Wednesday, 23 September 2015

There's A New Bird In Town

Jackdaw jazz café is fast becoming one of those places that people are talking about and so they should.
Already starting to make a name for itself, the chefs at Jackdaw champion top of the range British produce and turn it into quite simply, stunning food.
The brains behind it all is Josh Dallaway, a person who is down to earth, full of confidence and undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him. This is his first head chef role and being told by the man himself that its a bit "rough round the edges", it certainly didn't show.
Alongside Josh, helping him in the kitchen is Joe Allen, another talented chef with a big future as well. Both of these guys have given Clapton a little piece of food heaven.
I popped into the restaurant on Monday evening, on the first day of the new menu. I didn't know what to expect and admittedly didn't look into the menu beforehand. But hey going into the unknown and not knowing what to expect can be a good thing right? Well in this case it certainly was.
The weather was crap and that winter feeling was starting to creep up on me. No one likes a Monday and I for one bloody hate that whole waking up in the dark and going home in the dark. So what better way to lift my spirits up then to check out Jackdaw alongside my brother from another mother Alex Reid.
Being a Jazz joint as well as a restaurant, it's the perfect place to unwind and relax especially with huge comfy sofas around.
So what about the food? Well in typical FoodPunk fashion (and hanging out with Alex) we ordered everything off the menu and it was probably the best decision especially with those bad boy prices. You really can't complain.
Just to get the taste buds going, we started smashing some awesome smoked ham croquettes (you cant' ever go wrong with croquettes) served with gribiche and padron peppers with smoked sea salt. Eating those gorgeous peppers took me right back to when I was in Barcelona and eating them by the bucket load.
 I was also tempted to get more croquettes but I had to discipline myself because of the amount of food that was about to come.
 When it came to the bigger plates, every dish that came out had its own unique character and not one of them outweighed the other. It was memorable to say the least and it just got better and better.
Take the meat side of things for example, the Onglet was perfectly cooked, still red in the middle with a fat juicy king oyster mushroom to join the party and tiny florets of cauliflower sprinkled around.
As for the chicken, it was mouth watering and just had bags of flavour in it and not only that you know you're onto a winner when the skin is all golden and crispy.
 If you're a massive fish lover, you've gotta order the cured mackerel with the heritage tomatoes. The consommé that came along with it heightened that dish and took it to a whole new level. The flavours were fresh and clean and I could have drunk litres of that consommé.
As for the plaice, for ten pounds you're really getting a bargain. On the bone, the flesh just flaked away and just like the chicken was juicy as anything.
 Jackdaw's vegetable and vegetarian dishes are to die for and for any parent that's struggling to get their kids to eat their sprouts at dinner time, then look no further than to take a leaf out of restaurants book.
They also serve tender heritage beetroots and the sweetness from them works so well with the saltiness of the soft crumbly stilton.
The gnocchi dish was a real highlight as it just had all the flavours working in harmony with each other. There was sharpness from the lemons, saltiness from the parmesan with the sage coming through to join the fun.
So there you have it FoodPunkers after two hours of non stop eating and drinking, I left feeling more than satisfied and content. I left with a huge smile on my face and going to the restaurant got rid of my Monday blues.  If you haven't heard of Jackdaw before reading this, you do now and lets be honest judging by those colourful eye catching pictures you'll certainly be going. And I think I'll have to agree with their sign, Clapton now has a hidden gem.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Rök Out

Smoking food is fast becoming a massive trend in and around London and Rök in Shoreditch is taking it to a whole new level.

The restaurant takes its name from the Swedish word smoke (makes sense) and it gives quality British ingredients the Nordic treatment.

Led by Matt Young, a down to earth and super talented chef, Rök is creating and smashing out dishes like there is no tomorrow and to be honest that's no surprise as the food there is at its very best.

Their meat is supplied by the famous Cobble Lane Cured in Islington and from there, Matt and his team produce some pretty tasty treats. For example, you definitely need to sample their bad boy quail scotch eggs. But its no any ordinary scotch egg, its meat is made from Nduja pork, a spicy sausage meat which instantly hits you with its warm heat.
Keeping with the Ndjua spice, you've got to try the scallops. They are absolutely banging and the scallops themselves take in all of that spice and heat.


 As I mentioned earlier the meat is supplied from Cobble Lane so its a no brainer diving into the restaurants charcuterie selection made up of thinly sliced chorizo, salami and prosciutto. As soon as the meat touches your tongue, it just melts away.

And the fun doesn't stop there ladies and gentlemen, Rök serves a whole host of delightful gems such as the mouth watering sous vide duck with a slightly tart lingonberry and bacon jam as well as tender
pork which gets finished off in the kitchens custom made grill giving it its unique character.

Rök also serves up an array of amazing pickles served in eye catching kiln jars. For me the wild mushroom and beetroot pickles is a must. Its sweetness, sharpness and saltiness leaves you wanting more and more. Not only that its fresh and clean to the pallet, perfect for those waiting for their mains.

I don't go to restaurants without ordering sides and you would be a fool not to. Rök's bone marrow mash with garlic and parsley has bags of flavour and its refreshing to see the team mash the potato with its skin, besides that's where the flavours at. If you love your cheese, the cauliflower cheese with beef dust and almonds will leave you speechless. The cauliflower is drowned in awesome gooey cheese and the beef dust and almonds gives it that added crunch as well as heightening the simple flavours.

So there you have it peeps, if you want a bit of Rök 'N' Roll at dinner time, then Rök is the place to be. You will not leave disappointed. Oh and just a bit of advice, its best to book so that you avoid any sort of disappointment. Rök on people!