Tag Archives: ice cream

momofuku, New York

momofuku means ‘lucky peach’ in Japanese. As there’s no fruit to be seen in this popular restaurant, I can only assume the name refers to its customers – happy, juicy peaches that are lucky to be eating its noodles.

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We went to the original momofuku noodle bar on 1st Avenue and waited around an hour for a seat, guzzling wine by the window. Long wooden tables surrounded the busy bar and kitchen. The atmosphere was fun and lively.

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Some friendly New Yorkers recommended what dishes to choose from the menu, starting with one of the specials – yummy pork buns that made me want to cry with joy ($12).

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They came with a plate of Shrimp & Grits with Benton’s bacon, a poached egg and scallion ($14). This rich, buttery dish was a first for me and one I’d like to relive soon. I hear the Lockhart in Marylebone does a very good version (*dials reservation line).

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Big bowls of Spicy Miso Ramen came next ($15). Filled with smoked chicken, noodles, scallion and sesame, there was also a poached egg that delightfully broke with one prick of my fork, flooding the bowl with bright yellow yolk.

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We didn’t have room for dessert, but our waiter turned us with tales of the momofuku Milk Bar – a standalone bakery that produces weird and wonderful treats for each of the restaurants.

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This month’s focus was cookies, so we ordered a Milk Bar medley – ‘the ritz’ cookie, pretzel cake truffles and strawberry sweet cracker soft serve. I couldn’t eat the truffle – it was too sickly for my very sweet tooth. But the cookie made a perfect scoop for the creamy, sweet ice cream (she wonders why her jeans are too tight).

I’d go back to momofuku in an instant; it’s the original Ramen bar that made me feel like the luckiest girl in New York.

momofuku noodle bar, 171 1st Avenue, New York, ny 10003

Price 4/5 – Atmosphere 4/5 – Staff 5/5 – Food 5/5 

Street Feast, Dalston Yard

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Getting into Street Feast was a five stage process. 1. finding Dalston Yard (not as easy as planned); 2. locating a cash point (the vendors don’t take card); 3. having our bags searched (they weren’t looking for hip flasks); 4. paying a £5 entry fee (obligatory after 7pm); 5. receiving a black stamp on the back of our hands (something I learnt to love over the next three days).

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Fortunately, this slightly frustrating process was well worth it as we were soon standing with happy East Londoners in a smaller than expected space, debating where to start our street food journey.

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Over the next three hours I drank too many glasses of Prosecco from easy-to-find-with-blurry-eyes Street Vin, whilst keeping my balance with delightful grub from Clam Bake, Breddos, Yum Bun and Sorbitium Ices.

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To give you a bit more detail, this meant a perfect Steamed Hirata Shrimp Bun (£4) from the ladies at Yum Bun – definitely my dish of the night – along with an interestingly flavoured Crunchy Nut Fried Chicken Taco with Raspberry Hot Sauce by the Breddos’ clan (2 for £6).

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The chicken couldn’t be faulted, but with each bite of the small, yet perfectly formed taco, I questioned the raspberry sauce – something wasn’t working for me. That said, the taco itself took me back to Mexico with its unmistakable wheat and corn aroma.

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Last on my savoury list was a Lobster Roll from Clam Bake (£7). The well baked brioche overflowed with beautiful meat, but the overall effect was a bit of a let down. For one, I expected it to be warm, and secondly, I really wasn’t keen on the powdery paprika sprinkled on top.

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Around me, friends devoured hunks of meat from the 4.5 tonne BBQ Smoke Train that is Smokestak, Kreole from Vinn Goute, Margheritas by Pizza Pilgrims and many a burger from Slider Bar. It was a happy, foodie affair.

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I finished my four course meal with a Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream from Sorbitium, coated with chocolate sauce and caramelised nuts. It was a fitting end to a special evening, giving me yet another reason to love our eclectic Capital.

Street Feast, Dalston Yard, Hartwell Street, London E8 3DU 

The Spaniards Inn, Hampstead

Keats, Byron, Dickens, Stoker, me. No, I’m not trying to compare myself to these great writers and poets. As if. Instead, I’m including myself in the ever-increasing list of punters that have visited The Spaniards Inn.

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Built in 1585, this pub of literary dreams is filled with ladies, gentlemen and children from London and further afield. We went on a sunny Sunday, so rather than sit in the dark, cosy dining room, we found a spot in the huge, beautiful garden.

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Garden diners have to order at the bar, so after a brief look at the menu, we went for a Scotch Egg with Picalilli (£5) and Cornish Sardine Fillet (£7.50) to start, followed by good old Fish & Chips, or Sustainably Caught Cod in Cider & Tarragon Batter as they call it (£14).

