Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Eat Street

Blessed with a fair bit of time off over the last few weeks, I've been able to make regular excursions a mere 10 minute walk due West of my house, to Eat Street at King's Cross.

 Blythburgh belly pork and hoisin and mushroom, 
walnut and miso steamed buns from Yum Bun
I love the idea of this venture, a collective of street food vendors take turns to pitch on King's Boulevard and it's gone super size for the Olympics.  Usually a lunchtime only treat for those in the vicinity during the week, they are now open on the weekends and until 8pm daily, for the duration of the the games.  Slightly different location at the southern end of the Boulevard.

Thai meatballs from The Bowler with rice, 
slaw and fiery chilli jam

Check the website for a list of who will be there each day and a whole heap of other info.  Also see Petra Barran's twitter feed, @EatStreet, for deets.

The porky sub from Tongue 'n Cheek

Also happening thanks to London 2012, is Eat Street at the Exhibition Road Show, where all the usual Eat Street traders and more, will be on rotation with 20 different options each day.  It's open all day, until late Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and I cannot wait to get down there to try the likes of Anna Mae's and Speck Mobile.

 Balti beef Bhangra burger

If you can, check out Eat Street whilst the opening hours are expanded, it's well worth the visit, I've never been disappointed with any the food I've been served and here's hoping the rain stays away.

Eat Street Collective
Various locations

Yum Bun
Yum Bun on Urbanspoon

The Bowler
The Bowler on Urbanspoon

Tongue 'N Cheek
I can't wait to try more Italian treats from these guys using unfavoured cuts.  The pork cheek sub was incredible.

Bhangra Burgers
Not my burger, would be wrong to rate.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Patty & Bun @ The Endurance

Today is the last day these bad boys will be available at The Endurance, so you don't have long to get down there.  I did last Thursday with Sue and John and it was rammed with people, mostly standing.

They offer a small but perfectly formed menu, consisting of 4 burgers, a veggie option and a few sides, I opted for the Ari Gold cheeseburger (£7), inspired by pictures I'd seen on their website.  Far superior to the typical burger available in London pubs, this was seriously juicy and smokey.  John's Smokey Robinson (at £8, the most expensive option) was declared the winner of the night, best burger he's ever had apparently.  Be warned though, they're messy.  Chips were nice too. 

For me these offerings did not quite match up to my favourite versions, but I was pretty hungover following a late one on Wednesday at Trisha's and foolishly had a Byron for lunch ahead of this visit.  This may have adversely affected my enjoyment.  It ticked all the boxes, good tasting meat, demi brioche bun, great oozy cheese and that smokey flavour does set it apart.  I think perhaps the abundance of decent burgers available in London now has left me feeling a tad indifferent.  But I mostly blame me for eating 2 in one day, whilst feeling a tad delicate.

What was to have been a 1 month pop up, has been extended slightly but it's the grand finale tonight, it's sure to be packed so get there early.  For 1 night only, Monday of next week, the Pizza Pilgrim chaps are teaming up with The Endurance for a night of piggy treats, think whole hog and baps, more info here.  Loving that The Endurance are getting involved in food events, their usual menu leans towards generic pub stuff and I look forward to what happens next.

Patty & Bun
@ The Endurance
90 Berwick St

Endurance on Urbanspoon

Monday, 16 July 2012

Bánh Mì 11 @ Berwick Street Market

Street food has developed massively in London over recent years and there are now a multitude of options scattered around the city for those wanting to grab a quick bite, and not resort to the obligatory and Pret, Eat, blah, or, of course, linger longer.  The emergence and growth of food markets can only be a good thing, as with them they bring choice, (mostly) quality and freshness and they should be supported and celebrated. 

I've had a few lunchtime feasts from the Bánh Mì 11 stall on Berwick Street market but have only been compelled to write about it having finally had the chance to try their Fish Q variety last week.

On my previous visits, the catfish had always sold out so I'd only tried the pork or chicken Bánh mì.  Now I see why it's often a sell out, the turmeric and galangal marinade means plenty of juices for the bread to soak up and generous portions of extras, like coriander, peanuts, cucumber, carrot, spring onion, fresh green chillis and sriracha chilli sauce to taste, meant this really felt like a filling and well rounded lunch.  I took it back to my desk and dragged out the eating of it a long as possible.  At £6, the catfish is the priciest option, most costing around the £5 mark.  

I'd been slightly disappointed with previous choices, the Imperial BBQ Pork and the Cha Cha Chicken but this really excited me and makes me all the more sad to be leaving Soho at the end of this week.  A new job sees me relocating to Old Street.  However, I'm ecstatic to hear that there will imminently be a new Bánh Mì 11 operation, in an actual building with an expanded menu and it's going to be close to Old Street.  Woop.  Keep an eye on the locations page of the website for updates, it's rumoured to be opening anyday now.

Bánh Mì 11
Berwick Street Market
Soho, W1F 0PH

Bánhmì11 on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 12 July 2012


I lunched at the recently opened Tonkotsu on Dean Street the other day.  Having not had ramen since chancing upon an amazing little place in a dingy foodhall in Sydney's Chinatown eons ago, reading reviews of this place reignited a hankering for the stuff. 

Opened by these folks it's pretty much the only one of it's kind here, claiming to bring us Londoners proper ramen.  Obviously, ramen is available elsewhere, but here it's the star, the one thing they do, with a few token sides.  I had high hopes.

I went for the Tokyo spicy ramen (£9), which is not spicy at all, but I'm okay with that.  I wasn't disappointed, flavourful stock and great noodles.  Slurping is encouraged, but I didn't.  There's a veggie option and a classic Tonkotsu, the most expensive option at £11, I'll definitely be back to try.  They're making fresh gyoza too which looked good.

