I do love Italians and Italian food. As a people they are flamboyant and charming and their food with its simplicity at times is the same.
QP LDN, previously named Quattro Passi has been around since 2014, yet recently went through a change and revamp. The menu was updated as well as the introduction of its new late-night bar and lounge located beneath the restaurant, QP Lounge.
Situated in the heart of Mayfair on Dover Street next to the Victoria Beckham and Christian Louboutin boutiques, QP LDN is the sister restaurant to the two Michelin-starred Quattro Passi in Nerano, Italy - widely considered to be the Amalfi coast’s top restaurant. Top billing and a reason for my excitement to be invited to this restaurant.
QP LDN focuses its menu and prides itself on keeping true to Amalfi and the ingredients are flown in from Italy. This quality is why this restaurant is very popular to many famous people such as Prince Andrew, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Kofi Annan, Valentino, Kylie Minogue, Hugh Grant and Anne Hathaway. On the night, Laura and I were there, they were filming Made in Chelsea in the lounge too. I didn't see anyone and to be honest, I probably would not have recognised anyone either.
Laura and I got to QP quite early; we enjoy our early nights. We were actually there before the kitchen staff, so went to the bar and ordered ourselves some cocktails. I went for a Tequila based cocktail which was zingy and tasty and packed a little sidekick (not punch).
Whilst we sipped on our drinks, we could see the team going through their prep for a big evening. This was an intriguing look into the restaurant world and probably a really important part of the whole process. For me it is a dining occasion for them it is their livelihood, business and hopefully passion.
I was not too prepared for this trip and when the menu was handed over, the options all looked good. I didn't know where to start. To avoid any FOMO or confusion we asked the waiter to recommend food for us.
Italian food from the Amalfi had me thinking of a holiday there and not much else. However, when the waiter went over the options and what we should have I was won over.
What we had is:
A sharing starter of duck with banana purée.
Two anti-pastas of linguine with zucchini and one with crab
For main course I had a rack of lamb and Laura had the freshly flown fish from the Mediterranean, which was a fillet of line caught Sea Bass with Zucchini cream and Mediterranean sauce).
The food at QP was really good and I do definitely want to go back.
Italian food focuses on making simple ingredients good and this is done here but then elevated. Even from the bread selection to the desserts, subtle differences go a long way.
The bread basket or tray was focused on focaccia and crispy bread sticks. The seasoning on the focaccia and the use of certain herbs got our senses tingling straight away. The salt and the rosemary put an aroma in the air and with the nice ambience, this created a lovely romantic feel.
The roast duck which we had as a starter was cooked perfectly and then the elegance and change came frome the banana purée. This dish was definitely a surprise and to be honest one of the last dishes I would expect on an Italian menu. However, it was an interesting surprise and a different way to start the night, banana and duck isn't the best combo. ( this is now off the menu).
The duck was our first starter and then we went greedy and shared two more starters. I blame the Italian menu, which for all of us foodies is a godsend. You get anti-pasta and then more pasta, almost like two main courses. Hooray
We had asked for the waiters recommendation and he suggested their linguine with zucchini and almost their spaghetti with crab. We wanted. It's but had also just eaten duck. The waiter then blew our mind with a crazy and amazing idea, split the two starters into two and we could then have both. Genius. Therefore one starter with the best of both pastas.
The linguine and the spaghetti were both delightful. The Zucchini dish was our preferred one and I think this was due to the Parmesan sauce. Creamy and light but with the fried zucchini bringing the pasta together.
The crab came with a tomato sauce and a nice freshness of the Amalfi coast. Mamma Mia whadda way to eat Pasta! Sorry about that. Fresh crab and a tasty tomato sauce, win. Fried zucchini with Parmesan, win. These two anti-pastas were lovely and shows the importance of listening to the experts.
The main course continued the theme of the evening, with good food present. The menu at QP is seasonal and on this evening the lamb cooked medium rare, came with a parsnip purée and red cabbage. It was a really good dish with juicy meat, sweet and tangy veg all served beautifully together.
lauras fish was equally nice, although she felt it was a bit too fishy. This usually means it is not that fresh, which was a surprise and disappointing. However, I tried some and disagreed. Maybe it is the pregnancy.
The final dish, The Tiramisu, was a great way to end a delightful and eventful evening. A subtle change was evident here with a crispy base added to the layers of cream and coffee. Smooth, crunch, cream and bite. Being Italian the Tiramisu was nice and rich and left is both feeling well indulged and on the way to a good coma. QP, well done.
Good good dining at its best is simple. QP offers Amalfi coast goodness in the heart of the west end. Being in Mayfair means you do pay that bit extra for quality but I feel it is worth the experience. Maybe not a frequent location but definitely a special occasion type of place.
This is it- I have to do 10 this year.
The Burger Challenge is back and The Map and Route is here.
Please do join me on my stops and MORE IMPORTANTLY, support Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity.
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Smell is so important for taste AND local restaurants are so important for laziness. Pure Cyprus, a stones throw away from Finsbury Park offers Greek cuisine for the local folk.
Greek food for me is mezze delights such as Hummous, tahini, tzakiki and halloumi for starters. Then followed by kebab and finally some sweet baklava.
