The Best Vietnamese in London?- Saigon Saigon Review.

Considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, Vietnamese is a combination of fresh ingredients and an explosion of distinct flavours. Some of the most amazing dishes of the cuisine range from Pho and spring rolls to rice, noodles and seafood.

The word on the foodie street was that Saigon Saigon in West London, served the best of its kind in London so I couldn’t wait to try.

Location and Decor.

The restaurant is in a good location with great transport links and an abundance of free parking after 7. The outside itself was dramatic and bold. You couldn’t miss it if you tried.

Inside was decorated with strong lines of mahogany and cream which gave a very vintage Asian feel. The restaurant it self was very cosy and warm.

First Impressions

On first impression, I noticed it was fairly loud. Typical of a Friday night but at 9pm, I was quite surprised it was still so busy. A testament to their popularity perhaps?

Service was initially a little slow; it took around 18 minutes before we were offered drinks. The waitress also didn’t seem to know the menu very well which we were understanding to but it was a little frustrating. The wine we were advised to get was the opposite of the flavours we asked for but this was changed quickly with no fuss. Their menu is very extensive so take some time to see all the options and ask for recommendations.


For starters, we ordered a selection of foods to try. We opted for the pork meatballs with hoisin sauce, the Vietnamese spring rolls and the soft shell crab.

The starters all came quickly, with an amazing side of rice noodles or fresh seasoned salad. A tasty touch.

The deep fried soft shell crab was one of the best I have ever had. It was crispy on the outside with an incredible flavour inside. It came on a bed of garlic and chilli with a side of salt, pepper and lime. A must try. I’m actually still dreaming of its taste right now.

The Vietnamese spring rolls were tasty too. The pastry crunched in your mouth as the prawns and meat burst out. The mixture inside was well balanced with a good ratio of meat to vegetables.

The pork meatballs were succulent and well seasoned in coriander, chilli and topped with mint. I’m not a huge fan of pork but heard good things about this dish. I was most impressed that they came with a size of fresh egg noodles. The Hoisin sauce really took this dish further for me. Overall, a great trio of starters that were very filling.


Once again, we went for a range of dishes for variety.

We chose the rib eye steak salad, the tamarind prawns and a vegetarian stir fry with egg fried rice on the side.

The first dish I bolted for was the rib eye steak. Marinated cubes of succulent steak with chilli and garlic on a bed of fresh salad and tomatoes. This was, to put it simply, amazing. The steak was perfectly cooked and sauce it was drenched it was incredible.

The tamarind prawns were a perfect balance of sweet and tangy. Six juicy large prawns in a sticky delicious marinade hit the spot perfectly.

The vegetables and the egg fried rice were great additions. The egg fried rice was cooked so well that I would have been happy to eat this on its own. (I do feel the vegetable dish was over priced for what came with it and that this should be offered as a side.)

The waiters became very attentive as the night quietened down and topped up our wine glasses without question. They also wrapped up our meal to go as we didn’t manage to finish despite it being so delicious. I was tempted to just keep eating until I popped but then remembered that taking some home means I get to taste it all again.

We didn’t opt for desserts as we were super full, but we were given sugared ginger and tamarind sweets which was a very nice touch.

The meal came to around £45 each (including service) which sounds pricey at first glance but my guest and I had: a bottle of wine, three starters, three mains and two sides. A very reasonable price. Without wine and with just one starter, main and side each, this meal would be around £20 each.

This was definitely some of the best Vietnamese I’ve had and needless to say, I’ll definitely be back. The dishes I absolutely recommend are: the soft shell crab and the steak salad. Next time, I aim to try a classic Pho, their calamari and their steam boat menu. (A dish that comes with raw ingredients that you choose which then cook slowly in a special broth on your table)

The atmosphere was buzzing and the staff were nice albeit a little slow at times due to the busy nature of the restaurant.

Above all, what made the food even better for me was that alongside being extremely delicious, it was a healthier option both nutrition wise and bank account wise. This would make an amazing date venue or catch up restaurant.

Thank you Saigon Saigon, I am swooning over your food and can’t wait to come back.

The Food Doll.

Healthy Jamaican Protein Banana Fritters.

The smell of banana fritters being fried in the morning by my mother, is a really nostalgic moment for me.

I adore banana fritters and how easy they are to make. They can be prepared the night before and quickly cooked in the morning.

The only problem, (if there ever could be one with them) is that they can be full of sugar and heavy flour and that’s not conducive to our New Years clean eating promise, is it?

