Friday, March 22, 2013


Arkivgatan 7
411 34 Göteborg

Celebrating my boyfriend's birthday I got to visit Familjen (The Family) in Göteborg.  The restaurant wants with its nice decor and friendly staff to make their guests feel like a part of the family.  I was all stressed up coming to the restaurant wanting it to be a good night for my boyfriend and soon enough when the staff greeted me I calmed down and started to relax.

Before we chose what to have for dinner we started with a drink. My boyfriend suggested a Bloody Mary and I couldn't agree more.  
Jose Cuervo Especial infused with Bacon, Home Made Tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco Chipotle, Ox stock, Red Chilli, Black Pepper, Salt, Lemon

This drink had too many amazing ingredients too not make me fall in love with it. Bacon! Chili! Ox Stock! You get the picture.  My boyfriend though it was a bit too spicy, but that is kind of what you have to expect when you order something that is named Spicy with Bacon. I didn't taste the bacon as much as I expected but the drink was very good and we also got a bonus bite, bread with beans.  A perfect kick-start before our meal.
After a short present distribution we were ready to order and we decided to go for the Evening Menu
with horseradish cream and sourdough crispbread
with artichoke, onion, chestnuts and celeriac
with warm cloudberry jam and vanilla ice cream

We also ordered the suggested wine menu. 275,-
Starter: Blackened salmon tartare and salmon roe.
Creamy, soft texture from the salmon and horseradish cream. The crispbread added some nice crunch and small explosions of salt from the salmon roe. The funny thing about salmon roe is that unlike smaller kinds of roe these don't "pop" as easily as normal so you end up chewing a bit more. The taste of horseradish in the cream was not very present. Even if I read the menu, my mind kept fooling me with thinking that the cream was sour cream and  maybe the dish would benefit of having a squeeze of lemon.  I don't know if it's because they knew we were celebrating or if everybody with the wine suggestion get it, but we got a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne with this dish.  I must say that a glass of champagne was perfect!  It actually added that sourness I otherwise missed in the dish.  A silky and exclusive start to our meal.
Main course: Stew of Gotland lamb.
The reduced sauce in this stew was packed with flavour. The meat was tender as lamb should be. As a side dish we got a celeriac mash that tasted just amazing.  The taste of butter was prominent and o'so good! My only problem with the mash and the stew was that it was very salty. I really didn't want to complain about it because the taste otherwise was so good, but in the end that salt overpowered the dish. I actually ended up drinking water several times during the night. I'm normally a person that wants my food well-seasoned and this dish would have been heavenly with a bit less salt.  With the main course we got a French red wine (don't remember the name) that has similarities to a Chateauneuf de Pape wine.
Dessert: Deep fried cardamom waffles
Again a hit on texture. The waffle brought some crispiness to the dish, softness from the ice-cream and warm, sweet taste from the cloudberry jam. It's not often you ask of less of something when the taste is so good but we couldn't finish all the cloudberry jam. Other than that it was a great dessert. Accompanying the dessert we got a glass of  "guldkant" (golden edge) a mix of cognac and Swedish punch, which also suited the dish perfectly.
Staff: I also want to write about the staff, which really extended my expectations. They were really friendly and went that extra mile to make us feel comfortable. What I loved was when people were ordering they sat down with the guests.  It added to the feeling of being a part of the family.  They also made us feel special and not just "another guest".
The interior at Familjen is really nice. They combine black and white photos with green and red decor. Even if the drinks menu isn't that big their bar is. They have all kinds of liquor and I guess they can make whatever you ask for. I even saw on their website that they are nominated for "Best Bar in Sweden". This restaurant is well worth the visit. With a few adjustments to the food it would turn out perfect.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dumplings' Legend

Dumplings ' Legend
15-16 Gerrard Street
Chinatown, London
Tube: Leicester Square

Walking around China Town in London was a mouthwatering experience.  In every restaurant windows one could see crispy, glaced ducks hanging.  I knew right away that I had to get a taste of it.
This is not the restaurant where I had my crispy duck, but just a vindow view in Chinatown.
I've always been fascinated by the Chinese have brought their culture to the places they have settled and created Chinese neighborhoods.  The few hours I had by myself in London I was again strolling the mainstreet in Chinatown to find the perfect place for my lunch. I ended up choosing Dumplings' Legend.
The first thing you see when you enter the restaurant is the first kitchen where they make the fresh dumplings. Further in theres a second kitchen where they make the rest of the dishes on the menu. My mom used to tell me when I was younger that a kitchen with some selfrespect is always a kitchen where you can watch the chefs.  The interior was somewhat more sterile than you normally would expect from a chinese restaurant with it's white walls and minimalistic decoration.
Second floor at Dumplings' Legend
The place was crowded for lunch, mostly local chinese guests and a few tourists.  It took me some time to get the attention of the waitors but after watching the locals I understood that I had to shake my hand and ask for the waitor to come to my table.  I started with ordering a beer and a fried dim sum

Seasoned Pork & Vegetable Puff Pastry £3.30

The dim sum was crispy on the ourside but hot, sweet,  jucy and soft inside. They are probably the best puff pastries I've ever had. I wished I've would have come here with a friend so we could order all sorts of dumplings from the menu but my main goal was also to taste the roasted duck so I had to save some space.

