Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cafe Murano, Mayfair

Mother's Day lunch at Cafe Murano with the family. 

A variety of starters. Most were good. Light fritto misto and faultless arancini. Can't say I enjoyed the octopus dish much though. 

Mums pork. She liked it. I liked the taste I had of it. 

My pasta. Oh my. White broccoli, mint and something else, I can't remember. This pasta was stunning. 

VERDICT - Not bad. It's not the cheapest place you will ever eat, but I've become a little obsessed with that pasta dish. I've been getting major yearnings, and I need to go back soon. 

Cafe Murano on Urbanspoon

Smokehouse, Islington


A first visit to Smokehouse. A catch up with some of oldest friends in the world. 

Yeah, I would eat everything on this. 

Duck spring rolls

Shin of beef. A ridiculous amount of meat made more ridiculous by a few bonus bits of beef cheek. 

I wisely didn't attempt the beast. I went for the pork "sphere" instead. 

Shin bone. Quite large. 

Double decker pie

VERDICT - Put simply, my friends and I really enjoyed ourselves. Uncomplicated hearty food, perfectly executed. A meat lovers paradise. 

Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Peckham Bazaar and Kimchinary

Truffle hunting in Alba

It's been a little while since I booted Blogger up and got anything down on e-paper. I can't lie, the time away from the blog has been refreshing and I've spent a lot of it visiting other places including Berlin, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and a great trip out to Italy, taking in Alba and Florence. Travelling aside, I've also begun to enjoy eating out again, which was a great relief. London is full of great restaurants and dining experiences but sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with the choice and mostly, the expectation and fear of wasting my hard earned cash. One thing I've started to learn is if you look hard enough for it, the next great eat is just around the corner.

Take Peckham Bazaar for example, which in my case, is actually around the corner and is by all means, rather great. Located off a back street of Peckham, it's non-descript at best. A DIY grill shack out the front and a functional unremarkable main dining room. If you weren't aware of the delights that come off that grill, many would just walk past thinking it another one of Peckham's mystery restaurants.

However, walking by would be a mistake. Serving an array of Balkan inspired dishes from Albanian head chef, Jon Galienka, what you get is a stunning touch from the grill and zesty vegetable accompaniments. Amongst the dishes not to be missed are the quail and the octopus, but in all fairness, I have been a few times now and you would struggle to hit a dud dish. Without this blog and twitter, I would never have met Donald, who is one of the brains behind this project, and would probably never have made the effort to visit this remote area of Peckham. Please make the effort, you will be rewarded.

Peckham Bazaar - 119 Consort Road, London SE15 3RU
More pictures

Another great bonus of writing the blog is that you meet people who care as much about food as I do. From the people who will queue in the wind and rain for a bite, to the people tirelessly working in the cold, it is often at the street food markets that you find the most hardened food lovers. As the weather gets worse, a few of Londons' street food sellers have found themselves with indoor residencies. Kimchinary, one of my favourites selling a hybrid of Korean and Mexican food (think down the taco route) has moved into Catch on the Kingsland road, bringing a new menu and some stunning new additions.

Invited along to the launch, I got to catch up with a number of foodie friends, some old and some new, and we tasted a number of dishes off the menu. Lightly fried chicken tacos, squid with a pineapple relish and a bulgogi and kimchee combination all came piled high on hand pressed corn tacos. Dukbokki (or rice cakes) arrived in a bowl slathered in a dark sweet, spicy, sticky sauce. This dish relies on the pleasing texture of the slightly yielding rice cakes, with a slight crunch from delicate frying. So moreish, I was sent by my tablemates to hunt out more. Kimchinary will be hanging out at Catch for the next three months, so I encourage to get down there for a few tacos, washed down with a few margaritas.

Kimchinary @ Catch - 22 Kingsland Road,Shoreditch, London E2 8DA

So there it is, my first blog post in about six months. Hope you guys enjoyed.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Clove Club - The end product

The Clove Club

I've been thinking of how to open this post about The Clove Club. About how it all started 3 years ago with three very talented chefs, and how I've intently followed their progress through a variety of popups that they have done. It would be an understatement to say that I've been a fan of their work. I feel a little sad that there is just Isaac McHale left of the original three Young Turks, but thankfully the food is as great as ever. Partnering up with co-collaborators of their stint at the Ten Bells, the Clove Club was born.

