Time for Park’s Kitchen

I realised I was spending too much time walking around thinking about where to eat. So I did a quick perusal of Google Maps. I decided I would go to Las Iguanas, mainly as I had a £10 voucher from their app I could use. Having arrived in Ealing I went to look at Las Iguanas, I decided despite the voucher I wasn’t really in the mood for Las Iguanas. I remembered I had blogged about my visit there in Birmingham in 2022.

Overall I was a little disappointed. I think this was more down I had quite high expectations about the food, and it was just okay. I don’t think I will be going out of my way to visit Las Iguanas anytime soon.

So made the decision that I might go to Las Iguanas, but would first walk around Ealing again. I might be tempted by someplace else. Which is why I found myself standing outside Park’s Kitchen.

I had seen on previous evenings it had been popular and I quite liked the look of the menu. They had space, so I went in and asked for a table. Sorry Las Iguanas you were close, but not close enough. 

Inside it was more cafe like than restaurant, but still a pleasant environment in which to eat a meal.

Though I had looked over the menu outside, I still looked over the menu sitting at the table. There was quite a bit of choice about different kinds of meals, and then combinations of said meals. I decided I would go for the meal deal, though I messed up by ordering a beer instead of a soft drink.

So I had a smaller portion of Tofu and Seafood Soup Soondubu Jjigae.

This was followed by the Seafood Bibimbap.

Alongside I had a portion of vegetable Mandu. These were fried vegetable dumplings.

Actually all the food arrived near enough all at the same time.

The soup was rather nice, the tofu was soft, there was a good portion of seafood in the soup, and there was lots of flavour. I quite liked it.

The Bibimbap arrived in a really hot stone bowl (in a wooden case). Inside was rice, vegetables, and seafood. It was a process of using the heat from the bowl to make the dish. I did like the dish and it was an interesting combination of flavours and textures.

The Mandu were just okay, nothing special.

Though the service was prompt and efficient, I did feel it was a little frosty. Not that was a problem.

I would though certainly visit again. The food was delicious and tasty.

Going Vegan at Wagamama

When I was staying in London for a few days I went off to Ealing to get something to eat. I did think about going back to Polka, but it was closed on Mondays. Reinata was another place I had considered, but they had gone back to their Winter opening times, so wasn’t open in the evening until Thursday. After spending way too much time walking around Ealing I decided I would visit VanTan again. I had enjoyed my last meal there, so after looking at the menu outside and choosing the Braised Fish Claypot. This was described as braised fish steak caramelised in a sweet savoury sauce with steamed rice. I was given a warm welcome, and handed a menu. Alas though the fish dish was on the menu outside, it wasn’t on the menus at the table. Rather than have something else, I decided I would head off to Wagamama instead. 

I had an equally warm reception at Wagamama. I was shown to a bench and I had a look over the menu. I chose three dishes at Wagamama. Generally I would have two, but was feeling peckish, and it was difficult to choose.

The first dish I chose was the crispy chilli mushrooms. A vegan version of the crispy chilli squid. This was coated and fried crunchy oyster mushrooms. They were dusted with a red pepper powder and served with a chilli and coriander dipping sauce.

The crispy chilli mushroom was nice, not as nice as the chilli squid, but was tasty.

The second dish was one I have had before, which was the mixed mushrooms bao buns. This was mixed mushrooms with crispy panko-coated aubergine, creamy vegan mayonnaise. topped with coriander.

I did feel the mushroom bao buns could have had a lot more mushroom in them, what mushroom was there was slightly overpowered by the crispy panko-coated aubergine.

For my main dish I had the silken tofu gochujang rice bowl. This was something I hadn’t had before. It consisted of silken tofu coated in a spicy gochujang sauce with bok choi, pickled cucumber, snow onion slaw and red onion. It was served on a bed of sticky white rice. finished with spring onion, sliced red chilli, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and red pepper powder.

This was an interesting dish, and when it arrived it surprised me. Why it surprised me I don’t know. I guess I was expecting more of a hot tofu dish with rice, whereas this was more a salad with rice and deep fried tofu.

The silken tofu was excellent. I really enjoyed the dish, there was a nice mix of different textures and flavours. The bok choi was a little tricky to eat with chopsticks and there wasn’t a knife to cut it either.

I didn’t plan it, but all three dishes were vegan. Overall I enjoyed all three dishes and would certainly have them again.

Doing the Polka again, one more time

I first went to Polka earlier this year and actually had two excellent meals, I enjoyed my first meal so much, I went again the next day.

On previous visits to Ealing I had noted the Sowa restaurant, but had never gone there. The proprietors of that place moved to some nice new premises in Dickens Yard and renamed themselves to the Polka Kitchen.