Service was attentive, erring on over the top, we were asked by every person in the place a number of times if everything was ok.  Yup, still ok, thanks.  Kind of sweet.  Once they're bedded in I imagine they'll loosen up a bit. 

If ramen's not your thing, best not go because it really is pretty much all that's on offer here, but who wouldn't love a steaming bowl of noodles with meat, half an egg and some hearty broth?  Satisfying, filling and it made my face go all red and glowy!

63 Dean Street

Tonkotsu on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Sportsman, Seasalter

 For my (eek) 30th birthday meal last week I lunched at The Sportsman near Whitstable, Kent.  Their twitter bio modestly describes the place as a "grotty rundown pub by the sea" and gives a hint as to the relaxed and non pretentious atmosphere you're likely to encounter should you visit this Michelin starred 'gastropub'. 

As we visited during the week we requested, in advance, to have the tasting menu (not available at weekends or for tables larger than 6) and this was to be one of the loveliest meals I've had in a long, long time.  I absolutely cannot wait to return, and it's a mere 30 minute car journey from my sister's house!  Kid, I'm coming to stay more often.

We arrived just before midday on a rare sunny June 2012 day,  though rain had been predicted, obviously.  We started with a bottle of Colli trevigiani prosecco at £21.95.  Later on I enjoyed a Pol Roger, as it was a special occasion, wonderful to see it served by the glass, and for only £9.

I won't bang on about the food, as I'll be here all day, we totted up a total of 15 or so courses, of which so many were highlights, the treats just kept coming, and we were there until 5pm - a 5 hour lunch, that's my kinda meal!  Here are the pics:-

Cheese and tomato biscuits - think cheese straws and melt - in - the - mouth doesn't even come close!

Pork scratchings with wholegrain mustard and home cured herring on rye bread.

First of oysters 2 ways - baked and served with poached rhubarb and dried seaweed

And again a baked oyster, served with beurre blanc, pickled cucumber and caviar.  A favourite of the day.

Next the breads, made here of course, with home churned sweet cream and Seasalter salt butter.  From left to right, soda bread, focaccia and sourdough.   I don't stand a hope in hell of learning my don't fill up on the bread lesson when they're this good.

Chilled asparagus soup with milk foam and asparagus and cream cheese tartlets.

I was so happy to see this dish, a simple but refreshing salad of rocket, burrata and tomatoes.  

Signature dish of slip sole with seaweed butter.  (New plates, I overheard the chef telling a neighbouring table).

Braised turbot with asparagus and smoked roe sauce.  Another of my standout dishes, that sauce was amazing.

Lamb belly with mustard breadcrumbs served with a mint sauce.  This was brilliant.  The dipping sauce was quite sweet but there was a real kick from the English mustard hiding under the crispy coating on the lamb.  I was beginning to struggle at this point, but got 2nds as my Mum is not a fan of lamb.  Happy to help where I can!

Roast Monkshill Farm lamb saddle and fillet with greens and aubergine puree.  More extras for me!

Matured Winchester cheddar served with white cherries. 

These rhubarb ice lollies in cake milk were OMG.

Cream cheese ice cream with scone crumbs, meringue and strawberries.  A take on eton mess.

Perhaps the biggest treat of all were the petit fours.  Clockwise rom the left, elderflower posset, chocolate mousse with salted caramel, raspberry tarts, bitter chocolate truffle and gooseberry fool.

I really cannot heap enough praise upon The Sportsman, plenty of blogger love is out there already (see their Urbanspoon page) but, like the good Kentish girl that I am, I feel it's only right that I become a regular.  £65 per person, for all this food, seemed like an absolute steal versus comparative prices for meals in London, and they even sang me happy birthday!

Come here for fantastic food in a relatively casual environment, don't expect tablecloths and fancy decor but you'll feel most welcome and I'm certain will want to make a return visit.  I saw some pretty special looking non taster dishes coming out of the kitchen and there's a large menu to pick from.  Booking, or at least calling ahead is a must and it's drinks only on Mondays.

The Sportsman
Favesham Road

Sportsman on Urbanspoon

Monday, 2 July 2012

Delhi Grill, Angel

So, I've just moved to Angel and now I'm only 5 minutes away from Delhi Grill, hurrah!  This was not the sole reason for the move, but was a definite plus.  Having eaten here on a Saturday night in May, I cannot wait to head back and work my way through the rest of the menu, and it's BYO.

We started with some poppadoms and chutneys, many of which were new to me and exciting to try.  From the left, mint raitha, mango chutney, red lentil and beetroot.  All great.

To start I opted for the paneer kebabs, best paneer I've ever had hands down.  Nicely charred and sizzling on the hot plate with a generous serving of tomato and onions for only £3.25.  Crappy picture due to the smoke still emitting from the hot plate.

For my main I went for the lamb rogan gosht which was rich and satisfying though I didn't detect much of a lamb flavour to the meat.  This dish is slow cooked for 2 hours and the meat, as a result, is amazingly tender.

Everybody had a starter and a main, we also shared a very light and fluffy naan, a roti and some rice, 2 of us drank beers and 2 of us soft drinks (me an excellent mango lassi) and the bill came to less than £70 in total. Rarely in London can 4 people eat so cheaply and so well for so little.  The one gripe I have is that the food is all served at once, the mains arrived when we'd barely touched the starters, and there wasn't enough room for it all on the table.  What's the hurry guys?

Think I'll be venturing down at lunchtime too, to grab a wrap from their mobile van which is parked daily on Chapel Market, feeding the lunching hordes.

Delhi Grill
21 Chapel Market

Delhi Grill on Urbanspoon