The Clove Club

The Clove Club
English Asparagus, Sesame and Gojuchang

The Clove Club
Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Pine Salt

The menu rotates regularly, but some of the old Young Turk favourites are ever present. Their signature buttermilk pine fried chicken is still as succulent and as flavoursome as ever, with subtle Asian flairs, such as their excellent gojuchang (a Korean chilli paste) mayonnaise also making an appearance on my last visit. But they don't just rely on these interesting combination of flavours, it's the superb cooking where they really excel.

The Clove Club
Slow Roast Lincolnshire Chicken, Peas Mousserons and Garlic Scape

The Clove Club
Basically, lots of chickeny bits

Take our main of a rather special Lincolnshire chicken. Each bite released juice from the meat like a sponge, coating your mouth in pure chicken essence. Part of this came from the frankly excellent chicken that they use, but also the ridiculous methods taken to maintain as much pure chicken flavour into the dish. Each chicken is not cooked in an oven, but slowly fried in a frying pan for four hours (if my memory serves me right). Crazy method, but I can't fault the end product. Crisp skin, juicy flesh and every piece of the chicken is used, from wing and heart skewers to a chicken foot crisp.

The Clove Club
Strawberries and Cream

The main dining room is airy and very white, and is verging on the boundary of being really dull. Somehow, small decorations around the room seem to distract you from it's abject whiteness, and soon the room is abuzz with small groups of people. Somehow, the atmosphere is not lost and with the excellent front of house, the polished food and the gentle hum of people enjoying themselves leads to a very pleasurable experience. One not to be missed.

The Clove Club - Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London, Greater London EC1V 9LT

The Clove Club on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Those American Burgers - Five Guys and Shake Shack

Right, I know everyone is bored of talk about burgers. Hell, I know that I am. But the truth is, I was just a little bit excited when I heard Five Guys and Shake Shack were both London bound. Two American heavy weights, ready to duke it out on the streets of Covent Garden, one I had heard little of, the other, responsible for one of my food eureka moments. It was going to be pretty interesting how these emotions translated into foodie fact.

My very own Five Guys hat. Scant reward for rude staff and a ridiculous queuing system.

First day craziness

The Double Bacon Cheeseburger (with stuff)

Now, I won't go into the farce of opening day at Five Guys and what madness consumed me to join the queue at lunchtime, but I did and I regret it. The end product, a big greasy mess. Honestly though, it wasn't terrible. I liked the fact that you can pretty much add as many toppings as you want, but with such small patties, overloading these burgers with "stuff" will overpower any beef flavour into oblivion. The fries, nice enough and the cajon seasoning a nice differential, but at over a tenner for a burger and chips, I can't help feeling I'm being just a little bit ripped off. The magic 100 flavour drinks machine is a nice touch and very much a redeeming feature. If you're a soda junkie, come with £2.50 and go wild (a bit like these guys). Getting any type of grape soda is very welcome.

The Shack Burger and Cheesy Fries

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Breathing fresh air into Fifteen

Cured Middlewhite Pork and Pickled Fennel

Crispy Quail, Devil Salt and Mushroom Ketchup

Asparagus, Hen's Egg and Shaved Truffle

Breads, Farmhouse Butter and Chicken Butter

A couple of months back, I was asked if I wanted to come try out Fifteens new menu. New head chef, new place, new approach to their food. Away went the "Italian" focused menu, and in came something with a much more British focus, unsurprising given that head chef John Rotherham's previous employment was at none other than the sadly now defunct St John Hotel.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bird of Smithfield abridged and in pictures

Bird of Smithfield

Bird of Smithfield
Radicchio, chicory, whipped Barkham blue, candied walnuts

Bird of Smithfield
Loomswood Park duck, sweet potato, cherry and beetroot

Bird of Smithfield
Birthday Banoffee Sundaes

Move over "Dude Food", Modern British seems to be taking over the London restaurant landscape. With a glut of chefs seemingly moving on from the old school British institutions such as the Ivy and St John, we see them trying to reinvent themselves and embrace what they love most. This can only be a good thing. At Bird, an ex Soho House alumni, expect the best of British produce updated in it's elegant upstairs dining room.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Salon - A truly British affair


One of my favourite places in London is the Granville arcade, better known as Brixton Market, leading into the hotbed of great little food restaurants, Brixton Village. I have spent many hours wandering these hallways trying bites of food at the many food stalls lining the arcade, generally getting lost in the feeding frenzy as others swarm around you with similar ideas. This group of restaurateurs continues to grow, and one of the newer additions is Salon, a small dining room located above Cannon & Cannon (a British deli) cooking up food with a very fresh and mostly British focus.

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