Having just finished watching the Omelette challenge on Saturday Kitchen, my choice of breakfast in The Rocks Restaurant may have been subliminal. When my ham and cheese omelette arrived in a matter of minutes from order to table, unlike those on Saturday Kitchen which take seconds and look on the whole inedible, this omelette was close to perfect. Delicious with a really light and fluffy texture. Actually it was easily the best omelette I have had in a long time.
The Rocks on Vauxhall Bridge Road is fairly new, formally Cafe Rocks – a well respected sandwich bar, it has expanded to double its orginal size and is now a full blown restaurant. It is a good spot to stop on route to Tate Britain. The monochrome decor – black marble tiles, black tables and chairs, may not be to everyones taste, but I thought it was both effective and practical. I definitely plan to return to try their all day breakfast. The rest of the menu looked interesting too, it included several Turkish dishes. I need to make a few more visits and try more of the menu, but based on the omelette (known to be one of the best ways to judge a chefs ability) I suspect The Rocks is something of a Gem! (Pun intended).
Marks out of 10
UPDATE : January 2011 – Made a return visit. One dish on the menu to avoid is maybe the Eggs Benedict, which is actually not Eggs Benedict. It tasted ok, but was missing key ingredients like muffins and ham.
UPDATE : January 2014 – Nice to see that The Rocks is still going strong. Everyone who came in got a warm welcome and the service was good. It had a nice turn over of customers on my visit, with people choosing to both to eat in and take away. I would recommend the Börek as a main course, it was tasty and nicely presented, although there was too much salad for my taste. They also had a decent selection of cakes and pastries.
Spent most of bank holiday Sunday at the Foodies Festival in Hampton Court. They are set up at different locations throughout the year. There is going to be one in Edinburgh for example during the Edinburgh Festival in August. Foodies focuses on seasonal food and drink, specialty and local produce and local restaurant talent.
The weather was good, always a real bonus at this type of event. The show itself is not as big or as well attended as Taste, but I have to admit I prefer this one. Very few queues, space to see what you want to see, easy access to tables and chairs.
We attended several sessions at the Chefs Theatre, including the one from Gary Lee of The Ivy, who made a real point of stating that he was not a celebrity chef. The highlight here though, had to be Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi of Caffe Caldesi. Katie had been on Saturday Kitchen the previous day and there was some hilarity as she compared cooking with James Martin to cooking with her husband. The BBC missed a trick not having them both on together. They are a great double act.
There were unfortunately not too many top restaurant stands. Benares was the most high profile one. However there were some very good small stands. They included Lauden, one of my favorite chocolatiers, Doughmasters who made lovely club sandwiches using bread that was baked while you wait (not something you see often) and a stand selling Whoopie Pies – the trend following on from Cup Cakes, I had a maple syrup one, delicious.
On the drinks front, Joe Wadsack at the Cordorniu wine presentation was very good. He is a real raconteur. The El Dorado Rum tasting was fun and the champagne supplied by Eminent Wines (pictured), much to my surprise, really cut through a spicy Jamaican Pattie I had just eaten. So yes maybe good Champagne does go with everything.
Will definitely try and do this event again next year.
The only regular restaurant we ever visited in London was the Foliage. We have been going there for a number of years. Now that Chris Staines is leaving we have been on the lookout for a replacement regular lunch venue. When I say regular I mean every couple of months. You can have too much of a good thing.
In fact it was a member of the Foliage staff that recommended Launceston Place. I had not heard of the place but made a mental note to give it a try sometime. In the mean time the Great British Menu had propelled its young head chef Tristan Welch to fame. So it was with some anticipation that we visited.
At the start of the meal we were presented with a few spicy crisps tied together with a piece of ribbon bearing the restaurant name. While very cute I didn’t really enjoy starting off my meal with greasy fingers. The food was good, peaking for me with the main course of rose veal and sweetbreads. This was very good. To finish I had my first taste of Cranachan the supposedly traditional Scottish dish (I’m Scottish and had never heard of it or had it while growing up!). It was nicely presented although I suspect a traditional Scot might not recognise it. It was okay not something to rave about unfortunately.
On the way out we bumped into Tristan and had a long conversation with him. He really is a very friendly young guy and we wish him well in the future as he really is a talented chef.
Lauceston Place has 2 AA Rosettes, I suspect a third one is not too far away.
Launceston Place was also a venue on Celebrity Master Chef this year, the winner made a point of mentioning how useful her time there was. Tristan has also been a guest chef on Saturday Kitchen.