PB Eats… Copita

I’m back in London! I wasn’t supposed to be back so soon, but a combination of unhelpful travel agents, expensive tickets and fate meant that my plans to go back to Mexico didn’t work out.   Saying all that, it is good to be back, seeing family, catching up with friends and most importantly, enjoying my Indian food.  I didn’t miss it while travelling, but boy I was glad to overdose on it when I got back.  Thanks mum! Home made indian dishes, rotis, gol gappas, puris, yum yum.

And I’ve been catching up at the regular restaurants, Zizzi – I’ve missed that wonderful pizza base, Chawallas, Wagamama, Shoryu – mmm, soy milk ramen, delicious.  Incidentally, they have a deal on at the moment, £22 for a bun, ramen and delicious cocktail. Definitely worth it.  I’m not going to blog about any of those – but I will say that it is good having all this variety and choice of vegan food sans issues or drama.

The meal of the week though was at Copita, to catch up with my partner in crime (and evil thoughts – forgive me!! haha), M.  A nice, trendy space with that irritating rule of no reservations in the evening.  Being a lady of leisure, I got there nice and early in the evening and had my choice of tables – or bar stools.  Result!

I was very pleasantly surprised to discover not only do they have a lovely food menu, but a very very lovely gin and tonic menu!!! Tanqueray! Bloom! Whoo!!  And they have Fever Tree tonic water – the only tonic water worth drinking.

The service was helpful and friendly, but as the evening went on it did get harder to grab their attention.  They rattled off the dishes I could eat (leaving out a few ingredients), so I obediently ordered them ALL.  M ordered the chorizo, croquetas de champiñones (no pics), and the giant gambas (check them out!!), which I didn’t hear any negatives about.

We also got the sweet potato bravas (alioli on the side).  These were moist, juicy but not very spicy. Not at all to be honest.  The broccoli with a pepper sauce – delish.  Still crunchy broccoli, yummy sauce, I enjoyed this dish.

The highlight of the meal was the ajo blanco, dressed with grapes, beetroot, parsley and almonds.  It was so tasty – not too garlicy, really creamy and the bits on top added little bursts of texture and flavour.  Every mouthful tasted different – yum yum yum.  Please order this!  The lowlight of the meal, for reasons to explicit and nasty to mention here, was the roasted aubergine.  It didn’t really look appealing, it had no seasoning and the texture was not nice, and the top half was undercooked, and I couldn’t taste anything in the sauce.  The hazelnuts though, were excellent.


I had no room for dessert after all this food and the very tasty G&Ts (my dessert), but M ordered the coffee and burnt milk ice cream.  Judging from the speed at which it disappeared and her expression, it was a tasty dessert.  


Overall – it was a good meal, I would go back again and again just for that ajo blanco!

PB Eats… in Soho

Sabbatical time is approaching! I’m taking some time off work to rest, relax and of course, eat and travel 🙂 I’m not going to begin my travels properly until January next year, and I will be blogging all about it.  So for now, I’m focusing on catching up on all the stuff I say I can’t do because I don’t have time – paperwork, de-cluttering, organising.. and did I mention resting and relaxing?

I was in Soho for a whole day last week – appointments, shopping, meeting friends for coffee.  I walked around, taking in the Christmas decorations (a bit too early? Definitely!).

My favourite ones were down Carnaby Street – one word affirmations scattered everywhere – brilliant!

Before I knew it – it was lunch time.  Spoilt for choice I decided to try a place that I had walked past on previous occasions, but never been.  Keu! on Poland Street, basically a fast food Vietnamese restaurant.  I toured Vietnam for 2 weeks with my brothers and I loved loved loved the food.  All the curries, the rice bowls, the spring rolls, oh the spring rolls.  I think I had them with every meal (erm, bar breakfast!).  I obviously wasn’t walking into this place expecting a taste of Vietnam, but what I liked is they tried to make it look like a restaurant in Vietnam.

I ordered my meal and drink, paid at the counter – very quickly with no issues – and went to perch on a bar stool facing the world go by.  My drink came in a couple of minutes – I went for a lemonade, just what I needed after walking around for a couple of hours.

I waited about five minutes until my mains arrived, entertained myself by watching Asian Provocateur in the meantime. Romesh Ranganathan is so so funny – both in these series and live.  Back to the meal – I went for the only veggie/vegan rice bowl I could see on the menu – Com Chay.  This was described as a smokey aubergine stew with tofu, mushrooms and tofu broth.  What arrived was a massive bowl filled to the brim with rice and veggies and tofu.

Close up? OK – here it is:

The first few mouthfuls (bar the gigantic pieces of garlic) were delicious.  Luscious pieces of tofu, firm yet delicate aubergine – no trace of the smokiness though – mushrooms, herbs, spring onions all added to the initial yumminess.  But it did become a bit one dimensional after a while – there was A LOT of rice and I did have to pimp it up with a bit of soy sauce and some chillies pickled in vinegar.  I ended up eating only 1/2 of it – it was waaay too much food – and I wanted to be in a position to look forward to dinner.  So will I come back? Nope, not really.

After a bit more (essential) shopping, off I went to dinner to meet my friends who I will be going to Tromso with.  We’re off in just over a week – and that was what the essential shopping was for – making sure I have enough long johns to keep me warm :).  We met at Aqua Kyoto, just behind Oxford Circus station.   I love the decor of this place – all dark wood and beautiful crockery.

