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Weekend brunch at Aqua Kyoto restaurant in London Yesterday, I was invited to Aqua Kyoto, to try out their new weekend brunch menu.

The restaurant, conveniently located near Oxford street, was on the fifth floor, with lovely views over London.

The executive chef there was Paul Greeningwho also happened to have a degree in microbiology. I could tell from meeting him, that he was very passionate about food. He uses his knowledge of science, to help him research into food and to create innovative recipes. I was invited along with a group of lovely food bloggers.

To start, we were served cocktails. As I wasn’t drinking alcohol that day, a delicious mocktail of fruit juices with almond syrup, was specially made for me. The new weekend brunch menu consisted of at least 7 courses, with an option for bottomless Bellini’s or Veuve Cliquot Champagne.

Our first course was a bowl of edamame, flavoured with a sprinkling of sea salt. This was followed by a bowl of steaming hot white miso soup, with tofu and wakame. Sushi platter at Aqua Kyoto Feast your eyes on this beautiful platter of omakase sushi and sashimi.  Doesn’t it look so vibrant and colourful? Almost too pretty to eat right? Everything was so freshly prepared and perfectly flavoured. The ebi mataha yasai tempura ( prawn and vegetable tempura) above, was delicious when dipped in a kimchee and garlic sauce. This made from scratch yaki soba came with onion teriyaki, winter vegetables and ohba leaf.

I can honestly say that this was one of the best yaki soba dishes I have tasted. The feast continued with these yakitori skewers of robata chicken with spring onion, and omakase vegetable. The chicken was moist and cooked to perfection. Those shitake mushrooms with the sesame seeds, were so juicy and mouth-wateringly good. For a small supplement charge to the brunch menu, you could order this Wagyu beef yakitori. The beef was so tasty and tender to the bite. We were lucky to be treated to Paul Greening’s famed Fuji apple dessert. This apple shaped dessert consisted of a crisp sugar shell, blown up like a glass with nitrous gas, and filled with a light apple mousse and caramel.

It was airy light, sweet and tangy to taste. It was divine. This dessert is not usually part of the weekend brunch menu but can be ordered separately.
We finished our meal with an omakase Japanese brulée, served on a beautiful ceramic stone dish.

So, have I tempted you to go try the amazing weekend brunch menu at Aqua Kyoto? I highly recommend it. It costs £49 with bottomless bubbles or Bellini’s and £65 with bottomless Veuve Clicquot Champagne. This menu is available both on Saturdays and Sundays.

If you fancy going, I have a great offer for you. Here’s a special promo code that entitles you to a free weekend brunch when you book for 3 or more people in addition to yourself. This special offer is only available till 28th May 2017. Hope you can make it.

Have a lovely day all.

( All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. All opinions are my own. I was a guest of Aqua Kyoto for the brunch.)

Albion-Clerkenwell-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-of-Little-Big-Bell On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending the restaurant opening of Albion Clerkenwell.

I remembered the first came time I came across an Albion restaurant, was in Shoreditch. It was Winter, I felt cold, hungry and had just finished a photowalk with friends around the area. I recalled ordering a classic fish pie and loving it. It was the perfect Winter comfort food.

They did amazing take away coffee and pastries too. I was so impressed, I featured the Albion Shoreditch as one of my to go to ‘locally inspired’ places for America’s Domino magazine online.

Albion’s founder Peter Prescott said that Clerkenwell was the perfect fit for their newest and biggest Albion, as the area was vibrant from a design perspective, rich in a history of craftsmanship and creation.

Clerkenwell certainly is home to a large concentration of designers, architects and creative agencies. It is also renowned for playing host to the super cool Clerkenwell Design week each year. Albion-Clerkenwell-2-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell The grocery and bakery sections are the first thing you see as as you enter the building.

The grocery shop specialises in British food and drink from established brands such as Coleman’s mustard or Maldon’s salt, to regional specialties. Albion-clerkenwell Here’s a close up view of what’s on offer, on the shelves.

They stock a curated collection of pantry essentials, gift foods and culinary treats. Croissants-at-Albion-Clerkenwell-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Look at these mouth watering croissants and pastries fresh from the oven. All of Albion’s baked goods are made on the premises from scratch.

I’ve heard that their cheese and Marmite scrolls are delicious. Being a Marmite fan, I will definitely have to return another day to try some. Albion-Clerkenwell-coffee-bar-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Here’s the coffee bar.
Peanut-cookies-at-Albion-Clerkenwell-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell These delectable peanut cookies would be perfect with coffee, Pistachio-cake-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell or maybe I should have the pistachio cake? Albion-Clerkenwell-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell When you see fruits and vegetables looking so fresh and beautiful, you know your food is going to taste great. Albion-Clerkenwell-by-Little-Big bell In addition to the Grocery, Bakery, classic British menu and evening Grill, there is also a Craft beer and wine shop, an Oyster bar, Cheese & Charcuterie corner, Pie room and Cocktail bar. Albion-Clerkenwell-cafe-1-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell The restaurant’s design was overseen by Sir Terence Conran, with Isabelle Chatel de Brancion from Spin Architectures.

The space has been furnished with modern classic furniture and lighting from talents such as Bethan Gray, Anglepoise, Ercol and Innermost . These have been specially selected by Albion’s founder, Peter Prescott.
Hendricks-gin-cocktail-at-Albion-London-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-Bell Here’s a refreshing cocktail that I tried. It’s called the Hendrick’s cup and consisted of Gin with peeled cucumber, thyme and Juniper berries. Pimms-cocktail-Albion-Clerkenwell-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell This one was called the Albion Pimms and consisted of Gin, British sweet Vermouth, Cherry heering, Grand Marnier, Summer fruits and lemonade. It was delicious. Albion-Clerkenwell-Asparagus-and-egg-salad-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-of-blog-Little-Big-Bell- On to what I ate at Albion Clerkenwell.

I couldn’t sample all the food areas, so will definitely have to head back to The Pie Room and the Cheese & Charcuterie corner another day.

For starters, I had Asparagus, soft boiled Burford eggs with lovage salad. The warm Asparagus were fresh and nutty to taste. The egg was a contrasting cold. I liked the egg cold but my husband suggested that he preferred it warm. Albion-Clerkenwell-dinner-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell For the main course, we had Native lobster with a Summer salad. The lobster was delicious and fresh and went well with the crunchy green salad.

We ordered a few side dishes. The Triple cooked chips were piping hot and delicious, the cucumber and mint was a real wake up to Summer and the Brit quinoa with dried fruits and seed salad were a tasty combination.  Sticky-toffee-pudding-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell To finish, I had my all time favourite sticky toffee pudding with ice cream Albion-London-coffee-cups-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell Love the typography on these coffee cups.

Hope you have enjoyed the post. I know I will be back there soon to try all the different food areas. Have a lovely day all.

(All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. I was invited as a guest to Albion Clerkenwell’s opening but all opinions stated in this post are my own.)

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