Monday, December 4, 2017

DISHOOM (KING'S CROSS, LONDON, UK)

Dishoom
5 Stable St
London N1C 4AB
www.dishoom.com
Tel: +44 020 7420 9321
Cuisine: Indian
$$ ($15-$30)
Sat, 10/28/2017, 12:30PM reservation
     (5 Piglets)



I freakin love Indian food in London. There's no place like it other than possibly India itself. It just tastes substantially better, with bursts of flavor.

Dishoom is no different. It is a very popular restaurant in London with multiple locations. There is always a queue and the best possible way to get in without waiting is to make a reservation.

I made a res at the King's Cross location. The space is bustling, with an amazing bar downstairs and seating both floor level and upstairs. Upon arrival, there was already a queue and I had made res for a lunch hour (although I did hear that their breakfast is pretty darn good). The menu is a little extensive, but innovative than the typical Indian food you would get in LA. The table was just big enough to accommodate all the food we had ordered, so we were lucky. 


Bar seating Interior

Interior at floor level
OKRA FRIES (£4.20). Fine Lady's Fingers for the Fingers. I wasn't the biggest fan of these. Don't get me wrong, they were good but I'm just not a fan of okra. Though the slimey layer was almost non-transparent, I could still taste it. But, if you like okra, you'll love this. 
VEGETABLE SAMOSAS (£3.50). Fine Filo Pastry, Pea and Potato Filling Warmly Spiced with Cinnamon and Cloves. These were delicious. It was light and airy and wasn't heavy. I'm always a fan of samosas and they're one of my favorite appetizers. If you want something on the lighter end that isn't too heavy, get these! 
HOUSE BLACK DAAL (£5.90). A Dishoom Signature Dish-Dark, Rich, Deeply Flavoured. It is Cooked Over 24 hours for Extra Harmony. This was absolutely delicious. I didn't know what to expect. We ordered a medium spice level which was perfect. It went so well with the biryani. I definitely recommend getting this dish. 
JACKFRUIT BIRYANI (£8.90). Delicious, Savoury Jackfruit and Delicately Saffron'd Rice, Patted and Cooked with Mint, Coriander, and Sultanas. I loved this dish. It's different than the usual biryani you get at other restaurants. There was so much flavor and surprisingly, the jackfruit tasted like there was meat in it. It's a great dish for the vegetarian and awesome with curry. 
GUNPOWDER POTATOES (£6.50). The seduction is in the Tumble. Potatoes with Brown Skins, Smoky-Grilled, Broken Apart, Tossed with Butter, Crushed Aromatic Seeds and Green Herbs. This is one of the most popular dishes at Dishoom. I thought it was good but not amazing. I mean, they're potatoes and I'd actually rather eat something that consists of curry. If you love potatoes though, you would enjoy these. 
MY FAVORITE DISH. CHICKEN RUBY (£9.50). A Good and Proper Curry Redolent with Spice and Flavour, Tender Chicken in a rich silky 'makhani'sauce, best mopped up with a Roomali Roti. I love freakin curry and this is by far, one of the best ones. It's similar to a tikka masala but better than what you would get anywhere in the States. It's rich and creamy and if you love tikka masala, you definitely should get this. 

SPICY LAMB CHOPS (£11.90). They lie overnight in a special marinade of lime juice and jiggery, warm dark spices, ginger and garlic. Blackened by the Grill, but Juicy inside. I thought these were good but I've had better at Tayyabs. The chops had a lot of flavor, and it was grilled nicely, but it wasn't as juicy as I had hoped. Regardless though, I would still order it. 

I forgot the name of this cocktail but it was freakin delicious. Just show them this pic and order it. You could thank me later. 
HOUSE CHAI (£2.50). All things nice: warming comfort and satisfying spice. Made in the proper way. All who have tried it are swearing by it. This was delicious. It was creamy, smooth and had all the right spices. If you're a chai drinker, you'd love this warm drink. 
Overall, I loved Dishoom. For Indian food with a twist, this is the place to go. It's not super traditional, but they do have traditional dishes. The space is amazing and the service was pretty good. The waiter was insisting I visit again the next morning, but I couldn't. I wish I did since their breakfast menu looked amazing and interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed the dishes and it's a great place for a get together. If you're ever in London, hit up this spot. 

Notable Dishes: Chicken Ruby and Jackfruit Biryani

Saturday, December 2, 2017

DA CESARI (BOLOGNA, ITALY)

Da Cesari
Via de Carbonesi 8
40123 Bologna
Da Cesari
Tel: +39 051 237710
Cuisine: Italian
$$$ ($30-$45)
Wed, 10/25/2017, 7:00pm reservation
    (4 Piglets)

Bologna is a beautiful city. It is filled with colors of red and architecture consisting of arches throughout. It is known for pastas and salumi and boy, did we get a good amount of it.

Da Cesari is a restaurant in Bologna that has received great reviews and recommended by a friend. The restaurant is decently sized, rustic, and family owned. As soon as you walk in, you feel like you're part of the family. We decided to stick with pasta since that seemed to be what we were craving most of the time. 

The Interior
Part of the kitchen
The most delicious wine

SALUMI DELLA GRANDE TRADIZIONE EMILIANA (€12.00). This was amazing. Definitely order it if you like cold cuts. My favorite was the fatty one. LOL


TORTELLINI IN BRODO DI MANZO (€12.00). This was light and delicious. It was a good way to start the meal with something light, even if it was pasta. I loved the broth. It had so much flavor. It was a good starter. 

TAGLIATELLE ALLA BOLOGNESE (€10.00). What I realized in Italy is that traditional Bolognese is not saucy so to speak, but rather it coats the pasta just enough to flavor it. Regardless, it is delicious. It has tons of flavor and I love how the pasta is tossed in butter. It was meaty but not to the point that it was overwhelming. 

