Arriving in 9 days and counting: Le Chalet is arriving on the rooftop of Selfridges (in the place of current sister restaurant On the Roof with Q) on 22nd October, 2014, bringing an Alpine-style BBQ menu with its Hot Chocolate Bar delights and feel of staying in a log cabin to London!
Des McDonald and his Q Grill Group team will transform Selfridges Roof Top into a winter wonderland transporting their customers to an Alpine retreat.
Des McDonald has had great success with his The Fish & Chip Shop chain, and also On the Roof with Q pop-up venue.
Alexander Waterworth Interiors have tried to recreate a traditional ski chalet with wintry ferns and timber branches to create that winter ambiance. Le Chalet will have capacity for 120 guests, including a bar and dining counter.
On the drinks front, Le Chalet will be serving a wide selection of handpicked wines and a range of finest grand reserve drinks. It will also feature a hot chocolate cocktail bar serving cocktails that will send you to chocolate heaven including ‘El Dorado’ a delicious concoction of El Dorado, cinnamon and hot chocolate, ‘Nutella’; Hazelnut with Amaretto, dark chocolate and hot chocolate, and ‘Double Choc’ a blend of Courvoisier Exclusif, white chocolate and hot chocolate; or for the health conscious a ‘The Juicery Après-Ski Menu’, by Cindy Palusamy’s successful New York The Juicery, with drinks including Superfood hot chocolate, Espresso maca, Superpower espresso shot and Superfood teas.
They will be cooking up a storm with their delicious Alpine-style BBQ menu plus other special morsels available from their crab and shellfish bar. Also there will be a hot chocolate bar on the terrace to really get into that chilly wintery spirit whilst huddling in the log cabin also on the terrace designed to escape the cold weather.
Le Chalet’s kitchen will be headed up by Chris Dargavel, the Head Chef at On the Roof with Q and will be overseen by Lee Bull, Group Executive Chef. Fergal Dooley, previously at Holborn Dining Room will be the General Manager and the bar will be run by Allan Farrell, former Bar Manager at Sushihno. They will be using quality seasonal produce, locally sourced and simply cooked to produce the dishes that will take you on an Alpine adventure. The dessert menu has been designed by Siobhan Ambrose, Head Pastry Chef for Des McDonald Restaurants.
Looking forward to sinking our teeth into the BBQ treats like roast suckling pig with apple and black pudding fritters from the Alpine-style BBQ menu, Cornish Crab with pickled celeriac, and Buttermilk Crispy Chicken with blue cheese fondue. Not forgetting to keep our separate dessert stomach happy with the Hot Chocolate Bar and desserts including Eggnog snow egg, Apple streusel served with lashings of custard, and Brandy and vanilla rice pudding!
We went for lunch to check out Tramontana Brindisa in trendy Shoreditch.
The restaurant is light and airy, with a great outside terrace at the rear of the restaurant.
Whilst we made our menu choices, we snacked on Padron peppers [£4.50] which had a dusting of sea salt.
Our mains included Lamb Chump on a bed of sweet potato mash [£9.00], succulent pieces of medium meat complemented by the sweetness from the mash; Chorizo in red wine [£5.95], mini chorizo morsels complemented by the flavour of the red wine it was cooked in, but sadly swimming in too much olive oil for our liking; and Fideua de Sepia (short pasta similar to vermicelli with cuttlefish, prawns and a flamed roasted garlic alioli) [£11.00], which C thought was ok but was not a fan of the crispy pasta on the outside, whereas I loved it as it reminded me of tahdig (Persian Rice with a crunchy layer of rice on the bottom) – also we were a bit shocked by the gesture of only two prawns as a decoration on top with small pieces of cuttlefish running through the pasta.
Chorizo in red wine
Our favourite mains were Grilled Iberico Pork Shoulder Loin [£11.00], with the flavours from its beautiful acorn fed pork working with the flambe orange and raisins like sunshine on a plate; as well as the Berenjenas fritas (fried aubergines) [£5.50] which had a wonderful texture and flavour combination made in heaven of aubergine slices coated in semolina, fried and drizzled with chestnut honey and pine nuts.
Grilled Iberico Pork Shoulder Loin
Next time, we will need to save space for some dessert as we had our eye on the Tarta de Santiago (Almond Cake) [£4.75] and the Torrijas (milk soaked bread with honey and spices, dipped in egg and fried in olive oil, similar to pain d’epice/ French Toast) with Apple Crumble [£4.00].
