Posts Tagged ‘barbecue’

A Grehla

Canary Wharf is more than just a forest of imposing towers. This urban jungle is rich in green oasis, fountains, fantastic sculptures. Walk a little further and you will reach cute little houses and gardens, lilac trees growing happily, lavender blooming fragrantly under the sun. Quite a contrast!

Nestled right along the Thames with an amazing view on the O2 is A Grehla, which has now reopened for the summer. This pop-up belongs to the nearby pub, the Gun, a lovely address which has balanced traditional and contemporary notes and is quite loved by the locals. Most people walk or cycle here. Sitting on the terrace will of course be weather dependant but what a pleasure to be outside, feeling the breeze in your hair, listening to the soft sounds of the river and sipping on a glass of wine. Seagulls dance over the water at a distance, a few boats drive past, you cannot hear any siren or traffic noise – you can let go of the daily routines and worries here and just breathe.

Listen - exotic music is playing in the background giving a little salsa or rumba groove. The O2 may be right in front of you but it feels like you have left London far, far behind. It feels like you are on holiday.

The barbecue is already on and your mouth waters – it just smells so good. All fish come from the famous local Billingsgate market – 54 fishmongers offer the largest and freshest choice in the UK. Have a look at the board when coming in to see today’s specials…

The menu is inspired by the grilled specialties of the Algarve, a little escape to the South of Portugal. What will you have? Cataplana, a seafood stew cooked in a copper pot? Salted cod croquettes? Tender brochettes? Portuguese cheese? I decided on the gambas after spying them on a nearby table. Those are cooked in a gorgeous tomato and red pepper sauce with just a touch of parsley. Refined, fragrant without hiding the fish taste, perfect on  a sunny day, so tasty you would easily believe they have just been caught.

I followed with a perfectly grilled seabass. The meat had been slowcooked and could be separated with just a fork, it almost melted in my mouth. My one year old son, who had already had his lunch, ate a third of the plate! It makes you realise than when a product quality is excellent, it really does not need anything -  no seasoning, no lemon, it is just perfect on its own. Restaurants compete so much on creativity than you end up forgetting what real, simple tastes are.

It is also nice to have separate portions of new potatoes with a touch of garlic and salad with tomatoes, onions and herbs.Very refreshing and it also allows you to focus on each taste separately. Never understimate how happy simple dishes can make you! The whole lunch proved particularly soothing. Time just has no value here -  you could stay the whole afternoon.

For the sweet touch, stay on the Portuguese side and try a pasta de natel. This cake is made of a very buttery pastry filled with a beautiful, vanilla custard then sprinkled with cinnamon. Have it with an espresso – just divine.

Verdict? One of those heaven-like places that you will hesitate to share or keep a secret. Such an escape fom the normal London while still being only a 15mn walk from Canary Wharf station, therefore pretty easy to go to. If in doubt, ask for your way, all the locals seem to know it! Go there in the evening or for a week-end lunch with friends. With a glass of sangria, you will reinvent the world and… lick your fingers.

A Grelha
27 Coldharbour
London E14 9NS

Ideas for a week-end in London: June 10-12, 2011

This week-end will be a nice party with a long-time-no-see-but-never-forgot-you friend.
And so, there will be a shower of anecdotes from the good old times, a flow of pints in atmospheric pubs, walks till the end of the night. With or without umbrella, take your bets.
In a nutshell: make new memories.

For inspiration, we’ll choose a few of those:

* On Thursday, take your little artists to Covent Garden – they will have the opportunity to build an art structure with Louis Vuitton.

* Burlesque class anyone? I have always wanted to try…

* A gourmet pop-up on Southbank will serve very poetic food – rush there.

* Or would you rather go for a barbecue van?

* Dancing time at the Tate Modern.

* How about a free jazz concert in the V&A garden to start the week-end?

* Beware, naked cyclists on the go on Saturday. Litterally.

* Keep your eyes open -  yarnbombing is on the programme!

* Dare. Try this fish-therapy, you have been dying to.

* Discover London secret gardens and squares -  a beautiful opportunity to push usually closed gates.

* Brunch time! Our favourite is Dishoom, for its exotic touch.

* Street art tour? Yes, but on a bike.

* Londonus Dinosaurus.

* Circus and Cabaret united? Click this way to know more about this festival.

* Red, white or rosé? Fill your own bottle!


This Week End in London

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