Le Relais de Venise, Marylebone

One of London’s worst kept secrets, Le Relais de Venise is a bit of an institution amongst steak ‘n’ fries lovers for a very simple reason.

They do really good steak at a really good price.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

You don’t come for the decor.

To be honest the place feels like a somewhat-dated French café and has that same busy atmosphere as Paris’ local favourites.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

You don’t come for the service.

It’s better than what you’d get from most grumpy French waiters though. In a efficient, to-the-point, almost transactional sort of way.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

No, the only reason that keeps people queuing for both lunch and dinner is the quality of the food.

Now, if you don’t want salad, steak and fries, don’t go. That’s really all they serve at Le Relais de Venise.

The only thing you do get to choose is how you’d like your steak cooked: rare, medium or well done.

Though that last option is strongly frowned upon (sacrilège!)

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

You might also have to take your pick from the 10-something strong wine menu.

Featuring 3 reds, 3 whites, 1 rosé and some bubbly, all really quite good both in terms of taste & value for money, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

And then that’s it.

All that’s left to do is sit back, relax and get your teeth sunk into the set menu.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

First, Walnut salad with French mustard dressing and fresh baguette.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

Followed by the pièce de résistance, Le Relais de Venise’s signature Steak-Frites.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

Trimmed entrecôte steak, full of flavour and cooked beautifully, and drizzled with a generous amount of the ‘secret sauce’ (a herb-y, creamy concoction I’d swear contains sorrel) the place has become famous for since its Parisian early days.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

And a mountain of fries.

Don’t be fooled by how small the portions might seem from the above pictures. It’s only the case because at Relais, they do that amazing thing of only serving you half a portion at a time, thus garanteeing you get to eat every single bite while it’s still warm!

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + WhiskyLe Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + WhiskyLe Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

The dessert menu is full of homemade French classics including brilliant Profiteroles (choux buns stuffed with vanilla ice cream and served with hot chocolate sauce), but on our last visit, we couldn’t resist the traditional Crème Brûlée.

Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote review | Cake + Whisky

Good food, great value (we paid about £60 for two including drinks and service) & no agonising menu-pondering choices to make, Le Relais de Venise is just the spot when you want to focus on the people you’re sharing the meal with, whether it’s for a date, a long-time-no-see reunion or a casual business meeting.

The only down side? It’s a strictly no-reservation business, but since the company will be top notch, a little bit of queuing should be not problem…

Le Relais de Venise120 Marylebone Ln, Marylebone, London W1U 2QG

Le Relais de Venise, Marylebone

Diwali at Trishna

While most people spent the last weekend of October celebrating Halloween and relishing in exploring their (and London’s) dark side, we went the complete opposite way.

Celebrated in autumn, Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights. One of the major festivals of Hinduism, it represents the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

Celebrations include millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings. And of course, it wouldn’t be a holiday worth its name without a worthy feast.

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

Which for us translated into a cocktail-fuelled late-night dinner at Michelin-starred Trishna.

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

The bar menu includes many exotic twists on classic cocktails, with the Quinine Sour (created by sister restaurant Gymkhana) the most creative of the lot.

Basically a cross between a G&T and a citrus-y sour, with surprising, deeply savoury notes of curry leaf, it’s an unusual choice but one I thouroughly recommend you try.

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

There’s a lot you can tell about a restaurant from the nibbles they bring you before you even order, and Trishna’s bread selection was a clear sign of the team’s attention to detail and deeply ingrained sense of hospitality.

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

Coming with a side of the only mango chutney I’ve ever liked. Thick, slightly sour & subtly spiced, it was a wonder in its own right.

One of many more to come, to be honest.

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

Paneer Tikka Anardana, with corn, raw mango, pomegranate & mint chaat.

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

A delightfully light, vibrant dish of tandoor-roasted Indian cottage cheese, with sweet corn & tart pomegranate jewels.

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

Partridge pepper fry.

