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Alan Yau’s Hakkasan, helmed by Chef Tong Chee Hwee, is a major part of London’s elite restaurant scene and is recognized as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, serving some of the best dim sum you will find anywhere. As a long time fan of Hakkasan Hanway Place I decided to give their new(er) restaurant in Mayfair a try. I dragged along 3 foodie friends for a dim sum lunch and was prepared for a great meal. I wasn't disappointed. They had all the favourites; scallop shumai, har gau, Chinese chive dumpling, duck dumpling plus light and fluffy char siu bao. There were also some dim sum with an added Hakkasan twist, like using venison instead of char siu in the pastry puff and crabmeat siew long bun, their take on xiao long bao, which had plenty of soup and a thin, delicate skin. Magnificent! Chinese cuisine is not usually noted for the desserts but Hakkasan is a delightful exception. I had the coconut and lime tapioca with iced pineapple and warm pineapple beignets - divine! Whilst Louise declared her blackberry and apple crumble soufflé, with blackberry compote and vanilla ice cream, simply the best dessert she had ever eaten. Pricey but worth it! Definite contender for Best Sunday Lunch.

The two Michelin star Midsummer House restaurant is set on the banks of the River Cam and run by chef/patron Daniel Clifford. I have been a fan of Daniel Clifford since he took a chicken dish through to the main course on Great British Menu however this was my first visit to his restaurant. I was more than a little excited and my expectations were naturally high. Here I pause and relive the taste sensations that assail my memory, not only were my expectations met, they were blown away! I particularly enjoyed the fish course and my dining companion thought the ‘Pistachio soufflé and chocolate sorbet’ the best thing he ever tasted. The only reason I don’t have a new #1 on my top 10 list is because MSH doesn’t open for Sunday lunch. I simply don’t have the literary or photographic skills to do justice to the meal. Suffice it to say it was sublime, Daniel is a genius and his FOH are consummate professionals, friendly, fun and contributed greatly to an exemplary experience. If you get the chance to treat yourself, do!

I enjoyed some exquisite meals during my HK trip 2013/14 topping the list is L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in the Landmark. This outpost of the famous group, headed by Chef de Cuisine Exécutif Olivier Elzer, was first awarded three Michelin stars in 2012 (which it retained in 2013). The décor is classic Robuchon, a mixture of dark woods and plush red velvets. I’ve wanted to try their Sunday Lunch for a while and was delighted to accept guest blogger May Chan’s invitation to her favourite restaurant in HK. Every dish was exceptional in both appearance and taste (more photos on FB) but the stand out for this visit was ‘La Grenouille en persillade, risotto de perles au cresson, émulsion à l’ail’ (crispy frog legs with watercress « Acini » pasta and garlic foam) a dish of style and substance. As expected the service was exemplary, attentive without being obtrusive and the epitome of professionalism. We opted for the set lunch HK$568 (approx. £45) which I thought very good value for an experience of dining at this level. Highly recommend for a special treat if you’re ever in HK!

 

The restaurants featured on this site are predominately from the South East of England, simply because that is where I do most of my eating. However, I do make an annual pilgrimage home to Hong Kong (the Mecca for all foodies) which means there will be the occasional Sunday Lunch from there.

One such Sunday, my very generous brother treated the family to a special meal at the Golden Leaf Restaurant, Conrad HK. The Michelin-starred restaurant offers an exquisite selection of innovative Cantonese dishes. Simply one of the best Chinese meals I have had in a long time. The service was excellent and the food was phenomenal. A feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Of particular note was the baked crab. Amazing!