MY FAVORITE. SPECIAL: SPAGHETTI WITH TRUFFLES. I thought the pasta was delicious. It had a good amount of sauce. I only wished the truffle was a little more prominent in flavor but regardless, it was superb. I loved the texture of the pasta being al dente. I'm now craving pasta just writing this. 
Overall, I thought Da Cesari was a great place to get good pasta for the region. It was decently priced, which I appreciated. The service was good and they had a really great selection of wines. It feels like you're at home when dining at the restaurant. I would definitely recommend this restaurant if you are craving pasta and want something that isn't too fussy. 



Notable Dishes: Spaghetti with Truffles and Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese 

OSTERIA FRANCESCANA (MODENA, ITALY)

Osteria Francescana *ONE OF MY FAVORITES*
Via Stella, 22
41121 Modena, Italy
https://www.osteriafrancescana.it/
Tel: +39 059 223912
Cuisine: Italian
$$$$ ($50+)
Tues, 10/24/2017, 8:00pm reservation
    (5 Piglets)



Ever since watching the Netflix's Chef's Table on Osteria Francescana, I've been wanting to dine at this restaurant. The portrayal of the restaurant seemed so inviting. What lured me was the chef Mossimo Bottura, a guy who truly loves food and presented dishes that he wanted to present, even if it wasn't the norm at the time. 

So, three months prior to October, I woke up at 1:00am (Los Angeles time) and went online and snagged a res. I felt like I won the lottery. I was super ecstatic and lucky that I got the time and date that I wanted (5 minutes later, all the reservations were taken for the whole month). It seriously is that popular! Who wouldn't want to dine at one of the most prestigious restaurants in the world that was once the best restaurant in the world and has 3 Michelin stars?

The space is beautiful. Upon arrival, you're greeted by the maĆ®tre'D who takes your coat and leads you to your table. There are about 10 tables that I could count. It's elegant, bright, simple and consists of hand-picked art pieces. The chairs are comfortable and the menu, well-it's beautiful. You have the option of choosing a la carte or two different tasting menus. I chose the smaller one, the Festina Lente menu for €220...(although the larger one only had a €30 difference.


The silverware

An array of delicious Amuse Bouche
COURSE ONE: Tempura of Aula with Carpione Sorbet. This dish was interesting. It was quite "fishy," which I didn't love. I thought it was well executed nonetheless. The sorbet with the crunchy tempura was nothing like I've tasted. Though I don't love fishy tasting food, I appreciated this dish. 
COURSE TWO: An Eel Swimming up the Po River. The eel was amazing. It was delicate, sweet, salty and cooked perfectly. It had an amazing texture and I would eat this all the time! 
COURSE THREE: Grey and Black Rice. This was probably my least favorite dish. There was caviar on top of this risotto dish. It again, was fishy and so I wasn't a fan. The risotto was definitely al-dente. I would've liked it cooked a little bit more, but that's a personal preference. 
COURSE FOUR: Cod Mare Nostrum. I LOVED THIS DISH!! The fish was cooked absolutely perfectly. It was flaky, delicate, moist and downright delicious. The sauce was light and the balance of acidity and textures was spot on. I'm so particular with my fishes and this was one of the best I've ever had. 

Complimentary Bread and Sticks
MY FAVORITE DISH. COURSE FIVE: Autumn in New York. This was probably one of my favorite dishes I've ever tasted, EVER. It was delicately prepared, innovative and magnificent in every shape and form. The creativity of representing the essence of what NYC is into a dish is the epitome of this dish. It was a broth with smoothness that coated your palate at the perfect possible way. It had the right balance of flavors and I just wanted it over and over again. 

COURSE SIX: Tortellini with Cream of Parmigiano Reggiano. Modena is known for their pasta and balsamic vinegar. The pasta here was cooked al dente. It was rich and simple. I enjoyed this dish. 
COURSE SEVEN: Suckling Pig Tender and Crunchy. This too was one of my favorite dishes. It reminded me of the Chinese suckling pig, cooked perfectly moist with the crunchy skin on top. The sauces that went with it were amazing. It coated the pig nicely and added a depth of flavor like no other. 
COURSE EIGHT: Caesar Salad in Bloom. This was definitely interesting. I couldn't believe I was eating flowers but in a good way. They said to pick it up with the fingers and eat it like a taco all in one bite. Inside was "the dressing." It was all delicious, fresh, and different. 
COURSE NINE: Yellow is Bello. This dessert was delicious. It was light and a good yellow in my belly! It had a crunch to it and a creaminess texture in the middle. It was a great way to end a perfect meal! 
An additional Dessert. It was amazing. The chocolate was decadent and just what I wanted. 
Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart (€30.00). At this point I was stuffed but I still wanted this dessert to try it since watching it on the Netflix special. I actually didn't love it as much as I did. It was slightly bitter and definitely tart. I did like the crunchiness and the tartness but not the bitterness. 
Overall, Osteria Francescana was everything I wanted and more. I went in with low expectations (I tend to get disappointed just like how I was with Alinea) and I ended up pleasantly surprised. The meal was absolutely fantastic and the service was on point. I loved that Massimo went over to say hello to every guest dining in the restaurant. He's pretty amazing. This was probably the best meal I ever had, from the time I walked in, to the service, to the food, to the chef. I don't know if I would dine here again just for the mere fact that I don't want to ruin my memory of how amazing it is. Who knows though? I still have to try the Parmigiano Reggiano made 5 ways. 

Notable Dishes: Autumn in NY and the Suckling Pig

Thanks Massimo!