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.

Coffee at the Rada Cafe


Close to the Adagio Aparthotel in Brentford, one of the regular places I stay in London is the Rada Cafe. Though I have been staying at the Adagio for a few years now, I have never been to the Rada Cafe. The main reason was that either I arrived late at the hotel or left early to catch a train. Usually though I would have coffee in the apartment, as they have an Nespresso coffee machine.

The other week I arrived at the Adagio early afternoon and my room wasn’t ready. So I popped over to the Rada Cafe across the road and ordered a cortado. I do like it when ordering coffee in a cafe, they let you sit down and bring it over. Not quite table service, but so much better than hanging around a counter waiting (and in some cases it feels like fighting) for your coffee.

This was a lovely coffee, well made, and delicious.

When I left the Adagio later that week, I had some time before my train home, so I went for another coffee, and another excellent experience. 

I think next time I stay at the Adagio I will make the time to pop to the Rada for another coffee.

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.

Bleeding Heart

Street cafe

I was in London for a meeting and the plan was that we would go out for dinner. The place had been chosen, the Bleeding Heart Bistro. The Bleeding Heart Bistro, is situated in the Bleeding Heart Yard just off Greville St in the heart of the City of London. It is a French style bistro with pavement cafe seating. There is no traffic in the yard and the enclosed space is free from traffic. We sat outside and it really felt like we were somewhere in France. The tables, the canopy over the tables; along with the red and white theme, really set the scene for a French dining experience.

The service was excellent, efficient, friendly, and we never felt rushed or hurried.

Originally, when the dinner was planned, we had been provided with a fixed set menu, which was rather limited and to be honest disappointing. So I was quite pleased when the decision was made to go with the full a la carte menu. Lots more choice of lovely sounding food.

For my starter I went with the stuffed courgette flower filled with lemon ricotta.

I have never had a stuffed courgette flower before, though I have seen them on cooking programmes many times. In many ways this was a no-brainer for me to try this dish. However there were lots of other dishes in the menu that sounded delicious. It was hard to make a choice.

It was a really nice plate of food. The stuffing was light and fresh, the flower in the light batter was nice and crisp. I was pleased I had tried it. Would I have it again, I would probably choose something else from the menu. It was nice, but I wasn’t blown away by the dish.

For my main course, I went with the lobster and fries.  I have cooked lobster myself and I did wonder how it would be if it was cooked in a top restaurant like the Bleeding Heart. I got half a lobster, a portion of fries, and some herb butter.

The lobster was delicious, full of flavour. Though I enjoyed the dish, I think though if I was to repeat the experience I would have chosen something else. It wasn’t as special as I thought it was going to be.

We didn’t have dessert, though I wasn’t tempted by the cheese board on offer.

Would I go again, yes I would, it was a lovely place to eat and we had a fantastic meal.

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.

Raspberry Bicolour Brioche

I got a TooGoodToGo magic bag from the Cord Cafe on Fleet Street. In my bag I got a cherry croissant, a baguette, and a brioche.

Raspberry Bicolour Brioche

This wasn’t any old brioche, this was a  bicolour brioche, with a raspberry compote insert, garnished with both fresh raspberries and freeze-dried raspberries.

This was a rather tasty brioche.

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.