Brunch at Mill Kitchen – the best café in Yorkshire

Tea. When I think of Yorkshire I think of tea. I think of visiting my friend Holly and it’s like an automatic reaction I feel like an English Breakfast tea and a catch-up.

Remember Holly? Long time readers will remember she’s one of my university friends and one who I went to Duck and Waffle the first time I ever visited, with all those years back. I’ve recently returned from the most relaxing weekend seeing her up North and I’m already eager to book in another weekend. We spent the weekend drinking countless cups of tea and howling with laughter remembering forgotten stories and honestly, I don’t remember the last time I felt that relaxed. Was it the country air? The comfort when it feels like no time has passed? All of the food? Well, we certainly ate a lot… As well as catching up, shopping and making trips to the farm shop, I loved our brunch at her local, Mill Kitchen and I just have to share it with you!

Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast

Mill Kitchen is a gorgeous, airy, local cafe, which boasts rustic shelves filled with local ingredients, gorgeous soft blankets, pretty cards for sale and of course a stuffed avocado cushion! This part of Yorkshire is steeped with history and the Mill Kitchen itself once was home to a historic textile mill. The cafe has stayed true to the rich ethos of its predecessors, producing that of the highest quality from local, natural, sustainable ingredients.
Every single dish was the kind that has a silence followed by satisfied moans of “this is amazing”. It was startlingly good! The Mill Kitchen website has a simple promise in capital letters: “GOOD THINGS TO EAT” and seriously, it serves exactly that.
I opted for the “Veggie Turkish” – eggs with zaatar, confit tomato, labneh, cucumber pickle, zhoug, local sourdough toast and grilled halloumi.
Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast _ Veggie Turkish
I eye rolled with happiness with each bite. The combination of salty halloumi, sweet tomato, creamy labneh and pickle was magical, and pretty much instantly, I knew it was love at first bite. The flavours reminded me of the epic breakfasts at Honey and Co and the Middle East inspired flavours at Honey and Smoke. The halloumi was some of the best I’ve had, crunchy on the outside shell but soft within. The matrimony of that with labneh and zaatar was insanely good with the herby scented spice blend marrying perfectly with the creamy labneh, making the saltiness of the halloumi more subtle. The toast is some of the best I’ve eaten in the UK!
Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Veggie Turkish, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast
The rest of the girls had all been to Mill Kitchen before and went for their famous Full English, which is meant to be one of the best! Mill Kitchen’s full English breakfast includes bacon, sausages, eggs of your choice, confit tomatoes, baked herby mushrooms and sourdough toast, with the option to add homemade baked beans or black pudding.
Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast - Full english
Sophie’s pick was the Goat’s cheese cornbread muffin, which came with black beans, roasted red pepper, avocado and a fried egg. I loved the look of this and can imagine it would be especially good with any of the add on items (a bargain at £1.50 for added marinated feta, halloumi, chorizo or a merguez sausage). The muffin itself was fresh and tempting and I’d be sure to try this next time!
Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast - Goat Cheese Cornbread Muffin with Avocado and Chorizo
The interiors are simple but pretty with artwork on the walls and shelves filled with local produce, which I imagine must taste great, if it’s anything like the fresh, organic food we were eating.
Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast - Avocado stuffed on shelf
Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast _ Shelves
Once we’d got our fair share of mains done, we were pretty full, but I must have a dessert shaped second stomach as I can always make a tiny bit of space! We shared a selection of sweet treats, including perfect brownies. These brownies are the dense, gooey chocolatey kind. One bite leads to another and the next thing you know, it’s demolished.
Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast - Chocolate Brownie
The nectarine upside down cake was simple in looks but comforting and moreish. It’d be ideal for those who prefer fruit to chocolate in puddings or as a tea time cake. The stewed nectarine was very juicy, perfectly soft and it cut beautifully through the simple sponge.
Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast - Nectarine upside down sponge cake
Finally, there was the chocolate cake – oh what a cake! It was comforting and the melt-in-mouth-instantly kind, the type that quickly vanished when served alongside some tea (Yorkshire tea, mind, you’re not in London anymore Toto!)
Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast - Chocolate Fudge Cake
Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast - Tea
The food was faultless and I loved the pretense-free atmosphere. Mill Kitchen is inviting, informal and atmospheric. It’s everything I like about Yorkshire – fuss free but consistently fabulous. From the motivational postcards to the local artwork and produce, it was a reminder of yet another thing I love about getting out of London for a weekend break.
Postcards at Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast
Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast - Tea pot, book, flatlay
If you’re looking for high end or fine dining – this isn’t it. But the flavours, warm service makes it the kind of place you’d go for a tea but linger once you catch a look at that menu! And all of this at less than £15 a head!? It’s just so damn good and such great value for money. One in a mill(ion) some may say!
Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast - Nectarine upside down cake slice
If you’re in Yorkshire, go now, as soon as you possibly can! And if not, pin this for later and get planning your next trip. Boy oh boy, it’s so worth it, even for the cake alone…
Mill Kitchen Farsley, the best breakfast in Yorkshire, Review on the Lifestyle Enthusiast - Chocolate Fudge Cake slice
 
