I’m a Chelsea girl. When I moved to North London, it was screaming and kicking all the way. Don’t get me wrong, St Johns Wood was a great place to live, but just… not me. Now that I’m back in West London- ahhhhhhh, bliss!- and I’m relishing the shops, the restaurants, the parks… The only thing I would change about it is the scarcity of good Asian food and so I’m on a quest to find the best Asian eats in the ‘hood!

The friend’s recommendation: Tombo

Located just by South Kensington tube station, I’d passed by this place a gazillion times but never took any notice till Tammy of http://brunoandtammy.co recommended it. Backed by the fact that it had a 4.5 rating on Google (from 30 reviews), I decided it was a must-visit. so when my friend XY and her boyfriend, M, were in town, I took them there.

What we had

Me: Non carbs plate with chicken teriyaki £8.95. This was back in the day when I was still suffering from the delusion that I could drop a dress size before graduation 😛

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XY: Miso Salmon Bento £8.95

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Matcha Gateau £4.10

White Chocolate & Azuki cake £4.10

The desserts were too good- my friend had taken a bite before I could say Cheese!

Topped off with a pretty flowering tea!

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So what did we think?

Well, it’s not the best Japanese meal that I’ve had- the chicken was a bit tough- but I liked the 3 salads that came with the Non Carbs Plate- which I thought was an amazing addition to the menu as it can be quite hard to eat healthily in restaurants. Good salads and a meh meat dish makes sense since Tammy is vegetarian. 🙂
XY wasn’t blown away by her salmon but, given the price point, we both agree that our meals were pretty good. Oh and they give a TON of rice in the rice bowl so hold that extra rice! The only downside is that the place is rather small, and since we were seated over the counter, not  a great place to hang and have long conversations 🙂 Nonetheless, I’d definitely go back again 🙂 The cake was so good that M made XY bring some all the way up to Manchester!

Who I’d recommend it to

People on a budget or on a diet!

For the full menu, visit: http://tombocafe.com/menu/

Note: Be careful with your possessions though- said friend also had her mobile stolen in Tombo! 🙁

The only Korean around: Gaon

Rooftop Prince, It’s OK, That’s Love, Her Legend…

Lately, I’ve been watching a LOT of Korean dramas- they are excellent background TV to my DIY-ing! As a result, I’ve been suffering from severe Korean cravings. I tried Assa in Covent Garden but though they were full of Koreans, the soondubu-jjigae (soft tofu stew) was TERRIBLE. It was like boiled water & dried peppers- where was the umami taste of the seafood stew?! So when I saw Gaon on Deliveroo, which had a 4.5 rating on Google- Korean food whilst watching Korean TV!- I decided to give it a go.

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First things first- this place is seriously expensive. For a japchae & kimchi jjigae, I spend almost £30 (including £2.50 delivery fee) I guess you might not find it as pricey if you eat in the restaurant and enjoy the ambience, but as my only ambience was from the paper bag…. At least, it was well-packed! They double wrapped the soup with cling film (inside and out) so no soup spilled. Well done!

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The kimchi jjigae came with rice. I actually meant to order soondubu jjigae but ticked the wrong box! Ah well. I usually steer clear of kimchi jjigae as some places make it too sour but it was OK here. And the rice was delicious!!! I know, it’s a bit silly to get all excited about rice, but Gaon uses the real Korean rice and each grain was scrumptious! (In comparison, the rice at Assa was blah- I suspect it wasn’t even Korean rice!)

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Japchae comes in 2 portions- I ordered the small. It was so good, I googled a japchae recipe to make a batch to keep! A little on the sweet side but still yummy.

All in all, good enough for me to order from them again today! 🙂

Would I go back? Yes! It’s not an everyday meal place, because of the prices, but definitely the go-to place when craving Korean in West London, or when you want to spoil yourself Next time, I’ll have to try eating in the restaurant!

AVOID- The world-renown Food Hall: Pan Chai, Harrods

A friend’s Mom took me out whilst she was in London-town so, in return, I took her out for dinner. Wanting to check out the  late-night 50% discount at the Harrods food hall Having heard so much about Harrods food hall, we decided to check out Pan Chai, their sushi-sashimi(esque) counter. Unfortunately, we were disappointed. The food was OK but definitely not good value for the price. For these 3-4 dishes (I also ordered a kimchi soup, not pictured below), I paid over £100!

Oh and you could actually smell the fishiness emanating from the sashimi counter whilst eating. Not ideal! 🙁

If you’re craving Japanese, I suggest Sushi & Stix over Pan Chai 🙂20150425_195128
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Would I recommend this? No! Even if you are in Harrods, there are better places to eat. The lobster risotto, for example. served in the cafe upstairs is amazing!

Written by Zen

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