Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

Tom Sellers opened Restaurant Story in April. Not only is he one of the youngest (only 26) chefs to open his own restaurant but he also benefits from having worked with some of the best chefs in the business starting his careeer at Tom Aikens Restaurant and from their moving on to work in Thomas Keller’s kitchen at Per Se and with Rene Redzepi at Noma. There has been a lot of hype about Tom opening Story and rightfully so given his track record so far. This is a huge accomplishment and one for which he definitely deserves recognition. I take my hat off to him already.

The idea behind the food is that it tells a story. In return you take a book to leave on their bookshelf. A nice idea and a fair exchange. The waiting list has been a long one. I booked back in March and finally last Thursday my waiting was over. My friend and I advanced upon Tooley Street just by London Bridge in pursuit of fine food.

The restaurant is a stand alone building which is conveniently placed at the junction where two roads split off. Wooden panels on the outside with big windows from floor to ceiling advancing on both sides. Inconspicuous with no apparent name on the outside.

It was still quite quiet when we got there. No music. A feeling of ‘the quiet before the storm’ hung in the air. The kitchen is part of the restaurant which is slightly boxed off by a half brick half glass wall so that you can watch the chefs at work. The look of deep concentration was on most of their faces.

We sat and quickly had a candle lit and drinks order taken. The wine list is extensive but rather expensive for my small budget with only one or two bottles in the £25 region! Tom has chosen good quality wines to accompany his menu.

The menu is a set six (£45) or ten course (£65). We opted for the six course. A candle was lit and we had about six appetisers set in front of us which were complimentary.

 

Restaurant Story Menu Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Restaurant Story Six Course Menu Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Restaurant Story Beef Dripping Candle Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Our favourite was the one that looked like a mini oreo that was like a soft little biscuit made out of squid ink.

 

Restaurant Story Oreo Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Beautiful nasturtium flower with oyster emulsion and crumb!

 

Restaurant Story Nasturtium Flower Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Rabbit Croquettes.

 

Fish Cake Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Radish Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Crispy cod skin with little droplets of cod roe and carrot leaves.

 

Fish Skin Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Very cleverly the candle that had been lit at the table was actually part of our first course. Bread and dripping. Warm bread arrived at our table in a leather pouch with a lovely little vegetable condiment which was the perfect accompaniment to tie each individual element together.

 

Bread and dripping Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Burnt Roscoff onions in an apple, gin and thyme jus. Delicate. The sweetness of the apple balanced the slightly burnt taste of the onions. Nice but it wasn’t our favourite.

 

Onion Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Beetroot, raspberry and horseradish. This was a combination that I would never normally think to put together but I felt that it really worked and I really enjoyed it. The textures and flavours of the beetroot and raspberries worked well and the horseradish salt gave another completely different dimension to the dish.

 

Restaurant Story Beetroot Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Raw scallops. Balls of cucumber and zucchini flowers.

 

Scallops Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Pigeon. Summer truffle and thyme. Really nice flavours though the pigeon was slightly too tough for my liking.

 

Broccoli Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Lemon sorbet. Milk crumb and wafer. Beautiful and really refreshing.

Icecream Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

The fun part. Three bears porridge. One too sweet. One too savoury. One just right. You obviously have to guess which one is which. A great way to add a bit of fun into the meal.

 

The Three Bears Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Restaurant Story Three Bears Porridge Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

Three Bears Porridge Restaurant Story, Tooley Street

 

As with any carefully crafted tasting menu you go to enjoy different combinations that you would never normally put together yourself. Interesting and fun. Tom has started a good thing here and I hope he carries on refining and trying new combinations for us all to try.

 

Baby Marrow, Malindi, Kenya

We spent a couple of days on the coast at the lovely, very chilled, Driftwood Beach Club in Malindi. Beautiful scenery, fishing boats, coral reef, stunning flowers and small geckos and lizards everywhere!

 

Fishmerman Baby Marrow, Malindi, Kenya

 

Boat Baby Marrow, Malindi, Kenya

 

Malindi Baby Marrow, Malindi, Kenya

 

Flowers Baby Marrow, Malindi, Kenya

 

Lizard Baby Marrow, Malindi, Kenya

 

Malindi is a beautiful seaside town which has a very large Italian population; I have the feeling that it has been one of their favourite holiday destinations for generations as it even has an Italian Supermarket and many Italian restaurants.

Baby Marrow was recommended to us by a few friends and we were lucky enough that it was open despite it being off-season which meant that lots of local businesses, hotels, restaurants and cafes were closed.

A beautiful slightly quirky restaurant that is really open and spacious with eclectic artwork dotted around included two huge women figurines and a lovely wooded arched roof quite typical of a lot of the restaurants in the area.

 

Baby Marrow Ceiling Baby Marrow, Malindi, Kenya

 

Baby Marrow Restaurant Baby Marrow, Malindi, Kenya

 

They have a lovely hand built stone pizza oven which is in one corner of the restaurant so you can watch the chef working away whilst enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the place.

 

Baby Marrow Table Setting Baby Marrow, Malindi, Kenya

 

We wanted something fresh from the sea and I really wanted to try a local dish so we opted to share a pizza with lovely freshly caught tuna and a prawn curry made with Kenyan spices and herbs. Bruschetta came complimentary which was absolutely delicious with lovely fresh tomatoes and some really good herby and slightly fruity Bufalefi D.O.P extra virgin olive oil from Val Tellaro.

 

Baby Marrow Bruschetta Baby Marrow, Malindi, Kenya

 

I am not going to say too much about the food apart from the fact that it was all very well seasoned and cooked. The pizza had a lovely thin crisp base and the curry had a beautiful aroma which made you want to eat very slowly and take tiny forkfuls so that you could savour each mouthful.

 

Baby Marrow Pizza Baby Marrow, Malindi, Kenya

 

Baby Marrow Prawn Curry Baby Marrow, Malindi, Kenya

 

It seems like the type of place that would be really busy with people when holiday season hits. It benefits from a bar at the front of the restaurant which has some really good chilled music playing and serves up cocktails and beers if you aren’t staying for dinner. We left with a spring in our step until we got caught in a downpour on the way home!

 

Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

So, I had a slightly warped view of what I expected Kenya to be like. Having never been to Africa before I thought there would be a lot of mud huts and people wearing very little!

The majority of Nairobi is basically the complete opposite of this. It is really built up; there are shopping centres, tarmac roads (even if they are full of pot-holes and stones) and chain restaurants!

