Friday, February 27, 2015

Kintan - Japanese BBQ at its Best!

I have to admit, no matter how much I liked Japanese culture before, I actually don't know too much about Japanese cuisine. Of course, I'm all too familiar with sushi, ramen, udon and okonomiyaki, but that's definitely not all there is to the variety of delicious things this country has to offer. Take for example: yakiniku. Yakiniku, as you can already guess from the picture above stands for 'grilled meat'. Unfortunately, it's not something you can eat everywhere. Luckily I had the opportunity to pay Kintan a visit, London's first specialised yakiniku restaurant!

The fun thing about eating yakiniku at Kintan is the fact that you grill the meat yourself! Now, for those who've never been to a Korean BBQ restaurant either before, this might be something completely foreign to you. Going to a restaurant and making your own food? Sounds a bit weird, doesn't it? But let me tell you: the fun of the experience is in fact this DIY BBQ atmosphere. While the excellent chefs at Kintan prepare & marinate the meat to perfection, it's up to you to grill the bite-sized pieces to your liking on the table grill. Perfect if you have different preference in terms of meat doneness.

As my friends and I went on a weekend, we ordered from the brunch menu. We each got course A, which means each of us could choose 1 starter and 3 BBQ dishes for £29.50/pp. The nice thing about the brunch special: the BBQ is served with rice, soup, salad and a dessert! Now go in a group, as I did, and you get a feast! Together we picked 12 different types of BBQ items from the brunch menu and ordered a different starter each! Considering  that the most expensive item, the filet mignon, costs £13 on the a la carte menu, it's a pretty good deal, isn't it?

Among the starters, the fried chicken karaage was the fastest to be devoured. Great little pieces of chicken that went extremely well with our Asahi beer to kick off the feast. We actually ordered it twice, as the starters weren't too intriguing. The kimchi was pretty bland, but that seems to be the standard of London restaurants. As for the BBQ items, I kept the waiters busy figuring out which piece of meat I just had, so I could rank my favourites. I mean, once we had them all laid out next to each other, I really couldn't tell, which meat was which. Though, the friendly staff (even though I called them every few minutes) quickly identified the BBQ items. My favourites were the premium harami skirt steak, the yaki-shabu beef and the bistro hanger steak. They were so deliciously marinated, tender & juicy, they melted in my mouth. I could eat them all day! While all meat was of high quality and mouth-watering, these three stood out especially. It's the way they were marinated, don't ask me how, that made them so special and had me reconsidering Korean BBQ as my favourite type of of BBQ. After finishing off all plates, we ended our brunch with lovely matcha ice cream and a bottle of sparkling sake (highly recommended!).

As you can already see by the length of this post, I had such a fantastic experience at Kintan, I'm already planning my next trip. Still need to try the tuna volcana Kintan is popular for and some harami skirt steak would be great, too. So if you like BBQ and Japanese food, why not combine them and try out Kintan next time! Skip the starters and just go for the meat. Because that was deliiiicious!

34 High Holborn
London WC1V 6AE

Thanks to Zomato for contributing a voucher to my Kintan visit! You can read more of my reviews on my Zomato profile.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bloggers Cake School at Konditor & Cook

It's crazy how people can change over time: From a child that refused to eat more than 5 spoonfuls of the food her mum prepared, I turned into a proper glutton that eats more than necessary. While I always threw a fit whenever I had to help out in the kitchen as a teenager, now I'm a 20-something that wished she had a Chinese auntie, so she could learn how to make dim sum at home. Though, there's one thing that hasn't changed over time: my inability to master anything related to baking. I even failed making icing from a muffin mix my friend bought! So when I received the invite to the Bloggers Cake School at Konditor & Cook for an evening of cake decoration, I was hesitant at first. On second thought, it was the perfect opportunity to learn from a pro and have fun with fellow bloggers. I mean, with Konditor & Cook's reputation, feeding Londoners for two decades already with sweet and savoury goods, there was no way I could say no.

Together with Emma, FerrenGloriaLisaMiho, ReemaTea & Jesse, I enjoyed an evening full of laughter, sweet treats, delicious wine & lots of icing! Once the aprons were on, we went straight to business, learning how to fold and fill piping bags. The first ones I made looked pretty sad, though the more I made, the better they looked! First achievement of the evening. The hard part came afterwards: trying to write and draw shapes. I was surprised how much strength you needed in your hands to create steady lines. We started off with biscuits, continued with gingerbread men and hearts, until we got to the highlight of the evening: Decorating Konditor & Cooks' famous Curly Whirly. Quite a steep progress! I was impressed by the amazig creations my fellow bloggers made after just an hour of practising decorating, even my gingerbread man didn't look too bad. My Curly Whirly... not so much (that's why I'm showing you Emma's beautiful polka dot version!), but that's okay, considering my lack of cake skills.