Trishna’s answer to fried chicken, the slightly battered bird is coated in a fiery sauce of Keralan spices, black pepper and sweet Indian onion.

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

Not one for the faint-hearted but delightful with just a little squeeze of lime juice!

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

But the real gem in Trishna’s starter crown is the Tandoori Lamb Chops.

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

Deeply smoky, super tender & caramelised meat, served alongside a refreshing, slightly mustardy radish slaw.

Quite simply perfect.

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

Mains are a very season-focused and a touch more traditional, with rather generous portion sizes (which means we totally over-ordered and I had Michelin-starred lunches for the rest of the week #winningatlife).

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

Tandoori duck (achari breast, keema naan, leg pickle, pineapple chutney)

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

Wild Mushroom & Berry Pilau Biryani (with chanterelles, girolles, berries and pink peppercorn raita)

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

Hyderabadi Dal (masoor-toor-channa lentils, mustard, curry leaf)

Very much the chilli on top and a good choice of side if, like us, you go for rather ‘dry’ dishes.

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + WhiskyDiwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

And bread. Obviously.

#CarbLoverForever

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

Even if you’re about to burst, try to squeeze in some pud’…

We went for the most traditional of them all, Kala Jamun, served with plum murabba, saffron and rose kulfi and it was the best I’ve ever had.

Diwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + WhiskyDiwali at Michelin-starred Trishna, London | Cake + Whisky

And make sure you have a taste of the petits fours… Because you’d definitely regret having naan!

Trishna, 15-17 Blandford St, Marylebone, London W1U 3DG

Diwali at Trishna

Patty & Bun

The quest for London’s best burger is a difficult one (but one I’m entirely devoted to).

There are so many burger restaurants in London that covering those is a challenge in itself, and then there are all the other restaurantw which, without having an entirely burger-oriented menu, do a couple of very good ones.

But one of the places that comes back over and over when you ask people where to find the best burger in London is Patty & Bun.

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

With three locations (Marble Arch, Liverpool Street and now Soho), Patty & Bun is London’s answer to New York most hipster burger shacks.

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

Wood pulp panelling, design-ey lamp, cardboard art, the most casual of vibes and the coolest of mascots, it definitely is the place to get down and dirty with the food!

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

Burgers are the main event and come all wrapped up in greaseproof paper.

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

Opening it is almost as good as present unwrapping on Christmas morning, but with more meat (and cheese!)

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

The Ari Gold is Patty & Bun’s take on the classic cheeseburger, and my personal favourite.

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

Perfectly pink burger, lettuce, tomatoes, pickled onions and loads of cheese and ‘secret’ cheeseburger sauce, you can never beat a classic, and the Ari Gold is no exception!

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

But if you insist on getting something else, the Hot Chick chicken burger isn’t half bad either.

Served with garlic aioli and pickled cucumber, it’s nothing like a chicken shop burger and really quite fresh and more-ish!

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

Burgers might be what you come for, but sides are also something rather special…

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

The coleslaw is fresh, crunchy and full of flavours (and even better with a little bit of P&B special hot sauce on top!)

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

And the Chicken salt fries are out of this world good.

I mean, chicken skin. On fries. With chicken fat mayo. Did you really think there was any chance I would love it?

Patty & Bun | Cake + Whisky

And if you’re feeling a bit peckish, a side of chicken wings is also a must. Because more meat is always better, especially if some of it comes smoked and smothered in BBQ chilli sauce…

So if you’re craving burgers and you want them NOW, go ahead and join the queue at Patty & Bun as they serve the best around Marble Arch (and make sure you order one too many portions of those chicken fries).

If you’re not quite that hungry just yet, maybe go for a drink beforehands (Burgers & Cocktails is right across the street and their spiked lemonade is the bomb + you can keep an eye on the P&B queues through the window! #winwin)

Patty & Bun, 54 James Street, Marylebone, London W1U 1HE Patty & Bun Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Patty & Bun

The Providores’ Tapa Room

Fusion food is a brilliant idea in theory.

