eating out

Amazing Food, And Views, at KojawanDining with views of London is kind of having a moment isn't it? Especially in London. Why have a boring meal looking at your partner/friends when you can be looking at gorgeous views of the city?! So when my chef friend Omar Romero Quezada told me he was opening up a restaurant on the 23rd floor of the Hilton London Metropole, I couldn't wait to try it out. A couple of weeks ago, when the kids were staying with my in-laws for the weekend, Husband and I headed to Kojawan for a long, boozy lunch.

Kojawan is a futuristic restaurant that serves Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese fusion. I love Japanese food, but am new to Korean and have no idea about Taiwanese cuisine. So I was a bit nervous about the menu. Not for me, but for Husband who prefers a roast dinner to sushi any day of the week (in fact, he doesn't eat any fish whether it is cooked or raw). It turns out that I needn't have worried. There is loads of delicious food, no matter what tickles your taste buds.

First of all, we did not eat any of the mains. We shared booze food, starters and desserts. Booze food is basically the snacks you would get if you are just going to Kojawan for drinks. But they also make a great compliment to the starters. We enjoyed the crunchy cabbage, crispy chicken, zucchini fries (which are courgette chips, and they are amazing) and hot cricket bombs. Yes, those kinds of crickets. The cricket bombs are basically fried cheese balls with crickets inside, plus there are some crickets on the side that you can sprinkle on top.

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Neapolitan Cuisine at Rossopomodoro

I love pizza. Husband loves pizza. Moozles and Dubz really love pizza. And we are always on the lookout for a good family-friendly pizza place. I had been to Rossopomodoro twice before - once for a bloggers' dinner and another time with Moozles. But last week, the four of us went for our first family meal at Rossopomodoro in Kingston upon Thames.

Rossopomodoro is more than just great pizza. They specialise in food from Naples, so everything tastes like you're in a proper Italian restaurant. The pizza, yes, is wonderful. But there are loads of delicious pastas to choose from. The starters are also quite tempting. We had a very generous bowl of olives and a lovely platter of rice and cheese balls (Frito Napoletano--you must have it).

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Sunday Lunch at Formans

This weekend we had a family lunch in east London to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. I love trying out new restaurants so I was eager to visit Formans Restaurant in Hackney Wick. The restaurant is located in the H. Forman factory (they are the oldest curers of salmon in Britain).  The factory was designed into a salmon-like shape (see my last photo).

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Family Lunch at No.1 Duke Street

We eat out at least once at weekend, and we're always on the lookout for a great family restaurant. We are quite lucky to be spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants in south west London. But I am still always on the hunt for restaurants that our whole family will love. Besides delicious food, you need gracious service (that isn't slow) and comfy seating. Last weekend, we were lucky enough to find all these things at No.1 Duke Street in Richmond upon Thames.

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Korean BBQ at Han in New Malden

We had the in-laws visiting this weekend, and they kindly offered to babysit on Saturday night. The first thought whenever we get the offer of babysitting services is 'cinema or new restaurant?' Since we were feeling too tired to sit in the movie theatre for two hours, we decided to go to a restaurant we've been keen to try out. So we went to Han restaurant/karaoke bar in New Malden.

If you live in/near New Malden, you will know that it has the highest concentrated Korean population in Europe (around 20,000) and is even referred to as Little Korea. I have been wanting to try Korean barbecue for ages, but Husband and I have been intimidated to go as we had no idea what we were supposed to do or what we should eat. We have both been to Han before (but separately) for karaoke with friends/colleagues. Han is known for their great karaoke rooms and it's a popular spot for groups who don't want to go into central London to sing their hearts out (plus it's open til 1.30am on a Saturday night).

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A Night At Rossopomodoro & John Lewis Kingston

As a Stay-At-Home-Mum, I sadly don't have a work Christmas party to attend. But luckily as a blogger, I sometimes get invited to Christmassy events. Last week, the lovely people of John Lewis Kingston invited me and some other bloggers for an evening of crafts and yummy food.

Now, I am not very good at crafts. But give me some Cava and I am happy to have a go. We all had a good laugh and got a chance to chat before dinner. If you haven't been to John Lewis Kingston recently, they have a new pizza restaurant: Rossopomodoro.

If you've never been to Rossopomodoro before (there are 11 restaurants - nine in London, one in Birmingham and one in Newcastle, they make the yummiest pizza straight from Naples. You can even watch as they make the pizzas (and there are pizza-making parties for kids). We all shared some olive and sun-dried tomato breads. And as I had been before, and eaten the pizza, I tried the seafood pasta. We were all too full for dessert but finished the meal with more Cava and some mint tea.

If you're after a nice, and not slow, family meal in Kingston, why not pop on over to Rossopomodoro. The kids menu is a great deal (£7 for two courses and a drink). And you'll love the pizza, I promise.

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I was invited for a meal and a craft for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

 

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Family Dinner

My family and I go out to eat quite regularly. I don't normally find it blogworthy. But it has been one of those weekends. One of those weekends where you shake your head at the evil in the world. One of those weekends where you appreciate your life a bit more than usual. One of those weekends where you hold your little ones a bit tighter.

So after a lazy day at home on Saturday, we decided we needed to go out for a family dinner. We decided to try out the new Pizza Express on the high road. The kids enjoyed dough balls and pizza from the kids' menu. Husband tried the new calzone, which was yummy. I decided to go for two starters rather than a main - risotto and calamari, and enjoyed both. Husband finished his meal with the honeycomb cheesecake, which was amazing, while I had the sundae. It was a lovely meal, without any tantrums (though Dubz did screech when the waitress took away his garlic butter).

