cream.  Both children enjoyed the later and us parents tried our best to resist but failed miserably.  In our defence it was very good.

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You can eat a large meal here for about £20 or less per person depending on the time you dine.

 Busaba Eathai is the sort of restaurant you will want to revisit over and over so you can work your way through the varied menu as well as enjoy your favourite dishes again and again.

 Fancy trying this great restaurant?  Want a discount?  If you download their app you can get £5 off your first bill and further rewards as for regular app users!!!

Rating 4/5

We went along to Busaba Eathai as guests.  All views expressed are our own.