Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kurobuta - Marble Arch

I think every foodie should have someone like my best friend in their life. She always knows the 411 on new and upcoming places to eat. She text me asking if I wanted to try out this new restaurant she had booked called Kurobuta and reeled me in with the line "the ex head chef of Nobu co-owns it". Hook and sink. 

Kurobuta started out as a pop up restaurant in Chelsea, I don't know what it was like there but I can speak for the permanent restaurant near Marble Arch. The concept is inspired by Japanese izakayas (kind of like a pub, its a place where you drink and can eat food) and serves a twisted take on Japanese cuisine. 

What you need to understand about Kurobuta (best to think of it like tapas style) is you order what you want and the dishes are served in no particular order at different times. This is where you get the izakaya feel, as I sat talking to my friend and the food was dished up whenever it was prepared. 

After deliberating for ten minutes over the menu, my friend and I chose (my choices being the two latter):
Tuna sashimi pizza with truffle ponzu, red onions and green chillies
- Salmon gravadlax and avocado tartare with dill mayo, rice crunchies and fresh yuzu zest
BBQ pork belly in steamed buns with spicy peanut soy
Nasu Dengaku; sticky miso grilled aubergine with sesame seeds

The BBQ pork belly was to die for, it was juicy and had a subtle charred flavour to it. Don't forget the spicy peanut soy, it deserves just as much credit. It had a very distinct smoky flavour to it, each bite came with a crunch from the peanuts.

The nasu dengaku was nothing like I expected it to be, it was better. The aubergine just melted in your mouth and the sticky miso was something I've never tasted before. I wanted to savour each and every single bite. 
Tuna sashimi pizza
Salmon gravadlax and avocado tartare
BBQ pork belly bun
Nasu dengaku

As our main meals impressed us so much we decided to go for dessert. I chose the jelly doughnut pistachio parfait, which looked so funky on the plate. My first mouthful gave me a nostalgic feeling of having soap in my mouth, think I got this flavour from some citrus in the dessert. The doughnut was soft and filled with a thick dollop of chocolate. Yummy!

Jelly doughnut pistachio parfait
Japanese carrot cake
A big bravo to Scott Hallsworth, he clearly knows how to create some incredible dishes, which leave you wanting more. The quality and effort that goes into these dishes are reflected in the price and its not cheap. Would recommend it's worth a visit and highly advise to book well in advance to avoid any disappointment.

Kurobuta on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fish and Chips Friday!

Masters Super Fish reminds me of a chippy that should be in Eastenders.  It has a canteen feel to it and you'd expect Ian Beale to pop up behind the counter. It's basic, lacks any atmosphere and don't expect service with a smile but for some strange reason I like it, as do the cabbie drivers of London.

I came here during my lunch break with colleagues who have been going here for ages and ordered the lunch special, which was fish and chips with a drink for around £6. The portions were generous and the fish used is sourced locally from Billingsgate market everyday. 

When I cut into my big chunk of fish, the batter made a cracking noise, which was like music to my ears. I think they deep fry the fish twice to get that extra crunchiness. The fish meat was soft and looked fresh from the sea making it more appetising. I also love a bit of tartar sauce with my fish and here they give you an enormous amount as well as ketchup. 

I really like it here, its definitely a no frills place and people just come in and go. It's good value for money and well worth checking out if you're in the area. Just one note, don't go in wearing your best clothes as you will leave Masters Super Fish smelling like you've been deep fried.

I noticed the fish had been battered twice

Masters Super Fish on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My 200th Post in Honour of my Nan

Today has been 20 years since my bà ngoại(grandmother) passed away and we always have a family meal on the 12th April as a remembrance day for her. And in traditional Vietnamese style, we make and cook a lot of food. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Nothing Beats a Good Sunday Lunch

First of all I must apologise for the terrible photos, the window reflected a funny blue light onto the food, giving the gravy a strange reflection. Don't let this put you off The Porchester because the food is just spot on and definitely the pub grub we were looking for on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

My friend and I had wandered around Paddington and Bayswater looking for a pub, which served a good roast and we almost gave up until we passed The Porchester. I didn't realise until after that this pub is part of Young's chain. 

There is everything you would expect on a traditional pub menu from shepherd's pie, fish and chips to homemade beef burgers, all reasonably priced. I chose the pork and ale sausages with creamy mash and caramelised red onion gravy. I have an unhealthy addiction to caramelised onion and whenever I see it on a menu, nine out of ten I will choose it. My friend on the other hand was inevitably having the half roasted chicken served with roast potatoes, vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and gravy.

Both the meals were good and we were absolutely stuffed by the end of it. The staff were friendly and attentive, we had some banter with them and I enjoyed the ambience in the pub, it was chilled and cosy, pretty much the perfect way to end the weekend.

Half roasted chicken

Sausages and mash

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Giuseppe's Place - London Bridge

After trawling the Internet for a reasonable place to eat near London Bridge my friend and I decided on Giuseppe's Place. It's close to the station, has a decent menu and the reviews looked promising. At first when we approached the restaurant I thought we had made a mistake as judging by the hanging sign I thought it was a "kebab" type place. How wrong was I.

The entrance to Giuseppe's Place sits just off Borough High Street, you can't really miss it as there are multiple signs guiding you to the doorway. You're then taken down a wooden staircase and into an old fashioned Italian restaurant. 

The staff were very friendly and the food was served surprisingly quickly. I ordered the spaghetti carbonara, which was rich, creamy and cheesy with the bacon adding the right level of saltiness. I enjoyed the meal and the portion was larger than what I had expected. The restaurant itself is dark and a bit cramped, I couldn't stop myself from eavesdropping into the conversation on the next table. 
Spaghetti carbonara
From their website it mentions they source the finest ingredients from Borough Market, which is always a plus in my books as I think its great to support the local community. I'm also intrigued about the live music as judging from TripAdvisor there mixed opinions.

I quite liked Giuseppe's Place, there was something about it that made me want to come back. I think they should make the menu more dynamic with seasonal dishes, especially being so close to Borough Market and providing them with a wealth of fresh ingredients on their doorstep. And just a note that if you're looking to order pizza then go elsewhere as it's nowhere to be seen on this menu.

Guiseppes on Urbanspoon