Alimentum Restaurant in Cambridge, led by Chef Patron Mark Poynton, is one of two restaurants in the City to hold a Michelin Star but is the only one to open on a Sunday. Their website described their menu as ‘Modern European’ well whatever box you put it in the cooking is simply superb. I’ve had the pleasure of eating at the restaurant on many occasions but this was my first Sunday lunch. My dining companion & I opted for the 3 course fixed priced price menu (available every lunchtime, as well as every evening up until 7pm) which at only £24.50 is tremendous value given the calibre of cooking & high quality service front of house. To start I had liver parfait, smoked duck, brioche & smoked pineapple jam followed by an absolutely stunning, melt-in-the-mouth, slow roasted Dingley Dell pork belly with rhubarb, broccoli & cockles. The dessert was a sublime vanilla custard mille-feuille with apple & toffee. Great value, faultless service & food, I highly recommend for an alternative Sunday Lunch.

Yauatcha is a Chinese restaurant in Broadwick Street, Soho, London, famed for its dim sum. The restaurant was created in 2004 by Alan Yau, (founder of Hakkasan) and one of only a few Chinese restaurants in UK to gain (and retain) a Michelin star rating. As expected the dim sum is amazing, delicate and artistic creations that look as great as they taste. Spread over two levels, the basement has a swanky cocktail bar feel (a little on the dark side for me, I like to see what I am eating, especially when it is so beautiful). G/F has a friendly, more open feel and allows the diner to gawp at the petits gateaux in the window; French pastries with a Chinese twist, simply divine. Again, pricey but worth stopping by for a leisurely lunch and a cake (or two)!

This weekend I enjoyed Michelin Star dining on the beautiful Norfolk Coast at Morston Hall, Holt, owned by chef patron Galton Blackiston, who represented the Midlands and East of England in the BBC's Great British Menu. I struggled a little bit in deciding if this was a traditional or alternative choice for Sunday lunch, the absence of roast potatoes & Yorkshire pudding just tipped it into the latter for me but regardless it was a highly enjoyable experience. A set tasting menu; canapés of aubergines & feta and fresh scallops, warm bread accompanying an indulgent Butternut Squash Soup with Brown Butter, perfectly cooked Blickling Hall Estate Aberdeen Angus, with garlic mash, Norfolk truffles and sage roasted celeriac for the mains. All rounded off with a dessert of Morston Hall Style Victoria Plum Crumble with Liquorice Ice Cream. A delightful setting, friendly front of house and seasonal food skilfully prepared.

 

This weekend I finally managed to get myself organised & made a reservation for Sunday Lunch at ‘Flesh & Buns,’ an izakaya (think Japanese pub) on Earlham Street. F&B is the brain child of Chef Ross Shonhan & sister restaurant to much loved ramen bar ‘Bone Daddies’. Ross was trained by Nobu Matsuhisa in Dallas & spent time as the head chef at Zuma, a contemporary Japanese restaurant in Knightsbridge, so he knows a thing or two about Japanese cuisine. Unseasonably warm & sunny, much of London decided to eat out doors rather than in a subterranean restaurant, leaving quite a few empty seats in the communal style dining room. So my 2 dining companions & I had a large table to ourselves. This was a good thing as we managed to order enough for 6, much to the amusement of the waitress, who questioned our order several times. All the dishes were excellent but my personal favourites were the; soft-shell crab roll with jalapeno mayo & chives and the crispy piglet belly with mustard miso (pickled apple) lettuce, cucumber & sauce stuffed into a fresh steamed bun. Quality meat prepared well, served in a fun setting, can happily recommend.

 

Lima-born Chef Martin Morales has single handedly made Peruvian cuisine the hottest food trend of the moment. Andina is his second restaurant in London, located a short walk from Liverpool Street Station in Shoreditch. Stepping over the threshold is like coming home, the front of house is welcoming as is the simple décor, immediately I begin to salivate as I’m enveloped by the delicious fragrances wafting from the open kitchen. I profess I knew little about Peruvian cuisine so didn’t know what to expect. My friends and I found the menu to be varied, with something to suit most tastes. The dishes that arrived were visually stunning, small plates holding fresh ingredients perfectly cooked, flavours that were at once exotic yet familiar. Nutritious ingredients like quinoa were incorporated with imagination, proving healthy doesn’t need to be boring. Of course there are some naughty dishes on the menu too, the Picarones Doughnuts: pumpkin, purple maize syrup and chocolate fudge was divine! A fab choice for an alternative Sunday lunch.

