Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Food trends, BBQ and Burgers (and Lobster)

Pitt Cue co permanent residence

Every year at about this time, there is always a little talk about what the newest food trends are going to be. Of what everyone will be eating and what to expect in the restaurants. I was pretty confident about my prediction of American based food last year, and I was mostly not let down. What we really wanted was some good old American BBQ and we certainly got that from the little silver bullet under Hungerford bridge in Pitt Cue. Barbecoa was less sucessful, but mainly for trying to cater en masse and the intention was there. Letting pre prepared mounds of meat to stew do not lend well to BBQ.

Treats at the Rye, SE15

Burgers were also a huge part of 2011, with Meat Liquor opening and a dozen other places rising to prominence in the burger game such as Lucky Chip, Honest burgers and the Admiral Codrington. Burgers have always been a popular comfort food, so I guess it's rise once and for all was not too much of a shock.

What did surprise me was how well the street food scene has taken off this year. It's always been there in drips and drabs, but really just needed someone to grab it by the balls and get pitches. Petra Barran and her eat.st movement have been fundamental in making this happen, and we now have a burgeoning street food scene growing in London.

Brixton Village

Personally, I don't envisage much of a slow down in the street food scene in 2012. In fact, I definitely see a significant growth in the New Year. With the success and growth of markets such as Brixton Village, Netil Market and the Long Table this year, I would be extremely surprised to see independents in decline. Even with some of the bigger boys entering the fray soon (rumours abound for a Jamie Oliver van, or even one from Pizza express), I don't think they will be able to cope. What these places have in their favour is that they specialise, and what they do they do well. I really think this specialisation is not only going places in the street food scene, but in the bricks and mortar scene too.

Pitt Cue Co

Only last week, I was lucky enough to pop into the new kitchen of Pitt Cue to sample some of their delights. Working amidst a building site (they hope to be fully open in early January), they managed to knock up the most amazing smoky little pulled pork bun. Adorned with some homemade pickles, each bite was bliss and before I knew it, it was gone. Then I tried a little of their beef cheeks and pickled shiitake and I was back there again, in that little meaty happy place. Pitt Cue aren't going to be messing about, they are going to stick to what they know and do it well. Pulled pork, ribs, pickles and a few little experiments when they have a little bit of time. Nice.

Lobster

Which brings me to Burger and Lobster. There is so much I can say about this place already, but I will keep it short. I love it. The only menu they have is for the bar, and you merely get the choice between a lobster or a burger. At £20 each, they both arrive with fries, salad and condiments (pickles or a butter sauce). Although the burger may be veering towards the pricy end, the whole lobster is exceedingly good value. Only other menu additions are a lobster roll (at £18 I believe) and two mousses, chocolate and lime. I see myself developing a bit of a lobster addiction in the near future.

Lobster Roll

So there you have it, a few long winded (yet brief compared to what is actually going on in my head) thoughts on the year and what we may expect from the next. As with any trends, you are never truly able to know what is going to happen, but where we have seen food heroes made out of people such as Mark (aka The Ribman) and Abiye (aka Mr Big Apple Hot Dog), expect a few more in 2012. Embrace specialisation, after all, there is nothing wrong with actually being rather good at a few things.

*Pitt Cue will be located at 1 Newburgh street and is due to open in early January. I was also a guest at a dry run for bloggers at Burger and Lobster.*

Burger and Lobster - 29 Clarges street, Mayfair London W1J 7EF

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Toptable Top 5

I've never been very good at rating stuff. I normally abstain from giving my write ups a rating and would hope that anyone who may read anything I write would use it as a guide and nothing more. When I was asked to narrow down my 5 favourite places to eat this year, I actually found it remarkably easy to choose. No ratings to refer to, just good honest enjoyable memories. Take a look below at what I thought, and here's the link to the other eleven bloggers thoughts.

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Beef tartare, warm oyster

Hedone – A restaurant so good that the only bad thing I can say is that it’s in Chiswick and miles away from the center of town. Pairing simple but pure flavours, with excellent cooking and amongst the friendliest service you’ll get in London. It’s hard to beat for a night where you want to eat, relax and be happy. I haven't got round to writing it up yet (lazy), but here is a link to all the pics.


