Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year Nearly Round-up

Protectors of Chinatown
Dragons of Chinatown

2009, what a year.

I don't know about you guys, but it certainly was an interesting one for me. In January, I was in a hospital bed wondering what the hell this year had in store. I had just had a kidney transplant, kindly donated from my mother after 6 years of dialysis. As I lay motionless in my bed, it gave me plenty of time to try and get my mind in focus. Of course, all I did was watch TV, play computer games and do sudoku.

Chicken and ham hock salad @ Skylon Grill
One of my favourite dishes of the year, a chicken and ham hock salad from Skylon

What it also meant was that a whole new world of food was opened up to me. Previously, I had to watch what I ate and drank quite closely. My diet had to be finely balanced, too much potassium, salt and water amongst other things may have odd effects on me. With the new kidney, I could eat again without worry. And that's sort of where this blog came from. Bored and my minding slowly melting to jelly after hours of daytime TV prompted me to look for other avenues for mental stimulation other than Jeremy Kyle and endless Stargate Atlantis. Treefroggirl suggested I write a play, but not knowing where to start, a rather unusual chinaman was born.

Seattle
Pike Market in Seattle

It started out as musings, an online diary of every day comings and goings. It swiftly dawned on me that all I did was eat so the natural evolution of the blog gravitated towards that. During this year, I have met many new people and made many new friends. I have eaten many things I never thought I would and have also been able to travel again since July, which saw me head to Edinburgh, Dublin, Seattle, New York and Las Vegas. So after all that waffle, here are some highlights of the year.

Best Meal of the year - L'Ecrivain, Dublin

Dinner at L'Ecrivain

It was a tough one, as I have been fortunate to eat at so many great restaurants this year, but when I think of this place it just brings a smile to my face. Having visited on a quick 3 day trip with my younger cousin, every dish was finely balanced and packed with my favourite ingredients. Amazing flavours and a thoroughly warming environment just added to a wonderful evening meal. Other notable mentions include the Ledbury (an enjoyable and comfortable dining experience in a formal space, supplemented by superlative cooking) and Goodman (amazing steaks).

New friends

As I mentioned earlier, the food blogging world has introduced me to many, many new people. Through this network, I have met the weird and wonderful, people from all parts of the world, truly diverse in nature. But one thing unites us all and that is our love for food and the search for that perfect dish. Here are a few of the people who have made much of this year a pleasure.

Catty from the Catty Life (not cattylife) - Pint sized blogging powerhouse, with an inimitable way with words.

Mark from Food by Mark - Big cuddly bear with plenty to say but not enough time to blog about it ;)

Kang from LondonEater - Blogger/Photographer and rubber enthusiast

Charz-Siu from Tasty Treats - International woman of mystery and fountain of food knowledge.

Lizzie from Hollowlegs - Big opinions, big heart and an even bigger appetite. Cake and curry queen.

Danny from WMPC - One man dinner blagging machine who even got me to cook for him.

Carla from Canbebribedwithfood - Crazy and lovely carrot hater

Jassy from Ginandcrumpets - She makes mince pies with beef mince. Awesome

Rachel McCormack - No blog but a weegie who likes food and dislikes zombies

Helen from WorldFoodieGuide - An inspiration who has gone into retirement. Honorary tweatup member.

There are so many more. Thank you all.

Other notable events

The day we won the Ashes

Easy, we won the Ashes and I was there. Amazing.

Resolutions

As a rule, I don't believe in these. But I thought I would put together a few I know I can keep.

1. To say I write about food with pride
2. Keep on expanding my culinary horizons (including trying goose and maybe an anchovy)
3. To get others to try more (carrots Carla?)
4. Be a better son
5. Spend more time in my kitchen and cook
6. Enjoy my life

The Future

Who knows what's going to happen in 2010. Big things are happening at work and trips have been scheduled to Malaysia and Bali as well as the big one, nearly 3 weeks touring South Africa during the World Cup with my bru @cyberdees.

Food wise, hopefully I will make it to the Fat Duck and who knows, maybe this year I will get that elusive reservation at El Bulli. Explore a bit more outside of London and continue on my quest for the perfect roast duck and crispy pork and rice.

Thank you all for reading this and I hope I can keep you all coming back for the year to come.

And just for you Cat!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Angels and Gypsies, Camberwell

Angels and Gypsies, Camberwell

Camberwell doesn't get too many new restaurant openings and when they do they are invariably fast food or curry based. When the Church Street hotel opened over two years ago, we were told that a local tapas restaurant was soon to follow. The newly opened boutique hotel needed to raise sufficient investment before the restaurant based on their ground floor was to be opened.

