Thursday, 23 January 2014

Berners Tavern: Veni, Vidi, Vici?

Empires are funny things to us iPad-owning, European Union, One Direction, generation. Which, funnily enough, all represent an empire of sorts. Empire in traditional command & conquer, "do you have a flag?" meaning; is so remote to us that the brutality and suffering they perpetuated seems almost fiction. Empires are spoken of with some nostalgic pride in the UK, a great force now spent and rendered to the annals of history. While eschewing evidence that immigrants bring added value to us, while also conveniently forgetting we asked a lot of them to come in the first place, we are content to think that we were merely benevolent dictators. We bestowed upon them a parliament, democracy, cricket, medicines, road and railways. We even gave* them our religion (*ahem).

Monday, 20 January 2014

Sushi Tetsu: No Place I'd Rather Be

Many things have to come together to make a meal truly memorable. Environment, attitude, company, perception, taste, timing, skill, even prior experience. Only a few of these are in the full control of a chef and the staff and even if the parts that can be, are, sometimes the smallest things that ruin a meal. Be it a diner talking that bit too crassly and inevitably loudly, a baby crying in a restaurant just not meant for babies, or where the service simply leaves you cold. Consultants go to great lengths, and charge far too much, to make restaurants as unoffensive to as wide an audience as possible. Slickly dressed servers, non-imaginative interior design, techno-ordering systems - too many places now fit into neat buckets that pre-describe the clientele before anyone has even walked inside. Funny then that every great restauranteur already knows the actual answer - genuine friendliness, passion and an unashamed lack of compromise is what makes great atmosphere. Sushi Tetsu knows this too.

Akami - Perfection

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

B.O.B's Lobster - A Contender or Emperor's New Clothes?

My diet seems to consist of burgers, burgers, BBQ, ribs, fried chicken and burgers. What London is missing is quality seafood, that is reasonably priced (Michelin dishes with one small lobster tail for £50 don't count no matter how good they taste) and preferably somewhere that doesn't involve a two hour queue. A lot of restaurants and pubs nowadays have a grilled half lobster on the menu. Burger & Lobster obviously have to be mentioned when talking about seafood, their £20 lobster rolls are a decadent, but affordable, treat. Only problem is that the queues can be fearsome - especially later on in the week. There are some other good options such as the classic Sheekey's, Green's, Lobster Pot, Wright Brothers who all either do lobster or specialise in seafood, but again, price can be an issue and you usually have to book Thursday onwards.

B.O.Bs Lobster

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

#bleeckerspitroastgangbang - Inappropriate Burgers and Hashtags

For those not 'in the know', the McGangbang is not a sexual euphemism for an appalling sex act involving Scottish clowns, but a 'secret' sandwich combination available at the wonderous Golden Arches. Oh MaccyD's, where would society be without you? Its creator is unknown to us mere mortals: some speculate he was a College 'Bro' of the highest Bro-order, others that he was a bodybuilder trying to bulk up on the cheap. See, a McGangbang is a double cheeseburger, patties split in twain, and stuffed with an entire McChicken sandwich. Both items were originally on the US Dollar menu and the sandwich cost only $2.16 in total. I suspect that you would struggle to get more calories, 'meat' and minutes taken off your life at such a bargain anywhere else. Sure your HMO may adjust your premiums by a few hundred dollars a year for getting one - but that's for 'Future You' to worry about. Forgettaboutit.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Ribstock 2013: A whole lotta BBQ! We aren't in Kansas anymore.

Now from the title of my blog and if you follow me on twitter, the types of pictures I regularly post, I am a big meat eater. 800g steak, no problem. Rack of ribs and a side of brisket, done. Steaks, pork belly, lamb chops - anything with a heartbeat. I am always drawn the the slow cooked meaty ragu, off-cuts or big, bold meaty dishes in any menu. Naturally then BBQ is a deep abiding love of mine. It hits all the notes that satisfy my cravings, eating truly great BBQ with its flame licked crisp edges, succulent meat and lashings of sauce dripping down your chin, it's as close to a sensual experience with your clothes still on. Plus what sad bastards cook only veggies on a BBQ? Veggie-free zone. Heaven.

When Ribstock 2012 popped up I was only just getting involved with the whole London foodie scene and sadly I was out of London so missed it. This year I was determined to make it but when it was announced I was a little shocked by the price and more so by the fact it was double last year. That said, Tweat-up were upfront and honest with their reasons and we as customers have to respect that ultimately, this is a business. No one likes hosting backyard BBQs for friends only for them to show up with no alcohol and leaving you out of pocket and all the washing up.

Ribstock Crews (Pic courtesy of Mulia)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Homeslice Covent Garden Review: Suprisingly Uncommon

Grabbing a great ‘pie’ - as the Americans call them - in London is about as rare as finding quality Indian food in New York. It’s there, you just can’t find it. There are only a handful of places that can justifiably be said to serve quality pizza in Zone 1. Princi and Rossopomodoro are contenders while out in other Zones, street traders such as Fundi, Well Kneaded and Pizza Pilgrims (often trade in Zone 1 and soon to be at a bricks and mortar site on Dean Street) offer even better options. Sacre Coeur and the ever-expanding Franco Manca valiantly service Zone 2's cheese-related needs.

So why the lack of great pizza parlours in Zone 1? It can’t be an issue of low profitability, pizzas are one of the higher margin products and there are far too many awful slice-microwaving takeaway kiosks in the West End fleecing tired hungry tourists before the Angus Steakhouses could (RIP) for that arguement to hold true. Maybe it’s that people are happy with the tasteless cardboard served out of Pizza Express and Zizzis? Maybe people aren’t fully aware how much better something as simple as a pizza can be? If that's the case maybe it is time for a revolution, I mean you only have to look at burgers for a precedent.

Seating -space at a premium

Hawksmoor Spitalfields: Revamped Bar

The blog has been a bit slack of late, and for those of you that actually read this, I can only apologise. I have however been continuing to eat over the last month (fortunately) and so some reviews will hopefully be winging their way up onto here soon.

Anyway, as for today's post it is for the revamping launch of Hawksmoor's Spitalfield bar found in the dungeon beneath the main restaurant itself. They have also got a new food menu and as is traditional with Hawksmoor, the first month is 50% off food so I duly waddled along to partake in some inevitably meaty treats. On the meat overload I did not disappoint dear readers. Of course this 'review' should be taken with a pinch as it was only the second day of the menu and tweaks will (hopefully) be made. Until then there is the 50% off to offset some sub-par issues.

The Bar