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AD12 at T42

AD12 at T42

8th December 2013
 AD12 at T42 is located on the 24th floor of Tower42  one of the largest buildings in the City of London. The restaurant formerly had Gary Rhodes’ name above the door and I have very fond memories of his restaurant as TBH’s dad was a huge fan and we took him there just before he sadly passed away. It was a fantastic family dinner that gives me a warm feeling inside when I think of it.  So Gary has now moved on and will be replaced in the Spring with a restaurant by Jason Atherton. In the mean time though the space is hosting a 12 week (October 1st – December 20th) pop-up by chef Anthony Demetre – chef/patron of Arbutus, Wild Honey and Les Deux Salons. Arbutus has long been on my list of restaurants to try, so I was really looking forward to trying his cooking at AD12.  
To start I had squid and mackerel ‘burger’ with razor clams and sweet spice – a signature dish from Arbutus, when I saw this on the menu I knew I would order it even though I am not a huge fan of mackerel. It’s a signature dish for a reason isn’t it? And I’m glad I did. It was packed full of fish and seasoned perfectly. The plate it was served on was also absolutely gorgeous.
TBH ordered the crispy pigs head, potato purée, mustard fruits. Served as a terrine, the meat was succulent and really rich. A really delicious start for both of us.
Rabbit saddle and shoulder ‘Cottage pie’,carrots,curly kale – for me it was the cottage pie that decided this one. I didn’t expect the saddle to be served separately, but I really enjoyed it. Tender and well cooked. The cottage pie was a little disappointing because there didn’t seem to be a lot of meat in the pie and was quite bland. The mash was creamy and smooth though, but it just wasn’t all that exciting.
I had serious plate envy when TBH’s main arrived. Grilled piece of beef, smoked beetroot, autumn vegetables, bone marrow. A gorgeous piece of meat served medium rare, but with a lovely charred crust. The smoked veg adding a really interesting dimension and the bone marrow a fatty burst of flavour. Every aspect totally delicious. 

I decided on the French & English seasonal cheese for my dessert. Containing Brie, Comte, a blue cheese similar to stinking bishop, a goats cheese and one other that was so, so oozy and so damn good! Wish I’d gotten the name of it. It was served with a couple of relishes, honey and a fruit loaf. I would’ve preferred biscuits but it was a fantastic cheese board all the same. Not the most exciting picture in the world, but I wanted to show the oozy cheese sitting at 10 o’clock on the plate. Yum!

The Better Half chose the warm chocolate soup, barley milk ice cream. For him, one of the nicest desserts he has had in a very long time. Rich, creamy chocolate topped with a pistachio crumb that added a lovely crunch and the dollop of ice cream cutting through the sweetness.

Service was professional and friendly, especially our waiter Giovanni. A lovely character that made us feel at ease.

We were fortunate to be guests of AD12 at T42 so on this occasion we didn’t pay for our meal, but the menu is priced at £55 for 3 courses plus drinks and service.  There are only 2 weeks left of this pop-up, which is a real shame but I will be sure to get myself to one of Anthony Demetre’s other restaurants sharp’ish and I advise you to do the same!
Until we eat again!

Square Meal AD12 atT42 on Urbanspoon

Wild Honey

1st March 2015


My resolution for 2015 was to do a better job of ticking restaurants off my bucket list and so far so good.  Two months in and two ticks down. Wild Honey has been a fairly recent addition even though the restaurant has been open since 2007. I added it to my list after my very enjoyable visits to Arbutus and the AD12 at T42 pop-up, who are also by chef Anthony Demetre and his business partner Will Smith. (There is also Les Deux Salons in Covent Garden, that I have not been to yet).

Located in Mayfair, Wild Honey has a very gentlemen’s club feel to it with its wood panelled walls and low lighting. It’s a really warm and inviting room with some really nice artwork making it feel more modern. We were warmly greeted upon entering and seated at the banquette seating to peruse the menu. The Better Half (TBH) and I had already decided to have the set lunch menu and as there were only three choices for each course, it didn’t take long to choose what to have.

We kicked off with an amuse bouche of seabass ceviche and mushroom purée.   For both TBH and I, the mushroom amuse was the more enjoyable of the two with a strong mushroom flavour, a smooth purée and a nice crunch from the crisp.

