Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Flavour Expat

Saturday saw us venture east AGAIN...this time to @BackDoorKitchen.  Over the past few weeks/months they have been running flavour expats.  The idea of the night is that two different cuisines go up against each other.  Our chosen night was Italy vs. China (@twohungrygirls).
It took us a little while to find the venue (not unusual), but when we did we weren't disappointed.  On the first floor of "a gym" is a light, spacious kitchen and entertainment area which has a great warehouse feel about it. We wondered in alittle early (again not unusual) and were greeted by a very friendly, welcoming host.
The Italian starter of Maiale 3 Stilie (see above for full ingredient list)  was served first.  Presentation wise the plate looked very appetising.  We love asparagus and these three glorious stalks wrapped in pork fat were delicious.  The ham hock was tasty and went well with the dips.
The Chinese starter of BBQ pulled pork bun fell apart in our mouths.  The succulent meat was cooked really well and the radishes offered a nice peppery dimension.  We were however a little disappointed that this did not come in a traditional bun.  Nevertheless it still tasted great.

Main courses were served in the same order.  Rob served rosemary and thyme risotto topped with a quail breast.  The sauce of the risotto was lovely although for us the rice was slightly too aldente for our liking.
The Chinese dish of a chicken and shitake mushroom rice parcel came next.  The sticky rice was well flavoured and STICKY.  The chicken was cooked nicely however for us this dish didn't really work for us.

 Both sides kept their deserts a secret until they were about to be served.
The eastern inspired desert was chocolate biscuits with ginger milk tea ice cream.  The biscuits were delightfully thin and chocolatey which complimented the punchy ice cream perfectly.  Once we demolished this we moved on to the Italian desert - a rich chocolate orange desert with a hidden treat of a rum soaked sponge finger.  At first we started munching our way through the mousse thinking it was a little over powering.  However the minute we mixed the sponge, mousse and cream together this desert came alive; and really really worked.

#BAD8 which was oh so good

Yesterday @hansyhobs and myself were part of the lucky 30 who got to attend #BAD8 which was organised by @burgerawayday. The event was hosted by @BOBsANDco who are residing in The Rising Sun, St Pauls (till the end of the year) and we have wanted to try more of BOBs food since Taco Wars as their taco truly blew us away. I arrived at the venue very early, got myself a magners and sat at the bar reading timeout waiting for Hannah. The pub was really quaint with a large bar and stalls facing the windows however,  city prices were well in force with the Magners being a fiver!!
7:30 soon approached and the 30 of us headed upstairs to BOBs restaurant where the space had been dramatically changed (according to Hannah) with fake exposed brick wallpaper which seemed to trick many people. The staff were super friendly and knowledgeable and once the food started flowing we were not disappointed and had many talking points.
The first starter out was the tuna taco which was just as good as I remember from Taco Wars. The crispy wonton added texture and all the ingredients including the slaw and wasabi paired so well with the tuna.  These are soooo good and could easily eat a tray of them!

Up next was their signature lobster rolls in mini bite size form which left us wanting more and to come back for the main version. The lobster was tasty and crammed into the fresh brioche and the lobster butter was superb.

The third and final starter was sea bass & blood orange cerviche served on a scallop shell. Having spent some time in Peru and sampled lots of cerviche this was a really good one with the orange adding a sharp dimension to the dish! Again I could have eaten more of this!

There was quite a wait between starters and main but we could smell the burgers cooking and while we waited we were presented with Lobster mac & cheese. For me, this was one of the highlights of the evening! The pasta was well cooked and the bowl was full of lobster. There was nice clumps of cheese and a runny lobster bisque bechamel sauce topped with crispy fried shallots which added texture and depth to the dish. I thought the flavours were incredible and the dish perfect but seemed the general consensus on our table was the sauce could have been thicker.

Once this was demolished the burger were served with a decent portion of chips on the side, however the chips were way too salty for me.  The menu had advised that the burger was to be cooked medium to well due to the bacon running through however having sampled so many burgers, medium rare is our preferred choice. The burgers were still juicy and succulent and the toppings worked really well.

