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Showing posts with label London Eateries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label London Eateries. Show all posts

Saturday, February 6, 2016

London: The full Monty @ the Breakfast Club, Hoxton

On every trip I go to,  the morning before fly out always goes in a flash.  By the time I get on the plane, settle in and finally arrived at my home destination, more often than not I feel as though I have just ran a marathon.  Whether its that shitty budget airline Easyjet or the 1 hour train ride from the airport to my apartment, I always end up feeling pretty spent and dinner-less.  So on my last day in London it was time to build the reserves.  This time, I was at the Breakfast Club in Hoxton.

The venue serves the American/English for breakfast in an pub-styled cafe with familiar music in the background.  To start up the morning (which I woke up feeling super hungry), was a Peanut Butter Milkshake.
Good old Peanut Butter Milkshake £5.  Just the month before when Shake Shack in Convent Garden ran out of their special “peanut butter” for my shake, I left London feeling defeated. So when the Breakfast Club had it on their menu, I was sold.  The milkshake was spot on when it came to its consistency.  Unfortunately the sweet-salty balance was hanging a little on the sweet side.  I needed perhaps one more generous scoop of peanut butter. A satisfying drink nonetheless.

The full Monty w/ fried eggs  £11
Its all your usual suspects gathering on a plate this morning.  You have the toast, eggs, crisp bacon, meaty sausages, sauteed shrooms, pan fried potatoes, beans and of course, baked beans.  The full Monty was hard to go wrong with and yes, nothing went wrong.  The big breakfast was a great morning fuel for a long day but then again, it was also a very average breakfast that you could find anywhere in London but it was something you had to have in London.

The Breakfast Club in Hoxton had no queue when we were there at 9.45am and that is exactly what I look for where possible.  Fuss free diners to kickstart my mornings.  Pair that with good service  and a decent food experience to get the Breakfast Club Hoxton.  The food I had was not the healthiest for sure but it was rather comforting.  However, comforting while good can also be bad when you eat what I eat.  In this case, it was safe to say that the only thing I will not be doing after the meal was a medical check up.  

The Breakfast Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, January 30, 2016

London: Chicken Briyani @ Masala Zone, SOHO

Our cravings for Indian deepened as we finished our breakfast.  As day turned to the night, we finally succumbed to our cravings and decided once more to have an Indian meal.  After a good hour of painstaking search and trying to make bookings, we ended up at a food chain called Masala Zone in SOHO.  Despite coming at 8pm, there was still a queue to be seated which tells a lot about the love affair between the English people and Indian food.  Speaking to the ladies queuing ahead of us, they spoke of how the really enjoyed Masala Zone and found its price to be relatively cheap for London standards.  I was sold. The turnover is quick and it took no longer than 20 minutes to clear the crowd of 15 people in front of us.

Tonight, the whole table ordered Chicken Briyani with a Curry Vegetable to share.

The Chicken Briyani (£12.50)

The meticulously cooked grains of rice with perfectly spiced chicken curry was lovely to look at.  Served with two little “bowls” of sauces, I was ready to dig in.  Masala Zone’s approach to the traditional Briyani was different as the curry chicken was not mixed in consistently through the rice.  But flavour wise, the curry definitely had the right heat, spices and seasoning to match.  However, one thing I would definitely put forward is that the Chicken Briyani definitely did not fill me up!  It was small as lol.  Its rare that I say food serves are small and this is one of those instances.

The curry vegetable (£10) 

This dish was decent, but the sauce could be richer.  It felt as though the vegetables were bleeding its liquid into the sauce.  In essence, nothing special.

Over all, Masala Zone was a decent Indian experience.  Would I come back on a normal day?  Probably not without a huge craving for Indian food as I have access to amazing Indian food in the Hague, Australia and Malaysia.  The food served to us was not bad and definitely above average.  But the whole experience including Masala Zone’s rather petite serves of food made it rather undesirable.  When I think Indian I am more used to home generous servings where you eat till you drop.  Unfortunately this was not one of those instances.  Also note that my visit to Masala Zone stretches awhile back so the prices indicated might be a little off.

