Monday, 30 September 2013

September Round Up

Little round up of some nice things I've eaten this month.  First up a trip to the final Kerb Saturday of the year at King's Cross (they're launching in Maida Vale from 12th Oct).  There were relatively few traders and a lot of people so queues were pretty long.  Fortunately not the case at The Grilling Greek.

Obviously not the best picture ever taken, but this was a pork souvlaki garnished with tomato, red onion and tzatziki.  Those chips were awesome too, topped with feta and oregano, though Artemis (who knows her Greek food) was upset that there were no chips inside the pita.  Speaking of the pita, this was the best I've ever had.  Think they're about £5 each from memory.

I had some brilliant scallops from the rather irritatingly named Healthy Yummies.  Healthy they weren't actually as they were floating in beurre blanc and sitting on top of some lovely creamy celeriac puree.  Very good.

Fried to order, they're really fresh, topped with lardons and fried herbs, about £4 each.  We wanted to try Bao London too but they sold out pretty early.  They had a long queue all day so we missed out this time.  Fortunately, they were also at the We Feast 1 year anniversary event so we head straight there to try them out.

I'd had one of these bad boys before but it was even better than I remembered.  Braised pork belly in a steamed bun topped with coriander, pickles and caramelized peanut crumbs, they're sweet and savoury perfection.  Love, love them.  They're under £5 and totally moreish, Art had 2.  They also do deep fried buns with fried chicken inside. 

Also at We Feast were Anna Maes, which I obviously cannot resist whenever I see them.  Mac & cheese is the one.  They had a special on which was dubbed the macgic mushroom.  Mushroom and truffle goodness pimping it up.  Not cheap at £7.50 for a smaller tub than they usually serve in, but there was actual truffle on it, as well as oil so I happily parted with my pennies.

Wishbone had a stand there too, making me very happy, I tried one of their chicken sliders, the mini tower block, a nod to the colonel's zinger tower burger.  Hash brown, hot sauce, crispy chicken thigh, lettuce and cheese, I thought the bun was a bit dry but overall enjoyed it.

I started the month off with a night out with fellow bloggers Hannah and Sarah to the soft opening of Breddos Tacos residency at Slider Bar @ The Player.

Their main thing is clearly tacos but you can still get sliders too, as you rightly should do at Slider Bar.  The tacos are good, we each got the taco tray which offers a selection of all 5 on the menu, spiced chesnut mushroom, jerk pulled pork, fried chicken, cod cheek and beef shortrib.  I liked the cod one the best but they were all really good.  Bargain for £12.

We also tried the slaw (£2) and the pork belly croquettes (£5) which were also great, it was day 2 so 50% off food so this was a real bargain.  Good to know you can still get a decent bite to eat here following the departure of Lucky Chip.

Last but not least, I've spent a couple of nights this month propping up The Lobby Bar at the newly opened Edition Hotel.   Looking forward to trying the Berners Tavern sometime soon, Jason Atherton's latest opening also in the hotel.  Great martinis, decent sliders (po' boy and pulled pork below) and a really fun atmosphere make for an excellent night and a guaranteed sore head the next day.  Love everything about the place and think I'll be huddled around their open fire for much of the winter.

The Grilling Greek
Weekly at Kerb KK (Tuesdays)
Brentford Market
Check their facebook for details.

Healthy Yummies
Catering, and Kerb occasionally. 
Check the Kerb traders page for deets.

Bao London
Regulars at Kerb KK (Thursdays)
Netil Market (Saturdays)

Anna Maes
About, check here

Visit their Brixton restaurant

Breddos Tacos @ The Player
8 Broadwich St
Soho W1F

The Lobby Bar @ The London Edition
Berners St

Saturday, 28 September 2013

10 Greek Street

10 Greek Street has been open since early 2012 and I finally made it there a couple of weeks ago for dinner with Nibs.  The place is pretty small and it's walk ins only for dinner (reservations are taken at lunchtimes for those who prefer to book in advance).

We arrived at around 8pm and managed to snag one of the small bar tables.  You need to order one dish at a time or go small plates because the table won't take more than one large plate, but this worked for us.  We ordered a carafe of Austrian white and settled in for the night.

