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Thursday, 1 June 2017
Visually stunning its hard not to be in awe of the St Pancras hotel where in the last few years or so has undergone a spectacular renovation.
Playing a major part in it's renaissance, Michelin star chef Marcus Wareing has created a restaurant that is utterly stunning yet flawless and effortless. This my friends is the Gilbert Scott.
The Gilbert Scott offers diners a unique, personal experience creating and providing extraordinary plates of food whilst offering a sophisticated, classy service. And shock horror I did not walk in with ripped jeans, a T-shirt, having my tattoos on show.
The area itself is just as impressive. Huge windows, dominating pillars and moreover a stunning looking bar speaks for itself mixing it's historical, authentic, traditional style with twenty first century class and if you really want to pull out on all the stops, a chefs table is available to see the chefs in action.
There's nothing pretentious about the food. Head chef Ben Howes and his team aren't playing around with a ridiculous number of elements on a plate, where what you read on the menu is what you get and better yet, they're celebrating seasonal ingredients.
We had a set menu from starters to desserts and like every top restaurant we were treated to a cheeky amuse bouche with Ben creating a tantalising, creamy wild garlic soup with whipped soft goats cheese on a cracker to compliment it. Delicious and moreish, I could have drunk a huge bowl.
Starter wise, a meaty fishcake with a slow cooked poached egg and a naughty fragrant coconut curry sauce is as good as any I've eaten and having that yolk burst out of it's bubble made this dish even more mouth watering - a sight to be seen.
If only this was a more casual place that I'm use to going to, I would have gone to town on the pork. I just wanted to grab hold of that chop and pick off every little bit of the crispy fat. On a bed of crunchy cabbage, spiced chorizo and a sweet prune puree, it's a winner. For the grandstand finish Gilbert Scott's smooth, velvety chocolate cremeux with a cool, refreshing orange sorbet delivers.
This is a restaurant that consistently produces the goods and being situated right by the terminus, the Gilbert Scott can show how far Britain has come to all those who visit here and why we're leading the way on the food front.
|Wild Garlic Soup|
|Fish Cake, Coconut Curry, Slow Cooked Egg|
|Cumbrian Pork, Prune, Cabbage & Chorizo|
|Chocolate Cremeux, Orange Sherbert|
Monday, 29 May 2017
Bun House isn't your usual restaurant. In fact I wouldn't really call it a restaurant but more of a pit stop, takeaway type tea room. There's a few chairs and tables around on the main floor with a quick service counter, stacked high with huge Chinese steamer baskets. But if you want to sip tea all day with a more laid back ambience, downstairs will offer that alternative.
Don't compare Bun House to Bao as it's totally different. For a start these buns aren't the open kind - Bun House produce the Cantonese style. Yes they have the same fluffy texture but these bad boys are closed - all steamed to order and made fresh in house.
Only popping in for a quick bite to eat to fill the hole we ordered a few buns with a bunch of sides with a variety of fillings to choose ranging from meat, fish, veg and a few sweet buns thrown in as well ( I hear the pigs blood is a must try).
The chicken bun strangely works with smooth pate coating bits of thigh marinated in miso whereas the veg bun is filled with earthy flavours from the wild mushrooms and water chestnuts.
However it's not just all about the buns, I highly recommend the house fries too. No, it's not the potato kind - deep fried duck tongues, crispy and moreish, they're a revelation and it all comes with crunchy, gelatinous cartilage and bone, just how I like it.
It's also worth noting that the pickled shallots and lightly salted lotus root crisps are just as good, that's if you're not into eating tongues but again trust me, they're absolutely worth ordering.
Don't expect a full on meal at Bun House. It's so cheap and it's ideal for those in a hurry as well as for theatre goers and the bonus is that its open until late. I'm going back to try the red choc bun made out of pigs blood.
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
If someone said to me a few years ago Lewisham would be the place to go for food, my response would have been "really"?. But that's all changed now because Lewisham is going through a massive renaissance and redevelopment. Not only has the area got its very own Street Feast (Model Market) with the likes of Mama's Jerk and Mother Clucker keeping people happy but there's now a restaurant, Sparrow, that beckons to be the word on the streets of South East London.
Don't be fooled by the shabby exterior of this place - they've only just moved in. Sparrow means business and with their people coming from various respectable restaurant backgrounds - St John's, The Square, Pollen St. Social to name but a few, you can expect this joint to only get better and go places. It's casual, sleek and the vibe is cool as with an open kitchen producing the goods.
