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2011
Delicious Magazine Recipe Feature Recipes published in Princes Trust Charity 'Trusty' Cookbook Guest panellist on UKTV Food's 'Market Kitchen' Recipes published in 'Come Dine With Me Special Occasions' book Blog named as a "Media Must-Have" in Jan & Feb issue of Olive Magazine

2010
Launch of Sabrina's one-to-one private cookery tuition Guest critic on Gordon Ramsay's 'F-Word' series finale Organised Top Chef Charity Banquet for Haiti raising £70,000 for 'Action Against Hunger' Seasonal Food & Recipe Writer for 'Blue Tomato'

2009
Winner of Channel 4's 'Come Dine With Me' (West London) 'Bronze' winner in professionally judged 'AA Home Cooking Competition 2009' Appointed resident cookery columnist for Foodepedia

Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Sunday, 9 August 2009

'E&O' - STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE???

It seems the summer has not entirely left us yet and with the sun shining brightly in the blue cloudless sky, what better way to spend a Saturday then lolling around in Notting Hill with a friend, beginning with a nice leisurely lunch and a few cocktails to boot.

“Meet me outside E&O” I said “There are lots of restaurants in that street, and we will go on from there”. I arrived on Kensington Park Road, grabbed the first Al Fresco table I could find at the first restaurant I could see and called my friend to smugly let her know I’d snagged a table for us. “You’re not at E&O?” she replied “I thought you said we were eating at E&O?” Somewhere along the line ‘meeting’ at E&O and ‘eating’ at E&O must have gotten mixed up. Still, who am I to tell the birthday girl, where she can and can’t eat.

I walk into the dark wood-clad restaurant and ask if there was any possibility of having an outdoor table for lunch. I was even willing to give them the old “Its my friend’s birthday” sob story to make sure I got the table. No need, apparently, the table was ours. Score! I sat at the table and peeked at the menus whilst waiting for my friend to arrive. “Nothing has changed here then!” I thought to myself. It’s not that I dislike E&O, I've always had great meals here, its just that I hate the idea of being suckered into paying over-the-odds at a restaurant just because its deemed as a ‘See and be seen’ type of hang out.

Once settled, our overly-friendly but funny waiter comes and takes our order, stopping to compliment me on my green eyeliner, that apparently matches my dress. Overkill? Hmmm, perhaps slightly. Most of my friends, it seems, have abandoned the concept of ordering food for themselves in favour of (much to my chagrin, at times) 'trusting' me to take the reigns and order way too much food for however many people we are at the time. Its not so much that I’m greedy, its mostly because I enjoy variety. A wise man once said “Variety is the spice of life” and who am I to argue with William Cowper?

The ‘Eastern and Oriental’ (E&O) feast commences with peppered tuna sashimi with a spicy aioli sauce, thick glistening slices of fresh yellow fin tuna, wrapped in a layer of crispy cabbage encased in a crunchy tortilla-like pastry outer shell. Tuna tartare with its own beautifully ornate ‘ice bowl’ that had delicate little flowers frozen into it. The tartare itself was superb, such a simple dish, yet it hit all the right levels of spice, sweet and sour that you could hope for, simply topped with a soft-boiled quails egg and a smattering of tobika caviar. Visually, it caught the eye of every passer by and the flavour was every bit as good as its appearance. We also chose the soft-shell spider crab sushi rolls, packed with deep-fried crunchy yet sweet crab meat and creamy avocado, were perfect with a fiery addition of fresh wasabi and soy sauce.

Next came salt and pepper chilli squid, served in a dainty little paper cone with a side of sweet chilli sauce. Crispy little morcels of tender squid which would have been more enjoyable had they been a tad less oily. We also had the signature salad, which was the perfect medley of crunchy cashew nuts, juicy and refreshing watermelon studded with meaty chunks of juicy duck mixed with a herb salad and a slightly sweet soy dressing. Steamed prawn and chive dumplings were a tad disappointing with a heavy rice pastry dough which let them down. Our recommended side dish of thin noodles with bean sprouts was again too oily and didn’t really deliver the promised ‘oomph’, but the leafy green ‘Po Xoi’ in a garlic sauce were a much better choice.

Whilst E&O is definitely no longer the ‘New kid on the block’ or by any means the ‘Coolest cat in the neighbourhood’, I can definitely still see the appeal and understand why it attracts hoards of trustafarians through its doors, year after year. I am not on these people though, it must be said. Style-over-substance is my biggest peeve when eating out. I believe food should always remain firmly top of the list of priorities when you choose a restaurant. The waiter confided that many locals often come here and push a few lettuce leaves around a plate or eat nothing at all! I just cannot understand why someone would go to a restaurant if not to eat! Surely a bar would be a better destination? Either way, E&O is still a great place for food and cocktails alike. Service is attentive and despite its perceived ‘snootiness’ and pricey reputation, it still beats the local competition and has much to offer. Its even better when you are sipping a tall vodka-spiked pomegranate cooler, basking in the Portobello sun on a lovely summers days. Dont believe me? Then see for yourself.

If you find yourself in the neighbourhood, or just want a great meal with friends, then visit their website for more information on E&O and its sister restaurants. http://www.rickerrestaurants.com/

6 comments:

  1. looks cool Sabrina wish I was in Nottinghill

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  2. Thanks honey! It was yum! I could eat that duck salad and tuna tartare all over again!

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  3. Mmm. Seems I need to check E&O again. I went there once, a few years ago, and I seem to have kept a memory of over-priced pretentiousness, like Ping Pong. I have not been back to either. Seems I need to check my memory and see if it is faulty.

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  4. Its still expensive, but ordering the food i want, in plentiful supply plus a couple of cocktails was 80 pounds...inc service. Not too bad, considering we had a lot of lovely food and the sun was shining!

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  5. Nice blog-found it all thanks to Rebecca :)

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