Category Archives: Seafood

Makiyaki

We love sushi, we really do! Makiyaki in Wimbledon has been on the sushi hit list for a while now so on a hot summers day it was the perfect cuisine to have.

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To start with we had Natsu Agedashi. Loved this dish, we are aubergine fans and love to try dishes belonging to our purple veg pal. The dish consists of pieces of aubergine deep fried in katsu crumbs and served in warm house soya sauce. It was sweet and savoury all at once.

We went all out on the sushi but have to admit it will take weekly visits for about two months till we get through the menu.

01833831aca70cb6c10e236e3e4ab488c62baf2ed5We had the Scallop Volcano which had an eruption of caviar on top. The sushi had scallops as the name suggests, octopus, crab stick, shrimp and red snapper. It was pretty sweet and I just loved the soft texture throughout. It all just melted in your mouth and was such a joy to eat.

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The Kingston was another hit with tempura prawns and chilli. Very yummy and I do love a good crunch in the centre.

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The Salmon Tampura Roll was another favourite with a juicy piece of soft avocado in the centre. I have never had salmon tempura but it just make the fish even more flakey.

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The presentation at Makiyaki I must say needs a bit of work especially when you are competing with the likes of Stick’n’Sushi down the street. I like to think of sushi as an art form and as you can see from the pictures it doesn’t have the high finishing skills we are used to seeing. Nevertheless, the flavours and textures are good.

The staff are lovely and the interior is so quant.

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We do look forward to returning and sampling the other million sushi types on offer at Makiyaki.

Makiyaki
149 Merton Rd, London SW19 1ED

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Crab Tavern

Crab Heaven is what Crab Tavern should actually be called. This restaurant sits in the middle of the city in Broadgate Circle. I love the idea of the this place, crab and seafood galour without a pretentious interior. It has such a chilled out and welcoming vibe.
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We came here to dine on a Monday and were amazed to see a Monday offer of bottomless cocktails and shrimps for £20. I mean what a bargain (when you look at the prices, you will see what I mean). Now we would have totally gone for that deal but really wanted to sample the menu so we could give you a more well rounded review.

We decided to grab a couple of starters and sides which is our loved tactic to be able to try lots of food especially when we can’t decide on what to eat.
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Upon the waitresses recommendation we tried the Crab Tavern Platter which consists of crab served in four different ways. Each with a different type of crab. This dish costs £10 per person and in terms of value for money it pretty much is a bargain when you think about the quality of seafood that you are getting, each of crab was fresh, sweet, flakey and juicy.

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My personal favourite on this platter was the soft shell crab which was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside just, with a hint of spice on the shell, just the way I like it.

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We also, tried the oysters, naturally. Big and juicy. They were served with the traditional accompaniment of lemon and red wine vinegar which made the flavours from the oysters pop.

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I really think I need to perfect my oyster eating skills as I think I am the most unattractive oyster eater out there, even though it’s an aphrodisiac I think if I was with a guy they would think twice before dating me again. One day I’ll be a sophisticated as Elena, one day (que, water eyes).

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IMG_1551For sides we decide to go for asparagus and beans and also a side of fries, again a great recommendation from the waitress. The beans and asparagus were tender but still had a bite to them. They were lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. The fries were lovely, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, seasoned and served with mayo, yum.

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We never go to the city often to dine out but you forget how perfect it is to dine out in the evenings. The city is deserted during the evenings so it makes the perfect hustle and bustle free location to dine. Reservations are often not needed as its so quiet but I would check if your desired location is open as a few restaurants randomly close not sticking to their publicised opening times.

Can’t wait to return on my next seafood craving.

Crab Tavern
Unit, 7 Broadgate Cir, London EC2M 2QS

The Oyster Shed

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I work just across the river from Oyster Shed and every Thursday and Friday I observe large gatherings of people spilling out of the pub onto the Thames river bank. It surely looked like a fun place to be, so one day I finally made a table booking and went there with two girlfriends for after work dinner and drinks.

