Friday, September 30, 2011

El Burrito: Celebrating Mexican Independence Day


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?


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


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.