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

Dessert Time - Yauatcha, Soho

Following our somewhat disastrous lunch at Spuntino, RB and I were in total agreement we had to make up our day with dessert. And preferably something that oozed chocolate. A leisurely stroll around Soho (to allow for a lengthy digestion of the truffled egg toast), we ended up at Yauatcha. A brilliant dessert choice. Years of staring longingly at their cake offerings at the window was no more ...

  Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Delice- Yauatcha, Soho  
 Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Delice with vanilla ice cream (£7.75)

Milk Chocolate Praline Cake- Yauatcha, Soho 
Milk Chocolate Praline Cake with kalamansi sorbet (£7.75) - this was so freakin' delicious I still think about it. Chocolate mouse on a crunchy praline base, encased in silky dark chocolate. What hit this on the head was the  kalamansi sorbet .. so mouth puckeringly yummy.

Cucumber and Lime Ice Tea - Yauatcha, Soho
Cucumber and Lime Ice Tea (£4.90)

I have to note that whilst the desserts were pretty darn good, the service really needed a kick up the backside. It may have been graveyard hour (we were probably there at about 16:30 on a warm Sunday afternoon) but it was no excuse to fall behind on service - 10 minutes to bring the bill, no attempts to take our order without arms flailing in the air trying to procure some sort of attention from the staff - all this with a fully staffed restaurant. Shameful!

15-17 Broadwick Street. Soho, London, W1F 0DL
Yauatcha on Urbanspoon

Honest Burgers - Brixton

Honest - Honest Burgers, Brixton

In the market that I used to shop for fresh fish and veg (at ridiculously low London prices), a new breed of traders seem to have emerged with lightning speed recently. Jostling for space with the last few lingering fishmongers, butchers, greengrocers ..... these new kids are infinitely more delicious (and minus the persistent overwhelming smell of tough cleaning agents).

Home made lemonade

The setting for Honest Burgers, like most of it's other newbie-ish neighbours, is utilitarian. The seating are wooden benches and fold up chairs, the tables are slightly rickety, the menu is up on the large chalkboard and little sheets of paper handed out by the waitress. The list of offerings on the menu is minute - if you don't want burger, well .. heck, you're in trouble. But in all honestly, why come to a place called Honest Burgers of a plate of spaghetti?

Beef - Honest Burgers, Brixton

I'm all for a simple burger - beef patty in a bun, some lettuce, a bit of tomato ... anything more my brain gets overexcited, starts salivating all over itself and then goes into massive overdrive at the prospect of having to attempt to finish the load of food. Despite my initial tinge of disappointment at the size of my Beef burger (£6.50) when it arrived, it was pretty darn good - just the right size, juicy flavourful patty, nice bun ... not too squishy, not too dry. Even the onion relish I didn't mind. At least it wasn't overwhelmingly sweet and it did add that little bit extra to the burger. The triple cooked hand cut chips with rosemary salt were fine but maybe a tad too limp and heavy on the rosemary for my liking (burger companion SM thought they were absolutely fine).

Salad - Honest Burgers, Brixton
House dressed green salad - to counter all that beefy goodness
SM got the Honest burger (£8) with 35 day dry aged British beef, smoked bacon, cheddar, pickled cucumber, red onion relish and lettuce (picture at the top of the post). SM is the polar burger opposite to me. The one more heavily piled the burger is, the more desirable it is to SM. To be fair SM so nearly got the chicken option - free range chicken, lettuce, tomato and lemon mayo (£8) - diet, you see - but my sweet talking changed SM's mind. I didn't want the burger but I so darned wanted to see what it turned out looking like and just wanted a weenie little taste. I believe SM thanked me profusely too - who wants to be stuck with a measly chicken burger when there is a hunka beef to sink your teeth into.

Beef - Honest Burgers, Brixton

SM and I have been talking about going back and to do so quick before it gets cold. I, for one, will not be a happy bunny having to sit in the Brixton Village Market arcade in the freezing cold.

Bill Box - Honest Burgers, Brixton  
Cute tin the bill arrived in

Honest Burgers
Unit 12, Brixton Village Market, Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8PR
Honest Burgers on Urbanspoon