Archive | February, 2012

Malabar Junction

27 Feb

Four years ago, I found it hard to even sit next to someone that was eating a curry. After a bad experience when I was ten (I’ll spare you the details), I thought my curry days were firmly behind me. But around four years ago I found myself with a boyfriend who adored the stuff. But it wasn’t just him, it was his family too. Not long after we met, I moved into his family home and was surrounded by it too much for my liking. When we had a night off cooking, I would sit with my lemon chicken from the local Chinese restaurant while they would gorge on dosas and Karahi chicken and lamb chops.

‘Come on Sarah, you have GOT to try this’ shouted my boyfriend’s dad one evening. And that was it, the whole family taunted me and I felt like I was a small child in a playground getting bullied to eat a cockroach off the floor. My boyfriend put the fork up to my mouth and I begrudgingly opened, eyes closed, and chewed. I can’t remember my exact reaction but it had the whole family laughing. After one mouthful, I have quite literally never looked back. The curry in question was from a local Wembley restaurant called Karahi King where my boyfriend’s family has been going for over 20 years. I can’t tell you how glad I am that that forkful of tender, spicy, saucy chicken dish was forced fed to me that evening. It opened up my eyes to pretty much anything and taught me not to be so narrow minded when it comes to food.

We’re lucky to live in an area of London with a large Indian community so we’re spoilt for choice with good Indian restaurants (that don’t serve dishes like the chicken tikka passanda that I ate when I was ten). But I’ve often found it hard to locate a Central London restaurant that serves food as tasty that is also reasonably priced.

I was invited to try Malabar Junction, initially to use as the Indian entry for mine and Jacks Eat the Olympics challenge. But as we want to use our local for that, I thought I’d write it up for you lot.

Malabar Junction resides on Great Russell Street, just away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road. I walked in to find Jack waiting for me in the sitting room at the entrance of the restaurant, flicking through a copy of Spice magazine, which was sat on a coffee table full of Indian food magazines. It took him a while to notice I had arrived (too engrossed in the magazine) but once he did, he jumped up and we were shown to our table at the back of the restaurant. We sat in large wicker chairs padded with comfortable cushions and looked out over the whole restaurant.

The menu provided a wide range of options, from dosas to Biryani and Tandoor specials. We shared a couple of starters, chilli paneer (£7.50) and a Malabar masala dosa (£8.50) before sharing tadka dal (£6.50) and kerela mutton curry (£10.95) with a side of plain basmati rice (£2.50). I opted for the semiya payasam (£3.75) for dessert, while Jack went for the unadventurous option with two scoops of Belgian chocolate Haagen Daaz £2.75).

Anticipation of the dosa was high. Another local of ours, Chenai Dosa, serves huge dosa pancakes with a delicious potato filling and unlimited sauces for around £3! The dosa at Malabar was slightly more expensive but that is to be expected when you’re in Central London. Still, the prices definitely don’t break the bank. It arrived, smaller but more perfectly formed than our usual with three sauces – chilli, sambar and coconut. We tucked in with our knife and forks (something we rarely do at our local as they believe the food tastes better when eaten with your hands) and thoroughly enjoyed it. The potato was soft and fresh with the perfect amount of spice. The sambar was thick and chunky, the coconut sauce creamy.

The chilli paneer was an utter delight. Soft cubes of paneer sat in a spicy chilli sauce and crunchy vegetables – the perfect way to awaken the taste buds. There definitely could have been a few more chunks on the plate though!

Our squeaky clean plates were politely taken away to make room for our mains. They arrived and the colours were fantastic – two curries sat in front of us, one bright yellow and the other deep red. The tadka dal was creamy with a hint of spice from the fresh chilli garnish. The mutton was tender with the most fantastic accompanying spiced tomato sauce. The bread basket that we chose to accompany the dishes (£6) contained paratha, chapatti, and poori, which were all delicious, except for the slight mishap with the paratha – it didn’t hold together very well and we had to dip small strips into the curry when we would have preferred to rip off a huge hunk for dipping. It didn’t take us long to polish everything off and as soon as we had wiped the remnants of each dish with the last of our breads from the basket, the polite and friendly waiter was quick to clear our plates, but not before commenting on the distinct lack of any trace that there had in fact been a pile of food on each plate.