Angels and Gypsies, Camberwell

So the good citizens of Camberwell waited, and we waited, and waited. Finally, after over 30 months of waiting, Angels and Gypsies was finally open to the public. This may not seem like a big event, but in these parts, its akin to Heston opening up a Fat Duck bistro on the site of the Camberwell McDonalds.

Angels and Gypsies, Camberwell

So after such a long wait, was this place going to be any good? Suffice to say, it certainly looks the part. A beautiful faux stain glass window featuring the eponymous Angels and Gypsies tower over the spacious and bright dining room. Coming in from the cold and rain, we were greeted by a delightful waitress who was as bright and cheery as the room itself.

Angels and Gypsies, Camberwell

We were brought a little "amuse" of griddled cauliflower which was almost raw but perfectly adequate to nibble on as we perused the menu. With about 30 dishes on the menu and every one of them sounding appealing, we struggled to choose what we wanted to eat, and in the end, we kind of went a little crazy and ordered almost everything.

So instead of boring you with the finer details of every course, let me summarise by saying that everything we ate was pretty decent. A few things were quite average (such as the empanadas and the slightly burnt mushrooms) but stand out dishes for me were:

Angels and Gypsies, Camberwell

Roast pork belly with rum plum jam and Cox apple salad: My favourite dish was the pork, natch. The slow cooked belly was tender and had a fantastic crackling. Slightly on the flabby side, this didn't put me off from wolfing it down (as if fat ever put me off!). The rum plum jam was the perfect accompaniment, although the serving was on the slightly parsimonious side, with a light and interesting apple salad to finish the dish off. For just over a fiver, it was a real winner.

Angels and Gypsies, Camberwell

Jamon Croquetas - A staple of any good tapas bar, these had a wonderfully light and crisp outer crumb whilst the inside had an almost liquid consistency, studded with morsels of jamon. An exceptionally good example.

Angels and Gypsies, Camberwell

Mejiones Escabeche - Not everyone's kettle of fish, but I found the combinations of sweet and sour flavours really interesting. Even more so, I have never seen this made with mussels and I thought they lent themself quite well to this way of cooking.

How we found space for desserts after our binge, I am not quite sure, but we ordered them anyway. There were only two on the menu and they were both average, a mere distraction from the multitude of dishes we had just consumed. Angels and Gypsies certainly hadn't let me down. It may have been 3 years in the pipeline, but the end product is a polished, local neighbourhood restaurant. The food is of a good quality and considering it had only been open a week, it has started to attract the locals in already. A welcome addition to Camberwell's burgeoning dining scene and I for one am glad that is a mere stones throw from my front door.

Angels and Gypsies (website) - 29-33 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR (ring the hotel to book a table)

Angels and Gypsies on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ping Pong, when an (invite) isn't quite an (invite)

Ping Pong, Soho

As a devoted follower of all thing's Dim Sum, I am almost ashamed to admit that I have a penchant for Ping Pong, peddler of dumplings to most of London. Modelled around the concept of a 21st Century tea house, they have taken their concept and spread itself across London with great rapidity, calling no less than 12 establishments it's own.

I recently received an invite to go for a paid for meal and try out their Autumn menu, and jumped at the chance. I was meeting an old friend and it seemed a good opportunity to go for tea and dumplings alongside a portion of nattering. A few emails went to and fro and I thought all was set, somewhat prematurely it seems. I turned up only to cause utter confusion amongst the staff. Thankfully, Godefroy (the manager) at the Soho branch was very accommodating and soon set us up with a table, and we were away.

Ping Pong, Soho

I made it my mission to try as many new dishes as possible. I am a creature of habit and always end up heading for the security of the things I know I enjoy. With Sichuan pork crackling (essentially spicy pork scratchings) assisting the decision making, we went down the menu and ticked more dishes than we probably should have. No sooner had we handed the waitress the menu, the dishes started arriving.

Ping Pong, Soho

First was our tower of steamed goods. These were on the whole fairly appetising although none were really stand out. The Sichuan rabbit dumplings were moreish and lightly spiced whilst the char siu buns were actually one of the better examples I have tried recently, with light and fluffy pastry and a well balanced filling. Black prawn dumplings were an interesting combination with good garlic prawn filling, although the pastry was poor and fell apart far too easily.

