Sunday, August 31, 2008

London Week II - Borough Market, Paul

London Week II took me to borough market again on the corresponding thursday to try out the famous cheese raclette as well as have some more of those ddarn oysters - i had been craving them since the week before when those delightful molluscs enchanted me with its briny sea taste and aroma of the seas.
so i went down; and i decided to pick the big one, at 1.60pounds each; it was a mistake; those larger oysters were in fact more fishy and less fresh than the small ones and had a bit of the 'bad taste' in it, even though the lemon was already used; perhaps they weren't as fresh. so if you go to richard hawkins, please buy the small ones, i think those are better. (6/10)

EDITOR'S NOTE [29/12/2011]: I think 6/10 was a really harsh score to give: see the previous entry "London Food Week II" - where I gave the Richard Hawkins oysters a 9.5/10. Perhaps 6/10 was really too low a score. Never mind.

the cheese raclette was good, but not really much to shout at; i just didn't lke the combination of potatoes and cheese; sorry, not my thing. but i know whyp eople will like it. (7/10)

Kensington Crepes - london Week II

Kensington Crepes

Here are the famous Kensington Crepes - I had the "brittany" one which came with carrots, bacon, mushrooms, served in a crisp crepe. Nice and fluffy, and the fillings very savoury. Nice.

The sweet crepe we ordered was the Rum, Banana and Chocolate; it was very sinful but we were a bit full from the first crepe already so didn't enjoy it as much. but still the chocolate was of a good quality. (7/10)

Cha Cha Moon
Cha Cha Moon is a place with really cheap food and opened by the guru of Chinese food in UK, whose name I can't remember - but who had opened Hakkasan, reputed as the best Chinese restaurant in London, and in the world. And the food was really good, and moreover very cheap, since everything was priced at 3.50 quid; And the food was good.

Zha-jiang mian came with hot minced meat sauce and was very good - flavourful and full of the 'tacheo' flavours; (7.5/10);
Fried carrot cake is good - with crunchy beansprouts (7/10)
And I really loved the dumplings with chilli oil and scallions; those were great. (8/10)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

London Week II - Nando's

Nando's is a revelation. I'm amazed that they haven't found a presence yet in Singapore, because i feel it's what singaporeans really love. amazing, flavourful, smoky, flamed-grilled chicken, with lots of BBQ flavour, served with piquant hot sauce. What's there not to love?

The chicken was intensely flavourful, almost smoky in its taste and aroma; there was the strong flame-grilled aroma permeating through the meat, the skin BBQed to a crisp and being really smoky. and the garlic peri peri sauce that went with it was nice and hot. fries were alright. it was a nice meal. hope it comes to singapore. (7.5/10)

Monday, August 18, 2008

London Week 1 - Cook in!

So shengwu and I decided we should have a cook-in because well, cook-ins are nice lazy things that allow you alot of time to do other things. One simply just has to pop the roast into the oven and wait for the roast to, eh, well, roast. mm. And maybe fry some vegetables on the side - yeah we carnivores do like our vegs, as well.

Mm. So we went to the butcher's at Marylebone road and got a whole shoulder of lamb - mind you - a whole giganormous shoulder - for just ten quid (pounds). And after that we went to La Fromagerie which sells the most amazing range of cheeses, just imagine cheeses piled stock high from top to bottom and up many levels ala a wine cellar. Seriously the smell of that place was amazing. We got ourselves two cheeses, the name i cant remember now, but i remember that one was quite creamy and was moderately pungent (nice) and the other was harder but had a nice aftertaste - ah it was goat's cheese.

We managed to stuff the roast shoulder with alot of rosemary and pop it into the oven after searing it with butter and rubbbing it with salt and pepper. J did a nice pan-fried steak with his own marinade of thyme, rosemary, worchester sauce, etc, which turned out pretty nice. We finished that off with a bottle of wine, some broccolli, and Haagen Daaz for dessert.

Here's pictures from our cook-in.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

London Food Review Week I (cont)

Wah still haven't finished posting about London. I guess i have to finish it, there's so much backlog to clear. Oh well. but it's fun i guess!
so where was I?
Ah yes.

Day 5 - Borough Market
Borough Market has to be the most fascinating market in the world for foodies like me. It is a gourmand's haven, loaded up with trucks and trucks of the most delicious and gorgeous foods there ever will be on this planet. (okay a bit of hyperbole never harms anyone). When i went there on saturday, there was a plethora of desserts ranging from warm English fudge to strawberry ices, sacher tortes to chocolate puddings and fudge brownies stacked high in a row - see the photos - cheesecakes, marble cakes; there was boston cumberland sausages, wild-boar sandwiches, venison burgers, ostrich burgers, apple cider fresh from the farm, ice-cream, freshly shucked oysters from richard hawkins, monmouth coffee (yummy)....
Okay, so I didn't eat all of that.

I started off with Cider - this was the sweet cider. It was really quite sweet and not very gassy at all. Tasted somewhat like honey. i guess if you like it gassy then perhaps you may not like this very much. In actual fact i found it okay.

Moved on to the Wild Boar Sandwich. Yummy. This was really quite excellent. The wild boar was very flavourful, had a very gamey taste, full of savoury flavours that would be very hard to describe - but it was definitely not chicken - it was seriously really good. This was balanced by some nice cranberry sauce which balanced the rich flavours in a nice bun. Yummy. i can see why there was such a long queue. (8.5/10)

Had freshly-shucked oysters from Richard Hawkins (i think) - and REALLY i've never ever tasted such wonderful wonderful oysters in my life! MM! The oysters having been freshly shucked were really fresh and just tasted of the sea, all the briney goodness of it - woo - it is a delicious taste that cannot be expressed - but yeah now when people say that oysters taste of the sea i can understand what they really mean. this was excellent. PS i went back e week after to try it and it wasnt as good, maybe coz i picked the small ones for this one and the week after i had the big ones. the small one swere better. size does matter, inversely. (9.5/10)

Then had Monmouth Coffee - monmouth coffee is absolutely sensational. didn't know filter paper coffee can taste this good. ive heard that all the great coffee places get their beans from here and no wonder. it's a thing of beauty. the el-salvador had notes of spice, chocolate, and had flavours all by themselves that i thought only wine possessed. this was quite great. (9/10)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

London Food review Week 1 (cont)

Day III - day II we made a day trip to Oxford. theres nothing to shout about and i wont bother reviewing O'Neils co its just a pub. what i really liked was the 4 beers that they served for only 3 quid, each of them being 1/3 pint. it was great variety and all the pints were very good.

At night i met shining for dinner and we went to this italian place near my flat called Ciao Bella. very authentic - u can tell by the fact that there were italian guys running the place and speaking I-TA-LIAN (imagine the italian accent yeah) and all that.. and the smell was really quite nice.
italian food is all about freshness, says gordon ramsay, and i agree. so we were served with some lovely olives and parmesan cheese which really set the tone nicelty - parmesan cheese is so flavourful on its own, so pungent, tasty, mmm....salty too actually.

i had the vongole pasta which was not too bad, although not as great as i would have liked it to be. the thing about vongole pasta is that it's hard to go wrong, but hard to be great - since it's usually just white wine with a bit of cream and the clams....but this was not a bad imitation of it. (6/10)

shining had the beef bolognaise which i had a week later (i brought a friend there) and it was good; very beefy and the sauce quite meaty and outstanding and went very well with the parmesan cheese. good.

Day III - Arbutus
I probably had the best meal of the trip at this place called Arbutus, which has one Michelin star. It was a fantastic set lunch deal for only 15 quid, and it was seriously worth it. all the courses were very flavourful and tasty and cooked to perfection.
First course was sliced lamb breast (if i remember correctly) - tasty morsels of meat with garnish. safe but alright it was quite good. (7/10)

Main course was a Rabbit Leg with risotto was quite a masterpiece, well executed. It featured tender rabbit leg which was not too gamey sitting on top lovely nutty risotto which really captured all the gamey flavours. it was really very good. (8/10)

Dessert was a very good Creme Anglaise (floating island); i especially loved the nuts that gave it contrast and texture and the vanilla sauce it was soaked in. well done (8/10)

London! Food review! Week 1

I was over in London from July 22 to 5 Aug for a short holiday, and so I got to try delicious London Food! London food is really quite mid-budget, in the sense that you won't get any hawker-centre two buck freebies anymore, everything starts at a minimum of 7 pounds upwards, but boy do they have alot of variety, being in this most cosmpolitan city of nearly 8 million inhabitants. So let's do this in chronological order:

Day I - Four Seasons Duck
Four Seasons has, arguably, the best roasted duck in the world. Everyone who has gone to London has said, you must try the Four Seasons duck. Wenen was telling me that he was dreaming about it (before I had left). So the first night B and I made our way to Chinatown gerrard street where we tried the famed Four Seasons Duck. So,was it any good?
You bet. it sure was. When I first sank my mouth into the delicious duck, I was like, OOOOOOOHHH, WOW,....ooohhhh, nice.....the duck was really very very good, goblets of pleasure oozing out from every morsel balanced by silvers of fat and crisp skin. The secret was probably in the combination of (1) very flavourful duck probably reared in some English farm or something that is just better-fed and (2) the delightful almost-caramelised-glazed sauce poured over the duck which is probably a mixture of sugar, oyster sauce, dark sauce, etc. that probably has been caramelised for a while which really blends with the duck perfectly. go and try.
it was a bit fatty so no (10/10).
(Pictures are on top)

Day II - Belgo's Centraal
Having stayed at Holborn many thanks to B, it was very convenient going for eats and covent garden was just nearby. Belgo's was one of the places gangwei recommended and it was indeed a good recommendation because it served the best belgian food in the city at that price level. It was really like being at Brussel Sprouts in Singapore, same concept of mussels, fries, washed down with beer. cant go wrong with that.
And best of all, it's cheap.
Seriously, 5.90 pounds for a set lunch from 12 to 5pm for a beer (Crystal only), half a kilo of mussels and fries. it's a really good bargain.
How was the food?

The mussels were sweet and quite delicious: the sauce was the classic one with white wine, celery, carrots and onions; it was alright, however perhaps i prefer brussel sprouts for the variety of sauces they offered. however the fries here were better, as they were more thinly cut (not as thin as macs but maybe twice as thick), and nicely salted. (7.5/10)

I ordered a Rochefort 8 and was seriously impressed; it had lashes of caramel and all sorts of dark rich flavours....yet it was easily drinkable, great beer. (9/10)
(Dont be fooled by the words 'Westmalle' - its just the cup)

Day 2 -High Tea at Wolseley
NO photos were allowed....
Wolseley is a hip restaurant along Picadilly; and it has a lovely ambience - when you step in the walls were largely in black and there was a large clock in the middle with something that looks like a fireplace.....and everything was very hip and posh and really very nice and beautiful. amazing.

We ordered cream tea and the scones were really quite good, very traditional served with clotted cream and strawberry jam. The afternoon tea was also rather refreshing.
Good meal and quite cheap, ten pounds.