Posts Tagged ‘sweet potato fries’

Pacata (London)

Pacata is a fusion restaurant in central London, located just a few minutes’ walk from Leicester Square station. I have been meaning to try it for FOREVER because I was extremely intrigued by some of the items on their menu and the deed is finally, finally done!

Inside it’s quite small but it’s really warm and cosy, and the staff are extremely friendly and attentive. I didn’t get a picture but they serve their tap water in Kilner/mason jars, which I’m pointing out only because I know that’s something that gets some of you guys really eggcited. Hahaha. To each his own, I suppose.

Their menu was apparently designed by Michelin-starred chef Yasuji Morazumi. It’s interesting, though, that there’s nothing really complex about it – provided the Asian terms don’t confuzzle you, of course – despite the amount of fusion that goes into each dish.

Off the bar snacks menu, I got the popcorn chicken and calamari because it was a FRY-DAY hahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!! (Not that I ever need a reason to eat fried food, or that I don’t actually eat fried food everyday…)

Popcorn chicken with tom yum powder - £6.90 (ginger-garlic marinade)

Popcorn chicken with tom yum powder – £6.90

I wanted to get this because it reminds me of the tomyum chicken that KFC in Singapore does from time to time. It’s not spicy but it has the requisite tang and flavour of tom yum. I would have loved for the flavours to be a lot more assertive but it was still good, not least because the chicken meat itself was marinated with ginger and garlic.

 

Calamari Thai-style with larb powder - £4.95

Calamari Thai-style with larb powder – £4.95

Larb is a sort of Thai salad that I really like because I find it very tasty – way tastier than any Western salad. The larb powder isn’t immediately perceptible here but it gives a little something to make the otherwise ordinary calamari quite yummy.

Then it was time for our mains!

Pacata Pasta - king prawns, squid ink tagliatelle, egg, beancurd, spring onion (£14.95)

Pacata Pasta – king prawns, squid ink tagliatelle, egg, beancurd, spring onion (£14.95)

Common fusion pastas that I’ve had are green curry pasta, kimchi pasta, teriyaki pasta, mentaiko pasta…

But here we have pad thai pasta! I don’t think it gets more fusion than this!

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I wasn’t actually expecting to like this as much as I did, seeing as 1) I’m not the biggest fan of pad thai – I know, I know, but there’s a lot of better Thai dishes out there, and 2) I had just had a lot of pasta the day before this visit. It’s interesting because it actually had that ‘wok hei’ aroma (if you’re Asian and eat a lot of street food, you’ll know what this means) of fried noodles, especially the prawns (and yes, I love eating prawn shells). Flavor-wise, it had all the flavours of pad thai, and thankfully wasn’t too sweet, which is something I dislike about some versions of pad thai. And like good pasta, it also wasn’t soggy or wet.

And what else do you order on a Fry-day besides pasta?? A burger, of course!

Pacata Burger - soft shell crab, sweet chilli mayo, sweet potato fries (£12.95)

Pacata Burger – soft shell crab, sweet chilli mayo, sweet potato fries (£12.95)

So there’s nothing incredibly inventive about soft shell crab rolls, but I ordered this anyway because I do really love soft shell crab, and I have had some good soft shell crab rolls in my lifetime. To be honest though, this was quite a letdown. Perhaps the burger bun was too much and overwhelmed the crab a bit, because i found myself wishing for more crab. Hmm. Maybe soft shell crabs are just best in temaki/hand roll form.

 

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The sweet potato fries were good though! Perhaps a little under-salted, though that was easily remedied by the dips provided. I would ask to have them tossed in either the tom yum or larb powder in future though! For the best sweet potato fries in London – which I know is a bold statement to make, but do give it a try yourself – check out Hache (see post here and here).

This next dish I ordered based on previous recommendations from friends. It was a very strange combination of Japanese beef yakiniku and Indian naan bread.

Beef Yakinaku with Naan (

Beef Yakinaku with Naan (£10.50)

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The beef yakiniku was good, tasty and tender, if a bit salty. I particularly liked the sweet, melty onions mmmmm. The naan wasn’t as oily, fluffy or aromatic as I would’ve liked. I may ask to switch out the naan for rice in future if I get it again. I’m terrible at this fusion thing, aren’t I?? But naan really isn’t the right vehicle for something as saucy as beef yakiniku.

Our final dish was a last minute addition to our order because we were still hungry! It’s apparently a popular choice here.