Royal China Club is among the best places in London for dim sum. The luxurious sibling to the long established Royal China, Baker Street, the decor is more elegant and the dim sum, while authentically flavoured, exhibit a notable delicacy. Cantonese fish dishes are excellent too, thanks to the quality of the raw ingredients and a wonderful lightness of touch in the kitchen. If you are seated in the main dining room you can see the lobster and fish swimming in the large tank, can't get fresher than that! Excellent food, great service and fair pricing makes this a definite top 10.

This Sunday ( June 28th , 2015) my friend & I decided to take a drive out to the Suffolk coast, booking lunch at Sutherland House Hotel and fish Restaurant. We parked by the pier and enjoyed a walk along the beach front up to the restaurant, situated on the High Street inside one of the oldest buildings in Southwold which dates back to 1455. As we walked through the front door we passed other diners already tucking into their Roast, local free range Blythburgh Pork with all the trimmings, though tempted we eschewed the traditional roast for a seafood lunch. Seemed apropos since that is Sutherland House’s specialty and a reason for their two AA rosettes. My companion kept it old school, choosing White Bait, Sunblushed Tomatoes, Mayo & Granary Bread to start followed by good old fashion fish and chips, both he declared to be excellent. Whereas I went for a Cromer Crab Taco, Pico the Gallo, Guacamole, Coriander, Lime & Chilli followed by a beautiful fresh Seabass accompanied by some veg & mango salsa. The portions were so generous neither of us managed dessert. Sutherland House is a lovely, welcoming restaurant serving fresh tasty dishes, a great place to enjoy Sunday lunch with family and friends.

As we were headed to Hackney Picturehouse (April 17th , 2016) for London Book and Screen Week’s Director’s screening of ‘Despite the Falling Snow’, we needed somewhere local for Sunday lunch. As luck would have it, Richard Vines, food critic at Bloomberg, posted a ‘11 Great Restaurants in Hip East London’ that included Ellory in Hackney where Chef Matthew Young and sommelier Jack Lewens have opened a 48 seat bistro. Already offering a successful evening menu, this was Ellory’s first Sunday lunch opening, table booked; off we drove to London Fields. It took a couple of passes to spot Ellory’s frontage, camouflaged by the shimmering reflections in the floor to ceiling glass windows but once we stepped through the doors we found the space to be modern, uncluttered and perfect for a relaxing long lunch. The FOH were charming & knowledgeable, Jack recommended a glass of Domaine Laurens Marcillac to go with my meal that was delicious. The dishes were creative, with simple and seasonal ingredients brought together in a fusion of complementing flavours. The roast chicken in particular was sensational, a simple looking plate of food but my goodness; it was so tender and the taste was .. words fail me. Go try it for yourself! (More photos)

I was out on the Southbank with friends & wanted something quick & tasty before our film screening. A scan of the nearby restaurants & our eyes landed on the very quirky Southbank Experiment, a part of the Wahaca chain, housed in 8 refurbished shipping containers under Queen Elizabeth Hall. The Mexican restaurants, co-founded by Master Chef Champion (2005) Thomasina Miers & Mark Selby, is the antithesis of everything I’d come to expect of Mexican food in England. The food is freshly made, packs a powerful flavour punch & not a single greasy taco in sight! We started off with guacamole; freshly made with lime juice, coriander & ripe Hass avocados. Then followed it up with Wahaca’s sharing selection; pork pibil tacos topped with a red onion relish bright with citrus juices and habanero chillies, large broad bean quesadilla, cactus & courgette tacos, chicken taquitos plus corn & bean salad. Clean tasting food, great vibe & comfortable seating allowed us to enjoy street food style eating without having to hunch over napkins trying not to drip sauce over our clothes. Win, win! Great alternative choice for a Sundy lunch that won't break the bank.