With regards to the "other" side of the menu, I know I said I wouldn't order stuff I always order, but I had to go for the crispy prawn balls which are my personal favourites. They certainly didn't let me down as they were well fried, with a good prawn filling. I have always liked their spring roll selection although I feel its a mistake to have removed the Jasmine chicken spring rolls, easily the tastiest alternative. I tried the black pepper and chicken chefs special and I am sorry to say, was underwhelmed with lack of filling and one dimensional flavour (pepper).



Some of its dishes are seriously out of left field (the duck, orange and pineapple sticky rice is plain wrong) but on the whole, it is competently executed and well flavoured. The thing that annoys me the most about this chain is the cost. I realise that this is a modern take on a Chinese tea room, and you are paying for the ambience and setting as much as you are the food. But when I sit down for Dim Sum, I want a never ending pot of tea plonked down in front of me for little or no charge, not a glass with a fancy flowering tea for a couple of quid a go. I want to be able to order as much Dim Sum as I want without overtly worrying about whether the £20 in my wallet will be enough. I want a menu where I know I won't have to face pineapple on every 2nd line.

Ping Pong has it's place. The food, on the whole, is good and arrives steaming hot. What it certainly has going for it is convenience and with so many branches all over London, you are never too far away from your Dim Sum fix. A perfect place for an informal catch up, I can complain all I want with regards to it's failings but will no doubt be back soon.

Ping Pong (website) - 45 Great Marlborough Street, Soho W1F 7JL

Ping Pong on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 18, 2009

Will the real Franco Manca please stand up, Chiswick

Franco Manca, Chiswick

When I think of Franca Manca, I think of getting up far too early on a Saturday morning so I can avoid the queue. I think of stinky fish markets and of cramped benches. Most of all, I think of Brixton.

Franco Manca, Chiswick

All that has changed. I never thought it would happen, but Franco Manca have taken their outdoor(ish) venture and moved into a proper restaurant. It has heating and it's own roof too! Located on Chiswick High street, it is bright, airy and colourful with another of those Neapolitan wood burning ovens taking center stage. The only hint of fish came from the anchovies littered on their "number 4" pizza.

Franco Manca, Chiswick

The first thing that struck me was that it was surprisingly empty. I am accustomed to queuing and looking on enviously for my turn, but the rather large space had few customers. It is very early days so I anticipate the queues will soon form but I for one was pleased to be able to sit down straight away.

Franco Manca, Chiswick
Franco Manca, Chiswick
Franco Manca, Chiswick

So how was it? Well, I found things slightly "off". From the minute the orange lemonade turned up without the tart hit I am used to, to when I found what looked suspiciously like the top of a pine cone in my pizza, I felt rather underwhelmed. You cannot doubt the quality of the pizza, although the salt content was through the roof. And when the waitress took the offending item away to check that it wouldn't "poison me" (she came back claiming it was the top of an aubergine, it clearly wasn't), my heart just sank.

Franco Manca, Chiswick

Franco Manca Chiswick is still home to an excellent pizza but it has a long way to go if it wants to be an excellent dining experience. I would immediately address the saltiness (I am sure it has never been this salty in Brixton), I would add some desserts to the menu and I would let the punters have milk in their coffee.

Franco Manca (website) - 144 Chiswick High Road, London W4 1PU

Franco Manca on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Where's my Pork and Duck? - Hung's

(Kindly "borrowed" from Isriya)

Right, I have decided to make this official. I am going to try and discover the best place to eat Roast Duck and Crispy Pork with rice in Chinatown.

After a recent visit to HK Diner, "the Wild Boar" commented and posed the question, where is the best? There are a gazillion restaurants in Chinatown and over the years, I have eaten at many of them. Some were good, some were great but most were on the lower end of average. So at the moment my favourite duck is still from Four Seasons, and for my sins, the best siu youk still comes from Wong Kee's. Many will disagree, some may even agree, but I will make it my mission to try somewhere new every time until I can definitively declare it the best. Recommendations warmly received.

So on this trip, as you can see from the pic above, Hung's. Located on Wardour street, and flanked by Pizza Express (it astounds me that people are in Chinatown and want to eat pizza???), this is one of the most lauded of the meat merchants. I have been here many times, but have never quite seen what everyone is going on about. But everyone deserves a second chance, right?

