Friday, 13 September 2013

Sushi at Atari-Ya

Sushi has taken great strides in the food universe. In the past, people wouldn't dare go near any raw fish because of how it would taste and also how it looked aesthetically. Admittedly when I was younger the thought of eating sushi wouldn't go down with me either. But now I cant get enough of it and only a minutes walk from Bond Street station lies a tiny sushi bar called Atari-Ya. After walking past it a few times and seeing how busy it always was, I decided to go there with a friend to check it out.

Its a very small place and it runs like a cafĂ© rather than a restaurant with only a few tables and chairs.
As soon as you walk in you immediately notice the chefs preparing sushi for customers behind the bar.

In terms of the menu they have a wide and reasonable choice of sushi to choose from and it is at very good prices especially for London.

They serve an abundance of fish which are prepared in different ways such as Sashimi, nigiri, maki etc.

I ordered the following:
  • Fatty tuna oshinko (oshinko is a Japanese radish)
  • Black cod roll
  • Fatty tuna nigiri
  • Salmon sashimi
  • Miso soup

It was disappointing to see that the miso soup was served in a paper coffee cup but that aside the sushi was lovely.
The fish was fresh and full of flavour. The rolls had the right amount of pickle and gave off a subtle heat.

We were still very hungry and decided to order another round of different sushi's. I might add there were dishes that we wanted to try but unfortunately they had run out of the products.

Our second round of sushi consisted of:

  • Spicy tuna roll
  • Snow crab leg nigiri
  • White tuna nigiri
  • Yellow tail nigiri

The tuna wasn't that spicy at all but the snow crab was meaty and succulent. I was a bit disappointed with the white tuna as it lacked flavour.

Atari-Ya is a sweet little place and the food there is of a high standard. Ok, admittedly, it was a bit hit and miss but if you go to places like Yo Sushi, it is what it is, (which is by no means negative) but if you like sushi at affordable prices and willing to be more adventurous, then this place is suited for you.

Don't be scared or put off by the strange names as some of them are fantastic and hey even if you don't like some of the sushi at least you tried them.


Just a quick blog for you guys.

I went for drinks the other night with a friend and we went to this really cool pub called the Pontefract Castle located just behind Bond Street which had a great selection of beers, ciders etc.

Behind the bar I noticed that they had some beer snacks and there was one that caught my eye which was the "Crispy Pork Belly". I love my pork scratchings and I always have a pack or two when I go out and for just under £5 I thought why not. Oh how I was wrong.

It was such an epic fail and almost embarrassing. When I order something that is described as crispy I'm expecting it to be just that. This snack however was far from it. It was still soft and the pork was unseasoned and had no flavour at all. The texture was as if it had been covered in cling film sweating away all day. To top it all off and add insult to injury, the pork was accompanied with a ready made apple sauce from out of a jar.

I felt cheated and robbed and that snack could have paid for another pint. I'm not saying I'm expecting top notch stuff here but come on if you're going to put something on the menu then you've got to make it specifically to what it says.

"The Crispy Pork Belly"

So if you ever pop into the Pontefract Castle just keep away from the infamous pork belly and spend your money on another drink.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Burger at Blacks + "THE BEAST"

There are a lot of burger restaurants that people regularly visit such as Lobster and Burger, Five Guys and Gourmet Burger Kitchen. However in a small part of Croydon lies a restaurant called Burger at Blacks. The restaurant perhaps is probably best known for selling "Europe's biggest burger" but I wanted to visit the restaurant not only because I was intrigued by this claim to fame but because I genuinely heard damn good things about the place.

The restaurant is run with a lot of passion and the owner takes pride in the fact that his burgers are made with the freshest ingredients such as crisp lettuce, plump ripened juicy tomatoes and high quality black angus beef.

In terms of the menu Burger at Blacks offers a wide range of options. Click on the link below

The Triple X burger

I eat for England so naturally without hesitation I went for the Triple X which contained 3 beef patties with triple the amount of bacon and cheddar cheese topped with onion rings. To aid me with my monster of a burger I went for a rich luxurious toffee milkshake. Nowadays I don't care much for calories. Life's too short for that shizz. 
One bite into the burger the meat just crumbled. It was juicy, meaty and had bags of flavour. The cheese melted all over the patty and crispy bacon.

The Beast

A month later I asked some of my friends to come and join me to visit Burger at Blacks, not for a meal but for a challenge, a challenge that Adam Richman would rub his hands together and jump for excitement.

The Beast lives up to its name. Many people have taken on this mother and failed. This challenge is not for the faint hearted but if you're in a group of four, consider doing it. 

WARNING!!!! AVOID THE PUB AT ALL COSTS. My friends and I had a few too many and it all went downhill from there.

The Beast contains the following:
  • 7lb Prime Black Angus Beef
  • Half lb Mature Cheddar
  • 7 Rashes Streaky Smoky Bacon
  • 1 Whole Lettuce
  • 7 Whole Tomatoes
  • 1lb Chunky Chips
  • 1 Full size Milkshake – 2 Scoops of 100% Dairy Ice Cream

The Beast next to a normal sized burger

We were doomed from the start. Like I mentioned earlier drinking alchol didn't help but just by looking at it we were put off even more. The sheer scale of it was immense and nothing like I have seen before. As a group we tried everything from taking it turns to eating the chips to dousing the bread in mustard and ketchup. Not only that having a thick milkshake between the four of us really didn't help the cause.

In the end (as you probably can tell by my plate below) we didn't overcome The Beast but I must give a special mention to my friend Alex, who was the only one in the group that finished his plate and ate his quarter of the burger.

There you have it FoodPunkers, Burger at Blacks is a place you should definitely check out whether its a simple date night with your partner or just having a bite to eat with your friends. Its reasonably priced, the staff are very welcoming and hospitable and more importantly the food is great. Even tackling The Beast is worth a shot and not to mention a great laugh whether you fail or not.
The restaurant has been very successful that the owners have now opened another one in Epsom.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Spanish Tapas - Visiting Barrafina

Barrafina is a lovely, vibrant tapas restaurant. In the afternoon and evening the place delivers freshly made tapas straight to order. Chefs prepare dishes from charcuterie to seafood right in front of your eyes. 

Depending on what time you arrive at the restaurant you may have to wait to be seated. The restaurant does not take bookings, however, just to get you in the mood a waiter will offer you light bites and drinks. Believe me it is worth the wait.


The menu offers an array of tapas including para picar, Spanish cold meat, tortilla, vegetables and salads, seafood, meat and dessert. Just click on the link below to check it out

The pan con tomates is simplicity at its best. Its juicy, its sweet and the olive oil they use is out of this world. It adds a whole new dimension and the hint of garlic gives it that extra boost.

Everyone loves deep fried food. These delicious golden spheres are ham and cheese croquettes. The crunchy outer shell with the gooey melted cheese with chunks of ham embedded in the middle is a marriage made in heaven.  Two is not enough and if you still have room for one more order of tapas, these bad boys are definitely worth another round.


The tuna tartar is a must for any fish lover. It just melts in your mouth and it is served with a smooth guacamole puree. The tuna is marinated in citrus juices and sesame oil to help cut through the richness.

When you think of Spanish meat, the first thing that pops into your head is chorizo and believe me the chorizo at Barrafina is lovely packing so much flavour and the potatoes underneath just takes in all that precious oil.

The ham and spinach tortilla is an exceptional dish. As soon as you cut into the thick well seasoned potatoes runny yolk oozes out everywhere.


The belly of pork is one of Barraina's specials. It is served with a smooth velvetey celeriac puree accompanied with rosemary jus. The pork is cooked to perfection. Its tender, moist and just shreds as soon as you pick at it. If you get a chance to order a special make the most of the suckling pig. That was my first choice but it sold out. Oh well maybe next time.

Barrafina is undoubtedly one of London's top tapas restaurants. From the ambience to the service and more importantly the food it was perfect. In my opinion I think it just pips Salt Yard. It's rapidly becoming a popular place to visit and a lot of well known chefs are raving on about it. 
For two people without ordering wine you are looking at around £50 for the whole experience.

Introduction to Food Punk

Hi Everyone

My names Joe. Yes that's me the mad quirky dude below.

I'm currently plying my trade as a chef but recently I've been getting into food writing and going out learning more about food itself and therefore decided to put this into practice.

The whole idea about creating FoodPunk is not only to help improve my writing but more importantly to share my adventures and showcase my experience in the world of food whether its eating out at local or top London restaurants or visiting markets and delicatessens.

Hopefully by advertising my experiences, you as a reader will go out, visit and support these peoples businesses whilst having an enjoyable time.

I hope that you enjoy following me on the start of this exciting journey which I promise will get more fun as time goes on.