Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Bobby Chinn And His House of Hoes ;)

The House of Ho is a fantastic Asian restaurant owned by the popular and boisterous Bobby Chinn. Located in Old Compton street in famous Soho, the restaurant is ever growing in popularity and gaining more and more recognition for the delicious food it produces.

I first saw Bobby on Sunday brunch and his colourful, likeable character immediately caught my attention. The way he cooks is so simple yet effective. He's full of passion and it's great to see him promote Asian food to a wider audience showing how fresh, simple and tasty the cuisine can be. Not only is he a fantastic cook, but he is also one hell of a funny guy, always having a joke here and there, not afraid to take the mick out of other chefs (obviously in a light hearted way).

Food punk with Bobby Chinn (excuse the photo bomb from the guy at the back )

When he first spoke of his restaurant I knew I immediately had to go and check it out for myself and it was definitely one of the best dining experiences I've had.

I went in thinking that his restaurant would reflect the kind of person he is, but boy was I wrong. I thought it would be a loud, hustle and bustle kind of environment. Instead it was cosy, sophisticated and had that high end look to it. You would definitely go to this restaurant if you wanted to impress your spouse. Not only that but his restaurant has history. It occupies the former site of The 2 i's coffee bar, otherwise known as the Birthplace of British Rock'n'Roll and the modern pop industry. The 'Rock'n'roll Wall' has been preserved and maintained inside The House of Ho.

So what about the food?

The House of Ho offers a wide range of Asian cuisine including rolls, salads, steamed, grilled, braised and wok tossed all inspired by Bobby's background in Vietnamese cooking. All of the dishes on the menu are great for sharing around which means its a great opportunity to sample a little bit of everything off the menu and that's exactly what I did. Click below to see the menu.

 Here's what I had:

Wok tossed grass fed angus fillet marinated in lemon grass

Pickled vegetables rolls (herbs & rice noodles served with a peanut sauce)

Crispy Vietnamese 7 spice marinated squid

Pork cheeks braised in Ho's spice blend (very sorry about the picture quality)

Smokey aubergine in a warm scallion vinaigrette, scallions and crispy shallots

Vegetable curry, cellophane noodles, paddy herbs and chopped peanuts

Jasmine steamed rice

I thought all of the dishes were awesome. They were all perfectly balanced , light, clean and had bags of flavour.

If I had to pick a favourite dish it would have to be the pork cheeks. The meat was tender and just fell off with the slightest touch of the fork. Also the broth reminded me of a dish that I had in Malaysia called Bah kut teh. It was fragrant and flavoursome and it really gave the pork a different dimension.

The one dish that really surprised me was the smoked aubergine as it just melted in the mouth almost like a puree . The smokiness wasn't overpowering and I could definitely taste the natural flavour of the aubergine cutting through it.

The House of Ho is a restaurant that I will go to on a regular basis. The prices are affordable, the service is spot on, the food is bloody fantastic and Bobby himself is a top dude. His restaurant is a fantastic place to go if you're planning a date night or having a group night out. Its for everyone and I highly recommend it if you're looking for Asian food with an edge.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

FoodPunk At Work Part 2

Hi everyone, last week my colleagues and I had a tasting for the new menu at work. Below are some pictures of the dishes that we did. I hope you like them.

FoodPunk ready for action

New dishes


Cornish Mackerel tartare, compressed cucumber, horseradish shoots, lemon gel, black garlic

Chicken noodle soup, burnt sweetcorn, choi sum, lotus root

Liquorice cured salmon, avocado puree, mascarpone powder, caviar salt, crispy skin, popcorn shoots

Butternut squash Agnotti, sage brown butter, trompettes, Barkham blue foam

Me on the left and my sous chef on the right cooking


Aberdeen Angus sirloin, tartiflette, kale, shallot, oxtail doughnut
Red Mullet, soft shell crab, mussel, Kerala spiced broth, saffron aioli, toasted coconut bubbles, batata vada
Burnt toffee venison, clapshot, haggis, wild nettles, granola
Salted roasted celeriac, ceps, young leeks, truffle gougere, vegetable fond
Salt marsh lamb rump, ginger goats curd, polenta, wild shoots, gentleman's relish

The next set of photos are the desserts and I think my good friend at work Courtney Gwatkin should get mentioned as she's the pastry chef who designed this part of the menu. Her hard work and creativity produced awesome dishes. Check these beauties out!