We headed to the Westgate Shopping Centre after a heavy night out at Carnivore (a restaurant that turns into an open air club with 2,500 capacity!) the previous evening.  We were feeling very hungover and sorry for ourselves.

The boys wanted a burger to get rid of their hangover blues so we found ourselves at Urban Burger. Urban it most certainly is. Uniform tables topped with pots of ketchup, mayo and mustard.

 

Urban Burger Kenya Menu 3 Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Urban Burger Table Places Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

 

Urban Burger Counter Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Urban Burger Sauces Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Lemons Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

A small bench table is inside the restaurant but the majority of the seating is outside. The staff were friendly, efficient and each donned an Urban Burger black t-shirt.

 

Urban Burger Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Urban Burger staff Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Jack and Rich rose to the challenge of feasting on the ‘Big Hulk’…double beef, double cheese! Jess went for the ‘French Connection’, beef burger, homemade red onion marmalade, rocket leaves and blue cheese and I for the ‘Texas’, beef burger, crispy bacon, cheddar, fried egg, rocket leaves and bbq sauce.

 

Urban Burger Kenya Menu 2 Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Urban Burger Kenya Menu Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

The place was buzzy with couples and families and I food came in double quick time. The beef was served rare and was well ground though not quite your Hawksmoor quality, of course! For Kenya this is a good chain restaurant that offers, simple, cheap and cheerful food at a slightly higher than average price.

 

Urban Burger Table Setting Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Tucking into our nibbles of onion rings and bbq chicken wings.

 

Urban Burger Chicken Wings and onion rings Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Urban burger onion rings Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Urban Burger Chicken Wings Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

The Texas.

 

Urban Burger Bacon Burger Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

The ‘Hulk Burger’

 

Urban Burger Double Burger Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

What is the best way to eat a burger? Knife and fork or get stuck in with your hands?

 

Urban Burger Tucking In Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Only a fraction of food was left and we decided to go and rest our bellies and get another drink elsewhere. We headed to the slightly more fancy Sankara Hotel nearby where they have a rooftop bar and pool.

 

Sankara Hotel Pool Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Sankara Hotel Swimming Pool Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Sankara Hotel Cocktail Menu Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Cocktails, shisha and nibbles are on the menu so we settled for two of their gin based cocktails neither which we were particularly impressed with but luckily they went down okay before we decided to head home for an early night!

 

Sankara Hotel Champagne Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Sankara Peanuts Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Sankara Hotel Cocktails Urban Burger, Westgate Shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

 

Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

It’s been a while. You have probably been wondering why there are no recent blog posts. Well, I have had a cheeky holiday to Kenya. I say holiday. I spent three days on the coast, did some charity work, climbed Mount Kenya as well as a few other bits and pieces inbetween which I thought I would now share with you. Well some of the food bits anyway.

Tamambo was one of the first places that I visited. This is a restaurant in Karen which is one of the nicest parts of Nairobi to visit. We stopped off here having firstly been for a big breakfast at a local American style diner. I was very thankful that I could still get my chai latte hit! Though it wasn’t quite the same as one you might get back in England.

Chai Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

Bacon and Cheese Croissant.

 

Croissant Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

Everything omelette!

 

Omelette Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

My fluffy pancakes.

 

Pancake Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

Pancake with maple syrup Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

This was then followed by some elephant spotting at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage.

 

Elephants Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

It was 11 o’clock and their feeding time. It was absolutely amazing to watch them feeding and playing around with a football. Such gentle giants.

 

Elephant being fed Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

The Giraffe Center is a 10 minute drive away so we headed their to see what mischief we could get up to. The purpose of the Center is a sanctuary for endangered wildlife. There was a new arrival of a rhino but we didn’t get to see it up close. The giraffes that we met were Rothschilds. You can tell them apart from other giraffes as their pattern stops when it gets to their knees.

It was also their feeding time, we were lucky enough to be able to do this ourselves….perhaps not in quite the way you might expect?!

 

Feeding the giraffes Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

Oooops.

 

Giraffe eating Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

This is how it should be done.

 

Jess feeding giraffe Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

Tamambo’s is really close by so this is a really nice little round trip to do if you are ever planning a trip to Kenya. Tamambo’s is on Karen Blixen’s estate and just down the road from the Karen Blixen Museum. It was such a lovely day that we decided to make the most of the sunshine and settled for a big table in the garden.

 

The three of us at Tamambo Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

Bread and butter came complimentary stylishly served in a cone with the butter in a little handmade wooden pot.

 

Tamambo Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

We weren’t too hungry so went for goats cheese samosas and kachos. Kenya’s version of nachos, made with arrowroot (a common Kenyan vegetable) and potato crisps.

 

Tamambo table setting Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

Samosa Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

The samosas aren’t actually on the normal menu but my friend who is a regular visitor knew that they do them. They were perfectly crisp on the outside and deliciously melted on the inside.

 

Samosa up close Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

The kachos were amazing. Not quite the same satisfying crunch that you get with nachos but fun and different all the same.

 

Kachos 2 Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

Kachos Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

Kachos 3 Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

My main discovery of the meal for me was a Dawa. This is a common alcoholic Kenyan drink made of vodka, honey, sugar and lime. This was the first time I had one and became completely addicted throughout my holiday, they are incredible.

 

Dawa Tamambo Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, Kenya

 

The Abbeville, Clapham

Sometimes I miss the country and feel like I want to escape the hustle and bustle of London life. I have a secret hide-away where I go when I want to get this peaceful country feeling without actually leaving London. Last week I discovered the Abbeville Pub which also has a great country feel and therefore has been added to this little list of mine. The Abbeville is a short 5 minute walk away from Clapham Common, situated on the quiet Abbeville Road which seems like a small village high street with various coffee shops and restaurants.

 

Abbeville Kitchen The Abbeville, Clapham

 

My friend and I rocked up on a Thursday night and were greeted with wood lit fires and a buzzy atmosphere. You enter through the bar which is pretty small and was full of people. The bar staff were really friendly and I quickly went to through to the restaurant to see whether we might be able to grab a table. The restaurant is divided into three parts which gives it a really cosy feel. There are open fires, old artwork and wooden furniture giving it that traditional country feel. Luckily we managed to get the only free table in the restaurant so we quickly sat down to see what was on offer.

 

Dining couple The Abbeville, Clapham

 

Front restaurant The Abbeville, Clapham

 

Kitchen The Abbeville, Clapham

 

Fireplace The Abbeville, Clapham

 

The menu was typically English and was accompanied by a handwritten ‘specials’ blackboard. We decided to skip on starters but tried their homemade focaccia and olives instead. The focaccia was lovely and fresh with a nice selection of small olives to pick over.

