I've recently been filling you in on some great restaurants in my local area of SW1. We've had:
A sumptuous roast at No.11 Pimlico Road
Innovative Tapas at Ametsa
A slightly disappointing fine dining experience at Petrus
And some very fine fish at Oliviomare
So when Zomato asked me along to Pont St at the Belgraves Hotel (in Belgravia, obvs), I was looking forward to adding it to my list of local recommendations. There were several other things I was very excited about:
1. Meeting some new bloggers as well as getting to know others who I was already acquainted with.
2. A cookery demonstration from a celebrity chef.
3. A good night out at a fabulous location.
When the day of the event day dawned, everyone was tweeting with excitement. Well isn't that what bloggers do... and I was pleased to see that there were several people coming whose blogs I'd read and I had contact with over social media, but never actually met!
I'd had a lot of contact with Zoe from Love and Limoncello, and as we were both early we got a chance to meet properly over a glass of prosecco before everyone else arrived.
Later I got chatting to Aftab from Fresh and Fearless, Ella Paskett from The Little Brown Book (who I'd met at a previous Zomato meet up) and Lucy from Diamond in the Ashes.
Cocktails were served in cute milk bottles, a Winter Alexander and a Lavendar Mogul:
And soon more and more bloggers arrived to the gorgeous Belgravia-based hotel. There were around twenty of us in total, and we all mingled saying hi to people we'd met before, putting faces to blogs we read or being introduced for the first time.
Next we were led downstairs into the kitchen to meet Sophie Michell. It always intrigues me to see professional kitchens and to meet talented chefs, so this was a real highlight for me. Glasses of wine were passed around as the chef introduced herself. Sophie is the UK's youngest female executive chef and started running a professional kitchen at just 15.
Following that she went on to work in such fabulous restaurants as La Gavroche, The Greenhouse and The Lanesborough. She has also been a private chef to major celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio and Claudia Schiffer. As well as running the kitchen at Pont St, Sophie is part of the team behind Gorgeous Kitchen, an exciting new restaurant at Terminal 2 and, having appeared on Channel 4's 'Cook Yourself Thin,' she is also a successful TV presenter and food writer.
Sophie set about showing us how to roll out pasta using a pre-prepared piece of dough.
When she asked for volunteers, I went for it...I'm always game ;)
I put some muscle into cranking out that pasta dough...
Photo courtesy of Lucy from Diamond in the the Ashes
Zoe also got stuck in a had a go.
Sophie then laid out the pasta and topped it with butternut squash...
Before forming perfect stuffed raviolis.
We escaped from the sweltering kitchen and after all my hard work (!) I was very much looking forward to our dinner.
Photo courtesy of Lucy from Diamond in Ashes
The very lovely Alexandra, community manager at Zomato, had prepared a very helpful menu as well as a 'Paparazzi line-up' with the twitter handles and websites of everyone present.
And now were all friends we didn't feel too awkward about diving into the the platters of sharing starters.
Sophie's menu takes inspiration from the Mediterranean, California and Australian cuisines, all places Mr S and I have visited on our travels and adored the food.
Above is the beautiful beef carpaccio with truffle cream.
A platter of crudites was perfect for sharing.
Pork belly with bourbon and maple glaze.
Mini burgers were clearly the star of the show!
Grilled oysters slightly divided opinion. As much as I love shellfish I cannot bring myself to eat oysters, I don't like the consistency...plus I once had a bad experience!
A fabulously healthy superfood salad. Sophie is keen to include healthy foods of high nutritional value on her menu...well she has worked with supermodels after all! Other dishes were hot cheese balls and scallop carpaccio, everything was fabulous with fresh ingredients and so pleasing to the eye, which was ideal considering the number of photos that were being taken.
With wine being poured, and with us all having so much in common, we were all having such a fun time.
Pictured above are some of the bloggers from our side of the table from right to left: Ella, Aftab, Miho from Wander to Wonder and Serena from Into The F Word. On the end is Yusuf who works for Zomato and was kind enough to invite us all along.
We'd already chosen our main courses so there was no surprises there:
Lucy and I chose tuna steak which was beautifully rare.
I had total food envy of Miho's pasta especially after I had a taste.
And Aftab chose roast Anglais chicken with cherries and heirloom carrots. Of course, we all kept our forks at bay and snapped each other food for our own blogs. Also on the table was the Belgraves burger, one of the restaurant's most popular dishes, along with lemon sole and cod and chips.
Desserts were also highly photogenic:
Desserts were also highly photogenic:
Doughnut balls with milkshakes. I love how Sophie takes traditional comfort food and totally glams it up.
We also each got an individual madeleine and a lemon curd 'shot.'
As you can see from the smiles on our face we enjoyed the night so much and the opportunity to eat, drink and be merry together. I have to say a huge thank you to Zomato for inviting me and bringing the bloggers to my neighbourhood, I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone again.
With such a big group, I didn't get to speak to everyone but here are the links to the other bloggers that I haven't mentioned already:
Ali from London is My Playground
Angela from The Awkward Blog
Em from Catch52
Jaime from Angloyankophile
Joanna from What Joanna Ate
LeBinh from The Food Connoisseur
Michael from The Food Curator
Nawaz from Halal Food Guy
Shayan from Life of Shayan
KS and Tamsin from We Try Kai
Or you can follow us all on Zomato where you find our reviews, places we recommend and where to avoid.
The Belgraves Hotel
20 Chesham Place
020 3189 4850
This lovely bloggers' bash was fully courtesy of Zomato