Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Madsen , London

Madsen has now been open for a year at the South Kensington station end of Old Brompton road, not too far from where the seminal Hilaire restaurant opened it's doors many moons ago and less than 500 meters from another Danish restaurant Lundum's that closed about 3 years ago.

Charlote Kruse Madsen a graduate École Hotelière de Lausanne in Switzerland who trained at Ida Davidsen’s in Copenhagen, s founded the contract catering company Madsen Food in 2006, with the aim of bringing the Scandinavian food experience to London and a year ago Madsen Restaurant opened it's doors serving modern Danish food.

Once you enter the restaurant you you are transported to a typical modern Scandinavian environment of simple clean lines light woods and friendly and efficient staff. It reminded me of visiting the offices of Scandinavian Broadcaster SBC in Hounslow, where as soon as you enter you could be in Oslo , Stockholm or Copenhagen !

Lunch features Smushi , a smaller version of the traditional Danish open sandwich called ”Smørrebrød”. They are beautifully decorated on either dark rye or white sour dough bread with healthy fish, meat and vegetarian options. Warm dishes that include daily specials are avaialbe as well and range from Frikadelle , Danish meatballs with red cabbage and new potatoes to Braised pork shank on a bed of caramelised cabbage, pearl onion and mustard to Pan-fried, breaded filet of Irish plaice served with broccoli tossed in oyster remoulade. There are plenty of vegetarian options and gluten free bread is available on request.

Last night my companions and I had a wonderful dinner that kicked of with shots of Akvavit followed by the excellent value set dinner.

Salad of baked pumpkin and salted seeds with little gem lettuce and honey vinaigrette and extra hot smoked Scottish salmon. This was a delightful simple perfectly balanced and well executed starter.

The main course was the daily special of Frikadeller” -Danish Pork Meatballs with red cabbage , gravy and mashed potatoes. The meatballs were light and perfectly cooked servers with al dente red cabbage , thick gravy and excellent mashed potatoes in a side bowl. We drank a Gavi ‘La Zerba’ 2007 which complimented all our food.

We finished with a truly delicious "Rødgrød med fløde” the famous Danish red berry pudding served cold with cream .

I look forward to returning soon to work through the rest of the menu !

Madsen on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 19, 2009

Leong's Legends : A one trick pony ?

I have been to Leong’s Legends about six times now and have tried most things on the menu.

The restaurant claims to be Taiwanese but has many standard Cantonese dishes that one would encounter in most of the Cantonese centric establishments in London’s China Town or other comers of the world where Cantonese communities are well established be it Hong Kong or of course Taiwan.

My conclusion on this restaurant is that the vast majority of dishes are average to poor but there are a few really outstanding ones.

Other dishes that are good to above average include Taiwan Mini Kebab with pork though sometimes it is far too fatty, grilled minced pork buns (not a patch on Hunan’s) a spicy beef noodle soup (again the brisket can be too fatty for my taste) and the pork belly stew.

The Xiao Long Bao (pictured above) are certainly the best I have had in London and only second to some I had in a restaurant in Liverpool called The Orient over 15 years ago (in terms of UK). Both restaurants achieved the perfect balance of dumpling texture broth and pork filling. Of course neither reach the levels that I have been lucky enough to sample in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei but they get close !

Leong’s Xiao Long Bao are in fact so good that I will continue to frequent this establishment even if it’s only for a late breakfast at noon when it opens it’s doors.

Leong’s Legends on Urbanspoon