Ceresio 7 Milan

This cool rooftop bar sits atop the former 1930s Enel (electricity company) HQ in the Porta Garibaldi area of Milan. It includes two stunning swimming pools, a bar and restaurant all under the guidance of the ex- Bulgari Hotel head chef. You can hire cabanas by the pool from €110 a day, but I went for evening cocktails or what the Italians call Aperitivo. After a few delicious Spritz cocktails and with the sunsetting over the rooftops of Milan I moved into the adjoining restaurant. Although very tempted by the amazing sounding tasting menu, I felt I probably wasn’t hungry enough for 8 courses and so resisted and went for a simple primo and secondi option instead. I started with a raw tuna carpaccio with black figs and caramelised onions, before moving onto a beautiful loin of suckling pig with celeriac, honey and chilli, accompanied with a glass of Italian white with the fish and a light fruity red with the pork. I skipped the dessert, but they generously surprised me with a couple of complimentary mini choux buns filled with a white chocolate and passion fruit mousse before bringing me the bill.

Ceresio 7 Milan

Rogues

For my birthday this year some of my lovely friends took me to Rogues for dinner. A recommendation from my friend Rup who had seen it recommended on Instagram. We had drinks at the Queen Adelaide across the road, with my friends also gifting me tickets to see James Norton in the new hit play ‘A little life’. We then heading over the road for dinner.

As it was a special occasion and because it was almost impossible to choose from such an intriguing and interesting looking menu we all went for the tasting menu. I’ve attached a picture of the full menu below and all the dishes with an asterisk next to them are part of the tasting menu. We started with a potato & thyme sourdough with Bovril butter and pickled walnuts. Not usually a fan of Bovril, but this really worked, a beautiful salty umami hit. Then on to the bites/starters section of the menu, the standout here was the rabbit Bolognese with pearl barley and Isle of Mull cheddar. So full of flavour from the gamey rabbit, the best bolognese I’ve ever tasted, I wish I could create a bolognese even half as good as this at home.

Then on to the large plates/ mains. The exceptional dishes here were the roasted cod collar with katsu curry sauce and grilled gem lettuce. A really unusual, but tasty part of the fish. Then a pork chop with one of the best romesco sauces I’ve ever tasted. I genuinely wanted to lick the plate to mop up every last morsel. Outstanding.

At the end of the meal after a pudding of carrot cake with miso caramel and custard, they bought out some beautiful madeleines, (still warm from the oven) and a lovely bespoke birthday card that all the staff had signed for me. It was a lovey touch and one I’d not had before at a restaurant. Usually restaurants just shove a candle in the pudding or if you’re lucky write your name in chocolate on a plate.

Particularly shout out to the lovely girl who served us all night, she was excellent and made the already beautiful dinner even better with her fabulous service. She was even kind enough to laugh at my friend Simon’s terrible Dad jokes, surely a sign of good service if ever there was one.

The meal came in around £100 each per head, which might sound like quite a lot, but for the quality of the food and drink we thought excellent value for money and you certainly would struggle to find anything of a similar quality for that price anywhere in central London. I can’t wait to go back.

Thai Curry Tonkotsu

By now if you’ve read my blog long enough you’ll know my favourite ramen chain in London is Tonkotsu. This year they are celebrating their 10th anniversary of their founding. As part of the celebrations they have partnered with Anglo Thai chef John Chantarasak to offer a Thai Curry Tonkotsu. The dish, available at all Tonkotsu restaurants from the 8th to 30th of June, features their signature 18-hour pork broth enriched with lardo and a spicy northern Thai curry paste. It’s topped with thin-cut homemade noodles, braised pork belly, pickled mustard greens, spring onion, coriander, a lime wedge, seasoned egg and crispy fried noodles. I tried it yesterday and it was very good. Not too spicy, some really interesting flavours and the crispy noodles added a lovely texture contrast.

Ramo Ramen

This ramen restaurant is famous for its award winning oxtail kare kare ramen. Until recently they only had a branch in Kentish Town in North London, but they’ve now opened a second branch on Brewer Street in Soho. A much easier option for me. I was passing and meeting a friend for drinks later so went for an early dinner. I was the only customer in there at the time, though a few other customers came in while I was eating. The ramen was relatively quick to come and looked interesting. The broth was sadly a bit cold, definitely more lukewarm than hot. Ramen should always really be served very hot and eaten immediately for maximum noodle slurpage, so this was disappointing. The noodles were the standard shop bought in type and on the slightly too soft side. The egg was starting to get hard and was slightly broken. Personally if I was the chef I wouldn’t of served it. However the highlight was the oxtail which was really good, definitely the star of the show. This has the makings of a pretty decent ramen, unfortunately on the day I visited standards had very much slipped.

Oxtail kare kare ramen
Oxtail kare kare ramen

Ling Ling at The Gun E8

When my friend Rup first suggested Sunday lunch at the Gun, I assumed he meant the Gun pub in Canary Wharf which I’d been to many times before and is well known for its excellent Sunday roasts. However turns out he actually meant the Gun in Hackney. I didn’t know this pub, but apparently he’d heard good things.

The Sunday lunch is a collaboration with pop up Ling Ling and is an asian fusion Sunday lunch. I ordered the Korean mirror glazed chicken and my friend the char sui pork belly. It came with a sesame Yorkshire pudding, panko breaded carrot and wasabi. It looked good, but what is it with restaurants serving Sunday roasts with the gravy already poured on the plate? I do really much prefer a jug of gravy to pour myself. It was all perfectly pleasant, but didn’t exactly blow me away. For pudding they only had one thing on the menu, a white chocolate and matcha tiramisu which sounded delicious, so we both ordered. What arrived didn’t particularly taste much of either white chocolate or matcha, however it was creamy and substantial. No artfully presented, delicate dessert here, a great big wedge of tiramisu dolloped in a bowl and all the better for it.

Lunch was pleasant and the company as always great, however I couldn’t help but feel they were trying to shoehorn asian flavours into a Sunday roast, which wasn’t needed and also not always particularly successfully done. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t rush back.