foodie for thought

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity. ~Voltaire

Five Guys - Leicester Square

This is the craze that hit central London like a storm. In its opening weeks people were queuing right the way up to Covent Garden station to get their piece of the Five Guys. And a couple weeks ago I finally got mine.

You walk in, greeted by massive potato sacks and monkey nuts like i’s the norm - I had no idea what to do here. As instructed I proceeded to fill an entire vessel with peanuts that I didn’t really need and that also proved very difficult to crack open with one hand - note to self. They’re not trying to lure you in with their décor by any means. Five Guys is quite simply an all American fast food chain as you’d expect it. ‘Rustic’ some may say.

To be perfectly honest I found it all a bit overwhelming. What was the difference between a little and a normal burger? The amount of patties apparently. Little = 1, Regular = 2. And getting my head around the unlimited toppings that come at no extra cost (a total of 15 - what do you do with all that choice). And you can order a Corona here. Mental.

I played it slightly safe with the little bacon cheeseburger with pickles, mayo, lettuce and tomato. A classic combo some may say. And then my dining buddy and I had the Cajun fries to share - we did not need one each by any means. Caution - you will struggle to finish them. What I was almost more excited about than the burger was the infamous soda machine with over 100 varieties of your favourite carbonated soft drinks. My heaven. Coca Cola Lime charmed its way back into my life that day. 

What’s so great about this burger? The lack of grease. It doesn’t feel unhealthy as you bite into it, there’s no burger juice dripping down your arm - winner. I think I put it quite perfectly if I don’t say so myself when I say the burger is that of Macdonalds combined with Byron and there you have it. It’s just awesome and you need to try it if you haven’t already.

Next time I’m going for the normal burger with unlimited toppings - it’s surely got to be done right?

Until then.

gimmethemeatfoodieforthought

Flesh and Buns - Earlham Street

Now I had heard mixed reviews of Flesh and Buns, but I needed to try it and see for myself. Ever since it opened, there was a hype around this Taiwanese style restaurant and their steamed hirata buns. And I was expecting big things from the owner of Bone Daddies with his new offering.

Cartoon, japenese pop art adorns the walls, which might make your head hurt a bit, but it’s a fun vibe here. People dining here don’t care about fancy presentation or an over complicated menu. They want a bunch of side sushi followed by the famous hirata buns, all washed down with an Asahi beer - simple.

Don’t even dream of getting your own dishes - you’ll just get food envy, and frankly, the ethos here is a sharing one.

For three of us, we ordered the mixed sashimi, salmon avocado rolls and broccoli smothered in yuzu kosho mayo (this is the only way I will eat my broccoli now). However, these were simply the supporting act to the main event: the crispy piglet belly with mustard miso and pickled apple, completed with one of those soft, pillowy, rice flour buns. Heaven. In. My. Mouth. That mustard miso is genius, we couldn’t get enough of it. Get stuck in with your hands here and cram in the accompanying pickles like there’s no tomorrow.

We were surprisingly reserved and skipped the make you own s’mores (my one regret of the night). You are quite literally served a stone fire and toast your marshmallows to then sandwich in between biscuits and chocolate. One for next time for sure.

All in all, a great dinner out, and for only £18 each for all that food, I’d say it was a bargain. In the heart of Covent Garden, this basement restaurant is a gem of a find. Even busy on a Monday night, it’s sure to be a winner. Come here with friends for a catch up and a gossip, and some pretty good food to top it all off.

http://www.fleshandbuns.com/

bunmeupfoodieforthought

Hawksmoor - Seven Dials
Ever since starting at my job, Hawksmoor has proved a firm favourite for steak lovers when taken out for lunch. And with a tag line of ‘the best steak restaurant in London’, you’re bound to be intrigued. So you can imagine my excitement when after 10 months in my company, my time had come to be treated to Hawksmoor. And boy did it live up to my expectations.
Blink and you’ll miss the front door to this meat lover’s haven, tucked away in one of the cobbled alleys of Seven Dials. A sweeping staircase leads down into the bar area, reminiscent of a Prohibition-era speakeasy.  You then walk through the archways to the converted brewery, complete with brick walls and reclaimed fittings resembling a gentleman’s club. It’s basically every city boy’s dream.
Now onto the real highlight. The food. I simply had to go for the 300g fillet steak (medium rare of course) with a peppercorn sauce. To add to this we ordered an array of sides: creamed spinach, sweet potato, mushrooms, beef dripping potatoes and triple cooked chips (carb overload here).
As if that wasn’t enough food, it seemed a solid idea to go for dessert as well - highly unnecessary but damn good. I went for the Kerry’s Orange and Chocolate Bar. Incredibly rich, but chocolately, velvety goodness. Enough said.
This is a great location for a working lunch, but I’m not sure if it would be top of the list to come with friends in terms of atmosphere (suits aplenty). But if you love your steak, it would be a crime to not try this out. And with fillet steak coming in just over £30, it’s actually not going to break the bank either.
A charming first visit, and I would relish the opportunity to come again.
http://thehawksmoor.com/
nodinnerneededfoodieforthought

Hawksmoor - Seven Dials

Ever since starting at my job, Hawksmoor has proved a firm favourite for steak lovers when taken out for lunch. And with a tag line of ‘the best steak restaurant in London’, you’re bound to be intrigued. So you can imagine my excitement when after 10 months in my company, my time had come to be treated to Hawksmoor. And boy did it live up to my expectations.

Blink and you’ll miss the front door to this meat lover’s haven, tucked away in one of the cobbled alleys of Seven Dials. A sweeping staircase leads down into the bar area, reminiscent of a Prohibition-era speakeasy.  You then walk through the archways to the converted brewery, complete with brick walls and reclaimed fittings resembling a gentleman’s club. It’s basically every city boy’s dream.

Now onto the real highlight. The food. I simply had to go for the 300g fillet steak (medium rare of course) with a peppercorn sauce. To add to this we ordered an array of sides: creamed spinach, sweet potato, mushrooms, beef dripping potatoes and triple cooked chips (carb overload here).

As if that wasn’t enough food, it seemed a solid idea to go for dessert as well - highly unnecessary but damn good. I went for the Kerry’s Orange and Chocolate Bar. Incredibly rich, but chocolately, velvety goodness. Enough said.

This is a great location for a working lunch, but I’m not sure if it would be top of the list to come with friends in terms of atmosphere (suits aplenty). But if you love your steak, it would be a crime to not try this out. And with fillet steak coming in just over £30, it’s actually not going to break the bank either.

A charming first visit, and I would relish the opportunity to come again.

http://thehawksmoor.com/

nodinnerneededfoodieforthought

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi - Wimbledon

I think the pictures really do speak for themselves here, but I’ll give it a go myself.

The opening of Sticks ‘n’ Sushi in Covent Garden has been the talk of the town for the past couple of weeks. It’s everyone’s go-to lunch haunt, and for very good reasons. So when I realised there was one down the road in Wimbledon, I couldn’t really say no - and cleverly organised to go on pay day - woops.

You wouldn’t think the humble Wimbledon high street would host a place such as this. You walk in through the door into what looks like a converted barn turned nightclub. We’re talking high ceilings, trendy seating, with the kitchen acting as the central hub slap bang in the middle of the room. Quite frankly, the interior is incredibly slick, you can easily spot the Scandinavian design influences, and the music moves from funky house to smooth R’n’B classics. Needless to say I was pretty much in my element.

The menu is slightly overwhelming, I’ve never had so much choice of sushi in one place before. And the pictures on the menu make you want to choose absolutely everything, which is thoroughly unhelpful for a foodie like myself. You could suffer from a massive case of FOMO here. So we had a slight cop out, and opted for the ‘Upgrade’ sharing platter. This consisted of Nigiri, Urimaki, Kaburimaki, Salmon Carpaccio, Duck filled rice paper rolls, and a combination of ‘sticks’ - goat’s cheese with dried ham, tuna steak and chicken wings. Now for £60 you get a hell of a lot for your money, so it’s actually quite good value if you’re sharing. Plus you get to have a little bit of everything, which is essential for your first time here. But if that wasn’t enough, we decided on two extra sides, beef tataki and ebi bites.

Hand on heart, this is the best sushi I’ve ever eaten, for me, it’s up there with the likes of Zuma, and caters for a younger, more trendy clientele. With every bite of something new, my dinner partner and myself were in awe of how good the food was, and it rendered me quite speechless and giddy. And as for those sides, well, I’m never the biggest fan of beef carpaccio, but now I always want it served like the tataki. The heat from the dressing was calculated just right and the meat was seared to perfection. It practically melted in my mouth. The ebi bites were little nuggets of heaven. Crispy shrimp with a good helping of chilli and lime, belissimo.

And to drink? Well we chose the two most popular cocktails on the menu, Hotaru (rum based with passion fruit and apple) and Hanoko (jasmine tea infused sochu and organic elderflower with a touch of honey and sharpened with fresh lime).

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, you’ve nailed it. A really fun place to spend your evening and cracking food (which comes at a price)

Until next pay day…

http://sticksnsushi.com/

breakthebankfoodieforthought

This falafel pitta looks too good to be true!

This falafel pitta looks too good to be true!

Garlic kale pasta with sun dried tomatoes. A nice little twist on a classic.

Garlic kale pasta with sun dried tomatoes. A nice little twist on a classic.

Marinated chicken skewers with tzatziki at Bill’s, Covent Garden.
When you eat here, you just know that the ingredients will be fresh and healthy - which suited me perfectly. Except I did eat half a loaf of potato and rosemary bread. Oh and the warm mini cinnamon doughnuts with fresh strawberries and warm chocolate dipping sauce…

Marinated chicken skewers with tzatziki at Bill’s, Covent Garden.

When you eat here, you just know that the ingredients will be fresh and healthy - which suited me perfectly. Except I did eat half a loaf of potato and rosemary bread. Oh and the warm mini cinnamon doughnuts with fresh strawberries and warm chocolate dipping sauce…

This is my friend Josh’s meal last night. Sushi has never looked like such a work of art. This particular one was salmon, crab and prawn with cod roe on top.
TAKE ME THERE PLEASE.

This is my friend Josh’s meal last night. Sushi has never looked like such a work of art. This particular one was salmon, crab and prawn with cod roe on top.

TAKE ME THERE PLEASE.

I really do love my friends, especially when I’m lucky enough to be cooked for.
Here’s Hana’s thai green chicken curry, complete with sticky white rice and soy sauce with a sprinkling of fresh coriander to top it off (this was serving one of two).

I really do love my friends, especially when I’m lucky enough to be cooked for.

Here’s Hana’s thai green chicken curry, complete with sticky white rice and soy sauce with a sprinkling of fresh coriander to top it off (this was serving one of two).

Homemade Cauliflower Cheese - the ultimate comfort food.
Simply boil the cauliflower, then make the cheese sauce as follows:
For 1 large cauliflower -
1 pint of milk
4 tbsp.plain flour
50g butter
Grated cheddar (as much as you can handle!)
Bring the milk, flour and butter to the boil, whisking quickly so the mixture does not turn lumpy, until it the sauce begins to thicken. Turn off the heat, then stir in the cheese.
Pour the sauce over the cauliflower in an oven dish, add extra cheese on top and grill till nice and crispy as the picture above.
DELICIOUS.

Homemade Cauliflower Cheese - the ultimate comfort food.

Simply boil the cauliflower, then make the cheese sauce as follows:

For 1 large cauliflower -

1 pint of milk

4 tbsp.plain flour

50g butter

Grated cheddar (as much as you can handle!)

Bring the milk, flour and butter to the boil, whisking quickly so the mixture does not turn lumpy, until it the sauce begins to thicken. Turn off the heat, then stir in the cheese.

Pour the sauce over the cauliflower in an oven dish, add extra cheese on top and grill till nice and crispy as the picture above.

DELICIOUS.