Thursday, 1 March 2012

Loco Moco Dinner

First you take great big dollops of carbs, seen here in the form of deliciously fragrant jasmine rice. Add two beef burger patties (M&S finest Aberdeen Angus 1/4 pounders with merest hint of black pepper were my patties of choice) and add a laddle full of smooth brown gravy (Bisto does a lovely beef flavour - made with real meat juices claims the label on the bottle). Top with a fried egg, I like mine sunny side up with crispy edges but over easy would do just as well. And finally, another laddle of that delicious brown stuff over the egg and rice. 

Dig in making sure you get a big bite of the egg yolk, gravy, beef pattie and rice combination. Thank you Hawaii for such belly happiness!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Meat Ball Noodle Blues Buster

Pork Ball Noodles - Lot 10 Food Court 
Pork Ball Noodles from Win Heng Seng, Jalan Imbi, KL goes upmarket to the Lot 10 food court

 My poor blog has absolutely suffered from a serious lack of attention. Just a quick check in and a little something to salivate over - it never fails to out a smile me face (believe it or not, I'm so deliciously hooked on Geordie Shore - for those of you not in the know how, it's the terrible wannabe Jersey Shore long lost relative but still a real stonker of a programme!)

Well, I'd say!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Villandry - Bicester Village

I went to Bicester Village the other week. If you like your designer goods, don't mind that designs are a few seasons out and may be sorely disappointed that you probably won't get anything in your size, then it's the place for you. Actually, I probably made that sound very negative considering I had a good day walking around the shops and splurged on a pair of jeans (which I still haven't worn), a dress for work (worn twice) and a lovely cut pair of trousers (worn once). I even got fed at Villandry -  weighing the fact that I quite liked my visit to their London branch when I was there a few years ago, I was more than a little disappointed.

Queues were long (understandable since it was bang on lunchtime on a Sunday afternoon but there were so many tables available it boggled the mind why there was even a queue to start with!) and the service was slow (which probably explained the long queue).
Prawn and Mango Salad - Villandry, Bicester Village

My Dining companion decided on 2 starters to make up a meal - tomato soup served with bread and butter. A little too tart for my liking but overall it went down well. The 2nd of the two starters, prawn and mango salad. I was imagining green mango salad and a little surprised at the ripe orange mango slices that arrived with the salad. But overall the taste was fine.

The real let down was my grilled chicken and avocado mayonnaise salad. The chicken was dry, cold and tasteless. The dish was unseasoned and the leeks ............... what in the heck were they doing on my plate? It was totally and utterly out of place. It was a dish that really shouldn't have been on the menu.

I would give it a very middle of the road 5 out of 10. Half the meal was fine (my companion's) and the other was bad (mine). It's a pretty fair score.

50 Pingle Drive  Bicester, Oxfordshire OX26 6WD

Icco - Fitzrovia

It's always happy pizza time at Icco (Italian Coffee Company).

Pizza - Italian Coffee Company (Icco), Fitzrovia 
Neptune (top left) - Anchovies, black olives, cheese,  tomato sauce, basil & herbs (£ 4.50)

Pepperoni (top right) - Pepperoni, cheese, tomato sauce,  basil & herbs (£ 4.50)
Capricciosa (bottom) - Ham, mushroom, black olives,  cheese, tomato sauce & basil (£ 5.30) with extra artichokes (£0.50)
And a little extra dosh for the little dippers - garlic and BBQ. Garlic wins everytime.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Brew Cafe - Clapham

Chocolate Brownie Affogato - Brew, Clapham Junction/Battersea

SM and I wondered down to Clapham with dessert cravings aplenty recently. At 10PM choices aren't in the biggest supply if we weren't looking to quench our sugar rush in alcoholic form but if the craving is big and one looks hard enough, there's always something to be found - Brew Cafe on Northcote Road. It's small and snugly - brilliant in summer when the doors are pulled back to incorporate the tables on the patio with those in the restaurant into one space. But for now only the brave are left outside with a few heaters and rugs to help fend off the cold.