When it came to the starters, there was a little tussle between TBH and I over who would have what. (He has this thing that we can’t order the same dish!) He let me win and so I chose mushroom velouté with soft poached egg and mushroom jam. It was creamy and the oozy yolk adding a lovely silkiness to the already rich soup. The mushroom jam was intense and brought texture. Delicious and perfect for such a dreary day. I think TBH had a little lot of plate envy! Sorry love, I didn’t make the rules!

For his starter, TBH chose the slow cooked belly of pork with carrots, pear and chorizo. The pork was succulent and the crackling was crisp as you would hope it to be. The pear and chorizo were little globlets of purée that he said were rich and well flavoured. It was a nice dish, but it sounded better on the menu.

As we decided to order from the set menu and with only three choices, The Better Half’s dislike of us ordering the same thing went out the window because the fish option included fennel and there was no way I was having anything with fennel in it! Neither of us fancied the vegetarian option so we both ordered the slow cooked Welsh lamb, lambs cheese, young spinach and carrot. When it arrived, it smelled gorgeous and while it did all taste very good, it wasn’t all that exciting. It was just a good roast dinner.

For dessert I had the Wild Honey ice cream with honeycomb. The portion size was perfect for me and I’ve decided that I love honeycomb! It added crunch and a sweetness to the creamy ice cream. A really enjoyable dessert for me. 

TBH ordered the cheesecake tart with rhubarb. This was his favourite dish. The pastry was crumbly, the rhubarb was nicely sharp and again the portion size was just right.

Service was extremely efficient and we were done within an hour and fifteen minutes! This is great for a business lunch but I would’ve preferred something a little bit more leisurely on a Saturday afternoon. We paid  £92.25 which included a carafe of wine and service. For a Michelin starred restaurant this is incredible value. We noted that the a la carte menu was much pricier, but most restaurants do really good value set menus, so I would say this is the way to go if you don’t want to spend a small fortune.

Our lunch was enjoyable and there was nothing to complain about per sé, but there was also nothing that really stood out for TBH and I either. It was a nice lunch, in a nice location and at an affordable price.

Until we eat again!


Square Meal Wild Honey on Urbanspoon

Restaurants A-Z

26th August 2014














































My gastronomic highlights of 2013

29th December 2013
When I was thinking about writing this post, I really thought that it had been a quiet year. It was only when I looked through my calendar that I realised just how many fantastic experiences I have had this year. Granted, some months were a lot more interesting than others but I think all in all 2013 was a pretty good year for Sam the Food Fan. Here are some of my highlights:
On the first Saturday of the new year, when most people are detoxing, The Better Half (TBH) and I had a lunch booked at Roganic. This was a two year pop-up by chef Simon Rogan, who has since gone on to open a much lauded restaurant in Manchester called The French and he has also just been named as the chef to take over the kitchen at the renowned hotel Claridges.
January is also TBH’s birthday. I’m always dragging him to all the restaurants that I want to go to, so when he mentioned in passing that he would like to go to Duck & Waffle, I booked it for his birthday. To be honest, I wasn’t all that excited about this one. Restaurants with views tend to treat the food as an afterthought but how wrong I was. Duck & Waffle was my surprise of the year and one of my favourite meals of 2013.

Duck & Waffle


Pitt Cue Co. was my highlight for February. An absolutely teeny restaurant that was renowned as much for the incredible BBQ meats they served as they were for the queues to get a table. We were fortunate enough to visit on a cold February day when the wait was minimal but however long the wait would’ve been, it was worth it. A lesson on how meat should be treated!

Pitt Cue Co – Pulled Pork with mash and bone marrow gravy


March was an incredibly busy month which included a 3 week holiday back to the homeland and some pretty fantastic meals! First I celebrated a friend’s birthday at Chiswell Street Dining Rooms, a really wonderful meal and a restaurant I would like to get back to in the near future. March also saw the opening of Jason Atherton’s second restaurant Little Social. I was lucky enough to be invited to the preview and to meet the man himself.

Jason Atherton & I at Little Social

On holiday, we ate at the number one restaurant in South Africa in 2012, The Test Kitchen by Luke Dale Roberts. One word – sensational. We also took a tour of the wine region Franschoek and ate at the restaurant on the farm La-Motte. I remember it being an absolutely gorgeous day in Cape Town that day. We were with great friends, eating great food and drinking great wine. What more could you ask for?

