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