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The sardine stole the starter show. Sitting on toasted sour dough, it had a lovely smokey flavour that was brightened by sweet and juicy confit heritage tomatoes. The Scotch Egg was fine, but I found the meat casing a tad mushy and couldn’t help but compare it to the pulled pork and chorizo wonder I’d devoured in Brixton Village the day before.

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The Fish & Chips were great. The batter was light, the double cooked chips crisp and the pea puree fresh as a daisy and laced with summery mint. No complaints there.

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We skipped dessert, deciding to wander round the Heath with an ice-cream. Had I relented, Orange Meringue with Raspberries & Strawberry Coulis would have been the obvious choice.

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I’ve already planned my next visit, so unsurprisingly, I’ll give The Spaniards Inn a LLE Rating of 8/10. Go with friends, family and out of towners who love great pub grub with a side of history.

The Spaniards Inn, Spaniards Road, Hampstead, London NW3 6JJ

Spaniards Inn on Urbanspoon

Rockfish, Dartmouth

With so much talk of smog, I craved fresh, sea air. So, my friends and I left our poor, polluted capital and drove four and a half hours to Devon – a place where the words ‘this certainly blows the cobwebs away!’ are said far to regularly.

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Saturday was spent driving along the coast, stopping in between showers for walks along the beach, ice cream and lunch in oh so pretty Dartmouth.

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Rockfish looks out onto the harbour, sporting a very turquoise exterior that’s in keeping with its seaside location. Inside, the sea theme continues, with white washed walls, thick ropes and an open kitchen.

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We ordered fish, followed by fish, starting with two pints of Norwegian prawns (£9.50) and a plate of calamari (£7.50). It was nothing I hadn’t had before, but tasted all the more delicious when paired with the Rockfish slogan ‘Tomorrow’s fish are still in the sea’. Watch out Nemo.

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Mains were a mix of Haddock & Chips (£12.95), Plaice with Salad (£11.95) and my lovely South Devon Crab Roll (£9.95). Aside from the stack of chips, I’d managed to choose the healthiest option – two brioche baps cradling fresh, undressed crab meat with salady bits. It was lovely, but I should have picked deep fried, golden haddock, which – from the bite I tried – tasted superb.

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We decided to wander outside for dessert – a 99p Devon Ice Cream with the obligatory flake – so ended our meal at Rockfish with coffees (some Irish).

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I hope to return to Rockfish one day. The setting couldn’t be prettier and the food is exactly what you crave after breathing in so much pure, smogless air. So Rockfish, I’m giving you a healthy LLE Rating of 7.5/10.

Rockfish, 8 South Embankment, Dartmouth TQ6 9BH

The Hand & Flowers, Marlow

When Tom Kerridge opened The Hand & Flowers, he put pretty Marlow on the map. It’s a gastropub with two Michelin stars. A gastropub that’s been on my restaurant bucket list for well over a year.

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We booked at Christmas and went three weeks ago – something the hungry punters at the bar should have done. Our square, wooden table was at the back of the charming restaurant, complete with exposed beams, white-washed walls and wild flowers.

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We chose from the Michelin priced menu, whilst munching on complimentary white bait and bread. The homemade sourdough and soda was delightful and the lightly battered fish was dunked and devoured in an instance. We were off to a great start.

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Pumpkin soup from the very reasonable set menu (two courses for £15, three for £19.50) was velvety, nutty and made all the more special with aromatic truffle.

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Crab Ravioli (£11.50) had a wonderful flavour, but the best part sat on top – sweet, chargrilled calcot onion smothered in smokey butter. Delicious.

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Mains were Cornish Monkfish smeared in a peanut crumble and served with roasted cauliflower (£29.50) and a Half Beer Roast Chicken with Glazed Celariac and more of that tasty truffle (£28).

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The chicken was succulent and, much to my surprise, blew the monkfish out of the water. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the fish – who knew it went so well with peanut?

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Across the table sat pork belly from the set menu. The verdict was clear from the mmms, ahhhs and ‘this is the best crackling I’ve ever had!’ statements. Another hit.

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We couldn’t refuse a couple of sides (all £4.50 each), so chose Curly Kale with Crispy Ham Hock (a meal in itself) and the Hand & Flowers Chips – a staple for any good gastro.

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Dessert was a must. Sweet Malt Gateaux with Malted Milk Ice Cream (£9.50) wasn’t my usual choice, but Lent made chocolate off limits. It was presented beautifully, but for me, didn’t have as memorable a flavour as the other courses.