More details on Mill Kitchen can be found here. You’re going to love it!

Pan Chai, Harrods

Harrods is, undoubtedly, one of my favourite department stores in the world. It’s exuberant and over the top and it has everything I could ever want in one spot. I remember, when family friends of ours would come from abroad, it was always one of my top spots to take them to. I love the grandeur, the range, the service and the gorgeous building itself.

And, of course, being a foodie, the Harrods food hall is my favourite part! I could easily spend an hour just looking at the range – their cheese selection is one of my favourites, and the selection of juicy Medjool dates, glossy and succulent, could easily be seen in a mall in Dubai! It’s brazen, in the best possible way, with a lively atmosphere.

I was so excited to finally try Pan Chai, which seems to have become a bit of a blogger institution. So many of my favourite bloggers have written glowing reviews about it and given that this was our first date night in absolutely forever, I was so looking forward to it. I’d even done my hair, put on a full face of makeup, and wore a new dress for the occasion for a change!

It was a Friday night and Harrods was heaving with people – the sale is on so I can imagine that’s likely why! The glossy green curves of Pan Chai’s bar were striking – it’s an inviting spot to rest your feet following a shopping haul for sure! The design is sleek and inviting.

 

Offering just 22 leather-clad seats, around the chef’s bar, Pan Chai has the potential for quite intimate and personalised service, however, this isn’t one for a quiet meal, for obvious reasons! Fortunately, we were prepared for that and we love lively dining environments. I’ve always loved dining at a chef’s bar. I did it at StreetXO not too long ago and I always say that at three of my favourite London restaurants (Bocca di Lupo, Barrafina and the Palomar) if you’re seated in front of the kitchen, perched on the bar, you’ve undoubtedly gained the best seats in the house. I love to see the chefs working their magic, to have the dishes arrive in front of our eyes, still sizzling. The Doc arrived and we kicked off the evening with a well deserved Singha beer for him, and for me, a flute of Moet Chandon Brut. We were off to a good start!

The menu is inspired by flavours from Pan Asian cuisines, including those from Japan, Korea and Malaysia. It’s a truly inviting menu with a wide range of options! Given that the Doc had been on call for weeks, we really looking forward to kicking back and relaxing together over some of our favourite foods. We’d recently had some beautiful Pan Asian meals at Nobu and Zengo in Dubai, and we were excited to try Pan Chai’s versions. Unfortunately it didn’t go quite as planned…

We tried:

Negitoro sushi, eight tuna belly maki rolls lined with mayonnaise and spring onions.

The highlight of the meal, the duck and watermelon salad of aromatic crispy duck, fresh watermelon and cashew nuts – whilst it didn’t look pretty, it was definitely tasty, largely due to the very juicy, sweet watermelon.

Tofu “steak”, deep fried and served with teriyaki sauce on a bed of asparagus

Chicken medallions in Korean chilli oil, fruit juice, herbs and spicy bulgogi sauce

Wagyu Beef Maki Rolls, with chives, orange caviar and sweetened soya

Of these, I think the clear winner was the duck and watermelon salad. The duck was perfectly cooked, with succulent and crisp parts, sweet juicy watermelon and cut through with the crunch of the cashews. Whilst not much to look at, it was a tasty option and a very generous portion!