Roganic, Marylebone

Roganic – Led by the excellent Ben Spalding, the food here is innovative, and is as beautiful to eat as it is to look at. With a few little known ingredients on each plate prompting conversation with the exceptional staff, the atmosphere is highly convivial. Add some wine matched by the lovely Sandia Chang and you have yourselves the ingredients for a top night out. My write up is here.


Concealed Weapon

Hawksmoor 7D – opened at the end of last year, I find myself going back for the wonderful steaks, the devilish bar menu comprising of lobster rolls, burgers and hot dogs and of course THAT cocktail bar. Even though the license instigates no booze without food, book a spot and settle in, the knowledable bar men will happily guide you into a lively drunken buzz. I've never written about 7D, but here's a bit about the original Hawksmoor on Commercial street.


Sushi of Shiori, Warren Street

Sushi of Shiori – Responsible for my “OMG” moment of the year, this little eight seater just off Warren street introduced me to the world of sushi. After a few bites of their expertly crafted toro (or tuna belly), I fell instantly in love and haven’t looked back. Here's my write up.


Pitt Cue co, Southbank

Pitt Cue Co – Not really a restaurant but my nominee this year for the burgeoning street food scene. Think boxes of pulled pork and ribs, matched with slow cooked beans or a cooling coleslaw and pickles, served with a slice of the finest sour dough. A real one to look out for, especially with a planned restaurant opening at the end of this year. Here is my write up for their residency under Hungerford bridge.


Please feel free to let me know your top 5, I would be pretty interested to hear.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mishkins and a little about burger fatigue


London has gone burger mad, and sadly, I have not. I LIKE burgers, however, I do not LOVE them. I often felt a little bit of a weirdo as all my burger hound friends around me regale at how their last burger was perfectly medium rare, how the cheese melted perfectly coating their exceptionally balanced patty like a snug yellow blanket. I wasn't always like this, I just think I have reached my fill for now. Living so close to the Meatwagon (in all it's incarnations) for such a long time has probably spoiled my immediate desire for "proper" burgers, a serious case of "too much of a good thing".

There have been a few recent run-ins which have worked towards semi lifting me out of this burger funk, one of which can be attributed to the diminutive 3oz steamed beef patty at newly opened Mishkin's. It may be small, but packs a deeply beefy punch, smothered in a delicate coating of cheese (Swiss) and sat atop the onions they were steamed on. Add a perfect little bun and you get a perfect little burger.

The rest of Mishkin's ain't too shabby either. Loosely based around a Jewish American diner, you can get a variety of dishes inspired by Jewish favourites (such as the matzoh ball soup and salt beef sandwiches). As with all Russell Norman led projects (he of Polpo and Spuntino fame), the focus is very much around the casual diner, a space which is alive with atmosphere, and plentiful with booze. The formula is straightforward, bar at the front, seating space out the back, good food throughout. Mishkin's definitely feels a little more spacious than any of the Polpos. Sat in a big booth on my first visit, and in the rather cute little radio box on my second, it never felt crowded or over noisy.


Other must orders for me include the Reuben and the meatloaf. The Reuben is quite a beast of a sandwich. Stuffed with mounds of pastrami, sauerkraut and swiss cheese, with a smear of the in house Russian dressing, the whole experience is enjoyable from first bite to last.


When I think of meatloaf, I normally think of a huge hunk of ground meat in the shape of a loaf of bread, almost akin to a very dark loaf of rye. Not really the most appetising sounding meal is it? Mind you, my school canteen was certainly no Mishkin's, and the version here is a much more delicate affair. Slicing into the moist spiced meatloaf in a tiny bread tin yields the reward of a perfectly soft boiled egg. More like a meat-scotch-egg-loaf. Whatever it is, each rich mouthful is normally followed by an approving gurgle.


