Posts tagged ‘food’

May 10, 2017

Shackfuyu [Food Review] @shackfuyu

After trying one of Bone Daddies restaurants – Flesh & Bun last year, I was destined to try another one of their different food havens dotted across London. With there being a queue extending outside at their first opening in Peter Street, Soho, which is a Ramen Bar, we walked to Old Compton Street to Shackfuyu.

Starting off as a pop up, it made it’s impression on the folk of London town so much that it became a permanent residency, serving Western-inspired Japanese dishes. You could almost say it’s Japanese soul food. Looking at the menu you can see much thought and effort has gone into the menu, they don’t over-do it with wide variety of dishes, these are carefully selected, and you can order a few as they are meant for sharing.

Shackfuyu like most of the Bone Daddies chains has a rock ‘n’ roll edge to it, with shiny tiles and brickwork and lots of small lights with a soundtrack to match. As you enter it feels smaller than it is, with seats round the bar when the back end of the restaurant with its booths and tables fill up.

Looking around to see what everyone else was eating, we decided on a main each and a few smaller plates so we could try as much as possible. The hot stone rice (£.8.50) was the larger, main dish chosen and it also came out first. Brought out as you would imagine in a hot bowl, the concoction of rice, beef and chilli with vegetables and sesame is literally steaming. It’s based on Korean bibimbap rice which is stirred at the table, as they do here also at Shackfuyu mixing the meat, veg and egg, but with a tasty sauce and a crunch from the sweetcorn in there too.

For the smaller dishes we opted for Korean fried chicken (£6) which is always going to be a winner. It came out as a portion of 3, so if there’s two of you there could be a fight over who gets the extra one, as these are so delicious. They have a sticky red coating dotted with sesames with a sour and chilli kick to them that will want you craving more.

The last small dish we chose was the seabass taco (£4) which were kind of small so it was hard to share, but we did manage as there was at least 6 bits of fried seabass each to enjoy. It came complete with tomatillo salsa like you would find in a Mexican restaurant. The seabass was cooked to perfection, crispy on the outside and the fish was soft and flaky, with spring onions and red onions chopped on top.

We washed these dishes down with a few glasses of prosecco, although there was a nice cocktail list too. Unfortunately we didn’t even have room for the desert which sounds and looks delicious, kinako French toast served with green tea ice cream. Definitely one for next time!

Where To Find: 14a Old Compton St, London, W1D 4TJ   02077347492    www.bonedaddies.com/restaurant/shackfuyu/

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April 12, 2016

Baozi Inn [Food Review]

China Town can sometimes be rather difficult to find a good restaurant in even though there are hundreds of them! I found one of the best and cheapest Northern Chinese cuisines when I ventured out to Baozi Inn. Arriving on a Saturday night at around 9pm there was a queue outside the door (always a good sign), but luckily we only waiting around 15 minutes to be seated. I later found out the reason the quickness of the queue was the quick turnaround in the restaurant.

This restaurant shot to fame when it opened in 2008 and has some of the cheapest and tastiest food in town. Their huge Baozi buns are famous and we had them filled with pork at a price of £1.20 each. They weren’t as light and fluffy as they should be, and were a bit on the doughy side but the pork filling had a nice taste it so they weren’t as disappointing as it could have been. For the price you really can’t go wrong either.

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Another small eat we ordered were the lamb skewers which were divine and you can order as many or less as you want. The cumin sauce they were served in was so tasty, and luckily for me the lamb was cut into small chunks and didn’t consist of hardly any fat. The cumin flavoured sauce was combined with chilli, garlic, oil and was so flavoursome I kept the sauce to eat with my bun too.

The Chengdu crescent dumplings in chilli oil were next to be served to us and these were magnificent. The small boiled pork dumplings that the menu describes as “popular small eats in the Sichuanese capital Chengdu,” arrived in a pool of chili oil and crushed garlic. They were a satisfying portion and bursting with flavour. I will be definitely be coming back for some more of these tasty treats.