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Tom Kerridge – aka Mr Gastropub – deserves a handshake and a bunch of flowers. This bloomin’ marvellous pub gets a LLE Rating of 9/10 and a strong recommendation to anyone visiting or lucky enough to live in Marlow.

The Hand & Flowers, 126 West Street, Marlow SL7 2PB

Hixter, Shoreditch

As Mark Hix continues his London takeover, so opens Hixter opposite Liverpool Street station. It’s very similar to Tramshed, specialising in chicken and steak, but minus the formaldehyde cow with a cockerel on its head. I guess they’re hard to come by…

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The restaurant’s also a lot smaller, but the long mirror at one end makes it feel more spacious. There’s bright, modern art on the walls and red leather seats perfect for local ‘city’ boys looking to fill their bellies before heading downstairs to London’s second Mark’s Bar.

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We shared all of food, starting with Yorkshire Pudding & Whipped Chicken Livers (£3.95), De Beauvoir Smoked Salmon with Pickled Cucumber (£5.25) and Cock ‘n’ Bull Croquettes with Wild Chervil Mayonnaise (£4.95).

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Each was perfectly tasty, but it was the Yorkshire Pudding – or rather the Whipped Chicken Livers – that stood out for me. The chicken livers had a sweet, wholesome flavour that was carried by the crisp, bouncy pudding. A triumph.

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Next up it was a Herb Roasted Chateaubriand (£75) and half a Barn-Reared Indian Rock Chicken (£25). We asked for a whole bird, but the waiter looked at our enthusiastic faces and suggested half. Thank god for that.

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The steak was cooked rare and our knives slid through it like butter. The chicken was juicy and succulent, but not as impressive as what I’d had at Tramshed. I disliked the half hearted stuffing, which was dry, flaky and resembled a heap of moss.

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We didn’t need sides, but ordered them anyway – it was Christmas after all. The Grilled Field Mushrooms (all £4.25 for small, £6.95 for large) were deliciously garlicky and definitely what I’d recommend. The chips were chips – yummy, but not spectacular.

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The Credit Crunch Ice Cream with Hot Chocolate Sauce (£1.90 per scoop) was a delicious, but unnecessary dessert – we’d consumed rather a lot by this stage. Another time I might have one less starter and indulge in the Salted Caramel Fondue.

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Hixter doesn’t have the wow factor of Tramshed, or the variety of Hix Soho, but it’s still an enjoyable joint that I’d be happy to go back to. It’s also very well priced, so for all that, I’m giving Mark a pat on the back and Hixter a LLE Rating of 6/10. 

Hixter, 9a Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4AE

Hixter on Urbanspoon

The Bull Inn, Stanford Dingley

The Bull Inn is a great country pub. It has a great pub name, serves great pub food and has great pub owners. This greatness made us book it for dinner the day after Boxing Day – aka the day before the Grandparents flew back to Jersey.

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We had pre-booked a large round table in the corner of the room, but before we headed towards it, sat at the bar for a festive mulled wine. The menu was packed with 14 starters, nine mains and six sides. From this, I chose – with difficulty – Pan Fried Scallops with Pea Puree & Black Pudding to start (£10), followed by Whole Roast Cornish Sole for main (£20).

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Before I get onto the scallops, I’d like to mention the bread – something I rarely do unless it’s exceedingly good…or particularly bad. Sadly for The Bull, this bread was bad. I couldn’t even spread the butter without it disintegrating into a million crumbs. It was stale, end of story.

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The scallops were large and nicely cooked, but the whole dish had received a far too generous helping of salt, which the black pudding had absorbed on a grand scale. A real shame as it was so close to perfect.

The mains fared much better. I loved my Sole, which was massive and came with a surprise coating of generous pieces of crab meat and lobster. It came with a large portion of delicious, triple cooked chunky chips and the chef’s salad. I devoured the chips, ignored the salad and instead, tucked into Mum’s Seasonal Veg, which weirdly turned out to be a lovely bowl of steamed spinach (£3).

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For my already full stomach, pudding could only be ice cream – two scoops of Rum & Raisin and one of Mint Choc Chip. Each scoop was creamy and refreshingly cold. Just as ice cream should be.

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Despite its greatness, The Bull Inn made a few, avoidable mistakes when we visited on that dark December night. Please don’t let that put you off though, I’ve been before and always enjoyed it, so give it a well deserved LLE Rating of 7/10.

The Bull Inn, Stanford Dingley, Nr. Reading, Berkshire, RG7 6LS