The kitchen seemed to be beginning to wind down for the evening, when we arrived at 7.30pm, as after taking our orders they stopped taking orders for any hot dishes. Our food all arrived within moments of each other dish and ideally, it would be nice if this was spaced out better. Even before we had tried a piece of one dish, the next dish had arrived. Usually, this would be fine for me, but as you’re seated on a bar there really is no space for so many dishes at once. It got so bad that there was literally zero space for our chicken dish and so the waitress ended up taking one dish back to the kitchen to keep warm. I couldn’t help but think this was an easy thing for them to plan and get right. Not that it’s an excuse but the restaurant was clearly busy, and it seemed like the waitresses were overloaded, which could be why the service wasn’t quite as I had expected.

Unfortunately, we were really disappointed by the Waygu maki rolls, which had looked beautiful and were meant to be succulent and flavourful, but just didn’t deliver. The texture of the filling was far too dense and reminiscent of a reheated roast dinner – they were incredibly heavy and after trying one I’m sad to say we had to leave the lot. They just didn’t feel right and weren’t enjoyable at all. Usually priced at £38 for a portion, we were expecting something unusual and delicious. Well, unusual it was, delicious it definitely was not.

when the chef asked what we thought of the food, I was honest and told him we’d enjoyed the salad, it was all beautifully presented but that he could take the wagyu rolls away as we were finished with them. They were too dense and that the rest of the food had been “okay”. He started talking at us (rather than to us) at the top of his voice, loudly implying we didn’t know what good sushi tasted like as the Wagyu Maki rolls were one of the restaurant’s bestsellers. He started quoting how many they sold each day rather than addressing that ours clearly had an overcooked filling. I mean, that’s all very well but why ask if you aren’t prepared for an honest answer? It was so embarrassing and I was mortified at the poor customer service. We exchanged embarrassed looks with the Mum and Son sitting beside us. I can’t imagine they’d have liked that for ambience either! Regardless, we said our polite thank yous and went for a rummage around the Harrods sale to cheer us up until closing time!

If I were to go again, I’d be keen to try the soft shell crab tempura, which looked great, and the Chilean Sea Bass which, on the menu, sounds delightful and delicate. Unfortunately, for us, our meal at Pan Chai didn’t hit the mark but I’m hopeful that our poor experience was just a one-off. Being in a luxurious place like Harrods, and with such high prices, diners understandably come with certain expectations. Whilst issues with the food can be forgiven, I think customer service is essential in any restaurant, and especially one with prices as steep as these and so I’d hope nobody else has to experience what we did. But who knows? Maybe they were just having a bad day. For their sake, I hope so! Based on my experience, I’d be wrong to pretend I’d recommend Pan Chai. We came home and filled up on tea and biscuits, as we were unfortunately still a bit peckish (classy Friday date night hey!) and all in all we did have a lovely evening together.

I guess if you’re ever in the mood for people-watching you could do worse than Pan Chai’s duck and watermelon salad and a chilled glass of delicious champagne, but I wouldn’t pick it for a date night. That said, the people-watching is fantastic, the concept is great and if the majority of reviews are right, you’ll have a great time. Besides, you’re right there in Harrods, one of my favourite stores in the world, a literal treasure chest of fun and the food-haul and endless options for shoes are sure to put a smile on your face, even if the meal doesn’t!

Pan Chai’s website can be found here.

I was invited as a guest of Pan Chai and my meal was complimentary, but clearly, my thoughts are my own!

How I got addicted to travel: My travel story

This time, seven years ago, I put on a brave face as I hugged my Mum and Dad goodbye at Heathrow Airport. “I’m sure it’ll go fast… Don’t worry I’ll be fine.” I was petrified but didn’t want to show it. I hadn’t really planned for this. By a few twists of fate, I was 19 years old and on a gap year. I’d been on a gap year scheme, interning at an Investment bank for the first 6 months; during which time I had asked pretty much all of my close family and friends if they could join me to no real luck. It was a case of me going alone or missing out on a trip I’d been dreaming about for years!