I guess it's no surprise that I enjoyed Mishkin's. A lot. It might even be my new favourite of the Norman empire. The big bar (serving a number of gin based drinks) lends itself more towards a comfortable casual drink, or even the solo diner (I am one), and the vibrant restaurant space past the bar where you can lounge in the comfortable banquettes whilst enjoying your meal. Round off your meal with a bowl of bananas foster (caramelised bananas with a dash of rum and vanilla ice cream) and go home happy. I know I did.

*All credit for these photos go to Paul Winch-Furness, photographer extraordinaire. It's his job, and he's rather good at it. It was quite dark, rendering my camera helpless*

Mishkin's - 25 Catherine Street. London, WC2B 5JS

Mishkin's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pizarro: An ode to sitting down

Inside

I'll be the first person to admit that I don't really enjoy Jose on Bermondsey Street. It's nothing personal, it's just that I don't enjoy tapas restaurants in general. The thought of being crammed into a small space with a host of other people, where the noise is deafening and I am forced to eat standing up. Sadly, the old curmudgeon in me can think of nothing worse.

Having said that, I enjoyed all the food at Jose and when I heard that Pizarro, a sit down version of Jose, was due to open, I was pretty excited. I could finally "enjoy" my food. And open it did and with a 4 day soft opening period announced (offering 50% off), this was an offer not to be missed.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I'm back! Dim Sum at Phoenix Palace

Pheonix palace, Baker Street

So, I have been on a mini hiatus recently as any regular readers might have been able to tell. In the past, the blog has taken over many facets of my life, but over the last few weeks, my real life has wrestled the blog away from me and I just haven’t found the time. Fear not, I have eaten at many lovely places, and I will try to add a few words to each over the next few weeks to let you know about all the delicious details.

So let’s start at the most recent, which was a dim sum trip to Pheonix Palace organised by the one and only Mr “F*cking” Noodles. Now, I hadn’t heard of Pheonix Palace before, but it is a popular haunt of Mr Noodles and I trust his judgement in the minefield that is the London Dim Sum restaurant. First impressions are strangely comforting. The place is absolutely massive and is adorned with large walls covered in Dragons and red & gold paint. Match that with marginally excessive Xmas decorations and parachuting santas and you get the picture. I love it, the absolute seeming chaos exacerbated by the frantic staff and the high chintz rating are amongst all the things that endears me most about Chinese restaurants.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

MEATLiquor 11.11.11

MEATLiquor

Just a short note about something many of you may already know about.

Yianni, he of Meatwagon fame, is about to open his first bricks and mortar venture. It will have his signature burgers, it will have all the other stuff he has sold from the #Meateasy (and his wagon), plus the addition of a few other mysterious items including Dirty Fried Chicken, Kurrywurst and "I am Lomo".

Alongside, expect lots of booze, and even desserts (Knickerbocker Glory Hole sets the tone).

Expect loud decor, expect love and hate in equal measures, but most of all, expect it to be busy and expect to eat one of the best goddamn burger you have ever had.

Keep an eye on their website, MEATliquor coming soon...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Roganic: A little bit about Ben

Roganic, Marylebone

It seems like an eternity ago that I tasted some of Ben Spaldings food for the first time. I have been rather slack all things considered in the blog department, whilst the eating has not abated (not without good reason, but all will be revealed soon enough). In that time, I have sampled menus which had been cooked by Ben twice, totalling about 23 different courses from this man. Ben is a mere 24 years old and has already had experience in some of the country’s finest restaurants, including Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, L’Autre Pied, Gary Rhodes W1 and of course L’Enclume. Now he is heading up the chefs at Roganic, Londons L’Enclume in residence, and man with skills in the kitchen belying his age.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mini Bites: Scooter Caffé, Waterloo

Scooter Caffe

I went along to a great little place last night, and all you lot should really know about it. Hidden away at the Westminster end of Lower marsh is a tiny little café with a pretty novel idea. Packed to the hilt with scooter memorabilia, from a full blown scooter in the window to number plates all over the walls, it sells drinks. Yep, just drinks. From Monmouth coffee to all sorts of booze, you are welcomed to rock up, enjoy the internet and have a few drinks. The atmosphere is laid back and it kind of feels you’re in your own living room. There are even the addition of a few cats running around.