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We sat at a dinner table on the mezzanine level, which gave us pretty views of the river and the bar downstairs. Carefully booked for sunset time, we enjoyed sipping Prosecco while watching the colour of the sky change from yellow to pink and finally deep burgundy. The decor of the place has an eclectic nautical theme. Tables are nicely spaced out with some long wooden benches and more private cosy corners.

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Since we found ourselves in a place called Oyster Shed it would have been silly not to try their oysters. Half a dozen makes a perfect starter! They were served with classic garnish of shallots in red wine vinaigrette and a wedge of lemon. Although meaty and with good flavor, I wish the chef taken  greater care when shucking them, as I constantly felt small pieces of shells in my mouth.

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Flushed down with another glass of Prosecco we moved onto our mains. I ordered grilled salmon, which was perfect. It came with just enough potatoes and veg n the side so you didn’t feel like you’ve just stuffed your face.

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Desserts is always the highlight of any get together with girlfriends and this one was no exception. Eton Mess with berries – gorgeous! And chocolate fondant of course…!!!

The Oyster Shed
1 Angel Lane, London EC4R 3AB

Paris: Le Bar à Huîtres

Summer is officially here! Time to put away your hibernation suits and nip outside for some of that goodness they call sunshine. And what’s even better how about catching a quick train Paris? In two hours you will find yourself in the middle of foodie capital.

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We went to Paris purely for pleasure. Weather was hot and sun was beaming, after lying on the grass of Place des Vosges for hours and hours we realized that we were mighty hungry. The restaurant we chose to lunch at was on the other side of Paris and required about an hour of leg work.

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As we made our way out of the park, we were blasted by chilled wind from the air con. This was the outdoor area of Le Bar à Huîtres and before our eyes lay a mountain of seafood. My friend has a fetish for oysters, so we absolutely had to stop for a snack.

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I’m sure you think it’s madness to have seafood on the side of the road, but when you are there, having a chilled glass of white wine while slurping down oysters feels incredible chic. Parisians that walk by do not even bat an eye lid, and for one second you think ‘OMG I am one of them! And not just another tourist falling for a gimmick’.

15 euros got you a small platter and a glass of wine. Very good value in my opinion. Oysters were huge and came with effortless topping of red wine shallots.

After this perfect refreshment we were ready to take on busy streets of Paris.

Le Bar à Huîtres
33 Boulevard Beaumarchais
75003 Paris

The Paperworks

The pop up bar/restaurant/music venue of the summer. Set in between warehouses and the train tracks of elephant and castle this is the perfect venue for that Friday feeling.

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Walking into the venue you almost feel like you are at some sort of music festival which is so not my thing. However, with the crowed being young urban professionals like myself I was safe in the knowledge there would be no mosh pits or beer spraying. Instead I was knocking back prossecco like it was going out of fashion.

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There are a number of bars and food stands dotted all over the venue. My attention went straight to the lobster grill which had a long cue. I had to find out what the fuss was about. For half a lobster, salad and chips you pay £15 and have the food prepared in front of you. I was uber excited to watch my lobster sizzle away on the grill.
One thing I hadn’t really thought about was how I was going to eat this thing. There are some bench seating options which unfortunately for myself and my friends were taken up on this night. We ended up sitting on railway sleepers and eating off our laps. The next hurdle was how to eat the lobster with only a plastic knife and fork. I realised very early on that there would be a lot of wastage as there was no way I would be able to get all the meat off it with those. I have to admit it was a lot of fun trying.

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The lobster itself was not the freshest thing I have eaten nor was it meaty. The chips were the largest I have ever seen and were much better than the lobster. The salad was a bit of a waste as it wilted from the heat of the other food. Not worth the £15 price tag.

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Despite the food The Paperworks is a cool and chilled out venue. People sitting on the floor having a chin wag, bodies dancing in free spaces, live music blaring and every under the London Sky.