Wrong. Hung's was very poor. Arriving for an early dinner (about 6.30pm), the minimum £8 spend immediately incensed me. I mean, what is the need? I just wanted a quick plate of rice and meat but was made to order extra bits just to make up the £8 minimum. The food arrived promptly but again, was really a bit of a let down. The duck was so flabby, we are talking beyond Homer Simpson proportions. I realise that fat is flavour, but the fat was so thick that it was actually thicker than the layer of meat. The siu youk was dry and the skin was insipid. Not a sign of crackle.

Very disappointing, not good, not going to order this from Hung's again.

Hungs - 27 Wardour Street, London W1D 6PR

Hung's on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 14, 2009

Polpo, a little nibble of Venice

("Stolen" from the Polpo website)

Where the hype goes, discerning foodies often follow begrudgingly. Some don't want to miss the boat, some simply want to know what the fuss is about. Me? I just want a good feed.

Polpo is one of "those" places. A decent PR push saw the name get out there, and with a good concept and aggressive pricing, the place started to fill. Initially, lastminute reservations were hard to come by so I stayed away, preferring to fly by the seat of my pants and eat when hungry. However, the policy has changed to a first come first served policy and I made my way there tout de suite.

The concept certain appeals. Based on Venetian bacaro's (don't worry, I don't really know what one is either), Polpo serves small plates of Italian food, designed to be shared. I'm a big guy, but I don't mind sharing. In fact, to me, it's simply an invitation to over order.

With this said, we managed to nail the ordering, with us eating pretty much what we ordered. First up where plates of "cichetti", small mouth sized bites. The prosciutto and mozzarella was pleasant, as was the mortadella, walnut and gorgonzola. Tasty inoffensive food.

Next came a swathe of dishes, including an unctuous pumpkin risotto, a light and greaseless fritto misto and duck with peppercorns, amongst other things. The stand out dish for me was the pork belly with radicchio and hazelnuts, which was delicious and tender without feeling that "fatty" which the belly, mainly constituting of fat, can often be. The bitterness from the radicchio and the crunchy hazelnuts all added pleasing contrasts in flavours and textures. Rounded off with an Affogato al caffè, I was full, satisfied and rather happy.

As you can see from the inauspicious absence of photo's from this post, I struggled to take any pictures with clarity. Its dark, and I mean seriously dark. Had I been wielding my new Canon S90, I may have made a better attempt at it, but my poor Casio P&S just couldn't cope. Although crap for photography, the semi-darkness certainly lends itself to an intimate atmosphere, coupled with the proximity of your fellow diners. It is slightly cramped and very noisy because of it, but it gives the restaurant a really good atmosphere, something that many places would pay big bucks for.

Polpo is already doing a roaring trade, and seems to be bustling with business every night. It's early days for this venture but if our meal is anything to go by, it should do well. It's affordable, enjoyable, and now that they have dropped their reservation policy, convenient.

Polpo (Website) - 41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB

Polpo on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 11, 2009

Best of British - Hix Soho, Brewer Street

Bread and Water

Mark Hix is a pioneer of truly British food, there is no two ways about it. I first came across him watching TV (surprise, surprise) where he was competing in the Great British Menu and he somehow managed to get two of his dishes through to the season finale banquet. I was stunned. Getting one dish through was hard but the country and judges had deemed his Stargazy pie (a pie crafted from crayfish and rabbit) and Perry jelly worthy to be a fair representation of truly British food.

Alongside the Oyster and Chop house in the heart of Farringdon and the Oyster and Fish house in Dorset, Hix Soho is the latest addition in the rise of the Hix empire. Sticking to his "signature British food", it serves a fresh daily menu using fresh British produce from his tried and trusted suppliers. Downstairs is the now infamous bar, with a relaxed feel and drinks provided by a team of excellent mixologists.

Pork Crackling and apple sauce

All did not start well. Not the restaurants fault, but my own. I was late, had a miserable journey and was grumpy. As soon as I turned up, however, all was good in the world again. My compadres had ordered some Blythburgh pork crackling with apple sauce, and had kindly saved me a few pieces. Nothing cheers me up more than a few pieces of well cooked pork skin and I was eternally grateful.

Roast partridge on toast

From kindness can come great cruelty. No sooner had I sat down and perused the menu, than my alleged friends begun to goad me into eating oysters with them. I steadfastly refused and instead opted for the roast partridge. In my eyes, this was an inspired decision. As they sat there cooing at their platter of sea snot, I quietly devoured my perfectly cooked partridge, very happy and looking forward to the next course.