Our dessert orders were taken and delivered promptly. We knew what to expect from the Haagen Daaz but the semita payasam was a new adventure and one that upon first glance didn’t look too appetising. The bad thoughts were soon diminished as I took the first mouthful of creamy vermicelli, which had been cooked in cardamom flavoured milk and dotted with raisins and cashews. This was a great dessert, not too heavy and the perfect way to satisfy the sweet craving at the end of the meal.

After dinner, we walked out of the restaurant, happy in the knowledge that we might just have found the Central London curry house that we have long been searching for.

Malabar Junction
107 Great Russell Street
London
WC1B 3NA

Pho, Wardour Street

20 Feb

My first experience of Vietnamese cuisine was a couple of years ago in Melbourne. We were taken to dinner by a couple of DJs that my boyfriend knew who were incredibly excited about taking us to their favourite restaurant in the city. Everything was looking good when we arrived – it was bustling with the locals and we had to fight to snag a table. The building was creaky and not perfect, everything you’d expect from a neighbourhood restaurant. We let the enthusiastic gents order and listened to them talk about how amazing the dishes were before they finally arrived, after what seemed like a lifetime. My first reaction was to almost burst into laughter, followed by tears. Just by looking at my plate I could see that my local Chinese takeaway could have done better. In front of us lay MSG ridden gloop, disgusting sticky sauces and very unhealthy looking vegetables. I couldn’t have been more disappointed and for a while it put me off trying Vietnamese in London.

When I finally braved it, I took a trip to Pho on Great Titchfield Street with a couple of friends. I tried Pho for the first time and couldn’t believe how different it was from the dishes I’d had in Melbourne. It was fresh and healthy, but I still didn’t love it.

Fast forward two years and I’m back at Pho, this time on Wardour Street. I walked in on a Thursday evening to a very busy restaurant, filled with young professionals enjoying a hearty dinner on a cold February evening. All day I had been telling myself that I would try the pho again, but on closer inspection of the menu, I decided I’d try the Bun Cha Gio Ga (£7.45). But first we delved into three starters – Goi Cuon Tom (summer rolls with chicken breast – £4.25), Banh Xeo Tom Ga (Vietnamese crepe with prawns, chicken and bean sprouts – £6.95) and Goi Du Du (papaya salad with chicken – £7.75).

None of the starters disappointed – the summer rolls were fresh, the external rice paper chewy, sticky and the inside crisp and juicy. The Goi Du Du provided a myriad of flavours, including juicy papaya, tender chicken pieces and crisp pepper slices. The Banh Xeo Tom pancake was the least impressive, but it didn’t stop me reaching over for more lettuce leaves to wrap the chicken and pancake batter in.

The Bun Cha Gio Ga arrived and consisted of a bowl of soft vermicelli rice at room temperature, sprouts, chicken, fresh herbs and a little bowl of nuoc cham, which I was told by the waitress to pour on top and mix together. Despite ordering the spicy version, it lacked spice and I had to put a good squeeze of sriracha hot chilli sauce into a bowl for dipping. Lack of spice in supposedly spicy dishes at restaurants has been a common recurrence recently – I have been ordering spicy and it has always been too mild. Maybe I’m going by my favourite local curry house standards in Wembley where a ‘medium’ spicy can blow your head off. But that’s not to say I didn’t like my main, because I did – particularly the slippery cold noodles that sat towards the bottom of the bowl.

After three starters and a main (between two), we were both pretty full. But of course the desserts were on the menu for a reason so we ordered a pandan pancake (£5.95) to share. I desperately didn’t want to be disappointed but I couldn’t help being just a little bit when the dessert arrived. The pancakes were green due to the green pandan leaf paste that is stirred into the batter and after the initial surprise, the novelty soon wore off and I was left with a mouthful of desiccated coconut and crunchy brown sugar. Perhaps I should have tried the banana fritters.

We also grabbed a couple of Vietnamese Sôn Tinh rice wines and fruit liquors, which are new to the menu, imported straight from Hanoi. I love the story behind them. Juliette & Stephen Wall, founders of Pho, take regular trips to Vietnam. They got so merry on rice wine during a recent trip to a popular bar in Hanoi called Highway 4 that they decided to ship it back over and serve it to us lucky diners. There are four fruity flavours to choose from and two traditional blends – dark and light. We ordered a plum (£4) and a traditional (£4.50). I managed a sip of each and decided not to risk the headache for work the next day. The plum was actually rather nice with hints of caramel and a deep spiced plum flavour.

As we left the restaurant, the heavens opened and white fluffy snow flurried down past our faces and we enjoyed the walk back to the tube, full, content and wondering if we would need to get the sledges out of the shed the following day.