Scooter Caffe

The clincher for me is that they welcome you to bring in your own food. It’s a pretty novel concept in my eyes, and I like it. Bring food, drink their drinks, do work, enjoy with friends. Scooter Caffé is what you want it to be. I love the lax atmosphere and more importantly, free wifi. Take into consideration the little events they hold like Monday night film nights, open mic and cartoons, and you have a pretty great place to hole up and chill out. Love it.

Scooter Caffé - 132 Lower Marsh, South Bank, London SE1 7AE

Scooterworks Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 21, 2011

Embarking on the "Purnell's Tour" in Birmingham


Purnell's and I have not always had a great relationship. Last year, alongside my fellow intrepid food tourists (also known as my dad and my sister), we set off bright and early from Surrey in order to make our way to Birmingham for a 1:30pm lunch date. All was going well up the M6 until we were caught downwind of a large crash outside Birmingham, and were inevitably delayed. Ringing up the restaurant to tell them we were going to be late, they informed us that the kitchen took last orders at 13:45. Regardless of the fact that we had travelled from London just to eat there, were told that no order would be taken past that time. We were desolate and stuck on the motorway, two factors which often go hand in hand. As we drove past at 13:55, I pleaded with Twitter for options, and headed to Lasan. Thankfully, our journey was not in vain as Lasan knocked the proverbial out of the park, so much so that my dad and sister have been hankering for a return journey.

So there I was outside Purnells once again, a year and a half later and midway through a mini staycation. Would it be worth it?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bread Street Kitchen

The mirrored innards of ONC

Poor old Gordon does get a bit of a bashing in the press, doesn’t he. It was always inevitable that there would be an automatic condemnation of any new venture, and the launch of Bread St Kitchen was no different. Early feedback was ambivalent about the food, with many concentrated heavily on the shambolic service that they had received. Personally, I can forgive certain aspects of poor service, especially in the first week of opening, as long as the food is good enough to back it up. Having been invited to join a few others to give the menu a road test, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Union Hand Roasted and everything I wanted to know about coffee

Union Hand Roasted Coffee

Aaah coffee, that sweet magical elixir, full of dark mystery and restorative properties. Nothing better than having that equally sweet and bitter nectar, combined with a dash of milk to mellow out the flavours slip down your throat. The conqueror of mornings and cure for hangovers. Coffee how I love thee.

Coffee had been just another drink for me for many years. Something I would buy in granule format from the local supermarket, chuck in a mug with milk, hot water and sugar, and be done with it. Over the years, following visits to Australia where coffee is a culture, to Bali where the specialise in coffee pooped by the civet cat and more recently following the emergence of London's coffee scene, I have learnt to embrace coffee as more than just a hot drink, but of a complex and incredibly enjoyable beverage.

Friday, September 30, 2011

El Burrito: Celebrating Mexican Independence Day

IMG_7704

The 15th of September is Mexican Independence day, and in order to celebrate such a joyous occasion, I was led to a small restaurant priding themselves on "antoijitas and margaritas", translated loosely as snacks and booze. Above and beyond your standard burrito fare, the menu is extensive and contains lesser known Mexican delights such as flautas and tamales. Do not be deceived by the slightly tacky frontage and ramshackle appearance, this is a place run by passionate Mexicans, offering out tasters of their frozen margaritas as if it were water.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Big Apple Hot Dogs: Slaying the hype monster

Big Apple Hot Dogs

I hate hype. When some places have an impending opening or start receiving a flood of adoration, you can't look left or right but to see a blog writeup, a newspaper review or a tweet. The main reason for my ire is that I have been let down by hype on many occasions. For example, I was non plussed by king Heston's Dinner, where a sadly overcooked piece of pork, an absence of atmosphere and haughty prices led to a disappointing experience. Much the same with Pollen Street Social, where a table of six was squirrelled away down the side the bar, again devoid of atmosphere and serving some badly cooked misjudged plates of food.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Enter the Young Guns: The Young Turks

The Clove Club vs Young Turks

There was a time when French techniques ruled the pass. When the likes of Marco Pierre White and more recently a certain Gordon Ramsay brought French techniques and haute cuisine to London restaurants. Those guys are still knocking around, one selling stock cubes and the other working hard to promote his TV career, but it seems quite clear that their time has come and gone. Now is the time for the new breed, of new food and of innovation, and London is where you are going to find it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Caribbean Spice Jerk Center, the home of Jerk.


Walk down the alleyway where the Caribbean Spice Jerk center is located, and I guarantee you will walk straight past it without even a second glance. Hidden away under the arches of Peckham railway station is the incredibly unassuming but startlingly deceiving little Jerk takeaway. I was headed here for one thing and one thing only, the jerk pork.

I had just moved into my Peckham flat, and after surveying Food Stories for the local treats, an article mentioning her favourite jerk emporium had me salivating. I had to have it. Behind the counter stands a short Caribbean woman, casually conversing in patois with most of her clientele and it actually takes a little while for her to realise I am there. Once my order of Jerk pork is taken, she disappears into her kitchen out the back to carefully assemble my box of meat and rice.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Prufrock, a morning making coffee look good.

Inside Prufrock

Every so often, something drops into my inbox and my heart starts racing. I love coffee, and in London, Prufrock is integral to London's coffee culture, so when I opened an invite to come along to one of their training courses held at their HQ in Leather Lane, I couldn't turn it down. I've been a fan of Prufrock and the Square Mile beans they use from the first moment I took a sip from Pitch 42 at Whitecross Market. If I am ever in Shoreditch, I make a beeline straight for present where Prufrock has been hiding out, and now, they have their own much larger space, to educate and train those who are interested in coffee.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ariana II, What is Afghan food?

Outside

I think I've only properly visited Kilburn twice in my past. Once was to partake in the infamous Kilburn pub crawl when I was at university, and the other, last week when I was at Ariana II, an Afghan restaurant. So what is Afghan cuisine you might ask? "That would be a good question." I would reply. The truth is, I hadn't a clue. My initial guess was something rice and stew based, but a little research showed grilled meats also featuring heavily, with a much more middle eastern tilt. Either way, my curiosity was piqued, and when it was suggested we gave it a go, I got myself ready to wander back down to Kilburn once again.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mini Bites: Dante Fried Chicken @ Protein, Shoreditch

Outside 

Fried chicken is one of those things that Londoners crave. It doesn't even have to be that good if the numerous "Chicken Cottages" and "Dallas Fried Chicken" have anything to go by. Having heard about Dante's Fried Chicken through the internet's grapevine (also knows as twitter), I definitely raised an eyebrow and wondered how good their chicken was. Coinciding with a friends state of malaise, I thought we would head on down to Shoreditch and give these fried chicken tacos a go. A three day pop up in advance of a proper restaurant being opened up in the US, it seemed strange to have a popup in London, but there was an aspect of buzz to it, so I thought it would be worth popping in to see what all the fuss was about. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Behind the frosted glass at J Sheekey


J Sheekey is another one of those restaurants with tinted frontage and that air of old world mystique. With the windows spoiling the chance to peer inside, my interest was piqued as a youngster when I was genuinely curious, although it seems that this had dissipated somewhat over the years, which is probably one of the reasons I had never visited before. However, when the opportunity arose to choose somewhere for a client lunch, and combined with my newly discovered adventure with most things fish, I thought I would give it a go.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mini Bites: Candy Cakes, a hidden gem

Candy Cakes

Peering into the window of what you would take on face value as a cake shop, you see cupcakes topped with plastic looking fluorescent icing. Not immediately appetising. Not even the cutesy decorations crafted out of marzipan is going to draw the discerning lunch crowd in.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Popping up: The Yashin Yatai and the Dinings "Secret Menu"

Kirin Yatai, Spitalfields

The Summer of 2011 seems to be the summer of the popup. All over the city, we have people "popping up", providing what the public never knew they needed, albeit in short stints. From lobster rolls and good old American barbecue, to cocktails on the roof of a car park to green lakes, they are all there as long as you look for them. I'm a big fan of this kind of experience, it keeps things interesting, and interesting is definitely what I got from two recent Japanese themed outings.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Da Polpo: The Norman Conquest gathers speed

Da Polpo, Covent Garden

Ever since the opening of the original Polpo, Russell Norman's empire has grown rapidly, one establishment at a time. Each iteration, expanding on the last, all subtly different, but at the heart of it, serving simple straightforward Italian dishes to the good people of Soho. I never had that much love for Polpetto (which seems to be a lot of peoples favourite), with Polpo remaining a firm favourite for a fun and enjoyable meal in Soho, and Spuntino beating them both for fun and food, serving slightly more American orientated dishes.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The one and only River Cafe, Hammersmith

River Cafe, Hammersmith

On paper, River Cafe comes across as one of those nose bleedingly expensive places in London. One that instils you with doubt before you even had a second to give it a chance. One where you start wondering where the magic is going to come from to justify the notes you will inevitable have to drop. In my years in London, I always thought of it as somewhere that would be nice if someone decided to take me (be it a client or long lost rich aunt) but with no such miracle forthcoming, it remained on my "when I happen to win the lottery" list.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A-wop bop-a loo-mop, a-lop a Bibimbap! (sorry...)

Bibimbap, Greek Street

I've always had a bit of a thing for Korean food. It's mainly how a lot of the food seems to focus around grilling meat, rice and chilli, three of the best aspects of food you can get. Sadly, in London, the only place where I had some really enjoyable Korean food was at Koba (before I went to Arang, but that's another story), and that costs a pretty penny by the time it all adds up. I need to venture down to New Malden for good authentic Korean food, I am told, but that seems a journey too far at the moment.

Friday, July 29, 2011

+(65) A Singaporean supper club

+(65) - A Singaporean supper club

I am a big fan of supper clubs, but more often than not, my attendance at any of these are as a by product of having met the host at some juncture in this great food journey I am having. Goz is no different. Having met the excitable Singaporean at the new defunct Tudor Road, we shared wine, laughs, and with him and his friends at the table, we had a very enjoyable evening.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Arang, the not so hidden gem of Golden Square

Arang

Arang seems to be one of those places that people go to but never talk about, as up until my recent visit, I swear nobody had ever mentioned it to me. Before then, I wouldn't hesitate when asked where to go for Korean BBQ. "Head to Koba." I would instantly reply. "The Korean BBQ there can't be beat". I guess such a reactive statement can be open to all sorts of challenges, but in my rather limited knowledge of London's Korean restaurants, I only ever want to go to Koba. On the upper end, Asadal in Holborn is OK, but pretty damn expensive. Kimchee, also in the Holborn area is so boring and bland that I had no compulsion to write it up, with Bibimbap much better, although with no proper BBQ (I will be writing that one up at some stage). Having yet to visit New Malden, the Korean heartland in the suburbs, my options were somewhat limited.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Senses of Thailand, Selfridges

Senses of Thailand

Yep, the sign above essentially says it all, Thai food is spicy and one of the reasons why I love it. Herby, zesty and hot. Until the end of July, you can find a Thai invasion in the Selfridges food hall containing an array of little stalls hosted by some of London's favourite Thai restaurants, and a heap of produce, much of which has never made it over to the UK before.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Poncho Number 8...number 3, Old Compton St

Poncho No 8, Soho

What this part of town doesn’t really need is another shop selling burritos. Within 5 minutes stroll of my office there are four alone, with Mas Burritos and Chipotle the poorest (in my opinion), the burrito man on Earlham street which is untested, and my burrito peddler of choice, Benitos Hat on New Row. The introduction of the new Poncho Number 8 to the area is aggressive, but so has been their growth in the last two years, with this Soho branch number 3 in the chain.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mini Bites: Spud, Covent Garden

Spud

Aah, the humble spud, stalwart of lunches and dinners all over Britain. One even nearly killed me once (true story), an enigma amongst comestibles. The beauty of the humble spud is its abject diversity. Have it plain, add a little butter or salt, and you have a cheap and enjoyable lunch. Add a bit of cheese if you are feeling indulgent, or if you are feeling really luxurious, smother your spud with a chilli con carne or some tuna mayo.

Spud

Spud on New Row isn't looking to revolutionise your perception of the spud, merely enhance it and give it a little more pizazz. Bringing to the table flavours such as sicilian aubergine and game chilli con carne, it definitely led me to raise an eyebrow. Personally, I was all about the braised BBQ pork, with a cox apple slaw and barrel aged feta. With a choice of three butters (rock salt, ground peppercorn and my choice of herb), I hurried back to my desk, cargo in tow.

Spud

All in all, a pretty good potato. I liked the sweet pork with the crunchy slaw, and the nuggets of creamy, tangy, and most importantly, salty feta helped balance it all out. The potato was fluffy and didn't feel too heavy at all. On the downside, I felt the pork aspect of the filling was definitely stingy, and for £5.50, it would have been nice to have a bit more protein. Same goes for the butter, I love mine slathered, but I guess it's just a matter of asking. And finally, as attractive as the little box with a handle is, it's pretty awkward to dig out and cut the potato once you are nearing the end.

The resounding verdict is a yes to a return visit. On balance, happy with the potato and £5.50 isn't an absurd amount of money to be paying for a filling and enjoyable lunch. The guys in there are super nice too, always a plus, and to be greeted with a smily face after a frustrating morning at work is always well received.

Spud - 26 New Row, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4LA

Spud on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guest post: My sister writes about Fino



Here's another from sister number 2. This time she visits Fino. I promise I will make her take pictures next time, I know that's basically what you guys are interested in!

So I’ve been out of the restaurant game for a bit, but when a boy (shock!) suggested a trip to Fino on  Charlotte street I happily obliged. It did not, however, start well. Date boy was late, the heavens had opened, my umbrella was broken, the cashpoint had chewed up my card and thus I found myself lingering on a street corner waiting to be rescued - I did not have to wait long. Respite came in the form of a very fragrant tramp whose opening gambit was “I’m not mad, luv, honest. So don’t worry. I only need 80p…” needless to say
I didn’t even have 10p on me let alone 80! And with princely timing, date boy materialised and whisked me into the depths of Fino.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Long live the #Meateasy: The Rye, Peckham

The Rye

Hardly a day goes by that I don't ponder fondly about the #meateasy. Remembering the drinks, the atmosphere, things I cannot repeat on here nor should ever be repeated again. There were also the burgers. Meatwagon burgers made to order served with an array of delicious sides, smothered in cheese and mustard and all things good. When the day arrived when the #meateasy locked it's doors, we went mental one last time and we showed our respects by drinking the place dry.

Ever since that day, Yianni and his new and improved (physical/mobile) meatwagon have kept a relatively low profile. The money made from the Meateasy has been reinvested into a brand new meatwagon (a real old American ambulance) and kitted out with all the gadgets a travelling purveyor of food would ever want. Yianni's plan is to go back to his roots and take his wagon out on the road to the many festivals around Britain (including the recent Glastonbury festival, Henley Regatta and Soho House Summer party.).

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dri Dri Gelato, Covent Garden

Dri Dri Gelato pop up

Popups seem all the rage right now. I could list all the ones running over just the summer, trying to take advantage of England's limited Summer, but I would run out of ink and interest by the time I got to the end of the list. Don't get me wrong, I love them. They give you an opportunity to experience something away from it's natural habitat. It's just that there are so many these days, it's hard to keep up.

Dri Dri gelato is a great example of what I love in a popup. They sell ice cream, an immediate plus. With their regular home ensconced in West London, where I would happily travel to for a meal but less so for some gelato, I now get a chance to sample their wares a mere stones throw from the front door of my office.