MIND THE GRUB: LET’S ‘GO’URMET HUNTING

Mind the Grub: Let’s ‘GO’urmet Hunting!

Junart Kim S Nieva

It’s June; summer, weddings… what else!? London’s celebrating ‘Food Month’! As the true melting pot of cultures, there is no better place to explore a variety of global fares than here. In this article, food enthusiasts quickly and briefly shared their personal views for the good, the average, and the hungry!

Let’s hear first from a sales and marketing consultant originally from Metro Manila, Heidi Dela Cruz. Aside from fashion photography, this missy is a foodie who loves to go out and meet different people. Indoors she enjoys watching Netflix and ping pong; she’s also into squash and roller skating!


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What’s  your top restaurants in London?

Spanish restaurant called Camino in King’s Cross and Gilbert Scott British restaurant in St Pancras; I also like to try different food stalls in Notting Hill or Borough Market.

Any particular Filipino restaurant you would vouch for?

Romulo Café in Kensington and Lutong Pinoy in Earl’s Court.

Among the ‘world cuisines’, what do you like most and why?

Italian cuisine cooked in perfection and with love. Nah, I meant just simple ingredients but for me it’s a real deal.

What foods are staple for your weekly ‘Londonventures’ and why?

Chips! It’s simple and easy to eat. Salads are good for healthy eating too.

Particular gastro-hub you are looking forward to try in the near future and why?

Harwood Arms in Fulham and Sportsman in Kent. It’s their atmosphere that drives me the most to come and check them out.

Red or Prosecco? In summer, it’s Prosecco; red during cold months.

Cook at home or take-away? Cook at home but when I feel quite lethargic…? Take away

The second gastronome is from Laguna – a nurse by profession, currently a member of the British-Filipino Master Chorale. Kim Estella loves to travel, eat, sing, and make memories, as well as post pictures on Instagram (make sure to follow him!)

Gourmet2Top 3 restaurants you would recommend for first-time London visitors and why:

For great food and amazing view, Aqua, The Shard. For quality, contemporary Pinoy food, Romulo Café. For quality Spanish tapas and paella, Iberica Farringdon.

Among the ‘world cuisines’, what do you like most and why?

That’s hard. But Japanese and Spanish cuisines top my list.

I heard you’re a good cook; where do you mostly get your ‘magic ingredients’ from?

I just get them from l ocal groceries. If I’m in the mood for Asian food, I get my stock from Hu Hing in Mitcham or from Asian stores in Soho.

Particular gastro-hub you are looking forward to try in the near future and why?

Any place with authentic South American fare. I don’t think I have ever tried that cuisine before.

What are your thoughts about the presence of Philippine cuisine in the UK?

Its popularity is increasing so that makes me happy. Every time I go to Romulo Café, the first thing I notice is that it’s not just Filipinos who go there to eat. I often see a lot of Caucasians as well.

Beer or wine? Depending on what I’m eating, but I’d drink wine anytime.

Exquisite or exotic? Exquisite. I’m not really adventurous when it comes to eating.

Our next connoisseur, Milli De Mesa, is a social entrepreneur and works part-time as an executive assistant for a private company. She’s a foodie with passion on wine pairings, a reader and a free thinker.

Gourmet4Top 3 restaurants you would recommend for first-time London visitors and why:

  1. First is L’antica Pizzeria da Michele in Hampstead; a small family-run pizzeria. Authentic, traditional family owned recipes straight from Naples are on the menu. Wine menu’s just perfect to complement their food options.Another one is Duck and Waffle by Bishopsgate in Heron building, perfect for Breakfast lovers! Eating their signature dish – crispy duck and waffle in maple syrup with wine or cocktail in an amazing breaking dawn – overlooking the city’s skyline from the 40th floor is an awesome experience!

Last but not the least is Leather Bottle Pub in Earlsfield. It is a traditional English gastro-pub at the heart of a quiet high street. You can’t leave this city without having a proper traditional English Roast Dinner. I’m not a fan, nevertheless this is exceptional. The Crispy White Bait with mango chutney is a must try. Come the great British weather, rain or shine (you know what I mean) the pub is a hub for cosy cold days warming up in their fireplace or out in the sun in their massive garden.


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Any particular Filipino restaurant you would vouch for?