As for the menu, Sparrow aims to bring the best out of local and seasonal ingredients as well as to not be pigeon-holed into a particular cuisine. Moreover it's all about the sharing of plates and getting stuck in.
We went for five dishes starting immediately with the bruschettas-a duo of mushroom duxelle and courgette- perhaps a tad small but taking nothing away from it, it's delicious. We even ordered them twice.
Meat wise try the pork and anchovy relish coated in umami finished with crispy shallots. Not only is it rich and has bags of flavour, mix it with the oozing yolk from the soft boiled egg .
The grilled lamb leg is a winner. Tender pieces of sliced meat, beans underneath soaking up all of the meaty juices and parlsey leaves dressed with capers and lemon- it's a wise choice for the spring and summer months.
Unfortunatley there's not a lot of choice for vegetarians but the creamy green risotto laced with a ton of herb oil, accompanied with a soft mild goats cheese and finished with toasted hazelnuts will please the masses.
If that wasn't enough an order of the crab came along and with no regrets, was demolshed in no time. Spread it thickly on the sourdough with the parsley butter, it's yummy stuff.
With Lewisham becoming more gentrified, Sparrow will undoubtedly become a success story and it's places like this that will hopefully inspire resturanteurs and budding foodies alike in the area to follow in its footsteps. For now lets hope Lewisham holds onto this little gem.
|Bruschettas Of Mushroom and Courgette Trifolati|
|Soft Boiled Eggs, Pork and Anchovy Relish, Crispy Shallots|
|Grilled Lamb Leg, Lemon and Parsley Salad|
|Green Risotto, Hazelnut Crumb, Goats Cheese|
|White Crab, Parsley Butter, Sourdough Toast|
Thursday, 20 April 2017
For a period of time the team behind the place has opened it's doors to a wider audience setting up shop at an Italian restaurant - San Daniele. You may be forgiven to think you've rocked up to the wrong restaurant with it's traditional Italian décor and retro table cloths but the hustle and bustle and the pungent aromas of the Far East certainly tells a different story.
There are a few elements to the menu that is similar to Som Saa (see FoodPunk Visits) but that is by no means a bad comparison to make and I am definitely not saying that Farang are copy cats, far from it. It should be deservedly mentioned in the same breath as the East London joint bringing a little healthy competition to the table.
Starting with the small plates we ordered a selection of vegetarian and meat options. Tender, juicy bits of onglet accompanied with a roasted chilli sauce was fiery, pungent and equally delicious as was the vegetarian alternative to the Prawn Miang bites. We got our hands messy (well I did), rolled them up and shoved it in one hit. It's the best way, trust me.
Being a greedy bugger I just had to go one extra by not ordering just one large plate but two, noticing that the crispy sea bass was a special. Seriously you would be mad not to order a whole bloody fish especially as it turned a few heads when it arrived at my table. That dish as well as the soft, melt in your mouth coconut beef cheek curry is on par with Som Saa's. Full of intense flavours and spices, it was a joy to eat and yes nothing was wasted. I even tucked into my girlfriend's vegetarian green curry - just as aromatic, loud and tasty as my plates.
|Grilled Onglet, Roast Chilli Jaew|
|Yellow Bean & Asian Vegetable Crispy Won Tons, Burnt Chilli Sauce|
|Braised Beef Cheeks|
|Crispy Sea Bass|
|Vegetable Green Curry|
Farang has all the right characteristics for being a long term success. It might not be in the most "hip" of all areas i.e. East London, but the menu will surely entice any budding foodie. This won't be the last time you hear or read about Farang as big things beckons for the gang.
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
Cheese, oh glorious cheese. FoodPunkers who doesn't like getting their filthy chops around the stuff? I know I do. The more stronger and gooey it is the better and the cheese bar is on hand to make all your cheesy dreams come true.
First things first, the price. Now it could put some of you off because you're going to think do I want to pay up to seven pounds for a grilled cheese sandwich?. Well in my opinion you'd be a fool not to. This isn't the Cereal Killer Café where you're going to paying over the odds for a bowl of cereal which is exactly what I stupidly did (someone slap me please). No, this place is far more serious as cheese is a whole lot better than shitty American brands of wheat in a bowl. It's a no brainer.
|Queso Chihuahua, Chorizo, Jalapeno Salsa|
|Rosary Goats Cheese, Honey, Walnut, Rosemary Butter|
Whilst on the subject of the grilled cheese sandwich, let me tell you it is worth every penny and bite. We tucked into a few including the chorizo which was embedded in a queso Chihuahua (soft white cheese), accompanied with a spicy jalapeno salsa. The other bad boy we ordered was the creamy goats cheese topped with sweet honey, walnuts and a lush rosemary butter. The Veggie crew will be all over that one.
