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the cronut

Happy Sunday (or not). I was trawling through my photo roll, reminiscing about London and I realised that I’ve never, ever posted about the cronut. 

For the uninitiated, a cronut is a hybrid between the croissant and a donut – think of it as a donut-shaped croissant with flaky layers of buttery pastry, filled with a cream or jam, topped off with a glaze (I have no apt description for the sticky glaze on top of the cronut. Suggestions welcome.) and dusted in sugar.


And there you have it – blush peach and elderflower, May’s special in London’s Dominique Ansel Bakery. It’s a combination that’s easy to like, but unfortunately I couldn’t taste much of the elderflower. I really wanted to like it, but it was what I remembered it to be, layers of oily and dense pastry with jam and cream. And I really am not a fan of the glaze on top of the cronut. My dining companions – Sarah and Tdy – weren’t exactly enthusiastic about it either.


When I visited Japan previously in September, I shared the Kyoto grape and mint cronut (pictured above!) with KYW, and it spoilt our appetites for two hours because we didn’t expect the cronut to be that heavy. I didn’t post about the cronut then because I thought it might just have been an off-day. After trying two, I think I’ve concluded that the cronut isn’t really my cup of tea (and I’m quite sad about that!).

That said, I do think it’s a pastry that everyone should try, should there be a chance to (just to tick it off the bucket list). I’d highly recommend sharing the cronut with a friend or two because it is really bigger and more filling than it looks. And if all else fails, there are other pastries available on display as well (picture below from the London branch).

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London: Pachamama

How do I even begin to describe this meal? It seems like sharing plates have become the norm in London – not complaining because it just means more variety! Pachamama was the first time I had Peruvian and yes, Peruvian is more than just ceviche. The sea bream ceviche with passionfruit, kumquat and ponzu went amazingly well with the coriander and had a spicy kick at the end. Definitely worth a try. Of particular mention are (i) the crab and yuca churros and (ii) the quinoa del mar, comprising tomato quinoa, with a leafy vegetable that may or may not be kale and lots of seafood – hands down our favourite for the night.

I was mighty impressed with Pachamama and I cannot recommend it enough. Now I really want to try more Peruvian…

KELLIE’S 21ST AT NOBU

So yes, exams are coming in about a few weeks, and here I am. Honestly this is a meal I want to etch into my mind FOREVER. MINDBLOWING, JAWDROPPING, ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT FOOD with the BEST COMPANY EVER. I sound vaguely high on drugs but honestly I don’t know how to describe what a dinner it was.. way to celebrate 21st in style, Kel!!! More than anything I’m just glad that we don’t lose touch with each other even when Adele & Jem are in Oxford, Kel & Athena in Cambridge, Molly in London & me in Manc.. this is such a throwback to our JC/gps foodclub days.

SASHIMI. The thing is, you wouldn’t expect them to serve sashimi this way, having been accustomed to eating sashimi on its own. Nonetheless, they are excellently complemented with the accompanying condiments, and I think the standout among the sashimi is the yellowtail with jalapeno. I’m not sure if it counts as fusion, jalapenos always remind me of mexican tacos for some reason..

Beef Tenderloin Tataki with Ponzu and Garlic Chips. This was an explosion in the mouth of sorts. If I thought the sashimi was good, this was a whole new level man. The umami-ness (how do i make umami an adverb? is it even an abverb??) of this is just. WOAH WOAH WOAH. This is the dish that will make you sit up and take notice. It’s like when you’re nodding off and you need something to snap you awake. THIS IS THE DISH. I had no idea that this was garlic chips + ponzu that I was eating, all I knew was that if I didn’t move my chopsticks fast enough, someone was going to devour it! How does it taste like: The comfortable and divine middle ground of beef done-ness, not too cooked, seared around the edges, raw in the middle, just the perfect amount of chewy, and EXPLODING FLAVOUR!!!!!!!