If you’re missing home, go to Coco’s Lounge in Kilburn. Food tastes like home. Ambiance feels like home. And people are from home. And the ‘late-night’ karaoke is very much like home.

Among the ‘world cuisines’, what do you like most and why?
I always loved Italian food. It can be as simple, light and refreshing to the palate or as complex as discovering different layers of taste in every spoonful.

What seasonings your main course should always go with:
Salt. It’s amazing how just a pinch of salt can make so much difference.

Particular gastro-hub you are looking forward to try in the near future and why?
Summer is here. What’s good about it is a lot of pop up restaurants are popping out! Fresh and exciting food will be just around the corners of the city. We have to keep up with the news feed with this one.

Vodka or Tequila? Vodka.

Brasserie or Bistro? Food is a full sensory experience. The mood is very important as well for full enjoyment. It’s brasserie for me.

Now let’s look at power couple Vincent and Cathy, who’ve had a fair share of adventures around the British capital. Nurses by profession, they enjoy watching movies, jogging, travelling, and food tripping. Vincent is from Isabela, while the lovely wife Cathy is from Masbate.

Gourmet7Top 3 restaurants you would recommend for first-time London visitors and why:

First would be The Shard – Shangri-La Hotel Restaurant, experience the sky scraper at the top while enjoying the sumptuous dishes in the heart of London. Second is Nakhon Thai, enjoy the cable car ride in North Greenwich then relax & be mesmerised with the dock view while eating your yummy Thai dishes. Thirdly is The Ritz Hotel. It’s one-of-a-kind, posh and enchanting cuisine plus superb ambiance with fantastic foods. You may then take a stroll in Green Park and unwind in front of Buckingham palace at night.

Any particular Filipino restaurant you would vouch for?

Definitely Romulo Café in High Street Kensington.

Among the ‘world cuisines’, what do you like most and why?

Certainly Greek cuisine because it reminds us of our fantastic holiday in Santorini, Greece.

What foods are staple for your weekly ‘Londonventures’ and why?

Asian foods like Thai/Japanese/Korean/Vietnamese/Filipino viands because we always feel at home. That’s what our taste buds crave for!

Where did you go on your first dinner date? Was it by chance or by choice?

It’s our personal option – first wedding dinner date at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel. It reminds us of our lovely honeymoon there.

Home-cooked or take-away?

A resounding home-cooked food because nothing beats dishes sprinkled with love.

From food-lovers, let’s hear from a culinarian himself. Chris Villaflor has a lot of experience in ‘world kitchens’, and is currently working at a restaurant in Leicester Square. He’s part-Tagalog and part-Bikolano.

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Top 3 restaurants you would recommend for first-time London visitors and why:

Murakami (St Martins Lane) – best sushi especially mango roll and volcano roll. Many options for those who don’t like “raw sushi”. Bubba Gump in Piccadilly Circus, and Claridges Mayfair, as I’m a fan of afternoon tea, and want to treat myself with luxury.

Any particular Filipino restaurant you would vouch for?

Romulo Café; because most of the dishes is what is meant to be if plated nicely.

Among the ‘world cuisines’, what do you like most and why?

European gastronomy, particularly French cuisine. I believe it is the godfather of fine dining and I love crème brulee and mille-feullie.

When cooking, where do you mostly get your ‘magic ingredients’ from?

I buy ingredients at any large supermarkets. But when I have time (very rare!), I stroll around Portobello road or Borough Market.

As a chef, what satisfies you the most?

When I see customers taking photos of my plated dishes especially desserts, with their warm smiles. And occasionally they wave back at me with thumbs up and whispers thank you.

  1. Pub or club?

Pub of course. They probably care more with their food than clubs in my opinion. Pub is a really nice place to chill as well.

  1. Fine dining or fast food?

Fine dining no doubt; that’s where magic happens.There you go!

Did that make you feel a little bit peckish? Then head down to your favourite restaurant, or try out the gourmet hunters’ recommendations above. Or why not cook your favourite dish at home and share a meal with family or friends? Whatever you decide, make sure to celebrate food – its life! As British writer Virginia Woolf once wrote, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

What are you waiting for? Visit www.londonfoodmonth.co.uk for more information about this exciting festival. Itadakimasu! Bon appetite! Let’s eat! Kainan na
!

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