In general, I have found some difficult balancing the amazing dishes of my west-Indian culture with my current fitness goals and hope to adapt my most loved dishes without compromising flavour.

On my journey towards fitness and clean eating, the original recipe would need to remain a treat but for other days, I have experimented and developed this recipe.

Read on to see the ingredients and method.


  • 1/2 cup Alpro coconut and almond milk
  • 1/2 cup Oats (gluten free or normal)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Skinny syrup 0 calorie 0 sugar vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Sweet freedom natural fruit syrup
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 2 Over ripened bananas
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder.
  • Protein powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon or all spice (optional)


1. Mash the ripened bananas in a bowl.

2. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl.

3. Add the remaining ingredients until the consistency is thick enough that it drops slowly of a spoon. (It should be much thicker than that of pancake batter and thick enough that it doesn’t spread much when placed into a pan)

4. In a non stick frying pan, spray done low calorie olive oil spray and fry on a low-medium heat. (You have to be patient with these, try not to move them until they are ready to turn and be very steady with your hand as they are less firm than a normal fritter during the cooking stage)

Enjoy these on their own, or with some chopped fruit and a spoonful of healthy cashew or peanut butter.

The Food Doll.

The MacFactory Review: Mac and Cheese topped with what?!

The first two weeks of 2018 have been amazing for me so far. Especially for The Food Doll. On February 10th, I’ll taking part in What’s New Pop Up: Food. A food pop up exhibition in the heart of Shoreditch, where you get to try the hottest and newest food brands, bloggers and innovations. (You can get 10% off tickets with my code ‘FOODDOLL10’ at )

To continue my blossoming year, I won a giveaway! This is huge because I never win anything, honestly.

The Mac Factory are a gourmet mac and cheese brand that I found on social media that really spoke to my heart. The love of my life and only thing stopping me from converting to veganism next to prawns, is cheese. As in, I really love cheese. Almost more than people. No… definitely more than people.

They boast some of the most delicious and crazy cheesy concoctions. I won a pot of my choice for myself and a friend (so two for me then.)

I haven’t been to Camden market during the day since I was in my late teens. It has changed with the times. When I used to think about Camden Food, I would think about the endless repeated Chinese food stands, where I would never have to buy anything. Just a quick walk through would fill me up with so many free chicken tasters that my stomach was bursting by the time I got to the end of the cobble market maze. Sometimes I would take the bait and fork over a modest £3 for a huge mixed box of anything and everything that could possibly fit.

These days, Camden has upgraded to the likes of the Kerb market which has a variety of cool modern food brands. I plan to take a trip back as I saw so many brands that I want to try.

I was greeted by a super friendly chef who called me gorgeous (that always goes down well.) He suggested that I try the hey mac-arena and the posh spice.

I decided to go for the hey mac-arena and the mambo italiano in the end.

Whilst he cooked my order fresh in front of me mixing handfuls of colourful cheeses and ingredients like a mad cheese scientist, he told me about a little about the company who have branches all over. I could see that they were popular; a queue quickly developed behind me as I resisted the urge to forget my home training and ask him for a handful of cheese to nibble on.

My orders arrived quickly and my gosh were they beautiful.

The hey mac-arena  was topped with flavourful green jalapeños, fresh sour cream, Mexican chilli and a stack of crispy nachos. This is a combination I never would have thought would be so delicious. I am very sceptical about chilli con carne style dishes and often find them sickly and overpowering but this was not the case here. The flavours were perfectly balanced. I was super surprised at just how much came in the pot and how filling it was. I am generally a slow eater but powered my way through this pot.

I saved the second pot for after my work meeting, having taken a couple of bites earlier. The mambo-italiano was laced in smoked pancetta, mushrooms, garlic and topped with their special sourdough parmesan and thyme crumble. ( I need to recreate their crumble. It was incredible and would taste out of this world over triple cooked fries.)

I was a little sceptical that the Mac Factory would be able to crack a tough cookie like myself, especially as I make amazing mac and cheese; but I was pleasantly proven wrong.

The Mac factory was a great experience, from the food, to the staff and location. They change their menu from time to time too and the menu varies depending on location. I saw a lobster Thermidor pot that is calling my name, along with a Bolognese and red wine variation at their Euston branch.

I definitely think this is a must visit and worth the trip even if you aren’t in the area. If you are a cheese lover like me, their pots of luck are a dream come true.

Thank you the Mac Factory!

The Food Doll.

