Lima Floral – my Peruvian dinner

Lima floral peruvian food menu covent garden

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

South-East Asian dinner at Banana Tree, West Hampstead

On Tuesday this week I ate at Banana Tree in West Hampstead. Aside from my overwhelming need for ANY dish made in a wok, we ate here because other restaurants had a long wait, and despite being busy, there was space to eat immediately at Banana Tree (my reading up on "experiences" to Ho Chi Minh drove the craving - advice on this city is welcome). Space was available not through lack of diners, but these guys are quick as lightening, churning people through like cattle (albeit happy cattle). Banana Tree is essentially good fast indo-food.
Banana Tree is a London chain that has a charity partnership with with the Orangutan Appeal (chains can be good…). Who wouldn’t want to save this little guy, WHILST eating pan-asian food, in West Hampstead…
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant
 The ginormous food offering comes from all over ‘Indo-China’ (that duo name truly covers their backs enabling them to serve almost anything…) – noodles/curry/dumplings, even prossecco. But hey it’s fun. The menu includes a special logo for the chef and founder’s recommendations. It was proving a similar but better version of my East Street experience.
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant

The vast menu…

Starters were plonked down within SIX minutes – that’s faster than KFC! I had prawn & pork dumplings to start which were DIVINE and very generous.
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant

Kau Chi Dumplings – Handmade pork & prawn dumpling with aged vinegar & garlic sauce

My little friend had Kajang Satay sauce with light Indo puff pastry chunks which was really interesting and delicious – nice adaption of a classic sauce with a Street Style Crispy Dough.
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant

A light and chewy Indochinese style dough served with the signature Kajang Satay sauce

banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant

Cool staged interior with open windows, minimalistic design.

For main, my little friend chose Roasted Duck Breast with Pei Pa Hoisin Sauce from the regional specialty menu.  Really moist, good quality duck. Sauce quite sweet which wasn’t for me but he loved it. He had noodles to accompany it which were nice and light but quite plain but still a good accompaniment to the main.
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant

Roasted fillet of duck topped with our mildly spiced hoisin & sesame sauce served with cashews & coriander. Simply divine!

 I chose a curry recommended by the chef and founder (yes i’m a sucker for marketing)  from the Curry & Stew Section. The sauce was so rich and delicious. As a dish I really enjoyed it, but the beef was quite dry so by the end it did become a chore to chew, luckily i’m well practiced… Accompanied with jasmine rice, a shame that most of the rice went to waste – no one ever eats a bowl of rice the size of a rugby ball, when will kitchens learn!
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant

The Legendary Rendang Prime lean beef slow cooked for up to 4 hours until a thick dry fragrant sauce is achieved. A complex, rich and nutty curry with a coconut based sauce. Undisputed ‘King of Curries’.

 And to wash it down, we had a delicious prossecco ‘Champagne for students’!  Joking, I literally cannot get enough of prosecco. Any aged grape plus carbonation get’s a tick from me.
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant

Me head says go to the gym, my heart says drink more prossecco

 The meal came to £30 a head – which with a bottle of prosecco, a starter, main, and side is extremely reasonable (and we had the honour of dining in West Hampstead – Stephen Fry lives there, he’s a prossecco fiend too).
The restaurant was opened up with the option to dine outside (with a cover of course in case Stephen visits). The staff were polite & efficient – but nothing special. I don’t blame them with seven thousand people coming through the door each night…even on a Tuesday.
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant

Sit outside come rain or rain…

banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant

The sunset from West Hampstead was a delight for my little male friend and I. Naturally…..we got our cameras out….

237-239 West End Lane NW6 1XN 

Square Meal

Banana Tree on Urbanspoon

The legendary Monty Python live at the O2 arena

Last week London’s power to entertain proved itself yet again by hosting a supreme show to mark the end of an era on one of the world’s finest and most successful comedy shows, Monty Python. I got lucky and was offered a last minute ticket which would have been criminal to refuse!

The live Monty Python show was the nations very last chance to see comedy legends John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin perform on stage (tributes to Graham Chapman).

Much to the surprise of the middle aged men I joined for the show (I’m an ’88 baby), I love a bit of Monty Python and was in fits of laughter and tears for most of the show. The Python’s politically-incorrect, surreal, outrageous scripts are simply not seen in our over-approved 2014 comedy, which just exaggerates the hilarity of it all for me. They walk a very fine line between genius and insanity to intelligently create this lovely pile of filth!

Monty python live success on stage tour review

The O2 Arena in all it’s glory

Classic scenes were extravagantly rolled out using armies of background dancers, pre-recorded sketches (ft. Stephen Hawking) and phenomenal orchestration, creating an absolute spectacle.  It was non-stop hit-after hit rendition of their finest comedy material and I bloody loved it! I saw ‘Spam’ and a ‘Christmas hymn in heaven’, ‘The Spanish Inquisition’, ‘Dead Parrot’, ‘Meaning of life’, ‘The Ministry of Silly Walks’ and so they kept on coming…  until an outstanding final performance of ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ – it got pretty emotional in our box at this stage.

Monty python live success on stage tour review

Hip hip hip hip hip hip hooray Every single day Is Christmas day

Monty python live success on stage tour review

“Bruces’ Philosophers Song

Monty python live success on stage tour review

The Flying Circus sketch “Now let me fill you in. I’m leading this expedition and we’re going to climb both peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro”

Monty python live success on stage tour review

The Penis Song – one of the most energetic scenes!

Monty python live success on stage tour review

The Lumberjack song “I cut down trees, I eat my lunch, I go to the lavatory, On Wednesdays I go shopping”

Eric Idle stole the show for me, without a single stumble or a word out of place and looking fit as a fiddle, which couldn’t quite be said for the rest of the cast but with a combined age of 378, expectations were capped.

Monty python live success on stage tour review

Me favourite man Eric Idle

There was heaving laugher throughout from the passionate O2 arena crowd in the knowledge they would never see such scenes ever again in their lives. The show truly was one of a kind which I will certainly remember forever. I feel extremely privileged to have watched the most influential comedy troupe of all time.

Monty python live success on stage tour review

I was a very lucky girl

x The London Whistler x

http://www.montypythonlive.com