January 19 | Comments (0)
The restaurant at Mercato is a small bit of Italy in the middle of Calgary. The Tuscan creations are the best I've tasted outside of Italy and quite a surprise to find so far west in the Canadian prairies. All of the dishes are simple and the ingredients are second to none.
Talking with one of the servers we discovered that the Restaurant at Mercato was a bit of an accident. In the construction of their location on 4th street they wanted to make a teaching kitchen where they could hold cooking classes to show off how the ingredients from the attached market. As a special occasion they held a lunch, and they've been packed ever since changing the direction of what they had originally thought. They've now reduced the size of the market and extended the restaurant. The experience is enhanced by sitting at the bar that overlooks the action in the kitchen. It provides both entertainment and inspiration for what you might order.
My wife and I shared the prosciutto starter, she had a fettucini special with tomatoes, olives and capers and I had the cinghiale (boar) ribs which were grilled to perfection. I have to admit that I was faced with a serious case of "order envy" when I saw the size of the steaks on the grill. They were prepared in the Florentine style, at least 2 inches thick and more meat than one person could possibly eat. Our server informed us of the steak for 2 option, which is 4 inches thick...I think we'll have to take a few friends to give it a try.
What I liked best about Mercato (other than the food) was how the staff encouraged the sharing of dishes, much like in Italy. Order a few pastas, a steak and some veggies on the side and pass them around. If you ignore the snow outside you might just think you're in Florence.
I'll definitely be going back. I can almost taste the steak already.
The Restaurant at Mercato
2224 - 4 St SW, Calgary
November 14 | Comments (0)
We had the fortunate opportunity to eat at the Vintage Chophouse (Calgary,Canada) this past Saturday night. The place was packed, the service was amazing, and the food was just as good. I opted for the prime rib - served with a rosemary Yorkshire pudding and roasted mushrooms. The steak was tender, and cooked to perfection.
My wife chose the very seasonable White truffle risotto. Neither of us had ever tried anything made with the fungus. The risotto was wonderfully al dente, with hints of lemon with nothing overpowering amazingly pungent flavour of the truffle. It was well worth the price ($50/plate), which apparently has been pushed up by a poor growing season this year. White truffles can run between $800 and $1500 per pound, it's almost like shaving diamonds on to your plate.
Overall we had a lovely evening and will be returning as often as the wallet allows.
September 27 | Comments (0)
2a Exhibition Road, South Kensington , London, SW7 2HF
Telephone: 0871 0757907
My wife and I have been going past this place almost every weekend for the last 6 years. In the spirit of trying new places, we decided to give it a try this past Saturday on our way to the Da Vinci exhibit at the V&A. It's always busy and now we know its because of the food rather than its location. The food is simple, piping hot and tasty. There is lots to choose from but not so much that you can't decide. We both had the pork/duck with rice and weren't disapointed. The best bit is that we're both full for £10.
The service was quick and friendly. I'll definately be going back.
August 23 | Comments (0)
At the end of Field Road on the corner of greyhound road sits the Queens Arms. For many years it was the haunt of the local estates, and a very large german shepard that blocked entry. Recently it's been completely renovated in the style of so many gastro pubs in the area. In some ways I miss the stability of the old 50's pub, and the nostalgic "east enders" feeling you got walking through the door. However, on the whole the renovation has changed everything...including the clientel and with the addition of food it makes a resonable venue to spend a Sunday afternoon.
My wife and I went this past Sunday to give it a try.. She had the risotto (which was a little buttery) and I had the sticky pork (which was a little confused - see above). On the whole, the food wasn't bad...I just think that they need to keep the creations much simpler and not try to be too fancy. Also for a neighbourhood pub, it's expensive. Perhaps it's just a few growing pains, and with feedback they'll hopefully sort things out. I'm willing to give them a few more tries, and support the local.
update: I've removed the pricing information based on Jon's comment below. I'll go back, have another meal and report back.
171 Greyhound Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 8NL
August 16 | Comments (0)
As a Canadian in London, sometimes you just feel the need for a decent BBQ, and Bodeans isn't a bad choice if you've got a hankering for some meat. It's fast, and tasty and in a city where it's difficult to find decent hot wings it's got to be your only choice. The service is friendly and ambiance is a little strange with all of the american voices chatting loudly above the stream of sports on the wide screen TV's. My favourite menu item is the Jumbo pulled pork sandwich, it's like eating ribs without all the hassle of pulling the meat from the bones and it comes with coleslaw, pickles and fries.
There is usually so much food on the plate that's it's difficult to finish it all, let alone try desert. But if you do have room, try the Mississippi mud pie.
It's not quite as good as a southern BBQ house, but it's not bad for London. Tuck in.
July 4 | Comments (1)
The area around oxford street is peppered with little places to go for lunch giving office workers have a wealth of choice. You can almost go to a new place everyday...and yesterday I did. Leon serves fast healthy food to the masses in Carnaby Street (they have other locations). It's an interesting mix of food, from stews to salads, strawberry mousse to smoothies, there's something on the menu for everyone. I had:
Free range chicken served with broccoli, baby spinach, toms, peas, alfalfa, quinoa, seeds rocket and aioli.
The chicken was nicely grilled, still warm when I got back to my desk, and the different veg in the salad made for a interesting eating experience. The service was fast and efficient and we only had to wait a few minutes to be served.
The only complaint I have is that for the portion size it's quite expensive. At £5.50, it's not cheap and it barely makes a dent in your stomach, making you prone to a mid afternoon snack. Judging by the boxes that my co-workers had they had the same small portions. If you're looking for a healthy snack (and don't mind paying) it's not too bad.
Locations and ordering information can be found at http://www.leonrestaurants.co.uk
About a month ago our favourite local thai place (Koh Thai) closed and it looked like it wouldn't reopen. Well, thankfully it has but under new management. Turns out, the former owner has taken ill, sold the restaurant and has moved to Ireland. After putting it off for several weeks we decided to give the new place a try.
We were pleasantly surprised that the food seems to be better than it was under the old managment. This could have something to do with the new chef being thai (the old chef was Malaysian). To start, I had the Pandan leaf chicken. Moist, flavourfuI and piping hot these are a great start to a meal. For my main, I had the same dish I measure all Thai restaurants by, Pad thai. It was simple, tasty and authentic, it was cooked to perfection and not a bit was left on the plate. Overall the menu is much of what you would expect at most thai restaurants, varied and good for both carnivors and vegetarians. The best bit, is a 2 course meal is only about £10/head, by far one of the best little places in the Hammersmith area.
The venue and the service
Again, I think the service has gotten better in the management change. The new manager was mingling amongst the tables, and lightly flirting with just about all the female customers. The wait staff were attentive and polite and the food arrived promptly (even though the World cup was on in the corner). The venue has had a bit of a facelift, but thankfully none of the charm has disapeared. The tables are all still a little wobbly, and the garden is still just as lovely and gratefully the conversation between tables still flows amicably.
Give it a try, you won't be disapointed.
Where can you find it?
30 Greyhound Road, London, W6 8NX
See a map