We went to a novel event a book/ supperclub at The Lockhart, a Southern American US cuisine restaurant in Marylebone. It was organised by Molly one of the owners of the Lockhart, so the book, also set in the deep South of America fitted in well with the food. I love to read and eat good food so this event sounded right up my street! As I won tickets at the last minute I didn’t get a chance to read the book, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, so I couldn’t contribute to the lively discussion it provoked but I could eat and boy did I do a lot of that!
We kicked things off with gumbo and shrimp and grits accompanied by super strength mint juleps. If you want to feel like you’re on a porch in a sultry American summer, I recommend downing a couple of these! Brad McDonald (chef) sources his grits from America as he couldn’t find ones that measured up to his exacting standards over here. I wasn’t as sure about the grits, having not grown up with them to me they tasted a bit like savoury porridge, but the gumbo was lovely full of sausage and delicious things. We then moved on to fried chicken and honey butter cornbread. I have seen a lot of Instagrammed photos of the cornbread and all I will say is that it lived up to the hype! The butter caramelizes around the edges creating a lovely honeyed warmth. The fried chicken was also good, crunchy outside giving way to a succulent interior. But a note of caution, don’t fill up on the cornbread because you’re going to want to save some space for what comes next which is… lemon icebox pie. Like a lemon meringue pie but better!
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
The book club is going to move around restaurants so it can better reflect the books it covers. Keep an eye on Molly’s twitter feed so you can watch out for the next one. Thank you Canongate books and The Lockhart!
Breaking News: Keep an eye out for the Autumn launch of Ristorante Frescobaldi bringing the Italian culinary delights of Tuscany to London!
The Frescobaldi family are one of Italy’s oldest and most respected wine dynasties and are open their first restaurant and wine bar in the UK as a joint venture with the Good Food Society.
This new venue will be part of the successful Italian group of Dei Frescobaldi restaurants and wine bars (launched in 1999) who are acclaimed for their welcoming atmosphere and Tuscan hospitality as well as exquisite food and wine pairings, specialising in their own contemporary interpretation of classic Tuscan dishes.
The wine list features an array of award-winning wines produced by Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, with their vineyards predominantly in the hills around Florence and Siena, including well known varieties like Mormoreto, a single-vineyard cru of Castello di Nipozzano, through to their flagship Frescobaldi cuvée and Brunello di Montalcino Castelgiocondo Riserva.
Their care and attention continues regarding produce and sourcing. ‘The family is now associated with one of the world’s finest olive oils, Laudemio, produced from olives harvested and pressed on the same day to guarantee maximum freshness.’
Frescobaldi have appointed Roberto Reatini as head chef to create a scintillating menu of his modern interpretation of classic Tuscan dishes; and who is a talented young chef with an impressive culinary curriculum vitae including postings as sous chef at Zafferano restaurant and prior to this as senior sous chef at Shoreditch House, were he worked alongside head chef Michele Nargi.
Cannot wait to try culinary delights including the potatoes gnocchi, red mullet, ‘nduja & almond; veal cheek pappardelle; and ossobuco. Though, very importantly, ensuring we save room for tempting sounding desserts like mille-feuille with caramelised apricots!
We went to the East Twenty Bar & Kitchen within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the Urban Feast laid on using fresh locally sourced seasonal produce by Abbey Garden producers.
Abbey Gardens are a community gardening project located near Abbey Road, and the site contains the ruins of a 12th Century Cistercian Abbey.
The view from the upper terrace of East Twenty is beautiful at night taking in the Arcelor Mittal Orbit, coloured dancing fountains, the Olympic Track stadium, and the deep blue hue from the Aquatics Centre.
We enjoyed botanical cocktails of Sweet Basil Meadow with Butler’s Gin made in Hackney, and a Bramley Apple Pie.
We enjoyed a variety of vibrant salads with edible flowers made with produce from the Abbey Garden plots including beetroot, figs and juicy vine ripened cherry tomatoes and stuffed courgette flowers with herb cream cheese for starters.
Mains included a flavourful Coq au Vin and a fishcake with hollandaise sauce.
To cleanse the palate we tucked into a wonderful array of cheeses from Howard & Alexandra, owners of The Urban Cheese Maker (Artisan Cheese from London), based in Tottenham. These were accompanied by a bespoke quince jelly made for them using Simon’s (Head Chef at East Twenty) damsons from his garden – a dark treacle black quince jelly cubes which had a tartness from the damsons complemented by the sweetness from the quince.