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Calm and happiness are the two things I will link to this little pop up. Great for a summers evening.

Ladies, word of warning, this is not a place for heels or suede shoes. You will be facing a range of different terrains: gravel, grit, stones and dirt. Play safe and stick to flats. I learnt the hard way.

The Paperworks
48-50 Newington Causeway, London
www.thepaperworks.co.uk

Crowd Restaurant

Being in Hong Kong a country surrounded in water you are guaranteed to have some amazing fish. We had to find the best seafood in Hong Kong and I’m pretty sure we have come close to it.

In the back streets of the Wan Chai district is a little restaurant where you see the integration of the expats and the locals over the fruits of the seas.

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Crowd Restaurant on Gresson St is a small local restaurant with no frills so expect to be seated shoulder to shoulder to strangers.

As we sat down to feast our expat friends started doing the most unusual things which we now understand are standard practice in places like these for good measure.

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The waiters gave us our chopsticks and crockery and a teapot of green tea. One of our friends proceeded to wash the chopsticks and crockery in the green tea to clean them. We noticed the other tables were also conducting this process. We found out that even though establishments like these washed their utensils people preferred to re-wash them for hygiene assurance.

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We ordered the famous Hong Kong hairy crab that everyone kept telling us about. We also ordered: razor clams, Thai seafood soup, scallop and prawn stir fried vermicelli noodles and sticky rice.

The hairy crab is covered in fried garlic which is lovely with the crab meat. It was the most expensive dish on their menu costing 200 HKD but so worth it. The crab is covered in batter and deep fried which makes you keep licking the shell. Damn, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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The razor clams look so odd, almost like small pieces of bamboo that have been split open. They are coated in black bean sauce so go great with the rice. The meat in the clams isn’t the perfect oval we are used to so prepared to pull something stringy looking out of the shell. Don’t worry, it tastes better than clams.

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Our favourite dish was the scallop and prawn stir fried vermicelli noodles. I for sure couldn’t stop eating it at all. The noodles we so light with a generous helping of scallops and prawns fresh from the sea.

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The Thai soup had a different range of fresh and tangy flavours which you naturally associate with Thai food.

The food came to a grand total of 680 HKD between five people were we’re stuffed. Paying £13.60 each for the amount of fresh seafood we consumed feels like we were almost stealing.

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If you don’t mind a tight squeeze in a charming local dine then definitely visit Crowd Restaurant.

Crowd Restaurant
14A Gresson St, Hong Kong

Fish Cafe

Isn’t Hampstead beautiful in the sunshine? We found ourselves wondering in the heath for hours, trying to soak in this lovely spring sun. Our walk certainly made us very hungry, wasting no time we popped into the first cafe we came across that was open for an early lunch.

Fish Cafe does what it says on the door. Their menu was a plethora of aquatic animals, all options available grilled or steamed. We kicked meal off with classic prawns in garlic butter. Couldn’t fault them, they were big and juicy. I loved fresh zingy salad that came with it.

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For me fish is something that is very hard to get wrong. The beauty of a well grilled piece is that it stays succulent and the accompanying dishes let the natural flavors of the fish shine. I like sea bream for it’s meatiness and the fact that there are not too many small bones, most coming apart from the meat when you pull the spine. My sea bream was juicy with nice crispy skin, steamed veg was presented in a fun manner, whole dish was simple but kind of perfect.

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Fish pie was another story. It’s a risky item to order unless you are by the seaside where pies come straight out of the oven. But our hungry tums always fall weak at the sight of a pie on the menu. This was a huge portion. Pastry was thick and the fish stuffing was a little bland, had to be fixed with a little salt and pepper.

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We were the only customers at the restaurant, at the end of our meal the manager of the restaurant came over for a chat. And what a chat it was! In less than twenty minutes we have felt we knew absolutely everything there is to know about Christian. Such a good laugh. He made us feel extremely welcome and for that reason we are very likely to come back.