Chocolate Brownie Affogato - Brew, Clapham Junction/Battersea

We're both craving chocolate and I call dessert shotgun for the Chocolate Brownie Affogato. Intense, fudgy little squares of chocolate goodness piled into a small glass and topped with an equally intense shot of espresso and a dollop of vanilla ice-cream. It was ... intense. Good intense. If I were to make a suggestion or two of my own - (1) a bigger glass, please. All that digging and ensuring all the good stuff didn't topple out was a bit of a feat. (2) whoa ... that coffee was strong. Digging to get to it was too drawn out and I had to eat the brownie and ice-cream (happily) before I could get to the coffee. Sadly most of the coffee had to be left behind. 

Chocolate Fudge Cake with Clotted Cream - Brew, Clapham Junction/Battersea
SM was stuck with the Chocolate Fudge Cake with Clotted Cream. It was good cake and with the strong coffee situation, I think SM was secretly glad to have ended up with the fudge cake. And doesn't clotted cream make up for most shortcomings? Not that there were any with that cake. SM polished off the cake (down to the last cake crumb and sliver of cream left glistening on the plate) and gobbled up a few of my brownie nuggets too. Well done!

Brew Cafe
45 Northcote Road  London SW11 1NJ
Brew Cafe on Urbanspoon

Osteria Dell'Arte - Clapham High Street

After having our hopes dashed for a table at Mongolian Grill in Clapham (Saturday night + no booking = utter stupidity), SM and I wandered down Clapham High Street when we passed Osteria Dell'Arte. It hadn't been there the last time we passed (a little light Google-ing has informed me that it used to be San Marco) and it looked as good as any of the other overflowing restaurants. Seated initially by the entrance we were lured to the back with promises of a spacious larger table by the waitress. We passed the kitchen, we passed the loos ... before we were arrived in what I later grumbled to SM was the store room. It wasn't really but after the bustle of the front room, the back dining area felt a little too remote for my liking. In SM's own little way I was told to just chill out since it would look really stupid if we tried to get our old table back. Fine, whatever. The waiting staff were friendly and sure enough our little area soon filled up making it less store room-ish.

Deep Fried Sardines - Osteria Dell'Arte, Clapham

SM started with the deep fried sardines with shaved fennel which was fresh and light. Not only was it after every morsel was gone and the plate wiped clean did SM reveal it was too small, too clean, too light a starter. Well, bully for SM because if that revelation had come a little earlier I would have happily swapped.

Bruschetta Porcini - Osteria Dell'Arte, Clapham
I had a very nice bruschetta topped with porcini sautéed in olive oil and butter and topped with a little cheese (no idea what kind) and mixed foliage. Warm, earthy flavours. Perfect for an autumn's evening.

As usual it was a pepperoni pizza for SM. It was a perfectly good pizza - thin crust with just the right amount of toppings but the crust was over the top salty. Definitely something that the chef should work on.

Linguine del Mar - Osteria Dell'Arte, Clapham

After my usual indecisiveness, I ordered the pappardalle with spicy sausage only to have an apologetic waitress come back just before the arrival of the starters that it was sold out. No matter, I pointed to my backup on the menu she was holding out. But what was set out in front of me later on didn't look anything like the seafood linguini I thought I had ordered. The mass of black pasta topped with crab and cherry  tomatoes looked appetising enough ... if you liked and could eat squid ink pasta. I was horribly allergic to squid ink (random I know) as a child - swelling of the face, itching ... yup, you name it ... and have steered clear of it ever since. It's not something you come across regularly. The waitress was good natured about it - she misheard me and thought I had pointed to the dish below the linguini I was ordering. She whisked it away and replaced it with what I wanted 10 minutes later. It was absolutely delicious. Fresh seafood, punchy tomato sauce, al dante pasta ... I only wished I ordered 2 portions.

The prices were reasonable - the meal with 2 drinks came to about £35 or thereabouts for 2. The service was friendly and the food good. This all adds up to a definite return.

