Wednesday, 26 May 2010


When I first came to London I dined at Satsuma and remember being pretty impressed with the speed of the food and the atmosphere, I had a salmon teriyaki bento box. I couldn't really remember the quality of the food as it was pre blog and it was with slight trepidation (and horror at the length of the queue at Busaba) that I returned with Thomas, Benj, Sue and John.

This time around I succumbed to the familiar comfort of a chicken ramen. Whilst it is not the most exciting of dishes I do so love a bowl of steaming noodles in broth. I'm very keen to try the newest noodle addition to Soho Koya, I've tried and failed, they had even run our of noodles on one attempt which is surely a good sign?

Satsuma's ramen included half an egg and a scattering beansprouts, plenty of different textures and tastes to occupy the buds. I was pretty quiet while I tucked in but this is a fairly standard dish which does not wow, rather scratch an itch. A small portion and at £7 perhaps a little overpriced?

Fortunately I was able to share some of Thomas' salmon sashimi which was excellent. I really think it's a shame that it's so difficult to obtain sushi grade fish, particularly salmon and tuna, in regular supermarkets. It's something I would have at home often, though obviously I lack many skills with a knife. Fortunately the sushi chefs here are dab hands, the menu seems a lot more sushi oriented than it was on my last visit, I'm unsure.

I also tried some of the vegetable and prawn tempura, both good, light and crisp as it should be. As a group we sampled a large selection of sushi, noodle and rice dishes and all were well received. We had to wait a short time to be seated but the service was still swift and attentive, I received my ramen before my glass of wine. The bill was a bit higher than expected, the sashimi coming in at just under a tenner for a pretty measly serving.

In all a tad over priced for what it is but a reliable venue for a quick bite to eat. Decent sushi doesn't come cheap.

56 Wardour St


Satsuma on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Holy Cow

Waiting for a bus on a rainy Sunday I noticed a new addition to the street I live on, Holy Cow promising fine Indian Food and I made a mental note to try them for size when my next curry craving reared its head.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, extremely hungover, nothing but the carb heavy hit provided by an Indian takeaway would do the job. I had a bit of trouble finding the number, the website has not yet been updated to show the Archway branch details, but a couple of calls and it was sorted.

We ordered the modi squid to start which was nicely if subtly marinated in unidentified spices. They were deep fried but were not too fatty or soggy. A solid start.

I ordered the 'Raj recommended' murg jaiselmer - chicken cooked dopiaza style with nuts, fresh coriander, capsicum, onion, and cream. The chicken is certainly the best quality I've ever had in curry form and the sauce with rich and satisfying.

Where my curry provided a mild spice, Thomas' murg magalore gave a more than welcome hefty kick and we both agreed Holy Cow will become our new regular takeaway place, relegating the nearby Tiffin Tin to second spot.

Sides, also superior in quality to what we're used to, included garlic naans, poppadums, plain rice (helpfully they do a serving for 2 which is not 2 x portions for 1, there's always rice leftover in our house) and lassis, mango and coconut both, were good, refreshing and soothing, the ideal accompaniment.

Heck, even Ainsley likes Holy Cow, but don't let that put you off. There are various locations across London and they seem to be expanding fairly rapidly. I wish them well.

Holy Cow
Junction Road,


Holy Cow on Urbanspoon

Friday, 14 May 2010

JW Steakhouse

Last night I attended the JW Steakhouse launch party at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane. The new kid on the block, JW Steakhouse is a serious competitor to the likes of Goodman and Hawksmoor who currently hold the crown and a dear place in my heart (and most London food bloggers') when it comes to steak and burgers.

The Marriott owned global chain of steakhouses are new to the UK but are firmly established in the USA, Canada, Dubai and Cairo. I was eager to see whether they would live up to the standard set by my London favourites.

The room is enormous, very high ceilings and huge windows adding to the feeling of space. It is easily double the size of both Goodman and Hawksmoor though both are opening new premises in the coming months, Goodman in the City and Hawksmoor in Covent Garden. The rear wall of the restaurant doubles as a menu, showing all cuts available and explains that the steak here is hand cut, dry-aged American USDA prime beef. Head chef Paul Hallet and his team were on hand to explain exactly what it was we were sampling.

We tried numerous cuts, all were perfectly cooked, I thought the fillet was the most successful, though all had a delightful char from the grill and were accompanied by multiple signature sauces and sides. There was excellent variety on offer, the bone in sirloin, slightly chewy I thought, and the ribeye, all regularly replenished. The pepper sauce was a hit, whole peppercorns providing a crunchy hit but others available included béarnaise, horseradish, port, red wine and stilton.

The sliders were excellent, both beef burgers and braised shortribs, like a pulled beef with pickles. Mini versions of the burgers that are available on both the lunch and dinner menus.

Canapes doing the rounds inclued calamari, served with a wonderfully rich aioli, maryland crab cakes, smoked salmon and steak tartare. There were an awesome array of sides which I was sad to see did not include mac and cheese, I feel you can tell a lot about a place by their mac and cheese.

As well as the freely flowing booze (champagne and bourbon cocktails) the highlight for me was the magnificent seafood bar in the centre of the room, with oysters and jumbo prawns, the usual oyster accompaniments and a hot sauce in which to dip the prawns, a welcome American favourite.

I found myself loitering around this area of the room for a little longer than I should have. Unable to resist the temptation of such fresh and tasty shellfish.

There was also a bewildering selection of salads, a corner of the room devoted to it, those on the menu include, JW chopped salad, classic caesar, goatscheese and beetroot and tomato and onion.

Onto dessert, which I barely had room for but again could not say no, the stand out option being Bettie's bread pudding. I'm not sure who she is but her lethal addition of bourbon to the mix coupled with the rich and melting vanilla bean ice cream is now my dream pud. Others on offer included the JW Cheesecake which uses Graham Crackers in the base and a tower of whoopie pies, which I remain unconvinced by.

I was hugely impressed by the effort of the evening, there was an abundance of everything and they certainly made a good impression. The steaks were, for me, on a par with the best I have sampled elsewhere in London. The sides were a revelation, they are hugely pimped up, the American's do this so well, double baked potatoes with bacon and onion, the Thanksgiving favourite sweet potato topped with marshmallow, green beans, asparagus, fries and thick cut chips, and new potatoes. I think I might just have to go back and try the mac and cheese. Price wise the menu matches Goodman, still seems that you need to pay above the odds prices to get a decent piece of meat.

JW Steakhouse
Grosvernor House Hotel
86 Park Lane

I attended as a guest of JW Steakhouse and received complimentary food and drinks

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