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We went lastly for the Dan Dan noodles. These were so delicious I could (if I wasn’t stuffed) have eaten another bowl. Make sure when they are served to you, you mix them in as the sauce is all at the bottom. These noodles are a famous street food style dish which were traditionally as said on their menu “sold by street vendors who carried their cooking gear in baskets suspended from bamboo shoulderpoles.” Made with preserved mustard greens, sesame paste, chilli oil, minced pork and lots of other goodness, these will leaving you making sure you come back to Baozi Inn.IMG_2479

The décor may resemble more of a canteen than a restaurant, but the food is definitely not anything similar to a canteen. It’s cheap, it’s delicious and it’s quick, perfect if your in a rush, or after just some tasty small bites.

Where To Find:

26 Newport Ct, London WC2H 7JS     020 7287 6877    http://baoziinnlondon.com/

July 22, 2015

Massis Grill & Bar [Food Review] @MassisLebanese

Venturing out on a Saturday evening for dinner can sometimes be hard when you haven’t booked anywhere and haven’t got the faintest idea of what you fancy eating as a group of friends. Deciding to meet in Maida Vale to walk along Little Venice, an area none of us had been out too a lot before, we came across a lovely looking restaurant with a nice ambience just off the river in Sheldon Square.

Starving we sat down at Massis Lebanese, a grill and bar. With it being a nice Summer’s day it had enough tables outside so this is where we asked the waiter to sit. The smell of shisha from other customers brought a nice aroma to the air surrounding us, with a DJ positioned outside just by the doors.

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The cocktail menu that we looked at first, delivered a warming mixture of fruit and alcohol, sounding delicious and I was hoping they tasted as good. I was stuck between the pomegranate martini with fresh pomegranate and shaken with grenadine, vodka, lime and Chambord, the pine & passion which mixed fresh pineapple and passion fruit with Havana 3 and coconut and lime or the apple and cinnamon bellini. I chose the martini, the flavours blended together perfectly and it wasn’t too overbearingly sweet and went down a treat with my food!

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For the food we decided to pick a dish each and share a starter. One of my friends went for the Hummus Shawarma with lamb which came first and I had a taste of. The hummus was nothing to write home about, but the Lamb Shawarma tasted fresh and the edges were perfectly crispy with the middle being soft and tender, how it should be!

My other friend and I chose a starter to share and a main each. We went for one of my favourite Lebanese starters; the Sujuk which are spicy Armenian lamb sausages pan fried with cherry tomatoes and once we squeezed some lemon on it were good to go. Fried nicely, the sausages have a strong flavour, where you can taste the spices and spiciness of them.

My friend chose for her main a stew she normally has home-cooked called Bamia. This is a traditional stew with okra in tomato sauce with lamb and vermicelli rice. I guess you can’t ever get it cooked better than a good home-cooked one and but she did say it was nice!

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I opted for a safe option of a Kafta which is skewers of charcoal grilled ground lamb finely spiced. I ordered a side of vermicelli rice to go with it, although the waiter kept bringing bread and I had 3 skewers when it came so it was a large portion. I was disappointed that the salad it came with was literally just red cabbage, they could have made an effort to put lettuce some onions and tomatoes in it. The Kafta was cooked perfectly and was the meat was juicy and spiced enough.

They gave us lovely pastries afterwards as a complement and to be honest these were the nicest Lebanese sweets I have had ever. I’m not big into desserts but I couldn’t stop eating these!

Where To Find:

Paddington Central, 9 Sheldon Square, London W2 6HY   020 7286 8000   www.massis.co.uk

June 16, 2015

Flesh & Buns [Food Review] @FleshandBuns

Heading out on Saturday night for a friends birthday, we decided to hit Flesh & Buns where my friend had been before, but was new to me. It’s a Japanese restaurant by company Bone Daddies who have a few other restaurants dotted around London.