I was about to embark on my first solo trip, which meant taking two flights and travelling for around 15 hours. I was going in straight in the deep end… My first solo trip was to Argentina. Little did I know it then, but that trip was about to change my life!
Travel had always been something I’d been excited about. Since my first family holiday abroad, going on safari in Kenya, my parents had taken my brother and I on many amazing holidays, visiting countries like India, Turkey, Spain, the Greek Islands and the USA. I’d loved each one and even as a child, I scoured the Internet and even Teletext, eager to find our next holiday spot. I’d pester my Dad for weeks each summer and try to convince him! My interest in travel heightened further when I was selected to represent my school, aged 11, on a school exchange in Manduria, Italy. It seemed exotic and exciting and the kind of thing that only happened in movies! I stayed with the kindest Italian family and experienced normal life there, attending the local school for a week and attending all of the family meals. It was the first time I’d been to Italy and the warmth, passion and beauty of the place had me mesmerised. From the pasta to the best Italian breakfast cakes I’ve ever had (thanks Elisabetta and Vincenzo) I came back wide eyed with excitement!
So aged 19 I went off to Argentina, and volunteered with an Argentinian non-profit organisation. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I had the most incredible time. I made friends quickly, had experiences I hadn’t even dreamed of, and went on to travel to Brazil from there.
 The travel bug was firmly planted and so over the summer breaks from university, I slept under the stars by the Angel Falls in Venezuela, I fell in love with Pho Gah in Vietnam, I was brought to tears learning about the recent history of Cambodia, and I partied like never before in Thailand. And it was around this time that I decided to start a blog!

Soon after, I graduated and started working in the City of London as a Consultant. I loved it, there’s a real thrill about working with clients to problem solve, and I was so excited about the prospect of working in new cities all the time. I started working on projects abroad in Milan, Rome, Cork, Madrid, Hong Kong, and Zurich to name a few. It was utterly exhausting but I love the buzz of landing in a new city, with a foreign language in my ear, new scents in the atmosphere and of course the FOOD! Well, everyone who knows me knows just how big a part food plays in my life. I still remember ringing my Mum from Milan, on one of my earlier work trips and telling her, in more detail than anybody probably needed, about how incredible the food was and how I had eaten two gelato’s on a Monday! All in a day’s work apparently!

Amidst all the travel and given that I was working long hours, I felt too busy to blog. I didn’t have the energy nor the time and before I knew it, it had been months since I had posted. A big part of the tale I may have omitted was that it was around this time, in 2014, when I met my favourite distraction of all, my man, or “The Doc” as he’s referred to on here. We met and juggled long distance for a while, whilst he was at med school and I was working with clients between London and different European cities but he soon turned out to be my ultimate travel partner and the biggest supporter for all my blog. We’ve been to Milan and Lake Como, Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Lombok, Copenhagen, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Delhi, Jaipur and Dubai together and undoubtedly he has brought some balance to my travel! Together, we’ve just fallen in love with luxury boutique hotels and making an active effort to slow down on our trips. My travel style has certainly never been the same, and when we visited Hotel Mousai, well, it’s safe to say I pinched myself and felt the contrast since my backpacking days in South East Asia!
In this whirlwind of long hours in my day job, lots of travel, and falling in love, I neglected my writing – it just felt too much. But I never forgot the feeling of reliving happy travel experiences as I wrote, and I really missed writing so much. So about six months ago, I decided to give travel blogging another go. And I haven’t regretted it for a second since.
From family travel to backpacker to business traveller to being on the hunt for the best luxury hotels, I’ve been in love with travel of all types for as long as I can remember. Before I’m back from a trip I’m already lusting after the next one, my Pinterest boards are constantly full of wanderlust, and the easiest birthday present to get me is a Lonely Planet guide! Travelling gives me a high like no other a hit and the more I travel the more I love it, and the more I get out of it. See, travel, to me, isn’t just about getting a break, getting away from work and unwinding. Yes, that’s important too, but for me, travel is an opportunity to gain a new perspective, to see life with fresh eyes. I get a burst of excitement trying new foods and flavours. From discovering Dulce de Leche in Buenos Aires to eating Stingray in Kuala Lumpur to actually being brought to tears (I know… how embarrassing!?) with the excitement of going to eat at Noma in Copenhagen, food and travel are what I’m most passionate about. I love reading other blog posts on travel and I’m obsessed with seeing all of your travel Instagram posts (let’s connect if we don’t already!?) and I’m constantly inspired by different travel styles.
I love to travel so much, and I can’t see that every changing, but looking back I can see how much my travel style has changed and how many people, decisions, and opportunities led me to get to see so many incredible places. I feel so lucky that I’ve had the chance to do so and through my blog truly want to share that.
Well that, my friends, is my travel story so far, as part of the July travel link up. What’s your view on travel and what’s your travel style? I’d love to know your thoughts – please do leave me a comment below!
 