Food For Think was a guest at Pho.

I don’t know why I’m telling you this (because I want to win myself) but Pho is currently running a competition to win two flights to Vietnam. Click here to enter. Good luck (kind of).

Pho
163-165 Wardour Street
London
W1F 8WN

Pho on Urbanspoon

‘Proper Black’ Barbecoa braised short beef ribs

16 Feb

I’m quite pathetic when it comes to cooking meat. I just don’t have it in me. Unforutnately neither does Jack – don’t tell him I said that though. The thing is, we just don’t tend to buy it. I’ll happily order a meat dish at a restaurant because I know it’s going to be so much better than my attempts.

But when the email from Barbecoa arrived in my inbox telling me about a fantastic competition called #BBshortrib, I couldn’t resist. All I needed to do was pick five short ribs up from Barbecoa Butchers on Friday 10th February, cook them over the weekend and take them to be re heated at the restaurant on the Monday evening. It all sounded easy.

As usual, I was slightly unprepared with my recipe but I knew I wanted to do something a bit different. I had a feeling that lots of entrants would be BBQing them, or braising them in red wine. So I did something a little different – I braised them in ‘Proper Black’, a delicious dark pale ale from St Austell Brewery in Cornwall. The ale is black as stout and powerful hops dominate the restarained chocolate and coffee notes from the carefully selected roasted malt. This bottle had been sitting in my cupboard waiting to be consumed but rather than drinking, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do something a little different.

Ribs

During the cooking process, we almost burned down the kitchen, yes really. The pot that we were using cracked and hot oil seeped out onto the extremely hot hob. When we moved the pan away, huge flames exploded. Luckily we slid the pan back over the fire, which restricted the oxygen supply. My boyfriend shouted ‘throw some water over it’ and I screamed noooooooooo. I knew that fire marshal training would come in handy one day… After some googling, we found the best ways to deal with a fire in the kitchen:

1) Throw a damp towel over the flame
2) Cover the flame with baking power
3) Place a lid on top of the burning pan
4) Use a fire extinguisher (yes, I’ll just go and get that from under the stairs then…..!!!)

After we (and the fire) had calmed down, we carried on and produced something utterly delicious. Thick, syrupy and rich, the sauce was to die for. The meat was tender and I was wondering why we don’t cook meals like this very often. Unfortunately we were unable to eat much of it as we had to reserve it for the all important judging the next day but the little bit we tasted whet our appetites!

We were all set on the Monday, Jack was going to bring the ribs with him after work (he works from home) and I was going to meet him there. But disaster struck – at 5pm I still had not heard from him. When my phone went off shortly after, I knew something was wrong. Jack had been in a meeting all day away from home unexpectedly and there was not enough time to go home to pick them up and arrive at Barbecoa on time. The ribs were stranded in the fridge and we had to pull out. Disaster.

I followed the competition on Twitter and was unsurprised to see that most had cooked BBQ short ribs. I wish we could have gone, it looked like a lot of fun. At least we got to enjoy our ribs for dinner that evening and I’ve decided that I’ll be taking a trip back to Barbecoa to explore other cuts and broaden my meaty repertoire.

Proper Black braised Barbecoa short ribs (adapted from David Lebobitz)

Ingredients

5 short ribs
Salt and freshly-ground pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
350ml Proper Black pale ale
10 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons Chinese or Japanese rice vinegar
50g dark chocolate
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

For the hoisin sauce (makes what is needed for recipe)

4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp molasses or 1 tablespoon honey
2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 garlic clove , finely minced
2 tsp sesame seed oil
1 tsp chinese hot sauce (to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Method

1. Rub the ribs generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large roasting pan and fry the short ribs until each side is very dark
2. Remove the ribs from the pan, then turn off the heat and deglaze the pan with the pale ale. Scrape up the browned bits stuck to the pan with a firm spatula, then stir in the garlic and ginger
3. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C
4. Add the ribs back to the pan and mix in the vinegar, chocolate, and chili powder
5. Cover and let simmer for 3 hours, turning the short ribs a few times while they’re cooking. The ribs are done when they’re fork-tender and falling off the bone.
6. Meanwhile, make the hoisin sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together and whisk until well blended
7. Once ribs have simmered, remove the lid, stir in the hoisin sauce, place in the oven, reduce the heat to 150 degrees C and cook for another 30 minutes

East Street, Rathbone Place

14 Feb

It is Tuesday evening and my stomach is rumbling. I leave the office and venture towards Oxford Circus to meet Jack. I walk down the escalator at Uni Qlo and find him standing staring at a rainbow of socks. He turns around, arms full of multi coloured cottons, I give him a quick peck and tell him where we are heading. You see, he has the knack of never quite knowing what we’re doing. I am in charge of the diary – all I need to do is tell him where to meet me and I’ll quite often lead him to where we need to be.