Osteria Dell'Arte
126 Clapham High Street, SW4 7UH London
Osteria dell'arte on Urbanspoon

Pinkberry - Selfridges, London

Natural and Pommegranate Swirl with Strawberries, Granola and Plain Chocolate Chips - Pinkberry, Selfridges 

After calm over the summer I have been on the hunt for frozen yogurt again. After my initial dissapointment I decided to give Pinkberry another go- this stop, Selfridges (possibly one of my favourite places in London - I never said I wasn't just a little bit shallow). As with my previous visit in Dubai, it was a Natural and Pommegranate swirl and this time I was a little wiser and only went for 3 toppings - granola, strawberries (heavily mascarated but yum indeed) and plain chocolate chips. It costs about £4.50 for a medium cup with toppings.

It's still not my favourite - my heart still belongs to Yog and Yuforia but it was few pleasant minutes spent slurping froyo and slowly wandering around the food hall.

Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB London

Pinkberry on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Lunch @ Work

Lunch @ Work

Chef (or one of his kitchen minions) at the staff canteen was feeling particularly generous this lunchtime. I couldn't quite believe my luck when I got this pile - grilled gammon steak on jambalaya with spicy Italian sausage and a poached egg. I added portion of boiled to hell and back veg (because I secretly quite like veg that is overly floppy every now and then).
Negatives - the sausage was non-existent, the gammon was horrendously salty, the poached egg was overdone and there was a suspiciously large number of mushrooms in the rice (overflow from this morning's brekkie buffet I think.
On a slightly more positive note, the rice was delightfully spicy and despite the saltiness the gammon was thick and meaty.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Village East - Bermondsey


Sometimes there is nothing better than an incredibly lazy Sunday lie in followed by a hearty meal, all really chilled out because I cannot handle another drop of alcohol before the weekend is out. A quick Google search zooms me on to Village East, with its better than good reviews and the possibility of gorging myself silly on delicious brunch goodies – big fry ups, smoked salmon and wobbly eggs, golden French toast …. buttermilk pancakes!!!!

Orange and Ginger Presse
Short of a skip and a hop (or jumping into the car for the drive to Bermondsey), we arrive in good time but spend another 20  minutes driving around in circles because there’s no bloody parking. I get terribly savage when I’m not fed on time and doesn’t SM know it! SM suggests I’m dropped off to get a table to which I bark it’s bloody pointless since we’re having a fun day out or are supposed to be having one anyway.  Bless SM’s little heart for putting up with me all these years :) We do finally get parking, make it to Village East, are seated at a front facing corner table and then informed by the bemused waitress that the kitchen stopped serving brunch about an hour ago as it was past 3PM. No amount of pleading would get Chef to change his mind, she added. Damnit, it’s bloody Sunday! It should be mandatory that brunch be served all day on a Sunday!

Grilled Chicken Sandwich - Village East, Bermondsey

Grudgingly, I settled for Grilled Chicken Sandwich with smoked bacon, flat mushroom and Gruyère cheese (£7.40) and double grudgingly I admitted I was pretty damn happy with it. It was hearty, tasty and just what I needed to take the edge of my Sunday growl.

My side chips (£3.60) were hot, crisp and most importantly skinny. I’m willing to turn a blind eye to the extra calories.

I never thought I’d have such good memories about a salad but there was something so yummy about this one. Thin slices of baby radish, little carrot matchsticks, fine cliced salad onions, small chuncks of tomato, sliced skinless and seedless cucumber on the diagonal tossed with the usual suspects of the green leaf salad bag - baby spinach, chard and rocket. Lightly dressed in a vinegrette. So simple but yet utterly refreshing not just fed green leaves straight out a ready washed bag of leaves.


SM was in the mood for a roast and went for the beef Lyonnaise potatoes, veg and gravy.It was rather good despite it looking slightly too pink (for SM) with too thick a border of fatty wobble (for me).

For a sweet treat I manage to convince SM to share a Hot Fudge Sundae with me - really just a ploy to take the edge off my guilt for eating ice cream. And to eat those pesky little marshmellows - chewy little disrruptions to an otherwise perfectly good ice cream dish.