Of course the bar offers other alternatives other than their famous grilled cheeses. Their small dishes will bring smiles to many and it's best to order a good amount because there are some tasty plates on offer.
The short rib poutine with its home-made skin on fries, drowned in a rich dark bacon gravy, topped with flakes of short-rib, crispy onions and stringy cheese is a must.
Perhaps for us, our favourite was the Marmite Malakoff. If you're one of the hate it members of Marmite, unlucky, because this sexy ball of cheese is smothered in the stuff. Cutting that golden brown crunchy sphere and seeing that lava of cheese ooze out is a sight to be seen. Absolute heaven and not only that it's bloody delicious.
So put that ordinary cheese on toast you made down and head over to the cheese bar to get some C.W.A. (cheese with attitude). This joint means serious business and it's here to stay.
|Short Rib Poutine, Bacon Gravy|
|Four Cheese Rotelle|
|Marmite Makaloff, Romesco|
Wednesday, 15 March 2017
Pop Brixton introduced London to Kricket, a twenty-seater container delivering some of the finest Indian food. Now, it has a bigger, better and far more swankier joint bringing old favourites and new to Soho.
This impressive restaurant has raised the bar allowing the chefs on the main floor to strut their stuff and tantalise the customers taste buds with their cooking, whilst downstairs offers a bit more of a relaxed environment, perfect for any large group attending.
It may be hard to believe but what if I told you that we ordered all of the breads and rice's, fish, veg and meat dishes. Well, that's exactly what happened and in true FoodPunk fashion the food got demolished in no time. A couple would on average order around two to three dishes but as there was seven of us you can see why we ordered the whole shebang.
It's a winning menu from top to bottom (see below) and like most restaurant these days it's all about the small plates. The Keralan fried chicken is a favourite amongst Kricket fans and it's subtle curry leaf mayonnaise is the perfect partner in crime for those crispy and crunchy finger lickin' bad boys.
An order of the spiced, creamy, garlic crab is a must especially when you get a good dunk with the seaweed poppadum and its worth mopping up every little bit of this devilish plate with an extra side of bread. Even though the scallops tasted good, they were admittedly too small especially considering the price for each one (£4.20).
Veg wise, the bel puri- a sexy, fresh and fruity dish layered with tamarind, rice and juicy mango and the crispy samphire with a punchy chilli and garlic mayo will certainly not disappoint.
|Keralan Fried Chicken, Curry Leaf Mayonnaise, Pickled Mouli|
|Kid Goat Raan|
|Duck Leg Kathi Roll, Peanut Chutney, Pickled Cucumber|
|Lamb Chops, Wild Garlic Chutney|
|Butter Garlic Crab, Seaweed Papad|
|Haddock, Green Pea & Mustard Oil|
|Baby Aubergines, Coconut & Curry Leaf|
|Pumpkin, Fresh Paneer, Puffed Wild Rice|
10cc once sang the famous line "I don't like Cricket, I love it". Well that certainly rings true with this awesome place. I like Hoppers and Dishoom (see FoodPunk visits for both reviews) but this place is on a better level and has more going for it and just like the many followers it's attracting, you'll see me there again very soon getting my chops around some of their tasty shizz. If you can, take down the whole menu in one epic hit. It's totally worth it.
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
Legs is a cool, casual and blinding place to eat. Located in Morning Lane, Hackney, chef Magnus Reid and his team offer Londoners simple, fuss-free and impressive plates of food, accompanied with an extensive wine list and music that ranges from a mixture of funk, jazz and disco. There's a certain charm about the place where everyone is well looked after and the food, well, it speaks for itself.
Standout dishes include papardelle cooked with soft pig cheeks, fiery chillies, topped with lashings of finely grated parmesan and talking of grated parmesan, it also makes an appearance on the awesome celeriac gratin - order both!.
There's no way I could go without ordering the raw onglet because it was given the Asian persuasion with the steak diced and delicately placed on a thin layer of miso with nori dusted on top - sex on a plate.
The veggie options are far from boring - the burrata literally bursting upon impact spreading its creamy goodness all over the beetroot turning this particular dish into one of those messy paintings people call art nowadays.
Legs has everything going for it, charm, togetherness and people with a huge amount of passion in what they do. It may be a small joint but it's fashionable, got massive potential and is undoubtedly a welcome addition to Hackney.