It was a an ordinary moment, but enjoyed a bit more than usual. We are so lucky in so many ways. I hope you all are enjoying your weekends and feeling grateful for all the things we are lucky enough to take for granted.

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Scoff & Banter with friends

Is it just me, or can it be tough meeting up with friends once you have children? And I feel that's it's more difficult when you live in London. You start off making friends in once area, then move around a few times. And if you change jobs, or become a Stay-At-Home-Mum, it becomes even tougher. So it is important to schedule nights out with your friends. And yes, I have lovely mummy friends. But it's also nice spending time with friends I made before we had our children in common.

So at the weekend I met up with two former colleagues for dinner at Scoff & Banter in South Kensington. I worked with these two ladies a few years ago. Although we keep in touch through Facebook and the occasional playdate, the three of us haven't all met up in years. And it was lovely seeing each other, without the kids, to enjoy three courses of delicious British cuisine in a beautifully-styled restaurant.

There are six Scoff & Banter restaurants in London. The one we went to in South Ken is situated next to the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Vanderbilt Hotel. The outside is very beautiful. And as an American, I can't help but think that Georgian townhouses make a property feel a bit more special. Then you walk into the restaurant and there's an unexpected coolness. It is modern, and a bit industrial with some quirky touches. There were splashes of colour, as well as lots of natural light from the bay windows.

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But a restaurant has to be more than just cool design. The food has to be good. And it really was. I had scallops for my starter, and they were yummy. But my main course was my favourite part. Wild sea bass with spinach dumplings. Now, I love dumplings. And I love spinach. But I did not expect to love the combination so much. And despite being on a healthy living regime, I let myself order pudding as it was a special night out. The chocolate fondant was gorgeous, as was the coconut ice cream and the pistachio brittle. The girls had crumble and a cheese platter. I think my dessert was definitely the winner.

Though I really enjoyed my three courses at Scoff & Banter, as did my friends, I found the portions to be a bit big. I was unable to finish my main or my dessert (if only Husband had been there - he would have loved to finish off my chocolate fondant). I think the next time I go, I will just have two courses. But I have to say that the service was brilliant. We did not have to wait long to order food and order/re-order drinks. And the waitress was so patient as it took us ages to order as we were so busy bantering (see what I did there?!). All in all, we had a fab night out!

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I was invited to have dinner with my friends at Scoff & Banter for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own (when not my friends').

 

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Burger Challenge

We've only recently started going to restaurants again. Dubz has been at that tricky stage where he just wants to walk and run and not actually sit down for more than five minutes. So eating out has been a challenge. But now that he is 2 1/2, he is getting more accustomed to sitting down and not trying to climb around on tables. So we ventured out at the weekend to take part in another challenge: the Battle of the Burgers at Thyme restaurants.

There are six special burgers to choose from. And they are not small. I chose the BBQ Smokestack (pictured above). How could I not have a beef burger that has bacon and an onion ring? I love onion rings! The burger was yummy, but the patty was too big for me. I couldn't quite finish the burger (or my chips), so I do wish it was a bit smaller. Although I am American, I like British portions.

Husband chose the Union Jack burger. There is no photo because after I took a photo of my burger, his burger was not fit to be photographed. It's a beef burger with bacon and an egg. He enjoyed it and managed to eat it all. This was not a surprise.

The burgers are £12.99 each, but that includes fries, coleslaw and dipping sauce. You can also order a Brewdog craft beer that has been picked to compliment the burgers. The kids' favourite part were the ice cream sundaes for pudding. We were really impressed with the service (we dined at the Putney Premier Inn) and the prices. We were worried, that as the only family with small children in the restaurant, we would disturb the the other diners. But everyone seemed quite understanding.

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Battle of the Burgers is taking place at Thyme restaurants until the 7th December 2014. Share a photo of your favourite burger, alongside its hashtag and tag @premierinn on Twitter or Instagram. There are 50 vouchers to be won (each worth £20) and winners will be chosen at random. I have voted for the #bbqsmokestack. Who will you vote for?

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We were given a complimentary meal for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

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Yo Sushi Leamington

We visit my in-laws in Leamington Spa quite regularly. And we were lucky to be there last week for the opening of the new Yo! Sushi. Yo! Sushi is my daughter's favourite restaurant. Moozles loves sushi and especially loves seeing the food come by on the conveyor belt. Her favourite sushi is the Yo! Roll (raw salmon and avocado surrounded by rice and smelt roe).

Now you might be thinking, 'Who cares? I don't like raw fish.' Well, you don't need to eat raw fish at Yo! Sushi. In fact, you don't need to eat any fish at all. Just ask Husband (the man does not like fish, not even fish fingers!!!!). Yo! Sushi offer warm dishes such as chicken, beef, fried rice and noodles. There are even vegetarian options. Husband especially enjoyed the Beef Tataki (basically rare beef). I wish I had taken photos of the food, but everything was so yummy that nothing lasted very long.

I had brought snacks for my two-year old, Dubz. He had never tried sushi before and I thought he might share some of his father's silly tastes. Seeing my son wolf down raw tuna and salmon -- oh how it made my heart soar. Moozles better be prepared. We might have to start bringing her brother along on our sushi dates.

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If you live in/nearby Leamington Spa, pop on over to Yo! Sushi for yumminess. They're located on Livery Street. The food is delicious and the service is fantastic. And don't worry if you have children, they have high chairs and a menu noting items that children might like.
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I nabbed our free meals at Yo Sushi through a Facebook offer for Leamington customers. I wrote the post out of my own desire to let people know that Yo! Sushi rocks!