Posts Tagged ‘salted caramel’

The Princess of Shoreditch (London)

I may or may not have mentioned this before but I’m not all that crazy about Sunday roasts. I know, I know. Practically treason in this country, no? But see, although I like them as much as the next person, I think I’ll always prefer Dim Sum Sundays simply because that was our tradition at home. Still, what better way to celebrate the birth of the new Royal Princess than by telling you all about the Sunday lunch at this little place called The Princess?

It’s part of the Noble Inns group, the sister restaurant of the Pig & Butcher, which I’ve waxed lyrical about time and again (see posts here and here), as well as Smokehouse and Bad Egg (both of which I WILL get round to posting about at some point), and it’s gotten quite a few awards to boot. Located in Shoreditch, just a few minutes’ walk from Old Street roundabout – once you’ve gotten your bearings right, that is. (Don’t laugh – I know I’m not the only one who gets confuzzled by roundabouts!)

Inside, it looks exactly like what I imagine a Princess of Shoreditch to look like – muted elegance combined with the rough-and-tumble style that is so very Shoreditch. H had booked in advance – always a good idea on Sundays, as it was packed by 1PM – so we got to climb the iron-wrought spiral staircase to the upstairs dining area, which I really liked because of the large windows and natural lighting. N, astute as ever, also pointed out that the upper storey is a little uneven, which you will notice as well if you pay closer attention.

The waiters were all very lovely and the service was relatively quick. Our food arrived pretty soon after we had placed our orders.

Pâté is such a classic starter when it comes to pub grub, and I always love me some liver.

Chicken liver parfait, picked grapes (£7)

Chicken liver parfait, picked grapes (£7)

I really enjoyed this! Texture-wise, it was smooth, creamy and rich but was still nicely whipped and airy. And I liked that this was paired with grapes instead of some sort of chutney because, although I normally object to uncooked fruit, the fattiness of the liver really needed this to cut through it and brighten it up a bit. The toast was a little soggy, which was disappointing, and we ran out of bread after we were only halfway through the mound of pate. But of course, me being me, I shamelessly asked for more bread teehee. Thankfully, our second serving of toast arrived freshly-toasted, which actually made the parfait even more enjoyable. I mean, just imagine the cool, creamy liver melting into the hot, crispy toast. YUM. Pâté party in my mouth!

For another great chicken liver parfait, try the one at Tramshed (see post here).

Moving on.

They serve all their roast dinners with duck-fat roasted potatoes, seasonal greens, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. H went for pork while N and I both got lamb.

 

Roasted Kilravock Farm pork rib-eye (£16.95)

Roasted Kilravock Farm pork rib-eye (£16.95)

IMG_0501

Roasted shoulder of Kentish lamb (£17.95)

Roasted shoulder of Kentish lamb (£17.95)

 

First things first, big thumbs-up for portion-size. A Sunday roast MUST smack of abundance as soon as it is set down in front of you. And now the taste.

Before I talk about the meat, I’ll just say that I found the trimmings quite disappointing. The roast potatoes were more hard than crunchy, their innards more mealy than fluffy, and overall, they weren’t too flavourful despite having been cooked in duck fat. The Yorkshire pudding was a little burnt and dry, so much so that I didn’t even finish it. And the greens were exceedingly normal.

But on to bigger, better things, like the meat! The pork was nice, not too fatty but still juicy. I found the lamb very good. Full of flavour. I love all the different textures you can get from different ways of cooking lamb. Roast lamb isn’t fall-off-the-bone tender like braised lamb is, but it isn’t at all dry, and it has a meatiness and sturdiness that I really appreciate about it.

I would say that overall, the lamb here is nicer than the Pig & Butcher and the Abingdon, but the accompaniments weren’t especially great, which is such a shame! In terms of the other roasts (chicken, beef and pork) though, I would still choose the P&B.

Anyways. You know the best thing about gastropubs?? Something like 80% of them do sticky toffee pudding. (Casually making up statistics as I write, as you do. Who needs Qualtrics when you can just IMAGINE?!?!) Which we ALL know, is the Queen Mother of all puddings for me. Say it with me, kids, ‘you can’t spell Steph without S-T-P!!!!!!’ 

So you might remember me saying previously that I’ve gotten much better at sharing food. Well. It is true, I certainly have. But I still can’t share sticky toffee pudding. And so we ordered 2, one for me to devour all by myself.