Ten Vapiano Menu Hacks- You’ve never had ‘Vaps’ like this.

Vapiano has been my favourite Italian restaurant for over 7 years.

I regularly eat there not only in London but whenever I am abroad such as in Sweden and Holland.

The restaurant has undergone major refurbishments and expansions as a result of their unique dining style, their delicious dishes and economy friendly price point.

Not only does the restaurant make a great casual first date night, but is a great spot to eat with colleagues, friends and even solo.

You may have been to Vapianos, but have you been to Vapianos my way?

Below are some hacks that you probably have never thought of, but will blow your mind once you try them.

1.Ask for nutmeg to be added to your dish.

What? Nutmeg. I know, sounds crazy right. This hack was introduced to me by one of their chefs years ago and I have never turned back. H e told me to trust him and that the nutmeg would intensify the flavour of the creamy sauce. He was oh so right. I even add nutmeg to my home cooking for this very reason. This hack works great with any of the creamy dishes but especially with gamberetti spinaci.

2. Ask for white wine and parmesan in your gamberetti spinaci.

In a bid to impress my sometimes a little too flirty character, one amazing chef asked if he could adapt my favourite dish as he was confident that he would make it the best I’ve ever had. He was right. In this gorgeous adaption, he added white wine and parmesan to tha sauce (and my regular nutmeg).

3. Ask for fresh chilli on the side.

I like my food with a slight kick and its hard to judge just how spicy your pinch will be. I ask for a little chili in the dish and then some fresh chilli on the side which I sprinkle through my meal for intense kick and fresh flavour.

4. Bread.

I think its tradition to always ask for bread but  how do you eat it? Next time, ask them for butter. Better yet, find one of the most mature looking chilli oil jars on the tables and drizzle this over with a touch of salt and pepper. Yum.

5. Turn the filetto di manzo into a surf and turf.

Filetto di manzo is another great dish. After a visit to Holland where they had introduced a new dish called the reef and beef, I knew I had to have something similar here. Their dish had lobster sauce, prawns and beef. Ask your friendly chef to make your filetto di manzo with a creamy sauce such as the one similar to the normal gamberetti dish and add some prawns. This flavour combo will stun you.

6. Prawn alfredo.

The chicken alfredo is another commonly skipped over menu choice. Make it even better by adding prawns or my recommendation of holding the chicken altogether.

7. Bruschetta gamberetti.

Not so much a hack but a must  try. A lot of people don’t look at the starters menu much but there have been some amazing additions. This bruschetta mixes juicy king prawns and seasoned chopped tomatoes to create a tastebud party. One between two to share is more than enough. I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes but I throw this down every time.

8. Takeaway box.

Not so much a hack but a prompt. Vapiano takeway boxes are insanely handy and most importantly: free. I have lost count of how many I have at home. They are super secure, deep and shaped perfectly to hold awkward foods. I use them to season meat, bring food to work and save left overs. Thanks Vaps!

9. Surprise me.

Ask your chef to create an extra special dish for you. Tell them if you like your pasta with meat, prawns or vegetables, plus if you like it creamy, with tomatoes or less sauce. Some chefs love the challenge and it beats making the same dishes. Have an open mind and you may just discover a new favourite dish.

10. They’re actually herbs.

Those beautiful plants on your table. Did you know they are actually edible herbs. Tear off a few springs to add flavour punches to your meal. I usually add them shamelessly for aesthetics so my Instagram pictures come out even better.

Can you tell that I’m the worst person to queue behind? The beauty of Vapianos is that there is a range of fresh foods and the freedom to change every single dish to your taste.

Next time you visit, try one of my hacks and tell them the Food Doll recommended you. ❤

Melt in the Middle Mozzarella Meatballs Recipe.

Italian is by far one of my favourite cuisines. Besides West Indian culture, a lot of my recipes are influenced from the time I’ve spent in Italy and being taught dishes by Italian friends.

I fell in love with homemade meatballs when they were made for me by an Italian friend. They were juicy, bursting with flavour and extremely versatile. I decided to combine this with my love of cheese and finding delightful surprises within my food. Thus was born this recipe.

Read below for the ingredients list and recipe.

  • 1 small pack of minced meat (I used beef but you can use any. For super tasty meatballs, use half beef, half pork.)
  • Blended brioche rolls or hard/stale bread
  • Garlic (2 cloves fresh or 1 teaspoon dry)
  • Rosemary (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Thyme (1 teaspoon)
  • Oregano (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 Finely chopped onion
  • 1 Mozzarella ball.


