The weekend before last we went to Cardiff to watch the Six Nations. Chris is a Welshman and therefore obsessed with rugby, it's like a national religion over there. Anyway, our trip to leekagogo land meant jumping on the train at 7pm on Friday night, leaving us half an hour to grab some food beforehand. My normal go to place for a speedy and cheap dinner is Chilango, the awesome burrito place. But as we'd been a few weeks beforehand we decided to go for currywurst at Herman ze German.
Currywurst is a popular German dish, consisting of smoked pork sausage topped with a curry and tomato sauce. Sounds gross huh? Surprisingly, it's actually really good. There are four different sausages to choose from; pork & veal, smokey pork, chilli beef or oven baked pork. Choose your wurst and they'll pop it in the Hermanator to be sliced before topping it with curry sauce and crispy onions with chips or a roll on the side. The chips are baked not fried, they may be healthier but let's be honest, they don't taste quite as good but the crispy onions were ace. Be warned that even the mild curry sauce is pretty spicy. As you can see from the picture, it may not be the prettiest thing you're ever going to eat but I promise that it does taste nice.
I actually cheated and ordered a smoked pork sausage in a roll, topped with ketchup, plenty of mustard (the best bit if you ask me), sauerkraut and crispy onions, all washed down with a Fritz lemonade. All very tasty although I would prefer the pork to be a little smokier. Alongside the sausages, they also serve meatballs with onion gravy served with chips or traditional egg noodles, and a range of sandwiches and pastries, although I can't imagine going there for a pain au chocolat.
Herman ze German is fun, tasty and speedy; perfect food for when you're in a hurry or to stave off a hangover. And the sign is very cute.
Wednesday, 28 March 2012
A few weeks ago we went to meet my parents for a mosey around the shops and some lunch in Cambridge. We went to the recently opened Bill's cafe, a small chain of restaurants originating in Brighton. They also have a branch in Covent Garden and a newly opened site in Islington, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
For lunch, Chris and I shared a fish finger sandwich and a chorizo burger, both served with a pot of skin on chips. The chorizo sausages were chargrilled before being piled into a soft brioche bun, with a good dollop of red pepper hummus, topped with rocket and roasted red peppers which was every bit as good as it sounds. The homemade fish fingers were sandwiched between lightly toasted white bread with chunky tartar sauce and ketchup, nothing fancy or extravagant but tasty none the less. The chips were crispy, and the skin added to the rustic feel of the place.
The food is reasonably basic, they serve classics like fish & chips, burgers and cottage pie. They also have some seriously good looking desserts on the menu; the
pavlova topped with lashings of whipped cream and strawberries looks
delish. What we ate was good, simple and reasonably priced food at its best. A fish finger sandwich doesn't need to be over complicated or meddled with and it seems as though the guys at Bill's recognise this.
The restaurant itself is decked out with chunky wooden tables and the walls are lined with Bill's own brand chutneys, jams, dressings and sweet treats which are available to buy. The staff are friendly and the service was quick even though we arrived in the middle of a busy lunch service. If they can convert my dad into a fish finger sandwich fan then they must be doing something right.
|Chorizo in a brioche bun|
|Pink lemonade with strawberries|
|Fish finger sandwich|
Thursday, 22 March 2012
A few weeks ago we headed down to Shoreditch to celebrate Jools' 31st birthday at Viet Grill. I've been to a few of the BYOB Vietnamese restaurants dotted around Hoxton and never been that impressed with the gelatinous food and plastic tables. Eating at Viet Grill was, as my friend Helen would say, a revelation. It may be a bit pricier than the other Vietnamese restaurants nearby, but the food and interiors are considerably better.
We started with Cha La Lot; vine leaves stuffed with minced pork, topped with roasted peanuts with a chilli dip on the side. We also shared some chilli, salt & pepper squid, with stir fried white and spring onions. Both starters were really tasty, but the squid in particular was fantastic. The batter which the squid was fried in was light, crispy and deliciously spicy, perfect when combined with the sweet, salt and pepper fried onions.
For my main course I ordered ox cheek braised in cinnamon and cardamon. It was my first taste of ox cheek, when you think about eating an animals face it is a little grim but when you taste the tender meat you forget all about its origins. The sauce was rich with cinnamon and worked beautifully with the meat. Chris' Dong Du Curry was spicy and delicious, with large chunks of lamb on the bone.
The service was speedy considering we were such a big table (there were around 20 of us) and the atmosphere was fun and lively. It may not be BYOB, but that does mean you've got the option of having a cocktail or fancy fruit juice alongside your food. It's probably not the ideal place for a cosy date, but it's perfect for dinner with a big bunch of friends.
|The birthday boy|
|Cha La Lot|
|Chilli, Salt & Pepper Squid|
|Ox Cheek au Vin|
|Dong Du Lamb Curry|
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Alistair's Brasserie was one of my favourite restaurants in N16; it was the place we went to celebrate anniversaries, new jobs, or just because we wanted a good meal. Ever since Alistair's closed last year, I've been on the look out for a new local restaurant to fill the void and I think Homa might just fit the bill. After the delicious breakfast we ate there last year, we finally made it down there for what turned out to be a great meal.
Dinner started with a basket of homemade bread, generous slices of nutty rye and fluffy white bread served with olive oil. Followed swiftly by a squid and chorizo salad with potatoes and green beans in a light herb dressing. It was lovely to look at but even better to eat. Chris ordered buffalo mozzarella with caponata (a Sicilian aubergine dish) and a toasted garlic croute. The rich and creamy mozzarella worked perfectly with the sharpness of the caponata, a simple but delicious starter.
For our main course we both ordered the lamb cutlet which was served with a lamb potato cake and onion puree. The cutlet was juicy and pink in the middle and the potato cake was deliciously crispy on the outside, filled with creamy potato and meaty chunks of lamb. I loved the sweetness of the onion puree coupled with the lamb, it was one of the best main courses I've eaten in the last year.
For dessert I opted for a chocolate fondant, the light but intensely chocolaty sponge surrounded a fantastically gooey centre with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream on the side. Yum. Chris's treacle tart tasted more of ginger than treacle, but was tasty nonetheless. Chris loved the yogurt sorbet it was served with, but I think something creamier would have worked better.
Overall, I was really impressed with the food. They use good quality ingredients which are skillfully prepared and beautifully presented. I think in the early days Homa had some issues with service, but from what I've seen during my two visits over the last few months these seem to have been rectified. The staff are friendly and attentive and despite being busy the food was well timed. We paid a very reasonable £45 each for three courses and a bottle of wine to share, I'm already looking forward to my next visit!
|Rye and white bread|
|Slow cooked squid with chorizo, green beans & potatoes|
|Buffalo mozzarella with caponata|
|Lamb shoulder potato cake with lamb cutlet & onion puree|
|Chocolate fondant with caramel ice cream|
|Treacle tart with yogurt sorbet|