Today was a very special foodie day – exploring the north end of LA. Breakfast was a hastily grabbed bagel but lunch and dinner more than made up for it.
Lunch – The Ivy
The Ivy is an LA icon. Set in the centre of Beverley Hills, amid the eye wateringly expensive fashion boutiques. The array of cars awaiting valet parking (a Ferrari, Lamborghini and a Rolls) gives you some idea of the local taste. In terms of celeb spotting we clocked a celebrity chef and someone who looked an awful lot like Tiger Woods.
Starter – Native Oysters
Oysters are a big deal in California and most menus offer them. The Ivy’s were on the smaller size and one had a few chips of shell in it. Otherwise, the cocktail sauce was gorgeous and the oysters themselves were lovely.
Main – Seafood Risotto
The Ivy has a strong line of Italian dishes and their seafood risottos reflects this influence, packing scallops, clams, prawns, squid, mussels and crab into a gorgeous mound. The serving was very generous with a great seafood/rice ratio. The rice was perfectly cooked, with he tiniest hint of a bite amid the creaminess.
Dinner – The Bazaar
After watching the sunset from Griffith Observatory, we meandered down the slopes to the SLS Hotel. José Andrés creates an exciting modern take on tapas. Pulling on Spanish tradition, using incredible Californian ingredients and the latest techniques of molecular gastronomy is a potent mix. Hottly tipped by many review websites I was very excited to sample it. After a brief waist we were seated a the chef’s bar, where you can watch the team prepare the orders as they come in. (And ask them geeky food questions as they work) The tapas format works perfectly with the ultra-modern cooking as it gives you the chance to sample lots of different dishes. We had:
Oxtail Sandwich – Based on a Chinese steamed bun, these tiny bite sized spheres contained incredibly tender beef with spring onions, radish and seasoning. Stunningly moist and flavoursome, I think the bread was infused with a beefy flavour too.
Caprese Salad – The traditional tomato/mozzarella combo is really superb, the tomatoes appear to have been soaked in a tomato consommé to create a super rich taste, the mozzarella balls are stunning, constructed from mozzarella, cream and the mozzarella water they are solid on the outside, molten in the middle.
Cotton Candy Foie Gras – Exactly what is says on the tin and as exactly brilliant as you might hope. I have no idea how this works, but it’s very delicate, I was told it’s a very time sensitive process. It’s not like it was going to hang around long anyway!
Philly Cheesesteak – Served on ‘air bread’ this is a light crisp dough, puffed and filled with a cheese foam. The ‘bread’ is topped with wafer thin slices of ‘blue’ wagyu, raw in the middle, caramelised on the outside. Heavenly.
The Bazaar isnt just one of the best restaurants this trip, it’s one of the best I’ve eaten at ever. Incredible food, cunningly executed with unique twists in a friendly and exciting atmosphere. Absolutely worth a visit.