Brown the chopped onions in some olive oil spray until translucent.

Drain off the oil and add into a bowl with your mince and seasonings; then mix well with your fingertips so that the mixture incorporates the seasoning.

Add your brioche or bread to a blender/nutri-bullet and blitz until at breadcrumb texture.

Add your brioche breadcrumbs and beaten egg to your mince mixture and combine until into a workable texture with your hands. It should be moist enough to work into ball but not soggy.

Spray some olive oil onto a tray and create meatball shapes by moulding the mixture in the palm of your hands. Ensure that these are equal sized. Try not to handle the mixture too much between your hands.

Once your meatballs have been mounded, cut your mozzarella into equal chunks.

Using your index finger, press down into your meatballs to create a dip.

Place your chopped mozzarella into the grooves of the meatballs and re-roll to enclosure the mozzarella chunk evenly into the mixture.

Finally brown your meatballs in a little olive oil in a frying pan until browned and crispy on the outside. You can either cook your meatballs fully this way or pop then into the oven as I do to finish then cooking.

Enjoy these meatballs by themselves, in a sauce or with pasta. The choice is yours!

The Food Doll. ❤

Pan Fried Sea Bass, Mediterranean King Prawns and Summer Vegetables Recipe.

Sea bass and prawns are two of my most favourite sea foods for not only their delicious taste, but their versatility. You can cook the most glamorous and delicious of meals in next to no time.

I developed this recipe to incorporate everyday items in your fridge and lack of time to create a beautiful but classy dish.

Read on for the method and ingredients.


  • Sea bass fillets (bones removed)
  • King Prawns shell on (cleaned)
  • Red Onion (roughly chopped)
  • Red Chilli (chopped and deseeded)
  • Lemon
  • Fresh coriander
  • Green beans
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Pancetta (optional/chopped)
  • New Potatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Vine ripened tomatoes


  1. Clean, peel and de-vein your king prawns before seasoning with salt, pepper, lemon and crushed garlic.
  2. Dredge the seasoned prawns in some flour and black pepper.
  3. Fry the prawns in a little olive oil until cooked throughout and crispy before draining on kitchen paper.
  4. Boil your new potatoes whilst partly cooking your green beans and put to one side.
  5. Taking two sea bass fillets per person slash the skin of the sea bass then season with a generous helping of salt and pepper.
  6. Add a little olive oil to a frying pan, add chopped garlic, chilli and the chopped red onion until slightly caramelised.
  7. Add your sea bass in skin down and allow to cook for about 5 minutes until the sides of the skin curl up. Flip the sea bass over and cook for another 90 seconds.
  8. Remove the sea bass and add your par cooked green beans, pancetta (optional) and tomatoes into the pan. Cook until the tomatoes are soft.
  9. On a plate arrange the plate as followed: a bed of the sauce left in the pan, the green beans on top and sea bass fillets above that. Place your new potatoes on the side and your king prawns besides that. Finish off with torn coriander and lemon on top.
  10. Enjoy!

The Food Doll.

Caribbean Vegan Curry Recipe.

I think it’s very easy to hear the word vegan and assume that the dishes may be bland or flavourless.

In the Caribbean, we have a particular type of cuisine called Ital food. Derived from the word vitality, it focuses on natural vegan foods that are bursting with flavour.

One of my favourite vegan dishes to make is a Caribbean Vegan Curry packed with delicious vegetables such as chickpeas, potatoes and tomatoes. This is also a great dish for meal prep as it can be eaten with a range of sides. Not to mention, super easy!

I usually have this with fried plantain, white rice and naan bread. Read below for the full method and ingredient list.

Ingredient List.

  • Chickpeas (1 can)
  • Chopped tomatoes (1 can or fresh equivalent)
  • Scotch bonnet tops (or two tablespoons of scotch bonnet hot sauce)
  • Jamaican sweet pumpkin (optional)
  • One large potato
  • 1 spring onion
  • Half an onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 lime
  • Spinach (half a packet)
  • Hot curry powder or mild curry powder
  • Jamaican curry power
  • All purpose seasoning
  • Thyme
  • Black pepper
  • Soy sauce


  • Sweat your diced onion and chopped garlic in a frying pan in a tablespoon of oil on a low heat.
  • Add your cubes potatoes and fry until translucent.
  • Add your spring onion and chopped tomatoes. Turn this onto a high heat until the mixture bubbles then turn down to a low heat.
  • Add the curry powders, all purpose, black pepper, thyme, soy sauce and whole scotch bonnet. Bring this to a high heat also for a few minutes then turn down to low and remove the scotch bonnets.
  • Add your chickpeas and cook for a further 10-15 minutes on a low heat.
  • Add your spinach and squeeze half a lime through the curry.
  • Serve with rice, fried plantain and naan bread.