La-Motte – Karoo Lamb
The Test Kitchen – Cape Hake


Looking at my April calendar, there were a few cracking meals in there, it’s no wonder my waist line expanded so much over the course of the year! First up was The Delaunay – my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw the size of the Holstein schnitzel I had, but I ate the whole lot because it was just so delicious! And I still can’t forget about the fabulous banana split TBH and I shared.

The Delaunay – Banana Split

Another firm favourite this year was Ceviche. A Peruvian restaurant serving fantastically fresh and interesting dishes.  I loved the vibe and I really loved the food.

April also saw Jason Atherton opened his third London restaurant, Social Eating House. I was invited along to the soft launch and have decided that this is my favourite of all of Jason’s restaurants in London. From the quirky presentation of cocktails, to the interesting take on classic dishes; I just love everything about this restaurant.

Pollen 58 Cocktail at Social Eating House


In May, TBH and I took our first ever ‘stay-cation’. We went to The Pig Hotel in the New Forest and while the food is nothing to get excited about, the hotel is absolutely gorgeous and we felt at home from the minute we walked in.
The Pig Hotel, Brockenhurst

The king of the BBQ, chef Neil Rankin moved from Pitt Cue Co to John Salt in Islington earlier this year and the Sunday roast here at John Salt was another highlight for me in May.

John Salt – Roast Beef


Story was one of the most hyped openings this year, I would say. And the hype wasn’t misguided! Truly exciting cooking coming from young chef Tom Sellers.

Story – Beetroot, Raspberry and Horseradish


Later in June, I went to my first food festival. Organised by Margot Henderson and held in a churchyard right in the middle of Soho. The Soho Food Feast was incredible value and we got to experience food from some of the finest restaurants and chefs in the area – The Ivy, MEATLiquor, Quo Vadis and many more. TBH and I took it in turns to choose a dish and share it, that way we got to try far more than if we were each having the same dish. A food festival that I will make sure to get tickets for in 2014!
For the first time in a very long while, the UK had an excellent summer. Three months of absolutely glorious weather! Every single day! In July I went to the Athenaeum Hotel to enjoy a spa day and lunch for one of my friend’s hen party. Old school elegance at its best.
Lots of highlights in August – The buttermilk fried chicken from The Clove Club. Flesh & Buns and their amazing Hirata buns. We also went roller skating at Skate Kings Cross – but more so to try the outstanding burgers from Disco Bistro.

Disco Bistro at Skate Kings Cross

Street Feast have become well known for hosting some of the best street food festivals in London. I’ve only managed to get to one this year (poor show!) and that was Truckstop at Canary Wharf. I loved sitting on the grass with the towers of Canary Wharf looming over us and trying some of the best street food there is.

Truck stop by Street Feast
In September I celebrate my birthday. I gave TBH a list of restaurants that I wanted to try to choose from and he chose an absolute corker – Moro in Exmouth Market.

Moro – Wood roasted pork with piquilo pepper sauce

I was also invited by a friend to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Two Michelin stars for a reason! My absolute stand out meal of 2013.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – Meat Fruit


My mom arrived for a holiday in October, so not much eating out. Instead, I created a list of childhood favourite meals for her to cook for me.  Spaghetti carbonara, lasagne, Portuguese salt cod with cream (Bacalhao com natas) to name a few. Every one of those as delicious as I remember them.
In November I was invited to dine at AD12 at T42. A pop up by chef Anthony Demetre at Tower 42 in the City of London. A really enjoyable meal, such a pity that the pop up is now over. I have to make a visit to one of his other restaurants a priority for next year.

AD12 at T42 – Warm Chocolate soup


This month I also met some lovely ladies that I chat to regularly on Twitter (@geniecooks,@pasion4fish and @gremkoska) at Le Relais de Venise in the City. It’s always nerve-wracking meeting new people, but I needn’t have worried! Great food, good wine and brilliant company made for an enjoyable evening.
Silly season and lots of over indulging, but my highlight this month was Vivat Bacchus and in particular the cheese room. Probably the best cheese board I have ever had and a restaurant that I think will definitely become a regular haunt going forward!