So when I was back staying in Ealing, I decided I would make a return visit. The menu was the same. I looked over and thought about what I would have. There are only three starters on the menu, a beetroot dish, black pudding, and a steak tartare.

I went with the steak tartare. I had really enjoyed this the last time I was there.

It looked just as pretty as it did before. It consists of steak tartare or my starter it was served with egg yolk, pickled cucumbers, onion, and mustard seeds. This was such a pretty plate of food. Alongside I was given some sliced Polish bread. The steak was tender and fresh, I liked the addition of the pickles, and egg yolk. The pickled mushroom was a nice, and I enjoyed every mouthful. It was just as good as I remembered from the first time I had it.

As there was a (short) delay with getting my starter I was given a shot of Polish vodka on the house, which I quite enjoyed.

For my main course I had originally wanted the pierogi filled with goose meat, but that wasn’t available, so I went with the wild boar pierogi in a mushroom sauce. I did think about having one of the dishes I had before, but I hadn’t tried the pierogi before, so went with that dish.

The pierogi were nice and soft, but still had a bite to it, al dente. The pierogi filling had a robust strong flavour. The pierogi came with a mushroom sauce. I would have liked to have had more sauce.

Overall the food was delicious, and the service was excellent, friendly, warm, and welcoming. Though I’ve had a lot of things on the menu, I do think I will visit again.

Finally made it to Reinata

Dickens Yard

In March I had a conversation at a meeting with a colleague who  had recommended Reineta in Dickens Yard in Ealing. So in April, when staying in Ealing, I had headed out to Reineta having decided what I would order. You can imagine my disappointment when I went there to find it was in fact closed. It was only open for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I wasn’t in London on any of those days… Instead I went to Côte.

Back in June I was in London, staying in Ealing. It was a Tuesday, so hadn’t even considered Reineta, but was pleasantly surprised to see that Reineta was open. Well guess where I ended up.

This is very much an informal place to eat, very relaxed.

It was a warm evening, so I sat outside and looked over the menu. Alas the choices I had seen on the (online) menu back in April were not available. I went with two dishes.

The first was a salad with Isle of Wight tomatoes, avocado, pickled red onions and grated manchego cheese.

This was a simple dish, but in some ways too simple. I wasn’t overly impressed with the flavour of the tomatoes. I did enjoy it though.

My second dish was the octopus. This was grilled marinated octopus served with mixed peppers, sliced potatoes and “choricero” pepper.

This was an excellent plate of food, very tasty and quite substantial (for a tapas dish). I really enjoyed the dish. The octopus was tender and full of flavour. I liked the sliced potatoes and the pepper.

Overall these were two delicious plates of food. I would like to have had some bread with the food though.

I enjoyed sitting outside and eating, something that is often challenging to do in the UK with all the weather.

Time for TânVân

There are lots of places from which to choose from when eating out in Ealing. Some would say too much choice. There are a number of Vietnamese restaurants in the area and they all look inviting and interesting. Looking around all the different places I did like the look of the menu at TânVân.

restaurant frontage on a street with a sign on the pavement

After walking around a couple of times I went back to TânVân.

We are a family-run Vietnamese eatery and Cocktail Bar based in the heart of Ealing Broadway. We serve the Vietnamese classics such as phỏ ̉ noodle soups, bún noodle salads and bánh mì as well as having lots of vegan options! 

We are more than just a place to eat. We are a place to share, not just food, but love, memories, laughter. A place for your first date, a place to celebrate, a place to catch up with an old friend, a place for after-work drinks with your co-workers. Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, we can assure that this is the place for you.

They have an intriguing menu, but the choice of starters or side dishes felt quite limited. However there were five dishes to choose from, maybe I am just being a little picky with that. Tempted by the chicken wings, in the end I wanted to try something new, so, I went with the beef wrapped in betel leaf topped with roasted peanuts.

plate of beef wrapped in betel leaf on noodles

This was not the most delicately presented dish of food, it did look a little thrown together. There was a plate of (cold) noodles, the beef wrapped in betel leaf, and it was topped with chopped peanuts. It was served with a chilli dipping sauce. This to me was quite a substantial starter, it probably didn’t need the noodles. The beef was tasty and I enjoyed eating all the food on the plate.

There are lots of choices on the menu for mains. As well as rice bowls, there is wide choice of Phở noodle soup, Bún bowls of noodle salad, and if you prefer you can have a bánh mi sandwich. For my main course I went with the Saigon pork belly stew.