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Dinner at Zengo, Le Royal Meridien Hotel, Dubai

Our trip to Dubai was filled with some of the most incredible food I’ve tasted. The quality was exceptionally high at every spot we tried. I’ve heard a lot about how great the service in Dubai but the flavours… Oh the flavours! We had so many new favourite dishes. From the very best crème brûlée at La Petite Maison to hot fluffy pitta bread to swirl in bowls of incredible garlicky, zingy hummus beiruti, we truly feasted.

Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai Bar Decor - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

 

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai Sushi Chefs - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

I’ve found myself using the words “favourite” and “best” way too much since I came back from Dubai. I genuinely can’t stop. We ate SO many beautiful things and I just can’t stop telling people about the food. We treated ourselves to some of the best restaurants and the food was just consistently incredibly high quality and packed with flavour! Our Dubai trip was predominantly about relaxation and eating and, for that, I have no regrets!

A foodie highlight of our trip was our meal at Zengo, one of the Pan Asian restaurants at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort. It’s a hotel that the Doc has stayed in many times and so he was keen to take me there on our first trip to Dubai together. On this occasion, we didn’t stay there but we had an epic dinner that I just have to share with you! SPOILER ALERT: You may get hungry, sorry!

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai Sushi Chefs - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

Here’s what we ate:

Spicy seared Tuna, Citrus fruits, togarashi, pickled onions dill oil, lemon gel

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Spicy Seared Tuna - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

Too often when something is listed as “spicy” on a menu, in fine dining restaurants, I find that spices are used VERY cautiously. Chefs, I get that you don’t want to overpower flavours but spices (and not just chilli) can be a burst of flavour and warmth that bring a dish to life – if the menu says spicy we know it’ll be spicy (or at least we hope so when we order it!). When our first dish at Zengo was brought to the table, I wanted to get up, run into the kitchen and give the chef a HUGE hug! WHAT A REVELATION! A chef who isn’t afraid to pack food with flavour and a generous amount of chilli.

I love fresh tuna and this seared tuna was just utter perfection with its spicy crust and tangy freshness. Dotted between the tuna were delicate slices of fresh sweet pineapple and zesty lemon, which married perfectly with the tuna. This is about as good as any starter gets – fresh, zingy, spiced with togarashi (a Japanese spice chilli blend) so well balanced! I honestly think I could have had plate after plate of this and left Dubai as a very happy, very full lady. Delicious!

Next up, we had the Angry Zengo Maki Rolls – Tuna, avocado, cucumber, sriracha sauce

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai Angry Zengo Maki Rolls Sushi - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

More tuna, yes, but so different from the last dish! This was another sublime take on something that can often be quite simple. These maki rolls were incredibly fresh and full of flavour from the kick of sriracha. They had been garnished with a crispy topping of tempura crumb, which added some crunch and texture. An absolute triumph and up there with some of the tastiest maki rolls I’ve ever eaten! My lunchtime Itsu sushi order, al-desko, will never be the same!

Our final raw starter was the salmon sashimi which had the perfect amount of fattiness but next to the other starters, it couldn’t compete. By no means was it bad, it was definitely very good quality, it just paled in excitement next to the other dishes! I loved how beautifully it was presented, on ice with edible flowers and hot wasabi.

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai - Sashimi - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

Moving onto hot starters, Chicken karaageChicken thigh with Korean chili sauce and sesame seed

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai Chicken Karaage - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

Succulent chicken coated by a light, crispy batter came with a tangy, spicy dipping sauce. Whilst I presume this dish was probably fried, I liked that it wasn’t at all greasy and actually pretty light despite the very generous sized portion!

I washed this down with a fruity Cherry Blossom mocktail of hibiscus, cherry and lemonade to rehydrate. But of what we had to drink, the Doc definitely ordered best. He’s a huge fan of Negronis and it’s almost always his drink of choice for a pre-dinner drink. Zengo’s Mango Negroni didn’t disappoint – the mango juice was actually frozen into a large ice cube, so it melted slowly, releasing bursts of mango with each sip.

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai Mango Negroni - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

After our starters we were in for a bit of a laugh – our waiter came over and asked: “How was your meal? Can I bring you the dessert menu?” Awkward much?! Either we had eaten more than is socially acceptable for most people for starters, or he was utterly confused. We laughed, told him we were keen to try the mains and deliberated over what to order. Zengo has an extensive menu from curries, to wok-fried dishes, hot dishes cooked on the Robata and grilled items so there was a lot to choose from!

