Breakfast Time in Wimbledon

I was staying in Wimbledon at the Hotel du Vin and staying overnight I had breakfast a couple of times.

Unlike a lot of hotel chains, there wasn’t a full buffet breakfast. You helped yourself to toast, croissant, fruit, and so on. However for hot food though you ordered off the menu. It was a similar story with hot drinks.

I did like the fact that I could order a “proper” coffee of my choice with my breakfast, so I went with a double espresso. This was much nicer than the filtered coffee you usually have at hotel breakfasts.

There was a fair few choices on the menu, Eggs Benedict, Avocado on Toast, Grilled Kipper. In the end though I went with the Classic Full Cooked Breakfast. This was Cumberland sausage, sweet cured bacon, black pudding, grilled tomato, mushroom and eggs (cooked to your liking). I went with poached eggs.

Having taken my order the breakfast was cooked to order. The kitchen was in the Orangery at the hotel, so I could (if I was closer) see my breakfast being cooked. My breakfast then arrived on the table.

Classic Full Cooked Breakfast

I have to say I was a little disappointed. The bacon didn’t look that appetising. However it was nice and fresh, and did taste delicious. I enjoyed the tomato and mushroom, the sausage and black pudding were good, and the eggs were cooked well.

On the second day I was there, I went with the same classic breakfast and this was much better.

Classic Full Cooked Breakfast

The bacon this time looked a lot nicer, but otherwise it was much the same as the day before (consistency is a good thing).

Overall, despite my initial (minor) disappointment, this was a nice breakfast. The continental selection was good, nice choice of jams  and butter. Excellent coffee as well.

Porchetta Bianca Pizza

I was staying in Wimbledon at the Hotel du Vin and had dinner a couple of times in their Italian themed restaurant. I had a nice starter of Ministrone Soup. I even surprised myself and went for a pizza for my main course, the Porchetta Bianca Pizza.

This was a white pizza topped with slow roasted pork belly with rosemary, mozzarella, mascarpone, white truffle oil and pecorino.

The base was really nice, as this was a white pizza there was no tomato on the base. There was ample toppings, and I did like the flavour of the pork belly, which contrasted well with the mascarpone cheese.

This was an excellent pizza, I would have liked more truffle oil though.

Alongside my Pizza I went with the Zucchini Fritti, which was thin strips (or shoestrings) of courgette deep fried. They were rather moreish.

What should I have?

I enjoyed my last visit to Bills on Baker Street in July. So it was with some anticipation we headed there for dinner on a visit to London. Bills has an interesting dining environment, the different branches seem familiar, but different at the same time. The Baker Street branch appears to be smaller than other Bills I have been to.

Upon entering we were given a warm welcome, we had booked, and were shown to our table. One of the things I have found with Bills is that the menu changes quite often, so even though you may think, well I have that next time I visit, sometimes those very things disappear. So it does make, making a choice that little bit harder.

I was expecting to see the set menu we had in July, but it had changed already. It had gone up by two pounds and had lost the steak and chicken dishes we had had back then. So after reviewing what was on the set menu, we looked at the main menu.

While the rest of the table went with steak and chips, I wanted something different.

I was tempted by the chargrilled lamb rump. However having had an outstanding lamb rump in 2018 from the (now sadly closed) Cattle & Co in Euston, I knew I would have high expectations. The menu description of marinated lamb rump steaks I knew I might be disappointed. The sound of the Black & Gold Burger was quite tempting.

Chargrilled beef patty topped with cheese & truffle fondue, 24 carat gold flakes & grated black truffle. Served with rosemary salted fries.

As was the description of the Triple Truffle Shuffle Burger from the specials menu.

Topped with truffle mac & cheese, white truffle oil & dusted with freshly grated truffle. Served with rosemary fries

However I didn’t really fancy a burger, having only had one the other day in Harwell.

In the end I went with a dish I had been tempted to before on previous visits to Bills, which was the Lobster & Seafood Linguine.

Lobster & Seafood Linguine

Lobster, king prawn & squid in a rich tomato & chilli cream sauce with lemon oil.

The dish was nicely presented.

There was a nice lot of seafood in the pasta dish, which meant as you ate the dish you kept finding prawns, squid and lobster on your fork. Some places I have eaten this kind of dish, you get a meagre amount of seafood. I wasn’t overly impressed with the lobster, which either lacked flavour or was overpowered by the sauce. If it wasn’t there I don’t think I would have missed it, which was a pity.

I did enjoy the dish, I liked the cherry tomatoes with the pasta. Though I think it wouldn’t be something I would order again, if it was still on the menu. It didn’t blow me away. 

As for the rest of the table, well they all went with chargrilled 8oz sirloin steak with rosemary fries.

chargrilled 8oz sirloin steak with rosemary fries

They all enjoyed their dishes, but they did say I cooked a better steak.

Service was excellent, efficient and friendly. 

Overall we had a really nice meal.

Vegan yasai katsu curry

We had spent the day in London and were back in Ealing and decided to get something to eat and headed to Wagamama.

As it was more late afternoon, than early evening, there was no queue and we were quickly shown to our table. I started looking over the menu. I was torn between choosing the vegan yasai katsu curry or the yasai yaki soba, both of which I have had before.

What I actually wanted, was a proper seafood ramen, which Wagamama no longer have on the menu and haven’t had so for a while. I think I will need to look elsewhere for that kind of dish.

As I had had the yasai yaki soba quite recently I went with the vegan yasai katsu curry.

My dish arrived quite quickly and is a substantial dish.

