Tag Archives: lobster

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 

Paramount, Soho

Paramount has had a hard time of late. First Duck & Waffle opened in the Heron Tower, stealing its crown as London’s highest restaurant. Then, The Shard poked its pointy nose in with Oblix – the new dinner destination for hungry tourists. Oh dear Paramount, what’s a 149-meter restaurant to do?

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Luckily for Paramount, it can rest assured that it still has an incredible view of the Capital, serves tastier food than the poorly reviewed Oblix and – unlike its towering rivals – can usually be booked at a moments notice. Read more…

Paramount, Centre Point, 101-103 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1DD

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

Bond & Brook, Mayfair

Peaceful and relaxing. Two words you wouldn’t normally use to describe hectic central London. Well, that’s unless you’re having lunch at Bond & Brook – aka an oasis of calm on the second floor of Fenwick.

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Inside is like a foodie spa – white, decadent and fresh, with mesmerising music seeping out of hidden speakers. Splashes of colour are found in the artwork and fashion books, hinting at the department store setting.

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The restaurant itself is the brainchild of critic Fay Maschler and journalist Simon Davis, who devised a menu made up of brunch, main plates, desserts, afternoon tea and the ‘Collection’ – oversized appetisers served in threes as a main, or alone as a starter. This is the concept that tempted us at lunch today. This…and the puddings.

I ‘fashioned’ my meal with Lobster Thermidor, Seared Benison Tataki and Devon Crab Cakes. For The Boyfriend, it was Scotch Salmon Tartare, Carpaccio of Scotch Beef Fillet and Line Caught Tuna Ceviche.

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When our plates arrived, they almost looked too pretty too eat. Each one was decorated with delicate flowers that added a special touch to the already exquisite presentation.

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The fishcakes had the intense flavour of crab with a manageable kick of chilli – definitely my favourite of the group.

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The thermidor was made up of a horseradish crumb sitting on top of a piece of lobster, which then lay on a bed of new potato. An interesting take on the traditional recipe that had a suprisingly light and subtle flavour.

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When it came to the venison, I would have preferred it a little rarer, but the overall combination of rich meat, smooth parsnip puree and sweet Japanese dressing almost made me lick the plate clean.

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Across the table, The Boyfriend was happily munching on his three choices. Stand out for him was the ceviche, which had a strong zesty flavour. He did mention he’d need pudding to feel full, so I couldn’t help but wonder if he’d have been more suited to the steak frite enjoyed by the man next to us, leaving the ‘Collection’ to us ladies who lunch.

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Pudding was Orange Creme Brûlée for me and Winter Mess for him. My Creme Brûlée was special. Crunchy on top, its taste was intensified by the added segments of orange and buttery, lavender shortbread.

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We both agreed that we preferred good old strawberry Eton Mess, but the fragrant, seasonal combination of chestnut puree, crushed meringues, chantilly and cranberry sauce didn’t stop The Boyfriend polishing it off.

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Price wise, three plates from the ‘Collection’ came to £17 and each pudding was around £7. Not cheap, but let’s face it, we were in Mayfair darling.

If I’d known it existed, I probably wouldn’t have waited five London years of my life to go. As someone who loathes crowds, queues and crazy red-faced shoppers fighting over the last pair of jeans, Bond & Brook will now be my perfect hideaway.

Bond & Brook, Fenwick, 63 New Bond St, London W1A 3BS

Burger & Lobster, Mayfair

‘You might as well be eating Sebastian from The Little Mermaid’ remarked The Boyfriend on Saturday night. Looking down at the large grilled lobster on my plate I felt momentarily ashamed, before deciding that his ludicrous comment didn’t warrant any response as it clearly stemmed from jealousy (he had ordered the smaller, less exciting Lobster Roll) and stupidity (Sebastian is a crab).

Before you go to Burger & Lobster you need to decide what kind of person you are. If you’re someone that likes a lot of choice, happens to collect menus (I hear some people do) and is fed up of the latest ‘no reservations’ craze, I doubt it’ll float  your boat. However, if like me you see a no-booking policy as the chance to nip round the corner for a pre-dinner drink, would order a well-priced burger or lobster any day, and find too much choice tedious, then get on your Boris and pay a visit.

At Burger & Lobster you have the simple choice of a burger, grilled/boiled lobster or a Lobster Roll, all priced at exactly £20 and served with chips and salad. As our lovely waitress explained on our tour of the tanks, the lobsters are caught off Nova Scotia and the restaurant keeps around 1,200 at any one time.

Much like our fellow customers (they’d already sold 400 lobsters that day), we ignored the burger option and, after a bit of a battle, I victoriously ordered the lobster and The Boyfriend went for the Lobster Roll.

When my lobster arrived a smile swept across my face and I wasted no time  tucking in, bib already in position. After years eating Shankers caught off the coast of Jersey with my family, I’ve been brought up thinking crab is best as a lobster tastes like a ‘bland prawn’. I’m pleased to say Burger & Lobster has changed my opinion, as the juicy meat had a delicious sweetness that needed no help from the superfluous jug of garlic butter sauce.

I felt a pang of guilt when I saw The Boyfriend’s little Lobster Roll, but luckily I had no need to as packed with 2/3rds of a lobster, and covered in a sweet, light mayonnaise, it left him smiley and satisfied.

We ordered lime mousse for dessert, which arrived quicker than it takes to say ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ (the main reason for our visit). For once the camera doesn’t lie – this mousse was as mediocre as it looks, served in an out of place plain ice-cream tub.

I’m going to give Burger & Lobster a LLE Rating of 8/10, mainly because it’s the only place in London you can order decent lobster without breaking the bank. If it were my restaurant, I’d ditch the boring desserts and ignored burger, and instead rename it Lobster Lobster, as that’s what it’s becoming famous for.

Burger & Lobster, 29 Clarges Street, Mayfair, London W1J 7EF