Now this isn’t a cheap restaurant – but who said I was going a la carte?  My friend saw an offer – £29 for 3 courses and a cocktail, and it being Japanese cuisine, although full of raw fish, I knew I would be OK with options.  The last time I was here we had a terrific meal off the same set menu – and the service was excellent.  Repeat performance this time? Yes, on the food for me, bit of a hit and miss with the meaty main (hair in a dish, argh!)

I didn’t take a picture of the set menu (and I can’t find it anywhere online) but there were three options for starters – sushi, sashimi or veggie tempura.  Mains were a mushroom rice, and two other meaty options (obviously didn’t look).  There was only one option for dessert – a pumpkin chawanmushi with a pear sorbet.  I chose my veggie options, and asked for just sorbet for dessert.

My tempura starter arrived and was thoughtfully served with a bonito free dipping sauce (arigato!) even without me asking. Well, they did ask when they were taking orders if anyone had any allergies…

Benefits of your friends not drinking Christmas cocktails? More for me! Saying that, there was so much ice in the glass, any effects of the alcohol were virtually non-existent! My tempura was excellent – and a reminder why I love this restaurant.  It wasn’t the usual tempura of button mushroom and baby corn. Oh no sireee! Here we had pumpkin, seaweed and shiso leaf – all hot and crispy. Yum!

My main of Mushroom rice was just as beautifully presented.  Didn’t look like there was much in there, but I was wrong – it was more than enough.

So many different textures and flavours – and multi-dimensional from start to finish!  It was essentially a mushroom risotto with more mushrooms, butternut squash puree, more shiso leaves, cubes of silken tofu (not sure what the sprinkles were, but I know they weren’t cheesy or fishy).  What a beautiful dish – and it left me in a happy place – full, but enough room for dessert.

For dessert I was expecting a couple of scoops of pear sorbet, but instead I got passion fruit sorbet and sour cherry sorbet on a chilled plate – pretty!  Perfect refreshing end to a lovely meal.

I do love this place, but to be honest the set menu changes often enough for me to stick to it instead of a la carte-ing it, and I will definitely be back.

PB Eats… Ham Yard Bar & Restaurant

The fact that I don’t eat meat or fish or have dairy issues has never stopped me from enjoying my food.  I’m not super fussy -if there is one dish that I can eat on the menu – it’s mine.  So I regularly frequent the likes of Wagamama, Zizzi, Pizza Express, Ping Pong.. But I did keep away from the higher end restaurants, assuming that I wouldn’t have much choice.

Until I stumbled across Ham Yard Bar and Restaurant back in August 2016.  When making the booking, they confirmed that they have a three course vegan /vegetarian/gluten free menus – with multiple options !! – available for dinner.

I met up early with my partners in crime for a quick drink in the Ham Yard Bar.  Now this hotel is one of those super trendy hot spots, full of suited blokes, high heeled women….and us ;).  We were quickly led to our table when it was ready, and while the girls got their omni menu, I was graciously presented with mine.

I am a happy go lucky, quickly click before digging in kind of girl, but the more I look at my photos – the more I think – I have to improve for the sake of this blog!!  So please bear with me…

So…the starters were:
– White bean soup with truffle salsa
– Roast squash, mixed leaves, gremolata and pumpkin seeds
– Beetroot pakora, mango and spiced chickpeas

I will always make a beeline for anything truffle-y on a menu, so I went for the soup.


Mains were:The soup was velvety and the flavour was subtle – I was expecting a strong bean flavour – but it was so well balanced.  The truffle salsa – more like chopped truffle bits with truffle oil – was lovely and added to the flavour profile, but I could have done with at least three times the amount.

– Roast celeriac, dressed lentils and spinach
– Wild mushroom broth, kale and tarragon
– Roasted spring vegetables with wild garlic dressing

Although it being the middle of summer, I went for the roasted spring vegetables as I wanted something light, and I wanted to keep some room for dessert.

The veggies were lovely, the dressing vivid and super tasty.  I did have to season it a bit, and I did push the slightly burnt potato crisps to one side.  Moving onto what is usually the best part of the meal.  To be honest, I had almost accepted the responses of ‘sorry, no options’ or the plate of berries or fruit salad as the standard dessert – but today I had two choices – including the plate of berries!!
– Chocolate and avocado mousse, strawberries and nut crunch
– Seasonal berries and raspberry sorbet.

Now who would go for fruit when there is chocolate! I obviously went for the mousse.

What arrived looked like a granola pot, and to be honest, the topping on it’s own was a bit like having breakfast – but eaten with the strawberries and mousse – it was beautiful. Soft, smooth, crunchy, tasty – and not too sweet.

We ordered coffees – I had a fresh mint tea – at the end of the meal, and the girls got a single petit four with their hot drinks – a mini cone with a meringue.  The lovely waiter saw that I didn’t have anything, and minutes later, put this in front of me – how sweet!

It turned out to be a honeydew melon sorbet – yummy!   I would definitely recommend this place – and I will go back, especially since I found out that Ham Yard Bar & Restaurant does a vegan afternoon tea – birthday plans sorted!