Desert was a smaller affair with most people having a caramelised banana with espresso creme anglaise served on a homemade banana brioche. I was served rice pudding instead as really dislike bananas and this was light, not stodgy at all and very tasty.

In summary - this menu was delicious, the staff fabulous and the company even better. Thanks to BOBs & Camilla for organising. We cannot wait for #BAD9!!

Sunday, 27 April 2014


We first discovered @wearehawkes randomly while at The Dolls House in Hoxton and thank god we did! On Wednesday this week Hawkes had their ginger beer launch night, as massive fans of this drink we made sure we got our names on the guest list.  The night took place in one of the function rooms at the cool, swanky @TheHoxtonHotel.  We were promised cocktails, canapes, a band and a Radio 1xtra DJ...and this is what we got. 



First on our list was the Hawkes n' Stormy - a blend of dark rum, lime, ice topped of with Hawkes ginger beer.  We sipped on our cocktails as we explored our surroundings finding a good spot to sit where the band were playing.  Marvelling at the cool, refreshing taste of this cocktail we sat back and enjoyed the jazz band.

With our glasses now empty we felt it was time to try our second cocktail, Red Hawkes Down. This concoction of red wine, sugar syrup, ice and Hawkes ginger beer was proving to be very popular amongst the punters and was a real hit for us. Who would have thought red wine and ginger beer would work so well but it did - tasting a bit like sangria but better!

Our third Hakes cocktail was our favourite and the one we found most refreshing - vodka, apple juice and of course the amazing Hawkes ginger beer!  The fizzy sweet taste of Hawkes gave this cocktail a great edge and in our eyes revolutionised vodka & apple juice.

Once the band had finished their set the founder, Simon, took the stage to give us a better incite to his brand, vision and why Hawkes was started. Taking their name from the original Victorian London ginger beer sellers, Hawkers, Hawkes was an idea started by Simon and his wife in their kitchen when realising that there was a lack of good tasting ginger beers out there and the brand was born.  What we like the most about Hawkes after the obvious great taste is their ethos and how they are working with the charity Centre point. Centre point aim to provide support for the 80,000 young adults who require that helping hand for shelter and to get their lives back on track and Hawkes will be helping them do this. At the launch their was a donations box where everything was going to centre point and this is so refreshing for such a young company to have this giving back mentality.

Our night ended with a Hawkes on its own out of the bottle listening to the fab @gemcairn DJ. We had a fabulous evening at this launch and it is safe to say Hawkes is going to be our drink of the summer. 

Hawkes is currently stocked in following SE locations:

Commercial Hotel
212 Railton Road
SE24 0JT
Crown & Greyhound
73 Dulwich Village
SE21 7BJ
Gipsy Moth
60 Greenwich Church Street
SE10 9BL
291 Greenwich High Road
SE10 8NA
Windsor Walk
381 Lordship Lane
SE22 8JJ
Princess Of Wales
1a Montpelier Row
16 Blackheath Village
Southwark Tavern
22 Southwark Street
White Hart
29 Cornwall Road
White Hart
96 Church Road
SE19 2EZ

While this is great for Hawkes it is not great for us! There is a distinct lack of Peckham stockist and we really think the following venues should get in contact with Hawkes and get involved! We can't think of anything nicer than sitting on the top of a car park, under the railway arches or in a beer garden in the sun with a Hawkes in hand.
So go on - make our summer and get Hawkes stocked close to us :)
Franks café
The flying Pig
Bar story
Peckham Plex

Peckham Springs
Bussey Building
Thomas A Becket1
Peckham Bazaar
Grand union - Camberwell

For more info visit www.wearehawkes.com



Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Have you been to BUGER PIT yet?

After winning a football related comp on twitter - yes we know football - we had the delights of trying @burgerpitLondon situated near Leadenhall market. We've been burger addicts for a while and frequented many markets and street food events trying to find the best burger in London and burger pit were unknown to us before appearing on twitter.
The restaurant is large however empty when we arrived - maybe it gets busier at lunch? Due to the obvious emptiness it was lacking atmosphere however we both really liked the street art on the wall.The menu is displayed on a big black board and the burgers are very basic with toppings at an additional cost. Having read other reviews many customers would like to see these toppings as part of the price and specials on the menu which may jazz it up a bit.   

Having said that we really enjoyed our cheeseburgers which were made with cuts from beef aged on the bone for 28 days. We found the meat very succulent and well cooked (medium) and there was sufficient salad on top of the burger. They were a decent size and unlike other burgers we've tried we weren't covered in mess and sauce (not that we don't enjoy the messier burgers - patty and bun springs to mind) but being a burger joint near many offices makes sense that people can pop in and not be worried about leaving with half their lunch down them! We also ordered a portion of chips to share which was more than ample for two however had a touch too much salt for our taste buds. Each table was kitted out with condiments ranging from hot sauce to Jack Daniels BBQ which accompanied the chips nicely however when eating off paper the sauce started to seep through and was nearly digested with some chips!

Overall, this wasn't the worst burger we have ever tasted but it wasn't up there in our top 5. It exceeded our expectations as other customers have not enjoyed their experience at Burger pit so we say give it a go - see what you think!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

United Ramen v USA

On Thursday we made our way North where @unitedramen were hosting one of their popups at @Houseofwolf. We arrived early and took full advantage of the 241 cocktails and found the staff very friendly and knowledgeable.

Around 7:30 we headed upstairs where we were greeted by United Ramen crew and led to our tables. The decor was great with a Japanese and American flag to remind us why we were there and the dulcet tones of Johnny Cash were playing which set the ambiance. The dinner started with Sansho Pepper Popcorn nibbles which were supposed to leave the mouth with a numbing feeling - after stuffing handfuls into our mouth this sensation hit - WOW! The popcorn was delicious!

Before both the starters arrived the founder Aaron explained the purpose of the pop up (to get feedback before launching a restaurant) and that they wanted as much feedback as poss so our placemats acted as a questionnaire where we could rate everything we ate - this was great as it got the whole table talking and was also great market research for them. Shortly after the food started to flow and we were more than impressed at the quality, taste and portion size.

 Dish 1) Cold Starter: Sweet Potato & Crunchy Chicken Skin Maki (Roll)
We were presented with 6 Maki rolls accompanied with soy sauce and wasabi. These were the first rolls we have tried which aren't stuffed with seafood and they were delicious. You could really taste the sweet potato running through also.

Dish 2) Hot Starter: Spicy Buffalo Yakitori Hot Wings
The wings were really meaty and cooked perfectly covered in fab hot sauce! They were paired with the most incredible mayo which we all agreed should and need to be sold in supermarkets!

Dish 3: BBQ Pulled Chicken, Crispy Bacon and Spicy Buttered Sweetcorn Ramen (Chicken Bone Broth)
Here Japan and USA came together to form ramen like we have never tasted before. The bacon was really crispy, the sweetcorn so sweet and the chicken had a great BBQ twang to it. For us the dish had too many noodles but maybe that's cos we were already getting full from the previous 3 dishes! 2 members of our table had broths made without mushrooms and this made theirs a lot sweeter and nicer in our opinion to the regular broth. Apparently that's the first time they have cooked the broth without mushrooms so wonder if our feedback has changed how they make the broth! Oh we also loved the name - Yankee Doodle Ramen Noodle

Dish 4: Dessert: Chocolate Ganache Mochi and Strawberry Cheesecake Mochi
Mochi? What the hell are Mochi? That is what we were asking ourselves before we were presented with a ball of each flavour. Turns out Mochi are rice balls which can be filled with various ingredients. The chocolate ones were really rich and my fav and Soph preferred the Cheesecake ones - We cannot describe in words what they tasted like you really need to experience them for yourselves! These ones were made by @lovelittlemoons and we would love to have tried more but unfortunately we did not win United Ramens quiz or instagram comp that they were running on the night :(

In summary - we had a cracking time and found the food flavoursome, big and defs something we would eat again! We look forward to seeing United Ramen open their first restaurant!

For more info check out their website - www.unitedramen.com

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Pizza Union..not your average Pizza joint!

Easter is just around the corner and seeing as I will not be seeing my bro this year we decided to meet for lunch. He suggested @pizzaunion which was a place I had never heard of despite pizza being up there as one of my fav foods so was pretty darn excited to give it a go!

Being close to Liverpool street the place got really quite busy but we seemed to get in just before the rush! The menu has 15 different pizzas all for under 6 quid...yes 6 quid for 12 inches which is AMAZING value for London. After toiling with what to go for we ordered the Tropicali and Reine and within 5 mins our buzzer was flashing and our pizzas were ready! Both were packed full of toppings and flavour on a really crisp base just how I like it! The tomato sauce wasn't too watery or runny and there was just the right amount of cheese. All the ingredients were really fresh and as the kitchen is open you can see all the pizzas being made to order! Despite being fast passed and busy all the staff were really friendly and seemed to be enjoying what they were doing which is always refreshing to see in the City. Customers also seemed to be enjoying themselves and their lunch breaks without the stress that food was going to take too long and they would be late back to the office - which always puts a dampener on going to a restaurant during work hours. We both devoured our pizzas within minutes and I'm already arranging when we will next see each other for the next Pizza Union!

These pizzas were not only delicious they were big, cheap and cooked in super quick time! Really recommend everyone to give these guys a go....could Pizza Union be the most economical pizza joint in London?

Sunday, 13 April 2014

All Things Peckham

Having lived opposite Burgess Park for nearly a year we have been back and forth to Peckham for mainly one reason - Peckham Plex! With the sun shinning we donned our flip flops and decided to actually go and explore our local area and my god did we find some gems!!

Firstly we stumbled upon @Alibabajuice which is this really cute juice stall tucked up under the railway arches on rye lane. We were greeted by a super friendly New Yorker called Chris who talked us through his juice menu and suggested a juice that would help cure Sarah's 2 day hangover - grapefruit, beetroot and ginger. Despite not even liking grapefruit this juice really hit the spot! Soph went for apple, kale and basil mainly for her love of the super food kale but my word was it refreshing! All Alibabas ingredients were really fresh and we cannot wait to try more of these amazing juices.

With juices in hand we headed for @Busseybuilding where @craftyfoxmarket were in residency for 2 days with over 45 craft stalls selling everything from tshirts to bow ties to home made shoes.
There was a really good atmosphere with djs playing on both floors and lots of people coming and going, looking for some unique items. We had to limit ourselves and bought some art from @woahpickle and a tshirt from @keylimepietime as we will definitely be hitting @dogstarbrixton when the craft fair heads there in 2 weeks.

Next we decided to find Bellenden road as we wanted to locate @Artusipeckham, @thebeggingbowl and melange chocolate however we couldn't walk passed @Brick_Brewery without popping in for a quick half. Having tried Brick Brewery at the flying Pig (check out our prior blog) it was nice to see where the local beer was brewed and recommend anyone to check out the Brewery tap on a Sat between 12-6pm. We've just read that @burgerbeartom will be there next Sat - this is bloody exciting as we recently invested in Burger bears Kickstartup!

With our thirst quenched we took a leisurely stroll up Bellenden stopping in at the butchers, vintage clothing store and the general store for a beer stick. Our objectives were met as we located both restaurants that we want to check out in the future and discovered by far the best hot chocolate we have ever tried from Melange chocolate. During this pit stop we had a good read of   @peckhampeculiar which is a cracking local paper and can be picked up from loads of shops and rests in Peckham and Nunhead- we got ours from @peckhamplatform

We ended our Peckham day by checking out the 2nd art exhibition at Hannah Barrys Gallery, 4 Holly Grove where German born artist Nick Jeffrey's Shiver Me Timbers Exhibition was on display. Being street art lovers we really hope this 2 storey warehouse continues to display lots of art and even entices local artists to display their work.

If you have never really explored Peckham we really recommend it as there is so much to see and do.