Roast Duck with rice £6.80 

I was not disappointed with this dish. Tender duck that probably had been marinating for a while, then roasted. Sweet and strong in flavour.  I bet guests sitting close to me could hear my "mmm" sounds.  Nice with the bok choi accompanying
This place is also a living example of that you don't need a lot of fancy interior or image as long as the food is good.  Just that they make all the dumplings to order is amazing and you can really taste that they are fresh.  I left London as a very happy person and I will not hesitate to visit this restaurant again (maybe with more friends next time so I can taste my way through the dumplings)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


192-196 Jamaica Rd
Rotherhithe, London
Tube: Bermondsey

Another random pick of restaurant, and this time really random. I told my fried to choose a number between 1 and 8, a number that would tell me how many stops we would go with the Jubilee line and choose a restaurant close to the station. When we stepped out of Bermondsey station it looked like everything was closed. It was so dark outside and we had no idea where we were. So the first (and maybe only) restaurant we saw was an Italian restaurant called Castello. They also had a sign outside with "Live Music at 7pm" When we entered the restaurant we heard a lady singing with Italian karaoke tracks, and I made a joke that she maybe was the warm-up band...but she wasn't.  Nothing wrong with her voice, it just felt a bit cheesy with the backing tracks.  The restaurant didn't have this rustique Italian interior that you might expect and it looked more like a canteen.  But our hunger was growing and after all we had decided to go for our "random plan". A lot of families had found their way to the restaurant and it feels like it's the local place to go out and eat.  This is what I chose from the menu
Spaghetti Vongole £10.90
 I actually looked a lot like the Spaghetti Vongole I got in Naples, and it tasted like it too.  Simple ingredients that can shine because they are not overpowered by each other. The tomatoes had a sweet taste as if they were just picked, the pasta perfectly al dente and plenty of mussels.  A Vongole is a typical Neapolitan dish.  Everywhere around Naples you will find dried chilies and the chilies are also a lead ingredient in the Vongole sauce.  What this restaurant is lacking in charm and interior, it makes up for in taste.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Beigel Bake

Beigel Bake
159 Brick Lane
East London

Even if Beigel Bake is really not a traditional restaurant I just have to write about this fantastic shop.  And if you think I didn't write the title correctly; it's actually named Beigel. But it's still the same round buns with a hole in the middle that origins from the Jewish cuisine, named Bagel in U.S.  What an experience!

There are two beigel shops close to each other on Brick Lane and I was told to choose the white one (the sign on the other one is yellow).  There is nothing fancy about this shop, it's all about the product. People just come here to get amazing beigels.  The shop is open 24/7 and is a famous place for a night snack after a night out. 
Cooking the beigels
Not all kitchens appreciate when you take photos but these guys gladly posed in my pictures. It shows that they believe in what they are producing.

Beigels in the oven

 I've read some other reviews from Beigel Bake and almost everybody is worshipping their beigels. Especially the beigel with salted meat is a must. Not knowing that at the time I went for the
Beigel with cream cheese and salmon £1.60
There are so many great things about this place. First, I was surprised that the price could be so low. Second, the beigels are very fresh since they are making them all the time. Third, the taste - delish!  The only thing i regret was eating breakfast that morning and being too full to go in for one more.  
One very happy food writer

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cafe España

Cafe España
63 Old Compton St
Soho, London
Tube: Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square

What a disappointment! Cafe España is a Spanish restaurant with also a lot of Italian dishes on the menu. Since I spent my two last summers in both Spain and Italy I was hoping for some good hearty food from two of my favourite countries.  Well, this was not close to tasting like it did in Spain. I always get excited when it seems like the staff origins from the same country as the food they are serving, but that didn't improve my impression here. I actually think the staff was kind of rude and this was even before "rush hour".