House bread was lovely, foccacia, corn, olive and granary bread with olive oil to dip.  The first dish to show up was the fried squid (£7).

This was really delicious, I would have liked the pieces to have been a bit smaller, they were a little tricky to bite through but the accompanying romesco sauce was great.

Next up were the longhorn meatballs (£6).  Not a pretty plate, but really good, topped with chopped chives and parmesan.  They were a combination of pork and beef with a rich tomato sauce, loved them.

We'd really filled up on their brilliant bread selection so we decided to move onto cheese next.  Manchego, a blue and a soft chèvre came with a fruity chutney and some thin crispbreads for £7.

And we finished things off with the salted chocolate and caramel tart with crème fraîche (£6)

We couldn't believe the amount of salt piled on top, a bit eye watering to be honest and you need to be careful to only get a crystal or 2 with each mouthful or it's overpowering but I liked the simplicity and the boldness.

Looking back, it doesn't seem like we ate much but we both felt very full.  We lingered and ordered a couple more glasses of wine and weren't rushed to leave at all.  It was very busy on a Tuesday evening and there were so many other dishes on the menu that caught my eye.  I'll definitely be back.

We spent around £25 each so pretty good value to boot.

10 Greek Street

10 Greek Street on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Quality Chop House

I'd read great things about The Quality Chop House from numerous trusted sources, yet never made it over to Farringdon to try it for myself.  Recently they seem to have stepped up a gear and I've seen more and more people singing it's praises.  High time I ate there then. 

Last Friday, the weather was really beastly, it was finally my time, and it was actually the perfect day for it.  The menu is full of hearty dishes and was just what was needed.  As we walked in, the smells in the dining room we so enticing, we knew we were in for a treat.

There are 2 dining areas, the restaurant and the bar.  We booked in advance so were in for the 3 course set menu in the restaurant area which suited us fine, the bar was packed and people were turned away, so I'd certainly advise booking, or showing up early.

I started with a martini and we ordered a bottle of the house red.  What followed was one of the nicest meals I've had this year.

First came some radishes with bagna cauda, garlic and anchovy dip.  Slightly too fishy for my companion, so I got to scoff the lot, it was amazing.  Some good bread too, wholemeal and sourdough baguette.

Then came the smoked middle white pork fingers, breadcrumbed and served on a herby green sauce. 

The waitress had explained that the starters come in small plate form to share so we were expecting little dishes.  Actually, what followed was a lot of food for 2 people which came as a huge relief!  This dish didn't sound too exciting but was really lovely.  The delicate mackerel was served warm, with the cucumber cubes and blobs of beetroot puree.  We both loved it. 

This is the bone marrow with smoked chicory.  Everything was mixed together and served on the bone.  It was intensely meaty and rich and was another highlight.

We asked for some more bread to enjoy with the next dish, sweetbreads with chicken liver parfait and burnt onions.  The char on the onion was wonderful, as was the parfait, slathered on the bread.  The sweetbreads were good, but were outshone by the parfait.

Then on to the main course.  Roast shoulder of middlewhite pork served on a bed of salt baked celeriac, apple and onion puree and red kale.  Also served with this was a side of runner beans with pumpkin seeds and a mustard dressing.  This was exquisite.  Served pink, the meat was so tender with a good ring of fat and crispy crackling.  All of the vegetables too had something extra elevating this above just meat and veg.  It was pretty much perfect.

We were rather full by this point so declined the cheese course, available with the set menu for a supplement, we just couldn't find room.  The dessert was simple but special, frozen raspberries with a crunchy chocolate biscuit crumb, toasted marshmallows on chocolate ganache and malted barley ice cream.  An excellent end to a memorable meal.

All this for £35 plus drinks and service, I think this is such good value for the standard of cooking on offer.  We paid just over £100 altogether. 

Topping it all off, the service was also exceptional, so friendly and helpful and the plates warrant a mention as they're so pretty.  An enviable collection.  The wine was excellent, bottles start from £18 and there's a huge by the glass selection.  The only thing I would say as a negative, is that you share tables and if you're by the wall, you need to disturb your neighboring diners to go to the loo.  Also, the guy sitting next to me had his foot up on the seat, which is a padded bench type affair, so his feet were right next to me.  Thankfully he left not long after we arrived.

