novikov – london

novikov || 50a berkeley st., london || +44 20 7399 4330

touchdown [fancy] londontown!

this dark [yet perfectly lit for footos: foodie photos], decadent, festive, sexy venue filled with beautiful people [with british accents] & especially fresh seafood [+wifi!] deserves a proper standing ovation, so here it is:
20140714-141458.jpgles poissons, les poissons…20140714-141628.jpghee hee hee…20140714-141658.jpghoh hoh hoh…20140714-141716.jpgafter saying hello to the kitchen staff & shaking hands with the lively seafood on display, onto the real excitement – the eye candy food & beverages:20140714-142922.jpgfrom the bar area, starting with perfectly crafted espresso martinis – not overly sweet like one too many places.20140714-143538.jpgas we venture over to our table, the dining room faces the fresh seafood flown in first class from various parts of the world + the seemingly open kitchen for you to enjoy the art of cooking segregated by a glass wall so as not to ruin the scent of our carefully slathered perfumes [or colognes].20140714-144358.jpgshrimp dumpling topped with ikura.20140714-144442.jpglangoustine carpaccio – YES.20140714-144606.jpgo-toro, you’re so fatty. hotate, you’re so hot. YES.
20140714-144821.jpgikura, you’re so ballsy. YES.20140714-144956.jpg[edible?] floral drinks for the ladies. 20140714-145058.jpgcrispy fatty duck with microgreens, pomegranate, pine nuts = mixed guilty + guilt-free feelings cancel out = nonetheless, delicious.20140714-145256.jpgking crab legs cooked with superman butter.20140714-145338.jpglightly seared razor clams in a citrus sauce – YES.20140714-145439.jpgspicy sea bass in an orange sauce [think fancy orange chicken] – not my favorite but still done well.20140714-150325.jpgcrispy soft shell crab – yum.20140714-150402.jpgi changed it up to a whiskey-based drink served in bamboo for a tropical effect. for dessert, we had few more espresso martinis – they were consistently great. overall, wonderful experience! bravo novikov!

next stop: the rififi club [members only] for restaurateur arkady novikov’s newest creations. more soon!

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osteria pastella – florence, italy

osteria pastella || via della scala, 17/r – 50123 firenze || 055 2670240

“this is the boy vongole i’ve been looking for all my life!”

ciao! as i explored italy with my sister, we stumbled upon this place all on our own – no tripadvisor, no help from yelp. i was instantly drawn to the front window showcasing a sous chef making fresh rows of pasta. what can i say, i fall for appearances, thus, this new restaurant had already stolen my heart passed the first test & quickly became my favorite in florence. [plus they have wifi!] 20140706-075904.jpgpuff of joy starter.20140706-075935.jpg20140706-075955.jpgthe caprese was interestingly stacked high & executed well, tasting of mouthfuls of freshness.20140706-080018.jpgthe fresh tagliolini alle vongole was hands down the best vongole i’ve had in italy [at such a reasonable price too]. the strong but well-blended wine + the finely chopped garlic parsley as their sauce was magical – this is the boy vongole i’ve been looking for all my life!20140706-080109.jpg20140706-080139.jpg20140706-080151.jpgwe went with the pio ix dessert option which was recommended by our server & it was indeed a unique delicacy. i don’t know much beyond the fact that it is named after pope ix & it was delicious. took me a lot of googling to find out exactly what that nostalgic tasting fruit was: a european gooseberry.

then as a very kind welcome to osteria pastella + florence, the [awesome] big boss presented us these following italian specimens: tasty dessert wine & [drum roll] grappa. a lot of grappa.20140706-081649.jpg20140706-081703.jpgit was a challenge we couldn’t refuse.

their usage of flavors + quality of ingredients + presentation are comparable perhaps even superior to fine dining places but without the arm-chopping fine dining prices [and snobbery]. it really shows they care about maintaining the authenticity of the cuisine with no extra side orders of bs. such a wonderful experience overall. this is a must-visit when in florence! cannot wait to return to try more from the menu.

note: on fridays, they have live jazz :D what more could you ask for? big thank you to pietro for being a wonderful human being who truly appreciates the arts all across the board – grazie & salute!
20140706-140233.jpgregrettably, i didn’t do justice for the welcoming window photo the first time around.

20140706-142157.jpgso we went back. arrivederci!

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bouley

bouley 163 duane st, new york, ny 10013

enter the fresh apple farm

the fresh apple library entrance

fantastic, fancy french fine dining for foodies by chef david bouley. jackets are required for the boys while the ladies should keep it classy. prepare for a 2-3 hour lunch/dinner, best enjoyed with good company + intelligent conversation. for the stellar quality & service, it’s quite a steal, especially for lunch.

other than my obsession with foie gras, [i still need to try it here] i’m not too crazy about french food [mainly because of the fat the butter guilt], but bouley has become a favorite of mine. it has a peaceful ambiance [sometimes slightly uncomfortable at first if you’re more accustomed to loud places], except when i’m there. i would recommend the chef’s tasting but if you decide to order from the regular menu, you must get the porcini flan [x2] or be filled with regret for the rest of your life. some highlights of my visual + palate euphoria:

butternut squash puree w/pine nuts in a sack

butternut squash puree w/pine nuts in a sack – who wouldn’t enjoy that?

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carpaccio of kampachi – young blue fin tuna + striped amber jack + microgreens

forager's treasure of wild mushrooms. [why does this sound dirty?]

forager’s treasure of wild mushrooms + grilled toro + black truffle dressing [why does this sound dirty?]

alaska live dungeness crab, black truffle dashi - ###YES###

PORCINI FLAN – alaska live dungeness crab, black truffle dashi – ###YES### is this love?

creamy something

eat the organic connecticut farm egg smothered in hollandaise-y cream slowly & carry a big crunchy cheesy stick – beware – pace yourself

organic long island duck,  organic golden nevada dates, hudson valley hand milled polenta, confit of young organic clementines - fantastic + rare

organic long island duck, organic golden nevada dates, hudson valley hand milled polenta, confit of young organic clementines – fantastic + rare // butter-mashed potato heaven in a tiny dish on upper left

palate cleansers + palate contaminators

palate cleansers + palate contaminators: tangerine, clementine, mandarin parfait
& lychee sorbet // chocolate soufflé w/white coffee cloud, coffee ice cream, chocolate mousse // hot caramelized anjou pear + hot toffee sauce // petit fours

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the lovely french loo, les toilettes, a true selfie resting room

oh, and they have a parting gift: a splendid lemon pound cake for you to take home & reminisce the money moment you spent. this michelin-starred restaurant surely deserves a second star.

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