Tag Archives: prawn

Tredwell’s, Covent Garden

Before I launch, eating and slurping into 2015, I want to tell you about my lunch at Tredwell’s. A lunch that took place many months ago, in a year we called 2014.

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Despite less than favourable reviews, I was keen to try Marcus Wareing’s newest and most ‘accessible’ establishment. The restaurant was named after the butler in Agatha Christie’s The Seven Dials Mystery, so it had to have hidden depths (even if the soulless dining room suggested otherwise).

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Turns out I was right to trust my instincts as aside from the lack of customers chatting and chomping, I rather enjoyed my meal. Prawns on a bed of white polenta with white garlic and chicken broth (£8.50) was a lovely start. A hug in a bowl, it was sweet and sumptuous with pleasant warmth.

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Sea Bass was of similar design, but this time the gently cooked fish crouched on creamed carrots, lentils and shallots (£15). Had it not been for the sides of Kale Slaw (£3.50) and Sweet Potato Chips (£4.50), I could have lost the false teeth for the duration of the course. As with the starter, this dish was made for Mr Soft.

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A Virtuous Chocolate Brownie (£5) was shared for dessert, washed down with what remained of our carafe of house white (£13). It looked like a brownie, but a lack of eggs, dairy, wheat and refined sugar changed the taste and texture beyond repair. I regretted my choice and vowed never to liken ‘virtue’ to a ‘pudding’ again.

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I wouldn’t rush back to Tredwell’s, but I certainly wouldn’t avoid it as some critics suggest. The food is tasty, well presented and not insanely priced. So it’s a shame the restaurant is deprived of charisma and warmth due to a distinctive lack of bodies.

Tredwell’s, 4A Upper St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2H 9NY

Food 4/5 – Price 3/5 – Staff 4/5 – Atmosphere – 2/5

Tredwell's on Urbanspoon

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 

FISHBone, Kensington

A pop up has its uses. It can create buzz around an existing restaurant, or ‘test the waters’ for something new.

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FISHBone sits in the former camp. It’s an offshoot of fish brasserie Kensington Place, right by Notting Hill station. The concept is a ‘seafood spin on the gourmet fast-food trend’, so being a fish fiend, was right up my street. Continue reading…

FISHBone, Kensington Place Restaurant, 201 Kensington Church Street, W8 7LX

Okan, Brixton Village

Each time Shrove Tuesday comes around, I stuff my face with pancakes wondering why I don’t make them more often. They are so easy and versatile – this year’s combinations ranged from cheese, ham & mushroom to salted caramel & banana…via traditional lemon & sugar and the odd Nutella.

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I guess I’m just lazy, or eat so many I can’t bear the thought of more. So, for an alternative pancake experience, I turn to Okan – a tiny Japanese restaurant in the heart of Brixton village.

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Okan specialises in okonomiyaki – a savoury pancake that’s commonplace on the streets of Osaka, Japan’s second largest city. It means ‘as you like it’ and typically combines fermented cabbage (kimchi) with batter and a range of toppings.

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After our Otumami (starters) of warm, salty edamame (£2.20) and wonderfully aromatic Onasu (fried aubergine with soy, honey, ginger & miso dressing – £3.25), we ordered the Okan Special with prawn, squid and corn (£8.25), as well as a Kimchi & Pork (£7.95). This was topped off with a bottle of white wine (they also have a great range of Japanese beers and sake).

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Cooked in on steaming grills beside us, the okonomiyaki were large, thick and piping hot. The kimchi made them quite salty, but not to the point of unpleasant, and the fillings were in generous supply. The flavour was unique and took some getting used to, but it was refreshing to try something so different.

Okan was one of the first Brixton Village eateries –  no frills, charming and serves original food that transports you miles from the bustling streets of Brixton. For that, I’ll give it a LLE Rating of 8/10. A very happy – albeit belated -Pancake Day to you all.

