Favourite Bites of 2010: Part 3 (Best Meals)

I know I said that my roundup would take 3 parts, but I lied to myself and I lied to you. I did the exact same last year and it became a living nightmare. There is so much that I want to talk about and I don’t want to shut up so here we go again. Luckily, you’re not in the same room as me and you can escape, I just hope that maybe you want to read on ;)

It’s not my fault really, so much happened in 2010 it was simply bursting, and I have so many recommendations, it would be terrible not to share them with you. In this post, I want to tell you about the best meals that I had throughout the year, and where I had them so that you can have them too.Again, these were my favourites, the ones that really stood out.

Early in the year I had one of my best meals at Trinity in Clapham. Chef patron Adam Byatt runs one of my favourite restaurants in London, I just wished I lived closer. I went several times last year, and I always had a great time and wonderful food.

Trinity a relaxed local restaurant, serving food that punches above that weight. On one occasion we had a bespoke tasting menu (which anyone can request in advance) of 8 courses. We had many great dishes but one spectacular one stood out for me. A sublime dish of Tagliatelle with Black Truffle. I have no photo of that as my camera was broken (WOE!) but there is also the trotters dish, THAT trotters dish. Adam Byatt converts the humble pigs trotter to a delicate thing of beauty, rich and sumptous, with a sauce gribiche that just tears through it, a quails egg that comforts it, and some crunchy pain poilane underneath to hold it all together. Go for that alone. And then have lots more. They also run fun pig masterclasses, which I really enjoyed too.

Steak was a big feature this year, more than any other. This is in part due to the increase in the availability of very good steak in London, and also for one meal, to Daniel Young of Young and Foodish, who organised a fantastic Steak Frites evening at one of my favourites Racine, where we had three main course steak dinners in one sitting. And I wonder why I have put on weight. Well, I don’t really.

The steaks were terrific, and so they would be coming from Irish butchers O’Shea’s in Knightsbridge, the best butchers in London if you are asking me. The food was superb, which it would be with Henry Harris at the realm, even the fillet steak sung when it was delivered. I hope that Daniel organises another one.

The Providores & Prudence Pop-Up at the Sipsmith Distillery was another brilliant evening at the Sipsmith Distillery in Hammersmith. Of course you would expect that when you combine the creativity, skill and eccentricity provided in spades both by Peter Gordon of Providores and Jared Brown of Sipsmith. The matching cocktails were inspired – one was truffle infused and had a generous slice of truffle lurking within, another had shiso leaf used in a similar manner. Peter Gordon’s food was exciting and delicious.

Hawksmoor continued to be a feature, as it was in 2009, with a Girl’s Steak Club evening, launch of the epic brunch which did actually defeat me (trotter baked beans, bone marrow gravy, fried eggs, black pudding, a pork chop, sausages) and then the opening of their branch at Seven Dials which is now one of my favourite places in London. I love the room, I love the food (I highly recommend the burgers) and the cocktails. All you really need to know is that I met friends for lunch at 2pm and left at 10pm. Wibbly wobbly but happy the whole way home.

I paid many visits to Koya in Soho, a conspicuous absence in my posts of 2010. I am not sure why, I was travelling a lot so had little time (this is also why I have yet to write about three lovely meals at Bistro Bruno Loubet, the lovely steak and Frank Hederman Salmon at Goodman and several other noteable absences). I spent many a lunch and evening slurping their perfect udon noodles, always with an onsen tamago (slow poached egg) and those gorgeous crunchy tempura shards.

Tayyab’s is still wonderful. Those amazing spicey, sizzly tender lamb chops, the masala fish, the dry meat, the BYO policy. It’s all wonderful. If you haven’t been, do go.

I visited Viajante 3 times, the first time I wasn’t sure, the second time I really enjoyed it, the third time I had one of my best meals of the year. I can’t improve on what I originally said, so, here it is.

Pork Loin with Langoustine and Rye was perfect. It really was. Every bite was heavenly. The rich iberico pork loin, caressed by the rye foam. The roast langoustine was meaty and rich, the roasted flavour working perfectly with the rye. The onions brightened it. The rioja that was served with it (La Rioja Alta “Vina Arana” Reserva 2001) was one of the most delicious wines that I have had this year. It was the perfect finishing savoury dish, and I would go back for that dish and wine alone. (from That 6 Course Lunch post)

Dumplings. I ate lots of dumplings. At home and out and about they were my comfort food of choice for 2010. I love plonking (er… dipping) those velvet rich dumplings in black vinegar with chilli oil and greedily gobbling them down.  I have yet to find somewhere consistent and reliable that serves them in London, but I have tried. Jen Café in Chinatown is often good for Beijing Dumplings but sometimes bad, Xiao Long Bao, those pillowy dumplings with pork and soup inside at Leong’s Legend are usually good, sadly their new venture Dumplings Legend really disappointed. I had high hopes. If you want to make them at home, I blogged a recipe too.

We had some lovely London Food & Drink Bloggers dinners where 40 of us gathered and ate and there was no blinding with camera flashes. My favourites were at Vinoteca and Bob Bob Ricard. In fact an absolute highlight of last year was those gorgeous Rhubarb G&T’s there. Those dinners have been on a bit of a hiatus as I have had some family stuff in Ireland, but they will be back with a BANG soon. As will the group too.

And there you have it, my favourite meals of 2010. Back soon with Best Books and Random Stuff for 2010, in 2011. Ah well.




Written by Niamh
Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.