Entering the restaurant off a road in Covent Garden, we walked down the stairs into a dimly lit, but colourful environment with people chatting away giving it a fun vibe of an Izakaya pub. There was either a long-stripped table down the middle for people to sit, or booths where you share with other people as well if there’s not many of you, which helps conserve space. We were offered a booth in the corner as it wasn’t busy, being just before 6pm, where a couple only joined the booth later sitting on the other side so it didn’t disturb us.

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This is East Asian food with a rock & roll edge, with the main focus on the hirata buns and the flesh or the meat you choose to be served with them. It’s a Taiwanese street food dish with an American twist where the floury, rice dough is folded and steamed, creating a pocket to add the ‘flesh’. I decided to pick the flat iron steak as my flesh, it was served with BBQ sauce and red onion pickle. The steak meat was tender and had a nice flamed grilled taste which complemented the pickle well. My fried went for the crispy duck leg, which the waiter asked if he you would like it shredded off the bone which was a nice touch.

For the starters we had soft-shell crab which came as a portion of 3  small crabs which we dug into straight away. It was served with a jalapeno mayo and the crab itself had a light tempura batter and was so delicious, just enough saltiness and crispiness on the outside, with the meat inside being tender. We also ordered Korean fried wings which came in a spicy, sour, sesame sauce. The wings came as a portion of 4 and were decent sized for wings and had a lovely crispness to them, although the sauce was nice enough, I couldn’t help feeling like something was missing from it.

Bowlful of glistening Korean chicken wings at Flesh & Buns

The drinks menu was wide and varied with a list for wines, sake, cocktails, soft drinks, beers and spirits to match everyones’s taste. The cocktails did look divine, but we opted for prosecco to go with our dishes. All in all it was a great experience, the atmosphere was lively and the food was great. I’d recommended going with friends.

Where To Find

41 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LX     020 7632 9500     http://www.bonedaddies.com/flesh-and-buns

June 4, 2015

Summer Tales At Red Market [Review] @nighttalesLDN

My friend asked me to go out with her one evening for food and drinks and so me being me decided to look for somewhere out of the ordinary, instead of just another bar or restaurant. I do love going to these food markets now on the weekends, especially the night ones as I am not really a day person. To my joy I came across this charming little gem in the heart of Shoreditch on Old Street called Summer Tales.

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If you like eating and drinking under the stars and don’t mind potentially not sitting down and don’t mind a bit of a crowd well this is for you…these places are about the atmosphere and good cocktails and better food! As I walked in the theme of the place hit me in the face with big plants and a sandy area with deck chairs, it was of course tropical.

There was two upper decks too, with one that had a bar and fake grass with chairs and pillows that really matched the theme and on a day like luckily we had, was perfect for sitting upstairs with a cocktail in hand.

There are a small, but decent amount of food stalls, with quality restaurants such as Burger & Lobster, Bonnie Gull’s Seafood Shack, Forza Win and more. I have to say the pizza stall looked delicious and I will definitely be going back there.

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This time though I opted to head to Burger & Lobster as I’ve never eaten in the restaurant. I decided to have a lobster roll (£10) and wondered how good it would be cooked at the street stall. It was pretty amazing, the lobster tasted fresh and the broiche roll was lightly toasted and buttery. The sauce in the lobster roll was so light and refreshing with chopped spring onions on top, it’s safe to say I will be heading to Burger & Lobster after that.

We headed to the deck upstairs to relax, away from the DJ area sponsored by Red Bull, as it was starting to fill up with people who wanted to dance the night away (well till 12am when it shut). The bar upstairs had to be my favourite, named Lazy Flamingo Bar it served some very delicious but deadly Black Tai drinks, and after 3 well that was it for us! Make sure you head down to this outdoor festivalish outdoor party, it’s on every weekend till August.

Where To Find

288-299 Old St, London, EC1V 9DP        http://www.nighttales.co.uk/

When

Thur/Fri/Sat 5pm-middnight £4 before 9pm £5 after

May 15, 2015

Andys Taverna [Food Review]

Looking for somewhere to eat this weekend? Well I have the perfect suggestion for you especially if you are a meat lover. Greek food is so tasty but has simple ingredients; it’s all about cooking with passion and buying good meat, herbs and vegetables. Most of their meat is grilled, just seasoned slightly with spices with olive oil and lemon juice and a few other things, but it tastes so good and is very healthy.

