Greek Food Paradise at Fantasia Palace

I was recently invited to review the menu at Greek Restaurant, Fantastia Palace in the heart of West London as their guest and couldn’t wait to sample its delights. It’s not often that I get the chance to eat Greek food, growing up in East London I am more used to eating Turkish food which is similar but of course different! Located just a stone’s throw away from Edgeware Road and Paddington, Fantastia Palace is really easy to get to and very easy to spot. The building used to be an old English Pub, so it is full of quirky character and charm. Upon entering the restaurant, my friend commented that it felt like we were on holiday, in Greece. Whilst I have not yet been to Greece I could definitely see what my friend meant, it had the feel of somewhere near a holiday resort. The space is not huge and so diners are packed in, not quite like sardines but it’s not a wide space so I would recommend booking as the restaurant was busy and  full throughout the evening.

To start, I selected the Hot Mixed Starter which consisted of Haloumi, Pastourma, a type of beef sausage and dolmades, stuffed vine leaves. Every thing on my plate was delicious and I especially enjoyed the dolmades which were fresh and moreish. The Pastourma was a great savoury and slightly spicy sausage which I enjoyed with the haloumi cheese. My friend went for feta cheese which we both agreed was absolutely divine, smooth and rich in flavour. If there’s one thing that the restaurant ever decided to sell as a stand alone product under their brand it should be that cheese because it was superb.

Hot Mixed Starter Platter at Fantasia

Hot Mixed Starter

Feta Cheese at Fantasia Palace

Feta Cheese

For my main course I went for the grilled lamb cutlets served with rice and salad. It was as good as I expected, fresh ingredients without too much fuss, the type of meal you would expect from an authentic Greek restaurant. Good quality meat and the portion size was generous for the cost of the meal.

Lamb Cutlets

Lamb Cutlets

My friend opted for grilled seabass which was served with chips, although the bones sometimes got in the way my friend really enjoyed this, so much so that I didn’t even get a chance to taste it.

Grilled Seabass

Grilled Seabass

We ended our meal with some greek coffee which is strong and given the fact that I’m not normally a coffee drinker I am surprised I managed to finish drinking it.

Greek Coffee

Greek Coffee

Overall I had a lovely time at Fantasia Palace, the food was lovely and the service was prompt and attentive. I would love the restaurant to get an interior decoration makeover though, it just needs a bit of an uplift inside to bring out the best that I know it can be. I would recommend you wander down on summer’s afternoon (if we ever get one here in the UK) for some authentic food in London. Visit: http://www.fantasiapalace.co.uk/ to book a table!

Fantasia Palace, 28 Praed Street, London, W2 1NH

The Time Varo Foods Jollof Rice Saved My Life

OK so the rice didn’t actually save my life but please understand that when I’m really hungry, I go through a series of stages which culminate in me thinking that the world will come to an end unless I get fed. On one particularly busy day I rushed home from a meeting only to realise that I hadn’t prepared anything and I was short on time before having to head back out. Thankfully I had been sent a box of Varo Foods* jollof rice as a gift to try. I had not tried their rice before, I had tried their Moin Moin, a savoury nigerian bean “cake” eaten with a main course. It was OK, a bit dry in consistency but overall not too bad.

I received a box of 2 varieties of jollof to try, the coconut and vegetable jollof rice.

My favourite of the 2 is definitely the vegetable jollof rice – again it needs a touch more seasoning or salt but you can add to taste and I definitely like my rice spicier. The quality of the rice grains is fantastic and whilst it cannot compete with homemade/party jollof, it makes for such a good alternative.

Varo Foods Jollof Rice

It is refreshing to finally see Nigerian cuisine in the mainstream food space! Here’s to more from Varo Foods.

*No financial payment was made for this review. All views are my own.

Red Magazine is Looking For The Next Star of African food

African Food is such an eclectic mix of vibrant delicacies; from the spicy stews and teff flatbreads of Eritrea to the scented soups of Nigeria and the glistening coconut rice of Kenya! Whilst many of these dishes are served across the UK there is still some way to go before UK masses truly appreciate the beauty of African Cuisine in all its delicious forms! Red Magazine has teamed up with HarperCollins to look for Britain’s newest food star: the person who can bring their style of African food to the masses. Enter Here: http://www.redonline.co.uk/food/win-a-cook-book-deal-and-recipe-feature-in-red
I am happy to have been invited to be a judge for this great competition and I want as many people as possible to enter. Make your foodie dream come true and enter!
African Food Star