Goodman – Canary Wharf, London

I am currently working in Canary Wharf and decided to try out Goodman one evening.

The thing that really stood out to me as soon as we got there was that the service was great. As you walk in they take your coats to hang up for you and lead you to your table. The waiter then comes to your table and describes the cuts of meat that they have available and can even bring them out for you to see and choose. We knew we wanted a porterhouse (about £8 per 100g) so he told us about what they had and where they were from and gave us his recommendation. He would have even helped us with our choice of wine if we needed, but we already knew what we wanted.

We chose the Scottish 700g porterhouse, truffle chips (£5.50) and creamed spinach with gruyere cheese (£5).

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The steak in The Goodman Restaurants is quite special. They really put a lot of love into the process. They dry-age their meat onsite with a specific temperature and humidity, which gives the meat a more concentrated flavour. When cooking the steak, they have a charcoal and wood oven that they use, which gives the steak a wonderfully smokey flavour. We ordered the steak medium because it was on the bone and it was cooked to perfection with still some pink in the middle which was so tender it melted in your mouth and the outside was smokey and meaty. Divine!

The truffle chips had an earthy flavour to them and beautifully crisp and crunchy. I ate most of the creamed spinach and to me (with my love for cheese) this was perfect. It had a creamy texture yet still had the stringy cheese.

We went on a Tuesday evening so it was a little quieter than I am sure it is towards the end of the week, but most of the tables were still filled, so I would definitely recommend making a reservation.

Definitely one of the best steak houses in London!

http://www.goodmanrestaurants.com/

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Bistrot Bruno Loubet – At the Zetter Hotel, Farringdon, London

Midday one Saturday, Renata and I had a catch up brunch at Bistrot Bruno Loubet in Clerkenwell, which is part of the Zetter Hotel. It is a stunning French Bistro owned by Chef Bruno Loubet who has won many awards for his work. The place has a warm, cozy feeling to it but it is spacious at the same time. Renata and I have been incredibly busy since the end of the summer and so we had loads to catch up on. We had an iced latte as we chatted away about everything we’ve missed.

20131109_123526Renata went of the French Toast with Maple Syrup and Applewood Smoked Bacon (£8). The bacon was a great addition to this dish. The french toast was light and fluffy and the maple syrup was thick and caramel-like and the bacon gave it a smokey flavour and added a bit of salt to the dish. Delicious.

I’m going through a baked egg phase. Yes, its true, I am a little obsessed and will order it whenever I can. I am in love with the poached egg. Now, a baked egg is very similar in texture with its runny yolky middle, but way more exciting in a pan filled with all sorts of wonderful goodness in a tomato base.

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So, I ordered the Shakshouka (£9), which is a baked duck egg with red and yellow peppers, spiced tomato sauce, feta and dukkah all baked in a pan together. It came on its own at first but I asked for some fresh bread, which I used to dip into the yolk and the tomato sauce. It was absolutely stunning and had some amazing flavours that all went very well together.

A great brunch spot!

http://www.bistrotbrunoloubet.com/

http://www.thezettertownhouse.com/events/bistrot-bruno-loubet

Ceviche – Soho, London

I had never tried Peruvian food before and it seems to be quite up and coming in London, so we decided to have check Ceviche out. You can now book at Ceviche, so I definitely recommend doing this because the wait for a table can be around an hour if you come without a booking – which is definitely worth it and you are able to drink some fabulous cocktails at the bar while you wait.

The dishes in Ceviche are small and very flavoursome, so if it your first time trying Peruvian food, I definitely recommend sharing a few dishes. We tried one of every section from the menu – A Classic, a Ceviche, a Salad, and a Skewer.

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The classic dish that we ordered was the flame cooked beef fillet with tomatoes, red onion and proper chips (£13). This was not very adventurous of us but it was a very good steak and the chips were great to dunk into the gravy in the dish.

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Obviously we had to order the ceviche, which is a typical Peruvian dish that is fresh seabass marinated in tiger’s milk and spices and served raw. We chose the Don Ceviche (£8), which is fresh seabass in amarillo chilli tiger’s milk, limo chilli, sweet potato crisps and raw red onions. It had gorgeous fresh flavours and was well spiced.

IMG-20131106-WA0004For the salad we ordered the white quinoa, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, butter beans, corriander, lime, and limo chili vinaigrette (£5.50). This was an delicious concoction that tasted like a mix of quinoa, salsa and guacamole – all of which I am a huge fan of. If I were to come back, I would definitely order just this and the ceviche.

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For the skeweres we had the Pulpo y Chorizo (£11), which was skewers with chorizo and octopus ontop of a bed of black quinoa salad. For me, I felt as though the chorizo overpowered the octopus a little bit, but it was still an interesting one to try. The octopus was soft and tender and along with the black quinoa salad, it was delicious.

Great atmosphere, great cocktails, great food, great service. I definitely recommend a try.

http://cevicheuk.com/

Anna Mae’s Mac and Cheese – Food Stall – London

I am a huge lover of cheese. Cheese just goes with every life moment:

  • A cold wintery evening? Why not have a Racklett or a Fondue night?
  • A warm summery evening? Get that camenbert out and leave it to room temperature then spread it on some bread with some cranberry sauce and a glass of wine!
  • Woken up with a hang over? Get that phone out and call the pizza man for a very large cheesy pizza with breaded and deep fried mozzarella sticks to consume in front of that telly that you will be sat in front of all day.

Anyway, I think you get the point. Cheese is always a great time. Which is why, when the girls and I went to Alexander Palace for the fireworks this year, I got in line for Anna Mae’s cheesy mac and cheese. It is basically a pimped up Southern American Mac and Cheese and if you are too, a cheese lover, then this will be a little piece of heaven in a bowl for you.

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Nat, Tash, Charlotte and I all went for the Don Macarroni (£6), which is Anna Mae’s very cheesy mac and cheese (made up of  Sharp Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella) topped with bacon, pesto and basil. Emma had the one with sour cream and jalepenos, which also looked pretty good. For me it was all about that delicious sauce that covered the elbow macarroni – the three cheeses were a brilliant idea – perfect mixture of stringy and saucey.

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These were thoroughly enjoyed by all of us before the fireworks, which were also pretty amazing. Great belly warmer for this icy, windy, wintery weather.

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To find out where else Anna Mae’s cheesy stall is going to be next, please check out: http://anna-maes.com/

Bahn Mi Bay – A Vietnamese in Holborn

So, I am writing for a new food magazine called “Good Things”, which launches at the end of the year (so keep your eyes peeled for this!). We had a mini team meeting last month with just myself, Meena, Alice, and Courtney – obviously there was food and drink involved.20131016_213438We went to Bahn Mi Bay, which is a Vietnamese restaurant near Holborn and Chancery Lane. The restaurant had a very French rustic chic feel to it.

We decided on sharing a number of starters and a number of mains between us. I am a true believer of sharing dishes, maybe this comes from growing up in Indonesia and being half Chinese – we Asians love to share. It means we get to try more!

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We started with Banh Mi Thit Heo Nuong (£4.95) to share, which was the “in” thing this spring 2013 – popping up all over London from the very trendy Soho, the City for people to eat at lunch, and even in the sandwich francise EAT. The Banh Mi is a baguette that is filled with pickled carrot and mooli, sliced cucumber, coriander, fresh chilli and a choice of a main baguette filling – we chose the grilled pork. The bread was crisp of the outside and the Vietnamese flavours of BBQ meat and fish sauce on the inside went very well together.

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We obviously ordered the Summer Rolls, as it is my favourite. We tried out the Bi Cuon (£4.40), which is shredded caramel pork, rice vermicelli, lettuce and Vietnamese herbs wrapped in rice paper and served with nuoc mam (fish sauce with chili) dipping sauce. Very different from the usual prawn filling and hoi sin dipping sauce that I usually order. It had a different flavour to it and the pork very much over-powered it compared to what we were used to. I would definitely stick to the prawn summer rolls next time.

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We tried the Nem Nuong (£7), which are a grilled Vietnamese pork meat ball that is served with rice vermicelli noodles and salad and rice paper wraps for your to wrap up together yourself and dip in a peanut and hoi sin sauce. We didn’t do the wrapping, but we did eat the meatballs which tasted very much like the mediterranean kebab meatballs. Wonderfully flavoursome.

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And finally, we had Cha Gio (£4.50), a Vietnamese Sping Roll that is filled with fried pork and prawn and wrapped in a tofu based skin and there is lettuce to wrap up the roll and the nuoc mam sauce to dip. The outside was beautifully crisp and browned and the inside was soft and piping hot and again, full of flavour.

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Then the mains came. And yes, we did have pho (pronouced FUR). We had the original Bo Tai Pho (£7.50), which is the rare beef that is placed on the noodles right before the boiling hot beef broth is poured over to cook it. The broth of a pho is always my favourite bit – everyone makes theirs differently depending on what extra sauces and spices they decide to put into it. It is a great dish for the winter weather.
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And of course we had Bun (pronouced BOON) – we chose the Thit Heo Bun (£7.50), which is covered with a lovely chargrilled garlic pork. This had a wonderful taste of summer to it with the layers of salad on the bottom, then the vermicelli noodles and then the chargrilled pork on the top. You pour the chili and fish sauce mixture into the bowl and then mix it all up to make a delicious noodle salad and the chargrilled pork gives it a wonderful flavour of a summer bbq.
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The last noodle dish we got was a stir fried flat rice noodle with seasonal vegetables and chicken (£7), which is called Hu Tieu Xao and is very similar to the Chinese Ho Fun noodles.
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As Alice is more of a rice lover than a noodle lover, we also got some rice with chargrilled satay chicken – Ga Sate Nuong (£7.50). The chicken for the satay was cooked perfectly and not dry at all – which is what I worry about when I order chicken in restaurants.
The service was great and the waitress was very helpful and the food was good. I would definitely recommend for a dinner after work if you work around the area. And apparently they do great cocktails as well! Tables were filled up and it was a good atmosphere.
Watch out for the Good Things magazine!

Caravan at Kings Cross – Sunday Brunching

Caravan is the talk of the London Town for its brunches – so I decided to arrange a mini high school get-together for brunch one Sunday morning. There was Maria, Sadia, Keith, Jason, Tom and Claire. You cannot book and so we got there at 12noon, put our names down, and then sat outside with a coffee while we waited for our table. About 40minutes later, one coffee down and a decent amount of catching up, our table was ready.

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The atmostphere was great – all the tables were full and it was buzzing inside. The decor is very minimal and it looks like an old warehouse space.

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A few of us ordered Bloody Mary’s. I got mine extra spicy and it was exactly what I needed. Our orders took a little while to come but it was expected with the amount of customers that they had and we were very happy chattering away with each other that I didn’t even notice.

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Everything on the menu made my mouth water but in the end I decided to go for the poached eggs, aubergine puree, yoghurt, sumac, parsley, grain toast and soutsouki sausage £9. Claire had the same. This was a delicious concoction, which I would have never thought of putting together. It had a very Mediteranian flavour to it.

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Maria had the baked eggs, tomato pepper ragout, Greek yoghurt, toast £7.50 and some spinach on the side £3, which was great to dipping the toast into. It tasted very Spanish. Jason and Keith had the same but with chorizo £9.50 instead of spinach, which gave it a bit of a kick.

Sadia had a crab meat omlette, which had some very Japanese flavours to it with its Japanese wasabi mayonnaise, stirfried vegetables, sesame seeds that decorated the top of it. And Tom had smoked salmon with poached eggs – a classic in the brunching world.

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Then we finished off the meal with a coffee. I had one of their daily menu of filtered coffee £2 – which happened to be one from Kenya that day. They came with a very cute milk bottle on the side, which reminds me of when I was younger and the milk man would bring our milk to our doorstep in those glass pints.

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Overall the food was definitely worth all the waiting. If you are looking for something a little different for brunch, this is your place.

http://www.caravankingscross.co.uk/