Let me know how you got on with this recipe by sending me pictures on twitter @thefooddoll or tagging #thefooddoll on Instagram.

The Food Doll.

Caramelised Plantain. A Healthy, Easy, Vegan Side.

Plantain is one of the most loved and diverse sides to come out of the Caribbean. The classic way to prepare plantain is to fry slices in oil. It makes a great accompaniment to meat and fish dishes, for breakfast with eggs as well as tasty on its own.

Growing up, I enjoyed the many ways in which plantain could be prepared such as grilled, boiled, as plantain chips and platanos.

One of my favourite, healthiest and frankly, laziest ways is caramelised in the oven. The best part? Plantains are

completely vegan too.

Simply score the plantain vertically and place into the oven at 150 degrees in a fan assisted oven. For best results, use a very ripe plantain as they caramelise better.

Patience is key. As the plantain begins to cook, it will start to emerge out of the skin and give off a sugary liquid. Open up the skin slightly and sprinkle a little salt across the plantain to help it caramelise and intensify the sweet taste.

Cook until the plantain is golden and has caramelised fully outside. Then you can pull it out of the skin and serve with anything of your choice.

I paired mine with some grilled peri peri chicken. Enjoy!

The Food Doll.

A Lobster and King Prawn Thermidor Roll for under £5 but is it any good?

On my lunch today I browsed the glorious shelves of superstore Marks and Spencer’s who in my opinion, do some of the best store bought meals ever.

(Do you remember their classic Christmas food advert that would leave your tastebuds tingling and your stomach grumbling?)

Today something special caught my eye from their new Christmas range- A Lobster and King Prawn Thermidor Roll.

It looked incredible from the packaging alone so I bit my tongue and forked out the £4.75 it was priced at just to try it.

The brioche roll was buttery, sweet and soft which perfectly complimented the succulent king Prawns and spinach. The lobster was flavourful and was dressed generously in a tasty brandy dijon mustard.

The food from Marks and Spencer’s always blows me away but this roll really exceeded my expectations. Normally £5 for a sandwich let alone a roll sounds ridiculous. However on this occasion, for the quality and taste; this was more than reasonable.

I highly recommend popping into M&S to try this and I sincerely hope they keep this as a long term addition as a great luxury menu item. Also, on a very positive note, the roll is part of their menu selection that donates 5% of the sales to their ‘Shelter’ cause aimed at tackling homelessness.

The Food Doll.

Ten Restaurants That Give you Free Food on Your Birthday.

Your birthday. A day for you to be treated and spoiled! There are many companies and restaurants that endeavour to make you feel special and by simply registering online, they shower you with gifts. Well, in this instance; food.

Read on to discover ten restaurants that give you free food on your birthday!

1. Patisserie Valerie- Register with the decadent cake company, well known for their fresh cream creations, and receive a free cupcake on your big day!

2. Bar Burrito- Sign up with the tasty burrito bar and get a free burrito to devour on tu cumpleaños. Delicioso.

3. Beefeater- Beef up your birthday menu with a meal on the house with any purchased meal.

4. Frankie & Benny’s- A whole free meal is up for grabs on your birthday when a main meal is purchased. Yum!

5. Jamie’s Italian- Jamie has pulled out all the stops and offered a free appetiser, dessert and bottle of prosecco for birthday guests on their birthday.

6. Krispy Kreme- Sweeten up your annual celebration with a doughnut of your choice on your special day.

7. Millie’s Cookies- You guessed it! Take the biscuit with a free cookie for one on your birthday.

8. Prezzo- Prezzo serves some great Italian dishes with a wide range of dishes to suit all. Enjoy a free meal with any purchased meal as a Prezzo’s ‘prezzie’.

9. Gregg’s- This British bakery offers you an amazing choice of a cupcake, doughnut or cream cake dessert free. Happy Birthday!

10. Ed’s Easy Diner- Shake up your birthday with a free milkshake of your choice to celebrate your unique day!

As you probably worked out, the offers do you require you to register but they’re quick, easy and free! Register at least a week in advance to ensure you get emailed your freebies.

Now the question is, how many free meals can you fit in on one day?

The Food Doll.