Roe Deer Chop with celeriac puree and sea buckthorn berries

Whilst others went for some fancy fish fingers, I opted for an extremely flavoursome and well cooked roe deer chop, moistened with a glistening light jus. Accompanied by my favourite puree of all (silky smooth celeriac), it also contained a liberal smattering of yellow berries. Apparently these were sea buckthorn berries, and although they provided a dash of colour to the dish, they tasted bitter, threatened to stain my jumper with their yellow juices and were wholly unenjoyable.

Autumn Raspberry Cheesecake

If you weren't sure what kind of food Hix sells, then the dessert menu rams it's ethos down your throat. Chester Pie and Yorkshire Parkin stood out as desserts with true British heritage, with home made ice-creams also proving popular. I opted for the insanely colourful Autumn raspberry cheesecake, which arrived like no other cheesecake I had ever had, but appetising nonetheless. In my eyes, all the desserts were overshadowed by the decadent chocolate sauce which accompanied the ice cream. The minute I was given carte blanche to try it, in the words of Greg Wallace, I took my shirt off and dove in. Rich and slightly bitter, this is as close to a perfect chocolate sauce as you will get.

Hix is good but at over £35 a head without drinks, it is easy to see the cost of the meal getting out of hand. I returned at a later date to give the bar downstairs a once over and I am pleased to report that it is stonking. The atmosphere is laid back and comfortable, as are the furnishings, but the cocktails add an air of elegance to the whole place. Heavily influenced by gin and rum, most are served in an array of goblets, with the Criterion Milk punch my clear favourite. Go for food, go for drinks, but just go.

Hix Soho (Website) - 66-70 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9UP

Hix on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bincho, Sake and Skewers in Soho

Bincho

Meat on sticks, sounds rather vulgar doesn't it. Thankfully, the Japanese are not as vulgar as I and have named them something far more elegant, the delightful yakitori. Bincho is a yakitori bar deep in the heart of Soho. With a large yakitori pit ready for grilling meat of all kinds in a matter of minutes and a modest sake list, this is hypothetically a great fast food stop.

I say hypothetically. When you have nowhere to go and stomachs to fill, no meal is going to be over quickly, especially when you dine with some of the people I do. So, nicely bedded in after some "musical tables" (we were moved from our rather rubbish low slung table at the edge of the bar to the grandstand table right at the front) we started to look through the menu, and behold, meat on sticks of all descriptions.

Seven Samurai Special

So we went crazy, ordering everything from pork belly to chicken gizzards, all on sticks. This included the "Seven Samurai Special", a selection of meat, seafood and vegetable skewers. Most of the skewers were extremely tasty, although some challenged me more than others. The chicken gizzards (hard and tasteless) and the salmon were clearly my least favourite, although the tender pork belly and the chicken oysters were standouts. Order them if you come here. And then order more.

Daikon Salad
Oyako Don

Bincho isn't all about yakitori though, with numerous other choices on the menu. We had a daikon and roe salad (crispy and extremely fresh) and a combination of rice dishes, including an exemplary oyako don, chicken rice cooked in a soy broth and finished off with an egg broken over the top.

Chicken with Ponzu

And how can I forget the fried chicken with ponzu. I hadn't tried ponzu before, but the light and tangy citrus dipping sauce was heaven to my lips. Coupled with the greaseless nuggets of fried chicken, a wonderful dish to be consumed over and over again. I really need to invest in some of this mystical ponzu. I bet it goes with everything.



We finished the meal off with dessert and some Californian unfiltered sake, something a little different. And I can safely say, it will probably be the last time I will ever try it. It simply didn't agree with me. But it couldn't ruin a rather enjoyable meal. We had ordered enough to feed most of Tokyo but not a morsel was left. Nor were there really any other customers, they had all gone home. When we finally did ask for the bill, the cost did shock us a bit, coming to just under £40 a head. This did include a few drinks but this is on the upper end of affordable. Great meal, but my wallet wept.

Bincho (website) - 16 Old Compton Street, W1D 4TL

Bincho Yakitori on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 4, 2009

This Christmas, be safe kids....


I love Christmas, it's all presents and cheer. Perhaps best of all, it's the perfect excuse to shelve that diet (not that I have ever been on one) and go "wild in the aisles" overindulging wherever possible. Good food and great drink.

I am lazy. Put a few drinks in me and a three course meal and the last thing I want to be doing is trekking through the rain to find that my bus won't be turning up for another 15 minutes and get on, only to find that it is terminating early at Elephant. Gaaargh!

