Ciro’s Pizza Pomodoro’s, Knightsbridge – reunion

We had our 2nd year university house back together for dinner on Tuesday last week. The venue was Ciro’s Pizza Pomodoro on Beachamp Place; the Neapolitan restaurant with the motto “Expect the unexpected”.

Imagine Goodfellas (a Scorsese film about Italian gangsters) – the restaurant scene post dinner. The guys are joking around, smoking, drinking, laughing, some drugs then a bottle is smashed over the waiters head and a gun gets pulled out right in someones face. Silence falls and then it’s back to hysterical laughter… madness. This is exactly the kind of scene which I imagine to be a nightly occurrence Ciro’s.

It’s an underground restaurant. Tables are jam packed together, there are literally thousands of photographs of celebrities literally staring at you from every crevice (Ciro’s special friends I hear), its very dark and there’s a lot of red leather & mahogany. European waitresses seem nervous (also Ciro’s special friends) and the chef’s look angry.

pizza knightsbridge ciros pomodoro

The silver fox, goodness knows what he was trying to play

At around 9pm there was live music from a sassy silver fox playing live music, the theme of which was hard to place – somewhere in-between Spanish flamenco and classic jazz. Uncomfortable. Though he was popular with one particular lady who hit the shoebox-sized dance floor imminently. Her face was so inflated with Botox she looked like she had bloaty head (Theme Hospital?). Honestly she looked like another species. Again, uncomfortable. I would class the clientele as white Lamborghini driving/Harley Street Clinic types. It all makes sense when you recall the location.

pizza pomodoro knightsbridge

Me. Expecting gun crime at any minute.

Food wise, don’t look alarmed when you’re served a pizza smaller than your HAND, which will cost you £16. Seriously here’s proof:

pizza pomodoro menu

The Harley Pizza (£15.95) Mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, onions, mushrooms, pepperoni sausage & garlic. It wasn’t from the children’s menu.

And don’t think you’re allowed to create your own pizza. Alex fancied goat’s cheese & tuna and was told ‘chef says no’. To be fair, chef was probably right – what a dreadful combination.

pizza pomodoro menu beachamp place

Italian mafia grub

italian restaurant

Lasagne: pasta, bolognese sauce & bechamel sauce, grated cheese (£15)

pizza pomodoro knightsbridge

Cajun Chicken Breast: Fresh chicken breast served with mixed salad & a pizza bread (£15) – is that a chickens foot bottom left?

We ate and drank on having a brilliant time between the 6 of us and in fact the food tasted great, there wasn’t a single complaint. I should mention the complimentary shots for our table, which were appreciated. I imagine people have all sorts of fun in Ciro’s cellar, but for me it was just a really creepy place.

pizza menu

Complimentary shots for the table

We probably wont be visiting again, but thanks for the entertaining experience Ciro.

x The London Whistler x

 ‪51 Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge, London ‪SW3 1NY

Ciro's Pizza Pomodoro on Urbanspoon

Salt Yard – Spanish heaven

Fitzrovia’s Salt Yard was one of the pioneers of the Spanish food scene in London back in 2005 – and what a standard they set! With awards under it’s belt, it now has three sister venues: Dehesa, Opera Tavern and most recently Ember Yard. Salt Yard was my 3rd visit to the group following cracking dinners in Dehesa and Ember Yard.

salt yard tapas dinner menu spanish

Salt Yard is a small, unflashy venue.

On Thursday last week Salt Yard was as packed. We’d booked three weeks in advance and were seated in the basement – not the best seat in the house but we were serviced brilliantly by very passionate staff.

To drink, the restaurant manager suggested the Montepulciano d’abruzzo, which was shockingly only £30 for how delicious it was – big appreciation of the humble recommendation.

We chose three starter plates between us: classic Padrons, quails eggs with smoked paprika & toasted breads, followed by three main plates each.

salt yard tapas dinner menu spanish

Freshly baked bread, olive oil & garlic dip (£3.50) & rock salt Padron Peppers (£4)

salt yard tapas dinner menu spanish

Quail eggs with paprika salt (£4)

 For me the Seabass was the highlight of the main course – delicate but meaty fish with salty samphire & sweet carrots.

salt yard tapas dinner menu spanish

Sea Bass Escabeche and Steamed Samphire (£8) – my absolute favourite dish, I could have eaten three of them.