We like the classics and this was exactly what we went for, but not as a Mezze. My initial craving was purely for the kebab but then reading the rest of the menu made me want more. Tahini and Halloumi especially stood out for me. We ordered and we consumed. The starters were good and tasty and with some pitta bread added it was filling up our bellies fast.
It was a quiet 2017 Tuesday night and the restaurant was not very busy. The waiter was attentive and we didn't need to wait at all to order our food or between courses.
For main course, I ordered the lamb kebab and Laura went for Kelftiko (slow cooked lamb). The lamb kebab was well seasoned and covered in garnish of parsley and some onion. The Classic and simple way.
The Kelftiko was and is a longer process of cooking. The meat was slow cooked and marinated with garlic, lemon and oil. This was tender and juicy and fatty too, which is important for that extra flavour. Good in terms of taste as well as portion size too.
A good local restaurant with good food. Not a quick and cheap eat, but a nice cosy restaurant on the back streets of Finsbury Park. It will be interesting to see what happens to Pure Cyprus Kebabs after the regeneration in the area. I wish them all the best of luck.
How do you end 2016? By visiting the new restaurant of the year Temper.
Temper is the child of Neil Rankin, a chef who began his career working in many top places and under some top chefs such as Michael Wignall and Nuno Mendes. From here, Neil went on to dominate his arena of smoked food and charcoal with Barbecoa, Pitt Cue and the Smokehouse restaurants.
In partnership with Managing Director, Sam Lee, Neil Rankin launched temper at the end of 2016 and almost instantly this place has become a fan favourite and a foodie destination.
With a few foodie friends, on New Years Eve we went to temper for drinks and more importantly some good food. New years Eve is always a strange night to go out as most bars or restaurants double the price of everything. Thankfully, temper, kept their prices at the same level and just wanted people to enjoy their food.
In my mind, this was a great way to end 2016 and an even better way to start 2017.
Like Pitt Cue and Smokehouse, the menu at temper is quite brief, this in my mind is a good thing. You do not want to be exploring a menu for ages to find that good dish. Everythign should be good and you want to be able to eat all the good food too.
As there was seven of us, it meant we could order basically everything on the menu and share it between us; so we did.
Snacks to start, Tacos as the starters and then the smoked and grilled meat with sides to finish. Sounds good.
What did we get:
- Everything almost.
We ordered all the Tacos minus the miso pork (three portions of the aged cheeseburger). From the smoked and grilled meat section, we ordered every dish there and for sides we went for all in bar the corn. Quite a feast to end 2016.
So what stood out and would I recommend?
Set in the heart of Soho, off and on Broadwick street, Temper takes you down to a smoked meats and grilled food celebration. Neil has taken what he loves and knows and continued it with this restaurant.
Moving on from Pitt Cue and Smokehouse, Rankin steps up the game with more delicious food and a new vibe for his fans. As chilled as always and with good food to compliment the vibe, Temper will be a place for all to attend.
Go as a group as this will let you share as much of the menu as possible. For Vegetarians, it is probably not the best place to go, but for everyone else, put in on your 2017 list.
London is getting more niche and demanding. People want what they want, when they want.
And now, if you want a Biryani only restaurant, you can now have it. DUM Biryani House on Wardour Street in Soho provides you with exactly this. I was lucky to go last year and have asked its owner Dhruv Mittal to be interviewed, to understand his inspirations as an owner, chef and pioneer of this new restaurant.
After working in the City as a Project Manager, Dhruv decided to follow his passion and change career paths. Leaving City life, he retrained at Le Cordon Bleu as a French Cuisine and Patisserie Chef, going on to work in the finest Michelin-star restaurants with amazing Chefs, including Claude Bosi from Hibiscus, Sat Bains, and Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck.
Again following his heart, he undertook a culinary journey through India to rediscover traditional recipes, while working with The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts in both Mumbai and Agra. With all that he has learnt, he has opened DUM Biryani House on Wardour Street in Soho.
Who inspired you to open a Biryani restaurant?
Karam Sethi is someone I really look up to. The way that he’s transformed Indian cuisine in London, with the focus on fine-dining, really inspires me to do the same, but in a more affordable and casual form for millennials. What inspired me to open a biryani restaurant specifically was one thing: the lack of authentic regional Indian cuisine at affordable prices, and especially ones aimed at the younger generation.
What do you want your customers to think of DUM Biryani?
Casual, intimate, original, and more than anything – true to Hyderabadi biryani.
When did you first want to be a restaurant owner?
I first wanted to be a restaurant owner when I was 16. I was (and obviously still am) passionate about food which is a big reason why it became my dream, but restaurants were also where I had my fondest memories of big family gatherings, where everyone came together over a good meal and enjoyed themselves.
Where do you see Indian food in London going?
I see traditional Indian takeaways and restaurants slowly dying out, due to their lack of authenticity as Londoners continue to become more informed about Indian cuisine in general. I also think there’s a large gap in the market, which is slowly being filled, by modern Indian restaurants and contemporary Indian dining where chefs and restauranteurs are taking Indian food to the next level using modern techniques with traditional Indian flavours.
Why hip hop music in a Biryani restaurant?
Which 5 restaurants are your favourite in London?
Hakkasan Hanway Place
Berber and Q
Dhruv, Thank you so much.
For both the food and for the interview.
Well fed and well spoken, do go to DUM Biryani house. It will feel you up and great music too.