The Detox Kitchen, Soho

After a yoga class in Kingly Court, I headed downstairs to the Detox Kitchen to pick something up for lunch. The Detox Kitchen always has a long queue at lunchtime, so I had never had the courage to wait for my lunch there, but today, the line was a bit shorter, so I decided to go for it. And boy, was I in for a treat!

You can have a variety of lunch boxes, but the most common are either a protein and two salads or a protein and three salads. I went for the protein plus two, getting the veggie burger (a chickpea and corn burger that tasted like a big fritter, delicious, with some coriander sauce drizzled on top and a pea and mint puree on the side).

The choice of salads was also good, I went for the slaw (nice and simple, with edamame added) and the roast sweet potatoes, roast in a curry spice blend and topped with a little coconut butter. Yum.

I’ll be back soon to try their other salads and mains for sure!

El Sol, Cassis, France

After Andre’s Half Ironman in Aix en Provence, we took the Monday off and went to Cassis for the day. We walked along the beach for a while, then stopped in the little port where all the fishing boats were docked. 

There were many different restaurants on the port, but as we were a bit late (it was approaching 3pm on a Monday), most had already stopped serving lunch for the day. Luckily, El Sol was still open! We found a perfect table in the shade and ordered.

And then… Andre started off with the fish soup, fully loaded with cheese and rouille.I went for the roasted red peppers with anchoiade (chopped anchovies) on top, the perfect Provençal starter!

And we each had a sea bass as part of the menu. Nice and fresh, it was served with very olive oil-y smashed potatoes that were delicious!

And an isle flotante for dessert… this went down pretty quickly!After this, we took a boat tour (as we had the time), to check out the different cliffs near Cassis. And they were absolutely gorgeous. 
The view from above? Also amazing, literally one of the most amazing views I’ve seen, especially with the mist collecting on that small island in the background!

Bluebelles, Golbourne Road

So if you keep walking north on Portobello Road, you eventually leave Notting Hill and make it up to Ladbroke Grove, which includes the very cute area of Golbourne Road, which has a mix of local Portuguese and Moroccan restaurants and vintage clothing shops, along with some trendier delis and curated lifestyle stores.

Bluebelles is one of the later, sitting on Portobello Road, and has a super cute brunch menu, along with about ten side dishes that help you to mix and match your meal to perfection!

We were lucky enough to snag a table outside ( we thought), until they kept adding tables every time someone else showed up… turns out they are quite lax on Sundays and can spread out when the bike shop next door is closed!

First came the coffees… Andre is not very impressed with his Americano, which has little bits floating in it…

But the food was much better… he got the Original Stack, which was like a full English on a stick: sausage, egg, portobello mushroom and crispy bacon, all on a rosti. It was actually pretty delicious.

I was also thrilled, I got the green breakfast, which was two poached eggs, guacamole (looks surprisingly white but tasted like any other guac), mixed leaves, and feta, all topping a slice of sourdough bread.

The food is MUCH better than that first coffee, to the point that we were going to order much more of it… so this will be a repeat brunch place, especially knowing that we will probably be able to get a table outside on a nice day!

Preserved Lemons

 

I love making chicken tagine, and the recipe calls for preserved lemons (this is the recipe that I use, it’s relatively easy and you don’t need a tagine dish to make it.)

This weekend, it was cold and rainy out, so I decided to finally make a jar of preserved lemons, as I have been telling myself I would do for the past year or so.

I used a recipe from SimplyRecipes.com, as it was the most simple (no chilis or spices).

Ingredients: 8-10 unwaxed lemons, extra lemon juice if needed*, 1/2 cup of kosher salt – sterilized jar

1. Pour 2 TB of salt into the bottom of the jar.

2. Cut the lemons. Cut any stem off, then cut 1/4 of an inch off of both ends of the lemon. Slice the lemon lengthwise

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Other ideas for preserved lemons… on top of fishes or chicken – on top of quinoa or couscous salads – in a pasta or risotto – in stews… lots of ways to use them!

* This is important. I ended up using the juice of an additional 4 lemons to cover the lemons in the jar.

Hai Cenato, Victoria

With all of these new restaurants opening up in Victoria, I’ve been trying to set up lunch meetings to try them all out! I met up with a potential investor who said he hadn’t tried Hai Cenato yet, so off we went!

The restaurant has mainly pizzas (divided between bianco ones with just cheese, and rosso ones that also have tomato sauce) but a few pastas, fish and meats, and lots of smaller plates.

We went for one course with sides. Claudio got a salad with apple, radicchio, hazelnut and leaves with a parmesan creme fraiche. It looked pretty good. I had a side of kale, which was doused in garlic and delicious.

And the pizzas… I went for a veggie pizza, which had trumpet mushrooms, caramelised onion, taleggio cheese, thyme and garlic. I am used to having toppings overloading my pizzas, so I was a bit disappointed by how empty-seeming my pizza was, but I definitely got a few flavours in every bite.

Claudio went for the pizza of the month, which had Coppa ham, ricotta, mozarella, black pepper, and an egg yolk.

The dough of the pizza was very good, I started off being good and not eating the crust, but had to start as it was so good and doughy..

So will I be back? Probably, but maybe I’ll try the pasta or one of the main courses instead next time!

The Greek Larder, King’s Cross

A sunny day that feels like the start to spring… after a very funny escape room scenario (where you have to figure out the clues to break out… we made it out with 32 seconds to spare!), we headed to King’s Cross to check out the restaurants there. There are several really good outposts of the Grain Store, Caravan, and Dishoom… but the ridiculous thing? None of their tables outside were available for lunch, only for drinks! WTF. So we walked on…

And found The Greek Larder nearby. And I’m so glad that we did. They have 4-5 tables outside and were happy to serve us food there… and some great food it was!

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Andre had the sfougato of Lesvos, basically an omelette baked with courgette and lettuce, and a spring onion, watercress and galotiri (soft) cheese on top. It was interesting, the baked omelette was fluffier than a regular one and tasted a bit like a frittata, but eggier.

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But it was really my dish that excelled… I had been a bit jealous when Andre ordered the sfogato and felt like I should branch out and try something else, but I definitely won for best meal. The below was a flat bread topped with elephant beans (kind of like cannellini beans but larger), graviera cheese gratted, slices of pastourma sausage, avocado, tomato sauce, tahini dressing, all topped with two fried eggs.  And it was so good. The beans in the sauce, standalone, would have made a great meal, so add in some sliced charcuterie, avocado and egg, and you’re onto a very decadent dish!

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Being healthy, we had some greens on the side, horta, which apparently are dandelion greens… mixed with some other Italian greens and topped with feta and some dried herbs, this was also delicious. I’m pretty sure they were cooked with tons of garlic, and it made them really good.

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The inside of the restaurant is quite interesting, it’s very long and thin, and goes back quite a way… the front almost looks like a diner, whereas the back sells all sorts of Greek products, making it feel more homey. And the dinner menu? Also very promising… I can’t wait to head back and have another meal here!