 

Sticky toffee pudding, bourbon toffee sauce, milk ice-cream (£6.25)

Sticky toffee pudding, bourbon toffee sauce, milk ice-cream (£6.25)

 

Now, this was by no means the best sticky toffee pudding. This pudding itself wasn’t as moist or dense as I normally like. You could definitely taste the bourbon in the toffee sauce, which I thought was quite nice, as it gave the STP a touch of booziness without being overkill, although I generally dislike alcohol in desserts, as my usual energy levels + sugar + alcohol = not a great combination (for my dining companions especially). Overall, not great, but an STP is an STP, and perhaps I am being a teensy bit biased here, but even a mediocre STP still trumps most other desserts in my books.

And therefore, another picture.

IMG_0507

 

I really wanted to try the other dessert on the menu, and so I ordered that as well. Hehe. Once a fatty always a fatty!

Chocolate financier, popcorn, salted caramel ice-cream (£6.50)

Chocolate financier, popcorn, salted caramel ice-cream (£6.50)

IMG_0504 IMG_0505

I love financiers but apart from a chocolate-raspberry financier that I love to make, I don’t think I’ve had many chocolate financiers. Anyways, these were missing the delicious browned butter aroma that I like about the ones I make and they were a lot lighter and had a looser crumb than I was expecting. The salted caramel ice-cream didn’t taste very much of salted caramel. I wouldn’t order it again personally.

In general, I don’t know if I will necessarily come back for the Sunday roasts or desserts but I would return for the chicken liver parfait and also to try the rest of the pub menu. If you want to read more about Sunday roasts, see these posts here and here! And if you’re looking for some other great places to eat around Shoreditch, see these posts!

 

 

THE PRINCESS OF SHOREDITCH

76 Paul Street
London
EC2A 4NE

Monday to Saturday: 12–11pm
Sunday: 12–10.30pm

Tramshed – Take 2! (London)

If you recall, sometime last year, I visited Tramshed so I could try it out on AB‘s behalf, and ended up loving it (see post here). And so, since AB was swinging into London for the week, we decided that we simply had to go there to fuel up before a night out in Shoreditch to celebrate AC‘s birthday!

I arrived at 630PM and the restaurant was relatively empty still. I was early – as I invariably tend to be – so I sat down first and yabbered on and on to the incredibly friendly staff… Then I decided to start my night without them! :D

 

1521695_568875846537848_2053195498_n

Espresso martini (£9.75)

 

Always a favorite of mine. This wasn’t nearly strong enough though, so I tried their Four Roses whiskey later on as well – pretty good.

After the girls arrived and we (I, really)  had squealed more than amply, they ordered their vino, and we put in our orders for food.

 

Yorkshire pudding with whipped chicken livers (£3.95)

Yorkshire pudding with whipped chicken livers (£3.95)

 

I didn’t get to try this the last time round but I knew I absolutely had to get it this time! It arrived at our table, golden-brown and puffed up proudly in all its glory. We admired it for all but 2 minutes before I unceremoniously lifted the whole thing onto my plate and watched it collapse and die under my knife and fork as I portioned it out for us. The Yorkshire pudding was great but then they almost always are rather fabulous. But those whipped chicken livers??

I have a soft spot for liver, and love everything from the decadent and creamy foie gras to its decidedly smellier and rather more dubious counterpart of pig’s liver, which we eat back home, boiled in pig’s organ soup and doused with chilli – YUM. Unfortunately, neither AB nor AC  like liver ordinarily, but they very gamely gave it a go, and actually found it palatable, so that made me very pleased. But let’s hear from someone who actually enjoys liver (i.e. me), shall we?

From liver-lover to liver-lover, these whipped chicken livers were incredible. Lightly whipped, it had a mousse-like consistency, but not in that disappointingly airy way that just deflates in your mouth – it melts in your mouth instead into something cool and creamy. It doesn’t have the jelly-like consistency of terrines and parfaits, which I find a bit icky, and whereas pâté can be a bit coarse and unrefined, this was smooth and perfect. I really, really liked it. I do suggest you try this, even if you are rather more lily-livered than liver-lover (TRY SAYING THAT 10 TIMES IN A ROW).

There wasn’t really any question about what we were going to get for mains. Or rather, I dogmatically insisted on it and the 2 of them were far too sweet and nice to say no… :’)

 

Swainson House Farm Roast Chicken with baked garlic sauce and chips (for 2-3 to share) (£25)

Swainson House Farm Roast Chicken with baked garlic sauce and chips (for 2-3 to share) (£25)

 

It is really good though. It’s definitely the most popular item on the menu – you should’ve seen the number of chickens that were being ferried out of the kitchen. The waiter will carve it for you at your request, and also supply you with a gravy boat and a myriad of other sauces, though I must insist that you request for some bearnaise (which they don’t give to you otherwise), which is my personal favorite. Moist, succulent and super tasty, I enjoyed it just as much as I had on my last visit.

 

Buttered Winter Greens (£3.95/£6.75)

Buttered Winter Greens (£3.95/£6.75)

 

AB wanted to order this because she needed some veg in her life. Now, in a perfect world, I would ideally be able to tell you what vegetable this was. However, as we live in an imperfect world, I will simply hazard a guess that, if the slight bitterness in taste and squeakiness of the leaves are anything to go by, that these were brussels sprouts, and you shall have to take my word for it.

And then it was desert. We had to get this. We simply had to.

 

Salted caramel fondue with marshmallows and doughnuts (£12.50)

Salted caramel fondue with marshmallows and doughnuts (£12.50)

 

I’d panicked a bit earlier on when N told me that they were doing a milk chocolate fondue instead of the salted caramel one when she returned the other day. So I was really pleasantly surprised when I saw that the salted caramel fondue was back on the menu last night! The waitress told me that they switch it up occasionally but I was like, AHHHHHHH PLEASE NEVER CHANGEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! I will eat ANYTHING draped in that hot luscious amber liquid. ANYTHING, I tell you.

But why would I eat just any old thing when I can eat those heavenly marshmallows?!?! They were just as delicious as I remembered, and I simply had to beg the really sweet waiter for more. Luckily enough he obliged, setting down a plate of flabulously fat, fluffy marshies, while simultaneously extracting a promise from us that we would evacuate soon so that he could give our table to someone else (the restaurant was filled to the brim at this point). Now, on most other occasions I would have been really annoyed at being asked to leave, but since we were done with dinner anyway, and were planning on moving on to a bar shortly after, I didn’t mind in the least. It was actually a rather small price to pay for free marshmallows, in my book.

I really do like this place and highly recommend it but I doubt I’ll be returning any time soon myself because I would most likely only ever order the same things when I come here.

After we had paid, we moved on to Barrio East, where we had our drinks set on fire, and as almost invariably always happens, we ended up at McDs, when I experienced déjà vu in the form of nuggets and fries, essentially a much cheaper version of our dinner. Really good night with some wonderful, wonderful people I love very much. :’)

 

32 Rivington Street
London
EC2A 3LX
Monday & Tuesday: 1130AM to 11PM
Wednesday-Saturday: 1130AM to 1230AM
Sunday: 1130AM to 10PM

Tramshed (London)

This place has been popping up all over the blogosphere so I’d had it noted down in my ever-expanding list of places to visit from quite a while back. But because A recently brought it to my attention again, I had to prioritise it and move it up in the rankings, promising her that I would try it on her behalf. And so, this post is dedicated to my lovely A, who I’m sure is having the time of her life in Berlin, and who I miss more and more everyday.
Tramshed is part of Mark Hix’s food empire. Famous for its chicken and steak (check out its url at the end of this post), the restaurant is situated above an art gallery and houses artwork by Damien Hirst, which N was extremely eggcited about.
This was the focal point of the restaurant. If you can’t see it clearly, it’s a suspended tank filled with water, holding a cow with a chicken perched atop it. I apologise if my lack of linguistic skill and artistic sensibilities means I am effectively reducing a piece of great art to little more than a peculiar centre piece. I promise I tried my hardest.
There was also this painting at the far end, but we didn’t get anywhere near enough to take a picture.
Image from here
Please take the time to listen to this and reminisce about your childhood and better days spent watching ridiculously disturbing cartoons like Cow & Chicken. 
 
 
 

The restaurant is in Shoreditch (but of course), a few minutes’ walk from Old Street tube station. We all know that I often get lost around the Old Street roundabout, but thankfully today I was with H and N, so we found our way there seamlessly enough. 
It was only 7PM but the place was already quite packed. Luckily I had made reservations because there was a constant stream of people coming and going throughout the night.
Knowing that the place was famous for its roast chicken and steaks, we made up our minds really quickly. Although it took a while to place our orders because the place was so busy, the food arrived much quicker than I expected, and I can’t tell you how good it all smelt when they brought it to our table.
Glenarm mighty-marbled Sirloin Steak – 250g (£22.50)
 
The steak was cooked to our specification. The outside was nicely charred and the meat was pink, tender and flavorful. I had a problem with the gristle though. Normally I LOVE the fat on steaks, but the fat on this was a bit too tough, almost rubbery, so I gave it a miss.
All steaks are served with chips and bearnaise sauce, which is my favorite accompaniment for steak. The tarragon flavor in this wasn’t too strong, and there was just the right amount of vinegar in it so that it didn’t taste “soapy”.
Now let’s talk about the chicken.
THE CHICKEN.
Swainson House Farm roast chicken
with baked garlic sauce and chips -
for two/three to share
(£25)
Must say, that chicken doesn’t look too comfortable.
They serve it whole at the table and carve it up in front of you at your request. It’s often far too easy to dismiss roast chicken as an everyday dish that you would never order at a restaurant. I make the same mistake myself. But this was pretty spectacular. The skin wasn’t crispy (but let’s face it: the skin on roast chicken never goes that crispy) but it wasn’t flaccid or difficult to eat in the slightest. The meat was succulent, juicy and tasty.
The chips were good – crispy on the outside and fluffy within. And those that were nestled in and around the chicken, soaking up those meaty juices and fats? GEMS.
They serve the food with a variety of sauces and condiments which they’ll be more than happy to top up for you if you are running low on supply.
Carcass shot
And then we moved swiftly on to desserts.
We KNEW we had to get this.
Salted caramel fondue with marshmallows and doughnuts (£12.50)
This totally stole the show. The salted caramel was smooth and the perfect balance of savoury and sweet. The doughnuts were like churros – crisp, airy, sugary, cinnamonny – but they weren’t outstanding. Those marshmallows though? I repeat, those marshmallows??? They were the BOMBDIGGITY.
I’ve had homemade marshmallows before, and have tried my hand at making them with friends, but these were really something else. They had the perfect texture. Soft and fluffy to the touch, light and spongy when you bite into it, and ever-so-slightly melty and gooey in the centre… We couldn’t help mm-ing and ahh-ing while eating them.
We loved them so much, I felt it necessary to make friends with the lovely waitress, who very sweetly slipped us some more. I told her she made my life and she laughed. Feel free to try your luck if you go.
As we were sharing our puddings, I felt the need to order another.
Credit crunch ice-cream with hot chocolate sauce (£1.90 per scoop – we got 3)
This was basically vanilla ice-cream with chocolate chunks and honeycomb swirled into it. It’s served with a pot of chocolate sauce on the side, for you to douse your ice-cream with as you see fit. (We actually forgot all about the chocolate sauce, so when we finally remembered it, we just upended the whole thing over our ice-cream hahaha.)
 
This was reasonably good, but how bad can vanilla ice-cream, chocolate chunks and honeycomb be? And to be fair, it was pretty hard to top those marshies.
All in all, it was a really good night and we definitely enjoyed the experience. Although the restaurant was really crowded, the large space and high ceilings meant it was still nice and airy, not stifling or cramped in the least. Also, I was pleasantly surprised by how effortlessly we could converse and hear one another over the general noise (again I think it was the high ceilings, but I could be wrong). 
One thing we noticed was how popular the restaurant was with MEN, particularly of the well-dressed, well-groomed variety, and we put it down to the type of fare they offer here. It definitely is a nice change of pace from pub grub. Having said that, I think the menu and presentation is still sophisticated enough for a girls’ night out.
We saw this on the wall along Rivington Street and I had to take a photo of it when I realised that this picture of Darwinian evolution, if reversed, is kind of like a pictorial representation of my friends and me when we eat. We start off civilised (extreme right)… and end up so full we can’t even stand up straight (extreme left).
After a day of no-holds-barred eating, even if I didn’t actually spontaneously combust and die from fear under my tutor’s steely gaze during Family Law today (I’m sure she could tell that I didn’t know the outcome of the case), I kind of exploded after my new neighbor came over for a night of ice-cream and girly talk.
32 Rivington Street
London
EC2A 3LX
Monday & Tuesday: 1130AM to 11PM
Wednesday-Saturday: 1130AM to 1230AM
Sunday: 1130AM to 10PM

1 2