 

Menu3 The Abbeville, Clapham

 

Daily specials The Abbeville, Clapham

 

Olives and focaccia The Abbeville, Clapham

 

I chose the roasted cod fillet, garden peas, chorizo, wilted baby gem & orange beurre blanc for £13.50. My friend went for the slow roast lamb saddle, barley risotto, Jerusalem artichoke puree, butternut squash and madeira sauce for £14.50. We didn’t have to wait long for the food and both came nicely presented.

 

Cod The Abbeville, Clapham

 

My friends lamb was lovely and pink and he was really complimentary of it. My cod was nicely cooked and wasn’t too rubbery, the chorizo was a nice accompaniment but I felt that the wilted baby gem were slightly too bitter and didn’t work well with the other flavours on the plate.

 

Lamb The Abbeville, Clapham

 

We both had a little room for dessert and they had both of my favourites on the menu, sticky toffee pudding and banoffee pie….I really need to start branching out! We ordered both so that we could share, yes I may have had to do a bit of arm twisting to get both but I don’t think there were any regrets on either of our parts. The banoffee pie had a good biscuit base that hadn’t gone soggy and had a great crunch, there was just the right of caramel so it wasn’t too sickly sweet, though it could have been a little better set. Good chunks of banana and amazingly thick cream on top with a nice dusting of cocoa to bring all the flavours together.

 

Bannoffee Pie The Abbeville, Clapham

 

The sticky toffee I asked for it to come with extra sauce so they sent it floating! I wasn’t complaining. We asked for pistachio icecream instead of vanilla however we both felt this was a little disappointing in texture and flavour, it was not one of the best we’ve ever had. The sponge was lovely though as was the sauce if maybe a touch too sweet. My other guilty pleasure is dessert wine which they offered for £8 with a dessert. Obviously I wasn’t going to say no. Pure indulgence. It was deliciously sweet as promised.

 

Sticky toffee pudding1 The Abbeville, Clapham

 

Overall, we both had a great evening with attentive happy staff and the ‘resident’ dog…one of their regulars we were told. The bill came to approximately £90. They hadn’t put the dessert deal on the bill but charged us separately. I kept quiet on this occasion as we had had such an enjoyable evening.

 

Resident Dog The Abbeville, Clapham

 

We then headed to Be At One which is a cocktail bar by Clapham Common and had 241 cocktails….hmmmm, everything got a little hazy after that!

 

Haché, Fulham Road

Haché is what you might now consider a small chain, with their most recent restaurant opening up in Clapham and another in Camden and Shoreditch. Suzie and Berry Casey opened their first restuarant in 2004 and since then it has gone from strength to strength.

We decided to head to Haché after having had a couple of drinks at the Anglesea Arms which has a great outside area if it’s sunny. On this occasion it decided to start raining when we were half way through our first drink so we swiftly finished up and headed in the direction of warmth and shelter.

Modern surroundings and friendly young staff. Haché is a laid back, easy going place, the type of place that you might go to catch up with a good friend in a slightly more formal setting than a pub or if there is a big group of you then it can be really good fun.

 

Wine Haché, Fulham Road

 

Lucy Haché, Fulham Road

 

Haché specialises in burgers but don’t just expect beef burgers as they do everything from thai fish burgers to lamb burgers to falafel, so that there is something for everyone.

 

Menu1 Haché, Fulham Road

 

Menu2 Haché, Fulham Road

 

We started with some nachos and chicken wings. The nachos were very good and the chicken wings I would put on a par with Meat Liquor or MEATmission in terms of how they were seasoned, spicy with a nice twang.

 

Chicken Wings Haché, Fulham Road

 

Nachos Haché, Fulham Road

 

For main we all went for something different, I decided to try the chef’s special pulled pork burger served with coleslaw and a side of sweet potato fries to share.

 

Chefs special Haché, Fulham Road

 

My friends went for the ‘Chicken Spanish’ topped with roasted red pepper and goats cheese, ‘Steak Catalan’ grilled chorizo sausage, fresh chilli and tomato jam and ‘Steak Mexican’ cajun spices, salsa, guacamole, jalapeno peppers and sour cream but without the bun which Haché substitute for a salad which is great if you are gluten intolerant as one of my friends is. They made sure to ask how the beef should be cooked for the burgers rather than just serving as a standard which is good as everyone has a preference, right?

 

Chicken and stilton Haché, Fulham Road

 

Burger no bun Haché, Fulham Road

 

The pulled pork was delicious, slightly sweet and really tender with one piece of really crispy pancetta which had the best crunch. A homemade onion ring which was really good and wasn’t soggy as they can sometimes be. I managed to polish everything off despite this being a very large dish and it still left me wanting more as it was so delicious.

 

Pulled pork burger Haché, Fulham Road

 

Pulled Pork Burger2 Haché, Fulham Road

 

My friend confessed that the chorizo burger is her absolute favourite and she has it every time she goes to Haché. Everyone else really enjoyed their food as well though as was evidenced by four rather empty plates!

 

Chorizo burger Haché, Fulham Road

 

We had a lovely relaxing evening and left with very full bellies though not so full that we couldn’t manage a drink at the newly refurbished Goat (previously The Goat in Boots) next door!

 

minilogo Haché, Fulham Road

mini Haché, Fulham Road

Scoop, South Kensington

I wouldn’t normally review ice cream places but think this one definitely deserves a little mention. My friend and I discovered Scoop in Covent Garden back in 2011 when we first moved to London. We loved the place and the gelato was so bloody good that the memory has stayed in our minds ever since. This was Scoops first shop and they have quite recently opened two more. One in Soho and the other in South Ken which is the one I paid a visit to recently.

 

Scoop Scoop, South Kensington

 

Scoop predominantly specialises in gelato however, they also make waffles, crepes and tiramisu is their latest addition which they offer in four different flavours.

Vanilla

Vanilla gelato Scoop, South Kensington

Pistachio

pistachio gelato Scoop, South Kensington

Hazelnut (my favourite)

Hazlenut icecream Scoop, South Kensington

Lemon Sorbet

lemon sorbet Scoop, South Kensington

 

Their shops are small, clean and modern with their brightly coloured orange branding featured throughout.

 Scoop Bar Scoop, South Kensington

 

Coconut Cones Scoop, South Kensington

 

They take the time and effort to display information stating where they source each of their individual ingredients from. So if you are the type of person that likes to know that your pistachios are ‘superior’ and come from Bronte in Italy or the matcha powder is organic and sourced from Kyoto in Japan then this place is definitely for you!

 

Ice cream ingredients Scoop, South Kensington

 

They serve up Italian illy coffee and other teas so if you fancy a sit-down and a sweet treat then Scoop is perfect.

 

Coffee Scoop, South Kensington

 

illy Scoop, South Kensington

 

On this occasion we decided to have one waffle and one crepe both with gelato! Mine was the milk chocolate and hazelnut gelato crepe which was absolutely amazing. The waffle was made to order and was nice and crisp on the outside but not too doughy on the inside.

 

Hazelnut and chocolate ice cream Scoop, South Kensington

 

My sister chose the mango sorbet and dark chocolate. I think my combo worked slightly better but each to their own.

 

Crepes and icec cream Scoop, South Kensington

 

Making crepes Scoop, South Kensington

 

The other amazing thing is that they do tubs to takeaway, so if you are planning a dinner party or want a spare tub in the freezer for a indulgent dessert then this is well worth investing in.

 

Gelato takeaway boxes Scoop, South Kensington

 

Mother Mash, Soho

For those of you that work in the City you will most likely have heard about or may now even be a regular visitor to Mother Mash which recently opened up their new shop on Leadenhall Street.

I can only guess that this relatively new opening has happened due to the success of their other restaurant which is just off Carnaby Street in Soho. I found myself their the other night after deciding that I (tummy tina) didn’t have the patience to wait in either the queue for Polpo or the newly opened Flat Iron steak restaurant which was pretty rammed. So Mother Mash it was.

This is a really small restaurant with only about 4/5 booths which seat four persons max, they run along the wall on the right hand side and on the left at the back is a long counter with bar stools so that you can dine for one if you fancy. It’s typical diner style. Cleanliness nor prettiness is not what this place is about. There is a large counter area on the left hand side when you walk in, I didn’t see this being used apart from the waitresses to discreetly hide their dinner and take the occasional nibble! There is an area to sit and wait as well so I imagine that this is used in the day for people to order and wait to take-away.

As you might guess from the name Mother Mash they serve up sausages, pie and…mash.

 

Mother Mash Menu Mother Mash, Soho

 

There are three steps to the menu.

  1. Choose your mash – classic, cheesy, horseradish etc. They only use Maris Piper tatties which, as we all know are great for mashing as they are nice and fluffy!
  2. Sausage/Pie – choose your flavour sausage or pie filling. The sausages are all organic and the menu says that the pies are local. Local? In Soho? Not really sure how local this can mean?
  3. Choose your gravy – traditional, onion, veggie etc

The concept is simple and good. There should be more of them…The Big Bang in Oxford used to be like this but has gone a bit more upmarket since its re-opening…they obviously had their reasons.

I went for the classic mash, lamb and mint sausages (you get two), farmer’s gravy and a side of peas. My friends went for the Cumberland sausages, wild boar sausages and the chef’s special pie which was steak and ale.

 

Sausage and mash Mother Mash, Soho

 

The lamb and mint sausages were delicious, they were really well seasoned. The mash was really smooth and buttery and the gravy had a nice rich flavour.

 

Steak Pie Mother Mash, Soho

 

We were all pretty hungry so each opted for a dessert as well (it had been a long day okay!) me the sticky toffee pud, choc pud, gingerbread pud and apple pie.

 

Mother Mash Puds Mother Mash, Soho

 

These took ages to come but I would have said they were worth the wait. My sticky toffee pudding had vanilla notes with little bits of chopped up dates which were really and moist, the sponge was light and the sauce was actually sticky, just as it should be.

 

Sticky toffee pudding Mother Mash, Soho

 

Everyone else really enjoyed their puddings as well, overall we were pretty happy.

 

Apple Pie Mother Mash, Soho

 

This place is no frills, good food. The type of place that you would go if you want a good cheap eat in the Soho area.

Rating 4.5/10

minilogo Mother Mash, Soho

Honky Tonk, Chelsea

Honky Tonk opened up on Hollywood Road in Chelsea last September.  The man behind the place is Mark Cutler, also responsible for bringing the quirky Dutch concept of  ‘dining on a bed’ to Notting Hill back in late 2009. Honky Tonk is a completely different theme again. This time Mark has drawn upon New York as his inspiration for this bar and restaurant.

Honky Tonk is not like any other place in Chelsea, it’s got the type of vibe that you get when you walk into a trendy place in Soho or Shoreditch. Busy, up-beat, loud music, brick walls, low lighting, that type of thing. It’s discreet from the outside with a completely black frontage and only one window so not much natural light is let in.

 

Honky Tonk Honky Tonk, Chelsea

 

There is a big long bar to the left as you walk in with space to stand and drink if you aren’t staying for a meal. The restaurant is past this and opens up at the back of the room. It’s relatively small and has about 12-14 tables.

 

Bar Honky Tonk, Chelsea

 

Single light bulbs hang low on extended cables, the tables and chairs are reclaimed and mismatched and old vinyls decorate the walls. This place seems to be one of the Made in Chelsea local hang outs having seen various members on both occasions that I have visited.

 

Seating Honky Tonk, Chelsea

 

The menu is pretty large with seven starters ranging from Potato Skins £5.95 to Smashing Nachos with mince £12.95. Nine mains from the veggie option of Mac n Cheese £9.95 to Rib Eye Steak £21.95. There are various sides and then desserts if you still feel like you can fit any in…on both occasions this has been a negative!

 

Menu Honky Tonk, Chelsea

 

The drinks menu is of a good size with various wines and a cocktail menu which is whisky and gin themed so great news if you are a fan, but not so good if you are not. I had two different cocktails which were beautifully presented but sadly neither quite hit the spot!

 

Cocktail Making Honky Tonk, Chelsea

 

Served on vinyls!

yum Honky Tonk, Chelsea

 

Cocktail Honky Tonk, Chelsea

 

We ordered the Smashing Nachos with mince to share as a starter. These were not your typical nachos and you really do have to smash them. They are about the size of a saucer and you get three on the plate with the filling sandwiched in-between. They were really good but I am not sure whether the mince was really necessary. It could have been a bit richer in flavour, it was lacking some saucy goodness.

The last time I came to Honky Tonk I had the beef ribs which I thought were pretty incredible. This time I went for the starter sized rib. One rib on a plate with some coleslaw. The sauce didn’t disappoint, they are pretty smothered and have a lovely smokey bbq flavour. The rib was really good, though, ever so slightly less tender than the time before. More of a pull off the bone than a fall off the bone on this occasion!

The full size rib meal

Beef Ribs Honky Tonk, Chelsea

 

I tried the chicken wings which were definitely American style as the sauce was pretty sweet. That is about as far as they went though, definitely not as good as the ones at Patty & Bun.

 

Chicken Pieces Honky Tonk, Chelsea

 

I am told the Honky Tonk burger was very good though unfortunately I didn’t get to grab a sneaky bite.

 

Honky Tonk Burger Honky Tonk, Chelsea

 

Bill came to just over £90 with a bottle of wine. Cocktails were paid for separately. Just over £30 each which is a pretty average price for Chelsea. The food was good but you can definitely get better elsewhere.

It’s definitely in a good location being opposite Brinkley’s and the Hollywood Arms which is a great place to go for a drink, as is the Kings Arms, the Goat and the Anglesea Arms which are all within a short walking distance. The ‘secret’ bar Barts is close by if you are looking to go somewhere after your meal for more drinks and music or for an 80’s themed night you have Maggies around the corner on the Fulham Road.

Rating: 5.5/10

 

minilogo Honky Tonk, Chelsea

mini Honky Tonk, Chelsea

Little Bear’s Malteser Crunch

Rose aka The Londoner hosted a blogger charity cake sale yesterday in aid of Shelter and Save The Children. Being a new blogger I decided to take-part, so I made some cakes and headed to Bumpkin in South Ken.

Now, I do generally eat quite healthily but after I put up this recipe I really don’t think you are going to believe me. This recipe is great if you want to make something quick and fun for a summer party/cake sale/kids party…or if you have a sweet tooth and love maltesers, then this recipe is definitely for you.

 

Finito Malteaser Crunch Little Bears Malteser Crunch

 

Little Bear’s Malteser Crunch

You will need:

400g milk chocolate

200g unsalted butter

4tbsp golden syrup

300g rich tea biscuits (Digestives are good as well, but rich tea are a bit dryer and hold the mixture together)

200g maltesers, save 24 to go on top

300g white chocolate

 

This will make 24 small squares

Takes 15 minutes to make and then approx one hour to set

 

Ingredients Little Bears Malteser Crunch

 

Start by crunching up your biscuits. This is easiest done in a food mixer. I didn’t have one of these to hand on this occasion so I used the end of a rolling pin! Then put your butter, milk chocolate and golden syrup in a bain marie and gently melt together. This can also be done in the microwave. Put on a medium heat and stir every 30-45 seconds until completely melted.

 

Melted Chocolate Little Bears Malteser Crunch

 

Pour your crumbed biscuit and maltesers into the chocolate mixture and fold in.

 

Biscuit Crumb Little Bears Malteser Crunch

 

Add in the malteaser Little Bears Malteser Crunch

 

Then get a 30cm x 20cm baking dish and cover with baking parchment. Then pour the mixture in and press down firmly. Don’t been afraid to get your hands messy and use them here. The more compact that you can get the mixture in the baking tray the better. This then goes in the fridge to set.

 

In it goes Little Bears Malteser Crunch

 

Once the mixture has set melt your white chocolate either in a bain marie or in the microwave. A small scoop of butter can be added if melting in a bain marie as this helps the white chocolate become a finer liquid and stops it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

 

Melt the white chocolate Little Bears Malteser Crunch

 

Leave your malteser crunch in the baking dish and pour your white chocolate on top. Use a knife or spoon to spread over evenly and make sure you go right to the corners. Then leave this at room temperature for the chocolate to start to set. I find it easiest to cut these just before the chocolate has gone completely hard. Once the chocolate has set it can crack when you cut into it. If you find this is the case then boil some water and use this to heat a big sharpe knife which will help you melt and cut through the chocolate.

Cut into 24 pieces and put a malteser on each square. If the chocolate is too hard and the maltesers won’t stick on top then boil a cup of water and put a teaspoon in to heat up. Using the back of the teaspoon melt the chocolate in the middle of each square so that it is sticky enough for the maltesers to stick to.

Enjoy.

 

Ps. If you have a friend that loves maltesers then why not make something a bit different and make malteser crunch in a cake tin?

Hide and seek Easter Brownies

This recipe ticks all the boxes if you love brownies, mini eggs AND cream eggs! Yikes.

 

Gooey Easter Brownie Hide and seek Easter Brownies

 

This is one big gooey chocolately indulgence, so roll your sleeves up and get baking as you will not be disappointed. Please be warned this recipe is not for dieters!

 

Hide and seek brownie Hide and seek Easter Brownies

 

Hide and seek brownies yum Hide and seek Easter Brownies

 

You will need:

200g Cadbury’s mini eggs

100g Cadbury’s mini creme eggs

185g unsalted butter

185g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

85g plain flour

40g cocoa powder

275g golden caster sugar

3 large eggs

 

Serves approximately 10 very hungry mouths

Takes 15 minutes to prepare and approx 25 minutes cooking time

 

Hide and seek brownie ingredients Hide and seek Easter Brownies

 

The butter and eggs are best taken out of the fridge at least an hour before baking, so take them out now if you are thinking about having a go at making these.

Cut the butter into small cubes and break up your chocolate. Put in a bain marie on a low heat and melt together or alternatively cover with cling film and put into the microwave for 2 minutes on high. Leave the mixture to cool.

Turn your oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Get a 20cm square tin and line with baking parchment.

Break your eggs into a medium mixing bowl or mixer if you have one. Add your sugar and mix for approximately 3-8 minutes until the mixture is thick and creamy.

 

Sugar and eggs Hide and seek Easter Brownies

 

You can test to see if this is done by pulling your whisk out of the mixture, if it leaves a trail on top without disappearing back into the mixture straight away then it is done. Make sure your chocolate has cooled down and pour this into the egg mixture.

Egg mix1 Hide and seek Easter Brownies

Adding the chocolate Hide and seek Easter Brownies

 

Now fold the chocolate in. Do not mix as you want to keep all the air bubbles that you just created when whisking.

 

Chocolate mixture Hide and seek Easter Brownies

Chocolate mixture1 Hide and seek Easter Brownies

Now add in 100g of mini eggs and your mini creme eggs…it does not matter if any are broken, throw them in as well. Gently fold these in as well.

 

Mini creme eggs and mini eggs Hide and seek Easter Brownies

 

Sieve in your flour and cocoa powder. Fold this into the mixture. As soon as you think that it is completely folded in, stop. Pour the mixture into your baking tin. Smooth over the top with a large palette knife making sure that it is even. Place the remaining mini eggs (if you have managed not to gobble them all up) on top of the brownie mixture in whatever pattern you like.

Place your easter egg brownie mixture into the middle of the oven and cook for about 20 minutes. To test whether they are cooked or not take the tin out and shake slightly, if the middle of the mixture is still wobbly then cook for an extra 5 minutes and check again. Take out of the oven and leave to cool. These are delicious served warm with icecream or have for afternoon tea.

 

Out of the oven Hide and seek Easter Brownies

 

Hide and seek brownies Hide and seek Easter Brownies

 

In it goes Hide and seek Easter Brownies

Easter simnel cake…with a ‘chocolatey’ twist!

I made this Easter Simnel cake last year and it was so good that I thought that I would make it again so that I could share it with you. Shhh…keep it between us though as you will definitely get the trumps card with your friends for outdoing them on the Easter front!

 

Easter chocolate simnel cake Easter simnel cake...with a chocolatey twist!

 

This recipe is one of Hugh’s recipes except their are a couple of things that I have changed about it.

You will need:-

For the marzipan:

250g ground almonds

100g flaked almonds

250g icing sugar

50g cocoa powder

1 large egg

Juice of half an orange

 

For the cake mixture:

250g plain flour

1/2tsp salt

2 level tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground mixed spice

200g soft unsalted butter

Finely grated zest of 2 oranges and juice of one orange

3 large eggs

200g currants

200g raisins

200g sultanas

125g chopped mixed peel

1 tbsp smooth jam, marmalade or fruit jelly

Icing sugar to serve

 

Serves approx 10 people

Time to make approx 20 minutes, 2 – 2 1/2 hours to cook in normal oven, approx 4 hours in Aga

 

Simnel cake ingredients Easter simnel cake...with a chocolatey twist!

 

Start by making the marzipan. Put the ground almonds in a bowl and sift in the icing sugar and cocoa. Lightly beat the egg and pour into the mixture and start bringing the ingredients together.

 

Dry ingredients Easter simnel cake...with a chocolatey twist!

 

Start pouring in the orange juice but only do a little at a time. You don’t want to pour in too much as otherwise it will become too sticky to handle (voice of experience here!) When you have a smooth lump of marzipan roll it into a bowl and wrap it in cling film and put into the fridge.

 

Adding the fresh orange juice Easter simnel cake...with a chocolatey twist!

 

Heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Grease and line a deep 20cm diameter cake tin.

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and mixed spice into a mixing bowl. Put the butter, sugar and orange zest into another bowl and beat for a couple of minutes until soft and fluffy.

 

Butter sugar orange zest Easter simnel cake...with a chocolatey twist!

 

Beat in the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour to stop it from curdling.

 

Ingredients2 Easter simnel cake...with a chocolatey twist!

 

Adding the eggs Easter simnel cake...with a chocolatey twist!

 

Fold in half the remaining flour and half the orange juice then the rest of the flour and then rest of the orange juice. Now fold in the dried fruit and mixed peel.

 

Orange dried fruit Easter simnel cake...with a chocolatey twist!

 

Adding the fruit Easter simnel cake...with a chocolatey twist!

 

Put half the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and level out. Take your marzipan out of the fridge and take just slightly under half. Roll this out into a circle so that it is roughly the same size as your cake tin, use your tin as a guide. Place this on top of the cake mixture. Pour the remaining cake mixture on top of the marzipan and level out with a knife or spoon.

Bake for two to two and a half hours, until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when poked in. If cooking in a Aga then it’s nicest if you place in the simmering oven on a grid shelf on the lowest set of runners and cook for approximately four hours. Leave the cake to cool completely before removing from the tin.

 

Easter cake Easter simnel cake...with a chocolatey twist!

 

The remainder of your marzipan is needed for the 11 balls (representing the 12 disciples minus Judas) and another circle of marzipan to cover the top of the cake. Put your flaked almonds onto a baking tray and lightly toast in the oven. Be careful here as you don’t want to burn them. They take approx 2 minutes. Cool slightly and then chop with a knife. Roll out your 11 balls and cover in the flaked almonds. Then roll out the remaining marzipan into a circle. Use a knife to put your marmalade or jam in a smooth layer on top of the cake, now put your marzipan on. This helps it to stick and stay in one place. Dust with icing sugar using a sieve. Now put on your almond marzipan balls. Magic.

 

Easter Simnel Slice Easter simnel cake...with a chocolatey twist!

MEATmarket – Man v Food

MEATmarket is the second venture of Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins. They opened MEATmarket pretty soon after all the buzz that was created when Meat Liquor opened in Mayfair in November 2011. My friend and I headed down on Friday night to see whether it is living up to Meat Liquor standards.

Outside MEATmarket MEATmarket   Man v Food

 

MEATmarket is a stones throw away from the lovely Covent Garden. It is based above the Jubilee Market which you can walk through to get to MEATmissions inconspicuous entrance or alternatively through a set of double doors off Tavistock Street.  There is a sign outside displaying the types of food on offer but there is no apparent restaurant because it is based upstairs. I can imagine that they don’t get many tourists walking in off the street. This is the type of place that people go to when they know what they are looking for.

 

Outside MEATmarket 2 MEATmarket   Man v Food

 

We traipsed up the original building stairs and entered through a door to the right at the top. Both of us were pretty cold and wet so it was a relief to see that they had big red heaters at either end of the seating areas. This is not the type of place that is designed to look ‘pretty’, more get the job done. The kitchen area and till is to the right hand side when you walk in and takes up that side of the restaurant until you get as far as the toilets.

 

Loos MEATmarket   Man v Food

 

There is a long thin walkway and big wooden tables with bar stalls on the left hand side. You can see out over the Jubilee Market as there is only a waist high wall and the rest is industrial thick see-through plastic that hangs from ceiling to floor. Not as cold as one might think, but still cold enough which meant we didn’t take our coats off for the entire duration!

 

Order Here MEATmarket   Man v Food

 

Neither of us were really in the mood for a burger or a hot dog so we both settled for chicken wings with blue cheese dip and fries. Plain fries for Lucy and I decided to see what the chilli cheese ones were like. We queued for the till, gave our order and names, paid our bill and then found a table. The place wasn’t jam packed, it was about 19:30 so we quickly grabbed stools next to one of the heaters. Good job.

 

Menu2 MEATmarket   Man v Food

 

It was about 5 minutes before our names were called over some very crackly sound system. It sounded like some old school speaker that was once used in supermarkets. The type where the music stops and there is some crackly voice over which you could never make out.

 

Waiting for our grub MEATmarket   Man v Food

 

The food came in silver takeaway trays, the ones that you normally get your Chinese or Indian in! These were on a red tray that you then carried back to the table. The portion sizes were out of control. I felt like I was on Man v Food. I momentarily sat there expecting someone to shout at me that I could start my challenge!

 

Chicken and Chips MEATmarket   Man v Food

 

I have had the chicken wings with blue cheese dip at Meat Liquor and remember the sauce being so hot that it actually made my eyes sting when they were first placed in front of me. Now, I am not someone who likes really hot food but, despite my eyes watering I actually managed to gobble them all up, they were so bloody good. The chicken wings at MEATmarket were definitely not in the same league. I liked this hotness and it was lacking here. They were still pretty good however, nice and moist I just felt that the flavour could have been a bit more.

 

Chicken MEATmarket   Man v Food

 

The fries were colossal. They were completely and utterly covered with cheese, mince, jalapenos and onion. Some peoples dream but I decided this was a bad choice on my part. I like my fries crisp and fluffy. I should have gone for plain fries as the topping made mine wet and soggy. I swiped a couple of Lucy’s but found that they were pretty plain and not that crispy. Overall a slight disappointment.

 

Chips MEATmarket   Man v Food

 

As this place is mainly about the hot dogs and burgers it’s a little bit unfair to judge it based on neither of these items. However, there is still something to be said for all the trimmings! MEATmarket have clearly tried to iron out some of the problems that occurred at Meat Liquor, huge queues, long waits, a couple of extra items on the menu, no fuss with waitresses, it’s literally get them in and get them out, so no hanging around people! This is NOT the place to go if you are planning to have a leisurely meal and a few drinks.

 

Star rating 3/10

minilogo MEATmarket   Man v Food

small MEATmarket   Man v Food

Little Social

Jason Atherton’s latest restaurant Little Social opened it’s doors on Monday so fellow food blogger Ed aka rocketandsquash and I went down to check it out.

 

Outside Little Social Little Social

 

Understated from the outside with no big sign to indicate that you have arrived, which saw me frantically searching around making sure that I had got the right place. Thankfully there is a menu box on the wall that helped to calm my rising panic. Once you have entered the front door you proceed through a curtain to find a long, rather thin, well polished room with low lighting and lots of waitresses in smart unifrom. There is a dark wooded bar on the left hand wall with bar stools so you can be seated. There are two small tables by the window at the front of the restaurant with the rest of the seating split on either side running all the way to the back. Deep red leather booths on one side and tables of two and four on the other. A  secluded curtained table area is situated right at the back for perhaps those more private individuals that don’t want to be noticed?

 

Table Setting Little Social

 

There was a choice of prix fixe or a la carte menu. It was a lunchtime, I wasn’t feeling extravagant and the pennies are already starting to pinch, so prix fixe it was. £21 for 2 courses and £25 for three. Service is not included and is 12.5% Our tactic was to go for starter and main so we still had the option to have all three courses if we fancied something sweet after.

 

Prix Fixe Menu Little Social

 

Starter: ‘Grilled Marinated Salmon, sugar snaps, cucumber, watercress, sorrel. What actually came was grilled marinated salmon, radish, coriander and baby gem that was lightly dressed. I say that with conviction like I registered this difference at the time of eating, when in fact I did not. Not that I would have done anything about it anyway as it was delicious. They may have had a fight on their hands had they tried to take it away! However, whatever the reason for the customisation i’m not complaining. The salmon was lightly grilled and was still raw in the centre so that it melted in your mouth. The marinade was a gentle sweetness that tasted a bit like a light teriyaki. The French sometimes make marinades out of vinegar and sugar and therefore this might have been a sherry vinegar that was used? The texture and sweetness of the salmon was a really nice contrast against the crunchiness and freshness of the radish. The coriander was a nice strong flavour that worked well with the crisp baby gem leaves.

 

Grilled Salmon Little Social

 

Ed had the slow cooked tuna nicoise tartine.

 

Tuna Nicoise Little Social

 

For main it was a massive toss-up between the chorizo sausages and braised lamb shank. Ed sat in the same boat for this so he politely let me choose as we agreed that we shouldn’t have the same. I finally opted for the roasted chorizo sausages, mash, greens and onion gravy. Ed had the braised lamb shank, smoked bacon and haricot bean ragout.

 

Chorizo Sausages Little Social

 

The chorizo sausages had a lovely smokey flavour to them and were lightly cooked. The gravy was slightly sweet and the mash was deliciously creamy both complimenting each other. Greediness got the better of me and I tasted some of Ed’s lamb dish. Well, he did offer. Admittedly it was only after I had offered him some of mine and therefore he probably felt inclined to offer the same! Sorry Ed, I am forever in your debt! The lamb was beautifully cooked, moist and really tender, the roasted onion puree was sweet and had a light fluffy texture which worked really well with the lamb jus. No regrets on my part for having a cheeky taste test!

 

Lamb Little Social

 

It was agreed that we both had a small bit of room left for something sweet and therefore both opted for the poached Yorkshire rhubarb Eton mess, rhubarb sorbet. The other dessert included chocolate and unfortunately I am off chocolate for lent. The rhubarb was nicely poached with a gentle bite left to it, the meringue was nicely light and crunchy. The sorbet was really refreshing and zesty with a slight hint of mint. Needless to say I savoured each mouthful and scraped the bowl clean.

 

Rhubarb Eton Mess Little Social

 

Everything was cooked to perfection as one would expect from a Jason Atherton restaurant. The food was very nice but nothing mind blowing. Little Social is intimate, friendly and ‘just so’, if I was to summarise in three words. Given an extra three and I would say sleek, refined and french…because it is rather, french!

Star rating 7/10

minilogo Little Social

small Little Social

Bone Daddies

Ramen: ‘Food of the gods. Consists of squiggly noodle brick and a packet of condensed powder’.

Moses: Whatcha eating?

God: Ramen.

UrbanDictionary.

‘Food of the gods.’ I would concur. Whole hearty goodness. However, ‘squiggly noodle brick and a packet of condensed powder’ is often what most people think of when the word ‘ramen’ is mentioned. An education is required. This is the exact conversation (well not quite word for word) that I had with a very nice member of the ‘Bone Daddies’ team.

Bone Daddies is a trendy new ramen bar that opened up in November on Peter Street, Soho. Ross Shonhan is the main inspiration for this place and after having worked at both Nobu and Zuma he wanted to put his signature to something of his own and thus Bone Daddies was born. Thank goodness it was as this place is pretty rock n roll, they actually play rock n roll music which gives a great upbeat feel. The seating is pretty laid out and the place is nice and airy. There is a long seating area the whole way down the length of the window as well as the rest of the way around the restaurant. There are a number of big tables with bar stool seating so you could find yourself sat next to a random tourist, or even worse, a mad food enthusiast! The stools aren’t screwed to the floor like some places though so you can subtly edge away if you have been sat next to someone who starts giving you odd looks and breathing down your neck.

The menu is pretty simplistic. Ramen. I joke. There is slightly more than that. Starters/sides or ‘snacks’ as they call it to which there is a selection of eight. Cold and hot dishes ranging from ‘leaves’ (!) £5 to ‘soft shell crab’ £8. I was in a hurry, there was no time for trying any of these extra delights so we went straight in for the kill. Tantanmen for me (sesame, chilli, pork mince and bok choy in a chicken bone broth) £11 and two huge bowls of Tonkotsu Ramen(spring onion and chashu pork in a 20 hour pork bone broth, also £11) for Marmie Bear and our favourite family friend.

Now I have mentioned this already but the bowls of ramen are huge. You really do get quite a feast. Thumbs up. Not only this however, but as some of you may know it can be quite hard to present broth in a appeasing way. A watery consistency and not the most appealing colour always presents a problem. Bone Daddies do not mention the fact that they serve two halves of a poached egg with their ramen but that’s how it came. Two beautiful egg halves with a rich orangey centre that eggs only have when they are fresh and most likely organic. They were perfectly cooked as the centres were still delightfully soft. They sat like beacons on the side of our bowl and made me want to dive in for a swim. A glistening added extra. So this is how to brighten up your little bowl of broth the next time that you make it. Marmie Bear I really do hope that you took note!

I was warned about the fact that my ramen was spicy but didn’t find it too hot at all. It was really nutty, rich and creamy with a great depth of flavour. There was a velvety smoothness in texture and the noodles held just enough of their own to require a quick chomp before you could happily satisfy your belly ready for the next mouthful. The chilli cut through the richness of the dish giving a nice gentle heat. Unfortunately I cannot comment on the Tokotsu, for once I was so self consumed with my own dish that I completely failed to grab a bite of everyone else’s! This place is living proof that not all noodles come out of a packet and take two minutes to boil in water. Amen.

Having had a good feed I left BDaddies with a smile on my face. The music, the comforting food and the friendly staff mean that this baby hits the nail on the head!

Star rating 6/10

Unfortunately my memory card decided to not let me transfer my photos to the computer, so alas I cannot put a photo of our empty bowls for you to see. I will have this sorted soon I promise.

 

minilogo Bone Daddies

small Bone Daddies

Clockjack Oven

There is a certain amount of hype going on at the moment about chicken! …Whether it be steamed, spit roasted or deep fried, it seems that a number of small places are trying out a whole range of different techniques.

Yesterday I decided to make a lunchtime trip to Clockjack Oven on Denman Street in Soho. As you may have guessed Clockjack have gone for a traditional method of cooking chicken on a…clock jack!

 

Clockjack Rotisserie Clockjack Oven

 

Clockjack opened up in December so it’s had a couple of months to find it’s feet and looks like it might have already made a few changes. We arrived at just gone 2pm (late lunch) and the place was relatively quiet, only three other tables were occupied. Relief, as I was starving (as normal!).

 

Dining Clockjack Oven

 

The place is simple, clean and neutral. Open brick wall on one side with a long bar area with seating on the other. There are two clock jacks behind the bar so you can see the chickens being cooked on open flame, quite a nice touch. This is definitely not what you might consider most chicken places to be like. I am not sure about you, but if someone was talking to me about roasted/fried chicken I would conjure up a picture of some fast food place such as KFC or some greasy high street food chain. Bright colours, neon lights, grease. Therefore, Clockjack is a refreshing change for my mental health!

 

Clockjack Oven Clockjack Oven

 

The waitress came straight over to us and sat us at a table for two running down one side of the restaurant. Fresh tap water was then brought over to us which was a nice touch as we hadn’t even ordered any. Vegetable fries were put on the table as well. My favourite is the beetroot. In my opinion you should be able to buy packets of just beetroot in the supermarket. These are on the menu at £2.45 but appeared to be complimentary.

 

Veggie Crisps Clockjack Oven

 

Like the interior the menu is simple. The chicken is organic and is from Brittany. I guess there must be some particular reason as to why they choose to source them from here, it does not say why on the menu despite giving a small blurb. Are organic English chickens an inferior bird? They also have fields to roam in, are fed on high quality cereals, are slow growing and can get pretty big, oui?

I went for 3 pieces of chicken whilst my friend went for the ‘Clockjack Torpedo’, crispy chicken bites in a soft buttermilk bun with lettuce, drenched in your choice of sauce. Fries to share. Of course. We didn’t have to wait long for the food. The presentation of the Torpedo was good though the sauce looked pretty artificial in colour. My chicken didn’t look the most appetising, but then I can fully appreciate that trying to arrange 3 pieces of chicken nicely on a plate might be somewhat of a task!

 

Clockjack Torpedo Clockjack Oven

 

3 Pieces Rotisserie Roasted Chicken Clockjack Oven

 

My friend loved his mini chicken bites, it didn’t seem to touch the sides, I managed to swipe one piece before it alldisappeared and thought  that the batter had a pretty good crunch to it and the chicken was still nice and moist inside. My chicken was nice. But nice is the word that I would use. I wasn’t bowled over by it but then again they are not the type of place that are trying to be all singing all dancing. They are keeping things simple and playing it safe. Therefore my simple summary. The skin was crispy but could have been crispier. The chicken was moist but could have been more juicy. The sauces were again nice though the bbq was really runny and didn’t really hold to the chips. The fries were crispy and fluffy on the inside.

 

Sauces Clockjack Oven

 

Clockjack is all about unfussy dining and it does just that.

Star rating 4/10

 

minilogo Clockjack Oven

small Clockjack Oven

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