I got two slices of sweet potato, a slice of butternut squash and a smaller slice of aubergine. All were coated and deep fried in crispy panko breadcrumbs. They were served with sticky white rice and coated in an aromatic katsu curry sauce. On the side was a dressed salad and some Japanese pickled ginger.

I enjoyed the dish, the vegetables were crispy, but you could still taste the vegetable. I liked the aromatic katsu curry sauce. The salad was a refreshing addition.

Time for some Risotto Nero

I was staying in Wimbledon at the Hotel du Vin and had dinner a couple of times in their Italian themed restaurant. I had a nice starter of Fritto Misto. I went with fish for my main course and had the Risotto Nero.

Roasted scallops and squid seared in the pan served on a black squid ink risotto.

You have to say that the dish is very black, very black indeed.

A few weeks ago I had a squid ink paella and it was also very black. I have to say that it didn’t  look that appetising, however it was very tasty. There was squid and prawns in the rice. I am not sure I would have it again, but I am glad I tried it and it was good. So seeing the risotto nero on the menu I decided that I would give this squid ink dish a try.

Well the risotto I had was also very black. However the scallops and squid had been cooked separately and were added to the dish at the end. So it did look much nicer.

The risotto was al dente, and was quite good. It didn’t have the flavour of the paella, but I did enjoy it. The scallops were cooked well and were nice. The squid, was a little over cooked for me.

Overall I did enjoy the dish.

Fritto Misto

I was staying in Wimbledon at the Hotel du Vin and had dinner a couple of times in their Italian themed restaurant. The restaurant was in the Orangery, and to be honest the air conditioning was turned up a little too much for me, as it felt quite chilly.

On another evening I looked over the menu and went with the Fritto Misto for my starter, which was also available as a main course.

The dish comprised deep fried squid, tiger prawns, mullet and anchovies, set on a bed of ailiol and served with lemon.

The dish was garnished with some chilli and herbs. I am not sure how authentic the chilli is, something I see at Wagamama on their chilli, squid. I picked off the chill and squeezed some lemon juice onto the dish.

The batter was thin and crispy. You could taste the fish in the dish. The aioli was a little rough, but was okay.

Time for some Ministrone Soup

I was staying in Wimbledon at the Hotel du Vin and had dinner a couple of times in their Italian themed restaurant. The restaurant was in the Orangery, and to be honest the air conditioning was turned up a little too much for me, as it felt quite chilly.

For my starter I went with the Ministrone Soup. I don’t usually order soup, but I decided I would try something different and go with the soup this time.

This was a chunky vegetable soup with orzo and cavolo nero, served with toasted Altmura bread.

Well that was what was described on the menu. The soup was dressed with parmesan cheese and some fresh pesto. The soup was full of flavour, but I did wonder where the orzo pasta was. 

Minestrone is usually a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice, sometimes both.

I did enjoy the soup, but I think it was missing something. I did mention this, and the manager came over, but the explanation was rather weak, it would appear I was supposed to as for extra orzo. How would I do that if I assumed the soup with come with orzo. Ah well, I still enjoyed the soup.

Devon Crab & Avocado Tostadas

The last time I went to Wahaca it was just before lockdown. In May 2022 I was up in London for an event with my son, and afterwards we decided to get something to eat. Our first choice was Bills in Victoria, but they were full. So, I suggested that we head to Oxford Circus and go to Wahaca. We caught a tube across London.

We arrived to find there was a bit of a wait for a table, well it was a Friday evening in London, not too surprising. We decided that we would wait. It wasn’t too long before a table was free, we sat down and looked over the menu.

We chose six dishes, the last of these I am reviewing is the Devon Crab & Avocado Tostadas. We also had the Mexico City nachos, and three plates of tacos, as well as some crispy cauliflower bites.

The Devon Crab & Avocado Tostadas were dressed in chipotle mayo, served with pink pickled onions.

I really enjoyed these crispy tostadas. The crab and avocado was fresh. The chipotle mayo added heat without overpowering the dish. The pink pickled onions added sharpness and crunch. Overall a really tasty dish.

tama squid

Staying in London I headed to Wagamama in Ealing. I had a the yasai yaki soba for my main, but I also wanted a side dish as well.

I chose the tama squid, which are crispy fried squid balls, drizzled with okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise. finished with aonori and bonito flakes.

tama squid

I thought they looked great. These were crispy with a smooth centre. The okonomiyaki sauce was tasty, the aonori and bonito flakes added flavour and texture.

I really quite enjoyed them.

Soft Cauliflower Bites

The last time I went to Wahaca it was just before lockdown. In May 2022 I was up in London for an event with my son, and afterwards we decided to get something to eat. Our first choice was Bills in Victoria, but they were full. So, I suggested that we head to Oxford Circus and go to Wahaca. We caught a tube across London.

We arrived to find there was a bit of a wait for a table, well it was a Friday evening in London, not too surprising. We decided that we would wait. It wasn’t too long before a table was free, we sat down and looked over the menu.

We chose six dishes, the one we started with, was the Mexico City nachos, and we had three plates of tacos.

We had a side dish of the crispy cauliflower bites. These are deep fried buttermilk-battered florets of cauliflower, with roast jalapeño allioli.

This is one of my favourite dishes from Wahaca. I remember the first time I had them back in 2019.

These sounded really interesting and they looked great and tasted even better. I was really pleased to have ordered these. The little florets of cauliflower were covered in a light buttermilk batter, deep fried and were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The roast serrano allioli was interesting and really worked well with the cauliflower. I think this was my favourite dish of the trio I ordered and would like to have them again.

I have had the dish a few times again since then.

This time, well, to describe the cauliflower as crisp, would be plain wrong. The florets were quite soft. I think they had been cooked and left for too long. The flavours though were excellent.