After much umm’ing and aah’ing and a few peeks over at the dishes on nearby tables, we went for the BBQ lamb ribs, the Chicken coconut and the US prime tenderloin.

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai Lamb - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

The BBQ lamb ribs were flavoured and cooked very well, however, whilst the portion was very generous and I liked the slight sweetness of the curry-infused sauce, the ribs were a bit too fatty for my liking.

The Chicken coconut, on the other hand, was divine. Marinated charred chicken bathed in a fragrant coconut sauce with a velvety, almost luxurious feel. I loved the slight smokiness paired with the freshness of the fresh mint and coriander salad which it was served with.

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai Chicken Coconut - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

Surprisingly, one of the side dishes was up there as one of the best dishes for me. Now hear me out. The main ingredient was tofu. No this isn’t bland, tasteless, sponge-like or boring at all! It was comparable to some of the best pan asian dishes I’ve tried and I defy anyone who says they don’t like tofu once they’ve tried this dish at Zengo! It annoys me when some restaurants treat tofu too simply (I.e. just fried and seasoned) because frankly it is boring. Tofu isn’t full of flavour on its own; it really needs flavour and a bit of attention. Zengo’s tofu is DELICIOUS! Tofu came in a glorious five spice batter. It was peppery, with a soft tender centre yet audibly crispy on the outside. Whether or not you’re vegetarian – oh god you NEED this. This is technically a side dish but I think it would make a great starter. It’s the most flavour packed tofu I’ve ever had!

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai Five Spice Tofu Side - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

Our final main was the US Prime Tenderloin, cooked medium rare and serve on a Fois gras sauce and parsnip puree. It was cooked to perfection!

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai US Prime Tenderloin - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

We were pretty full but our waiter advised us that we couldn’t leave without pudding!

We had no idea what to expect when ordering the Pralus Bio Equateur – I still don’t actually know what it means but what arrives was a theatrical show on dry ice, of dark chocolate pudding, sweet honeycomb cake, peanut plantain and beautiful honey ice cream. I actually really loved the plantain and ice cream most and would have been happy to have had just that. The portion was enormous so I’d recommend sharing puddings rather than individuals.

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai Chocolate Pudding - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

Our final course, and possibly my favourite of all was the white chocolate semi freddo.

Zengo had this perfected. It was light and refreshing with lime brioche, spicy peanut brittle and a mini mountain of sweet green apple salad – perfect after such a heavy meal! I can’t recommend it enough!

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai - white chocolate semi freddo with apple - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

I was so pleasantly surprised by Zengo at Le Royal Meridien hotel – innovative dishes, romantic atmosphere, generous portions and beautiful settings that make it a contender for best Pan Asian restaurant in Dubai! The service was good but not quite as slick as some of the other Dubai restaurants we tried, but the food and atmosphere more than made up for that!

Dare I say it? Well, I probably shouldn’t say so but I like it even more than Nobu (and it’s less expensive!) If you’re in Dubai or planning a trip, book in and let me know what you think! (And don’t leave without trying that seared tuna, ok?!)

Dinner at Zengo Le Royal Meridien Dubai Flowers - Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

What are your favourite spots for Pan Asian food? Leave a comment below or contact me via Instagram. More info needed? Check out the website here.

Our meal at Zengo was complimentary, but as always, my views are 100% my own!

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La Petite Maison Dubai – an incredible lunch

La Petite Maison is somewhere I’ve wanted to try for many years. Seven years to be specific!

When I was at university, each summer I got a temp job to pay for my summer trips. One year, I got a temporary job as a secretary for a wealth management firm in London. I walked past La Petite Maison London on Brook’s Mews, every single day that summer. I heard voices in French and English, witnessed business meetings and saw friendly reunions over impeccable food and wine. It looked beautiful and glamorous – I was nineteen and it looked dreamy. Dining al fresco with food that looked Masterchef-worthy… well, it was pretty as a picture and I wanted in! But I was a student and frankly, I didn’t have a full Celine purse to match the bill! I peeked in a few times and began my restaurant list. I looked away most days but all these years later I hadn’t forgotten it! A couple of times I’d been booked in but plans had been rearranged so, even after I started full-time work, I never made it to La Petite Maison.

La Petite Maison - glass window - best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

So, when we booked a trip to Dubai, La Petite Maison was at the top of my list of places to eat and the first restaurant I booked. It’s a risky strategy though, going somewhere you’ve put on a pedestal for SEVEN years! I had heard good things but didn’t know if it was worth the hype.