Yippee Noodle Bar is one of my favourite foodie stops in Cambridge. Whilst the restaurant is more suited to a quick Saturday bite than a leisurely Sunday lunch, it is still well worth a try. A bustling, noisy place with a good atmosphere, canteen style bench seating and an immaculately clean open kitchen. Staff are friendly and helpful. The food is served very quickly, sometimes it feels as if my meal is in front of me before I've even got my coat off. Maybe it is because I order the same thing every time. The China Town Siew Ngap (Chinese Roast Duck) Ho Fun Noodle Soup. When my nephews came to visit for the Summer Yippee quickly became a favourite pit stop, being from Hong Kong they know what a good bowl of noodles should taste like, so it was a ringing endorsement for them to keep asking to go back! No additives, just fresh ingredients, well prepared. Great taste, excellent value for money.

Efes Restaurant is winner of Local Secrets "Best Mediterranean Restaurant of the year" and deservedly so. An unassuming restaurant in the heart of Cambridge serving authentic Turkish cuisine. I am a fan of the 'mixed kebab', the chef's selection of prime cuts of lamb and chicken sourced from a local butcher. Cooked on their open grill and served with pitta, rice, tomatoes, peppers and a house side salad that is lightly dressed in lemon and olive oil.

The meat has a nice char on the outside, sealing in the juices, leaving it tender and moist in the middle. All nicely spiced with that smoky flavour that you can only get from a charcoal grill. Ideal on a Friday evening, paired with an Efes beer, after a trip to the theatre. Though equally good as an alternative choice for Sunday lunch. Busy place so booking a must.

 

This week (October 13th, 2015) I've been spending a lot of time in London's Leicester Square enjoying the BFI Film Festival and needed some good ideas for a tasty pre-cinema meal. Thanks to reading a mouth watering review from fellow blogger Kavita I decided to pay a visit to newly opened Viet Food London, conveniently located on the edge of China Town, just moments from the square. Helmed by Hakkasan Mayfair's former Head Chef, Jeff Tan, Viet Food brings finesse to street food style eats, with steaming bowls of Pho or Bun and well crafted small sharing plates. On this occasion we snacked on crispy coconut calamari with sweet chili sauce, lovely succulent prawns in a refreshing Pomelo salad, finishing with mains of melt-in-the-mouth tender pork belly, Lamb chops Hanoi style and friend rice to soak up the delicious sauces. Quick, tasty and value for money. Ticked all the boxes for us as a pre-cinema meal.

More photos on our FB page.

Leicester square has been swathed with red carpets & Hollywood glamour thanks to the BFI London 2014 Film Festival. My friend & I were attending the premiere of Kung Fu Jungle so we needed an equally glamorous venue for an early dinner before the screening. I’ve enjoyed Spice Kitchen’s head chef Peter Lloyd’s cooking at Taste Of… events, & waxed poetic about their Taiwanese style steamed pork belly buns, but hadn’t eaten at the restaurant proper. As they open at 5pm, & are located next to the Empire IMAX where we were headed, it seemed an ideal opportunity to try it out. Indeed the décor, service & food didn’t disappoint. The pork buns were every bit as tasty as I remembered & the steamed sea bass (pictured) was delicious, though in hindsight I should have choosen to accompany it with plain rice & not the ginger fried rice, which overpowered the delicate flavors of the fish. Being part of the W hotel I expected to pay more but I thought the dinner was actually very reasonable given the locale, costing £30 each including a glass wine. No room for dessert this trip but I will definitely go back & happily recommend it for an alternative option for Sunday lunch.

