30 April 2011

Pho, London - Restaurant Review

Pho first opened in London’s Clerkenwell in 2005. It is the brainchild of British couple Stephen and Juliette Wall, who first set upon the idea while backpacking in Vietnam. Although it’s been around for a few years now, Pho feels like a newcomer and there's still an exciting buzz about its relatively novel (in the UK at least) menu of Vietnamese street food. Indeed, it sort of reminds me of Wagamama circa 1994, and I suspect the ambition here is to do for Vietnamese food what Alan Yau did for Japanese ramen at the wildly successful, if imperfect, Wagamama – which is no bad thing at all in my opinion.

27 April 2011

Pollen Street Social, London – Restaurant Review

The irony of going to a restaurant called Pollen Street Social alone is not lost on me. But needs must and the chance to eat at Jason Atherton's first solo project – one of the most anticipated openings of the year – was not to be missed. So it was that on an atypically glorious April afternoon in London I found myself at Pollen Street Social, nestled in a narrow side street just off bustling Regent Street.

13 April 2011

Lunch at Grefsenkollen, Oslo – Restaurant Review

Perched high up in the hills overlooking Oslo is Grefsenkollen restaurant. At around 370m above sea level the views from here over the city and out to the Oslo Fjord are simply majestic. If you're visiting the city for the first time then a trip here is a must.

7 April 2011

Ylajali, Oslo – Restaurant Review

"And she herself will be sitting in a sparkling hall where all is of amethyst, on a throne of yellow roses, and she will hold out her hand to me when I enter, greet me and bid me welcome as I approach and kneel down."

Knut Hamsun is one of Norway's most prolific, influential and controversial authors. The above quote is taken from Hamsun's seminal debut novel of 1890 titled Sult (Hunger). In it the protagonist, a struggling young writer, charts his painful descent into near madness as he struggles for food and shelter.

One day, the delirious writer has a dream-like encounter with a beautiful young woman he calls Ylajali, who would go on to haunt his thoughts as wanders the streets of Christiania (old Oslo). Ylajali – a ghost-like object of abstract beauty that cannot be found...

6 April 2011

The Kavey Eats Food & Soft Drinks Challenge

A few weeks ago fellow food blogger Kavey, who writes the rather excellent blog Kavey Eats, set an interesting challenge. Much has been written about the matching of food and wine, but it seems there's a dearth of information on how to best match food with non-alcoholic drinks. Kavey's challenge, therefore, was to come up with some interesting food and soft drink pairings.

Beyond the typical non-alcoholic trinity of coke/water/juice, it’s unusual to find much more on offer in a restaurant. There are of course a few notable exceptions, and some restaurants (mostly high-end) have concocted soft drinks to win over the hearts of the most committed oenophiles.