Masala Zone Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, January 7, 2016

London: An Indian Breakfast @ Dishoom, Shoreditch

Indian food.  Ember red appearance and melting pot of flavours where meat & spices fuse into a full bodied pleasure.  While lunch and dinner are the common meals one might have Indian food for, there are people in the UK who thought “Why not bring it to the breakfast table too?”.  This is the story of the highly successful Dishoom line of restaurants scattered over London city.

The entrance of its Shoreditch branch from the back brings you through a lush garden into a wooden accented indoor dining area.  The setting makes it feel as if you are taking a step back in time.  Dishoom’s menu is predominantly Indian classic as you might expect.  The only problem is that nothing on their menu seems familiar.  In saying that, nothing was to risky to try and this is some of the food we had.

A Chocolate Chai to start the day.

A creamy, and chocolaty delight with a punch of chai.  The whiff of cinnamon is unmistakable and the acidity of the drink paired with a mild spice keeps the usually rich chocolate drink  light for the morning.  If you like chai, you will like this!

My breakfast is the Kejriwal  £5.50.  

What is it?  A chilli cheese toast with fried eggs.  I was skeptical of the size when it hit the table.  Do not be fooled!  It was actually enough to be decently full but not overly filled.  The perfectly fried cheese on the sandwich with a mildly runny egg is so simple but so good.  I was expecting a chunky chilli topping but there was nothing I could see.  Just a mild burn from a spread underneath the cheese.  Very yummy!

My friends had a Bacon Naan Roll and a Sausage Naan Roll £5.50 each.

They are quite similar in appearance.  Taste wise, they were not too dissimilar. Each had fried eggs, chunky cut sausages or smoked bacon, and tangy chutney wrapped in naan bread.  I tried the sausage one and reckon that made a better breakfast because the sausages were still juicy.  This was because my colleague felt that the naan was a little dry and I agreed because it looked over toasted.  For this reason along, the sausage gets my pick! Pair  award winning sausages, mildly runny yolk and naan along with some delicious chutney.  How good does that sound?  Superb I would say!

Dishoom was an interesting brunch for me.  Who is to say that the brunch scene in London is boring?!  Well I guess I did and not I have to bite my tongue for it.  With the Riding House and Dishoom done, London actually has some decent brunch spots no kidding!  The prices and sizes are decent too.  Even more so when you put creativity on a plate into the equation.  Will I return to Dishoom?  Hell yeah.

Dishoom Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, January 2, 2016

London: Delicious Steak @ Hawksmoor, Spitalfields

Everyone tell’s a story about a good steak they had or at least they thought they had.  But what is a good steak.  Is it that thumb thick cut that you got from your butcher?  Or perhaps that $89.99 price per kg for a grade 5. Well, those are simply just the beginning.  From the ageing process, to the thickness of the pan and even the temperature of the steak prior to cooking, making the perfect steak is an art that can only be improved and never be mastered.

During my trip to London, I decided to take a little trip to Hawksmoor Spitalfields which was a short walk from the Liverpool Street Station. This establishment known for their steak caught my attention with its rave reviews.  So what do I eat?  All of their beefy offerings!  To start was a roasted bone marrow with caramelised onions.

A simple dish that is so easy to mess up.  At Hawksmoor the marrow was  creamy and the caramelised onions sweet.  The mixture spread like butter on the toasted sourdough.  While it was tasty, I felt like the marrow could do with more basic seasoning to avoid it tasting “raw”.

After that comes the highlight.  The steaks at Hawksmoor are not what one would call cheap and definitely is a place reserved for special occasions.  Starting from £8 per kg up to £14, Hawksmoor specialises in large cut steaks.  The best cuts of steak to cook!   This was the 1kg cut.