I think this picture speaks for itself. I ordered
Cordero Asaro (roast of lamb) £7.95
I used to think that roast of lamb is a "safe" dish. It's always delicious... well that is if you can taste it.  The potatoes were really greasy, the carrot and peas were under seasoned. The meat might have been ok but I couldn't taste any of it because the sauce flooded my steak. And the sauce that was also VERY salty. Not to mention how it looked. The plating was really sloppy. 
For dessert I ordered the Queso con Manzana (house cheese) £4.50
It's so clear that they don't even care about the food. I got three slices of cheese on a plate, and to my surprise they were all the same cheese. It was all Manchego cheese, which the waiter didn't even care to mention what kind it was. 
The restaurant is lucky to have such a good location and I guess a lot of tourists will keep this restaurant going, but I can not recommend anyone to come here.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Drink, Shop & Do

Drink, Shop & Do
9 Caledonian Road
Kings Cross, London
Tube: Kings Cross Station
Drink, Shop & Do is one of my best experiences from London.  You walk in to something that looks like a small shop realizing that further in you have a lovely retro café and a pub/restaurant in the basement. This cafe is just "my cup of tea" and that is one of the things from the menu they are famous for; their afternoon tea.  

I just love the interior in this cozy café!

Drink, Shop & Do really is a suitable name for this café. Drink: Come here for afternoon tea or a cocktail. Shop: Local designers are showing their work and apparently everything you can find in the cafe is for sale, from furniture to vintage tea sets. Do: Every week has a new "schedule" with different things to do. Pearling bracelets, vintage pin-up hair and make-up, ukulele lessons and bending balloons are some of the options.
This is the first thing you see when you enter Drink, Shop & Do

Cool Cards for sale

 When you go downstairs you enter the Drink, Shop and Dance bar. This is where we had our lunch. I was told that it was originally a strip club in the old days and the vibe downstairs is totally different from the café on the first floor. The walls are painted black and the feeling is more cool and modern.

The bar in the basement

Creative wall decorations with different kinds of amplifiers

I was feeling a bit naughty sitting there in an old strip club so I ordered me a Bloody Mary, or like they name it: DSD Bloody Maria.
Pink peppercorn infused Tequila, Harveys Bristol Cream, Spicy Sauce, Worcester Sauce, Salt, Pepper, Celery Bitters & Lemon. Shaken with Tomato Juice & served with Celery
 My lunch was a
Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Tart, served with Lentil Halloumi and Vegs salad £7.50
 It's the first time I've tasted the combination of Goat Cheese and Pumpkin and it works really well. It's also the first time I've had Lentil Halloumi's, so a lot of new tastes for me. I loved it! If I have to comment on something about the food it has to be about the texture. It would be nice with something crispy in the dish since both the tart and the vegetables are really soft. I'm also going to give thumbs up for the Bloody Maria. If you enjoy a good Bloody Mary you should taste with Tequila and chili instead of Vodka and Tabasco.  I've sometimes made it back home and call it a Slutty Mary.
If you are visiting or living in London and you enjoy retro style - this place is a must! I so wished I was staying longer in London and could experience the vintage pin-up hair and make-up with some afternoon tea. Maybe next time, because this is a place I definitively will revisit!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mehek - Indian Cuisine

Mehek Restaurant
45 London Wall
City of London
Tube: Moorgate/Liverpool Street

Most of the restaurants we visited in London were chosen randomly. We traveled with the Tube to Liverpool Street and after a short walk we stumbled across Mehek.  Even if we had a short amount of time (we were going to a show) Mehek served us some really good Indian food to please our taste buds and stomachs.  According to their website they have gotten a lot of good reviews, and this one is not going to be an exception.
The restaurant had very soft lighting, almost like it looked closed from the outside. Even though the dining room was quite large the atmosphere was still intimate.  I ordered:
Chicken Biryani - A very aromatic dish treated with light spices and stir-fried with basmati rice. Garnished with sultanas, sweet seedless raisins and almond flakes. Served with side accompaniments of vegetable curry and mixed raitha. £11.90
We also ordered fresh Nan bread and rice.  One of the things I love about Indian restaurants is that you get a "snack" when you order, that keeps you happy until your food arrives. At Mehek we got some poppadum's, cucumber raitha and chutney.
My dish, the Chicken Biryani was really tasty, packed with different flavours.  You got the sweet taste of raisins, sourness from the tomatoes and yogurt, a bit of spiciness from chilies, crispiness from the almonds and the vegetables added to the round taste. And not to forget, the chicken was really tender. I normally go quite strong on my spice choices but this time I wanted to taste more of all the ingredients. My friend who chose the Chicken Korma (£9.80) claimed that it's the best Korma she's ever tasted. The dish had a rich taste of coconut and lots of flavour.  I wish we had time for dessert but time was running away. I can really recommend visiting Mehek restaurant.