Vivat Bacchus – Cheese Room


So there you have it, my highlights for 2013. There are so many more fantastic meals that I haven’t mentioned for fear of turning this into ‘War and Peace’. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the blog this year as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014!  I can’t wait to tick more fabulous restaurants off my bucket list….
Until we eat again!


2nd November 2014


Arbutus has long been on my bucket list to try. I have been to the pop up that Anthony Demetre did at Tower 42 just before it became City Social and absolutely loved it (read my review here). For one reason or another I’ve just never gotten round to visiting Arbutus. When I received an offer for a 4 course meal plus welcome cocktail for £35 in my inbox, I decided to book the restaurant for my next girl’s get-together. Located in the heart of Soho, Arbutus was opened in 2006 by Chef Anthony Demetre and his business partner Will Smith. It has also held one Michelin star since 2007. It sounded perfect for our dinner.

Arriving at the restaurant we were greeted warmly by the restaurant manager and front of house team. We were led into the dining room, which felt cosy and intimate. I particularly loved the beautiful wooden tables and “interesting” artwork in the ladies toilets. Shortly after taking out seats our welcome cocktail arrived and we were left with the set menu that our deal was based around. The menu comprised of 2 choices for each course.  It makes deciding what to order so much easier and on this occasion one of the dishes in both starter and the main course had fennel in it, so an even easier choice for me. I can’t stand the taste of fennel/aniseed.

To start I ordered the ravioli of cime de rapé and goat’s curd, wild mushroom and Parmesan. The ravioli was perfectly al dente and the goats curd filling had a nice lemony zing to it. The wild mushrooms brought a lovely bit of woodiness to the dish that balanced out the citrus well. Two of my friends ordered the alternate starter of mackerel and I’m not sure if they just didn’t read the menu properly or what the issue was, but when the dish arrived, it was mackerel tartare. Neither of them even like sushi, so to eat raw mackerel that naturally has quite a strong flavour would’ve been a big ask! Our waiter must’ve sensed this and came over straight away to see if everything was ok. When they told him, he changed their dish to the ravioli without even batting an eye lid. We were all so impressed with the way this was handled, he was a consummate professional and it really set the tone for what was to be a really enjoyable evening.

I ordered the crispy Elwy Valley lamb, broccoli, toasted buckwheat and salsa verde for my main meal. For two of us, it could possibly be the nicest lamb dish we have ever ordered in a restaurant! High praise indeed! The piece of meat had a nice crisp to it, but the inside was tender and moist. The fillet was marbled with fat that added a huge amount of flavour to it. One of my most favourite things in the world is a lamb chop cooked on the barbecue by my dad and this dish gave it a serious run for its money. Sorry dad!  It was accompanied by a salsa verde and anchovy paste of some sort, which added yet another dimension of flavours to the dish. The tenderstem broccoli was well cooked and still had a nice bite to it. Overall it was a truly outstanding dish. Apologies for the quality of the picture – it is terrible and doesn’t do the dish justice at all. Such a shame!


The next course was Goldon Cross, medlar jelly. Nope, I had no idea what that was either. It turned out to be cheese. It was nice enough but probably a little uneccessary.

And finally onto dessert. Aerated dark chocolate, Miyagawa oranges, amaranth. It was a bit like pieces of Aero with a rich chocolate and caramel mousse. I really enjoyed the fresh pieces of orange scattered around the bowl. It was a sweet end to a gorgeous meal.


Service was excellent without being stuffy as you would expect to find in a Michelin starred restaurant. Our waiter was charming and nothing was too much trouble for him, as I’ve said earlier he was a true professional. Our total bill for 4 people came to £218.14 which included service, a 4 course menu, wine and a coffee.

It is easy to see why Arbutus has been such a long-standing fixture in London where restaurants open and close at a rate of knots. I think they have the combination of great food, great service and the price point just right that makes a really successful restaurant. I would very much like to visit again with TBH so that he can experience it too.

Next up, The Better Half and I are going with a group of our friends to Club Carnivore at Vivat Bacchus. It sounds like my perfect evening – red wine only, red meat only and magnums only! Look out for the blog post coming soon…

Until we eat again!


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