Posts Tagged ‘Shoreditch’

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)

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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.

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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)

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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

Rivington Shoreditch (London)

As always, I am sitting on a massive backlog of posts, but I’ve decided that I simply had to prioritise this one since they are doing a 50% OFF (?!?!) offer for January!!!!!!!! Pretty mind-blowing, if you ask me! (So I think you can just shelve your post-New Year’s diet for now.)

Ever since I first visited with H, who I miss like a phantom limb, a really long time ago, this has quickly become one of my favourite places for dependably good, modern British food. I always have a great time here, and as this particular visit was made with a group of my favourite girlfriends, this time was no exception.

And naturally, as is a prerequisite for a night out with the girls, we started with drinks.

Tommy's Margarita (£8.50)

Tommy’s Margarita (£8.50)

My margarita was wonderful. It had a Titanic-sized ice cube in it, really, the hugest block of ice I ever did see in a margarita. But that was good because it kept my drink nice and frosty until the end. Which, er, wasn’t that long after I got it anyway.

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Their bread, which they get fresh from Balthazar’s, is fabulous, and I look forward to it always. It’s a potato and onion country loaf, very rustic, with a proper sandpapery crust. It’s very aromatic and you can actually smell the potato and onion when they bring it to the table.

The last time I had come here was in the summer, and they had this amazing squid and bacon salad on the menu. They aren’t doing it anymore of course, but I still wanted a seafood starter, so I got the salmon ceviche because I am on SUCH a raw food kick lately.

Loch Duarte salmon ceviche, avocado, lime, coriander (£7.50)

Loch Duarte salmon ceviche, avocado, lime, coriander (£7.50)

This was just alright, and for me, the only disappointment of the night. Tasty enough, refreshing, with bright, sprightly flavors, but unfortunately could still be improved. They were extremely heavy-handed with the onion, which, being raw, was very sharp, and I feel that the salmon and avocado could have been left in rather larger chunks, because to mince them so fine is to deprive them of their juicy fattiness.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted the lamb shank or the pork cheeks, but decided finally on the pork since it’s far easier to cook a good lamb shank at home – and that I did just a few days later.

Slow-cooked pig's cheek, wild mushroom and barley risotto (£15.25)

Slow-cooked pig’s cheek, wild mushroom and barley risotto (£15.25)

I so did not regret my choice. Having been slow-cooked for a long time, the pork cheeks were uber unctuous and melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the flavor was very rich and intense. I love barley risotto as opposed to regular risotto because I have issues with the texture of regular risotto, but barley has the right amount of bite and goopy chew, in addition to a mellow nutty flavor. LOVE this dish.

I’ve had the burger here quite a few times before and it’s always a good shout, so both N and E got it.

Rivington burger, chips (£11)

Rivington burger, chips (£11)

Apparently they now only cook the burgers from medium up due to health and food safety standards, and at first this worried me slightly, but my fears were completely unwarranted because the patty was still very juicy and flavorful. The burgers are served with thick-cut chips which are quite good.

A had the steak and ale pie and I do apologize for not taking a picture of the innards but I always try very considerately to let my hungry friends eat as quickly as possible.

Steak & kidney pie (£12.50)

Steak & kidney pie (£12.50)

This was a good pie. The meat was tender and in sizable chunks rather than being completely shredded, and didn’t have any gristly bits, while the gravy was dark and flavoursome.

The mash was just alright.

Side of mash (£4)

Side of mash (£4)

J got the minute steak. I always find minute steaks to be too dry, so I tend not to order them, but it’s perfect for smaller appetites.

Minute steak, fries (£14.50)

Minute steak, fries (£14.50)

Then it was pudding time!!!!!!! I’m always disappointed that, for such an English place, they don’t have STP. But I will tell you now that the blueberry brûlée is DELICIOUS, though I didn’t get it this time.

Instead, I got this pear tart, but it’s unfortunately no longer on the menu.

Caramelised pear tart with clotted cream

Caramelised pear tart with clotted cream

Now, I really wanted some sort of dark chocolate sauce to drench my pear tart with, in order to recreate the flavours of my favourite pear frangipane tart at Medlar. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any, so I got a little pot of their toffee coffee sauce instead, and proceeded to drown my tart in it.

I really liked my pear tart, even though it obviously couldn’t hold a candle to Medlar’s pear frangipane tart. The toffee coffee sauce was good too. More than a snazzy name, the flavours makes sense because toffee can sometimes be almost too sweet and one-dimensional, making it a bit dull and flat on the tongue, but the coffee mellows it out and gives it a greater depth of flavor.

N got honeycomb ice-cream, which also came with the delicious toffee coffee sauce.

Honeycomb ice-cream, toffee coffee sauce (£5.75)

Honeycomb ice-cream, toffee coffee sauce (£5.75)

A got the fudge.

Devon fudge - £3.50

Devon fudge (£3.50)

I think I have said quite enough. If there’s any place you should abandon your lame diet for, this is as fine a choice as any, not least because there’s that added bonus of a 50% discount for the month of January!!!!!!!!!!! The service here is also excellent, and oh, I wish I could give a special mention to one of the waiters in particular, who was incredibly warm, friendly and attentive. Plus he called me ‘exquisite’ HAHAHA. AND, it’s located right beside Tramshed, so if you’re as tired of their whole roast chicken as I am – see previous posts here and here – then do check this place out instead.

 

RIVINGTON SHOREDITCH

28-30 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3DZ

Opening times:

Mon to Sat: 8AM to 11PM

Sun: 11AM to 4PM

J + A Cafe (London)

I should really be asleep but after some midnight baking and then feasting on sticky toffee pudding cupcakes – they are EVERY BIT as good as they sound – at 2AM I have way too much energy to sleep so I am here to do a quick post!

Over the weekend, H and I paid a visit to J+A, which is a little cafe just off Clerkenwell Road. Simply look out for the signboard, which I’m pretty confident you won’t miss, as I frequently walk into it myself when I’m walking on by (I am fairly certain that if I had been born a member of the opposite gender, I would have a severely damaged Area).

If the weather permits, I highly recommend you do as we did, and take a table in the gorgeous courtyard, which hosts a great al fresco dining area. The thoughtful staff even provide some cosy blankets in preparation for when the weather turns chilly – which it of course did in about 30minutes, this being London, and English weather being the relentlessly indecisive and mercurial woman it is – which I thought was a really sweet touch. Being the competitive-when-hungry Singaporeans we are, we were there pretty early (and yes, H, you were there earlier than I was, for once!), but people soon started streaming in, and most chose to sit outdoors as well.

 

Image from here http://jandacafe.com/

Image from here

 

This place attracts all types, from couples and families with young children, to the occasional lone diner. (Seriously, no judgment there. In fact, lone diners, I salute you! Eating doesn’t always have to be a social occasion, even though a social occasion has ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS to be about eating. That is my approach to life, and I believe also the key to life-long happiness and success, though I am not myself a great example of said success.) Oh, there was also this group of laddy-types having a very sophisticated Boys Brunch Out, which made me giggle because they asked for poached instead of scrambled, smoked salmon instead of bacon, and Diet Coke. If they ordered a round of mimosas I would have keeled over and died laughing. Hahahahaha. Ok. This group I judged.

But anyway. Fun and games aside, brunch is serious business!!!!!!!!!!!! We placed our orders after a quick look at the menu, which wasn’t incredibly extensive, to be honest, though it did feature all the usual suspects nonetheless! Now, if you want to be Brunch Buds, I will tell you this: The rule of thumb is generally 1.5 to 2x breakfasts per person, with extra sides and cakes if you’re really on a roll.

After we had placed our orders, our lovely waitress brought out a complimentary slice of their Chocolate Guinness Cake for us to try. And it was really good.

 

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Chocolate Guinness Cake (£3.75)

Chocolate Guinness Cake (£3.75)

 

The cake base was dense with a tight crumb but still wonderfully moist and soft. It wasn’t too different from a good Devil’s Food Cake actually. You can’t  really taste any alcohol in it, as the stout blended in well with the deep chocolatey flavor and complemented it very nicely. So long as you aren’t expecting any children’s-party-milk-chocolatey type of sweetness here, I’m pretty sure you’ll love this. We both did, and got 2 more slices to go.

Service was pretty quick, and our orders soon arrived.

H really likes her full English so we had to get the J + A Breakfast.

 

J + A Breakfast (sausage, bacon, tomato, mushroom, clonkity black pudding, boxty, fried eggs) (£9.50)

J + A Breakfast (sausage, bacon, tomato, mushroom, clonkity black pudding, boxty, fried eggs) (£9.50)

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I always find it difficult to comment on a full English because you don’t really want to break it down into it’s individual components, as I would then have to engage in a needlessly pedantic exercise of telling you that ‘the egg tasted like egg’ and ‘the tomato tasted like tomato’. But here, I do believe special mention goes to the Boxty (which is an Irish potato cake), as it was a nice, soft, fluffy alternative to hashbrowns, and the black pudding, which I actually WISHED THERE WAS MORE OF – WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT?! We both really liked the Irish soda toast, which had that distinctive taste of soda bread but not quite the soapy hit of bicarb. However, we both agreed that the bacon was dry and rather tough, which was a pity because it was actually really flavorful and not too salty. I’ve come to realise, though, that the Hawksmoor Guildhall breakfast platter has completely ruined the English breakfast for me (see post here) as truly, nothing can compare.

 

 

Eggs Benedict (English muffin, ham, poached eggs, hollandaise) (£6.50)

Eggs Benedict (English muffin, ham, poached eggs, hollandaise) (£6.50)

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Eggs Ben is one of those things that people will badger you about, so I always feel obliged to order it when I’m trying a brunch place. This was very average. Every component was decent – the hollandaise, the poached eggs, the ham – apart from the toasted English muffin, which was rather hard and dry and difficult to cut with a knife. I did enjoy the ham though. They were very generous with it, providing us with lovely thick slices, and I really liked that the flavor of the ham wasn’t at all masked by all the other flavors. So if you are looking for the best Eggs Ben, you won’t find it here. For a really good rendition, I highly recommend you check out One Blenheim Terrace (see post here), although, as I’ve only been there once before, I can’t attest to the consistency of its quality.

 

 

Organic Inveraw Smoked Salmon + Scrambled Eggs, on Irish Soda Toast (£8.50)

Organic Inveraw Smoked Salmon + Scrambled Eggs, on Irish Soda Toast (£8.50)

 

If there are 2 things that I tire of easily it’s scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Which is silly because I actually think they are a magical combination. We had left this for a while as we attacked the other 2 breakfasts so that when I finally got round to eating it, the deep sea savoriness of the smoked salmon had permeated the bed of scrambled eggs and the butteriness of the eggs had seeped into the toast… It was a very, very happy thing. For the first half the serving. But then that’s just me.

The pancakes seemed to be a very popular item as well but we didn’t get them in the end, though I will most certainly be back again in the near future to try them. (Along with a round of soda bread, toasted and oozing with puddles of butter, which I will munch on pensively as I plot to order a whole Chocolate Guinness Cake.) So yes, even though there were a few misses here and there, I would still happily recommend J + A to anyone looking for a nice brunch spot in the Shoreditch area. And I’m not saying that just because we got free cake, although I must say that that certainly added to the charm of the place – it’s so nice when you find yourself in a place where the staff takes pride in the food they serve, when they want you to try it, want you to like it, where it’s not about playing up their exclusivity and relishing their reputation as the Next Big Thing.

If you’d like to read more about other fun places in Shoreditch, check out this post. Or, if breakfast/brunch in general, this post.

 

 

J + A Cafe

1-4 SUTTON LANE

LONDON

EC1M 5PU

Mon to Fri: 8AM to 6PM

Weekend Brunch: 9AM to 5PM

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