Yeah so, I died here. Scallop sashimi, crab sashimi, sweet prawns, unagi, yellowtail, salmon sushis, soft shell crab roll, shrimp tempura sushi.. and this was just… wow. Words elude me. (Yes I’m sorry for most part of my meal at Nobu you will find that words elude me) The presentation was brilliant, it really took our breaths away. Everyone couldn’t stop ooh-ing and aah-ing and I suppose the biggest problem was, where to start? I dived for the scallops. The last time I had such yummy scallops was in Fukuoka. It was so sweet and juicy and I don’t really want to think of how much it costs. The crab was excellent as well, as with the sushi. I can’t stand how places always give too much rice and too little fish or put limp pieces of badly scarred fish on top of a mountain of rice, which just makes the diner sad. THIS IS DIFFERENT MY FRIEND. The fish:rice ratio here, you will be glad to know, is safe. Also, my other favourite roll in this sushi platter is the soft shell crab roll.

Speaking of sushi, watch this:

LOBSTER TEMPURA WITH CREAMY WASABI. Or known as wasabi mayo to Singaporeans! This is the dish that Jeremy couldn’t stop eating. What’s not to like about this? Lobster + light tempura batter with creamy wasabi mayo. I love wasabi and my only gripe (if I really really had to list a gripe) would be that I wish there was more wasabi kick in the mayo. Other than that, PRESENTATION WAS IMBA (running out of adjectives..) look at the lobster head!!!! and this is faultless.

Okay, I have no idea what this is, it’s not on the online menu, but it’s supposed to be scallops with TRUFFLE. At this juncture I was already very full, but my heart and head both told me I had to press on… FOR KELLIE. HAHA. But who wouldn’t want scallops!?

There was this black miso cod that we were served. It’s one of the specialties of the restaurant with the cod being marinated up to 3 days before it’s cooked (and apparently costs up to £42 per pop when you order it a la carte !??!?). Brings back really good memories of Fukuoka with Dad last year where I first had this dish.. and yes, it was as authentic as it can get.

There was also a beef teppanyaki dish with enoki & shiitake and asparagus. No picture & no comments because I was dying… and trying to save energy for dessert.

This was the highlight dessert of that night for me. Chocolate fondant with probably the best matcha icecream I have tasted in years. I can’t rmb the last time I had matcha icecream where I thought the matcha flavour was strong enough. This one does. Strangely the matcha-chcoolate combination works though Molly commented she preferred the traditional vanilla ice cream! Also, the staff of Nobu gifted Kellie one of these chocolate bentos too so the birthday girl got one all to herself!!!

‘Banana Split’: Caramelised bananas, chocolate, digestive crumbs (not sure if they are), and vanilla ice cream. This was good, but wasn’t breathtaking, unlike the rest of the meal. I remember us sharing about 5 different desserts but I gave up taking photos. There was an apple dessert called Ivoire (???) which was pretty memorable.

By the end of the night everyone was stuffed to the brim. Kel’s dad had to ask the staff to slow the serving of the food down & to serve us in smaller portions cos we were getting owned by the huge portions. So yes, it’s not a place where you won’t be full. The service was prompt & what you’ll expect from Nobu, except for the fact they gave Alvin Kellie’s birthday cake instead of Kellie, but I guess we all make mistakes.. (even though idk how Kellie can be mistaken for a guy’s name).

As far as meals go, this is ace – eating and having this shared experience with some people whom I know will be in my life for decades to come. GO WITH PEOPLE THAT YOU ACTUALLY LIKE COS THIS IS A VERY SPECIAL EXPERIENCE. Finally because it was Kellie’s birthday dinner, I will leave you with the present we got her!

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Nobu LONDON
19 Old Park Lane
London, United Kingdom

 I’d recommend reserving one month in advance. Also, there’s another Nobu at Mayfair. On the day we ate at Nobu London, Zac Efron ate at Nobu Berkeley Street.. which brings me to my final point. Nobu is a place to be seen, or if you want to stalk superstars, this is the place to be. 

Many thanks to Kellie’s dad for treating us to Nobu. Thank you for the experience. Happy 21st Kel xxx

Pollen Street Social: Revolutionising fine dining

Pollen Street Social is Jason Atherton’s restaurant that will change your perception on fine dining with a casual bar where you can sit around and mingle with a no-reservations policy. I was particularly lucky to get a weekend reservation for 3 a week before we were slated to go because weekends were completely reserved till April! It is a place where I can say with conviction that I will definitely go back. The set lunch menu is very value for money, and being starving students (ok not that starving admittedly) we went for that to try more dishes & the best part was the starters, mains & desserts were in threes, so 3 of us could share everything.

The service was very attentive and the staff, extremely friendly. The service was prompt and while clearing the courses they always asked how the food was – VERY GOOD THANK YOU VERY MUCH.


smoked hake, poached egg, wild garlic, curry puffed rice


cornish mackerel tartare, seaweed salsa verde, pickled turnip


terrine of pork knuckle, piccalilli, wild herbs, squid and coco beans

The starters did their jobs to open our appetites, I was so chuffed by my mackerel tartare & even Nick who doesn’t eat sashimi said the tartare was pretty good. I’m sorry I cannot recreate the taste in your mouth but.. I was amazed that it was not fishy at all considering it is mackerel afterall, and this tartare was very, very light despite the dressing. Nick’s dish tasted like.. pork porridge. I have no other way to describe the taste. It is all so amazing how various ingredients can come together and create such a distinct taste.


roasted cornish cod, mussel bouillabaisse, crab and winkle vinaigrette


pork belly, spiced pork cheek, pear puree, sprouting broccoli, lardo potatoes


marrowbone


braised irish ox cheek, smoked mashed potato, salt baked onions, ox tail and marrowbone

I love how food is a show at PSS & how waiters will explain your dish patiently. My cod was accompanied with this mussel broth and the kind waiter took the chance to explain he was pouring the mussel broth into my dish before he did so. Peter says the potato mash is ‘DAMN GOOD’ and I concur. I’m not a fan of potato in this form but I think they might have passed it through a processor to get it so smooth. Nick’s pork belly was ADUFHKJ#Q)(UROI (this is me speechless) and Pete’s ox cheek was so tender and so well marinated. Sigh, I’m recreating the meal in my mouth now. Also my cod with crab and mussel broth was like eating fish in the best seafood broth ever. I haven’t had this good fish since Floods in Weymouth, but I’m sorry Floods, the best seafood experience this academic year goes to Pollen Street Social. The thing is, I can’t believe they do both meats and fish so well. Definitely deserving of all their accolades!!!!


palate cleanser


yorkshire rhubarb sorbet, pistachio financier, ginger


70% bitter chocolate pave, vanilla ice cream, smoked vanilla crumbs

Desserts were a bit disappointing but by no means, terrible. I think the starters and mains have stolen the show so much so that I was expecting to be blown away by the desserts. I took a pistachio cake with rhubarb while the boys had the chocolate pave. It was.. pretty forgettable I think. The pistachio however went very well with the rhubarb sorbet it was accompanied with and I was really quite impressed at how two exotic foods can complement!!! I would recommend ordering desserts from the dessert menu instead because of all the rave reviews I have been hearing about the awesome dessert, especially the PBJ.

The service here is top notch and the servers are very attentive – always stepping in to refill glasses, sweeping crumbs off our table, bringing over a bag stool for Nick’s paperbag.. making the effort to ask how the meal was, and turning away while Pete keyed in his PIN for payment. It is the little things that count. Everyone was friendly and all smiles and I really love PSS, it is non-snooty, casual enough and the food, mindblowingly good & value for money.

Pictures taken by myself with Peter’s camera.
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2 courses, £22; 3 courses £25.50; including a bottle of water and service charge, we paid £90 for 3 people.