I've never been to New York (ok ... so shoot me) but I'm told that places like Village East are in abundance over there (East Village - geddit?). It's cool, it's chilled out. I'm a bit of a fan.

71-173 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UW
Village East on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Suda - Covent Garden

Deciding against booking a table during our last regular meet up, NS and I found ourselves wondering around Covent Garden. Heading towards the direction of Soho but not quite there yet when we stumbled upon Suda. Beckoned by the large open front windows and the possibility of refreshing cocktails, we were sold.
Thai Pimm’s - Suda, Covent Garden

Perched on a high table at the front of the house, we ordered cocktails and a plate or two (or 5 in this specific case) just to get us going before we moved on to dinner. About 15 minutes in, our drinks hadn't arrived but the first of our food had started trickling over from the kitchen. And there kick starts my impatience ... I hate it when my food arrives before my beverage. It goes against my acknowledged order of events when it comes to restaurant dining. I know the bar wasn't mad rush busy, I have a great view of it - perched high as I am right in front of it. The drinks do finally arrive (with nary an apology from the waitress for its late arrival!) and well, well ... what else could get me simmering a little more? The Thai Pimm's, so penned as "traditional Pimm’s with a Thai twist! Pimm’s with fresh Thai ginger, mint, holy basil with sliced orange, cucumber, topped with lemonade" (£6.50) on the menu was warm, flat and decidedly lacking that Thai twist. An utter waste of time!
Pla Meuk Tod Prig Klue - Suda, Covent Garden

The Pla Meuk Tod Prig Klue - Thai style calamari with sweet chilli dipping sauce (£4.95) was the first to arrive and looked decent enough. I liked the look of thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves encased within the batter but too bad the crispy batter hid a shameful secret underneath - rubbery squid.
Satay Gai - Suda, Covent Garden

The Satay Gai - chicken satay sticks with peanut sauce (£4.95) was fine but I've had better. However, point be made that this is coming from a girl from Malaysia. It would be a sorry state of affairs if I claimed the best satay I had was this dish. It was fine. No more.
Gae Yang Som Tum - Suda, Covent Garden

I was particularly looking forward to the Gae Yang Som Tum - Grilled lamb chop with lemongrass and chilli dressing, served with Som tum salad and sticky rice (£8.50), since Suda boasts of a som tum bar. This is another dish I can only best describe as "fine". Despite the meat looking rather limp (thanks to a good bashing with a mallet?), it was pretty tasty (down to a good amount of time spent in the marinade?). The som tum was .... forgetable. I really do not recall how it tasted so I can only deduct it wasn't bad enough for me to remember or that good either.
Yum Som-o Goong Yang - Suda, Covent Garden

The grilled prawns in the Yum Som-o Goong Yang - Pomelo salad with kaffir lime juice and grilled prawn (£5.50) were actually rather nice. Nice fresh crunchy prawns were unfortunately let down let down by the star of the dish - the pomelo salad. There were pieces of fruit in that salad that were out of the freezer frozen. It thawed in my mouth, adding an interesting crunch along with the peanuts.
Chicken Wings with Herbs - Suda, Covent Garden

By now NS and I didn't know if we should laugh or cry or outright refuse to pay. The food was going from bad to worse and to say that the service was bad would be unfair. It was just that the staff tried so hard and in doing so, didn't actually give very good service. For example, after we ordered I asked if I could keep a copy of the menu with me. Sure, no problem. But every time I put the menu down, one of the staff would try to grab it off the table. I went through the my explanation of wanting to keep a copy with me to 3 people before I gave up. At this point I was very to move on but NS relented into giving them another chance by ordering another drink (a much faster turnaround time for this drink - things were picking up), when much to our surprise another dish arrived - chicken wings with herbs (also known as pandan chicken). We had forgotten all about it and till this day, the taste shall also remain forgettable.

Shall I be returning? Oh no, I shall not!

23 Slingsby Place, St Martin’s Courtyard, London WC2E 9AB
Suda on Urbanspoon