Lil Boy Blue – red hot

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When I heard we had a new café/restaurant/bar opening up literally 5 minutes from our front doorstep, I was pretty happy. Kew now has a burgeoning dining scene, from the more established Estivo and St Katherines, to Mr Bianco (who just celebrated their 1st birthday), and the very excellent Ora, but there’s always room for more!

The latest offering at Lil Boy Blue from the extremely hospitable Josh Clarke and his gorgeous wife now opens up a whole new range of options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Let’s start with the coffee. Allpress. Made lovingly and expertly by the instantly best-friendable Casey. This lady sure knows how to make a piccolo. I’ve got a bit of a girl crush to be honest.
It didn’t hurt that the first time I walked in, she greeted me like part of the family. This is a trait shared by all the staff, who can’t do enough to make you feel right at home, including Josh himself who took time out to have a chat and show off some of his tempting baked goods straight out of the oven.

Then there’s the gorgeous fit out: exposed brick, bright blue glassware, lovely crockery, quirky light fittings, hand painted bathroom doors, ornate framing, and fresh flowers.

And I haven’t even gotten to the food yet. On my first visit I tried the BLT brioche. Heaven. Salty and sweet all at the same time, and for dessert a poached pear tart with vanilla bean anglaise and toasted crushed almonds. Divine.

For our breakfast visit we tried the pulled pork brioche with truffle pecorino and pickles which was indeed the business. Luckily we still had room to try the gorgeous Noisette fruit loaf with whipped honey and vanilla butter. Perfect. They also have donuts filled with Turkish delight so there goes my diet.

Upstairs can be used as a function space, or to just take the overload from downstairs when they get busy. On my second visit in as many days (yes it’s that good) the place was HEAVING at 10am. I mean turning-people-away-busy, and they’ve only been open 2 weeks.

They very kindly take bookings for breakfast which I dig, but I can see this place having a queue down the street before too long, as the word spreads and people get a taste for Casey’s coffee. (Back off people, I saw her first!)

There is also a fabulous little room at the very front of the upstairs space, which is now referred to as ‘The Ladies’ Celebration Room’ because since Lil Boy Blue opened, it has been constantly occupied by groups of girlfriends with buckets of bubbles. Sounds like the perfect idea to me. Again, book this ahead of time to avoid disappointment!

Now we just need to go back and try the dinner menu, and I can’t wait. Stay tuned for that!
You can find Lil Boy Blue at 309 High St in Kew. There are probably more than a few locals who will want to punch my lights out for sharing this with everyone, but I just had to let you know. It’s bloody marvellous.

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Top Ten Desserts for 2011

You may have noticed we got around a bit last year.  My tastebuds had an absolute flogging at the hands of many seriously good offerings, some of which I am going to share with you now, in the form of  my Top Ten Desserts for 2011.

Now I know I should give up sugar, or at least cut down (which I have made a concerted effort to do this year) however I freely admit to letting the calorific hair down for these treats and it’s only right you should know about them. They.Were.That.Good.  Please enjoy the following food p*rn, in no particular order. It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it. And being that one of my New Year’s resolutions is to eat even more locally grown and sourced food, I’ve got a whole lot more foodlove to share from our fair city so stay tuned!

1. Ilona Staller’s  Bombe Alaska

2. Rockpool‘s Devil Food cupcake

3. Bistro Guillaume’s  giant salted caramel macaron

4. St Katherine’s Mister Whippy

5. Cafe Vue’s Chocolate mousse cake

6. Miami Fontainebleau’s  Key Lime Pie

7. Seven Seeds’  Meringue cup cake

8. Sarong Bali’s Duck egg and ginger custard with cashew nut icecream

9.   Disney World Resort’s Boardwalk Bakery Red Velvet Cupcake – note the icing to cake ratio here

10. Grossi Florentino’s canoli

And 2 extremely refreshing and delightful beverages we enjoyed regularly (but responsibly of course) were:

Dal Zotto Puccino Prosecco

Rekorderlig Pear Cider

St Katherine’s, Kew

Shane Delia, of Maha fame, opened St Katherine’s with George Colombaris, at 26 Cotham Road, Kew, in early 2011, and no one could have been happier than the locals.

Spacious, with beautiful mosaic blue and red patterned tiles, modern with clever rustic touches, and an open kitchen, it’s a place which is both cool enough for the young and unencumbered, and so family- friendly that when kids order dessert they are ushered down the back to get their own ‘Mr Whippy’ house-made soft-serve.

On the menu (which is constantly being updated as Shane regularly creates new dishes) are a number of staples which you absolutely can’t go past, including the KFC (St Katherine’s Fried Chicken) which comes in a striped red and blue cardboard bucket, and is served with house-made Japanese mayo and BBQ sauce.

My favourite salad of all time is from St Kats: the salad of ancient grains – a bowl of goodness including lentils, almonds, pomegranate seeds, current and coriander , dressed with a red wine vinaigrette. It is both sweet and sour, crispy and crunchy, juicy and satisfying, uber-healthy, and is quite simply out of this world.

The flip side of this are the chips and tarama – resistance is useless: better hot chips you’d be struggling to find anywhere and the housemade tarama is gorgeous.

It would be rude to neglect the Rotisserie, and extremely difficult in any case, with all the meats slowly revolving in front of you, with their irresistible charcoal aroma. From the communal ‘Chef’s Table’ located right in front of the rotisserie, you can you can sit and watch the team in action. It’s hard not to get mesmerised by what’s going on in front of you and forget all about talking to your dining companions.

(Pork lovers note: you can book and pre-order a whole suckling pig for a minimum of 4 people which is served up in 3 different ways and will quite simply BLOW.YOUR.MIND.)

The lamb kibbeh, with ground lamb, burgul, parsley and pine-nuts, is fresh and full of flavour, and from the wood fired oven, the pide with sausage and onion rings is a taste sensation.

And last, but in no possible way least, if dessert is your thing, this is place to bring your sweet tooth for a party it will never forget.

The homemade Mr Whippy selections include toppings like 1. loukoumathes (fried honey puffs) with orange blossom honey, and 2. salted caramel, pomegranate brownie and chocolate pomegranate sauce.

Then there’s the peanut butter parfait, with chocolate sorbet, baklava crumbs, orange blossom foam, and that’s only half of the dessert menu.

These are temptations worth driving across town for, and you’ll have to keep coming back until you’ve tried all of them.

The atmosphere at St Katherine’s is energetic, bustling and welcoming all at once. It’s always full without being crowded, and you don’t have to shout to be heard. And no matter how busy it is, the food is never far away once you’ve ordered, and you’re always treated with a friendly smile.

The staff here are passionate and knowledgeable about the food, they are bright, happy, and genuine. We always leave feeling special and I love that. You could say I’m a fan. www.stkatherines.com 20120202-140032.jpg20120202-140112.jpg20120202-140051.jpg20120202-140145.jpg20120202-140215.jpg

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