From top to bottom we have:
  1. Spiced apple crumble and vanilla ice cream
  2. Blood orange torte, passion fruit gel, white chocolate sauce, pineapple confit
  3. Textures of rhubarb
  4. Bergamot parfait, orange jelly, liquorice cream
  5. Chocolate fondant, beetroot & blackcurrant puree, lavender milk

After two and a half hours of non stop cooking this happened.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

The Jugged Hare in Barbican

Before I talk about this awesome pub/restaurant this is how it went down.

January is the month where everyone struggles with their finances and I am no exception, yet I still manage to get by. I say get by, it's my best friend the credit card who comes up with the goods to bail me out.

So a few days before pay day and the day before a work tasting menu, I perhaps foolishly met up with Alex knowing what the outcome was going to be, drinking gallons of beer, eating lavish food and spending a (insert swear word) load of money that I didn't have. However I hadn't seen Alex since the day before new years and a good catch up was in order, so naturally we were going to go to a few pubs and drink a few pints.
 Besides I had a long day at work and I definitely needed to neck a pint. The restaurant was booked at about half six and we met around four, so that's two and a half hours worth of drinking and knowing Alex that meant fifty pints would be consumed. People who know Alex knows that this dude drinks like an effing machine. We were in our element as we were drinking in what is perhaps our new favourite pub, The Seven Stars. Guys and dolls let me tell you right now that this pub is the bees knees. Great beer, great collection of books (my personal favourite, Tequila Mockingbird) and moreover a great menu. I haven't sampled the food, but come on, to serve chicken and barley soup and chicken and barley stew on the same menu is creative and ballsy. 

Anyways before I start going off in a tangent, The Seven Stars is now my new den and hiding place.
After running a reasonable tab on my credit card, Alex and I set off to another pub/restaurant that he recommended did awesome food. Yes ladies and gentlemen this is what the article is all about, The Jugged Hare in the Barbican area. Can I just say walking there is horrendous especially on a cold winter night and that google maps tells lies. But anyways we made it to the restaurant gearing ourselves up for some tasty food.

It was a lovely restaurant from top to bottom and we were probably under dressed seeing that its a place filled with men that look like Patrick Bateman but that doesn't really matter. What matters was how good the food and service was.
The Jugged Hare bases its menu mostly on game that they get from North Yorkshire but obviously if you're not a fan of game meats, there are other dishes to suit your taste.

Having an open kitchen really gives the restaurant a real buzz knowing that the chefs behind the pass are cooking everything to order, with lots of dedication and passion. Not to mention as well that they can show off their state of the art rotisserie and charcoal grill.

 The one thing I love when hanging out with Alex is that he's just like me. Order big, eat big.

To start we had wild boar croquettes and Cornish sprats with Tartare sauce. Both were delicious and set the rest of the meal up nicely. The sprats were ginormous, the croquettes had proper chunks of meat inside and the two sauces to go with them were perfect. No messing around with these bad boys and they were devoured in no time.

What followed was our starters, "sizzling" queenie scallops and chorizo and roast whole snipe, lentils, chanterelles, seared foie gras and game jus. Again both were fantastic dishes and the chorizo gave the scallops a real kick. I've never had Snipe before but it had a real pungent flavour.

Before I go onto the mains I went downstairs and all of a sudden a boozy young man points to me and said to his mate "It's Nick, It's Nick!, oh wait, it's not Nick".
I've encountered this a few times when going out, but can I ask do I really look like Nick Grimshaw? I really don't see it myself.

Anyways back to the food and the mains were banging. Top notch dishes executed very well. I had rare rib eye with triple cooked chips, cauliflower cheese, rotisserie gravy and green peppercorn sauce.

The steak was juicy, succulent, bloody and so easy to cut into. I drowned that behemoth with both of my sauces. It was FoodPunk heaven.
The cauliflower cheese was gooey, soft, rich and creamy and if I could I would have ordered another portion.

Alex had a whole bird roasted served with traditional garnish of game chips, liver pate, savoy cabbage and game jus. An old classic really and he tucked into it.

By the end of it, we were comfortably full.  We had everything from deep fried to roasted to cheesy dishes with lots of sauces and jus to go with them.
I would highly recommend this place if you're in the area. The service was impeccable and the food and drink is produced to a very high standard. It definitely gets the FoodPunk thumbs up.