Having checked out the bar menu I'm already keen to return and try the other room.  A brilliant little place with a seasonal daily changing menu meaning you'll never have the same meal twice.  I should also add that they have been known to serve deep fried dauphinoise potatoes.  I don't think my life will be complete until I have them.

The Quality Chop House
92-94 Farringdon Road

The Quality Chop House on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Koya Bar

Everyone loves Koya.  I don't think I know a single person with a bad word to say about it.  Actually, oh yes, people hate the queue.  Because there is often a queue as their noodles are that good, people will wait.  But hey, people wait for hours to eat at The Breakfast Club which makes me think those people are not right in the head.

But they're right about Koya.  And now even the queue haters can shut up, because there's a new Koya where Mooli's used to be.  Koya Bar.

They opened a few days early, I saw pictures of people eating there before the announced grand opening so promptly scooted round to Frith at lunch the following day with Art.

I was surprised to find the same menu as Koya, I'd imagined it would be different but why fix what ain't broke?  We started, as we usually do, with the atsu-age, £6.90, fried and grilled tofu.

I then had the fish & chips, which was coley in tempura batter with celeriac crisps and shisho dip, £9.10.  A dish I've not had before at Koya and I was really happy with it.  Light and crunchy, lovely dunked in the accompanying dip, I even loved the garnish of battered parsley leaf.

Art had the beef donburi which looked amazing, I tried the beef and it didn't disappoint.  The rice dishes all come with a bowl of miso, £11.40.

Having read Lizzie's post, I've learned they are serving breakfast at Koya Bar and that they plan to move the original Koya towards a more specials led menu, which is really exciting, I'm always tempted by the specials board there and have liked every dish I've tried from it.

A great addition to Soho, and one I'm sure I'll be returning to again and again.

Koya Bar
50 Frith St

Koya Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 8 September 2013


Picture on Great Portland St has been open for just over 3 months.  It wasn't particularly busy on the Tuesday I visited but I'd booked in advance.  You can reserve either tables or bar seats which I like.  Service is very relaxed and friendly.

We start with a couple of gin martinis.  We're told they're out of olives so go for a twist to then be asked if we'd like a bowl of olives to snack on.  Hmm.  We decline.  Bread arrives swiftly, nice little baguettes.

We opt for the 6 plate set menu for £35 which offers an appealing selection of small plates for great value.  First up comes a little chilled tomato and red pepper soup with basil oil.

As this is small we polish it off pretty quickly, it was good, really peppery and refreshing.  The next course arrives immediately after the soup glasses leave the table.  It's goat's curd cheese with figs and fennel.  We're a bit worried, that at this rate, we could be out of the place in half an hour.

It's a pretty dish, they like their wooden boards, and the cheese is lovely.  Interesting flavour combinations with the fruity sweetness of the fig and the bitterness from the endive.  There's some roasted onion under the figs too.  Then comes the pork.

It's pressed and served with watermelon and bbq sauce.  I find it a little confused, the sauce is very sweet and there's radish on there too.  But things really pick up from here.  Salmon is next.

Grilled fillet with tenderstem broccoli, anchovy and pine nuts.  The anchovy came in the form of the crunchy topping on the fish which sat on a bed of beetroot and pine nuts.  Again a lot going on, and perhaps overdoing things slightly, but the fish and vegetables were cooked perfectly and I liked the texures.

But, it was the beef which followed that was our favourite dish on the night.  The final of the savoury courses.

Served rare with heritage carrots, leeks and a little dollops of squash puree, it was brilliant.  The delivery of the dishes spaced out a bit after the first 2 and the pace felt just right.  As dessert was served we were given a glass of chilled pedro ximenez.

Dessert was chocolate mousse with honeycomb and strawberries, not the advertised raspberries.  Loved the mousse and honeycomb combo, light and airy with the caramel crunch but I'm personally not a huge fan of berries and chocolate.  I know it's me though, so I ate it all happily enough.

We ended with another glass of sherry and lingered at the bar.  We were the last people to leave at 11:30 and we weren't at all hurried.  I really enjoyed Picture and there was plenty on the menu which appealed to me.  I'd definitely revisit if I found myself in the area.  With drinks and service, we spent just over £100.

110 Great Portland St

Picture on Urbanspoon