The day finally arrived, we got a taxi to DIFC Dubai and we were finally there to meet my #foodiegoals from 2010!

The room is bright white and airy, with French art everywhere. The white interior has splashes of colour from vibrant Mediterranean vegetables piled high around the open kitchen. There are antique style Taittinger champagne boxes and elaborate salt and pepper mills! It’s the epitome of #interiorgoals on Instagram! The bar is clad with rose gold and copper accents and despite the rise in popularity of bare tables in London, here, the white tablecloth is back, unapologetic and back in action, broken up with simple burst of bright veg and pepper mills!

La Petite Maison - Chef's bar vegetables - best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

La Petite Maison - salt and pepper mills - best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

La Petite Maison champagne boxes - best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

We had been advised upon booking that, given that it was Ramadan, there would be no alcohol served. Whilst we perused the menu we went for a glass of Limonade Noire instead – a thirst-quenching refreshing mocktail of rosemary-infused honey, lemon, activated charcoal and soda water.

Limonade Noire at La Petite Maison, the best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

Menu at La Petite Maison, the best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blogFor starters, we opted for a full-flavoured black olive tapenade which was served with perfect crispbreads. The irony-rich flavour of the olives made a strong match for the bread but they paired like they were made for each other!

Olive tapenade with crisp bread at La Petite Maison, the best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

We decided to share the whole sea bream in Papillote for our main. It was described as fish en papillote with olive oil, lemon and herbs. It was presented, whole before being filleted and served with a fresh shaved fennel and chive crunchy salad. This was some of the tastiest fish I’ve ever had, with bold but not overpowering flavours of confit lemon skin and herbs aux Provence. A side of Dauphinoise potatoes completed it! A glass of white wine would be so good with it but the Limonade Noire was a surprisingly good match!

Of course, the fish was perfectly cooked and a triumph of a dish. There were lots of “mmms”, “aaah my god” and “this is so delicious!”. Our plates were spotless at the end – despite the large portion we polished it off!

Fish, herbs and olive oil in papillotte at La Petite Maison, the best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

The potatoes were oozy, rich and creamy and worked surprisingly well!

Potato Dauphinoise at La Petite Maison, the best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

Potato Dauphinoise at La Petite Maison, the best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

Potato Dauphinoise at La Petite Maison, the best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

We were offered the dessert menu, and I thought back to all that time ago, where I had walked past the London restaurant and peered in at the desserts. They were so pretty and had wowed me. I couldn’t come all this way and not eat pudding. We were full but we had to! I can always find space for dessert, can’t you?

We had a slight mix up and ended up swapping a cheesecake but ended up with the best Creme Brûlée and apple tart EVER! I never go for creme brûlée as it’s not that exciting – I find it pretty much the same wherever I have it and find it can be lacking in flavour… but the Doc loves it and I’m now sooooo happy he suggested it! Honestly, it was the most creamy, soft, almost custardy perfection with a thin crisp sugar audibly crackly topping. The apple tart was up there too, finely sliced sharp apple delicately topping very crispy, sweet puff pastry. La Petite Maison definitely know good pud!

Tarte Tatin at La Petite Maison, the best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

Creme Brulee at La Petite Maison, the best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

Creme Brulee at La Petite Maison, the best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blogWe loved our meal so much, with faultless food, generous portions for a fine dining spot and impressive service, I have no doubt we will be going again one day when we are next in Dubai.

Art deco bar Creme Brulee at La Petite Maison, the best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

Flowers Creme Brulee at La Petite Maison, the best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

So yes. It’s been seven years since I got my first glimpse of La Petite Maison in London and whilst it’s been many years and I’ve had many many many meals since, I still haven’t made it to that Brooks Mew’s London branch of this restaurant. That’s got to change ASAP as if it’s anything like it’s sister restaurant in Dubai, well, then we may have just found my new favourite French spot for us, outside of France!

Open kitchen Creme Brulee at La Petite Maison, the best restaurant for lunch in Dubai on the Lifestyle Enthusiast blog

I couldn’t recommend it more if you love French food and are visiting Dubai! It was, to me, like Aubaine but with miles better service and food!

What’s your favourite French restaurant? Where should I try next?

La Petite Maison Dubai is located in the DIFC area of Dubai. More details can be found on the website here.

 

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