All in all, I had so much fun at Konditor & Cook's decorating class. I went home with all my decorated goods plus many more treats, such as the pecan shortbreads I've been devouring the last few days or a copy of the Deservedly Legendary Baking cookbook! Who knows, maybe I'll turn into a master baker soon!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Getting Active

Nike Pro Classic Bolt Bra via JD Sports* | Nike Epic Tights via JD Sports* | Nike Flyknit via JD Sports*

Once I finish school, I thought to myself, I'll never have to go through the exhaustion and the embarrassment called sports again. It's not that I particularly hated it, I just did much much worse than everyone else around me. The fact that my teachers asked me, whether I even tried (when I already tried my hardest), didn't really help much with motivation either. Luckily, I used to be one of those people that could eat tons of food and not show any sign of having eaten at all. Too bad, this doesn't apply to me anymore, or maybe it's the fact that I'm increasingly getting obsessed with trying out all kinds of food which is adding those pounds on the scale.

As I told you earlier, one of the things on my "to-do-list" is doing more exercise and I'm actually sticking to this resolution. Okay, I may not go to the gym everyday, but I try to do an hour of exercise at home every day. But if I'm honest, I actually only started when I got this Nike Sports Bra and the Nike Tights from JD Sports. I know, nice gym wear doesn't make you into an athlete, but it definitely helps with motivation (and the fact that my laptop is currently broken - so no distraction). So I put on my new sports gear on at home to get into the mood and slowly exercise with the help of youtube videos I'm watching on my tablet. I mean, I've been to the gym before, so I do know the basic forms. Now it's just about me getting some stamina and flexibility again (and confidence). I tried out a few fitness channels and I think I'm sticking to Blogilates for now. When I first tried out some exercise I couldn't believe how intense they actually were (or maybe I'm just out of practise)! Do you exercise? And if yes, do you go to the gym or do home fitness, like me?

Wenn ich fertig mit Schule bin, so dachte ich jedenfalls, werde ich nie wieder Sport machen. Es ist jetzt nicht so, als haette ich es extrem gehasst, ich war einfach nur viel schlechter als alle um mich herum. Ausserdem war es nicht gerade hilfreich und motivierend, dass meine Lehrer mich jedes Mal im Sportunterricht gefragt haben, ob ich mich ueberhaupt anstrenge. Zum Glueck habe ich zu den Menschen gehoert, die einfach nicht zunehmen, egal wie viel sie essen. Tja, leider ist mein Koerper kein schwarzes Loch mehr, oder ich esse einfach viel mehr (wie auch nicht, bei all den tollen Restaurants in London und Berlin!).

Wie ich bereits vorher erwaehnt habe, ist ganz weit oben auf meiner 2015 To-Do-Liste mehr Sport zu machen. Einerseits um Crop Tops zu tragen, andererseits um einfach gesuender zu sein. Wider Erwarten halte ich mich sogar an diesen Vorsatz! Okay, ich gehe zwar nicht jeden Tag ins Fitness-Studio, aber ich versuche jeden Tag eine Stunde Sport zu Hause zu machen. Wenn ich ehrlich bin, kam das erst richtig, als JD Sport mir neue Sportsachen geschickt hat. Mir ist klar, dass man dadurch nicht unbedingt gleich Superathlet wird, aber zumindest hat es mir mit der Motivation geholfen (und die Tatsache, dass mein Laptop gerade kaputt ist und mich nichts ablenkt).  Ich ziehe mir also meine neuen Sportsachen an (einfach um in die richtige Stimmung zu kommen) und folge die Anweisungen der Fitnessgurus auf Youtube. Ich war vor einem Jahr einige Male im Fitness-Studio, die Grundlagen kenne ich also. Ich muss nur wieder etwas in Uebung kommen, etwas mehr Ausdauer kriegen und vor allem aber auch Selbstbewusstsein aufzubauen, um mich neben die ganzen Fitnessleute im Fitness-Studio wohl zu fuehlen. Jeden Abend gibt es also eine Stunde Blogilates fuer mich! Macht ihr Sport? Wenn ja, geht ihr ins Fitness-Studio oder seid ihr ein Home-Sportler, wie ich?