The steaks at Hawksmoor are specially selected from their butcher before they are aged to maturity.  One can tell that Hawksmoor does it well just by looking at the intensity of colour of the meat.   Pair that visual pleasure with the robust bovine kick really made it a sensational meat.  The high heat used also produced a consistent char on the surface giving it a nice “frying” that resonates beautiful smokiness.  Over all,  this was a seriously good steak.

For our sides we ordered some shrooms, triple cooked chips and mac & cheese.  Oozy unhealthy goodness!

While the mac & cheese really tasted good, I cannot help but feel that Rockpool makes a better one.  Then comes  the triple cooked chips, which Hawksmoor superbly well.  The crispness of the chips were unquestionable and dipping them in Heinz ketchup brought back childhood memories! 

Hawksmoor was a nice eat but was it the best steak?  Definitely not.  But like what Rockpool is to Australia, that is what Hawksmoor is to England.  When it comes to dollar value, service and ambience, I feel like the upmarket feel and service quality I receive at Rockpool trumped the one at Hawksmoor.  Putting both steaks side by side, thing then gets a little complicated.  While both had intense flavours, I felt that Hawksmoor charred their steaks better!  So which will I return for?  Hah, I am a glutton so I will return to both any day for a good bite!

Hawksmoor Spitalfields Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, December 28, 2015

London: Literally Burger and Lobster @ Burger & Lobster, Soho

Have you ever wandered into a restaurant only to be confused by a menu that goes on for ages?  So have I.  That is until I started blogging.  But one genius has came up with a restaurant that serves 3 dishes and only 3 dishes with no options for sides whatsoever.  It is so simple that they do not even have a menu.  This is the famous Burger & Lobster and its £20 menu.  If its name does not give it away, the restaurant literally serves burger and lobsters.   Coming in for lunch at 2pm on Saturday, I was thankful to have waited for a short 15 minutes before being seated.  I have heard other people who have waited for over 2 hours!   

Diners at Burger & Lobster have a choice between the beef burger, the poached/grilled lobster and the lobster roll.  Jacques and I decided to share a serve of poached lobster and the beef burger.

The kind chefs in the kitchen help split them in half for us so there was no need for any cutting whatsoever.

The burger half:
We asked the burger to come medium rare to get the best of the juicy patty.  The burger came brilliantly red in the middle so it was no surprise that the first bite was intensely juicy.  Simply seasoned with salt and pepper, it was delicious!  Jacques on the other hand thought it was a little too red.  I can see his concerns as certain parts looked really red haha.

The lobster half:

To get the best of the lobster, we opted for the poached one.  Having it poached means you get a flesh that amplifies the naturally sweet-briny flavours of the crustacean.   Not to mention, the flesh stays extremely juicy if poached for the right amount of time.  Then comes the best part, the meaty claw!  Biting into its meaty flesh was every bit satisfying!  Almost like biting into a giant drumstick!  Dip it in the accompanying parsley butter for an extra kick of flavour!  

Burger & Lobster served me an enjoyable meal that day.  If the queue is not too overbearing,  I would definitely come back for another meal.  Thinking back, if I came back feeling really hungry, I might even consider ordering one lobster and burger for myself!  They were both amazingly tasty dishes.  In saying that, I admit that the lobster alone would might really small.  In fact, the body of the lobster was rather small, but remember so was my £20 pound note!  Thankfully their perfectly fried fries and salad made help complete the meal.

Visit 2:

Burgers & Lobster was an enjoyable meal for me back when I was in London. However, there was a lingering feeling of incompleteness as I have not been able to try their Lobster Roll which is the final item on the menu.  Fortunately I revisited the London and brought a couple of friends to try out Burger & Lobster. 