This is on the specials on the menu, and is described as melt-in-your-mouth tender pork belly braised in a light and delicately sweet and sticky sauce. It came with a hard boiled egg, a side of rice and pickled vegetables.

pork belly stew with a hard boiled egg

The pork was melt-in-your-mouth tender and the sauce was not too sweet. It worked well with the rice and pickled vegetables.

a bowl of picked vegetables

a bowl of rice

I enjoyed this dish, it was delicious and tasty, and I was a little disappointed I had finished it, as I wanted more.

Alongside my meal I had a bottle of Bia Saigon beer, which was crisp and refreshing.

a bottle of beer on a table

The service was excellent, I was given a warm and friendly welcome.

This is certainly a place I would visit again.

Doing the Polka again

Having enjoyed my previous meal at Polka Kitchen, as I was looking for somewhere to eat I decided to go there again.

On previous visits to Ealing I had noted the Sowa restaurant, but had never gone there. The proprietors of that place have now moved to some swanky new premises in Dickens Yard and renamed themselves to Polka. Now I have no idea how authentic the food is, having never been to Poland, I was intrigued and on my previous visit was impressed.

I have to say I was tempted to have the steak tartare again, as I had enjoyed it so much. However, I decided I would try something else. They have a somewhat limited choice of starters, but there are a range of soups on the menu as well. I didn’t really fancy soup, so in the end I was choosing between the beetroot carpaccio and the Polish black pudding. I went with the Polish black pudding served with cod fillet, mustard sauce and sweet onion.

This was an interesting combination and not something I would have put together, nor did I realise it was a thing, blood sausage and fish.

The Polish black pudding was tasty, it was quite similar to English black pudding, but different. The fish was a nice addition to the dish, I also liked the mustard sauce. Overall it was a really nice dish and a delicious start to my meal.

For my main course there was quite a few choices. I did initially think about the traditional pork cutlet. However I realised that this wasn’t a cutlet in the way I thought it would be, but more of a schnitzel. From another table it looked like a pork steak, breadcrumbed, and fried. Though I thought that might be quite nice, it wasn’t quite what I wanted.

So I went with the Polish-style beef roulade stuffed with bacon and pickled cucumber, served with Silesian dumplings and pickled cucumber salad.

This was a beautifully presented plate of food. 

I liked the Silesian dumplings and the pickled cucumber salad. The beef though was not as good as I thought it would be. It was a little dry and chewy. It was still a tasty plate of food.

I had enjoyed my meal, and the service was excellent.

Doing the Polka Kitchen

On previous visits to Ealing I had noted the Sowa restaurant, but had never gone there. The proprietors of that place have now moved to some swanky new premises in Dickens Yard and renamed themselves to the Polka Kitchen.

Now I have no idea how authentic the food is, having never been to Poland, I was still intrigued. They do appear to be popular on the Facebook with lots of comments in Polish.

They have a really intriguing and interesting menu, so much so, I was having difficult in making a choice. They have a somewhat limited choice of starters, but there are a range of soups on the menu as well. I do like a starter and prefer having a starter over pudding usually.

In the end for my starter I went with the steak tartare. It was served with egg yolk, pickled cucumbers, onion, and mustard seeds. This was such a pretty plate of food.

plate of food

Alongside I was given some sliced Polish bread and butter.

The steak was tender, I liked the addition of the pickles, and egg yolk. The pickled mushroom was a nice surprising addition. I relished every mouthful.

Having had a steak tartare from Cote recently, it was interesting to compare the two dishes. The plate from Polka was so much better, both in terms of presentation, flavours and texture. Almost no competition in that comparison.

For my main course I was torn between a range of choices, but in the end went with the pork tenderloin stuffed with chicken and saffron, wrapped in Serrano ham, and  served with lentils, spinach, and mushrooms.

plate of food

Another lovely presented dish. I did at one point wonder what the red sauce on the side was, and then realised it was the pattern on the plate. The plates were very pretty, but wonder if they distracted you from the food. Ah well not a huge issue for me.

The pork was nice, but I wasn’t that impressed with the chicken and saffron stuffing. I never noticed or tasted the saffron, and the chicken was rather bland. The rest of the dish though was really tasty. The lentils were delicious, and I liked the mushrooms with the spinach.

 I did think about pudding, but was quite full after two wonderful plates of food. They do have an excellent range of cakes and pastries though, so it was quite tempting.

The service was excellent, welcoming and friendly. The food was served efficiently, but I never felt rushed.

Time for some more Tapas

Last July I went to La Rueda, a tapas bar in Ealing in London. We had an excellent meal of different tapas dishes. In my review I said:

Overall the food was beautiful cooked and it was delicious. I do hope to visit La Rueda again.

It has been a while, but last month I made a return visit to La Rueda and had some excellent tapas again.

La Rueda Tapas Bar is a one-of-a-kind culinary establishment with a menu inspired by the idea of simple and honest cooking. Starting in 2000, we developed a unique dining experience for all of our guests using fresh and sustainable ingredients—taking you on a culinary journey like no other. From classic recipes to new-age kitchen adventures, each dish reflects our passion for high-quality food presented in a simple yet pleasing manner. 

I was given a friendly warm welcome. I looked over the menu. I decided to go for three dishes, a salad, a fish dish, and a meat dish. I went with choices that I wouldn’t normally choose.

For my salad choice I went with the Tomate Y Cebolla – Tomatoes & Onions salad.

Tomate Y Cebolla

The tomatoes were nice and fresh, and the sharpness of the red onions was a nice contrast. The salad was seasoned well.

For the meat dish I went with the Carrilleras de cerdo ibérico – Ibérico pork cheeks braised in Sherry.

Carrilleras de cerdo ibérico

I had seen this on the menu before and liked the sound of it. There was two portions of pork cheek, the cooking sauce, and some deep friend potato strings. The pork was tender and full of flavour. The crispiness of the potato add some textural variety. I think I would have liked some bread with this dish.

For my fish dish I was tempted to have the octopus that I had last year. I also liked the idea of the grilled sardines. However, in the end I chose the Boquerones fritos – fried fresh anchovies.

Boquerones fritos

This dish was similar to whitebait, but the anchovies were bigger. They were nice and crisp, and I liked the aioli, slaw, and lemon. 

I really enjoyed all three dishes.

That is not Roast Beef Tenderloin

I was in London I was staying at the Crowne Plaza in Ealing and I had dinner in the hotel restaurant. They have an extensive menu with some interesting choices.

I had mixed opinions about my previous meal at the Crowne Plaza, so wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this meal.

For my starter I went with the Creamy Mushroom Toast – sliced mushroom in rich creamy garlic sauce served on toasted bread with balsamic glaze.

This was an interesting starter. It didn’t blow me away. There was probably too much sauce and not enough mushrooms.

When I had looked at the menu before arriving at the hotel I was quite intrigued by this on the menu. Roast Beef Tenderloin – medium cooked beef served with truffle mash potato, roasted root vegetables & thyme gravy.

I did a google search for “Roast Beef Tenderloin” and liked the look of what I saw.

So when it came to the meal, for me it was a bit of a no-brainer, and I ordered the Roast Beef Tenderloin. You can imagine my disappointment when what was served at the table was this.

Though I don’t think this was roast beef tenderloin at all… also it had been cooked on the griddle! It was nice, but I hadn’t ordered steak 

The truffle mash potato didn’t have a real truffle taste, which was a pity. I had some truffle mash from M&S a few months back and that had a really nice truffle kick to it, this one didn’t. It was though nice and smooth. I liked the roasted root vegetables.

This wasn’t the dish I thought it was going to be, it was something of a disappointment. Part of my knew I should have complained at the time, but I didn’t. Part of the reason was that I knew that they probably couldn’t do very much. I don’t think they would have changed the grilled steak for roast beef tenderloin. They may have said I could have something else from the menu, but I had chosen the beef. I certainly wouldn’t order it again if I ever return to the Crowne Plaza.

Time for a Fiorentina

Fiorentina Pizza

I had arrived in Ealing early and had some time before I could check into my hotel. I did quite fancy pizza and I had enjoyed my pizza from Franco Manca when I last had pizza for lunch in Ealing.

I went for a walk, despite thinking I would have pizza for lunch, I did walk around first. I did wonder if the La Rueda Spanish Tapas Bar had a lunch offer, having enjoyed my tapas dinner there the previous week. They didn’t.

I decided I would go to Rosa’s Thai for lunch, but when I got there, it was empty. Decided, that was a no, I don’t really like eating in an empty restaurant.

So, what was I going to have for lunch, decided I would have a pizza at Franca Manca. I went in and there didn’t appear to be any staff, I waited, and then I waited some more. I then walked out.

I headed to Reineta for lunch, this time their lunch menu matched their online lunch menu. However, I didn’t really fancy a toastie or a sandwich. I left and went back to Franca Manca. Again, I waited, I waited some more, then I walked out again. 

So, I headed to Pizza Express, this time I was given a warm welcome, so I took a seat and looked over the menu. I had a special offer on the app, so I used them to have a Classic Fiorentina Pizza.

The one with the ‘egg and spinach’, plus mozzarella, tomato, Gran Milano cheese, black olives and garlic oil.

It arrived in good time. It looked really nice.  I’ve had this pizza quite a few times and it is one of my favourite pizza from Pizza Express. I like the spinach, olives and egg. I was a little disappointed that the egg was cooked solid, but overall, I did enjoy the pizza. It was good value for money, I had good service and I didn’t need to wait!