Tag Archives: tasting menu

Sea La Vie: A Day in Whitstable

A blue sky day on the English coast is automatic perfection.

And for us, an automatic excuse to jump in the car, put the roof down, crank up the tunes, and cruise over to Kent for a day on Whitstable’s pebbled shores.

Beach View

Beach Nap

Beach Bright

Beach Legs

Beach Yellow Car

Beach

Sea

Salt in the air, sand in my hair.

We laid in the sun listening to the cries of marauding seagulls above us until our heads got warm and felt a bit fuzzy, which meant it was time for food!

Good thing we knew an amazing place just up the road for a leisurely spot of lunch.

Sportsman

Sportsman Sunroom

Sportsman Sign

Sportsman Tasting Menu

We plunked ourselves down and got comfortable – with a glass of champagne, naturally.

champagne

The amuse bouche was a curious little concoction of fish, egg yolk and cream which was like a decadent spoonful of chowder.

Sportsman Amuse Bouche

Sportsman Amuse Bouche Yolk

Next was the bit I was most looking forward to – the oyster course.

Poached oyster with cream rhubarb granita and crystalized seaweed

Poached oyster with cream rhubarb granita and crystalized seaweed

Sportsman Oyster Box

Sportsman Oyster Eat

Whitstable is known for its oysters and – woweee – these did not disappoint!

Salt baked beetroot, rhubarb and fresh cheese

Salt baked beetroot, rhubarb and fresh cheese

Sportsman 2nd Course

Sportsman Bread

The salads and bread knocked my shoes off! Actually, it was me who kicked them off under the table, because there’s nothing better than eating lunch barefoot by the beach.

Sportsman Kicked Off Shoes

Roast Hake fillet with cherry tomato suace and green olive tapenade

Roast Hake fillet with cherry tomato sauce and green olive tapenade

Sportsman 3rd

Roast breast confit leg of local Aylesbury duck with spiced roasting juices

Roast breast confit leg of local Aylesbury duck with spiced roasting juices

A spiffing English lunch!

The meal wasn’t yet over, but we needed a timeout. So we took our glasses outside for some fresh air and a post-meal stroll.

Sportsman 4th course interlude

We weren’t in a hurry. We had all afternoon to spare.

So we just enjoyed the sunshine for a while before heading back to our table.

Sportsman 4th Interlude Wine

Sportsman 4th Interlude Picnic Table

Rhubarb ice lolly with maderia cake milk

Rhubarb ice lolly with madeira cake milk

Sportsman Lolly

Chocolate and salted caramel tart with vanilla ice cream

Chocolate and salted caramel tart with vanilla ice cream

We didn’t even actually touch this tart, but instead had it wrapped up to take home!

It will make a good midnight snack at some point 🙂

HKK London

Cover

Hakkasan’s newest London venture HKK has arrived in the City – which does wonders for my lunch hour. In this case, it was more like an hour and a half, but partly because I got slightly (really) lost in the badlands behind Liverpool Street. I arrived somewhat flushed – equally from the heat and agitation – into an air-conditioned blast of modernist tranquility. My seat was cushy soft, the orchid blossom on the table scented the cool air, the servers all had placid expressions like they’d just been meditating. It felt like the whole place was soothing my workday anxieties.

HKK

HKK1

HKK6

HKK7

I was absolutely wowed by the four-course seafood set lunch. The presentation was so dainty but the flavors clobbered me! So delicious.

Minced Lobster in Home-made Black Bean Sauce

Minced Lobster in Home-made Black Bean Sauce

HKK Supreme Seafood Soup

HKK Supreme Seafood Soup

Monk Fish in Italian White Truffle Sauce with Egg Rice

Monk Fish in Italian White Truffle Sauce with Egg Rice

Coconut & Lime Panna Cotta

Coconut & Lime Panna Cotta

HKK8

End

The service was so efficient, no doubt I could have been in and out within an hour had I not been late getting there – but Magellan himself would have had trouble finding this place! If you have keen navigation skills, you would behoove yourself to dine here one weekday – it’s bonafide City fine dining.

Sketch Lecture Room & Library

I was supposed to be babysitting for friends last night while they tried the Tasting Menu at Sketch Lecture Room and Library. Fortunately for me, one of their guests cancelled unexpectedly so they brought me along!

Sketch’s resident concierge David was the first to greet us at reception, in all his exuberant Irish flair and knowledge about the building. Formerly Christian Dior’s London flagship store, 9 Conduit Street now houses a smorgesboard of Sketch ventures: a Lewis Carollesque tearoom-cum-bar in the front parlour, a swamp-themed lace and laser cocktail bar eerily evocative of a nightclub in the Everglades, and a huge white cube dining hall with mismatched design furniture and video art projected onto the ceiling.

Upstairs, we were seated in a vivid Missoni-on-acid sitting room where a waiter rolled in the champagne cart, glasses tinkling. The interior is dizzingly ostentatious – cream tufted leather walls, distressed coloured mirrors, Moroccan lantern chandeliers – but in an obvious way, as if to deflect any elucidation.

The tasting menu was seven courses, the first four of which were seafood. Red meat was surprisingly absent from the menu, but not at all missed!

skap

Feuilletés:  goat cheese topped with beet root crumb, asparagus financiers, sea bass sashimi wrapped in banana leaf

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Parmesan croutons, vegetable spread, cumin crackers

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Poached Skate with chilled mushroom jelly

skoy

Warm oyster with beetroot mustard jus, Ibérico and Beaufort

skfish

Dover sole and lemon caviar

skscal

Roast scallop over mango and pear with sweet onion syrup

skasp

Asparagus and rocket coulis with burrata ice cream

skchik

Roast chicken breast over vegetable curry with chicken leg confit on the side

skdes

Passionfruit cheesecake, liquorice granata

skchoc

skpet

Petit fours

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The seriously professional service in a playfully indulgent atmosphere only propped up the already amazing food.

After dinner, pop into the East Bar for cocktails. It’s like being in a white plastic flying saucer with a recessed bar in the middle!

Book online here.