Lobster Roll 

Filled to the brim with sweet lobster flesh and served between a brioche bun brings heaven a little closer to earth.  It was essentially eating a lobster without the fuss of peeling the shells.  But is it the exact same? Well this is a definite no.  Nothing quite beats the flesh of the plump juicy lobster flesh you get from a freshly prepared lobster.  The Lobster roll was a convenient thing but for the best flavour, I would definitely call the Lobster which I did too :)!

Burger & Lobster Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

London: Home-Style French Cooking @ La Poule au Pot, Belgravia

My colleague Jacques has a European heritage that traces back to the South of France.  Despite the typical stereotypes of the French being impatient, poor in service and fussy with food, he was nothing like that.  In fact, he was very un-French by being every bit hospitable while I was staying with him, and ever so patient when we were colleagues at work.  Which make me wonder about his taste for food and I was about to find out. One the last night, he recommended a little French place called La Poule au Pot for dinner.

This little restaurant could not be any less pretentious with its simple outfit and French waitstaff.  This gave me a good vibe about dinner that is going to be unsophisticated but honestly good.  At La Poule au Pot you have a choice between seating inside and outside, but as the sun was still up, I could not resist seating outside by the square and see the evening go by.

Complementary crudites with a mustard dipping sauce.

This is one of those moment where I would say “I do not normally enjoy my vegetable raw, but when I do they are bloody good”.  And I am not being an el-cheapo here just because it was free.  But the depth of interest grows when you put out an interesting platter.  Some peppers, carrots, fennel and some red turnips. Vibrant colours.


Basic but vital.  Not with the butter but with the stews that were about to come :)

Beef Bourguignon

Coq Au Vin

Put both dishes together and you might find the two dishes fairly similar.  It contained good amounts of red wine, tender protein, sweet root vegetables and was absolutely hearty.  But each dish had its own distinctive taste with the Beef Bourguignon having a heavier, much more meaty finish whilst the red wine flavour was a lot more pronounce and present in the Coq Au Vin.  All of the vegetables were soaked in delicious juices and the dish really benefited from the slow cooking which resulted in melt in your mouth chunks of beef.  The Coq Au Vin on the other hand is cooked for a much shorter time which means the alcohol does not all dissipate.  This produces a tender chicken with a wine-stained skin.  Oh boy they were delicious.

Some greenx for the table

Apple Tartin to finish.

Thick layer of caramelised apples was paired with a lovely short crust.  But the highlight for me was how the apple dessert was not sugar laden.  Instead you get the ripe flavours of the apples that was sweet with a mild tartness.  Sensational. 

My over all satisfaction with the meal was high.  The lack of presence by the Foie Gras or Truffles at La Poule au Potwas a great thing as I was treated to what good home-cooked French food should be.  My meal was authentic, simple and humble.  The bill too was decent as it totalled just under £60!  When it comes to service though, it was only modest at best due to the lack of friendliness from the waitstaff!

La Poule Au Pot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, October 18, 2015

London: Reminiscing NYC @ Shake Shack, Convent Garden.

One of the most random eats I did in London was at Shake Shack in Convent Garden.  It simply happened when I walked past by the market for the second time.  Seeing a Shake Shack and nothing eating there is almost like sinning!  So despite being  stuffed from the breakfast I had before, I decided to order the single Shack burger and a Salted Caramel Shake (they ran out of peanut butter !@#%).
First bite in and I was over the moon.  The yummy patty sandwiched between a shiny-sweet bun with a drizzling of secret "Shack Sauce"  was still as amazing as I remembered it to be.  Shake Shack's patty was simply scrumptious and this was a very basic combination that did wonders when it came to flavours.  Every bite was reminiscence of my trip to NYC last year.  It was sensational.  So much better than the gargantuan Shack Stack which I had last year. It is amazing how the folks at Shake Shack can mass produce something that tastes so good!  No meal at Shake Shack is complete without their Milk Shakes.  So if you are ever deciding between skipping the cola for an ice cream or vice versa, I tell you now to put both aside.  The milkshake at Shake Shack is the best of both worlds.  Thick, creamy and rich in caramel, it was slightly sweet but every bit yummy.  Good old fat ass moments I have to say.

For some reason, I was not so impressed when I first had Shake Shack at the Grand Central shop.  But a re-visit to its original location in Madison Square convinced me of Shake Shacks cult status.   Re-visiting Shake Shack in Convent Garden and I was convinced for the second time, that this is a truly delicious burger.  Definitely come here for a treat!

Shake Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 15, 2015

London: Amazing Chorizo Hash @ the Riding House Cafe, Oxford Circus

It was a Sunday morning and it was time for breakfast.  But with the Delaunay breaking my bank the other day, I decided to stay away from bloggers' suggestions and instead depended on my robot partner Siri.  First on her list was an Australian place called Granger & Co. in Notting Hill but it was an hour wait.  With not time to waste,  I asked again and Siri recommended the Breakfast Club in Oxford Circus.  Alas, it was another one hour wait! For the third and final attempt, Siri recommended the Riding House Cafe just a few minutes walk from the Breakfast Club.


At 9.20am, there was no queue which means my friend Jacques and I were seated immediately.  Its morning breakfast menu was charming with all the usual suspects but I could not go past the first item I saw on the menu, the Chorizo Hash Browns for £10.

Crisp on top and soft on the inside, the Hash Brown infused with Chorizo flavours was every bit amazing.  Each mouthful comes with a whiff smokey paprika hit.  In certain parts you have slices of  Chorizo which gave the dish a meaty bite.  To finish was some simply garnished spinach leaves, poached eggs and a large mushroom.  Definitely no complains from me.

After all meat we had yesterday Jacques have something light and went for the Bircher Muesli (£4.50).
While I could not make much out of it.  I knew he enjoyed it very much. But that was probably because he was scared of all the eating I made him do the day before haha.   Nonetheless, the lush berry topping and sticky muesli looked promising!  

The Riding House Cafe was a surprise candidate during my trip to London, and it served me a sensational brunch.  Not to mention a rather cheap one too!  Including tea, I think the bill came up to £20 for two of us which was rather cheap compared to my meal at the Delaunay the day before.  Jacques thought the same too! He commented that compared to the Delaunay, the Riding Horse Cafe was a place he would return to over and over again.  

P/S: When I was leaving at 10.45am, there was a small queue outside.  But it was nothing compared to the Breakfast Club and Granger & Co. I went to earlier!

The Riding House Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, October 5, 2015

London: Delicious Roast Duck and Pork @ Four Seasons Roast House, Bayswater

The Four Season Roast House is easily an iconic symbol of the East in London.  With its celebrity like popularity, the Four Season Roast House name has spread back to the east as far as Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.  In fact, there are a couple of branches in Malaysia, and Bangkok; perhaps even more!  Coming to London, I knew I had to taste for myself whether the Four Season Roast House is the real deal or plain hype.

At 2pm, I walked in and asked a table for two.  Believe it or not, there were no seats just yet.  Do not even bother asking for a wait duration too as the long list of names and unpredictable customer behaviour make it impossible to gauge.  But thankfully, it only took some 25 minutes before Jacques and I were seated. For lunch today, the Frenchman was going with my suggestion.  We each ordered roasted meat and rice along with a piping hot bowl of wanton soup.  A classic Cantonese lunch.

My choice of roast is none other than my staples, the crispy roast pork and juicy roast duck for £8.50.  It is decent pricing when you consider the fact that London is one of the world’s most expensive cities to live in.  
But money is only figure when it comes to food.  Its the taste that makes a fact.  As far as anticipation goes, the roast meat at Four Season Roast House ticked some very important boxes.   For starters the Roast Pork was well seasoned at the bottom whilst at the top, it was thin, shard-y and crisp!  First bite in and you get that sensational crunch.  The proportion of fat and lean meat is around 35-65 which is decent but can get a little too fatty towards the end!  Over all, it was tasty!

The Roast Duck on the other hand, was equally impressive.  On the outside you get that beautifully roasted skin while its flesh was still mildly juicy and very tasty.   While the meat themselves were delicious, I did not like the sauce which they put on the rice.  It was a little too sweet which masked the natural flavours of the roast meat.  Instead, I wanted something a little more savoury from the juice of the meat that can be served with the rice.  I would not mind if it was a little more herbed too.

The wanton soup for £3 was the perfect way to wash down this meal of roast meat which can leave your mouth feeling greasy.   This salty-slightly peppery soup filled with tasty morsels of prawn wrapped in wanton skins was rather basic but is still every bit quintessential of the Cantonese cuisine. Topped with finely slices scallions, it was delicious.

The Four Seasons Roast House served me some serious Roast Pork and Duck that day.  But was it worthy of all the long queue, newspaper publicity and hype that has been bestowed to it?  For me, definitely NO.  If you have eaten in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and even Australia, yes AUSTRALIA, you will not be fully impressed.  The quality displayed by the Four Season Roast house was almost flawless but its overly sweet sauce was a let down.  It needed more balance on the plate.  

See my other delicious Roast Duck/Pork posts which includes my 2 Perth favourites, a Malaysian Chinese Classic and my Michelin starred adventure in Hong Kong.  Also in the list below is what I believe is the best Soy Chicken I have ever eaten, a shop located in Melbourne.

Four Seasons Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, October 2, 2015

London: the Full English @ Delaunay, Convent Garden.

London is one of the world’s most international cities and it's food scene is sensationally vibrant.  But because EasyJet arrived some 3 hours after my intended arrival, I was too tired and decided to sleep my hunger out.  Never trust something that calls itself "easy".  Thankfully, it did not take long before the morning came and I was prepared to eat.  For this,  I brought my host/colleague Jacques to the Delaunay, an elegant top class establishment with suited up waitstaff in Convent Garden. 

What better way to start the morning with some tea and a Jam Doughnut (£3.75).  While it was really quite a basic Jam Doughnut, I still enjoyed every bit of it! I am a sucker for these things haha.  Fluffy, sugary deep-fried doughnut balls filled with a fruity jam.  Damn!

After finishing the doughnut, our breakfasts arrived.  Jacques and I decided to go for two very different breakfast which the Delaunay offers.  Mine was the full English while his was the Viennese breakfast.  The main difference?  His was a traditional Austrian breakfast platter of charcuterie with a bagel, egg and accompanying sauce of mustard whilst for me, it was the good old fry-up.

The Viennese breakfast (£11.50).

For the full English breakfast (£16.50), you have all the usual suspects.  Streaky bacon, juicy sausages, fried eggs, shrooms and a decadent black pudding.  The only odd element which I feel did not deserve to be on the plate were the baked beans.  Not because it was not a proper element of a full English, but simply because it looked so “out-of-the-can” which it probably was.
While everything was prepared well on the plate, it was the black pudding which I enjoyed most.  The black pudding was crisp on the outside but on the inside, it was mildly creamy with all the seasoning of herbs making it really tasty and unlike the ones in Australia which tend to be seasoned heavily, the one here was seasoned moderately which helped accentuate the meatiness of the pudding!

While the breakfast was really quite enjoyable, it was not a cheap affair!  It was perhaps we had our breakfast quite quickly and did not quite take the proper time to absorb the wonderful place the Delaunay was.  You will realise there were people there earlier than you still sipping their same pot of tea even though you have finished your breakfast.  My choice of breakfast that morning might seem odd to those who know me considering I have sworn to never eat things I could make at home.  This includes omelettes, bacons, sausages and the list goes on. But coming all the way to England means I had to try their iconic morning starter, the full English breakfast.  Thankfully it was delicious!

The Delaunay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato