Saturday, 28 December 2013

Flavours of Bexley, Kent

I once visited Morocco and found the food to be awesome and full of flavour. (I say this despite getting really bad food poisoning that needed a course of antibiotics to sort out, but maybe I was just unlucky?) 

Until very recently though, I had not been to a Moroccan restaurant outside of Morocco, but that has been rectified by a visit to Flavours of Morocco in Bexley, Kent.

The first dish I am going to show you is a moussaka. Now I am reasonably sure moussaka is not known as a Moroccan dish, but it was on the menu nonetheless. It was not bad, though I think it needed a bit more potato to balance the cheese topping.

In Morocco, I found that most the tagines had vegetables included, but not at this restaurant. So we decided to order a vegetable tagine to share.

Apparently the chicken tagine tasted a bit like a curry...not necessarily sure if that was the goal.

The lamb, apricot and prune tagine was probably the winner for all-round taste. The meat was soft and well-seasoned - exactly what I would expect.

Houmous and olives.

Closest train station: Bexley

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

The Angel at Burford is a true gem

In one of the side streets along Burford High Street is a 16th century pub and restaurant called The Angel. It has a warm and homely feel and, most importantly of all, fantastic food and great service.

I went there after a day out at the Cotswold Wildlife Park, which is just a short three-mile drive away. That's also a fantastic place to visit, but that's another story.

Onto the food. Every dish our party had was presented wonderfully and, as far as I am aware, everyone gave it a thumbs up for taste. Our waitress was also very friendly and helpful.

Those who read my previous blog entry would know how horrified I was with the pate starter I had at The George & Vulture pub in London. Not this time. This looks much better...

Pan-seared scallops. Lovely and cooked to perfection.

My soft and juicy steak.

An old favourite of mine: bread and butter pudding.

Then there were the rest of the dishes. Unfortunately I was too busy tucking into my own lunch than taking notes of what these dishes that my fellow diners ate were exactly. But at least they look tasty.

So if you're in the area, give it a visit.

Address: 14 Witney Street, Burford, OX18 4SN

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Old fashioned pub in The City of London, old fashioned (and crap) food

London has many wonderful shops and restaurants that are hidden away in little side streets. Finding them can be part of the fun of walking around London.

Unfortunately, The George and Vulture* located in a small alleyway by Cornnhill (near Bank) is not so wonderful. I don't have any problem with the small and cramped nature of the place - that's just how old buildings are. I also don't have a problem with the efficient staff that some people would interpret as rudeness. What I do have a problem with however is the horrible overpriced food they serve. Let's take a look.

Pate and bread for starter. Hmmm I was literally given toast and probably some supermarket pate. Nothing wrong with that at home (in fact I DO eat it at home), but not what I expect when paying for it in a dining pub.

Check out this steak and kidney 'pie'. It didn't look nice and it tasted worse. The flavour was non-existent and the pastry tasted like a biscuit.

So for these two awful courses plus chips (that's extra) and a glass of wine, I wouldn't want to spend much more than £10 (and even then I would feel ripped off). Yet somehow my fellow diners and I somehow paid on average £37 for our various two-course meals. That's right, 37 British Pound Sterling. Regardless of the price, this was my worst meal in a pub or restaurant ever. The price just made the pain worst.

Definitely avoid.

Address: 3 Castle Ct, London EC3V 9DL
Nearest Tube: Bank

* Not to be confused with this place:

Square Meal George & Vulture on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Delicious Delicio in Bexleyheath

Along Broadway in Bexleyheath is a Mediterranean restaurant called Delicio. It is a modern-looking restaurant with a very extensive menu, so much so that I was initially worried about what the quality of the food would be like.

However, no need for the worry, as the food came and it was a delight. Let's look at what we ate...

We started with a selection of meze. Houmous, halloumi, beetroot and feta, calamari and chorizo. All good portion sizes and tasty.

Plus a fish cake...

Onto the mains. Here's the mixed grill.

My lamb shish. Very soft and well seasoned throughout.

This is not food, but it is still worth a mention; Chantel the belly dancer makes an appearance too. 

Good times all round. Would definitely consider going again.

Address: 157 Broadway, Bexleyheath, DA6 7EY
Nearest station: Bexleyheath

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Chocolate surprise at work

The lovely people at Precise (I work in media relations and they're one of our third party partners) sent us a Green & Black's chocolate hamper for Christmas.
Definitely one of my favourite Christmas gifts at work to date. Thanks!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Authentic Sichuan (Szechuan) Chinese food in South London

I recently went to Crystal China along Tower Bridge Road in south London. They specialise in spicy Sichuan (Szechuan) food and, judging by the amount of Chinese people in there (over 80 per cent of the diners appeared to be young Chinese people), it must have been authentic. Two of my fellow diners, both from mainland China, also thought the same and recommended it to me.

We ordered a hot pot and we could have whatever ingredients we wanted from a menu. We went for king prawns, lotus root, ham, fish balls, broccoli, tofu and beef. The base of the dish is basically a very spicy broth with lots of dried chilli and peppercorns, which bring a nice tingling and slightly numb feeling to the mouth (rather than the intense burn of some powerful chilli). The sesame dips and the rice we ordered helped counter some of the spiciness!

It was a great experience and so wonderfully different from most Chinese restaurants in the UK, which are mainly based on Cantonese food. 

Not sure about spicy food? They have a 'normal' menu too, judging by their online take away menu.

Nearest Tube: Elephant & Castle, Borough, Bermondsey

Crystal China on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The wonderful food of South Korea

I recently came back from South Korea. While I didn't know too much about the country, I knew I liked Korean food, so off I went.

Quite simply, South Korea is a fabulous country. I visited Seoul, Busan and Jeju Island - all quite different but all with great food. Good food is easy to find and, compared to the UK, it is very affordable to eat out.

While pretty much every meal comes with kimchi (fermented vegetables), there are plenty of other dishes that should appeal to most people.

Seafood fried rice cooked at the centre of the table. Doesn't look anything special, but it was my first meal in the country and it cured my hunger.

Beef bulgogi in soup with noodles, mushrooms and spring onions. Very tasty!

Ice cream with red bean, rice cake and shaved ice.

I visited a soju shop (a type of alcoholic drink). This is an example of the pots that are used to make soju.

Korean BBQ is fun and very social. This was a pork BBQ. Once the meat is cooked, it's wrapped in the leaves and other sides then dipped in sauces.

Kalguksu - or knife noodles - taste quite similar to other noodles I've had, but are distinct because of their unique shape.

Always good to eat at food markets with the locals and watch people make things from scratch. Cheap and tasty.

Most Korean meals come with side dishes to go with the meal. I miss the soy bean sprouts (as opposed to the much more common mung bean sprouts in the UK).

Crab soup - literally loads of them! Unsurprising given that we were in Busan at the time - a city known for its seafood.

More seafood action from Busan. Lightly cooked squid.

This one was special - look at how many dishes there are! They just kept coming and coming.

Noodle soup from Jeju's Noodle Street.  

Another Korean BBQ, but this time with beef.

Cold noodles, chilli sauce, pork and egg.

A large piece of bread drizzled with honey and with some ice cream on top.

And finally...another Korean BBQ! But this one makes it in because of the mixed egg on the side of the grill. The heat slowly cooks the egg and becomes a nice accompaniment to the meal. Not something I had seen before...

Sunday, 24 November 2013

What's it like to drink tea in a converted Victorian toilet?

I recently stumbled across The Attendant in Fitzrovia, London. Quite simply, it's an old underground Victorian toilet that's been converted into a café - complete with original urinals.

Inside, the items on sale are not dissimilar from other cafés, with coffee, tea, cakes etc available. But the very obvious sight of urinals and a hand dryer make for a novel experience.

I usually have a thing about toilets and, although the urinals hadn't been used for around 50 years, I still found myself not wanting to touch any of them!

Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus, Regent's Park, Great Portland Street, Goodge Street

The Attendant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 17 November 2013

BBC Good Food Show -

Yesterday, I went to my first BBC Good Food Show (London). It was pricey - over £25.00 per ticket! But it was fun and I tried different foods throughout the day.

Apart from eating the free samples, I did actually buy some food as well! I visited The Bell & Brisket, part of the "Pop-Up Restaurant & Street Food Experience". I tried "The Lord Rupert" - basically a salt beef bagel with gherkin, cheese and pickle. Not bad if you like brisket. And if you didn't fancy the bagel, you could substitute it with black rye buns instead.

Then came dessert, courtesy of the James Martin Dessert Kitchen. On the left was a Delice au Cassis (I had to ask what that was!), which was a type of light blackcurrant mousse. On the right was a Chocolate Marquise - a rich chocolate dessert.

On that note, James Martin is one of my favourite celebrity chefs and I was very pleased I got to meet him later on in the day, albeit very briefly.

Later, I visited the MasterChef live show, complete with Gregg Wallace and John Torode. Champions Natalie Coleman (2013) and Shelina Permalloo (2012) joined for a 20-minute on-stage cook off! Shelina won.

And if you squint hard enough, you'll see Michel Rouz Jr signing one of his cook books...

All in all, a solid day out. Pricey, but worth a visit if you enjoy sampling food and watching demos of cooking utensils.