Soya Chicken - deep-fried chicken, onion, rice and fried egg (£10.95)

Soya Chicken – deep-fried chicken, onion, rice and fried egg (£10.95)

In case you were wondering, this is the basic formula for classic Asian comfort food – fluffy white rice, some sort of meat, and the perfect sunny side-up with crispy edges and runny yolk. It was very tasty but I wouldn’t say it’s something I couldn’t make myself. If you’re not a proficient Asian cook, though, I think you would like this.

 

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Then it was dessert time!!!!!!!!! I was extremely disappointed because I’d heard such a lot about the green tea brownie with green tea ice-cream but they no longer serve it. TRAGEDY OF TITANIC PROPORTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the only thing on the menu was ice-cream, so we got the ‘Ice Cream Assortment’, which was 4 scoops of ice-cream for £8. We got 2 scoops of green tea and 1 each of the Thai milk tea and peanut. Given how disappointed I was that there was no green tea brownie, it had to be some pretty damn good ice-cream in order to cheer me up…

Thankfully it was.

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All homemade, my least favourite was the peanut because, strangely enough, peanut ice-creams always have this doughy taste to me? I don’t know why. Having said that, it was still good and I would eat it again, so no serious complaint here. The vermillion-colored scoop was the Thai milk tea ice-cream, which I really liked as well! It definitely tasted like Thai milk tea, which, if you have never tried before, tastes kind of like… sweetened Chinese tea with condensed milk added?? Yes, that is EXACTLY how I would describe the taste. Despite the little shard of ice you can see in the photo, the ice-creams were all desirably creamy and not at all icy, I promise!

My favourite though? The green tea ice-cream. I love a good green tea ice-cream but it’s not something I would ever rave about, not least in London. Even some of my favourite gelato places here serve only passably good matcha gelato. This, however, was very good. The green tea flavour was a lot stronger than it is in most other green tea ice-creams…

So this is what it’s come to. Recommending ice-cream. But I insist the green tea ice-cream here really is some good stuff!

Truth be told, there’s been some really mixed reviews about the place – people either really liked it or really hated it – but I always believe you shouldn’t knock it until you’ve tried it for yourself, and HATERZGONHATE!!!!! Anyway I’m really glad I gave it a shot, because I definitely belong to the former group of people. Either way, I think it depends on how receptive you are to the sort of food they serve here. Don’t take my word for it though! I urge you to try it for yourself.

 

PACATA

4 New Row Street,
Covent Garden,
London,
WC2N 4LH

Opening times:

Monday to Sunday: 11AM to 11PM

DUBSTEP(H) – i.e. (for Ireland!) Steph goes to Dublin

In lots of ways, I see my sisters as built-in best friends, extensions of myself, and practice runs for when I have daughters of my own. Trust me, we have the love-hate relationship between mother and daughter down pat. (I love them, they hate me.) Jokes aside, visiting my sister in Dublin is something I always look forward to because, if it isn’t already amply clear by now, we are a family that just loves to eat. This is but a small compilation of our fatventures thus far – A LOT more to come!

 

San Lorenzo

I am big on brunch and I don’t think you can visit Dublin without stopping by San Lorenzo for their Brunch of Champions. It’s really popular, so even if you do have a reservation, do go early because the place was already buzzing and there were people queuing out the door when we bounced up. The place is styled to look like a trendy New York eatery with high ceilings and large windows, and they were blasting the most fascinating medley of tunes like Cry Me A River, Come on Eileen, Dance Wiv Me (yes, I did just spell it with a ‘V’), Arctic Monkeys… It was full of young’uns, as proof that there ARE young people in Dublin. The staff were extremely friendly as well, so in general, it had a pretty great atmosphere.

One glance at the menu will tell you that this is really not the place for clean-eating folk. I mean, this is a brunch created for champions, see, so if you are one of those who goes out to brunch and eats granola (which we all know is my pet peeve Numero Uno), then a champion you clearly are not. I myself was rather torn because I wanted to eat just about everything on the menu. In the end I went with the crab cakes, which seemed to be a very popular item with the other diners.

One thing I will say about this place is that the portions are anything but itty bitty. Even the chicken bruschetta, which I saw the girl at the next table ordering, came in a very sizeable portion.

 

Crab Cakes - crab cakes with char-grilled asparagus, home fries, 2 poached eggs, vine tomato, rocket and hollandaise (E13.95)

Crab Cakes – crab cakes with char-grilled asparagus, home fries, 2 poached eggs, vine tomato, rocket and hollandaise (€13.95)

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See, it actually took me an entire mini-series of photos just to show you everything in its full glory.

The crab cakes were hefty little things, plump and substantial, with a golden crust; well-seasoned and particularly good with a squirt of lemon. The home fries were very tasty as well, and the poached eggs with hollandaise, clumsy-looking as they were, were still wonderful in all their imperfection.

Now, this next dish is no longer on the menu but I still feel the need to tell you all about it because it was kind of awesome, and actually the whole reason I wanted to bring my sister here in the first place. Ladies and gents, I present to you the Duck Confit Hash.

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I may have mentioned before how much my sister loves duck. She insists on going to Gold Mine (see post here) for Cantonese roast duck every time she’s in London, so this dish was right up her street, and oh my goodness was it delicious.

What stole the show was the hashed potatoes, because potatoes in duck fat are probably the best thing since before the internet, and these were no exception.

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Even though you can no longer get this, I’ve just checked and they do have something similar in the form of a pulled pork belly hash, which I will definitely look into myself. After all, potatoes in pork fat are probably the best thing since before potatoes in duck fat.

The Brunch of Champions is available only on the weekend. The rest of the time they do an Italian menu, which looks rather delicious as well, but I can’t vouch for it personally as I haven’t tried it myself. I would highly recommend this place for a (very) hearty spot of brunch though!

 

SAN LORENZO

South Great George’s Street, Dublin, Ireland

The Winding Stair

Another place that has become an institution in Dubz is The Winding Stair. It’s apparently named after the Yeats poem, and yes, it does have a winding staircase (duh). It’s quite a small space, rustic and cosy. I’d called up in advance to book a table so we got a window-seat with a pretty gorgeous view of the river Liffey and Ha’penny bridge.

Sorry for the weird spots but I took this through the window!

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The menu is compact yet sufficiently diverse, and they are very keen to emphasise their use of locally sourced, sustainably farmed, high-quality ingredients. Obviously the menu has changed since our last visit but these photos are just to give you an idea of the sort of food you can expect here.

Don’t know about you but I’m a big fan of Irish soda bread.

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We got hot smoked salmon.

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A hearty celeriac soup.

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For mains, a rib-eye steak topped with truffle butter.

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And lamb shoulder steak with chickpea puree.

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As well as roast duck breast with pak choi and mash.

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Yum yum.

 

THE WINDING STAIR 

40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1, Ireland
Lunch: 12pm-5pm, Dinner: 5:30pm-10:30pm

 

Brasserie le Pont

Housed in the pretty Fitzwilliam Hall, this French place was admittedly a little fancier than the other places we usually ate at, with plush, heavy furniture and thick, soft carpeting. Nevertheless, the staff were all extremely down-to-earth, charming and attentive, and the food is really quite reasonably priced, particularly if you come for lunch, where you can have 2 courses for €23. Maybe it’s because of the time we were here – weekday lunch, I believe – but it seemed to be popular with the well-heeled oldies and the suited and booted working crowd.

Again, the menu has changed since our last visit but you’ll notice that it’s a little bit more refined than what we were eating the rest of the time.

Yay bread! We were given a selection of white, walnut and raisin, and Guinness and walnut breads.

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Now, I may have mentioned before that my sister loves foie gras almost as much as I do, and I do believe it was the whole reason we came here in the first place, as we both needed our dose of fatty liver.

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This was perfectly done, meltingly tender and delicious with the crispy toasted brioche. They served it with wedges of sweet beetroot, crunchy salted almonds and, rather cruelly, thin slices of smoked duck.

Next up was one of the daily specials – grilled beef with couscous, yogurt and cucumber.

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I normally have reservations about eating meat any way other than piping hot, but the room-temperature beef, soaked in the cool and creamy yogurt, was actually delightful. The baby spinach was tossed in a honey mustard vinaigrette, but the couscous was forgettable.

For mains, my sister ordered the duck confit (surprise surprise). It was good. Our only gripe was that it could have been fattier. The mash and the accompanying veg were tasty as well.

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I ordered the pan-fried hake with clams and cassoulet.

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This was very good. The fish was crisp-skinned, perfectly cooked and flakey. The creamy bean cassoulet actually tasted very much like the sauce that comes with my favourite crab raviolo at Medlar (see post here).

For dessert, we got the chocolate fondant, because – ok fine I’ll stop going through the whole charade of how it’s not my favourite dessert – that is Sister’s favourite dessert. (You’re probably learning a lot about my sister from this post.)

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It comes with cherry compote, which I asked to be served on the side because I hate cherry anything, and we switched out the pistachio ice-cream for vanilla because Sister doesn’t do pistache. The fondant itself was alright but the vanilla ice-cream tasted disappointingly shop-bought.


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Would I come back here again? Yes, I would. It’s not an everyday kind of dining experience, but it’s well worth trying out if you’re after something a little fancier.

 

BRASSERIE LE PONT

26 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2

Tuesday – Friday serving lunch from 12 noon – 2.30pm

Tuesday – Saturday serving dinner from 6pm

Closed Sunday & Monday

 

Or fancier than pub grub at least. Of which we had A LOT. In fact, we even have a favourite pub…

 

Gleesons

It’s listed as one of the best gastro pubs and won the All Ireland Pub of the Year in 2012. Inside it’s big but almost always packed, the waitresses are a friendly bunch, and the food is good, as far as pub food goes anyway.

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I find that, wherever you go, it’s always great to have at least one pub with dependably good food in your arsenal of food places, and I’m glad my sister has this!

 

GLEESONS OF BOOTERSTOWN

44 Booterstown Ave
Blackrock, Co Dublin

Breakfast from 8am 6 days, 8.30am Sun
Food served til 9.30pm 6 days, 8.30pm Sun

 

The Counter

Anyone who knows me know that I’m almost evangelistic about my at-least-once-a-week burger ritual. The Counter, which is an American chain, came highly recommended, so we decided to check it out one afternoon. Even though we came here at an odd time, it was still crowded, so we had to wait a while for a table.

We decided to get the buffalo wings because they seemed really popular with all the other diners, and with good reason, as they were some rather tasty wings.

The Counter Chicken Wings - with blue cheese dip and celery (11.95)

The Counter Chicken Wings – with blue cheese dip and celery (€11.95)

I know €11.95 may seem like an exorbitant price to pay for chicken wings but trust me, I hadn’t seen a pile of chicken wings as large as this in a pretty long time. Definitely good for sharing between a few people.

You can build your own burger, and the options are pretty extensive so you can get any number of permutations and combinations you desire. I chose not to customise my burger this time, and instead, ordered their signature burger, figuring that, if it’s good enough for them to put their name on it, then it’s good enough for me.

And it certainly looked promising enough!

Counter Burger - 1/3lb beef, provolone, crispy onion strings, lettuce blend, sautéed mushrooms and tomato, sun-dried tomato vinaigrette (10.95)

Counter Burger – 1/3lb beef, provolone, crispy onion strings, lettuce blend, sautéed mushrooms and tomato, sun-dried tomato vinaigrette (€10.95)

Unfortunately, I was really quite disappointed. It sounded quite perfect and indeed, the various components by themselves were good, particularly the crispy onion strings, which you can order as a starter or side. However, the patty itself was overcooked and tough, and given that I like my beef quite, quite rare, this was quite the let-down. Such a shame.

My sister got one of the specials, which was something like a breakfast burger, complete with fried egg and bacon.

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Again, I think her burger patty was quite overdone, not to mention that fried egg! Nothing as disappointing as a rubbery sunny side-up ugh.

I think I was disappointed because I wanted so much to like the burgers, which had all the makings to be quite awesome but were just let down by poor execution. To their credit though, their starters and sides almost made up for it. Almost. Besides the wings and fried onion strings, the sweet potato fries were good as well.

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If I come back in the future I will definitely be asking them not to overcook my burger, and I’ll definitely get the wings, fried onion strings and sweet potato fries to go with! I do also want to check out Bunsen, Bobo’s and Jo Burger though!

 

THE COUNTER

20 Suffolk Street Dublin
Dublin City Center 2
Ireland

Opening times:

Mon to Thurs: 12-10PM

Fri and Sat: 12-11PM

Sun: 12-9PM

 

But that’ll do it from us today! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post as much as I’ve enjoyed doing it for you! Sorry it’s been such a long time coming, and even then I’m still saving the rest – there’s a lot more goodness to come – hang tight for another post!

Shoreditch Fatventures (London)

I have come to realise that everyone has an opinion about Shoreditch, and truthfully, I don’t really care what anyone else thinks. I just know that there is SUCH A LOT TO EAT there, that I would feel incredibly sorry for you if you are the starving artist sort that this area seems to attract. You know, the kind that doesn’t really appreciate food unless it’s vegan – in which case it’s debatable whether or not it is actually food (half-joking) – lives on a diet of cigarettes and coffee, and skulks around the corners, traveling everywhere under a cloud of judgment, ever ready to rain on everyone else’s parade…

I am so glad that my friends could not be further from that. We bounce around everywhere, fall about in giggling fits, and we dress like homeless people, not by choice, in that carefully-crafted, uber-trendy way, but because that is our natural state. And we eat. A whole lot. 

 

 

JUBO

Prior to this particular visit to Jubo, my original plan had been to check out the Korean taco pop-up run by Kimchinary at the Catch Bar. Unfortunately, we were starving and needed something super substantial, and the thought of fried chicken and slow-cooked pork belly buns completely won out.

You know what the best sort of fried chicken in the world is? Korean fried chicken. Hands down. And the Korean fried chicken here is a wonderful representation, I must say. My friend, H, loves fried chicken so much that she even has an incredibly annoying fried chicken song which she sings pre-chicken, during-chicken and post-chicken. So the fact that she loves this place should be endorsement enough. In fact, we all love it, really.

Inside, it looks like a typical Shoreditch bar + kitchen. It shares a space with the Bedroom Bar – which I fully intend to check out once this February Prohibition is over and I feel strong enough to stomach alcohol again – although the two are kept separate. At night, it’s dim except for the bright neon lights, there’s a terrific noise all around, and the general atmosphere is bright and lively, buzzing with activity.

We were able to get a table almost immediately despite it being quite packed.

I highly recommend getting the Chicken Dinner Platter, even if it’s just the 2 of you eating. It’s so good!!! You can choose between soy garlic or hot & sweet. We got a mixture. You also get to choose 3 sides from an assortment of kimchi, pickles, kimchi slaw, gunmandu dumplings, doenjang soup, chips and rice, so we went with the soup, as it was cold and wet outside, the kimchi and the dumplings.

The soup was the first thing to arrive. ‘Doenjang’ is fermented bean paste, so this was essentially a Korean miso soup. Unfortunately, it was rather bland, so I definitely wouldn’t order it again myself.

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Goenjang Soup

 

Then our glorious platter.

 

Chicken Dinner Platter - 8 wings, 8 strips & 3 sides (for 2-4 to share) (£35)

Chicken Dinner Platter – 8 wings, 8 strips & 3 sides (for 2-4 to share) (£35)

 

Let’s talk about the sides first.

The dumplings were deep-fried, and while I do ordinarily believe that deep-frying has a magical transformative ability, I would’ve much preferred my dumplings boiled, steamed or pan-fried. Not least because most of the joys of eating a dumpling lies in eating the dumpling “skin”, and deep-frying them just robs them of their chewy doughiness and flavor. So I probably wouldn’t order this again either.

The kimchi was good. If you are unfamiliar with kimchi, it’s a Korean side-dish of pickled, fermented cabbage, intensely sour and spicy, very appetizing and also (apparently) very healthful. We liked this as it wasn’t too sour or salty, although it may be just a tad spicy for some.

Now let’s talk about the chicken.

So. Good.

Whether you happened to grab a wing or a strip in the first-come-first-serve, dog-eat-dog, every-man-for-himself scramble and tussle over the chicken, it’s all delicious, the only difference being the absence of bones in the chicken strips.The chicken has a wonderfully crisp crust, and it’s so damn tasty, the flavors having penetrated right through the meat, which still retains its moisture and juiciness. Both the soy garlic and hot & sweet are really good but I personally preferred the former because it had a deeper, subtler flavor, and appealed more to my Asian palate. The hot & sweet is like the extroverted cousin: much bolder and stronger in flavor, makes a great first impression, perfect in small doses but wearisome after a while. (Okay, I veeeery long while.) Bottom-line is that both are good so you should really check it out so you can decide for yourself! 

I had to try the fried chicken roll just because it was on the menu.

 

Chicken Roll (fried chicken fillet, kimchi slaw, gochujang mayo) (£7)

Chicken Roll (fried chicken fillet, kimchi slaw, gochujang mayo) (£7)

 

Everyone else really liked this but I was quite disappointed. It’s my fault though. I shouldn’t have ordered this because I know myself so well, and know that I tend to have super high expectations for fried chicken burgers because McSpicy has really set the bar far too high… HA! I’ll bet you never thought you’d hear me say that a McDonalds menu item is the industry standard but it’s true: the McSpicy is truly the paragon of fried chicken burgers for me. The thing is, this burger had such promise, what with the kimchi slaw and gochujang mayo thrown into the mix. Unfortunately, it fell flat for me, and it didn’t help that the chicken fillet was far too small for my liking – smaller than the roll even. Ahhh I’m sad now. :(

But on to better things!

 

Pork Bun (slow-cooked pork belly, pickled cucumber, hoisin & sriracha) (£3.5 for 1, £6 for 2)

Pork Bun (slow-cooked pork belly, pickled cucumber, hoisin & sriracha) (£3.5 for 1, £6 for 2)

 

I may have mentioned that H loves fried chicken. She also has a bit of a thing for pork – the fattier the better – so we had to get this. Now, it was good. The Chinese steamed bun was lovely and soft, the pork belly was tender, and the hoisin and sriracha sauces made it altogether very appetizing, though I would recommend you ask them to put the sriracha on the side instead if you’re afraid of spice. I think it’s hard for us to judge though, seeing as we grew up eating kong bak pau, which is done with proper Chinese braised pork belly, very fatty, soft and ridiculously tasty, with an unctuous, thick soy sauce. Also, I’m sure you never thought you would ever hear anyone say this, but English pork belly is NOT FATTY ENOUGH for my Chinese tastes. There. I’ve said it. Judge all you want. I love fat.

I definitely recommend you check out Jubo soon. We have yet to try the ‘Ssam”, which is 1kg of steak or slow-roasted pork, served together with lots of wonderful condiments (which I assume is for you to wrap in lettuce leaves ala Korean barbecue), great for a DIY-dinner for 4. You must book in advance for that though.

Otherwise, there’s always chicken.

 

JUBO

 

68 Rivington Street
London EC2A 3AY

Opening hours:

Tuesday to Thursday: 6 pm — 10.30 pm

Friday & Saturday: 6 pm —  11.00 pm

 

 

SALVATION JANE

This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about Salvation Jane (see my post here) but I think it may be one of my favorite breakfast/brunch places in the Shoreditch area.

I had to branch out and diversify on this particular occasion because I was making a banana chocolate cake that very night, which meant that toasted banana bread was out.

And this was in.

 

Toasted courgette bread with grilled halloumi, slow roast tomatoes, a poached egg and chilli jam (£11.50)

Toasted courgette bread with grilled halloumi, slow roast tomatoes, a poached egg and chilli jam (£11.50)

Close-up of the toasted courgette bread

Close-up of the toasted courgette bread

The Obligatory Oozy Golden Yolk Shot

The Obligatory Oozy Golden Yolk Shot

 

I really liked this dish. It was a wonderful mix of really great flavors. The eggy aroma and slightly sandy texture of the courgette bread, the intensely savoury halloumi with its characteristic bite and chewiness, and that sweet, slightly sticky chilli jam. I think I may start ordering this as my savoury option next time. It’s also a great choice for vegetarians.

But because I am anything but a vegetarian, I added a side of bacon, with a pot of maple syrup for dunking.

 

Streaky bacon (£3.50)

Streaky bacon (£3.50)

 

H went for something sweet.

 

Cinnamon French toast with sour cherries, vanilla ricotta and toasted almonds (£10)

Cinnamon French toast with sour cherries, vanilla ricotta and toasted almonds (£10)

 

The French toast at Salvation Jane and Lantana is always good and I like that they change up the accompaniments every once in a while. This was great, as always – the French toast had a great crust and was soft, fluffy and eggy – but I am not a fan of cherries myself.

 

Salvation Jane toasted muesli w vanilla yoghurt and baked pears (£5.90)

Salvation Jane toasted muesli w vanilla yoghurt and baked pears (£5.90)

 

W had the muesli which I thought was really yummy. The muesli itself had coconut in it, and together with the cool, creamy vanilla yoghurt and warm slices of pear (which I bravely tried for all of you), soft and extra sweet from being baked, this was really a bowlful of goodness. But because my friends are greedy like me, I’m sure she was hungry before long, because say what you will, muesli is not filling. In fact, we ended up ordering in from Deliverance just a few hours after brunch. Omg I’ve just noticed that we experienced both ‘Salvation’ and ‘Deliverance’ that day HAHAHA OH HOLY DAY!!!!!!!

But anyway, Salvation Jane is a great spot for breakfast/brunch, well worth a visit.

 

SALVATION JANE

Unit 2, 1 Oliver’s Yard
55 City Rd.
EC1Y1HQ

Breakfast hours:

Mon to Fri: 8 to 1130AM

Weekend brunch hours:

Sat & Sun: 9AM to 330PM

 

 

HACHE

This is another place that I’ve also mentioned before on the site. (See post here) This time, our main purpose in visiting was because we knew how much W loves sweet potato fries, and Hache does an amazing rendition.

You all know how much I love lamb burgers and I usually go for that here, but I believe I had just had an overload of lamb a few days prior to this visit, so I decided to go for one of my favorite combinations: steak and blue cheese.

Steak Blue Cheese (topped with the finest melted mature stilton blue cheese) (£8.95)

Steak Blue Cheese (topped with the finest melted mature stilton blue cheese) (£8.95)

 

Burgers should always be served on brioche, so I’m glad that brioche is the default choice at Hache, although you may ask for ciabatta instead, or, God forbid, get it ‘low-calorie’, i.e. bunless, in which case you better be deathly allergic to bread or we are not friends.

I think most of the burgers at Hache are really quite good. There’s a pretty extensive selection, so one can choose from beef steak, sirloin steak, fish, chicken, pulled pork, duck, vegetarian…

What I really love here, though, are the sweet potato fries.

 

Sweet Potato Frites (£3.50)

Sweet Potato Frites (£3.50)

 

If you like sweet potato fries, you would love these, I promise you that. Each serving comes in its own fryer basket, and for £3.50 I think the portion-size is pretty generous. Super crisp on the outside, warm and fluffy on the inside, I am such a fan of sweet potato fries and their vague root vegetabley sweetness, and especially loved them with the slivers of blue cheese that I unceremoniously tore off in goopy chunks from my burger. Sweet potato fries and blue cheese make for one heck of a combination. Now I only wish they had some sort of blue cheese dip or dressing to go along with these.

I don’t normally order desserts when I come to Hache. But that was until I discovered that they have recently started doing STP!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Hache Sticky Toffee Pudding (with gingerbread ice-cream) (£4.50)

Hache Sticky Toffee Pudding (with gingerbread ice-cream) (£4.50)

 

Unfortunately, this was quite average, although I would never say no to a stp, good or bad, because stp is my kryptonite and I have zero integrity. The gingerbread ice-cream was disappointingly bereft of gingerbread flavor, lacking the warming spices one would expect upon reading the description.

 

Banoffee Pie (£4.95)

Banoffee Pie (£4.95)

 

I don’t think it’ll be fair for me to comment on this seeing as I’m not really in love with banoffee pie but I’ll simply say it’s as good as a banoffee pies go, and it comes in a whopping great slice.

 

Shoreditch branch:
147-149 Curtain Road
Shoreditch
London EC2A 3QE
*there are 3 more branches in Chelsea, Camden and Clapham – see website for more details

Opening hours:
Mon-Thurs: 12PM to 1030PM
Fri & Sat: 12PM to 11PM
Sun: 12PM to 10PM

 

 

WHITECROSS MARKET

has promised to take me to Whitecross Market for ages and I finally, finally checked it out yesterday. I must say that I really enjoyed it and am likely to return again soon. It’s located along Whitecross street, just off Old Street, and while it’s admittedly a lot smaller than other food markets, it’s still worth a visit if you’re in the area.

We kicked off our visit with some Brazilian skewers.

chicken skewer, beef skewer (£2 each)

chicken skewer, beef skewer (£2 each)

 

The skewers are grilled fresh on the spot and served to you hot, drizzled with chilli sauce, which will make for extremely messy eats, but we weren’t too bothered about that. While both the chicken and the beef were very moist and juicy, with a wonderful charred aroma, we both preferred the beef, which was done to a perfect medium-rare – the stall holder actually asked us how he wanted it cooked, and let us check the redness of the meat before he took it off the grill. That’s the best thing about food markets, I find, that you get to watch your food being prepared, and that you get to be very much involved in the process.

Then H decided to take me to one of her favorite stalls, which is the burger stall manned by the sweetest, loveliest elderly couple. It’s apparently really popular and by the time we arrived at the stall, there was only the one burger left, and we had to get that sliced up in a wrap because they no longer had burger buns. They really take their own sweet time crafting your burger but it’s such a wonderful thing to watch!

 

Burger (in a wrap), with THE LAST OF THE POTATO WEDGES!!! (£4)

Burger (in a wrap), with THE LAST OF THE POTATO WEDGES!!! (£4)

Wedges

Wedges

 

They were unfortunately a little heavy-handed with the rosemary on the wedges, which ended up tasting a bit soapy. But moving swiftly on!

There’s apparently always a long queue at the Middle-Eastern stall and we had initially almost given it a miss on account of this but we slipped in at the end and got 8 loose falafels for the cool price of £3.

 

8 loose falafels (£3)

8 loose falafels (£3)

 

These were freshly-fried and served with tahini and chilli sauce. Very tasty, smoky and quite spicy, which I loved.

 

fruffy!!!

fruffy!!!

 

Another extremely popular stall is the Indian stall. We went right at the end, so we didn’t have to queue, and really only made up our mind when we were bribed with some free chicken. We got a large box which he crammed full of vegetable pilau rice, chicken curry and grilled chicken.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

This was a deceivingly large amount of food. We got slightly worried when we saw the enthusiasm with which the stall holder was really piling it all in because it looked like it wasn’t going to fit. But the man simply popped the lid on and tamped it all in. It was magical. And it was actually really quite good.