Okan, Unit 39, Brixton Village, SW9 8PS

*To avoid embarrassment, it’s worth noting that Okan is Cash Only

Okan on Urbanspoon

Tonkotsu, Soho

Saturday. 5.45pm. Soho. Queues were already forming outside London’s most popular restaurants. Even Herman Ze German felt full.

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We were hungry and time was precious. Not wanting to stand in the cold, we chose Tonkotsu – a Ramen restaurant with a thirty minute wait beneath a large, energy wasting turbo heater.

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Inside, the music was pumping and steam was bellowing from the open Ramen bar. We shared a long, wooden table and speedily ordered a plate of hot, salted edamame (£3.50) and homemade Prawn Gyoza (£5). The latter had a lovely flavour, but weren’t a patch on Mama Lan’s creations.

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Ramen wise, I chose Shimeji, Shiitake & Miso (£9) with an unhealthy added portion of pork . The sauce was rich, with half a semi-hard boiled egg, thick, silky noodles, mushrooms, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and white, juicy meat.

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I had a flashback to Bone Daddies. The flavour was there, but my bottomless pit of a stomach couldn’t conquer it. I found the sauce too salty, too thick, too rich. I couldn’t handle it again – something my friends agreed on.

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Paying took forever; a stressful process made worse by our desperate need for fresh air. The staff were a friendly bunch, but my word they were slow.

Tonkotsu gets a LLE Rating of 5/10. I’d rather go to Koya for lighter noodles, delicate flavours and a more relaxed atmosphere.

Tonkotsu, 63 Dean Street, London W1D 4QG

The Fish & Chip Shop, Islington

Ordering at The Fish & Chip Shop wasn’t easy. How did they expect me to choose between Shrimp Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Fish Pie with Cheesy Crust, Lobster & Avocado and Beer Battered Cod? Not to mention Breaded Scampi, Fish Fingers and Whole Lemon Sole! I was somewhere between heaven and hell; stuck in a fishy limbo.

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As I looked round the restaurant’s nautical interior, I knew I had to make a choice. So, I confidently ordered Isle of Man Crab on Toast (£10.75), followed by Griddled Tiger Prawns (£15). Why the confidence? Well, I’d already struck a deal to eat half my companion’s Fillet of Cod (£16).

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Isle of Man Crab on Toast lived up to its price, both in size and flavour. Brown crab meat was spread on a large slice of toasted brown bread, topped with a generous layer of white meat, slices of avocado and a lemon juice and chilli dressing. It was delightful and – despite my earlier hesitation – the perfect start to our meal.

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When the Griddled Tiger Prawns arrived something wonderful happened. Out of nowhere, our waiter questioned the number of prawns on my plate. Apparently, eight wasn’t enough, so he promptly brought four more. The sweet, juicy prawns tasted fantastic, so you can imagine my delight.

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As for my compadre’s Fillet of Cod, it had spent a little too long in the oven, so was drier than hoped. However, the bed of spinach and thick, parsley sauce gave the sustainable fish the flavour and moisture it needed.

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Our greed also bought us Fresh Cut Chips (£3) and Crushed Peas (£3). The bright green peas tasted like they were fresh from the garden, enhanced by mint.

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Other reviewers had been unkind  to the chips, but we couldn’t see a problem – they were well salted, crisp on the outside and deliciously soft inside. A perfectly adequate chip in my humble opinion.

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We left it there, partly because we were asked to move tables to make way for another booking. Not a huge issue, but slightly irritating as we’d booked in advance and had only been sat for an hour and a half.

Although The Fish & Chip Shop lost points at the end and was a tad over priced, I’m still giving it a LLE Rating of 7.5 / 10. I can’t wait to go back and try more from the mouthwatering menu – London Particular Fritters, Shrimp Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Burnt Chocolate Cream are next on my list.

The Fish & Chip Shop, 189 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1RQ

The Fish and Chip Shop on Urbanspoon