Monday, January 31, 2011

L'Operetta, Boat Quay

Disclaimer: Because I'm not at home, I can't put up photos now. Will do so when I get back!

L'Operetta was blogged about enthusiastically by Leslie of a few weeks ago as the most authentic Neapolitan pizza around, and almost good enough to get some kind of certification. Regardless of whatever certification it is, it's a great place. Located just near Jazz @ Southbridge (poor thing they're going to close, I had fond memories), L'Operetta had quite a lavish decor of opulent whites, giving it a very regal look. With opera music playing in the background, large mirrors, and bottles of wine, you could see this place was tastefully decked up.

I bumped into T & A having their meal there and the first thing they did was to give us some free grappa. apparently the chef had given them free grappa and well they passed it to us since A already had 5 glasses and he looked like one more would pass out. so. we gladly took it. and it was really nice. haha.

Later on, they actually gave us free grappa as well, and I have to say it's really excellent: very fresh, light, fruity, and quite delicious. very drinkable. yums. and the best part is, it's free!

So we ordered one pizza each (to share); we ordered the Napolitana (the normal one with basil, tomato, mozerella, oregano), one with fish, and the parma ham and rocket pizza.

The Napolitana was awesome! Very pronounced oregano and basil flavour, and the tomatoes were clearly from fresh tomatoes which were ripe and sweet. Excellent. (8.5/10)

The "fish" pizza was great as well - "ice-fish" and some other stuff. very savoury. honestly, forgotten what the flavours were. (8/10)

The rocket and proscuitto pizza was quite a standout; hard to go wrong with this if you have good ingredients, but what I liked about it was that they were generous with the proscuitto and well everything went together nicely. (8.5/10)

The great thing about the pizzas here is the crust. It's thin, but not like a biscuit, there's still some chewiness in it, and its just the right taste and texture. Perfecto.

And the best part was the complimentary blue cheese, honey and fig dessert pizza at the end. Fresh from the oven, piping hot, with just nary the slightest hint of blue cheese for after-taste and honey which just oozes subdued sweeetnes, this was a joy to eat. For sure. (9/10)

Definitely a place you must try.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Notes Music and Coffee

The final coffee stop in London was at Notes Music and Coffee, St Martins Lane; I had tried to visit this place the night before but couldn't find it, but thankfully armed with google maps it was a much easier task this time. I quickly sneaked out from the train station to buy a takeaway while the family waited at leicester square, as we were heading to heathrow. So it was a jiffy affair, really, but then I was quite impressed with everything.

The interior of the cafe was really well done; very warm, with alot of old furnishings, music, cds, and of course, the coffee machine. I started chatting with the barista and he told me I was really fortunate to have come that day because the 'winter espresso' blend had just come in, and so I could try both the 'winter espresso' blends, and the old 'autumn' blend (Both from Square mile roasters), and so, why not! I first had the "autumn" espresso, and I remembered tasting much spice and fruit in it, it was quite "spicy" in flavour. Quite enjoyable.

next up, I ordered the winter espresso - this one had less of the spice notes - it did however have a more "cream" finish, very nice aftertaste.

And at the end - i ordered a flat white to go - and this was quite excellent; notes of dark chocolate, luscious on the palate - as the espresso interacted with the steamed milk. Good stuff.

Coffee probably: 8.5/10
Highly recommended if you're in london.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More coffee in london: Flat White and Milkbar

Sigh work has started - so well gone are the free days of sleeping a bit longer, later, and lazing away, but then again, work is, well, challenging and fun and I like using my mind again, which has been dormant ever since JC days.
yes i'm not kidding.

Anyway, here's more coffee in London. I'm reviewing both flat White and milkbar since they are related to each other. Flat White is located at Berwick street while Milkbar is at Bateman street, and they are like sister outlets. Having said that though flat white is tons better. Tons. First up, the proprietor was really friendly and cordial, typical Aussie, I talked to him a bit about coffee and all that. Had a really really amazing amazing carrot cake there - which he said, in his own words, was "beautiful" and I totally agree. It was chock-filled with nuts and carrots, with an amazing cream cheese topping, and the taste was just magical, really worked like magic. It's funny how cream cheese, dairy products, and all that, are so much NICER - more creamy!! This was great. (9/10)

The coffee was quite good as well, at Flat White: my flat white was quite strong, and full bodied. not bad. (7.5/10).

Milkbar though was a disappointment: my flat white didn't have wet foam at all, it was just of horrible texture poured in, and in the end looked nothing better than urm, KOPI. Really. lousy. (3/10)

So if u want to go to one of these, go to flat white instead. haha. but there are other better ones.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Monmouth Coffee

Monmouth coffee is an institution in London - it has been a specialist roaster for almost 30 years already, now, and it's the "de-facto" place of choice for coffee connosieurs in London - all the way before Square Mile Roasters and all the new coffee places came about. Monmouth coffee has been roasting and serving good coffee ever since 1970 and is still one of my de-facto standard coffee places to go in London. Truth be told, though, i much prefer the borough market branch as compared to covent garden, because, in comparing the 2 outlets, in my last visit to london i have had Much better latte at Borough market's Monmouth Coffee (complete with a snaking queue that lasted 30 minutes, at least) as compared to Covent Garden. But maybe it was just a bad day for the Covent garden branch, although many of you would agree with me / have agreed with me.

They sell beans as well - with little cooperatives from far away places and farms - which manages to maintain quality. It's nice. I have had the pleasure of trying many single origins from Monmouth, each with its own taste notes and flavours - and one exceptionally brilliant one was a drip from Kenya which had notes of red wine, and berries. This time, the latte (at Borough market) was nothing short of magical - cocoa notes, complex tastes, sweet, rich, creamy and intense. Almost a perfect score, I'd have to add. (9.5/10)

The other time at the Covent garden branch wasn't so good - it was a bit bitter, without the natural sweetness of coffee interacting with milk. Probably only a 7/10.

Well, do try it out and tell me!

Monmouth Coffee
Borough Market, London Bridge Tube

monmouth coffee
Seven dials (Monmouth Street)