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If you go to Camden there are three Greek restaurants within half a mile radius of each other, and they have been there a long time, which is always a good sign. I headed to Andy’s Taverna, when I entered they asked if I had a booking, I didn’t and it was already busy at 7pm, but they were able to accommodate. You could smell the grilled meats from outside! The restaurant has been open around 60 years and is known for it’s traditional values. They even get their seabass from Greece every two days.

As we settled into our seats and ordered house white wine that was good wine for house, we set our eyes on the menu. As we weren’t super hungry we decided to share a starter and a main. Choosing grilled aubergines (£4.50) to start, which I have to admit are my favourite vegetables and I love the simplicity they are cooked which just a little bit of olive oil and oregano. They were so buttery and soft and tasted fantastic, as well as being good for you! Can’t go wrong. I was going to choose the spanakopita, which is my favourite Greek dish that is is a spinach and cheese pastry.

For the main we opted to go for the Bifteki, which is a ground minced meat pattie at under £10. The portion was very generous and I’m glad I was sharing it as I hate wasting food and I wouldn’t have been able to eat this on my own! It came with a large Greek salad on the side and we ordered fresh bread to eat with it too. The meat was sumptuous and moist and was bursting with delicious flavours such as a bit of garlic, oregano, thyme, mint, onion and olive oil.

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The six good-sized patties were served topped with grilled halloumi and a grilled slie of tomato. It was literally like heaven on a plate! The Greek salad was fresh, crunchy and delicious but for me was missing onions. Everything else was perfect.

It’s no wonder Andy ,which has many celebrity diners as well, has been here for 60 years. The service is friendly, the atmosphere is relaxed and the food is to die for. I almost forgot to mention as well they gave us complementary after dinner drinks and sweet pastries at the end of our meal which is always a plus. It’s very hard to find authentic Greek food in London but I truly recommend this and will definitely be back soon.

Where to find

81-81A Bayham Street, London NW1 0AG     020 7485 9718      www.andystaverna.com/

April 19, 2015

Big Easy (@BigEasyLondon) [Food Review]

This was my second trip to Big Easy a BBQ and Crab Shack restaurant. The first time I went was about two years ago and was the one on Kings Road in Chelsea, plus I was pretty hungover so didn’t get a chance to enjoy the food properly!

This time was different as we booked a table for 8.30pm on a Thursday evening, so after a hard days work were starving by that time! We got to the second branch of Big Easy to open in London’s Covent Garden, housed in an old power station, and it definitely felt like it too with it’s industrial feel. It was dimly lit as we made our way to our table downstairs past a small stage with live musicians playing country music, giving it an American feel.

The bar we stood at first to order drinks from was quite small, and was hard to find a place to grab the waiter’s attention as people were propped up against it waiting for their tables. When I managed to get his attention he politely told us that they we could tell them our tastes in cocktails and they could make something up. It was so dark in there, I could barely read the menu and had to find a more lit area. I chose a simple drink though off the menu, an Appleton rum and pineapple juice which was rather strong!

Every weekday they do a different daily special such as ‘The Big Pig Gig’ which is all you can eat baby back ribs and chicken with beans, slaw and a beer for £17 but Thursday’s choice was 12oz rump steak and half a lobster with fries, a salad and a choice of cocktail for £22 or the ‘Lobster Fest’ a whole lobster, fries, salad and cocktail for £20. I chose the steak and lobster combination and my friend went for the ‘Lobster Fest’ and we shared a popcorn shrimp to start.


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The friendly waiter handed us our obligatory ‘Big Easy bibs’  and as the popcorn shrimp arrived not long after we dug in. The coating was crisp and tasty and was not like the plain breadcrumbed shrimp I had eaten before, it was seasoned with what tasted like paprika, chilli and some other wonderful stuff and came with a homemade tartar sauce and chilli/tomato sauce. It was just enough as a sharer starter to calm our hunger and not overdo it for the main. The Mai Thai slushie cocktails we ordered that came with our food were lovely too.

The steak which I eat well done was nicely done on the outside and still pinky in the middle which was for me was cooked to perfection. It was also juicy, thick and delicious and I managed to devour it all. The half lobster to my disappointment was not as big as I hoped and didn’t have too much meat, but the garlic butter was so good and I drizzled the tasty liquid over my steak too. The meat of the lobster was sweet and tasted fresh though.

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My friends lobster was not cut in half, or even opened a bit, so was quite difficult to manage and this was pretty unhelpful and I had managed to eat my steak before she even managed to get her lobster out the shell.

All in all it’s worth a trip and for what you get the price is reasonable. The atmosphere is very lively, although the place is dimly lit, and if you need glasses well I’d suggest taking them to read the menu.

Where To Find:

12 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E 7NA   020 3728 4888    www.bigeasycoventgarden.co.uk

February 23, 2015

East St (@EastStreetEats) [Food Review]

If you’re shopping in Central London particularly around Oxford St/Bond St make sure you pop in to cure those weary feet and get your eat on, or before your about to head into Soho for drinks with friends. East St is perfect for a quick and tasty dinner! The menu will also suit most people as it’s quite varied.

This little gem of fresh pan asian cooking is just situated off Oxford St, closer to Tottenham Court Road end, and brings a mixture of street food from Thailand, VietnamMalaysia and Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan and Korea. It brought me back to the time of eating at the Hawker markets in Singapore or the street food stalls when I went to Bangkok, and I wondered as I sat down how authentic it was going to be.  Street food in these countries for me is completely different to eating in restaurants and I hoped they would capture the beauty of it. 

After a shopping trip with my brother (well half way through) and me knowing it was going to be a very long day ahead we decided to go here, and saw they also had an express lunch menu with 4 main dishes to choose from for £6.95 each and the option to go for a few more for £1 extra and to add a starter for £2.50 extra. Pretty good value for money if you ask me, although there wasn’t much choose.

He went for the express lunch choosing Gomoku Yakisoba – Ramen noodles wok-fried with prawns, chicken breast, peppers, julienne carrot and bean sprouts, garnished with toasted nori and pickled ginger and added Gyoza’s for us to share. Gyoza’s or dumpling are (in this case) Griddled dumplings of minced pork, bamboo shoot & spring onion, with a soy dip. These were tasty and light and didn’t taste like they were brought in an oriental supermarket like most restaurants. The noodles from Japan were a huge portion and tasted fresh and there was the right amount of meat, vegetables and noodles.

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I opted for the Nasi Goreng rice with prawns which is an Indonesian dish of spicy wok-fried rice with lime leaves, chilli, and onion flakes. This was very delicious and even when I was getting full I didn’t want to put the fork down. It’s quite a simple dish to make at home as well, you just have to get the elements right. Simple is sometimes the best for me especially when the ingredients used are good ones.

I recommend this place as a quick pan asian pit stop when your in the area especially if you like stir fry’s, curries, rice dishes and more full of flavour.

Where To Find

3-5 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1HJ      02073230860    http://www.eaststreetrestaurant.com/

 

February 18, 2015

Boom Burger (@BOOMburgerLDN) [Food Review]

Situated in West London on Portobello Road, Boom Burger is the new burger joint that has got everyone talking, from locals to further afield. After working the day in Kensal Rise, I walked down Ladbroke Grove and found my way to the the place, after being told by two different people to go for the normal burger and the other person the jerk chicken burger.

Let me first tell you a little bit about Boom Burger it’s described as a ‘Gourmet Burgers and cocktails with a Jamaican twist in a colourful space with a Caribbean vibe’. The founder is Josh de Lisser a young chef born in Jamaica who got his cooking influences from his family in Montego Bay.

Meeting a friend we went inside and I was quite surprised at how small the menu was, this I wasn’t expecting. To be frankly honest I loved it, I hate going to a restaurant and seeing a page full of desirable food and not being able to choose what I want because I want it all! The only downside looking around me was how small the place was and places to sit were sparse, luckily for us we came pretty early for dinner and it wasn’t busy. We ended up having a huge table to ourselves which could have seated 6 people 8 at a really tight squeeze.

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The food itself was delectable, I went for the Boom Burger, their signature beef burger covered in cheese and bacon jam which was a winner for me. My friend went for the Jerk Boom (chicken) which had fried plantain, rocket and mango & paw paw sauce. The jerk chicken was shredded and came in a brioche bun and was so packed it was almost impossible to eat. The Boom Burger was simple but incredibly tasty and unlike any beef burger I ever had. I was considering the Fish Boom though which consists of pan fried red snapper.

We ordered plantain fries and and normal fries as our sides which were huge portions and we couldn’t manage to finish our meals. The jerk wings and saltfish chilli fritters are definitely what I’m going to be ordering next time to mix it up a bit! There is also a choice of a Pork Boom, Veggie Boom and a Brunch Boom along with Jerk Salad and Fish Salad to keep most people happy who want to come and sample some tasty Jamaican influenced food.

The drinks menu is another thing that won me round at Boom Burger where rum cocktails take precedent and the ‘rum n thing’ cocktail for me straight away. You can also go for favourite like rum punch, pina colada or so sorrel.

This place is great to meet for a relaxed lunch or dinner if you need to get in and out of quickly and is very informal and fun. It’s delicious and inexpensive. What more could you want?

Where To Find

272 Portobello Road, London W10 5TY    020 8960 3533     www.boomburger.co.uk

January 22, 2015

Drunken Monkey (@DRUNKENMONKEYE1) [Food Review]

Going to meet work colleagues for dinner at Drunken Monkey, a place I had strolled past many many times before on Shoreditch High Street and hadn’t even noticed, I was a bit dubious about it being a good Chinese as they are hard to come by. I walked in and was impressed with the layout, sort of pub meets restaurant making it laid back, and the ambient lighting with cool, funky music playing in the background. I sat down and waited quite a long time before the waitress came over to take our drinks order for the two of us whilst we waited for the rest.

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When the other 6/7 people arrived we turned to the menu starving and decided to order portions of Singapore noodles some with prawns and some with chicken and drunken monkey noodles which come with pork and chicken and are thicker, less spicy noodles along with chilli salt fried squid, honey smoked crispy chicken, spring rolls and egg fried rice keeping it simple.

The chilli salt fried squid is a firm favourite of mine whenever I go to a Chinese restaurant and Drunken Monkey did not let me down, the seasoning was just right not too hot, not overly battered and not over salted and the squid was soft not chewy. Both noodle dishes were delicious too, unlike some noodles I’ve had which are bland, these were full of flavour and had enough vegetables and meat in them and the portions were huge.

The honey smoked crispy chicken was also a generous portion and at only £4.90 was so nice people kept grabbing for the bowls not wanting it to disappear before they had more. I normally don’t like mixing sweet and sour dishes but I have to say this was quickly becoming a firm favourite for me too especially teamed with fried rice.

Most of us drunk Rumba Brava’s all liking the idea of rum mixed with passion fruit (well I think it might have been just me) which were strong but deliciously sweet at the same time and went well with the food. Afterwards I was given a long island ice tea for my birthday which had passed and that too went down a treat.

The only bad thing I have to say about Drunken Monkey was the service was slow, but the food and drinks came pretty quickly once ordered so it kind of made up for it. I’d love to come back and try there dim sum menu too maybe for lunch as we had the main courses mostly and sample more of there menu, but I left thoroughly impressed. Get down there on the weekend in the evening also and you might catch a well known DJ as they have ones from around the world playing. Good food, music, cocktails what else could you want?

Where To Find

222 Shoreditch High Street, London E1    020 739 9606    http://www.thedrunkenmonkey.london/