Thursday, 28 February 2013

Electric Diner

I brunched this weekend at Electric Diner, which has been almost universally praised since it's late 2012 reopening, following a kitchen fire earlier last year.

It's totally changed, I went for brunch about 6 years ago, pre blog, and returned with the girls (minus Noy, who's sunning herself in Oz) last Saturday.  We arrived at 2, put our names down (no reservations) and were called about 20 minutes later as our booth was ready.  You only get an hour which means they're pretty swift at turning tables.  I didn't feel particularly rushed, but post meal lingering is certainly off limits.

I tried the bloody mary (£8), which really whacks you around the head with a hefty punch of all the usual trappings and many in addition to what you'd expect.  Sliced pickles, lots of lemon and olives giving it quite a tang.  Very good and did the job on on my hangover.

I ate the ham and gruyere open sandwich topped with a fried egg (£9) with a side of hash browns (£4).  This came with brioche bread with butter (room temperature so spreadable - an important note), jam and marmalade.  The fried egg was cooked how it should be and the cheese fondue ws lovely, essentially a bechamel with loads of cheese resulting in stringiness (a good thing) and there was a nice scattering of smoked ham, all topped with parsely.  I was pleased with my choice and the hash browns, whilst not what I was expecting were good.  They were more like rostis really.

Both the girls had the full English (£11) which they seemed more than happy with.  The thick cut bacon is particularly impressive.  I thought cynically that most of this would be fat but it was actually mostly pork and I heard no complaints from the girls.  In a thoughtful way the baked beans are ensconced in a little pot, albeit an overflowing one.  I know many a person who objects to bean juice infiltrating where it's not wanted.

I liked the meal but I can't see me returning any time soon, it's been 6 years since my last visit.  Nice location mind.  The no bookings policy will no doubt put many off, if the market happens to be on, it's obviously not a problem, but at other times, hanging around waiting for a table will be a bit boring.  Also, with all the chaos of primetime, people were not respecting the queue situation, behaviour which I absolutely cannot tolerate.

Electric Diner
191 Portobello Road
W11 2ED

 Electric Diner on Urbanspoon

Monday, 25 February 2013

Lucky Fried Chicken

For a very limited time Lucky Chip have popped up at The Grafton in Kentish Town.  They're offering Lucky Fried Chicken Tuesday-Saturday, and roast dinners of a Sunday.

I expected the place to be packed out but we ordered a drink at the bar and sat straight down at 7:30 last Thursday evening.

There were 3 of us and we ordered the bucket o' chicken (£28.50) from the small but perfectly formed menu.  It supposedly serves 5-7 but we were hungry and only just beaten.  Think Colonel Sanders but with really succulent and not in the least bit dry chicken.  The crumb had a fine kick to it but unfortunately the bucket, whilst being a fun play on the KFC family deal, is not an ideal vessel for piping hot chicken pieces as they're stacked right on top of each other and the coating got a bit soggy and damp.

Accompaniments of dinner rolls and gravy, coleslaw and fries were excellent but I was really beating myself up at the end of the night when I realised I'd missed out on the mash, apparently it's well worth the visit for that alone.

If you can, get yourself down there sharpish, it's a really nice pub to boot.  Also available are sandwiches (chicken burgers), Wednesday only livers and gizzards (I'm intrigued) and desserts of the apple and cherry pie persuasion.  We were way too full for those.  I'm actually not mad keen on fried chicken, weird I know, but this is good, and a fine way to spend a cold February evening. Careful not to burn yourselves though, it's v. hot.

Lucky Fried Chicken
The Grafton Arms
20 Prince of Wales Road
Kentish Town

And, I'm moving to the area soon, woo!  Hopefully more of the same to come.

Lucky Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Jugged Hare

I've had a couple of work lunches at the Jugged Hare.  I was tempted to revisit last week while I'm still in the area because of the recent release of the top 50 gastropub list for 2013.

Special mention here to the pub coming in 2nd place, The Sportsman, my top meal of 2012.  Representing Kent, go guys!

So The Jugged Hare is 24th on the list, in general London pubs did very well, see a run down here.  I'm not entirely sure this place should technically be classified as a gastropub, but I have only eaten in the restaurant area.  There is a small front pub section and a larger formal dining room at the rear.  The decor is reminiscent of Goodman, Mayfair, lots of dark wood and leather.

The menu is meaty, there are plenty of daily specials, hawked on twitter.  There's also a lot of fish and a pie of the day.  I liked the sound of the majority of the menu and could happily eat my way through the lot.  I tried the fish pie on one occasion which was small but perfectly formed.   Generous amounts of salmon, haddock, prawns and scallop with a nice crispy mash potato topping.

Once seated, you are given a small sourdough loaf with salted butter. I really like the bread, there's no cover charge but the dishes don't come cheap with mains between £16 and £30.  When I sat down, somebody had a laptop bag sprawled across the seat I'd been allocated, nobody volunteered to move it, so I moved it myself, an act which was treated with general disdain from both the neighbouring table and the waitress.

I had the special of braised herdwick lamb shank with mash and savoy cabbage.  I drank water which was topped up once from a jug closely guarded by the wait staff, and was never seen again.  The lamb was lovely though.  So tender, off the bone served on top of the mash and veg.  There was the slightly bizarre appearance of baby spinach leaves, I ate them but it seemed unnecessary.  In all I was very happy with my choice.

Thomas had the Tamworth pork shoulder with caramel apple sauce.  Some of the specials come with sides and others do not which is strange.  Thomas' did not so he also ordered a green salad and some suede mash.  The pork was ok, not particularly mindblowing but the apple element was pretty great, sweet and tangy it livened up and otherwise average dish.  More inexplicable foliage to decorate. 

The whole thing is a bit stuffy and not in keeping with what a gastropub is all about for me.  The food is good, but expensive (we paid about £30 a head for 1 dish each) and I'd much rather go to the Bull & Last, recent find The Pig & Butcher, or back to The Sportsman, quite possibly my favourite pub anywhere in the world!

The Jugged Hare
49 Chiswell St

The Jugged Hare on Urbanspoon