They wrapped up the evening with a dessert of Pear and Apple Crumble with custard – it had a great crunchy texture from the oats in the mix and was topped with a light, buttery shortbread crust. Unfortunately, no photo of this as we were busy chatting to Leanna (from Abbey Gardens project) and Matt, and ate it before realising. Just have to take our word for it!
The dessert was accompanied with light Panama coffee from Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, which had a tropical fruits and pomegranate notes. Matt, from Union Roasted Coffee, explained that the beans are from Los Lajones and that they used a honey caturra process to create this unique type of coffee. A good pairing with the dessert – I recommend avoiding adding sugar and milk to ensure you can enjoy the full flavour profile of this light coffee.
Abbey Gardens have a Pumpkin Fest on this Saturday 27th September, 2014 from 1pm-4pm. Go and support them!
The full menu from the evening, if you are interested, was:
• Bitter mizuna with organic new potatoes tossed in extra virgin olive oil and chili dressing • Roasted baby beets and fig salad with blackberry and balsamic dressing • Marrow with peas and basil in lemon oil • Peppery wild rocket salad with shavings of hard cheese, vine-grown cherry tomatoes • Stuffed courgette flowers with wild herbs and Wilde’s Londonshire creamy cheese, dipped in a light batter and deep fried • Nasturtium and watercress micro-herb salad with pomegranate, cucumber, spring onion and vine tomatoes • Coq au vin with British wine and free-range chicken • Fishcakes made with sustainable salmon and haddock
Followed by • Pear and blackberry crumble with custard
Tredwell is the new restaurant near Covent Garden from Marcus Wareing. More casual in style it focuses on small sharing plates and, before you yawn and roll your eyes; I think the sharing plates trend has taken off because it allows you to try so many different things without being stuck with one thing and getting bored halfway through, or worse having food envy if someone picked something better than you!
They suggest choosing 2 small plates and one large per person and I have to say this was more than enough food, especially if you want to have room for dessert (and believe me you’ll want to when you see what we had!)
Little delights including Pots & Jars
Larger dishes including the ones from the grill
Whilst we made our menu choices, and during the evening, bartender Victor appeared as the walking talking cocktail list (they did not have a cocktail menu as yet when we visited), enquiring what drinks/ spirits/ cocktails we liked and made suggestions as to creations they were going to have on their cocktail list/ bar menu, and brought the final creations for us to try. We kicked off with cocktails including Sidecar (their version with Dorset Brandy and Cider) and a Sparkling Cyanide (Chartreuse, Maraschino, and lime juice) – J loved these especially the summery apple notes from the Sidecar.
My small plates were chicken liver mousse with bacon jam (£8) and charred squash with raisins, goats curd and hazelnuts (£7). The addition of bacon jam to the mousse made this insanely good, we ordered extra toast so we could scoop out every last bit! The charred squash didn’t have quite the same sweetness as when I roast it at home, maybe it needed longer slower cooking?
Chicken liver mousse with bacon jam
J small plates were pork belly buns topped with ginger and apple (£5). Frankly, I wish we had got the large version of this, tiny bite sized morsels of perfection.
His second was dorset crab with mango chutney on toast (£9). I wasn’t quite as taken with this, for me the mango chutney overpowered the delicate sweetness of the crab.
Pork belly buns
Dorset crab with mango chutney on toast
For our large plates, J got the onglet steak with mushroom ketchup (£15). The mushroom ketchup looked an intimidating shade of grey but actually had a real depth of flavour.
My large plate was beef shortrib with baked beans (£38). The beef was meltingly tender but by this point we were quite full and couldn’t really do this dish justice.
I would actually lean towards getting more small plates, there were so many we had our eye on, the pork cheeks, the squid and bottarga crumb, we will be coming back to work our way through the rest of the menu.
Last but definitely not least was dessert.
I got the pain perdu with maple cream and bacon (£6). If there’s any take home message from this review it’s that bacon makes everything better, even dessert! J got a chocolate pot topped with Campari ice (£6). J said he would have liked a stronger Campari flavour in the ice, but the pot itself was good.
J wanted something sweet as a nightcap and Victor created their version of a Clock and Dagger – with Grand Marnier, Vermouth, Cognac and ginger beer, decorated with an orange peel. A perfect way to end the meal!
Bartender Victor & colleagues
Cloak & Dagger
Overall, excellent food and service – and loved the personal touch with the cocktails.
Tredwell’s is doing soft opening of 50% until 21/9/14, get in there quick!