Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Tredwells, Covent Garden - Restaurant Review.

Lunch date with Himself. It's not often we get to eat out together, sans bambinos, and when we do it tends to be a rushed lunch. This time we made a bit of an effort and met outside Leicester Square tube station. We had a gift voucher for Tredwells, and I'd booked the Star Deal through Bookatable, three courses and a dessert cocktail for £29 each. I checked via email beforehand and got a prompt and positive response. But we still had to get back for the school run...

When you want to try somewhere fancy, or even just famous (not always the same thing!), these star deals are a good way of doing it on the cheap. Obviously you don't get the full menu (though you can still have that if you are willing to pay more), and for a quick (ish) lunch in Covent Garden, it works well. 

We were seated upstairs in the mezzanine, overlooking the outside space, and Dishoom across the road. We watched as the queue there grew and grew, with someone offering aperitifs while they waited, whilst we sipped on our (non-alcoholic) drinks. Watching this clock too:

Tredwells is owned by Michelin starred chef and MasterChef presenter Marcus Wareing. He doesn't actually cook here, I'm assuming, but his name is enough to draw people in. Situated right in the heart of Theatreland and Seven Dials, and named after the Butler in Agatha Christie's The Seven Dials Mystery, it has a handsome, dark-tiled interior, with a laid back eclectic atmosphere, and superbly attentive yet unintrusive staff. The Star Deal menu offered four starters, four mains, and four desserts, with one of each incurring a supplement and sides were extra too. Essentially British dishes, each with some flamboyance. Below each dish is a recommended wine specific to that dish. If only it hadn't been lunch time...

Music Bread
We ordered music bread (also extra), doused with lemon and balsamic, which was an excellent start. Thin, crispy and infused with the sweetness of balsamic vinegar and a touch of lemon juice. Beautifully presented, I suspect it was named for the attempts to look like sheet music...!

Pork Belly and Ham Hock Raviolo, carmelised celeriac and mustard
Chargrilled Tardivo Radicchio, Sairass ricotta, nestle pesto
Starters were presented MasterChef style. Things I'd never heard of mixed with unrecognisable components. My pork belly raviolo was actually delicious, tender pulled pork inside a pasta square with sweet caramelised sauce and just a hint of a tang. Himself ordered the radicchio, not really knowing what it was.. he wasn't overly impressed! The nettle was slightly overpowering the rest of the dish, the radishes (I assume that's what they were) al dente and rather chewy, the ricotta quite bland. The salted slices of 'bread' were lovely though.

Chargrilled Lamb Chop, slow cooked shoulder, broad beans, mint
Slow cooked Sea Bream, lyonnaise leeks, parsley
Main courses appeared small, but actually were just enough when you're having three courses - as long has you have triple cooked chips on the side. The chips were very crispy and some were hollow inside, missing that fluffiness you expect. My sea bream was delicious, light and healthy, with green all over it. Himself was somewhat disappointed with the size of his lamb chops and complained that one was cut in half - turned out that was the shoulder part. Both were overcooked, he thought, not red in the middle as promised. The broad beans and mint sauce saved the dish though. You can't beat mint sauce.

Salted caramel soft serve, honeycomb

Orange blossom panna cotta, yoghurt mousse, almond cakes
Desserts are not usually our thing - I make them, but don't often eat them. As the portions so far were just-enough, (and dessert is included in the offer!) we went for a salted caramel ice cream with honeycomb and a chocolate mousse with orange blossom panna cotta. Rich and decadent, the mouse was not only pretty but scrumptious too, and the salted caramel - well, you cannot go wrong with that flavour. A perfect ending. 

Mini espresso martini

Finally a mini Espresso Martini each, and then back out to Covent Garden's tempting shops and home in time for the school run.

There are so many places to eat in Covent Garden, and although I may not return here (though maybe for the ice cream), it was a relaxed and reasonably priced lunch. For an evening meal I believe you can also avail of the Star Deal menu, pre- or post-theatre, so it's worth a visit for the prestige and the presentation. 

4A Upper St Martin's Lane, WC2H 9NY
020 3764 0840

Bookatable Star Deal: £29 per person for 3 courses and a dessert cocktail

Actual bill £77.

Square Meal Tredwell's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Thai-spiced Salmon Fishcakes - Recipe

This recipe was torn out of a newspaper many years ago and has been splattered numerous times and it's faded from much use over time. I almost know it by heart, as I've made them so many times, but I like to keep referring to it, just in case I miss out any crucial ingredient! I've blogged it before, but it's been a while, so I thought it was time for a revival.

These are delicious. Not like the rubbery fishcakes you may order in a Thai restaurant, they are fluffy, flavoursome and fishy, served with the obligatory sweet chilli sauce.

Please make them. You will thank me.

Again, apologies for the poor photograph. Prosecco-fuelled hunger.

Thai-spiced Salmon Fishcakes
Prep Time: 30-40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves 4 as a starter


Oil for frying
5 spring onions, finely sliced
2.5 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 x 170 g tins salmon, drained (you can also use crab, or a mixture)
85 g mashed potato
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
A few drops of Tabasco (optional)
Plain flour
1 egg, beaten
Dry breadcrumbs

To garnish: lime wedges, salad, fresh coriander, spring onions


Firstly, boil and mash the potatoes, I used about 4 medium sized ones.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok and sauté the spring onions for 1-2 minutes until they begin to soften.

Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 1 minute more. Add the lime juice to the pan and quickly remove from the heat.

