Tuesday, 30 December 2014

London Round Up

So I was back in the UK for Christmas, and despite a bout of the sniffles meaning I had to cancel some plans, I did make it to a couple of places on my to do list, which is loooong, considering I've only been away for 9 months.

Bad Egg
Bel and I had lunch at Bad Egg.  It was still in soft opening which is always exciting, like restaurant roulette, but everything was brilliant.  In particular this burger (£11), beef, NDUJA CHEESE FONDUE, egg yolk, pickles, onion and mustard.  It was magnificent.

We also had a side of kimchi, which packed a solid punch and the pulled pork hash (£8.50) but the burger was the one.  Loved it.  Now they're open proper they have an amazing looking breakfast menu which I'd love to try.  Go, eat eggs or don't eat eggs, but go.

This is one of those places that was long on my must visit list, but I never actually made it there ahead of moving to Canada.  Post move, when I made friends with Sar and learned that she used to live opposite and was something of a regualar we vowed to visit together at Xmas and that we did.  I was still poorly so not tasting 100% which is a horrible, horrible thing.  I still loved the place though and will definitely revisit one day for dinner.  I loved the artichokes with dukkah and curds (£8)

Followed by the pollock with dashi, fennel and ginger (£15) which was incredible.  We also drank some fizz in a bid to ward off the cold, didn't work, I continued to be ill for another 3 days, but testament to Toasted that I bloody loved it anyway.

So pretty and delicate.  The service is charming, the room is wonderfully rustic and the company was excellent.  Lucky EDers who get to have this as a local.  Amazing place.

The Ivy Market Grill
So the Ivy, that fancy pants celeb magnet in Covent Garden, have opened an all day brasserie on the ex Pizza Hut site on the south side of the piazza.  I was disappointed when I realised this was the location but in actual fact I thought the food was pretty decent considering.  I had the veggie breakfast (£11.50), at about 4 in the afternoon, it was the halloumi that swang it.

There were actual beans in the mini pan I assure you, not just juice.  Granted the idea of a hot poached egg and hollandaise on top of a halved, cold avocado is not one I'd entertained, nor shall I in future, but it's friend was on a mini bubble and squeak, which was delicious.

The service was a tad forgetful, we ordered a snack of arancini and bread to share pre meal as we'd not eaten yet, but they didn't materialise.  We asked after them, the arancini came, the bread never surfaced at all and by then we'd received everything else so it seemed silly to ask again.  The arancini were very good, truffle-y.  It was a strange time to dine perhaps, but the staff went through phases of constantly asking if we were ok, and others of aloofness.  Early days perhaps?  Glad I've been, probs won't go back, think there are nicer options available for the same type of stuff.  Strong branding though, and a nice Royale cocktail with rose and hibiscus.  Also, the Kid was ill all night, gah.

And that's all I managed, except for a fine meal at Chicken Shop NW5, where it's always lovely.  Back for more in June, London!

Bad Egg
1 Ropemaker Street

Bad Egg on Urbanspoon

38 Lordship Lane
East Dulwich

Toasted on Urbanspoon

The Ivy Market Grill
1 Henrietta St
Covent Garden

Ivy Market Grill on Urbanspoon

Friday, 26 December 2014


When Art came to stay we nipped over to St Henri and had lunch at Sumac.  Think ‘middle Eastern’ cuisine along the lines of Yalla Yalla or Comptoir Libanais in London.  Until Sumac opened there was really nothing like this available in Montreal.  Cutting to the chase, everything was awesome and I already can’t wait to go back.

The menu is on a big board, you order at the counter before finding a table, which feels a tad too casual but it’s really busy come lunchtimes so I see why they do it.  Will be heading back for dinner soon to check out if things are any different in the evening.

We shared the falafel ($12) and the beef kefta ($14) plates which come with your choice of 2 salads from the pretty extensive salad menu, the best pita I've ever had, hummus and pickles.  The main dishes (falafs, keftas, chicken shawarma and a veggie aubergine option) can also be ordered as a pita or 'family style' (I'm not sure what this means exactly).  We also shared sumac fries, having been advised that the hummus fries are huge and would push us over the edge.  Prices are very reasonable and portions are large.  This is North America after all!

Just looking at these pictures and thinking about how good the food was is making me want to get back down there today, and look at this, they even have a website, something of a rarity in Montreal.  Good work Sumac.

3618 Notre Dame O.
St Henri
H4C 1P5

Sumac Restaurant on Urbanspoon