Hutong is found on the 33rd floor of The Shard. With floor to ceiling glass it isn't’t the place for those with a fear of heights but the payoff is fantastic views out across London whilst you enjoy your meal. I've been wanting to try this new Chinese restaurant for a while so I was quick to agree when it was suggested as the venue for a get together. One of my dining companions, fellow foodie Evelyn Ong (itchinforakitchen), won the contest to name the restaurants guarding lions, so it was also the opportunity to raise a glass of champagne to Fu Shi & Mei Shi. We ordered the signature dish, soft shell chili crab. Which arrived in a rather festive looking wooden lantern filled with the crab and dried chilies. The crab was very good, lightly fried and not greasy but the volume of chilies pushed it a tad too far heat wise for me. We also enjoyed a plate of chilled razor clams in Chinese wine, Gai Lan, (Chinese Broccoli) and a nice selection of dim sum, including duck spring rolls & Ha Gao. A good meal, great company and worth a visit for the view alone.

A fellow gym goer has been regaling me for months about the wonderful Chinese seafood dishes at Hakka and the culinary genius that is Chef Patron Daniel. Hakka has a rather unassuming shop front but once we stepped through the door we were greeted by the very enthusiastic Daniel and all thoughts of décor left my mind. He was very excited by the fresh catch he had brought down from London that morning so we just left him to choose the menu. He prepared his signature Salt & Chili Fried King Prawns & Squid, Steamed Turbot, Scallops with Ginger & Spring Onions, and for the non-seafood lovers, (yes they do exist) Baked Pork with Yam Clay Pot, Lemon Chicken and Peking Duck with pancakes.The stand out dish for me was the Turbot, when the fish is this fresh you really don’t want to mess with it and Daniel didn’t, he used just the right amount of seasoning to make the flavours sing, cooked to perfection, it was beautiful. If not the best fish I’ve ever tasted it must certainly be in the top 5. Daniel reminded me of a Chinese ‘Del Boy’, happy-go-lucky, passionate with a dash of attitude, but when you can cook like that you’re allowed. Not a place to go if you are in a hurry but undoubtedly the best seafood I’ve had in Cambridge.

Feeling in need of a bit of pampering and general R&R I booked in for a ‘Bliss Day’ at Clarice House Hotel & Spa in Bury St Edmunds. My package included an Ayurvedic Hot Stone Massage, lunch in the restaurant and use of all the spa facilities. On arriving I couldn’t help being charmed by the beautiful manor house that is home to the spa. Wood panelling, leather sofas and crystal chandlers adorn the reception of this sensitively restored building whilst the spa itself possesses all the modern amenities including a sport complex with indoor heated pool, sauna and steam room. The lunch was a delight, fresh ingredients skilfully prepared. I opted for ‘Crayfish tails, new potatoes & beetroot bound in a lightly curried mayonnaise’ followed by ‘beer battered haddock, chips, peas and homemade tartare sauce’. Overall a faultless day, great food, good company, indulgent spa treatments and service that was attentive and professional. Highly recommend for an alternative Sunday treat.

 

The best Sunday lunches are not necessarily spent indoors dinning at a Michelin starred restaurant or tucking into a roast in a pub. B.O.B.’s Lobster is a good case in point, a delightfully bourgeois street food dining experience complete with white linen tablecloths, bow tie bedecked servers and Prosecco on tap. The team offer up fresh, succulent lobster either crammed into a toasted split-top brioche roll, or crowning a bowl of incredibly decadent mac n’cheese. There have been lots of positive comments on social media from London foodies raving about B.O.B.’s Lobster but this was my first experience. Wondering along the Southbank I happened to spy B.O.B’s charming 1957 VW Campervan, so took the  opportunity to indulge in a most decadent Sunday lunch al fresco on the banks of the Thames on a glorious sunny day, they didn't disappoint.

I was headed to the SouthBank with a friend for the Vogue Festival so it was a great opportunity to try out Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa at 20 New Change Passage. First impressions were terrific; the waitress that met us at the door was charming, enthusiastic and cheerful. On her recommendation I started brunch off with a ‘Revitaliser’ (Seville Orange Marmalade Vodka, Agave Sec and fresh Carrot and Orange Juice) refreshing and packed a punch. The restaurant boasts terrific views of St Paul's and a garrulous buzz set the stage at Jamie Oliver's self-titled ‘cathedral to meat and fire’ (though it seemed a wasted opportunity not to make more of a feature of the kitchen which was rather hidden). Having watched back to back ‘Diners, Drive-ins & Dives’ on the food channel over Easter I was keen to try the ‘pulled pork and waffle’ which I really wanted to enjoy but the BBQ sauce was just a tad too sweet, though the meat was moist and tender and the coleslaw had a good crunch. Overall the staff made it a good experience and kicks up the score but the food was a little disappointing given the build-up.

 

 

Zhonghua Traditional Snacks is a tiny, easy to miss, café tucked on Norfolk Street in Cambridge. There are only a few table,s and the menu is fairly simple, but it is a great place for quick, tasty & cheap eats and the spartan, slightly drab décor is compensated by the cheerful staff. Zhonghua specialises in Northern Chinese street snacks; handmade wonton dumplings, filled baozi buns and noodle dishes. I can heartily recommend the chicken noodle soup!

 

I was curious to see that Chilford Hall Vineyards in nearby Linton was the venue for a wedding reception I had been invited to (July 2014).  I've previously attended events in Chilford’s Great Hall, a grade II listed building dating from 1820, but hadn't visited since the barns were destroyed in a fire in June 13th, 2012. It turns out the owners have built a semi-permanent contemporary style marque, dubbed  the Garden Rooms, to hold their events. The complex is practically arranged with a reception area, bar and air-conditioned dining room in a horseshoe configuration surrounding manicured gardens equipped with outdoor games to keep the children entertained. On arrival guests were presented with champagne and a colourful selections of canapés which were pleasing to the eye and palate, the main dish of chicken with mushroom sauce was simple but well prepared and the dessert a perfect end to a delightful evening. It was such a pleasure to see that Chilford Hall has emerged from the ashes to become a great wedding venue once again and a good choice for an alternative Sunday lunch.

A fairly enjoyable albeit baffling dining experience at The Orchid Restaurant in Cambridge. I’ve heard quite positive mumblings about the quality of the cooking but perusing their website I didn't get the 'must visit' vibe, finding their offerings a bit confusing, 'authentic fusion' & KTV with 'fine dining'? However, I was happy to give it a try when friends suggested a mid-week dinner out. Stepping through the unassuming frontage on Newmarket road I was pleasantly surprised to see the restaurant was larger than I expected and stylishly appointed, design reminiscent of Hakkassan, one of my favourite Asian restaurants in London. As I waited for my friends to arrive the waiter offered me an iPad with the day’s specials & went on to tell me about the restaurant. Apparently I was seated in the downstairs fine dining area, whereas the more casual tables serving their hot pot menu were located upstairs alongside a function room & Karaoke facilities. On this occasion we ordered the special of the day, 'Steamed Sea Bass' plus 'Sweet and Sour Pork' & 'Stir Fried Chicken in Black Bean Sauce' from their à la carte menu, all accompanied by boiled rice. I found all the dishes tasty but wasn't 'wowed' given the prices (£11-£18). Stylish décor, friendly staff & good but not sensational, cuisine.

 

It was a Sunday Lunch at the Movies outing this week (July 5th, 2014). We went to see a 3D screening of Coraline followed by a Q&A with the book’s author Neil Gaiman at the Barbican. As we were on the Southbank & not far from one of Ping Pong’s restaurants we decided to have a late dim sum lunch & give the chain a try, it turned out to be a very bland experience. Ping Pong’s menu is relatively brief with only a few recognisable dim sum names such as siu mai & har gau, which were the best tasting of the selection we ordered. On the plus side the restaurant had quite a relaxed atmosphere, elegant surroundings & the service was congenial & efficient. However, for the price, I would much rather visit a restaurant from the Hakkasan group, which delivers on style & taste, or Royal China Club in Baker Street which has a far greater & more authentic selection. Ping Pong is possibly a better choice for evening cocktails than Sunday Lunch.