 The dish of the night for my diner friend was easily the Slow Cooked Pork Cheeks on Celeriac Purée, I quote: ”Phenomenally good – the sweet prunes with the rich meat were sublime,”. After choosing three meat dishes which were all very rich and heavy, he did regret the lack of veg… (he ordered badly…). Tip: for the Salt Yard package – go for one meat, one fish and one veg plate for the best of Italy’s land & sea.

salt yard tapas dinner menu spanish

Slow Cooked Pork Cheeks with Prunes, Oloroso Sherry and Celeriac Purée (£8.50) – “phenomenal”

salt yard tapas dinner menu spanish

Confit of ‘Gloucester Old Spot’ Pork Belly with Rosemary Scented Cannellini Beans (£9) – a very rich and heavy dish PACKED with intense flavours.

salt yard tapas dinner menu spanish

Jamón, Leek and Manchego Croquetas, Salsa Rosa (£7) – so creamy with deliciously salty ham. You will burn your tongue… 

salt yard tapas dinner menu spanish

Classic Tortilla – the perfect accompaniment to meat & fish dishes (£5)

salt yard tapas dinner menu spanish

Cod cheeks (a daily staple in Spain) on cucumber (£8) – a very filling nice simple serve.

And our final dish in this cosy abode was an extremely indulgent Chocolate Ganacha perfectly paired with a light, sweet hazelnut mouse which I JUST managed to squeeze in before rolling onto the street and into a taxi.

salt yard tapas dinner menu spanish

Warm Chocolate Ganacha, Muscavado Ice Cream & Hazelnut Mousse (£6.50) – heaven!

No complaints.

x The London Whistler x

54 Goodge Street
London
 W1T 4NA

Salt Yard on Urbanspoon

VIP Launch Night at Embargo Republica, Chelsea

Thursday 21st August was the official VIP launch of Embargo Republica, where the newly roughed-up Cuban doors opened to a glamorous Chelsea crowd for the very first time.

I was treated compiling a guest list of 20 to come along and enjoy the night. We entered through a themed cuban cigar shop, then treated to complimentary Champagne and exotic rum cocktails. Various waitresses dressed up in Cuban military uniforms and floral dresses handed around delicious canapés; scallops with avocado puree, crab & salmon balls and sliced venison topped with dill.

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 Partners of the event included London jewellery designers Whistle & Bango, Ibiza Polo Club, the Countryside Alliance and Dundas London. There was live Latin music (think salsa & tango) followed by commercial classics (top 40!). Live music, DJs & acoustic acts are to become the theme for Embargo Republica which will make a nice change from the old Embargo 59.

One of the highlights was the huge outdoor terrace complete with Caribbean flowers, palm trees, a large bar, heat lamps and striped cushioned seating, in keeping with the Cuban beach theme.

embargo republica made in chelsea nightclub

At the entrance to the newly refurbished club.

embargo republica made in chelsea nightclub

All of us together, having a ball!

embargo republica made in chelsea nightclub

Binky & Lucy attended the relaunch, snapped by the Daily Mail.

embargo republica made in chelsea nightclub

The Daily Mail were snapping away at Lucy & Louise going to the party.

embargo republica made in chelsea nightclub

One of the sponsors was Whistle & Bango, check out their gorgeous London postcode bangles at www.whistleandbango.com – here you can see SW3 (Chelsea) in a starfish coral colour.

embargo republica made in chelsea nightclub

At the Whistle & Bango table

 The drinks list is really fun boasting more than 20 rums from around the world, but don’t get too carried away, cocktails are on average £13. Everyone has such a great time, so a big thank you to Embargo Republica is due, we will certainly be back.

  The dress code smart but funky, casual but clean. Be sure to get in touch and get on a guest list before you go, by emailing enquiries@embargorepublica.com

x The London Whistler x

533 Kings Road, London, SW10 0TZ

Lima Floral – my Peruvian dinner

Lima Floral is the baby sister of Michelin-stared Lima Fitzrovia; created as a more affordable option. We’re talking £18 a main rather than £25, but still, we appreciate the gesture from creator Virgilio Martinez. We patiently await your basic range before we become regulars – like Tesco finest versus Tesco value. Restaurants should do that.

Again, Lima Floral is  Peruvian themed but with less fuss, slightly friendlier pricing and a wonderful basement bar. I among many am very pleased about this opening, particularly because I’ve not been lucky enough to visit the flagship.

Lima floral peruvian food menu covent garden

Blue’s & greens dominate the Peruvian restaurant

At Lima Floral, you get to experience the work of a supreme chef for a bargain £45 per head. You’ll eat food you’ve never tried before and discover unique flavours from stunningly presented,  perfectly served dishes. It fits the first date category, whilst Lima Fitzrovia sits more with  anniversary material – a reward which takes a lot more leg work.

Downstairs in the bar (for brilliant pre-dinner drinking), the staff helpfully chose all of our cocktails as we were a bit clueless to the Peruvian classics. We guzzled sour Pisco Classico’s & Maracuya’s, zingy Chilcanos Clasico’s & Maracuya’s, delicate Fifth Flowers, and a very sweet Frutas de la selva and my god they were superb.

lima london peruvian menu

A CHILCANOS CLASICO (£9), a PISCO SOUR CLASICO (£8.50) & A FIFTH FLOWER (£9)

Food wise, the hot sea bream in ‘tiger’s milk’ with sweet potato puree was the best dish we had, whilst the rare sliced beef sudado swimming in a quinoa and coriander sauce came in second. A lot of effort and detail goes into the food, the service was also excellent. You’ll notice ‘tigers milk’ is used a lot – I learnt this is a citrus-based ceviche marinade, for all it’s worth…

The ceviche style in general (hot and cold) was something new and different to try, and the desserts, although heavily pisco-influenced were sublime.

Lima floral peruvian food menu covent garden

TUNA CAUSA – Yellow Potato. Crudo Vegetable Roots. Tuna Tartar. (£10)

Lima floral peruvian food menu covent garden

TIRADITO – Sea Bream. Green Tiger’s Milk. Crushed Giant Corn (£9)

Lima floral peruvian food menu covent garden

CRUDO MAR – Salmon. Rocoto Chili Pepper. Blue Potato. (£9)

Lima floral peruvian food menu covent garden

LECHE DE TIGRE – Yellow Tiger’s Milk. Crunchy Asparagus Peru (£9)

cerviche

SEAM BREAM CEVICHE Seam Bream. Tiger’s Milk. Avocado. Crispy Onions. Cancha Corn. (£10)

BEEF SUDADO  Seared Entrecote. Coriander. Heritage Tomato. White Quinoa.(£24)

BEEF SUDADO
Seared Entrecote. Coriander. Heritage Tomato. White Quinoa.(£24)

GRILLED MONKFISH Yellow Chili Pepper. Courgette. Green & Red Tiger’s Milk. Green Leaves. (£20)

GRILLED MONKFISH
Yellow Chili Pepper. Courgette. Green & Red Tiger’s Milk. Green Leaves. (£20)

 HOT CEVICHE A LA PIEDRA Sea Bream. Hot Tiger’s Milk. Sweet Potato. “Yuyo” Seaweed. (£18)

HOT CEVICHE A LA PIEDRA
Sea Bream. Hot Tiger’s Milk. Sweet Potato. “Yuyo” Seaweed. (£18)

Lima floral peruvian food menu covent garden

SUSPIRO ARDIENTE – Dulce de Leche. Beetroot. Dry Limo Chili Pepper. (£6) CAFÉ PERUANO – Purple Potato. Coffee Ice Cream. Red Kiwicha (£6) & CHOCOLATE – Palo Blanco Peru Cacao. Oat and Wood Sorrel (£6)

x The London Whistler x

Lima Floral on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Caravan, breakfast with seasonal coffee…

If All Saints designed a restaurant, it’d look like Caravan – beaten up & broken, whilst in fact – brand new & actually rather expensive. Even so, it made me feel good.

 Caravan is an Exmouth Market based all day restaurant where you’ll find anything from peanut wontons to grilled octopus. Last week I headed over for a lazy breakfast.

caravan exmouth market menu dinner bar brunch

This looks like a reclaimed bar to me. East London look TICK

caravan exmouth market menu dinner bar brunch

11-13 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QD

I was excited to be on Exmouth market, where locals tend to be sartorially gifted and creatively inclined; it’s frankly just a bloody cool place to be. Exaggerated further by hot-shot restaurants like Moro, Moro’s sister Morito, & Bonnie Gull’s Seafood Café. I’ve been drooling over their Instagram’s for months.

Caravan’s brunch menu is intriguing; with salt pork welsh rarebit, spied aubergine with goats cheese and butternut squash, and ham hock hash with honey mustard hollandaise. Guiltily, we ordered the more mainstream dishes, but it was 8am and we hadn’t even had a damn coffee. Luckily Caravan is a specialist in the field of caffeine, complete with an on-site roastery creating Aribica blends to MATCH the season. Would you believe it!

caravan exmouth market menu dinner bar brunch

TOASTED SOURDOUGH WITH TWO SCRAMBLED EGGS – £5

caravan exmouth market coffee menu brunch

CORNBREAD FRENCH TOAST, ROCKET, AVOCADO & PAPRIKA MAPLE SYRUP — (9.00)

CARAVAN EXMOUTH MARKET MENU COFFEE

ONE HEAVENLY CUP OF COFFEE

No one seems to know why it’s called Caravan? I’d guess it’s either a smoke screen to attract attention, or it’s a way of showing that all our needs are can come under one roof. Either way, it’s a little charmer and certainly gets a big thumbs-up from me.

Weheeyyy the Caravan boys will love this when they read my review ;)

Weheeyyy the Caravan boys will love this when they read my review ;)

x The London Whistler x

Caravan Exmouth Market on Urbanspoon

Square Meal