This place tends to attract the young working crowd from the Barbican area and can get quite crowded but is definitely worth checking out if you happen to be in the area and want some cheap, filling eats. I myself will return at some point because I’ve yet to try the Vietnamese stall, the Thai stall and the Mexican stall, all of which are really popular.

 

 

WHITECROSS MARKET

1 Whitecross Street

London EC1V 9AB

 

 

Timber Yard

None of the sweet goods at the market really appealed to us so we ended up dropping by Timber Yard on our way back to pick up some coffee and sugary treats.

Timber Yard is one of the kajillion coffee shops in Shoreditch. Inside, it’s bright and airy, and they definitely put the considerably small space to good use, as it does not feel cramped or stuffy in the least. It’s very popular for studying. In fact, most of the people there appeared to be students.

We got a long black and an iced tea to go. I don’t pretend to know a lot about coffee but you know, you can taste a good one when you encounter one, and I really liked

Long Black, iced tea

Long Black, iced tea

 

We had some difficulty deciding on which sweet treats we wanted but eventually narrowed it down to two we really had to get.

 

'Everything' Cookie - pretzel, cornflakes, oats, nuts, chocolate, marshmallows

‘Everything’ Cookie – pretzel, cornflakes, oats, nuts, chocolate, marshmallows

 

This is a cookie for greedy people but sometimes, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. This was alright but it wasn’t anything spectacular.

And we opened up our second paper bag only to be greeted by the hottest mess ever.

 

Chocolate hazelnut praline brownie cup thingy

Chocolate hazelnut praline brownie cup thingy

 

We hadn’t realised that the brownie had a liquid middle so we were very pleasantly surprised by the delicious brown pool of hazelnut praline that had spilt out of the brownie cup, but hey, who were we to complain? ;) ;)

 

ahhhhhhhh <3

ahhhhhhhh <3

 

It was more of a ‘blondie’ than a ‘brownie’ as such, but technicalities aside, this was so dense that it bordered almost on hard and had a dry, crumbly texture, which is really not what you expect in a ‘brownie’ at all. But okay. I can look past all that because that hazelnut praline was BEAUTEOUS.

 

TIMBER YARD

61-67 Old Street,

London EC1V 9HW

Opening hours:

Mon-Fri: 8am-8pm  Sat-Sun:

10am-6pm

 

 

WORKSHOP COFFEE CO.

Today was only the second time I have ever visited the Workshop, my virgin visit being quite a while back in my first year. It’s located on Clerkenwell Road and is quite non-descript from the outside but inside, it’s actually surprisingly big, taking up several floors. I loved how the focal point on the ground floor was the huge coffee bar, which really was noticeably larger than the coffee bars at most other places, laden with delicious-looking bakes and staffed by several baristas running around behind the counter. But that should come as no surprise, seeing as this place really is all about the coffee.

E and I arrived just before 1030AM and although it was already pretty busy, given that it was a Saturday morning, we were allocated our table for 5 almost immediately.

The menu is not exactly extensive, but pretty well-varied. There were some really great choices, such as the toasted banana bread with date & orange jam, espresso mascarpone and hazelnuts (£6)… Braised beans, salted ricotta, lemon, mint and truffled mascarpone (£7)… Grilled asparagus, smoked salmon, poached egg, truffled mascarpone, corn bread (£10.50)…

You can see why I had some difficulties making up my mind.

But then there was also a burger.

And I like having a burger before 12PM just because I can.

 

Rare Breed Hamburger - brioche, comte, chipotle mayonnaise, fried ratte potatoes) (£13.50)

Rare Breed Hamburger – brioche, comte, chipotle mayonnaise, fried ratte potatoes (£13.50)

 

I wasn’t expecting very much at all seeing as this was a brunch burger but I was quite pleasantly surprised. A nicely charred, moist and juicy burger, sandwiched in fluffy, eggy brioche. Not the best burger by any means at all, but very fresh and tasty. The fried potatoes, where crispy, were good as well.

I know you guys don’t really want to read about a brunch burger so I do apologize, and promise to come back again to try out the other more “breakfasty” items on the menu. It’s just… I really can’t think clearly when burgers are involved. But if it’s anything to go by, the rest of the girls seemed to enjoy their food.

 

THE WORKSHOP

27 Clerkenwell Road
Clerkenwell
London EC1M 5RN

Monday: 7:30am – 6:00pm
Tuesday: 7:30am – 10:00pm
Wednesday: 7:30am – 10:00pm
Thursday: 7:30am – 10:00pm
Friday: 7:30am – 10:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday: 8:00am – 6:00pm