Place the tinned fish in a bowl with the mashed potato. Add the onion mixture, lime zest and coriander, Tabasco (if using) and season with salt and pepper.

Flour your hands and shape into 8 Fishcakes, or 12 smaller ones. Dust with flour, then roll in the beaten egg, and coat with the breadcrumbs.

Heat a little more oil and try the Fishcakes for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Serve with a little salad, sprinkled with spring onions and coriander, and sweet chilli sauce. 

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Friday, 17 March 2017

Godiva's Atelier Easter Egg

'Atelier' is a French term for 'workshop' or 'studio', where a principal professional artist works together with students or apprentices to produce a piece of fine or visual art. This week, at the five Godiva Chocolate stores around London, executive chocolatiers Jean Apostolou and Ilse Wilmots made an appearance at each store to handcraft the delicate white chocolate butterflies as finishing touches to this year's Godiva Atelier Easter Egg. 

Standing 66 cm high (that's a small child), weighing about 13 kg (again, about two newborn babies) and with enough chocolate for about 70 people, this spectacular showpiece is actually on sale for a mere £1000!

Do you know enough people to club together to share one??!!

Godiva's Atelier Egg

See one of these five exclusive giant chocolate eggs at Godiva stores at Harrods, Selfridges, Regent Street, Covent Garden Market (below) or St Pancras International Station.

Me, I'm going to enjoy these, slightly smaller ones...

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

TWID - That's What I Do - Eating to Opera in Battersea - Restaurant Review

This was different. As I get older, I'm starting to admit to liking things I would never have dared to acknowledge in my twenties/thirties ... jazz with dinner, going to bed early, gin...
And now, Opera. I don't know anything about it. But after spending an evening at TWID in Battersea, I'm a convert. A gentle approach, with dinner and cocktails - not just sitting, watching and listening to a dramatic story told in song onstage. Okay, it was still dramatic, and, at times, slightly intrusive, but there were interludes where we could carry on with the dinner and cocktails and catch up on non-cultural gossip.

About a 10 minute walk from Clapham Junction, away from the buzzing Northcote Road bars, towards Battersea, lies a newly opened, refurbished, revamped theatre style eatery. With intimate velvet-curtained balcony booths as tables, all overlooking one table for 8 which doubles as a stage, for a full view of the singing Opera sensation who keeps us entertained and intrigued with Russian numbers, Italian numbers and even a couple of more familiar arias. Maintaining eye contact with each of the patrons, this tenor showed true passion for his talent and no sign of any reticence whilst we were eating...

Senor Tenor
Every evening a different Soprano/Tenor takes to the stage/table. As you enter, you may be serenaded immediately, if not then he will certainly come to your table at some point to bring the aria up close and personal. 4 sets with a 25 minute interval between each. Not to be taken too seriously, but with a certain amount of respect. This performer raises the roof and makes each of us patrons feel special.

Signature cocktails to start, of course. I can recommend the Rossini, strawberry with rose water and Prosecco, and the Elderflower Spritz, both light and fizzy. TWID also serve a range of traditional cocktails and will happily make up any requested.

To the food. Sharing platters - my favourite. Influenced by French cuisine but with a splash of international flavours. Lovely Luca, the manager, recommended each dish and he was tremendously proud of the food, eager for us to try everything.

First, scallops with crispy kale, raspberries and hazelnuts. Unusual combination but it worked superbly, the soft scallops set off beautifully with the crisp greens and the slightly acidic fruit.

Grilled aubergine, stuffed with goat's cheese and walnuts - again the nuts unexpected, but bringing out the full flavours of the aubergine and the cheese.

Aubergine with goat's cheese and walnuts
Beautifully tender lamb cutlets served with heritage beets and parsnip were exceptional, the vegetables perfectly roasted and tossed in some slightly exotic oils. Delicious.
Lamb cutlets

For round two, some sushi, some duck and some crab. The sushi was highly recommended by Luca, and it was indeed sublime. A terrine of sorts, with hints of wasabi and a tiny dot of soy sauce was all that it needed. 

The duck dish was also delightful, fat-free duck breasts served with turmeric spiced pickled cauliflower with an added sweetness of raisins and apples.  

Lastly, the crab, a soft grated dish with apples, fennel and basil. Most dishes were served with shaved parnips crisps, which gave everything an extra crunch. 

For desserts, we still felt light and not quite over-stuffed so we were recommended to sample the range of vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free desserts. Not exactly my idea of dessert, they were made from various fruits, with nuts and were probably designed to complement the light sharing dishes. Strawberry cheesecake, carrot cake,chocolate cake and mango cheesecake - I found them lacking in distinctive flavour and quite stodgy, so not quite my cup of tea. Instead we went back and ordered a  fluffy salted caramel cake and a traditional baklava... much better. However, as indulgent as that seems, for special dietary requirements, this place certainly delivers.

Salted Caramel Cake

Gluten-, sugar- and dairy-free Strawberry Cheesecake

This is a cosy, intimate, and yet interactive restaurant. Go along with an open mind, and get all your chatting done in between sets! It would be a fun work-do for example, or a destination romantic venue for couples. At weekends, once the Opera stops, a DJ set starts, so really it is an entire evening of culture, fantastic food and the chance to party the night away.


228 York Road, Battersea, London, SW11 3SJ
020 7223 2125

Meal for two with wine: ~£80

Thanks to CrispMedia for the (good) images.