Fish Cafe is a no fuss restaurant with uber fast service, I would definitely recommend popping in for some great grilled fish.

Fish Café
71 Hampstead High Street. Hampstead. London NW3 1QP.
http://www.villabiancagroup.co.uk/our-restaurants/fish-cafe/

Scott’s

For those that don’t know – Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair is famous for fish and finest oysters. This restaurant with buzzing atmosphere is great for celeb spotting, recently made famous by Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson. It’s main feature is a grand champaigne and oyster bar, which is truly an eye catching piece.

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We came here on a Sunday night and got a table in the corner, away from the crowds we thought but they quickly caught up with us. As it was very busy night, service was a little on the slow side and it was difficult to catch waiters attention. Not that we were in a hurry to eat, but a bit more looking after would have been a plus.

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We kicked the meal off with a dressed crab. It arrived out of the shell, which was a little dissapointing as you know I am a huge fan of getting messy (See here). But never the less it was seasoned perfectly, the meat retained all the moisture and sauce was very elegant.

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Next up was yellowtail and salmon sashimi with honey and yuzu dressing. This is a raw dish, with zestly sauce and fish that melts in your mouth – absolutely splendid!

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Quickly followed by tuna tartare with soya dressing and potato crisp. This starter, with lime squeezed over it, was quite delicious.Compared to yellowtail, tuna felt quite fatty and deep fried potato crisp didn’t do anything for the overall flavour so I have left mine on the side.

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We have buttered our breads in the anticipation of the famous Jersey Rocks oysters!

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Rock oysters are a cheaper oyster variety but don’t let that scare you off. They are a good option to go for because they are in season pretty much all year around. Rock oysters are also very succulent but don’t have that firm texture that some other types have, that I personally don’t like. These six were fresh, crisp and very satisfying!

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To end the meal on a sweet note, we got a little procecco, a few macarons and an irish coffee…decaf….with a little sugar..just the way I like it.

Great meal, but quite pricey, so I will keep in my little black book for an occasional treat.

Scott’s
20 Mount Street
London W1K 2HE
http://www.scotts-restaurant.com

Lisbon, Portugal: Cervejaria Ramiro

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When our hotel porter informed us that there would be a long wait for this seafood extravaganza we thought he was exaggerating a tad. However, he insisted that if we were in Lisbon we had to try Cervejaria Ramiroo which was according to him and other recommendation the best place for seafood in the whole of Portugal.

When we arrived on the street for the restaurant we saw the queue and growled a tad but never the less attached ourselves to the end and watched the tank of langoustines they had placed in the window for the ques entertainment. We waited for 45mins in total and we can confirm it was worth it.

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This place is not about the frills but truly about the freshest seafood Portugal has to offer at a ridiculously cheap price. The restaurant is cramped and the service is manic but you soon forget these things once you finally taste the fresh seafood.

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We ordered clams in garlic sauce, edible crab, oysters and garlic bread. Cervejaria Ramiro blew our minds and souls, the crab was the juiciest crab we have ever tasted and fellow customers didn’t mind my crab shells flying onto them, it was a whole lot of fun. You may start your meal trying to be dainty but five minutes in you are up to your elbows in ripping meat and deshelling, DEFINATELY not a sexy dine but a fun experience with friends or if you don’t mind getting down and dirty with a loved one.

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I originally thought garlic bread could only be made well by an Italian but boy were we wrong. Cervejaria Ramiro had the best garlic bread we have ever tasted. An odd combination as it sounds with seafood but it worked really well with the flavours.

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For the first meal we had on our trip to Portugal it was fun and fabulous. Well being us we then had to find places to beat it.

Star Rating: *****

Cervejaria Ramiro
Av. Almirante Reis nº1 – H, 1150-007 Lisboa, Portugal
www.cervejariaramiro.pt