So I opt for a cab. But black cabs aren't always around, especially around Christmas time where its elbows at dawn to get one with its hallowed yellow lights on. This is where the danger lies....



So kids (at Christmas, we are all kids), be Cabwise and take the safe way home. Don't risk taking an illegal cab. Always use a licensed minicab, taxi, nightbus or the Tube to get home.

Find out more information at the Cabwise site from Transport for London

Oh, and Merry Christmas :)

Goodman, just good meat

The Menu

I have been incredibly slack in writing up my posts of late. As a result of laziness and eating out too much, I have far too many posts in draft, each slowly going stale and if I leave them much longer, they will probably go off.

Which is one of the reasons why I feel compelled to write this post and ensure that it too does not go "stale". And what makes this so special? Pure and simply, good meat.

A recent trip to New York made me open eyes to how seriously some people take meat. Burgers and steak are two of the lifeblood which seem to keep the New Yorkers moving. I was so spoilt for choice that I struggled to choose locations for both in my short time there. In London, until recently, I had to settle on the Hawksmoor for my dose of steak. More recently, steak restaurants such as Palm and more noticeably, Goodman, have opened.

Steak Knives

So on a dark November's night, myself and the Tweatup crew congregated upon Goodman, a Russian owned steakhouse, specialising in beef of weird and wonderful origin. Most importantly, it is the home of USDA, 100% grain fed cow from the heart of America (Nebraska to be precise).

Frank Hederman Salmon

The nights focus was clearly all about the meat, but we all politely decided to dine like civilised people and ordered a starter each. Whilst others opted for lobster bisque and oysters off the seafood heavy starter list, I opted for some Frank Hederman salmon. I was pleasantly surprised to find it on the menu. My introduction to salmon after a long self imposed abstinence (owing to me detesting the stuff) came about from a visit to @eatlikeagirl's Covent Garden market stall. My first taste of the Frank Hederman smoked salmon that she had brought over from Ireland was delightful and I was converted. The salmon was just as tasty at Goodman and a nice light start to the meal.

My plate of meat

So, the main event, prepare for a meat overload. The management at Goodman had kindly prepared a mystery steak tasting for us. 3 different meats of differing cuts, the challenge was to spot what was from where, all with separate coloured flags so we could spot which was which. The first to arrive on my plate was the chateaubriand, easily recognisable but woefully overcooked. Nice flavour but bad grilling had let it down. Thankfully, it was the only steak which wasn't a perfect medium. The "green" was slightly one dimensional but tender and juicy, with the "white" similar in flavour. The "none" had a fair amount of fat running through it which provided the meat with an intense and extremely satisfying flavour.

My favourite, turns out it was USDA

The stand out for me, however, was the "red". Incredibly succulent with nuggets of fat, this was an amazing steak, with only the "none" coming close in terms of flavour. So where did they all come from? Here are the results:

White - English, from the Lake District
Chateaubriand - Scottish
Green - Scottish, grass fed rib-eye
Red - USDA, grain fed rib-eye
None - USDA, grain fed porterhouse

Yup, I am an American beef lover. There, I have said it. Suffice to say, at the unveiling, past semi identifying what the cuts were, we were totally wrong as to the origins. I know I secretly wanted to love the British beef but when it came to flavour, the USDA won hands down for me. I should also add that we devoured every single side too, as well as a multitude of sauces (a red wine and stilton jus, mushroom, a fiery peppercorn and a smooth béarnaise), all of a high quality.

Ice cream for afters

After all that, all I could face for dessert was some homemade ice cream. A simple end to a quite gargantuan meal. We must have been brought out about 5kg of meat between the nine of us, and not a morsel was left, so good was the meat that we were gnawing at the bones as the waitress tried to wrestle them away from us.

Goodman is a great steakhouse. The food was excellent, as was the service, and that USDA beef really was their trump card. A quick chat with David, the manager, revealed that next on the cards, 2 whole ribs of Australian and New Zealand Wagyu! It will of course come at a cost but the mark up is surprisingly shallow, one of the benefits of having crazy rich Russian owners, I suppose.

I felt slightly guilty that I had enjoyed myself so much, almost like I was cheating on the Hawksmoor. But when I heard that David and the management of the Hawksmoor were "buddies", it made me happy. The gentle one upmanship can only lead to better steak in London, so amen to that.

Goodman (website) - 26 Maddox Street, W1S 1QH

Goodman on Urbanspoon

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