The restaurant in question this evening is East Street, a newly opened Fitzrovia joint serving a range of dishes inspired by the founder’s travels across Asia. Upon arrival, Jack turned to me and said ‘this is impressive’. He was talking about the way in which the restaurant has been decorated. Multi coloured signs hang from the ceiling, long communal tables fill the main dining area and colourful chairs, food products and travel paraphernalia provide a warming welcome. I was surprised, not because I didn’t think that interior was impressive, but because Jack rarely gives such accolades. He is a designer and has a very critical eye – if he thinks the design of the restaurant is average, he’s usually right, annoyingly. On this occasion he was right, but on first impressions the restaurant lacked something – buzz. But this was probably down to the fact that we arrived at 6.30, which is relatively early, particularly on a Tuesday evening.

East Street Interior

We were seated at a table for two towards the back of the restaurant and left to peruse the menu. There was a lot of perusing to do – the menu was huge. Slightly overwhelmed by the amount of dishes presented to us on one huge card menu, we started with a bowl of freshly steamed and crisp edamame (£3.95). Good start, but then you can hardly go wrong with that. This was followed by Tod Man Khao Pod (£4.25), a plate of crisp corn fritters with a delicious chili and peanut dip. We also shared a plate of Gyoza (£4.95), which had a crisp exterior and a minced pork, bamboo shoot and spring onion filling.

IMG_9145

For mains, we shared the Khao Soi aka Changmai Noodles (£8.95) and the Chicken Abobo (£7.50). I was slightly surprised at the small portions on arrival but this surprise was quickly diminished as my stomach started to tell me that she was getting full. The Khao Soi was a mixture of tender chicken breast cooked in a red curry sauce with yellow noodles, topped with fresh lime and a smattering of coriander. It was a tasty dish but disappointed on the spice front, particularly as the menu stipulated that it was a spicy dish with two red chillies next to the name.

The Chicken Abobo was not so great. A plate of chicken coated in a slightly gloopy and almost tasteless sauce was the low light of the evening. The accompanying sweet potato slices resembled vegetable crisps – not bad but not expected.

Our empty plates were efficiently swiped away from us and replaced with the dessert menu. We chose the Khao Niaow Mamuang (£5.25) and Bubor Pulot Hitta (£4.50) – two out of the three most exotic sounding desserts on the menu. I had previously read a review of East Street by Hollowlegs and she wasn’t overly pleasant about the Khao Niaow Mumuang, stating that the mango was not ripe and the rice was sticky and glutinous. Unfortunately I cannot compare it to the ‘real thing’ but this was my favourite dish of the evening. My mango was ripe, the rice sticky sweet with a good addition of coconut cream. My only complaint is that there wasn’t enough cream.

The second dessert, Bubor Pulot Hitta, didn’t prove so popular – neither of us really liked it. We found it to be a little flavourless and not creamy and sugary as the menu stated.

I so badly didn’t want East Street to be more style over substance but I couldn’t help feeling that way, just a teensy little bit. I love the authentic touches – the travel paraphernalia stuck to the walls (diners are encouraged to bring their own and add to the collection), the flight announcements in the toilets, the colourful website and signs. But the food lacked punch and we left having had an enjoyable meal but without the dishes leaving a lasting impression.

Food For Think was a guest at East Street

East Street
3-5 Rathbone Place
London
W1T 1HJ
0207 3230860

East Street Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sundae in the City: Chiswell Street Dining Rooms

10 Feb

Published on BespokeRSVP on 7th February 2012

Walking out of Moorgate tube station, a chilling wind strikes my skin. I tighten my scarf around my neck and follow the map on my phone, past glamorous high-rise buildings, expensive gyms and the usual chain cafes. I arrive at my destination and outside, a slightly inebriated middle aged woman with red wine stained teeth touches my hair and asks if it is real before telling me how utterly gorgeous it is. I recoil before thanking and gently pushing past her to open the door to enter the bustling bar section of the restaurant. Inside I am greeted with welcome warmth and raucous laughter of City workers brandishing, no doubt expensive, bottles of wine. I find my dining companion, Qin, and we are seated at our table at the entrance of the restaurant section, which is situated just past the bustling bar area. The waitress apologises for the noise but I think it adds to the atmosphere.

Chiswell Street Dining Rooms reminds me of somewhere I have been before but I can’t quite put my finger on where. I know for sure that this somewhere is outside of London, perhaps one of the extortionate restaurants in my hometown – you know, the kind that resides in cities outside of London, probably serving similar dishes but for more money. You see, these kinds of restaurants can charge extortionate prices because there is no competition. That’s why I love London – so much choice and excellent food that’s value for money.

The menu at Chiswell Street Dining Rooms has something for everyone. I was tempted by a few of the vegetarian options such as the goats cheese panna cotta and wild mushroom starter and the spinach open ravioli for main, but I couldn’t resist ordering the venison carpaccio, wild boar croquettes, cider and shallot dressing to start and grilled fillet of Cornish brill, buttered spring cabbage, shrimp and chive butter sauce for main. Qin chose the sautéed chicken livers and veal sweetbreads, toasted brioche, Madeira jus to start and roast Yorkshire wood pigeon, creamed sprouts and smoked bacon, chestnut cream, parsnip crisps for main. We also enjoyed a bottle of the Cuvée Frères Martin to accompany our meaty dishes. The first impressive aspect of the meal was in fact the wine. Our bottle was the house red and was self select, which to us signalled that care and effort has been put into even their most basic wines.

The starters arrived and presentation was impressive. My deep red venison looked enticing and each morsel melted as soon as it hit my tongue. Despite the wonderful texture, I found it hard to detect a meaty flavour due to the fact that it was impossibly thin. Surprisingly, because I don’t usually enjoy croquettes a great deal, the wild boar croquettes were the star of the show. A deep meaty flavour shone through the crispy battered exterior and I enjoyed mouthful after mouthful with a smattering of the delicious cider shallot dressing accompaniment. Qin’s sweetbreads looked slightly less appetising but I am assured that the flavours were well balanced, although the dish would have benefited from an extra slice of brioche.

Our mains arrived along with a side of chips, which were billed on the menu as ‘lovers chips’. I so badly wanted the chips to have some kind of wow factor. Alas no, they are called lovers chips simply because, according to our waitress, it is the ‘brand’ of potato. And after this initial disappointment, more was to follow upon tasting – hot but completely underwhelming, hardly crispy on the outside and definitely not fluffy on the inside. I guess we won’t be falling in love with these.

Although my brill dish didn’t leave an impression that will last a lifetime, I enjoyed it very much. The sauce was rich and buttery with a hint of chive, the fish tender and well cooked, the bed of cabbage buttery and a perfect addition. I looked across at Qin’s plate and saw her struggling to slice her generous portion of wood pigeon. Despite looking deliciously pink and well cooked, it was rather tough and needed the aid of a good steak knife.

When the dessert menu arrived, one particular dish stood out for both of us – banoffee pie with caramel ice cream and banana crisp, but of course we couldn’t have the same dish so I chose one of the coupes – the chocolate sundae. I took the waitresses recommendation to substitute the chocolate ice cream for vanilla for fear that it might be too rich otherwise. The banoffee pie looked very different to my homemade attempts but was a thing of beauty, particularly the long, thin banana chip. I didn’t think I would be able to manage the whole sundae but it became apparent that I would as soon as I dug my spoon in, past the large layer of chantilly cream, right down to the bottom where I found bite sized chunks of fudgey brownie. I was in heaven and felt like a little kid as I licked my lips after my last hurried mouthful.

After our dessert plates were cleared away, we were offered coffee and allowed to relax, which pleased me as waiting staff at other London restaurants have been known to rush us out of the door in the past. As we stood up and vacated our table at 11pm, I noticed that the dining room was still bustling, fellow diners polishing off the remnants of dessert and sipping the last of their wine. I left full and satisfied with a smile on my face, even if I did have the icy wind to contend with on the walk back to the tube station.

Chiswell Street Dining Rooms
56 Chiswell Street
London
EC1Y 4SA

Best budget hotel in London? The Hoxton

9 Feb

I love a good staycation. “What on earth is that?” I hear you cry. Well my friends, a staycation is a holiday, away from home, but where you don’t actually have to travel very far. Last weekend I had a staycation at The Hoxton hotel in, you guessed it, Hoxton.

Based on the Easy Jet style of cheap fares, The Hoxton offers rooms for as little as £1 a night with a maximum price of £199. It is a no frills destination in a great location but with a lot of the comforts of a boutique hotel.

Bedroom 2

Dreamt up by Pret a manger founder Sinclair Beecham, The Hoxton promises small rooms with a comfortable double bed, a TV, chaise longue, hair dryer and hot drink facilities. Breakfast consists of small Pret yoghurts, bananas and bottles of orange juice, which are delivered to your door at your specified time. There is no mini bar in the room but guests are provided with free bottles of Pret spring water and a carton of milk for those much needed teas and coffees. The front desk at reception doubles as a shop where you can buy chocolate for 30p less than the local shop, toothpaste, batteries etc…

We arrived on Saturday afternoon, possibly the coldest day of the year so far and quickly scrapped our plans for a quick spot of shopping when we entered the room. Instead, we made use of the free WiFi and TV for a couple of hours before heading out to Green Lanes for dinner.

When we left, the heavens opened with white fluffy snow. When we arrived back, we left the curtains open so when we woke, we could see the fantastic view from the 5th floor with snow topped roofs all the way over to The Shard, which was partially blocked from our view with fog.

The streets on Sunday morning were thick with snow and while we had plans to visit Sunday upmarket after a brunch at nearby St Ali, we had to give them up and retire home. But not before making use of the drench shower at The Hoxton, which I wasn’t really expecting from a no frills hotel.

Check out was speedy and as we walked out through the doors, the roaring fires on each side of the room beckoned us over. But they failed, for my St Ali flat white and French toast was waiting for me.

Food For Think was a guest at The Hoxton

The Hoxton
81 Great Eastern St
London
EC2A 3HU
020 7550 1000

A Korean feast at Kimchee

8 Feb

If you’re a girl and feeling a bit under the weather, there’s nothing like a good old natter with a friend to cheer you up. That’s how I was feeling on Friday before I met my friend for dinner at Kimchee.

I had walked past Kimchee numerous times but never made it in until now, perhaps because I work in Soho and quite often stick to the area. But the High Holborn location definitely doesn’t seem to be an issue for a lot of people. At 6.30pm, I walked through the front door to join a sizeable queue all eagerly awaiting a table.

We were seated and our very pleasant waitress explained the menu and recommended a few dishes to share. We ordered one portion of Kimchee, a couple of sides, a rice dish and a BBQ dish. The idea is that diners share a wealth of dishes so that they can taste more. I am a huge advocate of the sharing plate so I was excited about what was to come.

The food arrived and we were first presented with Yuk Hwae (raw beef with sliced pear and egg yolk – £4.90). The egg yolk sat in a tiny dish on the side and we were told to pour it on top. This dish really was delicious and packed full of flavour. The Kimchee (£2.50) didn’t excite quite as much and it wasn’t as spicy as I would have hoped, particularly as it was billed as spicy on the menu.

Next to arrive was the tofu dolsot bibimap (tofu, rice, vegetables, chilli sauce and raw egg yolk – £7.90), which was so pretty I didn’t want to mix it all together – so the waitress did it for us. Despite how pretty the dish looked and the impact it made on arrival at the table, we were both slightly disappointed with the flavour, or the lack of. It wasn’t particularly spicy and the rice dominated the dish once stirred.

The spicy chicken bulgogi was meant to be very spicy but I could have added a lot more chilli. I liked the way that the chicken and lettuce leaves were served on separate plates and that you had to wrap the chicken in the leaf with the accompanying sauce before eating. I was happy to do a bit of food DIY and rather enjoyed it.

After our mains, the dessert menu was kindly thrust in front of our faces and I was pleased to see a range of different flavoured ice creams. Despite having already eaten two scoops of ice cream after lunch, I couldn’t resist a scoop of black sesame (£3.40).

The scoop was the perfect size, just big enough to satisfy the post main course sweet tooth, but small enough to ensure that you don’t go overboard. I have to say, it was one of the most delicious and interesting ice cream scoops I have ever had.

I can’t write a review of Kimchee without mentioning the atmosphere and surroundings. Huge open plan kitchens sit along the right hand side of the restaurant and diners share long communal tables with well designed lighting ahead. The restaurant it busy, buzzing, fast paced and a great place to go if you want to chat loudly and enjoy well priced, well cooked food. I’m already planning my next trip back.

Food For Think was a guest at Kimchee

Kimchee
71 High Holborn
London
WC1V 6EA
0207 4300956

Kimchee  on Urbanspoon

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,104 other followers

%d bloggers like this: