Tuesday, 22 July 2014

L'anima soft launch

Last Wednesday we visited Francesco Mazzei's newest venture - L'anima Cafe for their soft launch and were impressed from the second we walked in (if not feeling a little under-dressed). The decor was really fresh and spacious with a really large bar and some of the tables had a flame in the middle which was producing some serious heat (not needed with the current weather!) From start to end we were impressed and found the staff really friendly, smartly dressed and attentive and it was nice to see Francesco walking around - felt a bit sorry for the bread waitress though as she kept crashing the trolley as she wheeled it to peoples tables.

Check out the bread and dip selection - absolutely delicious!  We were able to select 3 breads to try accompanied with a fish, vegetarian and spicy dip.  Our favourite bread was probably the olive bread however they were all great.  Beware that you will have to pay for the bread.
Carpaccio di manzo & tonno crudo

-Both starters were a decent size and very flavoursome. The carpaccio melted in the mouth and worked really well with the blue cheese. The tuna was beyond fresh but we felt it was slightly overpowered by the celery.  Despite this the dish not unpleasant and was great for a summer evening.


Calabrese & Sybarita
- Both pizzas were on a great base with the right amount of crunch (around the edges)! The nduja one was by far our favourite with really fresh mozzarella and watercress helping cool the mouth down as nduja can be really spicy! The roast potato and italien sausage pizza were not what we were expecting at all.  And in all honesty we did not enjoy it, the base was very soggy and it was very bland.  We were left disappointed.

Desert: Caprese - we were super full  after our first courses but just had to try the flour free chocolate cake! This reminded us of a cherry bake well due to the use of almond flour and the second it arrived we managed to make room and the cake was soon demolished!

We had a pretty good meal here despite some slight disappointments and encourage everyone to take a trip East to this eatery. After watching masterchef we would also love to go to L'anima restaurant and sample some more of Francesco's Italian classics!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

An innings too far...

On Friday we headed to the Oval after work to watch Surrey v Glamorgan in a T20 game which was especially important to us as Soph is Welsh from Cardiff and Sarah from Surrey.

Tickets were only 22 pounds and beers under a fiver (which we were suprised at). The atmosphere was electric with a really close match, Mexican waves a plenty and empty beer towers being built all around the stands. There was a great mix of people there from families to work parties and much to our suprise; a fair few Welsh haters.  Even if you are not interested in the cricket at all then it is worth going for the banter, oh, and beers of course. Also if you catch the ball off a six you could win £1000 - we were willing the ball over to us but alas it didn't and Sophs team beat mine by 4 runs.

We left the Oval and headed home via a fave of ours, the Peckham Pelican. This place has a great vibe and does seriously good £6 cocktails although annoyingly last orders are 10:30. Not wanting our Friday night to end we headed along Bellenden road and sunk a few in The Victoria Inn opposite The Beggin Bowl. This is a really nice pub with a big outdoor area and lots of seats inside.  A double and mixer in here will however set you back about £8. Upon closing we literally staggered into Peckham's newest bar - Four Quarters. It is safe to say this is one of the coolest bars we have been to with the unique mix of retro arcade games and craft beers. It took us both quite a long time to realise that the games were free as our beer brains had well and truly kicked in! This place has a really nice laid back atmosphere with everyone really enjoying the arcade games. The bar staff and door staff were extremely friendly and we will 100% be returning.

NB rooster spot ain't bad for a late night chicken burger either :P, and as always for a hangover cure the guys at alibaba juice are the best!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

STAX DINER (Soft launch)

Having a week off work in London during the summer is one of our favorite things - You get to walk around in the blazing sunshine and do all the touristy things that seem so much effort at other times of the year.  It was on one of our little day trips out when we saw on twitter that Stax Diner were having their soft launch (50% off all food).... we were not going to miss out on this.After a couple more hours strolling round and visiting The Museum of London (which is very good and free) we had worked up quite an appetite.

We arrived at Stax ready for food, although yet again we were a little early as it did not open until 6pm, even so there was quite a queue building up.  We were seated quickly and drinks orders were taken pretty instantly, 1 Dalmatian (Oreo cookies and baileys) and 1 Drunken Brown Cow (coca cola, rum, chocolate and vanilla ice cream float).  As we waited for our drinks our food order was taken.  For possibly the first time ever I did not have a beef burger instead plumping for "The Chickadee"  (Buttermilk marinated fried chicken breast on Balthazar brioche with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo) while Sarah chose (much to my annoyance as I couldn't try it) " The Stax Po' Boy" (Cajun spiced popcorn shrimp on brioche with spicy comeback sauce, tomato and lettuce).  We decided to share a side off Battered pickles.  Once we ordered we then sat and waited and waited and waited for our drinks.... which in the end came after our food despite a number of enquiries as to where they were.

When the food arrived we weren't disappointed overall, however the chips did not look like they were homemade and actually didn't taste like it either - for us they were underdone.  As for the rest of the food, I really enjoyed my chicken burger; the batter was well seasoned and had a nice crunch to it.  Sarah was a little underwhelmed with her Po' Boy due to its lack of flavour and soggy coating.  We both really enjoyed the battered pickles.... it would seem that (for us at least) battering and frying vegetables is the way forward.

Overall the service was mediocre as was the food aside from a few hidden gems.  Having said this, it was their soft launch and throughout the week it was clear that they had had some teething problems.  We would like to go back in the future to sample some of their other dishes once they are settled as we have heard on the grapevine that their chicken and waffles is excellent.

Have you been? How did you rate it?