Taking the best bits of any cuisine you like and combining it with other influences… Kind of the foodie version of ‘best of both worlds’.

In practice though, it’s often quite disappointing, as chefs need to have excellent knowledge of all the cuisines they re-invent to be able to develop a successful fusion menu.

Knowledge that the chefs at The Providores and Tapa Room in Marylebone have definitely mastered.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

Nestled in the heart of the lovely bit of London that is Marylebone High Street, The Providores and Tapa Room is a two-in-one restaurant.

Upstairs is The Providores, a contemporary dining room, offering an upscale dining experience, while the ground floor is taken by The Tapa Room, an all-day restaurant, café and wine bar.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

Tapa, not tapas? you’re thinking (I know you so well!)

Yes, since the Tapa Room takes its name from the huge, traditional Rarotongan Tapa cloth that hangs on the wall.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

A truly stunning piece of art that well deserve the attention it’s getting!

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

But despite its beauty, it didn’t quite manage to take my attention away from the menus…

Not that choosing was an easy process. I wanted to try everything.

Cocktails did help to make the heartache of having to wave some dishes goodbye a little bit easier though…

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

The Marmalady (Sipsmith gin, Cointreau, Grand Marnier shaken with marmalade)

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

The Vanilla Sour (Cariel vanilla vodka, Limoncello, lemon juice topped with Fever Tree ginger ale)

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

Very much like an alcoholic root beer float and absolutely delightful!

Despite us wanting to make our way through most of the menu, 5 dishes is the amount waiting staff recommends you order to share between two people, so that’s what we did.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

Starting with beautiful grilled scallops with sweet chilli sauce and crème fraîche.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

A classic with a twist, where the moreish chilli sauce complemented the sweet, plump scallops perfectly.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

The salt cod, hijiki and lemongrass fritters with cucumber, lime and dill relish were an absolute triumph.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

Rich with salty fish and encased in the lightest, crispest of all batter the fritters were unlike any other I’d ever tried and the slightly sweet, Japanese-style relish cut through the richness of it all brilliantly.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

The Cornish lamb shoulder spring rolls are another crowd-pleaser.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

Crisp on the outside and filled with aromatic pulled lamb, potatoes, and peas, they’re had something of an Indian samosa with a bit of a Middle Eastern influence.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

The Beef Pesto is one of The Providores and Tapa Room’s signature dishes and an absolute must order.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

I can’t quite pin-point what makes this simple-looking dish of marinated beef fillet, warm chard, courgette and beetroot salad, with pesto and kalamata olives quite so addictive.

What I do know is that it was my favourite dish that night and I’ll be dreaming of it for a long long time (and I don’t even like beetroot!)

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

The last dish was a nod to Asia with Seared yellowfin tuna, served alongside a cucumber and green tea noodles salad.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

A bit Japanese and a little bit Vietnamese too thanks to the punchy lime, spring onion and mint dressing, this could very well become my new favourite summer salad…

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

We ended the meal on a sweet note with Black sesame sponge and matcha custard.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

A very traditional combination brought alive by the sourness of (a very generous dollop of) crème fraîche and the crunch and nuttiness of a paper-thin sesame tuile.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

Last but not least was a plate of Treacle cured bacon ice cream, with olive meringues, and banana salted caramel.

Tapa Room at The Providores | Cake + Whisky

Creamy, deeply savoury with just a little touch of sweetness, it made for a very enjoyable dish full of contrasts and was the perfect ending to a delightful meal.

The creative, well-balances dishes, the lovely, helpful and relaxed staff and the excellent cocktails, I loved it all.

The Providores’ Tapa Room is definitely one of the best places in town to take your tastebuds on a trip at only a fraction of the price of a round-the-world plane ticket.

Tapa Room at The Providores, 109 Marylebone High St, London W1U 4RX  The Providores and Tapa Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Providores’ Tapa Room